Microsoft Office for iPad

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IMG 0009After months, some might say years, of will they, won’t they, this week Microsoft finally released Microsoft Office for the iPad.

It’s only been out for a few days and it’s no surprise that you’ll find Word, Excel and Powerpoint already amongst the top 20 apps on the App Store.

What is surprising is the pricing for each of these apps – they’re FREE, but wait, there’s a catch. Although the apps are free to download if you want to do any work – creating and editing files, you will need to purchase a yearly subscription to Microsoft’s Office 365 service otherwise all you can do with these apps is open and view a file. Without this subscription these apps are pretty useless and only take up space on your iPad.

The most basic subscription that Microsoft currently offers is Office 365 Home Premium that will work with Office for iPad. This subscription costs $9.99 per month ($99 per year) and offers the user the ability to install Microsoft Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs and on to 5 tablets, you’re also provided with 20 GB of disk space on Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

This might be overkill for someone like me only needs a copy of Office on my Mac and iPad, fortunately Microsoft has announced a cheaper subscription that meets my criteria and will be available later this Spring, the only downside – it’s $69.99 per year, only $30 cheaper than Home Premium.

IMG 0011This boggles my mind when you use some basic mathematics to work out a cost of about $20 per device if you are purchase the Home Premium package. I think if Microsoft priced this new personal package at a more reasonable price of around $15-25 would the perfect price range for users like me.

Throw in the fact that Microsoft is a new challenger in this space on the iPad and that their competitors, Apple1 and Google2, already offer a great productivity suite on the iPad with free apps and at least 5 GB of free disk space on their cloud storage service and reasonable prices for upgrading the amount of storage3, Microsoft has their work cut out for them.

Although Microsoft’s regular subscriptions will suffice for enterprise customers for Microsoft to be successful with regular customers they’re going to have to price their subscriptions a little more competitively if they want Office to be a success on the iPad. In the meantime I think I’ll stick to using Pages and Numbers on my iPad.

 

  1. iWorks is free for new customers that purchase new Macs or iOS devices after September 2013 []
  2. Google Docs is free to use in a browser or using their QuickOffice productivity suite []
  3. Apple charges $40 for 20 GB, Google charges $2 for 100 GB []

PlayStation Now

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Sony announces PlayStation Now at Consumer Electronics Show

Earlier this week Sony finally announced the result of their 2012 purchase of streaming video game company Gaikai in the form of PlayStation Now1.

PlayStation Now will allow you to:

  • Play video games instantly across multiple devices, similar to the way you might stream TV, movies, and music.
  • Stream full games to all of your compatible PlayStation devices including PS4, PS3, and PlayStation Vita as well as non-PlayStation devices, beginning with 2014 BRAVIA TV models and expanding to numerous other Internet-connected devices2.
  • Always play the most updated version of your game. With games hosted in the cloud, you can take your game with you – just log in with your Sony Entertainment Network account on a compatible device and your games and saved progress will be easily available.

This service has all the signs of becoming a game changer for Sony. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that this could be the one thing that will leave the X-Box One in the PlayStation’s dust. Continue reading

  1. At the time when Gaikai was purchased there was some skepticism as to why Sony bought Gaikai as opposed to competitor OnLive, which was the more popular streaming service at the time. It seems now, in retrospect, that Sony made the right decision as OnLive ended up going through financial difficulties only a month after Gaikai was bought by Sony. []
  2. Although PlayStation Now’s implementation on tablets and smartphones is a long way off I also wonder how they’ll manage to deal with non-Sony tablets which don’t support the Dual Shock controller (a requirement to use PlayStation Now on smartphones and tablets) without requiring people to jailbreak their device. []

Blue Comet SPT Layzner: High expections not met

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SPT Layzner

Have you ever watched something that started off great with a really interesting premise only for it to totally jump the shark later? In a nutshell that’s what happened to me recently when I finished watching Blue Comet SPT Layzner, an early 80’s mecha animé produced by Sunrise, the studio behind the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise and other popular mecha/robot shows.

SPT Layzner1 starts off as a story in which the Cold War never ended and has expanded out into space with the development of long-range space travel and military bases on the Moon and Mars. The relationship between the United States and Soviet Union is as fragile as ever with tensions running high.

In this scenario we are introduced to a group of students that are part of the Cosmic Culture Club who have arrived at the United Nations Mars base as a part of a exchange program to promote peace and understanding. 

Continue reading

  1. created by Ryosuke Takahashi who is also known for his work on Armored Trooper Votoms, Blue Gender and Gasaraki – also funny enough he shares the same name as one of my favourite characters in Initial D []

Ubuntu Phone 1.0 – Ready or not?

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Ubuntu at home on your smartphone

Ubuntu has hit a major milestone with the release of Ubuntu Touch 1.0, the software that Ubuntu’s financial backer Canonical Ltd. expects will power smartphones in the coming year.

To call this release stable is a bit misleading considering the greeting on the Ubuntu Touch website – For developers and industry partners only. After using it for a few days I can definitely agree with this statement – Ubuntu Touch is not ready to replace your iPhone or Android, at least not yet. Continue reading

My Thoughts on Windows 8

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Surface rtI’ve been overseas for a while now, but luckily I’ve had the opportunity to go back home to Canada back in January. While back home I got the chance to play around with Windows 8 on my cousin’s PC and Windows RT on the Surface, Microsoft’s answer to the iPad and Android tablets.

Although I got to play around with Windows 8 in a pre-release form on PC last year this was the first time I got to play around with the finished product. I came away impressed with quite a few things, especially the design of Windows 8′s tile-based interface, previously known as Metro – for lack of a better this is the name I’ll use to refer to the tile-based interface of Windows 8. Continue reading

Wreck it Ralph

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The times are changing over at Disney these days. Ever since Disney acquired Pixar in 2006 it looks more and more like it the Pixar way is the way to go moving forward for Disney’s animated movies.

Wreckitralph 01I recently got the chance to watch Disney’s latest hit animated film, Wreck It Ralph, which recently came out on DVD and Blu Ray, which is quite possibly the best Disney movie I’ve seen in years.

This film is a perfect example of a film that feels like it was created by Pixar – from the premise of video game characters coming alive like the toys in Toy Story right down to the animation style. You don’t have to go far to notice the subliminal message of this film – of change, hope and empowerment – that has been the hallmark of other Pixar films like Up or Wall E.

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Ubuntu for Everything

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Ubuntu tablet 01Imagine my surprise when I saw the news that Ubuntu was moving into the tablet market with their own operating system. It wasn’t too long ago that Canonical, Ubuntu’s main financial arm, announced they were going to enter the crowded smartphone market to challenge iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and other Linux-based smartphone operating systems (OS) on the horizon (Tizen, Firefox OS). Continue reading

Removing duplicates from Finder’s Open With menu

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Fixing that issue with Finder’s Open With command that lists duplicates

This is the problem: You want to open a file using something other than the default application. You right-click its icon in the Finder, choose Open With, and a submenu pops up with an absurd number of duplicate entries…. But if, like me, you’ve been living with this problem for a while and don’t want to ever have to go searching for the solution again, here’s a little something you can add to your .bashrc:

  • Open up the Terminal application (use Spotlight if you cannot find it)
  • Type: 

    # Quick way to rebuild the Launch Services database and get rid
    # of duplicates in the Open With submenu.
    alias fixopenwith=’/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user’

  • Press enter to save this alias and then enter: fixopenwith
  • Once fixopenwith has been run you’re done. You can go the extra step by entering killall Finder but it might not be necessary (at least on Mountain Lion). 
  • You can close the Terminal

I’ve noticed this issue for a while now and although it didn’t bug me enough to research a fix for it I am glad I came across a solution initially from TUAW and later at LeanCrew.COM via a post on Daring Fireball. The nice thing with this fix is that I now have an alias I can simply enter into Terminal to remove duplicates.

Windows 8 – Four steps forward, two steps back

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I started to play around with Windows 8 this weekend and I came away liking what I saw, namely the Metro UI, Microsoft’s latest attempt at breathing new life into Windows.

The Metro UI is inspired by the tile-like interface that Microsoft introduced for Windows Phone 7 a few years ago. This interface is very fresh and unique approach to user interfaces that doesn’t simply ape what Microsoft’s competitors are doing.
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