Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Microsoft updates Live Hotmail and Maps

On Monday, Microsoft updated two of its Live services: Windows Live Hotmail and Live Maps. Of the two, the changes to Hotmail are not yet available to everyone. The company began rolling it out to some of its users this weekend, with everyone else getting their hands on it in the next few weeks. It's the newer, faster version of the service that brings in gains of up to 70 percent compared with older versions of Hotmail. (Read more about that here.)

Meanwhile, Live Search Maps, Microsoft's online mapping tool has a really neat new way to get directions using local landmarks and local businesses. If the service picks up on one of these landmarks as part of your route, it will use it in addition to the street name. Oftentimes this comes in handy where a business has better signage than the city, which in the case of car dealerships and fast food restaurants is almost always true.

Click to enlarge

(Credit: CNET Networks)

Chris Pendleton, Microsoft Virtual Earth's Tech Evangelist, says these landmarks are currently limited to these six categories:

  • Gas Stations
  • Major National Chains of Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Convenience Stores
  • Grocery Stores
  • Car Dealerships

To help get you there, there's a new multistop trip planner--a feature Google Maps has had since late 2006. This means you can add other addresses between the point A and point B of your trip, then print it out to stick in your car.

The service is also now instantly indexing community maps. Maps that users have created will now be able to be searched by everyone immediately. The user-created items will also be mixed in with business results, which means you or someone else could enter in a business' address and phone number before it's been officially added and have it show up in regular searches. Neat.

IBM releasing iNotes for iPhone

IBM has released a way to get Lotus Notes e-mail on your iPhone that stops short of full support, but gets the job done.

IBM's iNotes Ultralite (no trademark fight necessary) will be formally released Tuesday for Notes administrators and iPhone users. The software is a Web application that allows you to access Notes mail through the Safari mobile browser on the iPhone. Administrators need to install IBM Lotus Domino Web Access 8.0.2 in order to make the whole thing work.

One of the more popular additions to the iPhone 3G was the support for Microsoft's Exchange technology, which allows you to get your corporate Exchange e-mail on the iPhone's Mail client. IBM and Apple haven't inked a deal to do the same thing for Notes as of yet, but an IBM representative said the two companies are working to bring the Lotus Notes Traveler software to the iPhone.

iNotes Ultralite is a free download from IBM

WAN Optimization

Organizations are realizing that increasing bandwidth capacity is not necessarily the most effective solution for dealing with issues with application performance over the wide area network, write Aberdeen's Bojan Simic and Andrew Stamer. Companies are looking to significantly increase their spending on WAN optimization and application delivery solutions over the next 12 months.

The importance of creating synergies between the deliverance of business-critical data over the wide area network (WAN) to support World Class Managed Hosting from PEER 1, Just $299. Click here. remote employees is increasingly important to business because more than half of the total workforce works outside the corporate headquarters' structure.

According to Aberdeen's February 2008 Benchmark report, "The Roadmap to the Next generation Branch Office Networks," the number of end-user organizations expect the number to increase by 7 percent by the end of 2008.

These increases in remote employees, coupled with the fact that a survey of over 170 organizations between July and August 2008 revealed that 62 percent of the servers and 65 percent of enterprise applications have been centralized, shows the need to optimize these network systems. Aberdeen's research has also found that the need to centralize and consolidate data storage stems from an organization's average savings of 11 percent in operational costs.

Ballooning Bandwidth

As shown, corporate data is becoming increasingly centralized, and workforces are becoming increasingly remote, which is causing organizations to find a cost effective way to seamlessly deliver corporate data to their remote employees. Because of this duality, organizations are expecting bandwidth capacity to increase by an average of 108 percent over the next 12 months.

This increase is a must because, as one network architect from a financial services company put it, "Once you combine voice, video and data on the same network, the bandwidth consumption will explode. You need to have the right set of tools in place to ensure that your network will be able to handle that."

Organizations are increasingly concerned about delivering rich content (video, Web 2.0, Java Latest News about Java, etc.) to their remote employees, as these applications could drive significant increases in bandwidth consumption and cause issues with application protocols.

In order to distinguish the path of least resistance toward WAN optimization, Aberdeen used criteria to distinguish between Best-in-Class and all others with three key performance indicators: Average improvement in bandwidth use, average improvements in application response times, and average decreases in WAN latency.

Best-in-Class organizations, on average, showed a 79 percent improvement in bandwidth utilization, improved average response times for business critical applications by 12.5 times, and had a 38 percent decrease in WAN latency.

Most companies that fell into the Best-in-Class category shared several common characteristics. They were three times more likely to have formal communication channels between application development and systems and network management teams when compared to Laggards. They were also nearly three times more likely to have the ability to identify application performance bottlenecks when compared to counterparts in the lower 30 percent. They were nearly six times more likely to have the ability to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of bandwidth upgrades.

The Impact of WAN Optimization Initiatives

Aberdeen's June 2008 Benchmark Report, "Application Performance Management: The Lifecycle Approach Brings IT and Business Together," reveals that 72 percent of network-related issues with application performance involve delivering corporate data over the WAN. Additionally, Aberdeen's Benchmark Report from October of 2007, "Optimizing WAN for Application Acceleration," revealed that 47 percent of organizations that conducted bandwidth updates of their WANs experienced no improvements in application performance.

Organizations are realizing that increasing bandwidth capacity is not necessarily the most effective solution for dealing with issues with application performance over the WAN, and they are looking to significantly increase their spending on WAN optimization and application delivery solutions over the next 12 months.

Aberdeen's research shows that the top pressures driving the adoption of WAN optimization and application delivery solutions are the following:

  • Centralization of business-critical data and applications (59 percent of all survey respondents)
  • The need to optimize employee productivity (37 percent)
  • The need to decrease cost of data communications (30 percent)

Figure 1 shows that interdependencies between applications on the network and applications, and the network itself, are the top obstacles for delivering corporate data over the WAN.

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(click on image to enlarge)

The Importance of Building a Business Case

Aberdeen's June 2008 Benchmark Report, "Application Performance: The Lifecycle Approach Brings IT and Business Together," found that issues with application performance could impact overall revenues by up to 9 percent.

While organizations could experience significant business benefits from infrastructure projects such as data center consolidation, server virtualization and VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) deployments, it should be noted these initiatives could pose some additional challenges for delivering corporate data to remote users because of the inability to create a business case, as revealed in Aberdeen's February 2008 Benchmark Report, The Roadmap to the Next Generation Branch Office Networks. In order to create a business case for WAN optimization initiatives, organizations need to assess the impact of performance issues on their business processes.

"With respect to network performance and troubleshooting, I would recommend the selection of one of the tools that provides visibility of traffic by protocol and by well known application," said a network manager for a professional services company as part of the Aberdeen survey. "The best tool is one that will graphically indicate transaction times divided into network time, platform (server) time, and application time. If such a tool is adopted by the support teams responsible for these different areas, incident and problem related downtime can be reduced. Such tools are, of course, expensive. A business case needs to be built."

Virtualization Projects Increasingly Impact Application Performance

Organizations are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact that VoIP deployments, virtualization, data center consolidation and business continuity and disaster recovery initiatives are having on performance of their WAN. As compared to what was reported in 2007, organizations are still seeing VoIP deployments as the top concern in ensuring optimal performance of other business-critical applications over the WAN. With VoIP being bandwidth-intensive and time-sensitive technology, these deployments are causing additional challenges with prioritizing network traffic and effectively assigning classes-of-service to other applications that are running on the network.

Additionally, Aberdeen's research shows a 75 percent increase in number of organizations that are concerned about the impact of server and desktop virtualization projects on the performance of their business-critical applications. This increase that occurred over the period of 11 months also shows that some of the WAN optimization and application delivery solutions that organizations are currently using are not effectively addressing this issue, and organizations are looking to deploy solutions that would include features and functionalities that would be specific to optimizing application performance while conducting virtualization projects.

Aberdeen's June 2008 Benchmark Report, "Application Performance Management, The Lifecycle Approach Brings IT and Business Together," found that organizations could lose up to US$117 million due to issues with application performance. The report also revealed that 72 percent of network-related issues involve delivering corporate data over the WAN.

Quantifying Application Performance Issues on Business Goals

Organizations are realizing that issues with application performance have a strong impact on key business processes, but the majority of organizations find it difficult to quantify that impact and include in their ROI calculations when making purchasing decisions about solutions for optimizing application delivery over the WAN.

The good news is that more than a half of end-users in Aberdeen's survey reported they are taking actions to evaluate the impact of application performance issues on business goals. In order to effectively complete that task, organizations needs to develop a set of capabilities to maximize utilization of their network and business resources.

(click on image to enlarge)
As shown in Table 1, Best-in-Class organizations are more likely to invest in solutions for WAN optimization and application delivery, while Industry Average and Laggard organizations are investing more in increasing bandwidth capacity. Additionally, Best-in-Class organizations are more likely to be investing in services for WAN optimization and application delivery, whereas 84 percent of technology investments for all other organizations are being directed to hardware and software purchases.

Best-in-Class organizations were able to improve application response times by more than 11 times as compared to 13 percent average improvement for Laggard organizations. The ability to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of bandwidth upgrades allowed Best-in-Class organizations to select the right approach when optimizing application performance over the WAN.

As a result, these organizations were able to outperform their peers around achieving their common goals while spending slightly less on WAN optimization and application delivery solutions and bandwidth services.

Dev Pros to Get Rough Cut of Windows 7

Contrary to rumor, Microsoft will indeed give developers the alpha version of Windows 7 at next month's developers conference, the company confirmed. Microsoft usually slips devs primitive copies of in-the-works operating systems to give them a heads-up on what to expect, what to work on, and how to take advantage of new features.

Developers attending Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Latest News about Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, set for Oct. 27 through 30 in Los Angeles, will leave with an alpha version of the software maker's upcoming Windows 7 operating system (OS), the company confirmed Wednesday.

Microsoft has historically offered up early versions of upcoming OSes to developers. However, this recent promise dispels rumors that Redmond was planning to skip its traditional alpha release due to timing issues in developing Windows 7.

"This is common. It would have been a bigger deal if they had not given the people attending PDC the code," said Michael Cherry, lead analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

The rumor, Cherry told TechNewsWorld, stated "that [Microsoft] was not going to release it. Had they not, it would be taken as a sign that they were behind on their development plans. [Microsoft] can't win. If they give people code at PDC, then everyone will evaluate it and start to comment on what they think Windows 7 will be. If they don't give code, everyone will assume they cannot get it shipped. So they're in a no-win situation. In this front, it is hard to be Microsoft."

Discovery Zone

Developers heading to PDC next month now know they will be able to take a rough version of the next Windows OS for a test drive. However, Microsoft has divulged few details about what it plans to show off to developers, save that they will "see advances across the full range of Windows -- including the kernel, networking, hardware and devices, and user interface."

However, once they have the pre-beta code in hand, developers will have a wealth of information they will use to decide whether and how to optimize their software to function with Windows 7.

"Developers are just eager to see what things Microsoft is changing, but will wait for a more stable build before they begin their work. Others will be looking to see what this means in terms of what they can do with their applications -- and whether to try and exploit Windows 7 with their applications," Cherry explained.

Specifically, developers expect performance World Class Managed Hosting from PEER 1, Just $299. Click here. improvements to the .NET framework and more Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) controls, said Jeffrey Hammond, a Forrester Research analyst.

"I think support for new interaction model interests developers, and then specifically for ISV developers, there's interest in being able to continue to take full advantage of frameworks like DirectX," he told TechNewsWorld.

With the Windows 7 alpha code released, Microsoft hopes to receive feedback from developers on the OS.

"The more feedback they can get early in the process, the better. By the time you get to formal beta, it's often pretty hard for software development shops to make real substantive changes -- the feedback period becomes more about fixing defects and taking input for the next release planning cycle," Hammond pointed out.

Something to Work With

Software developers are not looking for Microsoft to make a host of changes with Windows 7 but are interested in what their programs can take advantage of. Given Vista's well-reported compatibility issues, they will definitely be looking to see that Microsoft has remedied the problem in Windows 7, Cherry said.

"Developers are looking to have their applications run wherever there are the most places for them to run. So right now, if your application runs on Windows XP and probably runs OK on Vista, you're probably covering the largest set of places where an application can run," Cherry noted.

What developers want is for Vista, and then Windows 7, to really take off -- and pull their applications, designed to take advantage of the operating system's features, with it, Cherry said. They want to know whether it will be worth it to optimize their applications to work with a particular version of an operating system.

Many developers need a larger installed base to sell their software to than currently exists with Vista. Meanwhile, with Windows 7, Microsoft needs to get developers to write software that takes advantage of new features to make the new OS attractive to upgraders, Michael Silver, a Gartner (NYSE: IT) Latest News about Gartner analyst, told TechNewsWorld.

For instance, many developers are increasingly making investments in rich Internet applications (RIAs). That makes the choice of desktop less important than choice of browser, noted Hammond.

Nokia to buy Oz Communications

Nokia is bulking up its communications platform with the acquisition of Oz Communications, a privately held Montreal-based company that offers mobile e-mail and instant messaging.

On Tuesday, Nokia said it would buy Oz for an undisclosed amount, bringing Oz into its services and software unit. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Oz has been around for about five years. And the company, which has been working with Nokia since 2003, has raised more than $71 million. Its IM, e-mail, and social-networking technologies are used by several mobile operators, including Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, Alltel, and Rogers Wireless. With just 220 employees, Oz claims to have 5.5 million monthly paid users using its products.

The acquisition should fit nicely with other mobile social media and communication buys Nokia has made over the past couple of years, including those of Twango, Plazes, Enpocket, and Navteq.

With these acquisitions, Nokia has been amassing a portfolio that extends far beyond handsets. It is looking to extend its reach to services and applications, integrating devices with services and packing them with cool features such as navigation, mapping, and music. The idea is that the services will help differentiate the handsets from others on the market and also provide the company with additional revenue.

Nokia is still in the early days of executing on this strategy. It just officially launched its Ovi platform, which serves as a hub for many of its services. So it's difficult to say how successful it will be. The company leads the market, in terms of handset sales worldwide. But it's had a weak standing in the United States, where some of these more advanced services would likely play well.

Meanwhile, Nokia is facing competition from new entrants in the mobile market, such as Apple, with the iPhone, and Google, with the new Android operating system. These companies are also emphasizing services and applications as way to differentiate their products.

Apple launched the App Store earlier this year, when it released the new iPhone 3G. And the first Google Android phone will go on sale next month on T-Mobile USA's network. Like Apple's App store, Android also has a marketplace in which third-party developers can distribute applications for Android phones.

Microsoft taps Yusuf Mehdi for MSN post

Yusuf Mehdi

Microsoft named Yusuf Mehdi to run marketing for its online MSN and search properties, the company said Monday. His team runs marketing, product management, strategic partnerships, and business development for the sites.

Mehdi reports to Chief Executive Steve Ballmer until a new executive is named to run Microsoft's overall online services group, the company said. Jon Tinter of the MSN group and Brad Goldberg of the search group report to Mehdi.

Bill Veghte previously ran the MSN and search marketing work, but his title now is senior vice president for the Windows business. Brian Hall and his Windows Live teams still report to Veghte, Microsoft said.

Google releases open-source Mac updater software

Google has released an open-source software project called Update Engine that programmers can use to keep their Mac OS X software up to date.

"Update Engine can update all the usual suspects, like Cocoa apps, preference panes, and screensavers. But it can also update oddballs like arbitrary files, and even things that require root--like kernel extensions. On top of that, it can update multiple products as easily as it can update one," Greg Miller, a programmer on the update engine team, said in a blog posting Monday.

Windows and Open Source Play Well Together

Through its Open Source Census initiative, OpenLogic hopes to gain a clearer picture of the OSS landscape. Now in its ninth month, the census has found a sizable presence of OSS among Windows users, European governments and the financial industry.

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Open source adoption is growing rapidly, but adopters in U.S. are lagging behind European enthusiasm, according to software provider OpenLogic.

OpenLogic announced Tuesday it has discovered more than 300,000 open source package and project installations in use around the world through its Open Source Census. OpenLogic initiated the global survey last December.

The Open Source Census is a worldwide collaborative project. The goal is to collect and share quantitative data on the use of open source software. Computer users may volunteer their machines to be remotely scanned and contribute to the census' findings.

Government agencies and the financial industry are among the biggest users of open source software, the census has found. Also, among survey participants, Windows users are some of the biggest consumers of open source.

The survey also found that OpenOffice, an alternative and compatible office suite to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Latest News about Microsoft Office, is installed on 73 percent of all personal computers that owners volunteered for examination. However, only 28 percent of enterprise World Class Managed Hosting from PEER 1, Just $299. Click here. machines made available for scanning contained OpenOffice.

"The survey will be ongoing. Starting in year two, we will have enough data to show trends of changing use patterns of open source adopters," Kim Weins, senior vice president of marketing Learn how you can enhance your email marketing program today. Free Trial - Click Here. and products at OpenLogic, told LinuxInsider.

Data Points

The survey results continue to validate trends in open source usage that OpenLogic has seen over the last few years, according to Weins. This second phase -- the gathering of data from system audits contributed by voluntary participants -- began six months ago.

The Open Source Census continues to uncover interesting trends on the global use of open source software as more computers are scanned, she said.

On average, government agencies surveyed have 123 different open source packages installed per machine. By comparison, financial services companies have 117 different packages per machine.

Governments outside the U.S., especially participants from the European Union, appear generally more supportive of open source software than U.S. governmental agencies. For instance, the U.S. averages 51 open source packages per machine, while Europe averages 68.

Linux Outpolls Windows

Perhaps among the most interesting trends is the use of open source software among Windows users. Participants who volunteered Windows machines for scanning averaged 39 open source software packages.

Open source was naturally more prevalent on Linux users' machines, with 87 packages on average. But that also includes open source software that is shipped with the Linux distributions.

The most popular packages are similar for both Windows and Linux platforms, with seven of the top 10 packages in common.

Ubuntu was found to be the most prevalent Linux OS distributions. Ubuntu Hardy (24 percent) and Ubuntu Gutsy (22 percent) account for 46 percent of the installed Linux base. By comparison, Suse Linux has 12 percent, Gentoo Linux has 7 percent, Fedora Core has 6 percent and Debian has 13 percent.

Government Push

The survey shows a solid movement in foreign governments toward open source software. Similarly, the financial services industry is involved in a lot of open source development, according to Weins.

Ceatec Gadgets-Japan

Welcome to Ceatec 2008.

The electronics show in Japan is chock full of nifty stuff, from skinny TVs and phones that unlock cars to a Hello Kitty promo for Windows Home Server.

The entire Makuhari Messe convention center here in Chiba, just outside Tokyo, is packed to the gills with technology. But it's not just completed products. Though several halls are, of course, full of TVs and phones and notebooks and Blu-ray players, there are also entire halls dedicated to parts: LEDs, LCD screens, batteries, and other important building blocks of consumer electronics. Over the next few days we'll bring as much of it to you as we can.

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Mobile Broadband

Fast Forward Mobile Broadband

Man using laptop, AFP/Getty
Laptops have become the most popular form of personal computer

Phone firms, chip makers and PC manufacturers are uniting to push mobile broadband on laptop computers.

The alliance will build wireless modules into laptops to make it much easier to use the gadgets on future high-speed services.

Laptops with the wireless chips built-in will bear a service mark which shows they will work with the third and fourth generation wireless technology.

The branded laptops should be on shop shelves in 91 nations by Christmas.

Fast forward

Laptops and notebook computers bearing the “Mobile Broadband” logo will have on-board modules that will boost current third generation speeds and work with future fourth generation technologies.

At their fastest, these technologies - which include High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and Long Term Evolution - support web browsing speeds of up to 7 megabits per second (Mbps).

“It’s comparable to fixed broadband services and close to what you get in a wi-fi hot spot,” said Mike O’Hara, a spokesman for the GSM Alliance which has brokered the tie-up on Mobile Broadband.

Mr O’Hara said the laptops would eventually be available where people now buy mobile phones.

…it’s not really necessary for what they are trying to achieve
Steven Hartley, Ovum

“You can go to an operator’s store, buy a laptop and it will be already fitted so you can go online instantly.

“That’s a powerful proposition.

“There’s a natural evolution such as we saw with wi-fi which at first used to need an external card and became embedded.”

Hugh Padfield, principal manager for PC connectivity at Vodafone, said: “The important thing for us is to make it as easy for customers to buy mobile broadband.”

He said the logo and branding scheme would help reassure customers about the laptops that will work with future fast net services.

“It will help to create even more momentum than what we have already seen with mobile broadband,” he said.

“It’s reached something of a tipping point even before it’s been built in.”

Mobile broadband logo, GSMA
This logo denotes a laptop fitted with high-speed wireless

The deal to produce the modules, build them in to laptops and the campaign around the Mobile Broadband log has been brokered by the GSM Alliance - the trade body that represents 80% of the world’s mobile phone firms.

The 16 firms in the Mobile Broadband alliance have pledged to spend about £554m ($1bn) to promote the logo and inform customers about laptops fitted with the technology.

Laptop makers Dell, Toshiba and Lenovo have signed up to the alliance along with 3, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Ericsson, Orange, Qualcomm and Vodafone.

It is not yet clear when mobile operators will roll out the wireless technologies that will help buyers of the branded laptops use the high-speed services.

Mr O’Hara from the GSMA said laptops were just the start of the process of connecting more devices with mobile broadband technologies. The wireless modules would soon crop up in digital cameras, music players, cars and phones.

But Steven Hartley, senior analyst at consultancy Ovum, expressed scepticism about the deal.

“My feeling is that it’s not really necessary for what they are trying to achieve,” he said.

“If you look at the uptake of mobile broadband services do they really need an initiative like this?

“The operators and vendors are working together anyway to ensure these things are interoperable.”

Given that mobile broadband was already catching on, Mr Hartley also wondered how the success of the initiative would be measured.

Sony vaio laptop Batteries Burning.

Sony Via Laptops

Sony Via Laptops

Sony vaio laptop batteries are burning due to overheating problem in U.S they got 15 similar cases of Sony vaio laptop burning and in one the user also get an injury through it. Now the Sony Corporation has announce to replace it with the new one. This is the same case as did in the two years back with other leading laptop company “DELL”

There are currently 72,800 no. of laptops alone in the United States which has to be replace. If we think from the company prospective how much loose they get but the all replacement should be in free because Sony Vaio has brand value to maintain their name in the market they have to provide a free service as “DELL” do..

The Laptops are in major problem are Sony VGN-TZ300 ,VGN-TZ100 ,VGN-TZ2000 and VGN-TZ200.As per the Sony they have started an voluntary program to do a free inspection of your laptop and if necessary a repair will be done with high quality standard

If you have Sony Vaio Laptops then call them immediately …………

Microsoft Launches Albany Beta


Microsoft announced the beta version of new all in one service, code named “Albany“.

“Albany” is the codename for a new all-in-one subscription service of essential software and services. With just a few clicks, “Albany” subscribers will be able to install the whole package, which includes Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, Windows Live OneCare and Windows Live Mail, Messenger and Photo Gallery.

Albany also installs the Microsoft Office Live Workspace connector on the Microsoft Office toolbar. Additionally, with “Albany” consumers get the latest versions of Microsoft Office Home and Student and Windows Live OneCare as they’re released.

Below is the snippet of official announcement from Microsoft-

We expect “Albany” to resonate broadly with consumers – whether they’re buying a new primary PC, a second one for their household or trying to get more from an existing PC. Because each “Albany” subscription is good for three PCs, “Albany” is ideal for individuals with one or several computers, as well as families.

“Albany” is also another prime example of how we are delivering on our software plus services strategy of offering customers a combination of the rich performance and capabilities that you only get from software running on a client PC with the convenience and connectivity of the Web. “Albany” seamlessly connects the Web and desktop to improve customers’ productivity and computing experience, and harnesses the unbeatable convenience of the Internet as a delivery mechanism to ensure people’s software is up to date.

“Albany” is a new service to help consumers be more protected, productive and connected and to stay current with essential software and security updates.

To know more about this new offering from Microsoft, follow the link in reference.

Microsoft Launches Beta of New All-in-One Service for Consumers