Microsoft Docs.com

Docs.com is a new offering from Microsoft that is pretty much Office in a web browser. Based on the little play I’ve had the service is fast, snappy and if you’ve had chance to try the Office 2010 beta of the windows app it’s very easy to use.

Surprisingly uses Facebook to login instead of Microsoft own Windows Live ID but this does offer tight integration allowing me to add people I know to collaborate or view a document I’m working on with very little effort.

The clean interface is not only easy to use for current Microsoft Office users but an effortless transition for those who have been using the 2010 beta. It does however lack a few basic features including image alignment, merge table cells and clip art as far as I can tell just search Bing Images. I do however like the way it auto corrects words like the desktop app and the easy to use table creation and edit a tools although formatting the table with heading and colours is yet possible.

So far I haven’t had a chance to look at the collaboration tools but based on what I’ve seen of the core application I have high expectations for them.

I fact this might tempt me away from Apple’s iWork package to Microsoft’s Office for Mac 2011 and swap Google Docs for collaboration. It does however miss a few things I come accustom to in both Apple Pages and Google Docs, Save as PDF I send most of the documents I write in PDF to people for approval or reference. Very little of what I write has a need to be printed. The PDF format is supported almost everywhere, mobile phones, Kindle, computers and more, making it a near perfect solution for my needs.

It does still course problems when copying and pasting out of the app where it will include double spacing on paragraphs and generate some really messy HTML when copying to a web page, like in my case writing this post. I wrote a big part of this on Docs.com and when it come time to copy to WordPress I got double spaces and messy HTML forcing me to use the paste from Word Tools.

Now the service is still in closed beta and there are a few bugs like printing from the web app seemed to do nothing for me and changing the spell checkers language to English (U.K.) doesn’t do much ether. It can also be a bit slow at loading certain parts such as the reading view but as I said it is a beta and I’m sure Microsoft will iron these out in time.

Unfortunately to get access you have to wait in tern or ask a friend with access to invite you to edit a document (not tested).

Microsoft @ E3 2009 Roundup

Yesterday Microsoft held their E3 ’09 press conference which was full of new “blockbuster” games with no sales figures and charts. Here is my quick run down of what they announced:

  • Paul McCartney and Ringo came out to introduce Rock Band: The Beatles
  • Tony Hawk came to show us his new game Ride with a new board controller
  • The new Left 4 Dead 2 has more zombies and chainsaws
  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 was demoed – great graphics, 2 new map packs will on Xbox Live first and its out 10 November
  • We were treated to a world’s first look at Final Fantasy 13
  • The latest Splitter Cell game, Splinter Cell Conviction, will be out in Autumn
  • Forza Motorsport 3 with some beautiful graphics running at 60fps will land in October
  • Halo ODST, out 26 September
  • We got a look at Halo Reach touching down in Autumn 2010
  • Last.fm, Facebook and Twitter are coming to Xbox Live in the fall update. You will be able to post screenshots and text to Facebook in real time with Facebook Connect
  • You can now add to your Netflix queue without a PC and just press play to watch anything
  • Zune video is coming to the 360 with instant play (streaming) full 1080p HD movies and TV shows and in more countries, again in Autumn
  • Live Party allows you to watch movies and TV shows together from around world
  • Metal Gear Solid is coming to the 360. Metal Gear Solid Rising is currently under development for the system
  • A new motion controller were you are the controller. Watch the demo. The BBC explain it better then I can.

Microsoft Stores

microsoft-logoMicrosoft are planing to follow Apple into the retail stores space. This got some people thinking of the differences between the two:

  1. The stores will have brushed steel walls dotted with holes — reminiscent of Windows security
  2. The store will have six different entrances — Starter, Basic, Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate
  3. Excuse Bar (instead of Apple’s Genius Bar) staff with training in the art of evading questions
  4.  Store hours are undetermined — at any given time the store mysteriously shuts down
  5. Sales staff will ask you whether you’re positive you want to purchase something — fashioned after User Account Control
  6. Emergency exits will be unlocked at all times so people can get in anytime they want even if the front doors are locked

There are more differences in PC World’s list.

Windows Live Essentials

windowslivelogo-thumb.jpgDuring CES ’09 Microsoft announced in their somewhat boring keynote that Windows Live Essentials will be available for everyone in its final version.

The Essentials suit is the desktop applications from Windows Live:

  • Messenger
  • Mail
  • Photo gallery
  • Toolbar
  • Family Safety
  • Writer
  • Movie Maker

These are available for download now and you can see what I thought of the beta here.

Windows 7 Screen Shot Gallery

Yesterday I got my hands on the Windows 7 beta and decided to post some screens. The build I have (7000) is very stable and almost good enough to run on my main computer but I be leaving Vista on that until the final version is out.