Apple has today launched a beta of the new iTunes version 10.3 which, above all, includes the new iCloud functionality (or at least some of it).
You can grab your hands on the new version via this link. It’s available for Mac and Windows (32 and 64 bit). The download (at the time of writing) is running horribly slowly (currently getting about 30kb/s on the 77MB download) – but I’m guessing that’s down to demand and should return to normal sometime later this evening.
I’ll post up the good news when I’ve got it going!
I’ve been testing Office 2010 for quite a while now, as I was part of the Technical Preview which Microsoft launched a little while ago. Now they’ve closed up the Technical Preview and replaced it with the Beta, which is now publically available for all to download and try out. I’m not entirely sure if Microsoft are limiting the amount of downloads, but if you want to be safe I suggest you download it now and give it a try.
Anyway, it goes without saying that Office 2010 is a huge improvement on Microsoft’s last attempt on an office suite – Office 2007. I’ve hated 2007 from the start. I thought the interface was clunky, confusing and time consuming. It was difficult to use, and anyone who was used to the simple menus of Office 2003 would have to learn how to use the programs all over again, from scratch. It’s like a car company saying we’ve made a new car, but to use it you’ll have to learn to drive all over again.
However, Microsoft have finally made a practical use of the futuristic design. The new menu bar is still there, but it is now usable. Here’s a little screenie…
Yes, it does take a little getting used to, but the basics are so much easier to access. All your common features are reachable at your fingertips.
I have to say that I like it. However, I don’t think this will be the case for everyone. I think it’s quite comparable to a car. If the car has a dashboard that looks like a small section of mission control, it becomes irritating and pointless. It’s the same for Office in that respect. If you’re typing out a document and you can’t find a feature hidden away in some submenu it is irritating and pointless – it’s exactly the same. I think Microsoft needs to think about this before launching a final version next year. I think they should maybe think about a “classic” mode, where people can use an interface which is comparable to older versions of Office.
Overall, I think it’s good and will prove successful. On the other hand, Microsoft needs to think about older users who are used to Office 2003 or even older versions. I think it’s really important that Microsoft holds on to it’s long term customers – letting them creep away now could be critical.
If you are still running the Windows 7 Beta and haven’t bothered to update to the release candidate, you’re about to hit the bi-hourly shutdowns.
Starting July 1st, Windows 7 Beta users will start getting bi-hourly shutdowns, meaning that your computer will automatically be shut down every 2 hours.
If you want to avoid the Windows 7 Beta bi-hourly shutdowns, you’ll need to upgrade to the Release Candidate for free. You can download it from here for free until August 15th so make sure you upgrade if you want to continue using Windows 7.
WordPress recently released WordPress 2.8 Beta, which has some interesting new features which will come in handy.
As usual I’ve tested it out, and here are the highlights:
New theme installer
This new theme installer now means that WordPress can install themes you find on the WordPress Theme Directory straight to your theme directory without the need of FTP or manual file copying. It’s very similar to the automatic plugin installation system that was implemented in WordPress 2.7. However, it is more advanced and allows the user to select certain filters to make searching easier. This will definitely be a nifty little feature to look forward to.
The widget handling system has been improved, with a much better click and drag interface which is much simpler to use than the previous widget handling system.
Those are the two things I find most useful. Other than that, I can’t find anything else that I would find outstanding.
WordPress has posted a Codex page with information that corresponds to the WordPress 2.8 Beta, so if you’d like a full changelog please click here.
Try it out and see what you think. I haven’t found any major bugs, but I’d recommend you don’t install it on your main blog/site. If you can, create a test blog for WordPress 2.8 beta and wait for the final release before installing it on your main blog/site.
The Firefox 3.1 beta is now out and ready to be downloaded at http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all-beta.html for anyone who wants it. It’s supposedly the last beta before they change the version number to 3.5, as I mentioned in a previous blog post.
I personally won’t be downloading it any time soon as I’m going to probably wait either for the 3.5 beta or the final 3.5 release. I think the next Firefox release is definitely something to look forward to with lots of new features, so the news will be here on GEEK! as soon as it comes.