Tag Archives: changing

Power and simplicity—updates to the Office 365 user experience – Microsoft 365 Blog

Technology is changing the way people get things done. We’ve picked up the pace. Our work is more collaborative. And we’re blurring the boundaries of time and place. When we ask customers why they continue to choose Office for their most important work, they tell us that they love the power the Office apps offer. The breadth and depth of features is unmatched in the industry and allows them to do things that they just can’t do with other products. But they also tell us that they need Office to adapt to the changing environment, and they’d love us to simplify the user experience and make that power more accessible. Today, we’re pleased to announce user experience updates for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook rolling out gradually over the next few months. These changes are inspired by the new culture of work and designed to deliver a balance of power and simplicity.

Office is used by more than a billion people every month, so while we’re excited about these changes, we also recognize how important it is to get things right. To guide our work, we came up with “The Three Cs”—a set of guiding principles that we use as a north star. Because these principles will make this process feel different than any previous user experience update, we thought it would be useful to share them with you.

CustomersWe’re using a customer-driven innovation process to co-create the design of the Office apps. That process consists of three phases: initial customer research and analysis; concepting and co-creation; and validation and refinement.

ContextCustomers love the power of Office, but they don’t need every feature at the same time. We want our new designs to understand the context that you’re working in, so you can focus on the job at hand. That means surfacing the most relevant commands based on the work you’re doing and making it easy to connect and collaborate with others.

ControlWe recognize that established skills and routines are powerful—and that the way someone uses the apps often depends on specific parts of the user interface. So we want to give users control, allowing them to toggle significant changes on and off.

These updates are exclusive to Office.com and Office 365—the always up-to-date versions of our apps and services. But they won’t happen all at once. Instead, over the next several months we will deploy new designs to select customers in stages and carefully test and learn. We’ll move them into production only after they’ve made it through rigorous rounds of validation and refinement.

The initial set of updates includes three changes:

Simplified ribbon—A new, updated version of the ribbon is designed to help users focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others. People who prefer to dedicate more screen space to the commands will still be able to expand the ribbon to the classic three-line view.

The first app to get this new experience will be the web version of Word and will start to roll out to select consumer users today on Office.com. Select Insiders will then see the simplified ribbon in Outlook for Windows in July.

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows offer our deepest, richest feature set—and they’re the preferred experience for users who want to get the most from our apps. Users have a lot of “muscle memory” built around these versions, so we plan on being especially careful with changes that could disrupt their work. We aren’t ready to bring the simplified ribbon to these versions yet because we feel like we need more feedback from a broader set of users first. But when we do, users will always be able to revert back to the classic ribbon with one click.

Image of the simplified ribbon in Office 365.

New colors and icons—Across the apps you’ll start to see new colors and new icons built as scalable graphics—so they render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size. These changes are designed to both modernize the user experience and make it more inclusive and accessible.

The new colors and icons will first appear in the web version of Word for Office.com. Then, later this month, select Insiders will see them in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows. In July, they will go to Outlook for Windows, and in August they will begin rolling out to Outlook for Mac.

Search—Search will become a much more important element of the user experience, providing access to commands, content, and people. With “zero query search,” simply placing your cursor in the search box will bring up recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph.

Commercial users can already see this experience in action in Office.com, SharePoint Online, and the Outlook mobile app, and it will start rolling out to commercial users of Outlook on the web in August.

Image of the search function in Office 365.

For an overview of these changes, check out the video below by Jon Friedman, our chief designer for Office.

To develop these initial designs, Jon’s team worked closely with customers. They collected data on how people use the apps and built prototypes to test new concepts. While we have plenty of work left to do, we’ve definitely heard encouraging things from customers using early builds:

“It’s simpler and I feel like I can open it and immediately get my bearings and move forward. Not a lot of extra information. The tasks are obvious on this screen.”

“The toolbar provides the most frequently used features…maximizing the screen real estate for the actual content.”

“I like the extra space. What I do find is that the feature to toggle it off/on is helpful because occasionally I can’t figure out (quickly) where something went.”

We plan on carefully monitoring usage and feedback as the changes roll out, and we’ll update our designs as we learn more.

Technology is changing the way people get things done at work, at school, and at home, resetting expectations for productivity. Inspired by these changes, these updates are designed to deliver a balance of power and simplicity. But what’s most exciting for us is that over the next few months we’ll be co-creating and refining these new experiences with our customers—and making the power of Office more accessible for everyone.

North Korea hacking threat still looms despite summit

Times may be changing for diplomatic relations between North Korea and the U.S., but the threat of North Korean hacking still looms.

This week’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could lead to improved relations between the two countries and a possible denuclearization plan for North Korea. However, it’s unclear what impact, if any, the summit may have on nation-state cyberattacks coming from the country. According to various reports from the summit, the talks between Kim and Trump did not include any provisions concerning cyberattacks, and several cybersecurity companies have said there is evidence that North Korean hacking attacks may be ramping up this year.

Several notable cyberattacks have been attributed to the North Korean government in recent years, including the 2014 breach of Sony Pictures and last summer’s global WannayCry ransomware attacks. In addition, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a security advisory tying two well-known malware campaigns, Joanap and Brambul, to the North Korea hacking group Hidden Cobra, also known as Lazarus Group.

Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future, a threat intelligence provider based in Somerville, Mass., told SearchSecurity that while Kim’s regime wants to increase the country’s role in the international community, there’s no indication the government has curbed its hacking efforts.

In fact, she said there are signs that the opposite may be occurring.

“What we can say from looking at the data is that there are two stories: the data story, which shows us that North Korea increasingly cares about being monitored and watched, and that they are taking measures to hide their activity online; and the diplomacy story, where it’s telling the rest of the world that it’s ready to denuclearize and be more transparent,” Moriuchi said. “And the two stories just don’t match up.”

Recorded Future published research in April that showed a massive increase in anonymization of North Korean internet activity. “We conducted the research back in July, and we saw, for example, that less than 1% of all web browsing activity was anonymized — they didn’t even use HTTPS most of the time, let alone [virtual private networks (VPNs)],” she said, either because they didn’t care about hiding activity or because they didn’t know they could anonymize traffic. “But six months later, it was a completely different story — there was about a 12,000% increase in anonymization services and technology.”

Recorded Future issued another report last week detailing an increasingly large presence of U.S. technology in North Korean networks and usage by North Korean leadership, despite economic sanctions that prevent such trade. Moriuchi said North Korea has “professionalized sanctions evasion” over the last three-plus decades and found various ways to exploit weaknesses in U.S. export controls.

“We think this is a problem for two reasons. First, there are gaping holes in U.S. export control regime, and they’re being exploiting by this rogue nation,” she said. “Second, the U.S. government doesn’t want U.S. technology being used in cyberattacks from North Korea to harm businesses and government agencies.”

If Kim agrees to a denuclearization plan, there may be less incentive for the government to drops its hacking operations. Ross Rustici, senior director of intelligence services at Boston-based threat detection vendor Cybereason, believes North Korea’s hacking operations are a crucial bargaining chip for Kim and also present a unique threat to the Trump administration.

“North Korea currently lacks many options to force the U.S. into working inside a START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] framework. Almost all of its military and foreign policy capabilities are defensive at this point,” Rustici wrote in a research post last month, prior to the summit. “The one exception is its cyberprogram. And, unfortunately, this is one domain where North Korea can impact the Trump brand in a way that it could not against any other President.”

Several vendors have reported increased sophistication and capabilities from suspected North Korean hacking groups this year. For example, Dragos Inc., a security firm based in Hanover, Md., that specializes in industrial control systems (ICS), published a threat report on a group it calls Covellite, which the company said uses malware and infrastructure similar to Hidden Cobra.

Dragos noted that Covellite, which had targeted U.S. organizations in the past, had recently abandoned North American companies and focused its attacks on European and Asian companies. Dragos also said that while Covellite lacks ICS-specific capabilities at this time, the group’s “rapidly improving capabilities, and history of aggressive targeting” made it a primary threat to the ICS industry.  

In addition to Hidden Cobra, FireEye earlier this year reported that another North Korean hacking group known as APT37 had demonstrated increased capabilities, including the use of an Adobe Flash zero-day vulnerability in attacks on South Korean targets. “Our analysis of APT37’s recent activity reveals that the group’s operations are expanding in scope and sophistication, with a toolset that includes access to zero-day vulnerabilities and wiper malware,” FireEye wrote, adding it has “high confidence” that the group is working on behalf of the North Korean government.

Software-based networks lay foundation of networking’s future

Enterprise networking takes many, constantly changing forms. Today, networking is in the midst of an evolution from hardware to software — a transition to what many call software-based networks that will reshape how companies do business in the years to come.

Software-based networking uses programmability and automation, rather than closed systems housed on proprietary hardware, as the key levers to operate the network. It relies on a variety of concepts — among them software-defined networking, network functions virtualization (NFV) and open source software. Applied properly, software-based networks can increase productivity, reduce downtime and enable an organization to respond more quickly to business and competitive pressures.

But even as the concept gains traction, software-based networking remains in flux. Software-based networks mean different things to different people, and it will take some time for enterprises to sort out which approaches will work best for them.

The reality is that most organizations will use a combination of software-based networking tools in some way. Server virtualization and open source software are already familiar concepts, while enterprises deploy SDN and NFV where they make sense. At the same time, network engineers are beginning to pay attention to the emergence of intent-based networking and its promise that network components can be provisioned and configured automatically.

Software-defined WAN, through its use of virtual connections to enable traffic to flow along multiple paths, has already demonstrated that software-enabled networks can handle the demands of the modern enterprise.

At some point, the lines between software-based networking and legacy networking will disappear, and everything will just be called … networking. But until that day comes, software-based networks open up the possibilities for networking engineers to use a new set of networking tools that better support their businesses.

And it will help them get ready for the next round of changes.

The growing ties between networking roles and automation

For years now, network professionals have heard they need to adapt to changing technologies or risk extinction. The messages are plentiful:

  • Learn these programming skills to stay relevant.
  • Take these training courses, but don’t get too vendor-focused.
  • Change your mindset.
  • Change your organization’s culture.
  • Change your skill sets to keep up with shifting networking roles and responsibilities.

All of these suggestions are increasingly valid and can prove valuable in the evolving networking industry. In fact, skill sets revolving around network programmability, cloud computing and cybersecurity are central to in-demand IT positions and roles, according to Mark Leary, directing analyst at Learning@Cisco, part of Cisco Services, who discussed a Cisco-sponsored report about IT jobs and skill sets, which was released by research firm IDC.

As those networking roles and responsibilities evolve, network professionals are also evolving. For example, organizations seek IT staff with skills in Python, Java, Linux, development, administration, support and engineering, among others, Leary said. In the evolution of networking jobs, employees need to be able to communicate with other teams, including security and developers, for business cross-projects and initiatives.

The dirty word: Automation

This industry and skill set evolution is necessary for the transition to the automated network, according to Zeus Kerravala, founder of ZK Research in Westminster, Mass. Modern network infrastructure doesn’t work well with heavily manual command-line interface configurations, he said during a recent Cisco webinar on the evolution of network engineering. Instead, it uses automation and APIs to deliver services and information.

But automation has traditionally been considered a dirty word that sends employees in all industries into a panic, just like it did in the 1800s and 1900s. Automation was expected to steal jobs and replace human intelligence. But as network automation use cases have matured, Kerravala said, employees and organizations increasingly see how automating menial network tasks can benefit productivity.

To automate, however, network professionals need programming skills to determine the desired network output. They need to be able to tell the network what they want it to do.

All of this brings me to an obvious term that’s integral to automation and network programming: program, which means to input data into a machine to cause it to do a certain thing. Another definition says to program is “to provide a series of instructions.” If someone wants to give effective instructions, a person must understand the purpose of the instructions being relayed. A person needs the foundation — or the why of it all — to get to the actual how.

Regarding network automation, the why is to ultimately achieve network readiness for what the network needs to handle, whether that’s new applications or more traffic, Cisco’s Leary said.

“One of the reasons you develop skills in network programming is to leverage all the automation tools,” he said. “As a result, you’re making use of those technologies and data to make sure your network isn’t just up and available, but [is] now network-ready.”

Vendors have a part in this, too

The impetus also falls on the networking vendors to provide products that help professionals in their networking roles.

But network readiness — and the related issue of network programmability — goes beyond skills and the ability to input data, according to Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research. The impetus also falls on the networking vendors to provide products that help professionals in their networking roles.

Yes, we’ve seen the early versions of products focused on achieving expressed intent and outcomes. But we’ve also seen the hazy sheen of marketing fade away to reveal frizzled shreds of hype.

Ultimately, we need to determine what we want to accomplish with our networks and why. This likely results in myriad opinions, but most of us would consider growth beneficial. Learning new things offers the opportunity for more knowledge. Knowledge can benefit the employee, the organization and maybe even society. This idea may gravitate toward the idyllic, but consider some effects of remaining stagnant: irrelevant skills or knowledge, lost productivity and inefficacy.

“A business needs to be agile, but it’s only as agile as its least agile component,” Kerravala said. While Kerravala considered that component to be the network, the network could encompass organizations, vendors and network professionals.

So, I bring these questions to you — the network professional. Do you think you need to learn new skills in order to keep up with shifting networking roles? Do you want to reskill? Or, do you think vendors need to up their game?

How can technology empower the Class of 2030? |

Our world is changing faster than ever. What skills will today’s kindergarteners need to be life-ready by the time they graduate as the class of 2030? How can technology support their educational journey?

To answer these critical questions, we launched a key piece of research: “The class of 2030 and life-ready learning: The technology imperative.” Today, I am super excited to share that the full report is now available.

To conduct our research, we listened to 70 thought leaders around the world, reviewed 150 pieces of existing research, and surveyed 2,000 teachers and 2,000 students across Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Most importantly, we focused on the needs and aspirations of our subjects: the young people who make up the class of 2030 and those closest to understanding their world.

Within that context, we found 2 core themes: social emotional skills and personalized learning. Whilst not new in education, these are newly important for more people. Employers are placing a premium on social skills and emotional literacy with up to 40% of future jobs requiring explicit social emotional skills. Academics are noting their impact on deep learning and the students themselves recognize these skills are critical for success. The research highlighted personalized learning as an approach which supports skill development — both cognitive and social and emotional by guiding students towards greater autonomy and control.

The students were clear: they want to develop these skills to navigate their own learning – to explore and make choices that unlock their curiosity and potential and they want teachers who know and understand them as individuals.

Three technologies were highlighted in the research as showing great promise to support social and emotional skill development and personalized learning approaches; collaborative platforms, mixed reality and analytics powered by AI.

Students across the four surveyed countries prioritized a range of social-emotional and higher-order skills; notably, students valued digital skills, creativity and problem solving higher than teachers.

The students were clear: they want to develop the skills to navigate their own learning – to explore and make choices that unlock their curiosity and potential. Click To Tweet

While not new in education, these skills are newly important to more people and are taking center stage alongside deeper cognitive skills and content knowledge in the classroom and in the workforce. By 2030, it is predicted that between 30 to 40 percent of jobs will require explicit social-emotional skills.

While the need for social-emotional skills is clear, our research highlighted differences between the specific skills that students and teachers prioritize and how well-equipped teachers feel to teach these skills. This variation was mirrored in how both groups described their experiences of social-emotional skills as part of the learning program.

Students already place a strong emphasis on social-emotional skills based on the results of our survey, which you can explore below.

Personalized learning, which is a student centered approach, emerged as one of the most promising ways to develop social-emotional and deeper cognitive skills.

The students we surveyed said they want to have greater control over their learning and not just automation of content delivery. The students wanted personalization involving control over pacing, content and assessment. 70 percent of the students felt their mastery of content would be better with greater control. Quality feedback is critical for personalized learning. Only 40 percent of students we surveyed felt they receive feedback that was personalized; yet 60 percent of teachers felt they were providing personalized feedback.

Teachers have long endorsed personalized learning but have cited a lack of time and resources as obstacles. In our survey, nearly 70 percent of teachers cited time constraints as their biggest hurdle to providing more personalized content to their students. Our research revealed technology can help clear away those obstacles by freeing up as much as 30 percent of teachers’ time, so they can spend more time responding to individual and group needs.

Our research identified other important differences in perspectives between students and teachers about the extent of personalization in their current education.  Explore the data, below.

Three types of technology show especially strong promise for advancing socially embedded and personalized learning, and more immersive learning experiences: collaboration platforms, artificial intelligence, and mixed reality. You can find out more about the current and emerging opportunities in the full report and in the papers and case studies being published across 2018.

The class of 2030 and future generations will face social and global problems beyond what we can imagine. They will learn and engage with each other, with technology and with information in entirely new ways. And they will enter a workforce where job functions and roles will be dramatically different from today.

We hope our research will advance all of our efforts to help the class of 2030 be ready to succeed in work and life.

I encourage you to request our full report and share it widely with anyone interested in shaping the education system of the future.

I look forward to continuing to engage with you about these crucial topics in the weeks and months ahead.

PC/HTPC: TBS 6285 Quad DVB-T2, Tevii S480 Dual DVB-S2, ASRock Q1900-ITX Mobo, 4GB RAM, 80W Pico PSU

Due to changing requirements and a downgrade here and there I have the following HTPC/PC items for sale. All working and reliable.

TBS 6285 Quad DVB-T2 PCIe Tuner

4 concurrent DVB-T/T2 Muxes
1 antenna feed for all tuners with pass through
Good compatibility with win/Linux
Very good condition
Fully boxed with full/half height brackets
Unused remote, antenna, IR receiver included

View attachment 1004440

£75

Tevii S480 Dual DVB-S2
Fully working
Good condition
2…

PC/HTPC: TBS 6285 Quad DVB-T2, Tevii S480 Dual DVB-S2, ASRock Q1900-ITX Mobo, 4GB RAM, 80W Pico PSU

I7 6700k GTX 970

Keep Changing my mind whether I want to sell this or not but here we go again.

View attachment 990957

Collection only from Lichfield

Its a PC specialist gaming pc. The clear screen on the side panel of the pc is cracked but it is still in place ok.

I7 6700k
GTX 970
ASUS Z170-P
Corsair CS650 650w psu
16gb DDR4
240 GB SSD
2TB HDD
Windows 10

Price and currency: 595
Delivery: Goods must be exchanged in person
Payment method: BT or Cash
Location:

I7 6700k GTX 970

For Sale – Western Digital Red 10TB – New

Purchased as I was changing some home storage round and due to various issues, lots changed and they’ve ended up not being required!

They’re brand new and sealed, unregistered and thus will come with the full warranty (happy to act as liaison if required in future)

I have a total of 2 of them.

Asking £275 each based on current pricing online

Price and currency: 275 Each
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PPG
Location: Bromsgrove
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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