Earlier this week Microsoft began sending out Office XP RC1 to testers. This is also dubbed the Office Professional Corporate Preview Beta... or is it? According to a news report at ActiveWin, the Corporate Preview kit was announced in MSDN's Flash magazine for $19.95; only to be used for evaluation purposes, with a time limit. But a Microsoft spokeswoman confirms that this information was inaccurate, and it won't be available for the public until a later date. If you have an MSDN subscription, you can nevertheless find it in March's issue as a full download.
Office XP includes Smart Tags and the new Task Pane, which make it easier to discover previously hidden functionality; these features let users complete common tasks in fewer steps. From what it looks like, Office XP seems to be Microsoft's first major step towards .NET functionality, trying to create an application where one can access information any time, anywhere. Expect RTM in May.
I received several e-mails concerning the build numbers Gates used for the EMP last Tuesday. According to one e-mail, there's a new build made everyday (which takes 12 hours to complete) and held locally on an NT server: Gates used one of these. One week we may hear build 1234 is released, and a week later build 4321 is released, but there's been 3087 other builds in between that have also been compiled. So build number 4321 may have been released to testers, but Microsoft developers will always be ahead a couple builds. For example, according to a couple of Thurrot's screen shots, build 2428 was built on January 29th at 18:27 and build 2432 was built on February 2 at 17:57. As of yesterday evening, Microsoft should be at around build 2440 of Windows XP Professional.
The infamous directory client, Active Directory, is now available for use in Windows 9x. The client extensions will provide legacy Windows systems with partial access to Active Directory (another Microsoft incentive to buy Windows 2000 Professional? ...nah). "The Active Directory client extension gives legacy desktops the ability to sign on to the domain controller closest to the client and the ability to change passwords on any domain controller." Microsoft wants enterprises deploying Windows 2000 to become familiar with Active Directory, making them compatible with their current desktop OS, Windows 9x. You can find these extensions here. And finally, here's one to cheer you up.! Thanks Ron.
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