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Microsoft makes Visual Studio 2022 Preview 1 available for Windows
by Paul Hill
Microsoft has announced the availability of the first preview release of Visual Studio 2022, it comes two months after the firm unveiled the new development software. Visual Studio 2022 is the first time that Microsoft has released a 64-bit version of Visual Studio and is eager for people’s feedback.
Microsoft said that the main aim of this first preview is to “test and tune the scalability of the new 64-bit platform”. The new Visual Studio will take full advantage of your system's resources which should improve the reliability of the program, especially when using Visual Studio over a long period of time. The switch to 64-bit is a big change and Microsoft is hoping that developers use this preview to work on projects to uncover any issues with the software so that they can be reported to Microsoft to fix before the final version of Visual Studio is released later on.
Those looking to download Visual Studio will be able to choose from the Community, Pro, and Enterprise editions. Aside from being free to use, they can also be installed alongside older versions of Visual Studio giving testers more flexibility about which version of Visual Studio they want to run at any one time.
While Preview 1 focuses on 64-bit support, Preview 2 will launch with a raft of new features and other performance enhancements. One of the new features that is launching with Preview 1 is code auto-complete with IntelliCode which can suggest completions based on the context. You can see other changes Microsoft has planned in the Visual Studio 2022 roadmap.
If you rely on extensions, this preview is not for you. Microsoft has temporarily stopped extensions from working in this preview while it gives partners time to update them so they work properly. For those on macOS, Microsoft says the first preview of Visual Studio 2022 will be launching soon. The preview for macOS will feature a new modern UI but Microsoft still believes it has refinements to make before it’s confident enough to show it off to the public.
You can download the latest preview of Visual Studio 2022 for Windows from Microsoft's website.
By Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft Teams is integrating Headspace to boost personal wellbeing in remote work
by Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft announced today a several new features coming to the Viva Insights app in Teams that will help employees address the challenges associated with remote work while maintaining their wellbeing. The company is bringing Headspace mindfulness guides, a new focus mode, and quiet time settings to the app.
Starting later this month, you will be able to access guided meditations and mindfulness exercises from Headspace via Viva Insights in order to stay focused and relaxed. Microsoft noted that weekly meeting time on Teams has more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began, increasing stress for users.
In addition to stress caused by back-to-back meetings, employees often deal with a flood of alerts and distractions as well. Later this year, Microsoft will launch a new focus mode in Viva Insights to address those challenges. With focus mode, you will be able to plan your break time, set a time during which you'll focus on important tasks, and listen to background music from Headspace.
Viva Insights will also add a quiet time setting later this year to let you mute mobile notifications from Outlook and Teams beyond your working hours. It will essentially give you the time to disconnect and spend time for yourself with no distractions. The option to set quiet time will be available directly from Teams and Outlook mobile apps. IT admins can also set policies to silence notifications after work hours across their organization when these capabilities roll out.
By Abhay V
Microsoft's second event for June 24 is aimed at Windows developers
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft is slated to hold a “What’s next for Windows” event at 11 AM ET on June 24 to unveil Windows 11, a name that has recently been confirmed thanks to the leaked build that made it to the web. However, it turns out that the Windows 11 event might not be the only one to be taking place next Thursday, as the Redmond firm is holding an event for 3 PM ET, which it announced via Twitter today.
As is the case with these event invites, not much in the way of information is being provided. However, the company is rumored to be working on a brand new Microsoft Store with new policies that expand the types of apps that can be distributed through the store. It is possible that that announcement, along with more information on the specifics for developers, will be provided during the event.
During the firm’s Build conference last month, CEO Satya Nadella said that the company will “create more opportunities for every Windows developer” and that it will “welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build[,] distribute[,] and monetize applications”. It is possible that the developer-focused event dives into new app development and monetization capabilities brought by the revamped Microsoft Store policies. It is anybody’s guess if there are any surprise announcements.
The developer event is scheduled for 3 PM ET on June 24, four hours after the live stream for the Windows 11 event begins. The firm will stream the developer event on YouTube here.
By Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft redesigns Whiteboard to help users collaborate in hybrid environments
by Jay Bonggolto
Along with new Teams Rooms features, Microsoft announced today a redesigned Whiteboard that introduces new capabilities meant to make it easier to work in a hybrid setting. The latest version of Whiteboard focuses on guided collaboration, new content types, fresh UI, and expansion to its Microsoft 365 integration.
Whiteboard has added collaboration cursors that will let you see what your colleagues are doing on the canvas. The tool has also gained a new laser pointer option, first unveiled last month, to help you highlight important ideas. You can also guide others through important ideas with the "follow along" feature and get started on a presentation with new templates.
In addition, the collaborative workspace has introduced collaborative diagrams that you can create by blending shapes, lines, text, and ink. It also added a new capability to insert images and documents into your content and react to ideas with stickers. You can also bring in tables and task lists, for example, with fluid components.
A new fluent toolbar also comes to Whiteboard, overhauling its visual collaboration tools. With the new creation gallery, you'll have access to an intuitive layout that works on various devices like a Surface Hub or a smartphone.
Finally, Microsoft has expanded the availability of Whiteboard across more Microsoft 365 areas including Teams Channels & Chats, Office.com, and SharePoint. The new experience is available starting today.
By Abhay V
Microsoft announces new Teams Rooms features, brings Surface Hub-specific capabilities
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft today held its “The future of hybrid work” event and announced a bunch of features for Teams Rooms that are aimed at improving collaboration and the experience for “hybrid” meetings – meaning those meetings where some users are physically present in a room while other join virtually – on devices dedicated for Teams. This is especially useful with more users heading back to offices and attending calls from conference rooms.
The first of the features being added to Teams Rooms is a new “front row” layout for meetings, something that the company provided a sneak preview of in the past. The layout moves the video feeds of participants to the bottom of the screen, closer to users’ eye level in conference rooms. It also allows for more real estate to display meeting content such as the agenda, the shared screen, and chats right next to each other. Front row will be supported for both single and dual display configurations.
Video layouts across multiple displays are also being improved, with the tool now featuring support for splitting participant feeds across dual displays when possible. The firm says that this increases the screen space when content is not being shared, allowing for users to be seen more clearly on video. The company says that these changes aim to make hybrid meetings more “inclusive”.
Teams Rooms is also gaining a few possibilities from Teams on the desktop such as the Spotlight feature that allows hosts to pin specific feeds to the canvas. Other features being added include live reactions chat bubbles, all of which improve the experience on larger displays.
The Teams Rooms experience for Surface Hub devices is also being improved, with the firm adding features such as new Together Mode scenes, background noise suppression, live reactions, and PowerPoint Live for Teams presentations, and more. The new Microsoft Whiteboard experience is also making it to the firm’s collaborative displays. These features will be rolled out to Insiders first, before heading to the general public.
In addition to the Teams Rooms features, the Redmond firm is listing a bunch of new dedicated Teams devices from its partners. These include the likes of Neat, which is bringing unique capabilities like automatically zooming into meeting participants in a room and auto-framing them using AI and special sensors. Additionally, there are new intelligent speakers from EPOS and Yealink that use Microsoft’s voice recognition technology to transcribe meetings with speaker attribution.