Microsoft Will Grandfather OneDrive 15GB Free Storage Users

Just a little over a month ago, Microsoft announced some wide sweeping and controversial changes for their OneDrive cloud storage platform. Due to apparent customer abuse, the unlimited storage option as was going away and a new pricing tier system introduced. Free users also saw their capacity cut down from 15GB + 15GB to 5GB. The complaint though was that current users were going to see their plans change without being grandfathered in. This changes today at least for the free users.

From now till the end of January 2016, current OneDrive users can sign up here in order to keep their 15GB of free storage and 15GB of Camera Roll bonus if they have that as well. Customers will also be able to get Office 365 Personal free for one year along with the 1TB of storage that comes with that.

If Microsoft had done this in the first place, there likely wouldn’t have been the uproar or backlash that occurred. It ended up taking over 70,000 votes on the OneDrive feedback site to get Microsoft to change their tune. Ironically, paying users will still lose their unlimited storage and some of their plan options.

In the end, this is part of the transition that Microsoft is doing to try to make OneDrive more profitable and more of a way to glue together their Windows ecosystem rather than as pure cloud storage. By offering some free storage that most users likely won’t use, Microsoft may get back some of the free will they’ve lost with their initial debacle. You can find Microsoft’s full statement here.

CHERRY Introduces New Wired and Wireless Mice for Office Work

CHERRY is mostly known for their keyboard and keyboard switches, but they have a full line-up of items that also includes mice. Now they introduced two new wireless mice, the MW 2310 and the MW 2110, as well as an updated version of the wired MC2000. All these three mice are fully compatible with the new Windows 10 and come with a precise infrared sensor and an ergonomic shape.

Gamers need high-end mice that have the best of the best features, buttons, and resolution – but office work doesn’t require that kind of hardware. You need something solid, but you don’t need the absolute precision of gaming equipment. So why should you pay for anything more than you need? The symmetrical design offers optimal control for both left-handed and right-handed users.

These mice still offer some great hardware, although not gaming grade. The MW 2310 and MW 2110 offer a three-stage adjustable sample rate where you can choose between 1000, 1500, and 2000 DPI while the resolution on the MC2000 is fixed at 1600 DPI. The MC 2000 features a 4-way scroll wheel that allows horizontal and vertical scrolling without additional buttons which the two wireless don’t.

The wireless MX 2310 and MX2110 utilize 2.4GHz technology for the connection. This energy-conserving transfer method coupled with built-in energy saving features will allow you to use the MW 2310 for up to three years on one battery pack. The MW 2110 can’t run as long, but still an impressive 12 months on one charge.

Colour wise you can get the MW 2310 and MW 2110 as deep black version while the MC 2000 will be available in a white-grey colour. All three mice are immediately available in the market for a very reasonable price. The MW 2310 will be sold for €20.00 and the MW 2110 for €15.00. The wired MC 2000 forms the entry-level model with a price of just €10.00.

New OS X El Capitan Update Should Fix Microsoft Office Crashes

Apple fans get yourself ready, as Apple today has released OS X 10.11.1, the first update for its El Capitan operating system. Also included is the long awaited fixes to Microsoft’s Office 2016 for Mac that resolves problems that Mac users have been reporting for months now.

Microsoft has taken a battering on its Office 2016 for Mac support forum since its release in September and quite rightly so. Not only did Mac users have to wait longer for a release of Office 2016 but they also had to pay a premium. For example Microsoft Office Home and Student 2016 for Mac retails for around £119.99 as on windows based machines you’re looking at a retail price of around £103.90. Regardless of the premium and the prolonged release date reports continued to escalate  with users having trouble running Excel, OneNote, Outlook and PowerPoint on the new OS X.

Although most users blamed Microsoft for the unpolished program, neither Microsoft nor Apple acknowledged fault. Today, a pair of Microsoft product managers simply urged users to update El Capitan to 10.11.1, without admitting blame or pointing fingers.

The update is available on the  Mac App Store, also does the following:

  • Improves installer reliability when upgrading to OS X El Capitan
  • Fixes an issue where outgoing server information may be missing from Mail
  • Resolves an issue that prevented display of messages and mailboxes in Mail
  • Resolves an issue that prevents certain Audio Unit plug-ins from functioning properly
  • Improves VoiceOver reliability
  • Adds over 150 new emoji characters with full Unicode 7.0 and 8.0 support
  • Resolves an issue that caused JPEG images to appear as a gray or green box in Preview

Additionally, the update contains the long-awaited security improvements in the Safari browser. Any of our users experienced any of these problems? Let us know in the comments below.

Microsoft Office 2016 Arrives Next Month

Microsoft has spilled the beans on their latest office suite, which is set to arrive next month. According to information accidentally leaked by a Microsoft intranet site, Microsoft Office 2016 will be launched on September 22nd, a little under a month from now. While we got a refresh for Microsoft Office for Mac earlier in the year, this suite will be for the PC market and replace the now 3 years old Office 2013.

According to sources, Office 2016 will bring the PC version of Office in line with the Mac, iOS and Android versions. We can expect a number of UI and interface changes which we’ve probably already seen on the other platforms. We can also expect a new theme to match as well along with a new dark theme which should be much easier on the eyes. One major continuity is that Office 2016 will cost pretty much the same as Office 2013; the only price change will come in the form of a new tier for Office 365.

Speaking of Office 365, it is interesting to see how the office suite landscape is evolving. Despite many users now opting for free alternatives like Libre/Open Office and cloud-based solutions like Google Docs, Office still remains a mainstay for both home and business. Even Office 365 isn’t quite enough to lure users away, though the monthly subscription fees probably don’t help in the long run, especially for home users. With releases around every 3 years, it will be interesting to see what the next iteration of Office will look like.

Thank you winfuture.de for providing us with this information

Microsoft Announces Skype Business Preview for iOS and Android

We’ve heard that Microsoft plans on killing the old Lync app for business chat and meetings and integrate everything in Skype, namely Skype for Business. In a blog post, Microsoft today announced that it just released Skype for Business preview apps on iOS and Android, just months after it announced the Skype for Business project.

They state that the new apps come with a new and improved dashboard for easy navigation of contacts, calls, and meetings, while also updating the In-Call and In-Meeting experience. The dashboard now seems to show upcoming meetings and recent conversations in one place, while its new handy tools are built to make your life easier. For example, the contact search bar now find contacts by first and last name, email address, and even phone numbers. In addition to the latter, all contacts in your phone are now automatically included in the search.

The In-Call and In-Meeting experience is now more fluid and easier to navigate on smartphones and tables by making the buttons larger. Also, videos now fill the entire screen, but the best part is that you can now browse content while in a call or meeting, view it in full size and view the speaker’s video at the same time.

Skype for Business apps are said to work with anyone on Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business Server 2015 and Skype for Business Online. IT Administrators who wish to take part in the preview can get more details by visiting the Skype for Business Preview app web page here.

Images courtesy of Microsoft

GIGABYTE Introduces 4K Friendly AIRE M60 Wireless Mouse

GIGABYTE makes a lot of different products and among them are also peripherals. Their newest offering in that line-up is the GIGABYTE AIRE M60 Wireless mouse with a 3200 DPI resolution for great work under a 4K resolution.

The wireless function runs on the 2.4GHz band which is something to consider if you are using the same band for wireless signals as it can have effects on each other. The nano receiver is easily placed in any system without the risk of breaking it when plugged into the side of a laptop for example.

Gamers have been used to quality sensors in their mice for a while, but office users didn’t really have the same benefit. The introduction of 4K UHD monitors has however made that a necessity and the AIRE M60 comes with a laser sensor with a native resolution of 3200 dpi. This allows for smooth movement and precise control even on large screens.

The DPI can be adjusted on the fly in three levels right on top of the mouse, 1000, 1600, and 3200 dpi. The battery life is an important factor in a wireless mouse and it is said to last for up to two years thanks to clever power conserving techniques.

The AIRE M60 also features GIGABYTE’s Free-Scrolling Technology that turns your entire mouse into a scroll wheel while pressed. This can make the art of scrolling a lot easier than turning the wheel for hours or hitting that tiny scrollbar to the right of the window.

The mouse looks pretty ergonomically formed and shaped and should be a joy to use over a stock mouse or trackpad for any user.

GIGABYTE did not reveal an MSRP or launch date yet, but it looks like it could be a mouse to look forward to for many casual and office users.

 

SoftMaker Office 2016 Suite Launched in the UK

There aren’t that many office suites on the market, but there are few. There is the big Microsoft Office, Open and Libre Office, and then there is SoftMaker Office that often is referred to as the real alternative to Microsoft’s offer. The newest version is out and available in the UK too, SoftMaker Office 2016 for Windows.

SoftMaker Office 2016 doesn’t need a lot of storage space on your system which is particular useful on systems with smaller capacity NAND storage at their disposal and it offers fast speeds even on older systems with less advanced hardware. Best of all, it is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Office so you won’t run into file compatibility issues. It can both be used directly from a USB drive or be installed from it, allowing you a real plug and play where ever you go.

The new version boasts 400 improvements over the previous version and comes with more advanced features. It won’t cost you as much as a Microsoft Office either as you’ll only have to pay £50.15 for the SoftMaker Office Standard 2016 edition. The standard edition includes office tools TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Presentations as well as customized Thunderbird email client and calendar tool with SoftMaker enhancements. Each box comes with three licenses to be used for home and business and it is fully compatible with all versions of Windows.

There is also an advanced version called SofMaker Office Professional 2016 which is available for £64.50 or as update costs of €43. This version adds high-quality Berlitz Translation Dictionaries for English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.

You can read a lot more on the official page if you’re tempted to make the switch to another office suite or looking to upgrade. Below you’ll is a list of the key highlights in this new 2016 version:

  1. Full compatibility with Microsoft Office: SoftMaker has redesigned the file filters, optimising quality and speed. This provides the highest compatibility possible with both current and older generations of Microsoft Office – both in the modern XML formats DOCX, XLSX and PPTX as well as the older binary formats DOC, XLS and PPT. SoftMaker Office now opens many Microsoft Office files much faster than Microsoft Office and can even edit some older Microsoft files which Microsoft Office 2013 is unable to open.
  2. Lightning fast even on slower machines: SoftMaker Office 2016 for Windows needs little storage space and is by far the fastest Office suite, making it an ideal choice especially for slower laptops and Windows 8 tablets.
  3. Portability: SoftMaker Office 2016 for Windows can be installed on USB sticks. This lets you take your personal office with you, wherever you go. Just plug and play.
  4. Administrative ease: SoftMaker Office 2016 for Windows can be installed in corporate networks automatically via GPO and SCCM, allowing easy deployment across large installations.
  5. Powerful: The new version of the PlanMaker spreadsheet program supports up to a million rows, letting users analyse data with pivot tables, scenarios and data consolidation. It offers conditional formatting with the same functionality as Excel 2016.
  6. Unique: TextMaker is a word processor with unique desktop-publishing features. These include master pages, an object mode that separates the text editing from the graphics layer, real-time preview of formatting and text wrapping to produce professional and finished documents.
  7. New PDF and EPUB export: Users can now create high-quality PDF files (including PDF tags, comments and bookmarks), and e-books in the ePub format directly from SoftMaker Office.
  8. Productive: SoftMaker Office 2016 for Windows includes customised versions of Mozilla‘s Thunderbird (email client) and Lightning (calendar software). This email client comes with practical, productivity-enhancing functions such as lightning-fast email moving and navigation in the folder structure. The new Thunderbird 38 included in SoftMaker Office 2016 offers important functional improvements, such as being able to store email folders in Maildir format, allowing users to circumvent the 4-gigabyte limit per folder. Gmail users will also be pleased to see that they no longer need to reduce Google’s security levels to access Gmail from Thunderbird, thanks to built-in native OAuth2 authentication in Thunderbird 38.
  9. Completely Customisable: Numerous improvements have been made to SoftMaker’s presentation programme – Presentations. The table function has been completely redesigned, a new full-screen mode added, and the software comes complete with sophisticated charting capabilities.

The Top 10 Features of Microsoft’s Office 2016 Mac Preview

Microsoft is finally releasing a new redesigned version of its Office suite for Mac this year. The new suite is the first refresh of Microsoft Office for Mac since 2011, a 5 year gap during which Microsoft did not release any new version for Apple’s operating system.

The new Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook apps aim to bring the Office suit in par with the Windows version in terms of design and functionality. Being a preview version means that the apps are not perfect. However, Microsoft states that it will only use the user feedback to make a few minor tweaks and improvements, which leads to believe that the final product will be more or less how it looks and feels now.

The top 10 features of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac, as highlighted by Mashable, includes a Full Screen View Support, clearly emphasising that Office 2016 for Mac is truly built for Yosemite and can switch from windowed to full screen, compared to its predecessor which could not.
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Microsoft has also made some design changes and redesigned the Ribbons, making a consistency between both Windows and Mac version. These are now the same on both operating systems.
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The suite now lets you share your documents with easy through the Sharing button in the upper right corner. Documents shared via link can even be opened directly from the email.
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Sharing a document with a collaborator now allows you to have Threaded Conversations within comments in Word and Powerpoint. Though it is not as good as in Google Drive, it does show that Microsoft is moving forward into the right direction.
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Microsoft has also included a new Formula Builder in its latest version, making it easier to use Excel’s formula functions in your work.
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Powerpoint has also received an improvement in terms of transitioning, having Microsoft adding a variety of Transitions and a separate panel for managing animations within the presentation.
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One key feature most people using a Mac and frequently require Powerpoint will find extremely useful is the Presenter View, which lets users see the entire slide deck, note, and a timer, while an external display beams the current slide to the audience.
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Microsoft has also added a nifty feature, namely Removable Palettes, for those who desire to customize the Office apps view to better suit their needs
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The OneNote app has not been forgotten as well, having it come with a Tags function which makes it easy to quickly categorize notes by topic.
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Lastly, Outlook has suffered some minor improvements as well, having added the Conversations feature which allows users to sort their inbox by conversations, in addition to date, attachments, priority level and other categories.
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Microsoft’s Office 2016 Preview for Mac can be downloaded from here.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Twitter Want to Make Money by Opening a Hong Kong Office

While mainland China is still blocking Twitter, the social media giant still sees potential in making money from the outside its territory. This is why it has opened a new Hong Kong-based office today, aiming to help Chinese companies market to overseas customers.

“Opening our Hong Kong office now and hiring a sales team to work directly with advertisers across the Greater China market will contribute to our next phase of growth in Asia,” Twitter’s vice president for Asia Pacific, Shailesh Rao, told the South China Morning Post.

Facebook, who is also banned in China, has taken a similar strategy a while ago. By giving companies on international marketing too, Facebook does not necessarily need to have an actual office there to make money. However, both social media giants still face strong competition from China’s own WeChat and Sina Weibo services.

Twitter is said to be currently looking for an account executive and media partnership manager in Hong Kong, which leads to believe that it may plan to convince more celebrities and entertainment companies to create accounts that will reach their international customers.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Facebook at Work to Launch in January

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook’s ‘Facebook at Work’ product will be launching in January.

The report suggests that the product may be available for free without ads at first, in an attempt to expand its user base. The product was revealed last week in a report by the Financial Times, with Facebook aiming to target businesses and workplaces, helping them to collaborate over work projects using real-time chat and Facebook groups.

The rumour that Facebook is to launch a collaborative social media product aimed at businesses comes a time when many other companies, like Microsoft, are also expanding its efforts in workplace collaboration. Just this weekend, we reported on Microsoft’s announcement that chat will be incorporated into Microsoft Office.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Chat is Coming to Microsoft Office Online

Tired of working on a document and having to keep switching back and forward to Facebook or Skype to keep your co-workers in the loop? Well it seems that Microsoft is about to make collaborating on documents a lot simpler, by adding chat to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint online.

The chat functionality is essentially Skype built into the two productivity apps, so you’ll be able to contact people using their Skype usernames and continue conversations in the Skype app on your phone. Unfortunately, chat will not be available in Excel or OneNote. The new feature will be added to Word and PowerPoint “in the coming weeks”.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Office for Android Now Features Dropbox Integration

Microsoft has updated Office for Android, providing Dropbox integration.

The new feature was revealed a few weeks ago now, but the update to the application itself brings Dropbox support to fruition. This allows Office for Android users to open, edit, and save documents within their Dropbox account, all within the Office Mobile for Android application. You can download Office Mobile for Android from the Google Play Store.

Source: Android Central.

Microsoft Announces $199 Work & Play Bundle

In a bundle surely to top all bundles, Microsoft is throwing together four of its subscription-based products and services into one $199 package. The “Work and Play” bundle includes Office 365 Home, Skype Unlimited World and WiFi, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Music Pass.

The sale of this bundle is rather odd, as it seems that Microsoft is only making it available from November 10th 2014 to January 4th 2015 “or while supplies last.” It will also only be available through “select Microsoft full line retail stores in the United States only.” The bundle is only another sign of Microsoft’s big push towards subscription services, something that a lot of software developers are doing, including Adobe with its ‘Creative Cloud’ package.

Some consumers like the idea of spreading the cost with a subscription, while others prefer to buy and then own a copy of that software for life. What do you think? Do you prefer spreading the cost or do you want to own that copy of Microsoft Office?

Source: ZDNet

Early Screenshots of Microsoft Office 16 Leaked

Microsoft isn’t just busy with the new Windows 9 and its technical preview that is scheduled to launch later this month, they’re also working on a new Office version. Sources have revealed that Microsoft has started to distribute copies of the future Office to partners and testers. Whenever that happens, we know the leaks aren’t far behind, and as such we get the first glimpses at the new Microsoft Office.

The new version of Office will bring back the helper gadget, but before you start to scream and throw things around, it is not Clippy. Instead we get the Tell Me helper that’s already found in the Office Online apps. Tell Me sits at the top of the documents as a help and search tool.

It provides a quick way to discover features and ask questions without digging into the enormous help documentation that Microsoft Office has. You could for example ask it “how do I insert a table” or “how do I print” and it would show your the relevant features to perform just that action.

There are no major changes to the design in the new version, it still looks like the current version with the Office Ribbons, a thing I personally would like to see changed again. They have however included a new black theme, as it was the number one feature request for Office 2013. The testers were also asked to give feedback on where it could be improved further.

The new black theme is a very unusual look for Office, but it’s said to cause less stress for your eyes and be easier to work with for long periods of time. It isn’t the default theme, it’s just an option. The old light grey, dark grey, and white themes are also still available.

The majority of improvements, in what only is known as Office 16 so far, are only fairly minor changes, but it plays well with Microsoft’s promise for more frequent updates and fixes for it’s Office 365 subscribers, and it looks like they’re taking that direction to the desktop users as well making it a welcome change.

One of the new features mentioned by the source, was automatic image rotation based on the metadata the camera has stored in the file. A minor, but useful function to automatic position images correctly when inserted into Office documents. There is of course still a function to manually rotate the image afterwards.

Microsoft is also improving its Outlook email client with more sync options. The new version is capable of just downloading 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, or 14 days of email. In the existing version of Outlook you can only download a minimum of one-month of email. This was another highly requested feature from users of laptops and tablets with limited storage and data plans. It’s great to see Microsoft listening to the feedback they’re getting and implementing these much needed changes.

Thank you TheVerge for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of TheVerge

MSN Brand Relaunched

While the MSN messenger has taken it’s last breath, MSN as a brand is still alive and kicking. Microsoft has just announced the relaunch of the MSN brand into a more mobile and cloud orientated service. While many, actually probably most of our readers, have used MSN messenger over the years, not everyone knew that it had an attached news side. It has to be said though that it was highly US centric on the news side and rarely relevant for people outside. It probably got the most hits from being Internet Explorers start page.

Microsoft acknowledge that the way we use media has changed and is trying to follow the users with their new layout, a Mobile-first, Cloud-first world as they call it. The new MSN is said to bring together media sources from all around the world along with data and services to enable users to do more in News, Sports, Money, Travel, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, and more. It focuses on the primary digital daily habits in people’s lives and helps them complete tasks across all of their devices. Information and personalized settings are roamed through the cloud to keep users in the know wherever they are.

I don’t know whether it’s cause the Bing name never really got accepted, and kinda sounds silly, or it’s cause MSN always was kind of loved, but it looks like the Bing apps for the above mentioned categories will be renamed into MSN instead, MSN Sports for example. This also goes for the iOS and Android versions of the apps. Microsoft wants to deliver the same experience on any device. It will also integrate direct access to your Office 365, if you use that, and of course also Skype.

The new design is a big improvement over the old, that’s for sure. But whether it will be accepted by the end-users outside of the Microsoft mobile user-base, that’s something only time can tell. The new platform can already be tested at preview.msn.com.

Thank you Microsoft for proving us with this information

Images courtesy of Microsoft.

GT Omega Racing Unveils New Line of EVO Office Chairs

The manufacturer of high-end gaming chairs, GT Omega Racing, has unveiled their new line of Office chairs. The GT Omega EVO Racing Office Chair comes in 13 different colour layouts and all the comfort you’ll need while doing your office work, or gaming.

Design to offer a combination of luxurious comfort and high-performance style, the GT Omega EVO Racing Office chairs provides outstanding lumbar support because its design encompasses the traditional deep-sided ‘body-hugging’ back.

Build with a reclining mechanism to allow 90 to 180 degree backwards and forwards tilting, the chair can be positioned for a small nap, making it very suitable for gamers as the product page says. Shoulder and lumbar support is covered and it also features a removable head rest pillow and lumbar cushion for extended comfort. The Steel Start Base is fitted with high quality ball bearing castors.

The new chairs will be available from September the 13th and are priced at £169,95. Add another £9,95 if you want the optional lockable wheels.

Thank you GT Omega Racing for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of GT Omega Racing

British Intelligence Agecy Accredits UK Master’s Degree in Cyber Spying

British Intelligence Agency, GCHQ, is said to have started accrediting six UK universities, which can now teach people the art of ‘cyber spying’. The degree initiative comes from part of the UK’s cyber security strategy published back in 2011.

The strategy itself is said to recognize that education is a crucial key to improving defenses against hackers and online fraud. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, stated that cyber security is a key part of the government’s future plans for the British economy, emphasizing that it would make the “UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online”.

“Through the excellent work of GCHQ, in partnership with other government departments, the private sector and academia, we are able to counter threats and ensure together we are stronger and more aware.” Maude said.

Universities around the UK were required to submit their master’s degree courses for certification. At present, GCHQ-approved courses in cyber security can be found at Edinburgh Napier University, Lancaster University, the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London.

In addition to the previously mentioned universities, GCHQ is said to have given out provisional accreditation to Cranfield University’s cyber defence and information assurance course, and the University of Surrey’s information security course.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BBC

Windows Phone Store Gets BBM Beta After Reaching 10,000 User Sign-Ups in 24 Hours

BlackBerry’s popular messaging app, BBM, is stated to have reached the 10,000 sign-up number for Microsoft’s Windows Phone Beta in about 24 hours. This means that Windows Phone users running on Windows Phone 8 or above operating systems are now able to download the app from the Windows Phone Store.

The company has stated that it will release the app in beta form at first, but this does not mean it will lack features present on other platforms, such as the iOS or Android. It is said that BBM Chat, BBM Groups, Find Friends, BBM Feeds and even Pin to Start are available in the Windows Phone app.

Due to its lack of funds, BlackBerry has extended its service to other platform in order to monetize its products. We have previously seen Microsoft do the same with its mobile version of Microsoft Office, having it released for both iOS and Android ahead of its own Windows Phone operating system.

Also, BlackBerry has stated that BBM users decide on which platform they would like to see the service. Since most demand was previously for iOS and Android, Windows Phone fell short and did not receive the app. However, its addition to the Windows Phone Store will also benefit both users and the company, having users talk on their preferred messaging app and BlackBerry making a lot of money out of it.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

Yo Lineup Service Lets Doctors’ Offices and Restaurants Handle Queues

The one-word messaging app by the name of Yo appears to constantly add new services. A while back, the Yo app launched a service that lets you know about missile strikes in Israel. Now, the app has launched another service which lets doctors’ offices and restaurants handle queues.

“We got an inquiry from a doctors’ office in Miami that read about our restaurant solution and wanted the same,” Or Arbel, founder of Yo, has stated in an email.

They released the Yo Lineup service shortly after, granting people in waiting rooms and restaurant lobbies a way to get Yo’d when they are next in line.

Users who want to try this should know that both the client and the restaurant and/or doctor’s office need to have the Yo app and an account on the Yo Lineup service for it to work. However, the sign-up and download is fairly simple, easy and quick. Yo claims that the service as even been tried 2 million times already.

Yo has also confirmed a figure of $1.5 million in funding this month, but is constantly battling Yo wanna-be apps that keep popping up on the AppStore. Yolo is one of them, having Arbel asking Apple to take it down.

“Yo spawned many clones; though most of the clones offer something slightly different, some of them are a complete replication of the Yo app,” Arbel said. “Even the App Store description was copied word by word. We value creativity and we are in a free market; improving upon our concept is welcomed, copying us bit-by-bit isn’t.”

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Mashable

BT Launches “One Phone” Mobile Service For Businesses


BT is returning to the mobile market for the first time in 10 years with its “One Phone” service that allows business users to make fixed-line and mobile phone calls using the same handset.

Designed specifically towards small and midsize-businesses (SMBs), One Phone lets users to transfer all home, office and mobile calls directly to a smartphone.  All that is required is a BT SIM card and a picocell in the office to help broadcast the 4G signal.

Once an employee leaves the office and enters the field, calls will be transferred to EE networks – and includes access to BT’s Wi-Fi hotspots, which number more than five million.

Here is what Graham Sutherland, BT business chief executive said:

“With an increasingly mobile and demanding workforce, businesses need communications technology that is as flexible as they are.  Missed calls mean missed business.”

Mobile is an “exciting area” for the company, as the communications market is largely leaving behind traditional land lines and transitioning towards mobile solutions.

BT One could also be a test platform for the company to jump into the consumer mobile market before the end of the year, though nothing has been confirmed just yet.  However, the consumer offering is expected to transfer between 4G in the office/home and use EE’s network or Wi-Fi.

Thank you to FT for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Manchester Evening News

Robots Being Taught to Play Angry Birds by Kids… And Dance if They Beat the High Score!

While technology advances, we see it being used in all sorts of situations. However, researchers from Georgia Tech appear to have used the innovation in a new and unique way of helping out kids. They apparently have built a robot which kids can teach to play the popular mobile game, Angry Birds, and in the process help the kids regain muscle movement and control.

The activity is described as being fairly simple. The robot is said to sit and watch the kids play, keeping its focus on the score and even recreating when the kids do. After that, the robot is said to start and get the same score as the kids do, following their example. The robot is said to be interactive as well, having it be sad and upset when they do not beat the score, or do a little dance when they succeed in passing the high-score.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNrHwSfA_lo[/youtube]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAyvBK3-lNE[/youtube]

The main value from all of this is the ability for therapists to use the robots to rain and help kids cope with their disabilities. The robots are not just some toys playing around with the kids, they are said to be able to give cues and make requests as well. It is said that the therapist can then tell the robot to ask the child to play a variety of games and watch them improve. The kids even have the possibility of taking the robots home and maintain their training out of the office. This might sound childish and useless to some, but it is said to really help kids combine fun with actual proven treatment.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Videos courtesy of TechCrunch and image courtesy of BBC

Microsoft Office Reportedly Heading for Android Tablets

Microsoft has launched its Office product for the iPad earlier this year, having it be a stripped-down version of the actual Microsoft Office for desktop, designed specifically for the iPad. It apparently has been released ahead of Microsoft’s own Windows tablets, which is a little ironic.

Rumor now has it that the Android version of Office is nearly here, having Android tablet users be able to benefit from Microsoft’s product by the end of the year. The Android version is said to be similar to the iPad version, having users with an Office 365 subscription able to use it. Microsoft is apparently looking for private beta testers, having companies to individuals given an equal chance to sign up for the beta program over at Microsoft’s SharePoint website.

This information points to the Android version of Office being released ahead of the Windows version as well. Though this might sound as a ‘failure’ for the company, it could be a big thing financial-wise. This is because iOS and Android are currently ahead of Microsoft’s mobile OS, and thus have more potential in drawing companies and individual users to benefit from Microsoft’s product. Also, this move can further improve Microsoft’s final version of Office for Windows tablets, having it releasing a more stable and bug-free product for its own OS.

Microsoft is said to be releasing the Office product for its own devices later on in 2015. Until then, Android tablet users can sign up to experience the Office product on their own devices through the beta program.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

China Cracks Down On Microsoft: Bans Microsoft Office In Government Institutions

Reports coming out of China suggest that Chinese central government has issued a ban on Microsoft’s Office software in parts of the Central government and its subordinate departments. The move follows on from the Windows 8 ban on central government systems in May earlier this year. China has reportedly made the moves in order to enhance national security, they likely fear for the integrity and security of the software after all the NSA revelations of the past few years. Instead of using Microsoft Office the Chinese government will reportedly use domestic equivalents such as the Kingsoft Office package. Microsoft had recently been hoping that the Chinese government would migrate their systems from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8.X but this looks increasingly unlikely as relations between Microsoft and China deteriorate.

Source: CRI, Via: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Silk Road Bitcoin Buyers Identities Exposed Thanks to U.S. Marshal Error

The U.S. Marshals  handling the private bidding for the recently seized $18 million worth of Bitcoins have made an unfortunate showing in technological prowess, or lack thereof.

Mass emails are one of the easiest ways to contact multiple clients directly at once, thankfully for those who are handling sensitive and private information there is the ability to use the ‘BCC’ function to hide exactly whom you’re emailing to. That is unless you’re part of the U.S. Marshals office.

Today an email was sent out to all of their private bidders but with a twist – every bidder was included in a ‘CC’ list. For the technologically unaware, this means that every bidder is able to see to whom the email was sent to and therefore nulling the whole ‘anonymous bid’ type scenario, especially due to the fact that many of the users names are easily identifiable by their email address.

Now that the 40 bidders know each others identities, the email has been leaked onto the internet (with censored information).

Last fall the government seized and took ownership of 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins when it raided the well known black market website Silk Road (commonly used for illegal trade of firearms and drugs). Due to current market price, that means this stash is currently worth just over $18 million USD out of a $7.87 billion Market cap.

The reasoning behind these investors purchasing these coins as an all-in-one package comes down to changes in Bitcoin pricing and current market status. $18 million worth of Bitcoins accounts for approximately 85% of daily trading and if purchased in one solid block, all these coins can be bought at for one price rather than relying on numerous smaller transactions whereas the price is likely to fluctuate.

There hasn’t been any reported repercussions as of yet, but we’re waiting for reports on how many shady website signups come through practical jokes because of this. Did someone say Adult Match Maker?

First photo courtesy of etoro.com

Email photo courtesy of TechCrunch

Gigabyte Brix Pro GB-BXi7-4770R Ultra Compact Barebones System Review

Introduction


In the early stages of last year, Intel released one of the biggest products of 2013 into the market place and no – it was not Haswell. What I am referring to here is the Next Unit of Computing, or NUC as it is more commonly known. Part of what makes this product so special is its ultra compact design, but on top of that, the system that’s tucked inside has a little more to offer over what one would expect from a system of its size. When we took a look at the first generation NUC and also Gigabyte’s own first generation Brix, the results that we got back showed the performance to be somewhat average, leaving them at the entry-level end of the scale. Consequently, these systems are ideal for basic home office use, but if you want a little more grunt from your system then sadly these early units just won’t cut the mustard.

Since those reviews went live, we have seen a number of Brix branded systems come out of the Gigabyte factories and towards the end of last year we caught wind that there was something special on the way which could potentially remodel the entry-level image that the first generation systems have given us. The question is though, can we really get desktop performance out of a unit this small? Granted this new creation is twice as tall as the first generation Brix, but are we getting substantially more performance as well? Bring forward the Brix Pro GB-BXi7-4770R.

When we take a look at the spec list that the Brix Pro has on offer, the biggest difference that we have to note is the step up to Intel’s high performance i7 Haswell CPU. Obviously we shouldn’t be expecting a 4770k to be residing in a system of these dimensions, however the 4770R that we do have is actually not a million miles off what its bigger brother has to offer. With a TDP of 65w and a core clock speed of 3.2GHz boosting up to 3.9GHz, there is certainly a lot of poke beneath the covers so we have got the spirit of a 4770k, although overclocking is not present and the power envelope has been reduced to save on the power consumption.

  • Model: GB-BXi7-4770R
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770R @ 3.9GHz
  • Cooler: Copper heatsink with blower fan
  • RAM: Support for up to 16GB 1333 /1600MHz DDR3 SODIMM
  • Storage: mSATA slot plus SATA header for 7.0/9.5mm 2.5″ drives
  • GPU: Intel Iris Pro 5200 Onboard GPU
  • PSU: External 135W DC adaptor
  • Network: Realtek RTL8111G Gigabit LAN, AzureWave AW-CB161H mini PCIe 802.11ac WLAN / BT 4.0 combo
  • Misc: HDMI & mDP display outputs, 4x USB3.0, 3.5mm audio / SPDIF, VESA 75 & VESA 100 compatible
  • Warranty: 2 Year Standard
  • Price: £510.20 inc Vat @ Scan / $649.79 @ Newegg.com

Naturally it is a little hard to test a barebones system as it is so we need to add in a couple of key components before we can put everything through its paces. Over the specifications listed above, a 240GB Intel 525 series mSATA SSD and a 1TB WD Red 2.5″ HDD have been added for storage along with 8GB of Kingston’s 1600MHz ValueRAM.

In addition to the i7 processor, the other key component that the Brix Pro has to offer is Intel’s latest Iris Pro 5200 series graphics. Now at this point I can imagine that a few of you out there are shrugging your shoulders at the thought of Intel graphics, but Iris Pro is nothing like the HD4000 series graphics that we find onboard a 4770k for example. Simply put Intel have stepped up their game with Iris and reworked the way in which their graphics core works to offer up much more power and performance. In simple terms this means that there is the potential for gaming at an average level of detail and this is there for the reason why the Brix Pro has been featured recently as part of the Steam Box era.

Whilst I do state that gaming is a potential application for the Brix Pro, the more modest graphics performance that Iris has to offer is not going to make the Brix Pro the perfect alternative for your full-fat pixel pushing gaming rig – it is just a more tame alternative. Where the Brix Pro is also suited is with the prosumer user group, where image editing and design work requires the more powerful Intel processors and where applications such as Adobe Photoshop relish when surrounded by the higher specified components. By the time we take the price of the bare system and add on the extra components that we have used here (not including operating system) we are looking at a ball park purchase price of around £880 in the UK or around $1080 in the US.

Like the Brix Pro, the packaging is condensed right down with almost no space going to waste. Tucked neatly inside the box, Gigabyte include a full driver set and setup guide, regional power adaptor, VESA bracket and screws for mounting the system to the back of a monitor and finally a small rubber bung to close off the SPDIF output on the front of the system.

Viewsonic Ergonomic Monitors For Office Environments Unveiled

In certain market areas, selecting an appropriate monitor for the working environment is rather important, image editing and video editing applications naming just a couple of these key tasks. in the general working office however, the need for a specific type of monitor is virtually nonexistent and thus we find a whole host of differing options available and in use. There is however a catch with some of these panels and this is where Viewsonic have come forward, offering up a panel that is designed for the needs of a typical office environment, with the power consumption also playing a key part.

Shipping in two screen sizes, 22″ and 24″, the VG2233SMH and VG2433SMH displays offer up a full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution along with an exclusive SuperClear Image Technology which produces highly vivid colours in a true-to-life format and a super wide viewing angle of 178 degrees. To make the viewing of these displays far more comfortable for the office user, each panel allows full ergonomic adjustment through a combination of height, tilt, swivel and pivot which reduces eye strain and fatigue thus reducing downtime from work.

For the business the advantage doesn’t just stop at reduced employee downtime from work, there is also the potential for a financial saving to be made when in ECO-mode, with up to 50% savings on running costs on offer whilst also prolonging the life of the display. Once the total cost of ownership (TCO) is taken into account, there are a huge number of advantages to be made by switching over to Viewsonics commercial grade hardware, even if the current hardware is well within its lifespan.

In order to evaluate the potential cost savings, Viewsonic have created a simple and straight forward online tool that will allow businesses to calculate how much their current displays are costing to run versus one with Viewsonic panels installed. This tool can be found at: http://www.viewsoniceurope.com/led-tco-calculator/

Both panels are scheduled to be available towards the end of next month and with low prices of £119 and £139 (exc VAT) along with an option to register for a four-year warranty, the incentives to invest in these panels are certainly clear and strong.

Source: Press Release