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Microsoft Releases Outlook for iOS

Microsoft today released an iPhone and iPad version of Outlook, their well-known email app from the Office suite of productivity apps. The app is free and does not require a subscription to Office 365.

Outlook for iOS supports email accounts from Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail - but does not yet support custom IMAP accounts. Interestingly, the app also directly connects to online storage services such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive so you can easily attach and send files.

Outlook makes it simple to share files stored in the cloud. With just a few taps, you can insert a link to any file from OneDrive, Dropbox and other popular accounts in your email message. Recipients are automatically granted permission to view these files, with no extra steps.

Need to find a file quickly? No problem. Outlook provides a view of your recently received email attachments, so you don’t have to go searching through email to find that document you need. Outlook also lets you search across both your cloud storage and your email attachments at once, with Quick Filters to let you quickly sort by file type.

Be sure to read the full announcement blog post from the Microsoft Office team, they highlight a number of neat features that might convince you to try the app out. And if you're ready to try the app out, here's the direct link to Outlook on the App Store.
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Andy Baio on The Internet Archive

Andy Baio writes about a topic that is dear to me: The Internet Archive and software preservation.

The Internet Archive is a chaotic, beautiful mess. It’s not well-organized, and its tools for browsing and searching the wealth of material on there are still rudimentary, but getting better.

But this software emulation project feels to me, like the kind of thing Google would have tried in 2003. Big, bold, technically challenging, and for the greater good.

Read the post, then go listen back to episode 13 of Connected if you missed it.

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Slack to Add Voice, Video, and Screen Sharing

Today, Slack announced they have acquired Screenhero, a real-time collaboration service with support for video and audio. Their technology will allow Slack to integrate voice, video, and screen sharing in the main Slack apps.

Around the same time we started building Slack, another team began building their vision; a service specializing in voice, video and screen sharing that would allow people working remotely to work as if they were in the same room, and people in the same room to work better than ever.

That team was Screenhero. And the more we got to know them, the more we liked the cut of their jib.

We use Slack at Relay, and, like many others, I like its integration with other services and apps. I always wondered if Slack would ever take on Skype, and I'm curious to see if what they're building could be a possible solution for podcasters who are forced to use Skype today.

See also: The Verge and TechCrunch on today's news, and Mat Honan's profile of Slack founder Stewart Butterfield from last year.

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Alfred Remote

Very nice addition to Alfred for Mac released today: Alfred Remote lets you control Alfred and even trigger workflows from an iOS device. I've been testing the app and, while not for me (I work on my iOS devices), I think it's a great solution for those who get work done at a Mac and wouldn't mind keeping an iPhone or iPad next to it to offload some shortcuts.

The app is easy to use, with large touch targets and a page-based UI to organize and launch shortcuts. Besides files and folders, I like how you can trigger workflows from an iPhone – nice, say, to wake up in the morning and prepare your Mac for work before you sit down.

Now this is where things get really fun! Add a “Remote Trigger” to a workflow to allow you to launch it from your Remote. A single tap can launch multiple things; For example the “Morning tasks” action launches all of my essential websites and apps to start the day at once.

Alfred Remote is $4.99 on the App Store and requires Alfred 2.6 for Mac.

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Vine Is a Window

Speaking of video on Twitter, Mat Honan has an excellent take on two years of Vine:

That’s not to say there isn’t a performance element to most of the year’s best. There very much is. Vine’s best is still largely dominated by dancing and singing and sports and music and gags. And I would argue that the best stuff on there is still mostly people performing.

But increasingly the popular clips have a documentary element; a human element. I’m guessing there will be quite a few really beautiful Vines of the Juno snowstorm, and part of what will be so gorgeous about them will be the futility of man in the face of nature.

You can find the best Vines of 2014 here.

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Legacy TestFlight Service Shutting Down on February 26

Apple has informed developers that the legacy TestFlightApp.com beta testing service will shut down on February 26:

The services offered at TestFlightApp.com will no longer be available after February 26, 2015. To prepare for the TestFlightapp.com closure, developers and team leaders are recommended to transfer their testers to the all-new TestFlight Beta Testing in iTunes Connect.

The legacy TestFlight website has continued working in spite of Apple's acquisition of TestFlight last year and subsequent integration in iTunes Connect. Apple is providing developers with instructions to migrate existing testers to the new TestFlight service, with more details available here.

As I wrote last week, the new TestFlight is not perfect, but its native presence on iOS 8 offers a superior solution for testers and developers thanks to the reliance on Apple IDs. Notably, the legacy TestFlight website allowed developers to release betas for devices running older versions of iOS, whereas the new TestFlight is only available for iOS 8.

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From System 1.0 to OS X Yosemite

From Steven Troughton-Smith's fascinating (and successful) attempt to write a Mac app capable of running from System 1.0 all the way up to Yosemite:

The more I dug into it, the more I came to the conclusion that Carbon was probably one of the most important things Apple did in building OS X. Even today it provides source compatibility for a huge chunk of the classic Mac OS software base. It kept the big companies from ditching Apple outright when they were needed the most, and gave them a huge runway - 16 years to port perhaps millions of lines of code to OS X while still being able to iterate and improve without spending thousands of man-years upfront starting from scratch. Over time, of course, Carbon has improved a lot and you can mix/match Carbon & Cocoa views/code to the point where you can’t realistically tell which is which. I appreciate what a monumental effort Carbon was, from a technical standpoint. That Cocoa apps always felt ‘better’ is more to Cocoa’s credit than Carbon being a bad thing - it’s a lot easier to see that in hindsight.

Part of me wonders if, in 2039, someone will try to write an app that runs on iPhone OS 2 and whatever version Apple's mobile (if “mobile” will still be a concept) OS will have reached. Let's check back in two decades (hopefully?).

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App Developers: Try TestFlight

From the Supertop blog (makers of Castro and Unread):

Shortly after iOS 8 was released, Apple opened this new beta testing service to iOS developers. When compared to the previous testing process, it is a major improvement and I am grateful to the team behind it. It is a sign that Apple cares about third party developers and about helping us improve the quality of the software we provide.

In the past few months, I've been testing about 50 apps with TestFlight, and, as a user, I think the system is way better than the old days of beta testing with Hockey and the original TestFlight. I don't need to give developers my device UDIDs; all my betas are in the TestFlight app; I get notifications for updates; and, I can easily unlock In-App Purchases in beta builds with my Apple ID. Apple has built the new TestFlight with simplicity in mind, and I appreciate the time it has saved me so far.

It's not perfect. Developers have reported various issues with uploading builds and automatic crash reporting hasn't been integrated yet. When TestFlight sends you an email for a beta update, the build's changelog isn't reported in the email, forcing you to open the TestFlight app (an extra step). You can't view a beta's version history (like you can on Hockey). And, as Supertop mentions, betas expire after 30 days, and that's never fun.

Still, I think TestFlight is, from a user's perspective, a great start from Apple. Developers need a solid, easy, and reliable way to let people test their upcoming apps. TestFlight already hits all the basic points of this process.

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Connected: Total Dude, with His Surface Hub

This week Federico and Myke talk about Windows 10, Windows Holographic and unsubscribing from web services. The boys also consider the effect that old browsers are having on the show.

I wouldn't have thought I'd have fun discussing a Microsoft event, but I'm actually intrigued by their announcements this week (especially for gaming). You can listen to thr episode here.

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