microsoft

MS Office 15: Public Beta is Coming this Summer, Will Include Updated Cloud Apps

Microsoft today announced that it has started a private “technical preview” of the latest version of its flagship Microsoft Office 15 productivity suite. Currently, this preview version is tested by a number of Microsoft customers under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Despite the NDA, though, chances are we will soon see screenshots and other information about…

Opinion

Want to Join Our Private Beta? Pay Up

A small but growing group of startups now makes its beta testers pay to join their private betas. “Paid beta” used to be a derogatory term for software that was shipped too early and with too many bugs. Now, however, companies like Mightybell and Cabana have decided to use small payments as a way to keep their beta programs small and focused.

Featured

Browser Version Numbers Are Now Irrelevant – And That’s a Good Thing

Mozilla is getting ready to officially launch Firefox 6 tomorrow. That’s less than two months after the release of Firefox 5 and not even half a year since the launch of Firefox 4. Indeed, there is now some talk in the Firefox community to get rid of version numbersin the user interface altogether. That’s not a bad idea. Users really shouldn’t have to worry about which version of a given browser they are running and those version numbers have now become mostly irrelevant anyway.

Apple

iOS 5 Beta: So Widely Available Already, Users Leave Negative iTunes Reviews When Apps Crash

The first beta version of iOS 5 has only been out for about a week, but it’s already clear that no other pre-release version of iOS has ever seen a wider release than this one. It’s hard to pinpoint why this is the case, but there are clearly enough users who either paid $99 per year to become part of Apple’s developer program or who paid a rogue activation service a few dollars to get access to the beta that way. As iOS developer Malcom Barclay notes, this wide release has some interesting consequences for developers: some users are now leaving negative iTunes reviews for apps that don’t work on iOS 5 yet.

Browsers

New Firefox Beta Makes Opting Out of Ad Tracking Easy (Once Advertisers Actually Support It)

The latest beta version of Firefox 4 introduces lots of bug fixes and other improvements, but most importantly, it introduces Mozilla’s new opt-out mechanism for ad tracking. What this feature does is add a message to the messages your browser send to the web server when it requests pages that lets the server know that users do not want to be tracked.