MDOP 2013, Geoflow for Excel, Office Web Viewer, Roadmap for 'Gemini' Products

MDOP 2013 products optimized for Windows 8. New releases: "Geoflow" for Excel ; Office Web Viewer; and msnNOW for Firefox. Roadmap of "Gemini" Office updates for iOS, Android, Jenkins plugin for Windows Azure Blob, as well as Outlook for Windows RT.

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2013 for Software Assurance--in addition to general quality improvements, comes with update of many other technologies with enhanced features and benefits ideal for businesses using Windows 8.

"MDOP helps manage and deploy important Windows features like BitLocker and Group Policy, and saves time by helping to make desktop repair planning proactive instead of reactive."

Key updates in MDOP 2013 include:

  • AGPM 4.0 SP1 brings powerful change management for Group Policy to Windows 8, making it easier for organizations to keep enterprise-wide desktop configurations up to date, enabling greater control, less downtime, and lowering total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • DaRT 8.0 SP1 accelerates desktop repair by adding support for 10 additional languages. It also includes a new Defender engine to better assist organizations in discovering malware.
  • App-V 5.0 SP1 heelps organizations use virtually any application anywhere by adding support for Office 2010. This will give end users a consistent experience with virtualized Office that they saw with previous versions of App-V. SP1 also adds support for the sequencer and client in 24 languages while App-V 5.0 server will be supported in 11 languages.
  • UE-V 1.0 SP1 makes it easier for users to change devices, but keep their experience with support for Office 2007, a heavily requested addition. The product now supports 24 languages, allowing more organizations to use UE-V in their native language.

In addition, this release also comes with official release of Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) 2.0 that includes following features:

  • "Self Service Portal helps end users perform the most common support tasks on their own without needing assistance from the help desk.
  • MBAM integration into System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and 2012 enables organizations to integrate MBAM's compliance management and reporting capabilities within the SCCM management infrastructure that has already been deployed.
  • Compliance reporting calculation improvements: Now devices are only listed as non-compliant when they're in a state that is less secure than the minimum requirements defined in policy. This differs from MBAM 1.0 where compliance was based on strict adherence to policy and resulted in devices appearing non-complaint even when they were in a more secure configuration than was required by policy.
  • Simplified automate provisioning of BitLocker encryption within your Windows 8 deployment and imaging process," explains Microsoft.

Update 04/12: Microsoft just posted details of about What's new in Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 SP1 and User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) 1.0 SP1.

App-V 5.0 is already a preferred way to deploy Office 365 ProPlus (Click-To-Run) in an enterprise with no sequencing required, but, this release is more focused to provide support for Office 2010.

"One of our goals for Office 2010 support on App-V 5.0 is to provide our customers feature parity with Office 2010 on App-V 4.6," Microsoft stated.

To this end, "a new Office 2010 Sequencing Kit for Application Virtualization 5.0 is relased and that provide end users a consistent experience with virtualized Office. This now allows virtualized Office 2010 to open, edit, and save Office files hosted with Microsoft SharePoint; search indexing support for Office file types; redirect URL protocol to virtualized Outlook 2010; print to virtualized OneNote 2010 - to name a few!," the company expalins.

This sequencing kit is used in conjunction with Microsoft Office 2010 Deployment Kit for App-V that provides the required Office 2010 licensing service.

With UE-V 1.0 SP1, Microsoft says, that the biggest area of focus was providing support to roam for Office 2007.

"UE-V already supports Office 2010 right out of the box - but, to companies tha wanted to roam the Office 2007 experience--we created settings location templates that cover Office 2007 applications like Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Communicator, Visio, Project, and more," the company adds.

In addition, UE-V now has a settings location template for Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 and some minor changes to the existing template to provide an even better roaming experience.

Additionally, App-V 5.0 SP1 now supports 24 languages in the Sequencer and client, while the server will be supported in 11 languages. UE-V 1.0 SP1 supports 24 languages in the client and 11 languages in the Generator, Microsoft adds.

In other Microsoft release today, the company has an uncoming capability for Self-Service BI with the release of Geoflow for Excel, a 3D Big Data visualization built on Bing Maps.

""Geoflow" preview helps users map, explore and interact with both geographic and chronological data, enabling discoveries that could be difficult to identify with traditional 2D tables and charts. Moreover, "Geoflow" emphasizes visual storytelling through collaborative features that show changes in data over time with beautiful screenshots and cinematic, guided video tours," expalins Bing.

Project codename "GeoFlow" preview is a free web download that can be used by customers with one of the following Microsoft Office Versions: Office 365 ProPlus, Office 2013 Professional Plus.

To see the power of Big Data on Bing Maps - including how it plots both geographical location and intensity of data via columns, bubble visualizations and heat maps - check out the "Geoflow" screenshot and video below:

geoflow new 3d mapping analytics tool for excel

Also, release today is the new Office Web Viewer, that lets you view Office documents in a browser.

""Office Web Viewer," is a service that creates Office Web Viewer links. Office Web Viewer links open Word, PowerPoint or Excel files in the browser that would otherwise be downloaded. You can easily turn a download link into an Office Web Viewer link to use in your website or blog (e.g., recipes, photo slide show, a menu, or a budget template)," explains Microsoft Office team.

Benefits of the Office Web Viewer include:

  • "You don't need to convert Office files for the web (e.g., PDF, HTML).
  • Anyone can view Office files from your website or blog, even if they don't have Office.
  • It keeps eyes on your website or blog, because readers don't need to download the file and they stay in the browser.
  • One link will work for computers, tablets, and mobile phones," the team said.

office web viewer: office document in a browser

To use Office Web Viewer, click this link: http://officewebviewer.com. Then copy and paste the document's URL in the text box.

And, to make the URL yourself, you can use the link below, where <Document Location> is a URL to the document. Note: the <Document Location> needs to be URL encoded, and the document must be publicly accessible on the internet.

http://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=&lt;Document Location&gt;

Finally, msnNOW for Firefox, now available, allowing you to see what's trending across the Web on msnNOW in a convenient sidebar view while you browse the Internet.

"msnNOW makes it easy to stay up to date on the things people are talking about, searching for and sharing the most. Our editors scour the most interesting trends from real-time sources like Facebook, Twitter, Bing and BreakingNews.com, so you'll always know what's happening and get the jump on what everyone is talking about."

Those already using Firefox, can simply add msnNOW, by going to https://now.msn.com/‚Äč, and in addition, you can also download Firefox with MSN optimized here.

msnNOW for Firefox

Download links:

A source with an inside knowledge of Microsoft reveals the roadmap for Microsoft's upcoming 'Gemini' wave of Office updates, "if accurate, indicates Microsoft's Office for iOS and Android -- as well as Outlook for Windows RT," reports ZDNet.

A source of mine shared what appears to me to be a real roadmap for Gemini.

  • "Gemini Wave 1.0 (October 2013): Windows Blue app updates
  • Gemini Wave 1.5 (April 2014): Office for Mac; Office RT refresh; Perceptive Pixel support; Windows Phone support refresh
  • Gemini Wave 2.0 (October 2014): Outlook RT; Office for iOS/Android," posted ZDNet quoting the source.

"We don't have any information to share about the next set of updates to Office," a spokesperson said.

Preview release of the Management Pack for Windows Azure Fabric enables you to monitor the availability and performance of Azure fabric resources that are running on Windows Azure.

Note: "This is a completely new Management Pack that does not upgrade the previous Azure Management Pack. Note also that this Management Pack requires System Center Operations Manager 2012 SP1 or later. This Management Pack is currently not supported in production environments," Microsoft stated.

Grab the Management Pack as well as the draft documentation (MP Guide) on the Microsoft Download Center.

Microsoft Open Tech releases open source Jenkins plugin for using Windows Azure Blob service as a repository.

""Jenkins" is a popular open source CI tool, with many installations and extensions, as well as strong community commitment. For this reason Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. has released a Jenkins plugin for using Windows Azure's Blob Storage service as a repository of build artifacts," Microsoft stated.

Jenkins plugin for using Windows Azure Blob service as a repository

Jenkins plugin for using Windows Azure Blob service as a repository

"Using our Jenkins plugin can improve your CI process by using the Windows Azure Storage plugin to manage artifact storage in a Windows Azure Blob. Choosing the Windows Azure Blob service to store your build artifacts ensures that you have all the resources you need each time a build is required, all in a safe and reliable yet centralized location, with configurable access permissions. This takes a load off on-premise network bandwidth and storage, and improves continuous build performance," MS OT adds.

Check the links below to setting up a Jenkins Continuous Integration Server on Windows Azure: