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Microsoft updates Windows 8, Windows RT apps

Microsoft updates Windows 8, Windows RT apps

Microsoft's Windows 8 and Windows RT apps have been updated with new features and improved user interfaces, but Google Calendar support is a victim of the changes.

Microsoft has official updated its homebrew applications for Windows 8 and Windows RT, bringing improvements to the Mail, Calendar and People apps running under the Modern user interface.

Designed to fix bugs and address customer complaints, the updates do much to improve the state of Microsoft's stock applications. The Mail, app, for example, now includes the option to create, rename and delete folders from within the Metro UI - something that, if you can believe it, was a function not available in the original release. The revised interface also allows users to quickly flag important emails for later action, and now includes an in-built filter for viewing only unread messages.

Other improvements to the Mail app include 'smart contact suggestions' which provide auto-complete entries sorted by the who you most frequently contact, and a new display feature that puts unfinished draft messages at the top of your Inbox to remind you to get around to sending them. It's also now possible to add, edit and delete hyperlinks without running into any strange formatting bugs, and the ability to include bulleted or numbered lists has also been tweaked - as has the app's understanding of rich-text content pasted from other applications. Finally, the app now includes server-side searching - meaning you're no longer limited to finding messages within the somewhat scant two-week timescale previously offered, or you have the option of increasing or removing entirely that limitation.

The People app, meanwhile, has been tweaked to include addition app commands accessed by swiping down from the top on a touch-screen device or right-clicking if you're a keyboard and mouse type. This introduces a new navigation bar, that allows users to quickly switch between Home, Me and What's New views.

Finally, the Calendar app includes a visual refresh that makes the main interface less cluttered and easier to read. Solid blocks of colour have been replaced by a strip down the edge of each entry, while a Work Week view provides a more focused list of entries than the previous Week view. Scheduling assistant support for Microsoft Exchange servers has also been added, bringing the software more in-line with the company's Outlook client, and it's possible to forward meeting invitations, email all meeting attendees, access additional recurrence options and set end dates for recurring events directly within the app.

Sadly, not all changes are an improvement. Contrary to Microsoft's statement earlier this year, Google's decision to remove Exchange ActiveSync support from its servers means that those upgrading their Windows 8 or Windows RT apps will lose support for synchronising their Calendar app with Google Calendar. While emails and contacts work once the account is re-connected, Google Calendar does not - and thus far neither Microsoft nor Google has provided a work-around for the issue.

If you don't use Google Calendar - or, conversely, if you don't use the Calendar app built in to Windows 8 and Windows RT - you can download the updates from the Windows Store, by clicking the 'Updates' icon in the top-right when it appears.

20 Comments

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gcwebbyuk 26th March 2013, 12:43 Quote
It's a shame the Google/Microsoft issue still hasn't been sorted. I use Google apps for domains, and have attempted to use Windows 8 and Office 2013 on my laptop using my Technet licenses. Of course, it failed. I have a couple of customers soon to be upgrading their office PCs, however, they use Google too, so they are almost being forced to switch to a on-site Exchange server, or MS365. Even an on-site Exchange server is becoming a financial no-no with Server 2012 Essentials replacing SBS Standard.
GoodBytes 26th March 2013, 13:41 Quote
The Music App also got updated (just today).
It has performance improvement, small UI changes, independent volume control, simplified control on over music in the cloud. Ability to dd songs from your collection and have them replicated on other Xbox Music devices, and there's also an option to automatically add matched songs from PCs into music in the cloud.

Now playing interface now lists all the tracks from an album alongside the song currently playing.
r3loaded 26th March 2013, 17:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
The Music App also got updated (just today).
It has performance improvement, small UI changes, independent volume control, simplified control on over music in the cloud. Ability to dd songs from your collection and have them replicated on other Xbox Music devices, and there's also an option to automatically add matched songs from PCs into music in the cloud.

Now playing interface now lists all the tracks from an album alongside the song currently playing.
Can it play my FLAC music collection now? It's still totally useless to me if it can't do this simple task.
GoodBytes 26th March 2013, 17:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r3loaded
Can it play my FLAC music collection now? It's still totally useless to me if it can't do this simple task.

Microsoft never supported FLAC, I doubt it will change. FLAC isn't popular enough for Microsoft.
fdbh96 26th March 2013, 18:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Microsoft never supported FLAC, I doubt it will change. FLAC isn't popular enough for Microsoft.

For most people (me included) file sizes are just too big, plus the fact that I can very rarely tell the difference.

However, since its open source I don't see why they haven't supported it yet.
Nexxo 26th March 2013, 18:53 Quote
RedFlames 26th March 2013, 18:56 Quote
@Nexxo, that's fine for desktop and WMP, but i think r3loaded was referring to the Music app.

+rep for the link nontheless
Nexxo 26th March 2013, 19:22 Quote
I know, but you never know... perhaps the Music app shares code with the desktop media player. When you change the default search engine on desktop IE it also does on Metro IE.
Corky42 26th March 2013, 19:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96
However, since its open source I don't see why they haven't supported it yet.

You kinda answered your own question, M$ isn't a lover of open source.
They defiantly don't like Linux.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/03/26/us-microsoft-eu-idUKBRE92P0E120130326
RedFlames 26th March 2013, 19:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
I know, but you never know... perhaps the Music app shares code with the desktop media player. When you change the default search engine on desktop IE it also does on Metro IE.

They're two separate apps, however what you linked to may work for media centre as iirc they do share things..
r3loaded 26th March 2013, 22:54 Quote
Yep, I know about the Media Foundation codecs, but the app still wouldn't acknowledge their existence. I also don't believe I should convert my entire library purely to suit the whims of an app's developer, especially when they're in an otherwise commonly used format.
Snips 27th March 2013, 08:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96
However, since its open source I don't see why they haven't supported it yet.

You kinda answered your own question, M$ isn't a lover of open source.
They defiantly don't like Linux.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/03/26/us-microsoft-eu-idUKBRE92P0E120130326

Why should it?

I've never had a problem with FLAC files I don't have my library completely in that format anyway.

These positive changes are as good as any, well done Microsoft ;)
Gareth Halfacree 27th March 2013, 09:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
You kinda answered your own question, M$ isn't a lover of open source.
You do know that Microsoft has an entire division dedicated to producing and releasing open source software, right?
Corky42 27th March 2013, 09:22 Quote
Forgive me, looking into it some more M$ are more favorable to open source than they have been in the past.
GoodBytes 27th March 2013, 15:05 Quote
You are looking at the wrong company. We are talking about Microsoft. Not "M$" Corp.
For Microsoft you are right, back in the early days of Windows 95/98 and before, and significantly smaller in size, Microsoft was not great on OpenSource. I am sure your company that you work for, isn't either. Therefore I am not supporting it, and wish it closed, even thought your company that you work for, isn't doing software. That's silly talk.

And yes, to comment on your link, when 90%-99%+ of OEM consumer wants Windows, and that Linux has no official support service, and require costly and very long, staff training and education it's difficult for OEMs to sale Linux systems. Therefore, it's Microsoft fault for making Windows good.

And yes, of course Microsoft will offer price discount on Windows if they only sale Windows. Tip in life: Big large successful businesses, don't become how they became by being nice and writing checks. Businesses is all about taking advantage of things. If not, then it's a Co-op, where profits are very low, and re-invested within the company.

If you think that only Microsoft is doing bad things.. you really have no idea how things are. I would even say that right now as we speak, possibly, Microsoft is the least offending company. The only reason why Microsoft it put under the light, is because they are this big. Don't you think similar exclusive deal isn't made with OEM by chip makers, capacitor makers and such, where they get a deal, if they get exclusive contract with them? How about day 1 DLC from your favorite publishers or game dev studio. Or how about content of games cut out, and made as DLC later on for extra revenue. How about Creative that does everything it can, so that you buy a new sound card for every version of Windows is released (unless its a few month apart, Creative is still nice on that). Or how about the numerous companies that forced you to buy a new printer/scanner/wtv peripheral when Vista was out, for driver support, when there was no reason to not support it, and could get the peripheral to work, if the drivers were not encrypted or found extracted and you know what you are doing. I can go on, but you get the idea...

As mentioned, the only reason why Microsoft is put onto light, is because they are so big... and if you think that IE as default web browser is such a crime.... oh man. Companies avoiding paying taxes year after year, as paying lawyer fees and paying lobbyist to push laws with holes that companies take advantage off to avoid paying taxes is cheaper than to pay taxes, is what then? How about companies that bribes the government for contracts?
Gareth Halfacree 27th March 2013, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
[...] and that Linux has no official support service
'Linux' as in the kernel has no official support service beyond the mailing list, bug tracker and IRC channels; Linux as in the operating system (yes, Mr. Stallman, I mean GNU/Linux, please, I'll take questions at the end) has plenty of official support services. That's the entire raison d'etre of companies like Canonical, Red Hat, SuSE and the like: they make money - and in some cases, enough to enjoy a market cap of nearly $10 billion - selling support contracts and other services.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux. SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. Ubuntu Advantage. These all come with professional support services, up to and including the ability to pay for a developer to write a fix specifically for your problem in some cases. Not 'add your problem to a long list that may or may not get addressed,' as with some support contracts, but actually and directly modify the software in such a way to get you what you need.

The rest of your post, however, elicits nothing more from me than a sad nod of agreement.
GoodBytes 27th March 2013, 15:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
'Linux' as in the kernel has no official support service beyond the mailing list, bug tracker and IRC channels; Linux as in the operating system (yes, Mr. Stallman, I mean GNU/Linux, please, I'll take questions at the end) has plenty of official support services. That's the entire raison d'etre of companies like Canonical, Red Hat, SuSE and the like: they make money - and in some cases, enough to enjoy a market cap of nearly $10 billion - selling support contracts and other services.
Well obviously. You need to pay people for having the infrastructure to have an official support line, and of course specialized expertise such as Linux OS programmers, to be able to fix issues or customize things, etc. Hence where distro comes along.. my point is that its added cost, which, possibly for OEMs, comes down to about the same price as just buying Windows. Maybe if the demand for Linux was wider and they can offer on more models it would beneficial, but it's not really. At least in their eyes, as it seams. You can see with Dell, trying a few times with Linux but it ends up disappearing and not selling well to keep them up. Now I am not going to debate on execution of making Linux based system available, but all I am saying is that it's not closed doors, even for big OEMs. As another example, I recall HP have some business class system with Linux as an option too, if I am not mistaken, and definitely their POS, and mini/tiny computers they make for businesses runs on Linux. Sure it's not their gaming consumer grade system running Linux, but it's a start, and an opening. You just have to dig a bit.
Gareth Halfacree 27th March 2013, 15:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
my point is that its added cost, which, possibly for OEMs, comes down to about the same price as just buying Windows.
Apologies, but I think I'm misunderstanding what you're getting at, here: an OEM wouldn't need to pay for an enterprise support contract (unless they're using Linux on their own desktops and servers and want support, in which case being an OEM makes no difference.)

Can you explain what you mean in words of one syllable for me, 'cos I'm having a thick day today. ("Just today?" comes the cry from the peanut gallery. Ah, shaddup.)
Corky42 27th March 2013, 15:41 Quote
@GoodBytes, WOW that came out of no where, all i said is M$ isn't a lover of open source, and then apologised after i realised i was thinking of the M$ of 10 odd years ago.

I wasn't expecting to be told that i "really have no idea" or be told how lots of other company's do the same, i know they do but it doesn't make it right.
GoodBytes 27th March 2013, 17:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Apologies, but I think I'm misunderstanding what you're getting at, here: an OEM wouldn't need to pay for an enterprise support contract (unless they're using Linux on their own desktops and servers and want support, in which case being an OEM makes no difference.)
Ah ok I get you.
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