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CES 2020: PC Gaming Experiences Designed for Everyone – Xbox Wire

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas kicked off 2020 with a look at what’s in store for a variety of players this year, with exciting innovations for PC gaming and Microsoft’s device partners announcing some of the best upcoming hardware and software in the industry.

From the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops yet, to immersive monitors giving players a deeper, more robust experience, in addition to new gaming desktops and graphics cards, there’s plenty for PC gamers to be excited for in the year ahead.

To catch you up on all the news from last week, we’ve wrapped up all the CES 2020 announcements from Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and iBuyPower below.

Acer

Acer introduced new Predator monitors offering gamers a more immersive and expansive view of their play.

  • The Predator CG552K features a huge 55-inch 4K OLED panel that’s Adaptive Sync and HDMI VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) compatible, making it ideal for hardcore PC and console gamers wanting a higher vantage point. The 37.5-inch monitor increases gaming immersion with a 2300R curved UWQHD+ panel and Vesa DisplayHDR 400 certification that makes colors pop.
  • The 32-inch Predator X32 gaming monitor reproduces brilliant visuals with Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate, Vesa Display HDR 1400 certification and 89.5% Rec. 2020, perfect for gamers who also create their own videos.

Asus

Asus released new Strix gaming desktops, the Zephyrus G14 laptop and TUF laptops presenting device options for every type of gamer.

  • Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) debuted a handful of new Strix models: Strix GA35 and GT35 gaming desktops to get players tournament-ready for competitive esports. They’re engineered to sustain smooth gameplay under serious pressure and offer the flexibility to do everything from producing top-quality streams to developing games. In addition to those new gaming devices, Asus ROG also announced new Strix GA15 and GT15 gaming desktops that focus on gaming fundamentals for competitive esports players on a budget. Lean and lightweight, these leverage powerful, latest generation processors to capably handle hardcore gaming, streaming and multitasking. These use the latest 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen CPUs and upcoming 10th Generation Intel Core processors.
  • The Zephyrus G14 brings premium innovations to a wider audience with an ultra-slim form factor at just 17.9mm thin and 1.6kg, all without compromising performance. The Zephyrus G14 gaming notebook features RTX graphics for high frame rates when playing popular games, and also lets gamers choose between high refresh or high resolution for their display; the choice of 120Hz refresh rate or WQHD resolution panels allows users to optimize for gaming or creating content. G14 has an optional AniMe Matrix display that deepens personalization, enabling users to show custom graphics, animations and other effects across more than a thousand mini LEDs embedded in the lid.
  • The 15-inch TUF Gaming A15 and F15, along with their 17-inch A17 and F17 siblings, deliver an unprecedented experience for the price. Key to the experience is potent processing power, thanks to a choice between 4th Gen AMD Ryzen Mobile CPUs and upcoming 10th Gen Intel Core processors. Nvidia Turing-based GPUs up to the GeForce RTX 2060 feed frames into fast displays that refresh at up to 144Hz and use AMD FreeSync technology to ensure smoother, tear-free gaming across a wide range of titles.

Dell

Dell announced the new Alienware gaming monitor and a redesigned Dell G5 15 SE laptop with new features and enhanced performance.

  • Built for speed with a 99% sRGB color coverage, the new Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor features fast IPS technology that offers rich colors, a 240Hz refresh rate and a 1 millisecond response time, all in native FHD resolution. It also has AMD Radeon FreeSync and is G-Sync compatible.
  • The newly redesigned Dell G5 15 SE (Special Edition) is the first Dell G Series laptop to feature 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen 4000 H-Series Mobile Processors (up to 8 cores and 16 threads) paired with the latest AMD Radeon RX 5000M Series graphics. The two chips work seamlessly together using AMD SmartShift technology to optimize performance by automatically shifting power as needed between the Ryzen processor and Radeon graphics, giving gamers precisely what they want at each moment of play.

Lenovo

Lenovo released a number of new performance monitors and laptops, giving gamers a variety of devices to choose how they want to enhance their battle experience.

  • With the new premium Lenovo Q27h Monitor, users can seamlessly switch between entertainment and their latest creative project. Its 27-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) provides IPS high-resolution ​and 350 nits of brightness. The four-sided near-edgeless bezel brings a noticeably wider viewing experience when playing the hottest gaming titles in your spare time with super-fast 4ms response time, and a smooth 75Hz refresh rate to reduce motion blur in the game.
  • The Lenovo Legion Y740S is Lenovo’s thinnest and lightest gaming laptop yet with up to eight hours of battery life. It’s got up to 10th Gen Intel Core i9 processors (coming soon) reaching more than 5 GHz and Q-Control, with which users can shift gears with a simple press of their Fn+Q keys. Jump into Performance Mode for higher frame rates, down-shift into Quiet Mode for better battery life to watch a movie or stay the course in Balance Mode for day-to-day usage. Made with long-term gaming usage in mind, enjoy the new tactile feel of the Lenovo Legion keyboards, featuring quick response time with 100% anti-ghosting, improved ergonomic key size and responsive switches designed for smoother typing and gameplay.
  • Stay focused on the game with the new Lenovo Legion Y25-25 Gaming Monitor with a 24.5-inch, Full HD IPS panel display built into the near-edgeless chassis. Crank up refresh rates all the way to 240Hz—more FPS means that more data flows between the GPU and monitor, helping to eliminate tearing in most multiplayer games. It comes with anti-glare panel and up to 400 nits of brightness and is TÜV Rheinland Eye Comfort Certified to reduce eye strain. Curved monitors make gaming more immersive and comfortable, as the curve simulates a more natural viewing experience for your eyes, neck and head—allowing the gamer to see all the action at once.
  • The new 31.5-inch Lenovo G32qc Gaming Monitor has near-edgeless bezel QHD (2560 x 1440) screen resolution for clear visuals and superior picture quality. Catch every player movement with its wide viewing angle, high-screen brightness and excellent contrast ratio.
  • Or, choose the heavy-duty yet compact 27-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution display on the Lenovo G27c Gaming Monitor — both monitors have a curvature of 1500R for complete game immersion. The latter is engineered to deliver virtually tear-free and stutter-free gameplay and is capable of an amazingly high refresh rate of up to 165Hz, helping to rid gaming distractions such as choppy images, streaks and motion blur.

iBuyPower

 iBuyPower showed off an expansion of its Element Case line and next gen Revolt Series.

  • For a different take on the traditional PC layout, the Element Dual features a binary chamber design. With the PSU mounted vertically on the bottom right side of the case and hidden behind the motherboard tray, users will be left with an open aesthetic on the left side and substantial space for maximum component compatibility. The Element CL case is pre-built systems is designed with an integrated front panel distribution plate for easier bends and less complicated routing.
  • The Revolt GT3 will take on a new aesthetic compared to the asymmetrical design of its predecessors, housing small form factor systems and providing support for ITX motherboards and SFX power supplies up to 750W. Systems constructed in it will be mounted to and suspended inside an outer frame by flexible rubber supports designed to add both cushion from shock and vibration damping.

These are just some of the new products that are bringing powerful experiences to Windows 10 gamers in 2020. Check back on Xbox Wire or the Windows Experience blog to keep up with the latest PC gaming product releases and news.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Quantum computing strides continue with IBM, Q Network growth

IBM kept its quantum computing drumbeat going at the Consumer Electronics Show this week with news that it has more than doubled the number of IBM Q Network users over the past year and has signed with Daimler AG to jointly develop the next generation of rechargeable automotive batteries using quantum computers.

Some of the latest additions to the IBM Q Network include Delta Airlines, Goldman Sachs and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The multiyear deal IBM signed with Delta is the first agreement involving quantum computing in the airline industry, officials from each company said. The two companies will explore developing practical applications to solve problems corporate IT shops and their respective users routinely face every day.

Delta joined the IBM Q Network through one of IBM’s Quantum Computing Hub organizations — in this case, North Carolina State University — where IBM can work more closely with not just user organizations in that region, but academic institutions as well. IBM believes Delta can also make meaningful contributions toward improving quantum computing skills as well as generally build a greater sense of community among a diverse set of organizations.

“Delta can work more closely with key professors and the academic research arm of N.C. State to improve their ability to teach students on a number of quantum technologies,” said Jamie Thomas, general manager overseeing the strategy and development of IBM’s Systems unit. “[Delta] can also offer up experts to many of the regional organizations in the southeast [United States] and collaborate with Research Triangle Park on a number of projects.”

Jamie ThomasJamie Thomas

Similarly, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory serves as a quantum computing hub working with other national labs as well as with academic institutions, including the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“You can see the relationships and ecosystems building (through the network of quantum hubs), which is important because they are all working to solve concrete problems that is necessary to increase the general maturation of quantum computing in regions across the country,” Thomas said.

IBM doubles Quantum Volume

In other quantum computing-related news, IBM officials said they have achieved another scientific milestone with its highest Quantum Volume to date of 32, doubling the previous high of 16. Company officials believe the Quantum Volume metric is a truer measurement of performance because it takes into consideration more than just the raw speed of its quantum computers. According to Thomas, it is a major step along the way to accomplishing Quantum Advantage, which is the ability to solve complex problems that are beyond the abilities of classical systems.

“This milestone is not only important to us because it edges us closer to Quantum Advantage, but because it means we have kept our commitment to double Quantum Volume on an annual basis,” Thomas said.

I think IBM got a bit upset over those recent claims by Google of achieving Quantum Advantage and so they are taking this opportunity [at CES] to reinforce their point about Quantum Volume.
Frank DzubeckPresident, Communications Network Architects

What helped IBM achieve its goal was the introduction of its 53-qubit quantum system last fall, in concert with improved qubit connectivity, a better coherence rate and enhanced air mitigation capabilities, all of which are essential measurements in raising the Quantum Volume number, Thomas said.

“Underneath these metrics is also things like improving the ability to manage these systems, increasing their resiliency and how all the electronics interact with the processor itself,” she said.

One analyst also believes that Quantum Volume is a more practical measure of a quantum system’s power, saying that too many vendors of quantum systems are focused on their machines’ speeds and feeds — similar to the performance battles waged among competing server vendors 10 and 20 years ago. He added this isn’t a practical metric given the nature of quantum science compared to classical architectures.

“Companies such as Google are focusing on Quantum Advantage from a speeds-and-feeds perspective, but that can be just a PR game,” said Frank Dzubeck, president of Communications Network Architects Inc. “I think IBM got a bit upset over those recent claims by Google of achieving Quantum Advantage and so they are taking this opportunity [at CES] to reinforce their point about Quantum Volume,” he said.

Quantum revs car batteries

IBM has also begun working jointly with Daimler to develop the next generation of automotive batteries. The two companies said they are using quantum computers to simulate the chemical makeup of lithium-sulfur batteries, which they claim offers significantly higher energy densities than the current lithium-ion batteries. Officials from both companies said their goal is to design a next-generation rechargeable battery from the ground up.

“The whole battery market is hot across all industries, particularly among automobiles,” Thomas said. “The key is finding different paths to create a battery that maintains its energy for longer periods of time and is more cost-effective for the masses.

Another benefit to using lithium-sulfur batteries is it eliminates the need for cobalt, a material that is largely found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as the Belgian Congo. Because that country and the immediately surrounding territories are often war torn, supply of the materials at times can be constrained.

“The important considerations here are with no cobalt necessary, not only will the supply constraints disappear, but it makes these batteries for automobiles and trucks a lot less expensive,” Dzubeck said.

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Wanted – DDR4 , Cheap SSD , possibly RGB fans or case

¿ If it’s ok with welshpcman could I show interest in the case blackmesa, how much delivered please ?
Thanks
Glen

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Wanted – Decent GPU – £75 MAX Budget

Well my trusty AMD HD6870 is starting to show its age, so I’m looking for a decent (but not mega) upgrade.

I use my machine solely for racing SIM’s (Rfactor, Grid, Dirt, etc), not FPS, etc

I’m looking for a reasonable replacement.

Max budget is £75 delivered

Location
BRISTOL

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DerbyCon attendees and co-founder reflect on the end

After nine years running, DerbyCon held its ninth and final show, and attendees and a co-founder looked back on the conference and discussed plans to continue the community with smaller groups around the world.

DerbyCon was one of the more popular small-scale hacker conferences held in the U.S., but organizers surprised the infosec community in January by announcing DerbyCon 9 would be the last one. The news came after multiple attendee allegations of mistreatment by the volunteer security staff and inaction regarding the safety of attendees.

Dave Kennedy, co-founder of DerbyCon, founder of TrustedSec LLC and co-founder of Binary Defense Systems, did not comment on specific allegations at the time and said the reason for the conference coming to an end was that the conference had gotten too big and there was a growing “toxic environment” created by a small group of people “creating negativity, polarization and disruption.”

Kennedy claimed in a recent interview that DerbyCon “never really had any major security incidents where we weren’t able to handle the situation quickly and de-escalate at the conference with our security staff.”

Roxy Dee, a vulnerability management specialist, who has been outspoken about the safety for women at DerbyCon, told SearchSecurity that “it’s highly irresponsible to paint it as a great conference” given the past allegations and what she described as a lack of response from conference organizers.  

Despite these past controversies, attendees praised DerbyCon 9, held in Louisville, Ky from Sept. 6 to 8 this year, there have been no major complaints, and Kennedy told SearchSecurity it was everything the team wanted for the last year and “went better than any other year I can remember.”

“When we started this conference we had no idea what we were doing or how to run a conference. We went from that to one of the most impactful family conferences in the world,” Kennedy said. “It’s been a lot of work, a lot of time and effort, but at the end of the day we accomplished everything we wanted to get out of the conference and then some. Family, community and friendship. It was an incredible experience and one that I’ll miss for sure.”

As a joke, someone handed Kennedy a paper during the conference reading “DerbyCon 10” and the image quickly circled the conference via Twitter. Kennedy admitted he and all of the organizers “struggled with ending DerbyCon this year or not, but we were all really burned out.”

“When we decided, it was from all of us that it was the right direction and the right time to go on a high note. We didn’t have any doubts at all this year that there would ever be another DerbyCon. This is it for us and we ended on a high note that was both memorable and magical to us,” Kennedy said. “The attendees, staff, speakers and everyone were just absolutely incredible. Thank you all to who made DerbyCon possibly and for growing an amazing community.”

The legacy of DerbyCon

Kennedy told SearchSecurity that his inspiration for fostering the DerbyCon community initially was David Logan’s Tribal Leadership, “which talks about growing a tribe based on a specific culture.

“A culture for a conference can be developed if we try hard enough and I think our success was we really focused on that family and community culture with DerbyCon,” Kennedy said. “A conference is a direct representation of the people that put it on, and we luckily were able to establish a culture early on that was sorely needed in the INFOSEC space.”

April C. Wright, security consultant at ArchitectSecurity.org, said in her years attending, DerbyCon provided a “wonderful environment with tons of positivity and personality.”

“I met my best friend there. I can’t describe how much good there was going on, from raising money for charity to knowledge sharing to welcoming first-time attendees,” Wright said. “The quality of content and villages were world class. The volunteers and staff have always been friendly and kind. It was in my top list of cons worldwide.”

Eric Beck, a pen-tester and web app security specialist, said the special part about DerbyCon was a genuine effort to run contrary to the traditional infosec community view that “you can pwn or you can’t.”

“We all start somewhere, we all have different strengths and weaknesses and everyone has a seat at the table. Dave [Kennedy], set a welcoming tone and it meant that people that might otherwise hesitate took that first step. And that first step is always the hardest,” Beck said. “DerbCon was my infosec home base and where I recharged my batteries and I don’t know who or what can fill its shoes. I have a kiddo I thought I’d share this conference with and met people I assumed I’d see annually. I’m personally determined to contribute more in infosec and make the effort to reach out, but I have a difficult time imaging being part of something that brought in the caliber of talent and the sense of welcoming that this conference did.”

Danny Akacki, senior technical account manager with Gigamon Insight, said his first time attending was DerbyCon 6 and the moment he walked in to the venue he “fell in love with the vibe of that place and those people.”

“I still didn’t know too many people but I swear to god it didn’t matter. I made so many friends that weekend and I had the hardest bout of post-con blues I’ve ever experienced, which is a testament to just how profound an effect that year had on me,” Akacki said. “I had to skip 7, but made it to 8 and 9. Every year I went back, it felt like only a day had passed since the last visit because that experience and those people stay with you every day.” 

For Alethe Denis, founder of Dragonfly Security, DerbyCon 9 was her first time attending and she said the experience was everything she expected and more.

“The atmosphere was like a sleepover, compared to the giant summer camp that is DEF CON, and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. It felt like it was a weekend getaway with friends and the lack of casinos was appreciated. But I don’t feel that the quality of the talks and availability of villages was sacrificed in the least,” Denis said. “Even as small as Derby is, it was really tough to do everything I wanted to do because there were so many interesting options available. I feel like it brought only the best elements of the DEF CON type community and DEF CON conference to the Midwest.”

Micah Brown, security engineer at American Modern Insurance Group and vice president of the Greater Cincinnati ISSA chapter, echoed the sentiments of brother/sisterhood at DerbyCon and the cheerfulness of the conference and added another key tenet: Charity.

“One of the key tenets of DerbyCon has always been giving back. During the closing ceremonies, it was revealed that over the past 9 years, DerbyCon and the attendees have given over $700,000 to charity. That does not count the hours of people’s lives that go into making the presentations, the tools, the training that are freely distributed each year. Nor does it factor in the personal relationships and mentorships that are established and progress our community,” Brown said. “It was after my first DerbyCon I volunteered to be the Director of Education for the Greater Cincinnati ISSA Chapter and after my second DerbyCon I volunteered to be the Vice President of the Chapter. DerbyCon has also inspired me to give back by sharing my knowledge through giving my own presentations, including the honor to give back to the DerbyCon community with my own talk this year.”

Beyond DerbyCon

Xena Olsen, cyberthreat intelligence analyst in the financial services industry, attended the last two years of DerbyCon and credited the “community and sense of belonging” there with encouraging her to continue learning and leading her to now being a cybersecurity PhD student at Marymount University.

“The DerbyCon Communities initiative will hopefully serve as a means for people to experience the DerbyCon culture around the world,” Olsen said. “As far as a conference taking the place of DerbyCon, I’m not sure that’s possible. But other conferences can adopt similar values of community and inclusiveness, knowledge sharing and charity.” 

Wright said she has seen other conferences with similar personality and passion, “but none have really captured the heart of DerbyCon.”

“There are a lot of great regional cons in the U.S. that I think more people will start going to. They are affordable and easily accessed, with the small-con feel — as opposed to the mega-con vibe of ‘Hacker Summer camp’,” Wright said, referencing the week in Las Vegas that includes Black Hat, DEF CON, BSides Las Vegas, Diana Con and QueerCon plus other events, meetups and parties. “I don’t think anyone can fill the space left by DerbyCon, but I do think each will continue with its own set of ways and personality.”

Akacki was adamant that “no other con will ever take Derby’s place.”

“It burned fast and it burned bright. It was lighting in a bottle, never to be seen again. However, I’m not sad,” Akacki said. “I can’t even say that its vibe is rising from the ashes, because it would have to have burned down for that to happen. The fire that is the spirit of DerbyCon still burns and, I’d argue, it burns brighter than ever.”

I’m not sure any other con will be able to truly capture that magic and fill the space left by Derby.
Alethe DenisFounder, Dragonfly Security

Denis said it will be difficult for any conference to truly replace DerbyCon.

“I feel like the people who organized and were passionate about DerbyCon are what made Derby unique. I’m not sure any other con will be able to truly capture that magic and fill the space left by Derby,” Denis said. “But I guess that remains to be seen and hope that more cons, such as Blue Team Con in June 2020 in Chicago bring high quality content and engaging talks to the Midwest in the future.”

Wright noted that some of her favorite smaller security conferences included GRRcon, NOLAcon, CircleCityCon, CypherCon, Showmecon, Toorcon and [Wild West Hackin’ Fest], and she expressed hope that the proposed “DerbyCon Communities” project “will help with the void left by the end of the era of the original DerbyCon.”

The DerbyCon Communities initiative

The organizers saw DerbyCon growing fast, but “didn’t want to turn the conference into such a large production like DEF CON,” Kennedy told SearchSecurity.

“We wanted to go back to why DerbyCon was so successful and that was due to three core principles: Posivitiy and Inclusiveness, Knowledge Sharing and Charity. There is a direct need for a community to help new people in the industry and help charity at the same time,” Kennedy said. “The goal for the Communities initiative is to bring people together the same way DerbyCon did for one common goal.”

Kennedy also confirmed that there will be some involvement with the Communities initiative from the “core group” of organizers, including his wife Erin, Martin Bos and others.

Akacki said that with the local Derby Communities initiative, “the spirit of Derby has exploded into stardust, covering our universe.”

“You can’t kill what we’ve built, you can’t contain it and you can’t stop it,” Akacki said. “I’m not crying because it ended, I’m smiling and laughing … because it just became bigger than ever.”

On Sept. 11, Kennedy pitched the full idea of DerbyCon Communities to the team and said there should be four main areas of focus:

  • Chapter Groups
    • Independently run with chapter heads
    • Geographically placed
    • Volunteer network
  • Established Groups
    • Partner with similar groups that meet criteria and approval process to join DerbyCon network.
  • Conferences
    • Established or new. Allow for new conferences to be created.
  • Kids
    • Programs geared towards teaching next-gen children.

Ultimately, Kennedy told SearchSecurity he wants new groups to “be welcoming and accepting of new people and making a difference and impact in their local communities or worldwide.”

“Our hope is that not only do DerbyCon Chapters spawn up, but other conferences and chapter groups will join forces to create a DerbyCon network of sorts to grow this community in a positive way.”

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For Sale – Gaming PC, i7 7700k, 16GB DDR4, GTX 1080ti, 240GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Quick note: These pictures show a GTX 1060 Strix. I will update them tomorrow in the light. Just to confirm the card in the machine is an ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080ti Gaming 11G.

Here is an quick image to show the 1080ti strix installed. I’ll update tomorrow with better lighting. See the two PCIe power connectors and slightly thicker card.
[​IMG]

Personal delivery by me included. ~150 preferred but if you’re further ask me.
Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease for the love of satan don’t ask me to split

Specifications
Intel i7 7700k
ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080ti Gaming 11G
Team Group Delta 16GB RGB 2666Mhz
ASUS Strix z270f Gaming RGB motherboard
Kingston A400 240GB SSD
Seagate 1TB HDD
NZXT x62 Kraken Liquid Cooler
NZXT H500i RGB Case
NZXT 5 port Internal USB Hub
NZXT HUE+ Advance Lighting Controller
EZDIY-FAB PCIe Vertical Flexible Cable Extension
Corsair CX850M 80+ Bronze PSU
TP-Link N900 Dual Band WiFi Card
2x NZXT 140mm intake fans (front x62 kraken)
1x NZXT AER RGB 140mm case fans (top)
1x NZXT AER RGB 120mm case fans (rear)
Windows 10 Pro (activated with key)

£1250

[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

Price and currency: 1250
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: bt / cash
Location: Birmingham
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

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Four steps to get involved in the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship | | Microsoft EDU

Students around the world are using their Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification to show colleges and future employers that they have a true mastery of the Microsoft Office suite. In fact, some talented students even go on to compete in a world competition for Microsoft Office.

Each year, Certiport, a Pearson VUE business, and the leading provider of learning curriculum, practice tests and performance-based IT certification exams that accelerate academic and career opportunities, hosts the MOS World Championship. This event is a global competition, testing top students’ skills on Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Are you a hard-working student, looking to show the world your Microsoft Office skills? Check out these four easy steps below to find out how you can get involved in the Microsoft Office Specialist Championship.

  1. Learn. Before you’re ready to compete, make sure you’re a master of the Microsoft Office Suite. Certiport has collaborated with multiple learning partners to make preparation easy. You can learn the skills you need to earn a top score on your MOS exam.
  2. Practice. Now that you’ve expanded your knowledge, it’s time to apply it. You can hone your Microsoft Office skills using various practice exams. These performance-based assessment and test preparation tools will prepare you to earn your MOS certification by creating a true “live in the app” experience. You’ll be a master in no time, because you’ll be practicing skills as if in the Microsoft Office application.
  3. Certify. You’re ready to show your skills! Microsoft Office Specialist exams are only delivered in Certiport Authorized Testing Centers. However, with more than 14,000 testing centers worldwide, there’s bound to be one close by. Find a testing center near you, and don’t forget to reach out to the testing center to schedule an appointment. Make sure to push for a score over 700 to be eligible for the MOS World Championship!
  4. Compete. If you’ve earned a top score, then the MOS Championship is your next step. Qualification is simple. When you take a Microsoft Office Specialist exam in Word, Excel or PowerPoint, you’ll automatically enter the MOS Championship and could be chosen to represent your country.

To represent your country at the MOS World Championship, you’ll need to first be named your nation’s champion by competing in a regional competition hosted by Certiport’s network of Authorized Partners. You can see the full list of partners and nations that compete here. In addition, each country has its own selection process, so make sure to connect with your local Partner to find out how you can prepare to compete in the MOS World Championship in 2020.

Interested in learning more about the MOS World Championship? Connect with us at [email protected].

Click here for free STEM resourcesExplore tools for student-centered learning

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Microsoft study: Teens looking to parents for help with online issues – Microsoft on the Issues

Preliminary results of a new Microsoft study show teenagers around the world are increasingly turning to their parents and other trusted adults for help with online problems — an encouraging development as the new school year begins.

More than four in 10 teens (42 percent) from 22 countries who encountered online issues said they asked their parents for help, while 28 percent said they sought advice from another adult such as a teacher, coach or counselor. Those figures are up an impressive 32 and 19 percentage points, respectively, compared to last year’s findings which showed only 10 percent of young people turned to their parents for advice and just 9 percent asked for help from other adults. In addition, adults and teens across the globe say parents are by far the best placed of any group to keep young people and families safe online. Results show parents have both the greatest potential — and were deemed the most effective — at promoting online safety among young people, teens and families.

The findings are from the latest research associated with Microsoft’s work in digital civility — encouraging safer and healthier online interactions among all individuals and communities. The study, “Civility, Safety and Interaction Online — 2018,” polled teens ages 13-17 and adults ages 18-74 in 22 countries[i] about more than 20 online risks. This latest research builds on similar studies conducted over the previous two years, which polled the same age groups in 23 and 14 countries, respectively. A total of 11,157 individuals participated in the latest research.

Online risk exposure, consequences and pain higher for teen girls 

Digital Civility Research: Risk impact on girls vs. boysTeenage girls were more likely to ask for help from their parents (44 percent of girls vs. 37 percent of boys) and from other trusted adults (29 percent of girls vs. 26 percent of boys), the study shows, likely because life online in general is harder on girls than boys. Indeed, the data demonstrate that girls have a higher level of online risk exposure than boys; they suffer more consequences and “pain” from online ills, and the online risks and abuse that they experience are more emotionally charged. Moreover, as online risks have grown in severity — think “sextortion” and “swatting”[ii] — young people are perhaps more inclined to seek advice from the older generation.

“Civility in cyberspace has become a ‘must’ as we understand so much more about how harmful simple type and images can be,” said Dr. Sharon Cooper, a U.S.-based pediatrician, who works with survivors of cybervictimization. “The immediate, seemingly universal, distribution of unwanted materials can wound both youth and adults.”

Based on her experience, Dr. Cooper spoke of chronic anxiety, depression and a rational paranoia as just some of the resulting harms from negative online experiences. “Sadly, research has shown that some link to cybervictimization has become the issue in nearly 50 percent of cases of suicidal thoughts resulting in seeking care in emergency rooms,” she added.

And, some of these consequences were borne out in our research. Two-thirds (66 percent) of female teenage respondents reported being exposed to online risks vs. 60 percent of male teenage respondents. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of girls reported negative consequences following an online issue compared to 67 percent of boys, and the level of pain associated with online risks and the intensity of the attendant emotions — namely fear, anger and sadness — were higher for girls.

New mix of countries in latest study

In 2018, Microsoft added Canada and Singapore to the survey, while three previously polled countries (Australia, China and Japan) were removed. Complete and final results will be made available on Feb. 5, 2019, to mark international Safer Internet Day along with a year-over-year comparison of the Microsoft Digital Civility Index. The Digital Civility Index measures the perceived level of online civility in a given country based on the reported level of risk exposure of individuals in that country. Between 2016 and 2017, the Digital Civility Index did not change—both years read 65 percent, despite the addition in the second year of nine countries and three risks. In the latest survey, the 21 polled-about risks break down as follows:

  • Reputational – “Doxing” and damage to personal or professional reputations
  • Behavioral – Being treated meanly; experiencing trolling, online harassment or bullying; encountering hate speech and microaggressions
  • Sexual – Sending or receiving unwanted sext messages and making sexual solicitations; receiving unwanted sexual attention – a new risk added in this latest research, and being a victim of sextortion or non-consensual pornography (aka “revenge porn”), and
  • Personal / Intrusive – Being the target of unwanted contact, experiencing discrimination, swatting, misogyny, exposure to extremist content/recruiting, or falling victim to hoaxes, scams or fraud.

Back to school with Microsoft’s Digital Civility Challenge

We’re making this preliminary research available in the back-to-school timeframe to encourage parents, teachers, teens and young people to commit to Microsoft’s Digital Civility Challenge – four basic tenets for life online, namely:

  • Live the “Golden Rule” and treat others as you would like to be treated by leading with empathy, compassion and kindness, and affording everyone respect and dignity both online and off.
  • Respect differences by honoring diverse perspectives and, when disagreements surface, engage thoughtfully and avoid name-calling and abusive language.
  • Pause before replying to comments or posts you disagree with and refrain from posting or sending anything that could hurt someone, damage a reputation or threaten someone’s safety.
  • Stand up for yourself and others if it’s safe and prudent to do so; also, report illegal and abusive content and behavior and preserve evidence.

We will post at least one other early look at some other key findings in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, to learn more about digital civility and how you can become a champion for these common-sense online practices, visit www.microsoft.com/digitalcivility. For more on online safety generally, visit our website and check out and share our resources; “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

[i] Countries surveyed:  Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada*, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Singapore*, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. (* Indicates the first time this country has been included in this research.)

[ii] In the study, “swatting” is defined as deceiving emergency services like police, fire or medical into sending an emergency response team, typically to a person’s home, based on a false report of an ongoing critical incident or crime.

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NRF 2018: Where Microsoft partners bring intelligent retail – Microsoft Partner Network

The National Retail Federation’s annual trade show, NRF 2018, is the largest retail trade show in the US, and I’ll be there next week in New York City with some of our most innovative partners. NRF 2018 is the best place to experience the latest trends in retail, discover how brands of all sizes are approaching digital transformation, and get an early look at the latest retail technologies, innovations, and solutions. Thanks in part to Microsoft Azure, retailers are utilizing data, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to optimize learnings and grow their businesses.

Microsoft understands that data-driven insights are key to a successful digital transformation for intelligent retailers. Leveraging data in smart and strategic ways helps retailers offer differentiated and personalized shopping experiences––and much more. Armed with the right data and solutions, retailers are transforming their online and brick-and-mortar offerings.

Here are the three Microsoft retail partners who will showcase their Azure-based solutions at NRF 2018:

Bunsar

Bunsar is based in Istanbul, Turkey, and created an Azure-based app that uses AI for visual search and product matching. The product is a real-time “recommendations mirror” that brick-and-mortar stores can use to draw foot traffic. The technology identifies the outfit you’re wearing, matches it to similar outfit options in its database, and makes recommendations for matching accessories and clothing. The Turkish equivalent of Macy’s­, Boyner Group, has an affiliate application called Hopi that is now tapping into Bunsar’s platform.

Xenia

Software developer Xenia Retail designed a seamless retail experience that eliminates shopping carts and check out lines. Shoppers use an app on their phone or on a tablet provided by the retailer. The app gives them tools and data that a sales associate would normally have, including crowd-sourced reviews, buying history, and suggestions for additional items. Shoppers simply hold the phone in front of the product, select the quantity, add it to their cart, and complete the purchase in the app or at a self-checkout terminal. There’s no scanning required, and employees in the back room fulfill the order. Xenia is based on Windows and runs on Azure. The company is integrating Power BI, Dynamics 365 and Outlook into its offerings.

Aprimo

Aprimo provides marketing operations and digital asset management technology to brands such as CVS, Pandora, IKEA, DICK’S Sporting Goods, and Samsonite. A major home-improvement retailer has also adopted Aprimo’s Azure-based solution to improve brand consistency and provide a single source for content. Role-based permissions control access to content, and users get advanced enterprise search to quickly find and reuse content.

Visit Microsoft and our partners at booth #2803 to gain inspiration, experience how retail is changing, and find out how we are collectively helping retail businesses transform to exceed customer expectations. I’ll also be speaking about Digital Leadership in Retail, joined by customers Luxottica and the Schwarz Gruppe on Monday, January 15 from 11:30 AM–12:30 PM. I look forward to seeing you there and exploring the exciting technology innovations that are powering the retail industry.

Join the conversation at the Microsoft Partner Community here.

Explore Bunsar Discover Xenia Check out Aprimo