Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Microsoft Office on iPad?

Yes, it’s true, or so says the rumor, I’m still waiting for the rapture, but that’s another story entirely.  According to The Daily’s Matt Hickey in an article posted on November 29, 2011, and several articles and posts referring to his Matt’s post, Microsoft is working on a version of its popular Office suite for use on the iPad, as well as an updated version of Office for OS X Lion. If rumors are true, Microsoft would release the Mac version at the end of 2012 and the iPad version possibly sooner.

Although, Microsoft has several apps on iPhone and iPad, none would be as useful as MSOffice which have been missing from both devices since their releases.  Realistically, this is an untapped market for Microsoft which could bring huge amounts of additional revenue as MS Office has been the dominating office suite since it toppled WordPerfect. Remember them?  If Microsoft uses the same price point of $9.99 each as Apple does for its office suite for iPad, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, then the software giant could realistically make a killing selling Word, Excel, and Publisher in Apple’s App store.

What does this actually mean? Well for business this puts the powerful MS Office suite on a device that is becoming more popular in offices, schools, and even on the road.  This lack of MS Office has either kept businesses from using the iPad or searching for expensive third-party apps that let you make changes to and save files such as Word or Excel. If Microsoft actually does release MS Office for iPad, this changes everything.  Businesses running a Windows Enterprise environment will have the added power and portability that the iPad tablet offers with the combined productivity and functionality MS Office gives. This could truly be a marriage made in heaven as businesses begin to adopt this technology combination strategy.

Strangely enough, putting MS Office on the iPad could help save Microsoft, especially if Windows 8 fails to perform as hoped.  MS Office has traditionally been Microsoft’s bread winner with the Windows operating system pulling in second in their revenue. Not that Microsoft will fall apart, but a Windows 8 fail could definitely hurt them.  Adding MS Office to the iPad and iPhone would surely raise their revenue.

As a writer and blogger, and for personal use, this would raise my productivity tenfold.  Generally, I’m sitting down at my desktop (yes, I still have one,) or using my laptop, which has become a clumsy big device that I no longer want to carry around anymore.  I love the portability of the iPad and its simplistic ease of use but it’s not efficient to write with.  When I do write on my iPad, each article must be written on a third-party app, transferred via Dropbox, copied into a Word file, proofed, then saved and posted.  Using MS Word and saving directly to my SkyDrive would certainly streamline things a bit.

I’m hoping this rumor is true.  I could see the benefits businesses and personal users would gain from having MS Office on their iPads.  What’s you take on it? Do you use Microsoft Office?  Would you purchase the iPad version?

View Matt Hickey’s article: http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/11/29/112911-tech-news-ms-ipad/

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Earth Alerts 2011

Earth Alerts 2011, the free software that gives you an overall view of the weather events in the world around you.

Several years ago, I was sitting at my desk in the IT department working on some computer issue that I can’t remember anything about when the building began to shake. That I remember.  I turned to my boss and he turned to me.  We stared at each other, coming to the same conclusion.  A large truck must have just hit the building.  We ran to the windows, but saw nothing, no truck, no damage.  Then it occurred to us, earthquake.  After all, we do live in Southern California.

In the next few hours, as the local news stations declare a 4.5+ shaker just south of the California-Mexican border, I am searching the Internet for a software package that can give us info on earthquakes.  What I found was much better.

Earth Alerts; an easy to use, free Windows based software application that gives you information on the weather conditions  and natural hazards around the world or in your neck of the woods, in almost real-time.  In fact, I have received emails from my copy of the Earth Alerts just minutes after I felt the quake. This is not to mention all the other information I get from the software.

How it works, at least basically.  Once installed and running on your computer or server, Earth Alerts checks with various websites and other online resources, collecting information and data on weather conditions and natural events, including  Severe Weather, Tropical Cyclones, Tsunamis, Volcanoes, Wildland Fires, and of course Earthquakes.  After setting up your locations, on the main screen you will have three location overviews, Global, United States, and your local area.  You will also be able to add more locations, both locally and globally.  After your first update, you will start seeing events for each of the overviews. Besides your local weather, other natural hazard events will be available for viewing.

What is really cool is the ability to configure Earth Alerts to send emails and MMS messages, including maps of the locations affected by the event.  You can set the desktop application to message you at different event levels, say you only want to receive emails when earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or larger occur, or Tropical Cyclones of Category 3 or above.  You can have these messages sent to your smart phone and get your updates on the road.

For the messaging feature, you will need to have an SMTP Outgoing Mail Server and a sending email address as a username, though it is not necessary for the desktop application to continue functioning and gather the event data, only for sending messages.  I created an email specifically for this using one of the several my Internet provider allots me and use their SMTP server settings to configure the messaging feature, you can also use a Gmail address and Google’s SMTP ability.   Additionally, I have Earth Alerts installed on my server, which runs 24/7, so I never have any down time and never miss an alert.  Also, I have created a Windows Live Groups email so that anyone in the group can receive the alerts, as you can only configure the software to send to one email address.  Google also has the ability to create groups as well. The only drawback that I’ve found is the software does not work behind a proxy and needs to have direct access to the Internet.

Unfortunately, this software does not give you advanced warning to earthquakes, only Mother Nature has that information, but it does give you advanced watches, warnings, and advisories with other natural hazard events, allowing you to monitor the situation of storms, tornados, and tsunamis which makes it a very useful tool in your toolbox.

Earth Alerts is Freeware, however, I urge you to donate to the creator if you find it as wonderful a program and asset as I do.  Download your copy and find the system requirements at the link below.

http://earthalerts.manyjourneys.com/

Also, check out the Google Maps version of Earth Alerts.  It’s very cool.

http://earthalerts.manyjourneys.com/web/

Posted November 18, 2011 by Scott in Software

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