A Sneak Peek Raises Unknowns About Office 15

Microsoft Office 15 ribbon
Much buzz around the next major release of Windows has centered around the controversial ribbon interface for Windows Explorer. However, no ribbon appeared in a sneak preview of Office 15--World, Excel, PowerPoint--that Microsoft gave this week in a video about developing Windows On ARM (WOA).

The examples shown were early desktop versions of Office 15--not in the style of the Metro interface that appears in Windows 8--which may explain the absence of the contentious ribbon design, and provide a hint of what to expect in the next productivity suite.

Microsoft is heavily stressing a few things here--mostly that WOA is heavily integrated with the hardware it will be available on--meaning tablets, currently in development by NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and TI. Also, much of it will work exactly the same from tablet to desktop, with the photos, calendar, mail and contacts functions all performing identically across hardware formats.

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Five Ways Windows 8 Will Make Apps More Power-Friendly

Windows 8 power saving
With the Windows 8 consumer preview rumored to be announced Feb. 29, Microsoft has given much thought into optimizing it to run well not just on desktops and laptops, but also on tablets and even smartphones. Part of making an operating system friendly for mobile devices is making it power-conscious, able to do everything you want while using as little power as possible.

Earlier this week, Microsoft's Building Windows 8 blog detailed how Windows 8 will accomplish this. Here are five ways the OS is being optimized so your apps use less power and you can get more work done.

1. Background Apps

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Chrome 18 Beta Pumps Up Graphics, Even on Old PCs

Between the official rollout of Chrome 17 and the launch of Chrome for Android, it's already been a busy week for Google's popular Web browser.

On Thursday, however, Chrome reached yet another milestone with the release of the beta version of Chrome 18, which appears to be particularly notable for the graphics improvements it enables.

“Every day the web becomes more powerful, allowing developers to create the next generation of beautiful, immersive experiences online,” wrote Associate Product Manager Tom Wiltzius in a Thursday post on the Google Chrome blog. “In our latest Chrome Beta release, we’ve made a few enhancements to ensure users have a smooth ride in these graphics-intensive applications.”

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Google Leads Green IT Ranking

Google's motto of “Do No Evil” apparently extends to its environmental policies, as the company grabbed the top spot on Greenpeace's Cool IT Leaderboard ranking for overall green practices. Google climbed to the No. 1 position for the first time, ranking high due to recent disclosure of its carbon footprint as well as its investment in utility projects such as a large-scale solar project near Sacramento.

Other reasons it made the top of the list include the RechargeIT.org project, which Google designed to demonstrate the technology used in plug-in electric vehicles and to accelerate their adoption. Its other actions include increasing its renewable energy purchasing and creating a subsidiary called Google Energy.

Greenpeace's latest ranking of tech companies green IT efforts
Greenpeace's Cool IT Leaderboard ranks major information and communication technology companies on the quantity and strength of their green practices, primarily energy solutions--with the fifth, most recent version just released.

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Take a Closer Look at Google Business Photos

If you want potential customers to get a 360-degree, panoramic view of your brick-and-mortar business when they click on any of your listings in Google, its new Business Photos campaign makes its listings for business more interactive. To that end, the search giant is pairing its own certified "Trusted Photographers" with businesses that want to show off their interiors to the public.

While including these photos in your Google Maps listing and Google Places page is extremely helpful for someone wanting to find out more about your business, it will really matter in your search engine results. When someone does a search and your listing comes up first, Google pinpoints the business on a map, offers its existing street view photo, and gives the option to look inside the business if interior pictures exist.

Interior photos appear next to a company's Google listing.
Hiring a Trusted Photographer

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When 'Viagra' Comments on Your Blog, and Other Spam Red Flags

Comment spam, or spamblogs, litter the blogosphere.
Comment spam, also known as blogspam, has existed since the dawn of blogs. It's created for one purpose: to insert a link on your site back to the commenter’s website. Comment spammers are getting craftier at the game. Comment spam was a much larger problem for bloggers in the nascent days of blogging before improved spam blockers, when you could easily spend 10 minutes a day moderating a blog. Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, actually created a spam blocker for WordPress called Akismet in 2005, partially so his mom wouldn’t be assaulted by Viagra ads while writing her blog.

Today, spam blockers do a good job of nabbing most spam, but link builders still employ underhanded tricks to get their comments onto your blog, usually hiring people to do the deed since bots are usually stopped by the spam blockers. Many business owners and employees are unfamiliar with comment spam; they happily approve spam all the time, and who can blame them? They just don’t know. Here are a few ways to tell if that comment is spam or from a real person, and eight tips for reducing it on your website.

1. Spam Can Outnumber Legit Comments

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Want to Build an App? Consider These 7 Points First

Smartphones and tablets are dominating technology, and apps are among the top selling points for each mobile OS. With Apple’s and Google’s app stores each having over 500,000 apps and tens of billions of downloads, the desire to be a part of this growing market is strong. Apps can be useful for internal use by your company, or as a way to collaborate with clients, vendors, customers, and the public. Before deciding to develop an app for your business, though, take these considerations into account.

1. Compatibility

Want to Build an App? Consider These 7 Points First
When developing an app for internal use, can your existing systems interface with an app? Do they offer APIs or import/export functions that an app can use to get data in and out? Many systems, especially those developed in-house, may not offer a way to interface with an app, requiring a move to a different system to communicate with mobile devices.

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