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7/3/2013
04:49 PM
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Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes

First update, coming fast on heels of OS introduction as promised, includes minor fixes and an unpopular change to Photos app.

In other news, Windows 8's native Photos app will evidently undergo some changes in Windows 8.1, and users aren't happy about all of them. The updated app includes new photo-editing tools but it also, at least in the preview version, removes the ability to store photos from sites such as Facebook and Flickr.

A preview user who spotted the change shared her experience on a Microsoft forum, and a company representative indicated in a reply that the omissions will be permanent.

"In Windows 8, we wanted to provide a way for folks to view their photos on other services knowing there would be few (if any) apps in the store at launch that would do so," the representative wrote. With a bigger app library that will soon include a native Facebook app, the posting continued, there will be many ways to store and view photos in Windows 8.1. The Photo app now longer needs to perform these functions.

In a way, it's ironic that Windows 8's native apps, which have been criticized as underdeveloped, were intended to compensate for a lack of third-party titles. Still, some participants in the Microsoft forum aren't satisfied with the company's response. A few expressed concern that Win8.1 would shift the platform from a content-centric mentality to an app-centric one.

While some users might be dismayed by the Photo app's evolution, others will be encouraged to learn that Windows 8.1 could make trackpads more useful. The Verge reports that Microsoft revealed its trackpad plans during a session at the company's Build conference, where the Windows 8.1 preview was introduced. Intel and several other companies are involved in the effort, which should translate into trackpads that support touchscreen-like operations, such as smooth scrolling, and better zooming and panning.

As OS X users are likely to point out, this sort of trackpad technology is already available in Apple's MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs, and even on Apple's desktops via an accessory. It's notable that Apple, despite leading the touch revolution with the iPhone and iPad, has been hesitant to integrate touchscreens into its traditional computers. The company has patents, most of which date back years, for touchscreen iMacs and a MacBook that turns into an iPad. But it has never appeared in a rush to deploy these technologies, and Windows 8 doesn't appear to have changed that.

Whatever the outcome, touchscreens and trackpads have so far represented a notable difference between Microsoft and Apple's respective strategies, and how they view the all-in-one market. This issue, the Photo app, and others will continue to develop as Microsoft updates the Win8.1 preview, and as user reactions continue to accumulate.

The final version of Windows 8.1 will be out before the end of the year, and devices with the new trackpad technology reportedly will arrive around the same time.

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Mark532010
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Mark532010,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/9/2013 | 6:17:26 PM
re: Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes
The condemnation comes because this is a major loss in functionality of a key app. Especially taken in context with the similar loss of functionality of the music app shows that this is not evolving due to consumer demand, it is just Microsoft making it more and more difficult to use anything but their solution - and that is newsworthy.
Tronist
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Tronist,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/9/2013 | 12:02:07 PM
re: Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes
The best fix for Windows 8.1 is Windows 7.
TubaOrNotTuba
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TubaOrNotTuba,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/8/2013 | 11:34:09 PM
re: Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes
It's a junk app anyway. Picasa is a far superior program. I have almost 1TB of digital photos and there's no way I'm paying to store them in Skydrive or on any other Internet company's servers. As such, it'll get uninstalled just as fast as all the other preinstalled junk in Metro.
TubaOrNotTuba
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TubaOrNotTuba,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/8/2013 | 11:08:47 PM
re: Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes
Why is this news? 8.1 is in beta and I would expect to see updates for it, in fact I would expect to see a LOT of updates for it before ships. Updates for a beta product are not news at all.
Mark532010
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Mark532010,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/8/2013 | 7:33:19 PM
re: Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes
The photo app change is not a surprise and I would expect similar changes to the other metro/modern apps from Microsoft. They are removing most functionality that is not skydrive-centric. No more libraries - i.e. no support for folders other than where MS tells you to store things, no more nas devices, no more remote computer folders, no more 3rd-party website support....its all skydrive all the time, for anything else - well, you just need to get someone to write an app for that!
MattressTagInspector
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MattressTagInspector,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/8/2013 | 6:38:47 PM
re: Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes
It boggles the mind that even after all the uproar, the start menu will not return as an option in 8.1. Where do the power users with multiple (non-touch) monitors fit within Steve's "devices and services vision"?

Maybe "power users" are not a huge segment of the market, but they are the source of advice, support, and perceptions for the many other Windows users.
stoneyh
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stoneyh,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/8/2013 | 6:09:11 PM
re: Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes
Its a preview. Does that not by definition mean there would be ongoing change/updates/patches? Seems MS's inability to when stems as much from "analysts" that can't make up their minds. If MS stands pat "they don't care about their users" and if MS makes changes to please end users "they lack direction".
Windows 8 is a disruptive product and Windows 8.1 seems like an attempt by MS to evolve the product with some respect for consumer demand. I don't really see how that is something to condemn.
midmachine
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midmachine,
User Rank: Strategist
7/8/2013 | 4:51:11 PM
re: Microsoft Releases First Windows 8.1 Fixes
This is good, not a problem. Appears that the quick turnaround target is taking hold. All in all good fixes and updates, although I wouldn't have included the definition update under bug fixes, that's a normal type of update. Regarding the photo app; I think it makes sense since there will be a Facebook app that that wasn't part of the new photo app. Also, it likely reflects concessions that MS had to make to Facebook in order for them to develop/support an app for Win 8? Possible?
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