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Microsoft introduces WorkLab, an insider into how it creates the future of work
by Sylvester Addo
Microsoft is launching a new digital publication, WorkLab, to highlight research, science-based insights, and stories around the future of work. Through the publication, Microsoft will share the thinking and processes that influence the creation of products and features.
With WorkLab, Microsoft intends to take people on a journey of the science of work and innovation by Microsoft scientists, researchers, engineers, and business leaders.
Corporate Vice President of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, Jared Spataro made the announcement in a blog post today.
The website currently has stories showing how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced product innovations across Microsoft 365.
In Microsoft Teams for example the company says digital pager systems and walkie talkie features were developed to help frontline workers. Microsoft introduced Focus Assist in Windows 10 to curb digital distractions after productivity researchers identified different types of workplace distractions. Research scientists also helped in developing the Together mode feature in Microsoft Teams, so people can feel more connected and focused in meetings.
Jeff Teper, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Microsoft 365 and Teams engineering made this statement about WorkLab.
Microsoft will use WorkLab to start and listen to conversations on the changing world of work and shape tools and products through these conversations.
By Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft Teams will queue your message when you're offline starting in January
by Jay Bonggolto
In September of last year, Microsoft detailed a bunch of features for Teams that introduced enhancements to its video calling and chat features, among others. The announcement also made mention of upcoming support for offline sending on desktops, though there was no specific date then for its rollout.
Now, an update posted to the Microsoft 365 roadmap website has revealed when that feature will become available. Later this month, Microsoft Teams will add the ability to queue messages when a device goes offline. That means your messages will still be sent later even when you fall off the grid, provided your device manages to go back online within 24 hours.
However, unsent messages that are queued for more than 24 hours will no longer be sent even if the device resumes internet connection. Instead, you will receive an alert prompting you to either delete or re-send that message.
This capability is only part of the update's first phase. In the second phase, you will be able to edit an unsent message while it's still in queue (via Petri). This capability will roll out in mid-February.
Currently, Teams displays a "failed" status for messages you try to send while your device is offline. The new experience comes in handy for situations where you have an unstable connection.
By Rich Woods
New Surface Pro 7 ad puts it up against Apple's ARM-powered MacBook Pro
by Rich Woods
Over the weekend, Microsoft posted a new Surface Pro 7 with one of its most common themes (behind clicking hinges): comparing it to Apple's products. Obviously, the comparison itself is no surprise since the alternative is comparing it to Microsoft's own partners' products, but this is the first one to compare Surface to Apple's new ARM-powered MacBook Pro.
The first thing that the host of the video says after announcing the two devices is, "The Surface comes with a pen", something that is absolutely untrue. Naturally though, the form factor is something that Microsoft loves to boast over MacBooks, with the touchscreen, pen support (even though the Surface Pen is sold separately), and even the detachable keyboard. The presenter expressed disappointment in being stuck with "what you got" in Apple's MacBook Pro.
Then, the advertisement turned to a segment about power, and how the Surface Pro 7 can run your games. Of course, the Surface Pro 7+ is way better suited for playing games with its Iris Xe graphics, but for some reason, that one is limited to businesses. This segment was also geared toward app compatibility, the biggest issue that's facing Apple's M1 processor, or any new architecture for that matter. The bottom line is that Windows PCs with Intel processors just run the apps that you want.
And the final thing Microsoft pointed out was the price. While it wasn't true that the Surface Pro 7 comes with a pen, the company did show prices that include the tablet, a keyboard, and the pen.
You'll notice that the advertisement doesn't mention Microsoft's own ARM-powered PC, the Surface Pro X. The main reason would be that Microsoft simply wouldn't have as much to brag about. App compatibility is even more of an issue with Windows on ARM than it is with Apple's M1 processor, and on top of that, the Surface Pro X is more expensive than the Surface Pro 7.
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft previews new Azure Resource Manager-based deployment model
by Hamza Jawad
Last year at its virtual Build conference, Microsoft introduced new templates for its Azure Resource Manager (ARM) service. Today, the tech giant has released the recently unveiled Cloud Services (extended support) model in the form of a public preview. With this move, the older Azure Service Manager (ASM)-based model will now be referred to as Cloud Services (classic).
The key changes that are brought to users through the newer variant are primarily deployment scripts-based, with no changes being required in the runtime code. For starters, Azure Key Vault will be used for certificate management in Cloud Services (extended support). A virtual network will also be necessary for any resource deployed through the ARM-based model. And finally, the Service Configuration and Service definition file will need to be fully consistent with whatever ARM template is being used to define the configuration for a project.
In terms of benefits that are being introduced, the ARM-based Cloud Services provides region resiliency, alongside all the other features offered through the ASM-based Cloud Services. Some ARM capabilities such as role-based access and control (RBAC), tags, policy, and support for deployment templates are provided as well. Two migration paths from ASM to ARM are to be provided: re-deploy, and in-place migration.
Microsoft has recommended additional Azure services including Virtual Machine Scale Sets, App Service, Azure Kubernetes Service, and Azure Service Fabric for those customers who are considering migrating to the extended support variant from the classic one. The newer one is suggested for application workloads that are not expected to evolve continuously.
Interested customers can learn more about Cloud Services (extended support) through its documentation. A preview of the re-deploy path is available starting today, while a preview for the in-place migration path is expected to be announced soon.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft updates its rollout plans for Windows 10 Team 2020
by Rich Woods
Back in October, Microsoft announced the Windows 10 Team 2020 Update, promising that it would begin rolling out the following week. In fact, it had an actual timeline of when it would roll out by region. In December, it partially paused the rollout due to some post-installation issues that some customers had, and today, the firm posted an update.
According to the update back in December, the first two phases had started rolling out, and that includes Surface Hub 2S devices in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, UK, Japan, Switzerland, and Italy. Out of the devices in those two phases, 70% had already completed the update. Phase three was the United States and Germany, and phase four was the rest of the world. Due to the issues that some customers had, it was phases three and four that were held back indefinitely.
Here's the deal if you've got a Surface Hub 2S. The Windows 10 Team 2020 Update is available via Windows Update for Business, and the Bare Metal Recovery image is available now. As for when it will be available through Windows Update, that will be February 2021. For the first-gen Surface Hub, the timeline is similar, although it's getting the update in Windows Update and Windows Update for Business in February 2021. Those users can, however, get it now by using the Surface Hub Recovery Tool.
There are several new features included in the feature update, such as Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge browser, which is making its way to more and more platforms. There's also support for inking with two pens at the same time, and there's a new Coordinated Meetings feature in Teams that lets you easily switch between Surface Hub and Teams Rooms devices on the fly.
Microsoft also noted that Windows 10 Team version 1703, the previous update for Surface Hub, will no longer be supported after March 16. So basically, the 2020 Update will arrive in late February and you'll have just a few weeks to upgrade before being out of support.