Microsoft, iOS and New Dev Tools

This week saw Microsoft host its developer conference and announced a host of exciting new tools for iOS and OS X developers.

The first piece of news is that Microsoft will be adding a new toolkit to Visual Studio, which is their development platform, that will allow iOS developers to port their existing iOS apps to the Windows platform.

Microsoft will be adding an Objective-C toolchain and some middleware that will provide iOS APIs that iOS apps are expected. With very little modification you will be able to port your existing app to Windows.

As a demo, developers Kings, showcased their Candy Crush iOS game running on a Windows Phone, claiming only a few percent of code had to be changed in order to port the app.

The second piece of news is that Microsoft are releasing a new Code Editor that will run natively on OS X and Linux, called Visual Studio Code. This is not their full IDE but a new code editor that offers a number of features including:

  • IntelliSense code completion
  • Support for ASP.NET 5 development with C#
  • Node.js development with TypeScript and JavaScript
  • Includes tools for web technologies such as HTML, CSS, LESS, SASS, and JSON
  • GIT repositories

A preview version can be found here

It’s early days yet for these tools and they certainly won’t replace Xcode but it will give Apple developers new opportunities and new markets to target.


Word, Excel, PowerPoint, “This file is locked for editing”

Whenever you save a Microsoft Office document (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) to your local hard drive or to a fileserver, an associated temporary file is created to the same location as your MS Office document. However, you will not be able to see the associated temporary file from within the Finder because it is a hidden file.

The associated temporary file remains present in the same location as your MS document until you close your document.

The purpose of this associated temporary file is to lockout editing of your MS document to other users while you have it open. The associated temporary file also stores the name of the person who currently has the MS document open, and if another user attempts to open the document, it displays a warning dialogue (see below) to inform them that, “The file is locked for editing”.

microsoft files locked for editing
You can open the document as Read-Only, but you will not be able to edit the document. This is by-design and prevents other users overwriting your work, or even worse causing document corruption.

To clarify, if a user has opened an existing or created an Excel document entitled Example.xlsx, while this document is open there will be an associated temporary file entitled ~$Example.xlsx in the same location as your Excel document. The temporary file is named the same as the Excel document but prefixed with ~$ symbols.

The problem with using an associated temporary file is that if the MS Office application crashes then it is likely that the associated temporary file remains and locks the MS Office document.

Typically this problem is identified when another user attempts to open the MS document, and their MS Office application displays the warning dialogue “The file is locked for editing”, and this is despite anyone else on the same network having the MS document open.

The resolution for this document locking problem would be as follows:

  • Ask the person whose name appears in the warning dialogue, to open the MS document, make a small change to the MS document, File > Save the document, and then close the document. This should then clear the associated temporary file and, therefore, unlock the MS document.
  • Open the MS document as Read-Only, File > Save As, and save the MS document with a different file name.
  • Using the application Terminal (Applications/Utilities), navigate to where the MS document is saved, list all files including hidden files (in Terminal type ls -a), identify the MS documents associated temporary file (remember it will be the same name as your MS document, but prefixed with a ~$), and remove the associated temporary file by using a Terminal remove file command (rm <name of file>). Note: Use the rm command within the Terminal with caution as the removed file is deleted immediately and not moved to Trash.
  • Alternative to using the Terminal app would be to download one of the many free utilities to show/hide hidden files. There are many of these free apps but one I have used is InVisible which when opened is accessible very quickly from your Finders top menubar. It makes toggling between visible/invisible very quick and user friendly.

This MS document locked file issue is a fairly common occurrence so I hope that this article goes some way to explaining how it happens and that the resolutions outlined above help resolve issues that you may experience.


While the author has taken care to provide our readers with accurate information, please use your discretion before acting upon information based on the blog post. Amsys will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.

Retail copies of Office 2013 are now tied to a single computer

By Richard Mallionmicrosoft office 2013

Microsoft recently launched their new edition of Microsoft Office, Office 2013, and with it there is a sting in the tail for the retail version.

So what has changed?

Previous versions of Microsoft Office only permitted one installation on one device but there was nothing stopping you from uninstalling Office and installing it on to another device. This was useful if your PC died or you were upgrading to a new PC.

With Office 2013 the license agreement has changed. Office 2013 is now licensed to one specific PC which means that if your PC fails, you are not allowed to reinstall it onto a new PC. When the PC dies, so does your copy of Office. The Age’s reporter Adam Turner has confirmed this with Microsoft after being led a merry dance.

Microsoft’s solution to this is their Office 365 subscription service. With this service you don’t buy the software, instead you subscribe to it, the important thing being is that the subscription is tied to the user and not the hardware.

Clearly Microsoft are pushing people down the subscription route which will keep this gravy train running for a bit longer.

I suspect that this is the start of a new trend. There are already rumours that the next generation Xbox will not allow you to run second hand games. A bit like Office 2013, the game once bought, will be activated against your console and will not be transferable. We’re yet to see if this pans out.

In the meantime there are some good alternatives to the Microsoft flavoured Office. Apple supply their iWorks suite, while it doesn’t have all the features of Office it does serve the majority of people OK. Then there are many open source alternatives such as Open Office and Libre Office.

Businesses are most likely exempt from this as they tend to buy volume licenses.

Microsoft Surface Pro: Where’s my storage?

By Richard Mallion

If you are planning on buying a Microsoft Surface Pro in a few weeks then you may wish to read the small print with regards to the memory/storage allocation.

That 64GB model, which is the base model,  actually only gives you 23GB of free space for use.

The larger 128GB version is a bit more generous, it gives you 83GB.

The reason? To make room for Windows 8.

I actually quite like the Surface product range but this does seem a bit excessive.

microsoft's surface



Kerio Connect Release Resolves Microsoft Connectivity Issue

Kerio Connect 7.3.3 Released Today. Resolves previous issues with Microsoft 14.2.0 (SP2) Update.

I recently blogged an article entitled “Microsoft Office 2011 Service Pack 2 (14.2) a Showstopper for Kerio Connect Users” regarding Microsoft’s recent 14.2.0 (SP2) update breaking connectivity for Kerio Connect mail users. Good news is that Kerio have today released Kerio Connect 7.3.3 which resolves this connectivity issue. I am aware that Microsoft recently pulled the 14.2.0 (SP2) update due to database corruption issues but this update has just been re-issued as 14.2.1 (SP2).


Release Notes for Kerio Connect 7.3.3 

Office for Mac Blog

Microsoft release SkyDrive app for iPhone

By Richard Mallion

Today Microsoft their  ”SkyDrive”  application for iPhone which gives users access to Microsoft’s free cloud storage service. With SkyDrive, users can upload 25 gigabytes worth of files, with a maximum individual file size of 100 megabytes.

The free iPhone application is a 4.4 megabyte download compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It requires iOS 4.0 or later. Features of the software, according to Microsoft, are:

  • Access all of your SkyDrive content including files shared with you
  • View recently used documents
  • Upload photos or videos from your phone
  • Share a link to any file using email
  • Create folders. Delete files or folders


First Microsoft App for iPad

Microsoft has released an iPad version of OneNote, you can create searchable notes with text, pictures and bullets.

Get the free app here from the iTunes store.