Microsoft Windows 8

On June 1st at the D9 Conference, Microsoft demonstrated the next generation of Windows for the first time. Explained as “a re-imagining of Windows from the chip to the interface” Windows 8 has been built around a new generation of touch-based hardware, which includes small touch screens, but without eliminating larger screens that are used with or without a keyboard and mouse.

windows-8-disk-tools
Disk tools

According to Microsoft, the large scale of hardware choices is becoming more and more important in today’s market and will be central to the evolution of Windows. Windows 8 apps will be able to use a broad set of libraries and controls that are designed for smooth interaction and flawless connectivity. The user interface and apps will work with or without a keyboard and mouse on a broad range of screens and pixel densities.

 

The fundamentals that Microsoft is aiming for with Windows 8 include “a fast on/off experience, responsiveness and a high level of reliability from the start”. Windows 8 will be compatible with all Windows 7 logo PCs, software and peripherals so that movement between the existing Windows programs and new Windows 8 apps is easy.

Users will be able to use an encrypting hard drive to boot Windows 8 and integrate with BitLocker and third-party security apps. Anti-piracy measures are also said to be improved, with little detail explaining exactly how this will work.

windows-8-navigation-pane-options
Navigation pane options

Windows 8 is also set to feature a native PDF reader, which means that PC owners won’t need to install a third party application such as Adobe Reader to views PDFs. The new reader is known as ‘Modern Reader’ and uses the new AppX application package type. This is similar to the reader that is used in Windows Phone 7 and will most likely be used again on Windows Phone 8.

 

In the June demonstration of Windows 8, Microsoft also showcased:

    • The replacement of the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps from a tile based Start screen
    • Live tiles with notifications with up to date information from your apps
    • Fluid, natural switching between running apps
    • Ability to snap and resize an app to the side of the screen, which allows for multitasking using the capabilities of Windows
    • Web-connected and Web-powered apps that are built using HTML5 and JavaScript that have access to the full power of the PC
    • Fully touch-optimised browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10
 

    Windows 8 is due for release in 2012 without an official launch date. Expect to see more Windows 8 related news mid-September at the Professional Developers’ Conference, which is being held by Microsoft in California. Keep checking back for the latest updates and Window 8 rumours.


Equipping your home office – How to get professional printing results at home

Objective:

Provide professional office printing capability in a home office setting

Approach:

Replace multiple devices with the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-All-in-One printer

IT Improvements:
  • Consolidates functions of multiple office devices to a single e-All-in-One to save space, money
  • Provides wireless print capability from throughout the home
  • Enables printing from notebook PC, Apple iPad® and iPhone® with HP ePrint3
Business Benefits:
  • Home office worker produces professional-quality documents
  • Printer cuts costs with up to 50% less cost per page and up to 50% less energy use than comparable laser printers4
  • Wireless, mobile capability supports printing virtually anywhere.3

Home working has been a hot topic on our blog in recent months and we’re always interested to hear what technology people find most useful in their home office. So when HP published a case study titled Executive coach finds HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-All-in-One is perfect fit for his home office it certainly got our attention …

 When John Epperheimer decided to close the majority of his business and simply work from home as a sole proprietor, he was faced with the task of equipping a home office that would keep him as productive as he had been previously— even after giving up his administrative assistant. A key element of his new home office: an HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-All-in-One “The Officejet is a great match for my needs. It replaces four separate devices we had in our old office, and even adds the ability to print wirelessly and from my mobile devices,” Epperheimer says.

 Career transition requires professional home office

 Epperheimer has spent years in the field of career development. What he most enjoys is executive coaching, so he launched his company, Workpath Group, in 1999 to do exactly that. The company specialised in working with San Francisco Bay Area executives. Before he chose to scale back, the company had a core office staff of four full-time employees and some 250 contractors—most of them other executive coaches that Workpath Group placed with major corporations and non-profits.

 But as he approached his mid-60s, Epperheimer decided it was time to pull back. “I’ve always gotten an immense amount of satisfaction from coaching one-on-one. I decided I wanted to focus on that and not have the headache of running the larger business.”

 In making the transition to a home office, Epperheimer needed to be able to match the high-quality professional print output that his corporate clients were accustomed to. He also needed the functionality of other office systems—a copier, fax and scanner. But he didn’t want hardware spread out all over his much smaller home office.

 Full office functionality and then some

 Epperheimer had relied on HP LaserJet printers at Workpath Group before, so it was natural that he turned to HP again. He found the Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-All-in-One is the perfect match to his requirements. It combines all the capabilities of his former office machines, and then some: up to 15 ppm black and 11 ppm colour printing,1 scanning, copying, a 4.3-inch colour touchscreen display, and support for wireless2 and mobile printing from virtually anywhere with HP ePrint.3 It costs up to 50% less to operate per professional colour page compared with laser printers, and uses up to 50% less energy.4This morning, I printed out two assessment reports for face-to-face meetings with executive clients,” he says. “They require full colour and range in size from 27 to 42 pages, so they’re significant documents. And they look very professional; the printing is crisp and the colour is excellent.” Workpath Group uses Original HP Officejet ink cartridges and office papers with ColorLok®™ technology for vivid colour and water-resistant pages.5 Epperheimer moved home from the office, but he’s not home alone. His wife handles Workpath Group’s bookkeeping and some administrative tasks, working from her own space at the other end of the house. She prints to the Officejet Pro e-All-in-One wirelessly.2

 hp-logoEasy to set up, easy to use

 “The wireless capability is great, and surprisingly easy to set up,” Epperheimer says. In fact, he says he simply removed the printer from its box, followed the diagrams and instructions that were included and had it fully operational in a few minutes. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the Officejet Pro is equally easy to use, despite its wide range of capabilities. That’s due, he says, to the intuitive touchscreen display. “The interfaces on our old legacy machines were pretty primitive compared to this. With the Officejet printer, you can just walk up, touch the screen, and it will tell you everything you need to copy, fax or scan.

 The Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-All-in-One also supports HP ePrint for mobile devices to print virtually anywhere.3 HP ePrint supports any mobile device with email capability—from Smartphones to notebook computers and tablets.3 Users simply email a file to the printer, and a hard copy printout will be waiting when the user arrives home. “I’m just learning how valuable ePrint can be for me,” Epperheimer says. “I’ve used it mostly as a reminder service for myself—to remind me of something I want to follow up on, or to be sure to put in a client’s file.” The Officejet Pro also gives Epperheimer the ability to print directly from a USB device or digital camera memory card.

 Fit for an executive

 Epperheimer says since getting his own Officejet Pro printer, he’s noticed that some of his executive clients have them in their corporate offices too. “They all seem very happy with the quality and speed, and like the confidentiality of having the printer and fax machine right in their office.”

Epperheimer was concerned that when he gave up his own office and staff, it would be difficult to maintain his high level of productivity. But the Officejet Pro e-All-in-One is helping him make the most of his workday as a sole proprietor. “The most significant thing I’ve learned is that my productivity will not decrease, which is amazing because I’ve given up some very good administrative support. With the Officejet Pro, I can work in my office or go sit on the couch with my laptop or tablet and still print. It’s like someone at HP knew exactly what I needed.

 If you’ve got any example of a piece of technology that’s made a real impact on your work life (positive or negative) then let us know by leaving a comment below.

1 After first set of ISO test pages For more information, see www.hp.com/go/printerclaims. 2 Wireless performance depends upon physical environment and distance from access point. 3 Requires an Internet connection to the printer. Feature works with any connected Internet- and email-capable device. Print times may vary. For a list of supported documents, and image types, see www.hp.com/go/eprintcenter. And for additional solutions, see www.hp.com/go/mobile-printing-solutions. 4 Majority of colour printers <US $300 and colour laser AiOs <US $600 and printers, March 2011; For details: www.hp.com/go/officejet. OJ Pro ISO yield with highest-capacity cartridges based on continuous printing; see www.hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies. Energy use based on HP testing. For details, see www.hp.com/go/officejet. 5 Not included. Please purchase separately.


LinkedIn re-invents its mobile apps

LinkedIn Mobile AppsLast month, we wrote a post about how social networking on LinkedIn can help give small businesses a boost. Since our last post, LinkedIn has introduced the new iPhone and Android apps, which are faster, easier to use, and introduce a highly requested feature called Groups.

LinkedIn has also revealed an HTML 5-enabled mobile website for touch devices.  The new apps have four key areas which include Updates, Inbox, You and Groups.

Updates: Lets you view a newsfeed of activity from your network. It also allows viewers to check out news from LinkedIn Today, which is the company’s aggregated news portal.

Inbox: This contains all of your messages and LinkedIn requests.

You: Lets you access and update your profile, view your connections and share updates to your network.

Groups: New to LinkedIn’s mobile apps, this feature allows users to access groups and to browse discussions as well as post discussions on different groups.

Is the groups feature something that you think you will find useful?