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Microsoft Project Moca Arrives in Preview as a Trello Competitor

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Microsoft is known to be developing a collaboration task-management tool that takes plenty of inspiration from Trello. In fact, Project Moca is aiming directly for Trello by offering Office 365 users a native solution for sharing and accessing documents, tasks, To-Do Lists, Sticky Notes, media, files, and links.

Despite being in limited preview since May, Microsoft has not offered much information on Project Moca since its debut on the Office Insider Program. That is changing this week as the company has begun official promotion for the service.

Interestingly, Microsoft never officially confirmed Project Moca despite its being available to some in preview. Now the company is using the Outlook Blog to detail some of the aspects of the tool. Moca is built directly into Microsoft’s email service.

Moca allows users to create projects under spaces Interestingly, these spaces are very much like Trello cards for managing content. Users can enter these cards and edit content, leave links, tick off tasks, respond to messages, and more. Microsoft’s service will tap directly into Office through widgets for apps such as Excel and Word.

How it Works

In the blog post this week, Microsoft confirms Project Moca will integrate with Outlook for the Web. It allows users to compile what the company calls “Buckets” for projects. These areas will allow websites, links, tasks, files, emails, notes, and project goals to be compiled in a single space.

Microsoft points out the tool is now available in preview:

“Project Moca is available for Microsoft 365 consumer subscribers, EDU customers, and select commercial customers as a preview and is shipped off-by-default. Admins can enable it through PowerShell with the Set-OwaMailboxPolicy OwaMailboxPolicy-Default -ProjectMocaEnabled $true parameter.”

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Builds on JEDI Contract by Working with More Governments on Cloud Services

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Microsoft is actively seeking and signing cloud deals with foreign governments in the same vein of the JEDI contract it won with the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) last year. Speaking to CNBC, sources cloud to the Redmond giant say Microsoft is looking to build on that success with similar projects around the world.

If you’re unfamiliar with JEDI, it is the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project. Microsoft was chosen to provide the Pentagon with cloud services in an overhaul of storage and computing infrastructure.

Microsoft won a bidding war for the $10 billion project last year, beating Amazon Web Services (AWS). If you have been following this story, you will be aware the JEDI situation remains unresolved.

Amazon did not take the situation lying down and immediately started legal proceedings to stop Microsoft. Following an investigation, the DoD was expected to reach a decision on whether Microsoft will receive the contract. Both Amazon and Microsoft were told to provide new proposals.

Last week, the DoD requested 30 more days to reach a decision.

Moving Forward

While the JEDI contract remains up in the air, Microsoft is pressing on with plans to provide similar projects to other governments. According to a source, other governments are showing interest in the type of partnership Microsoft would have with the DoD.

The postponement on that start of work for JEDI meant employees could focus on similar projects for other governments. The source tells CNBC that Microsoft will announce some of these initiatives later this year. Specifically, it will be a cloud service that governments around the world will be able to use.

Microsoft did not respond directly to the claims, but said it continues to work with governments on cloud projects.

“We’ve worked with governments around the world on a longstanding and reliable basis for four decades,” a spokesperson told CNBC. “We have government customers using our products to enhance their services with the latest in commercial innovations, deeply engage and connect with citizens in powerful ways, and empower government employees with the modern tools they need to be more efficient and effective, and to give them time back to focus on their agency mission.”

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft 365 Backups – Do you need them (Part Two)

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In the first part of this series, we considered the position most people need to deliberate when they choose Microsoft 365 – what will happen if they lose data and need to restore it, and what are the likely scenarios which need protection.

To help better understand, from an independent viewpoint, what this looks like with Microsoft 365 alone, we covered and linked to the relevant Microsoft guidance to manage these scenarios. In the second part of this series, we’ll look at how you might reduce the likelihood of a problematic restore being necessary, and consider what other Microsoft 365 customers do, and why.

Prevention is better than cure

While it’s true that if you do nothing to protect your data in Microsoft 365 – then it’s likely that a computer could become infected with malware, and this could encrypt your data in OneDrive or SharePoint for Business. Or, a user could accept a carefully crafted phishing link to a site that requested access to data in their mailbox, which then attempted to destroy the data.

The challenge with or without a backup product is going to be the same. Restoring the data, whether it’s via a robust interface provided by a backup vendor, or by choosing the right method to restore data in Exchange or SharePoint Online is a task you will wish to avoid.

The amount of data you’ll store in Microsoft 365 will grow over time.

For example, on a Microsoft 365 Business or E1 subscription, users will have 1TB of available storage – with E3, up to unlimited and easily configured by an admin to reach 5TB.

You might not expect to actually use that amount of storage though, obviously. However, if we consider that you might over the next few years see OneDrive consuming, say, 50GB per user this adds up to 50 terabytes for a medium-size business with 1000 employees.

Backup tools use the same APIs as migration vendors. So if you want to get an appreciation for how long this might take, you’ll find a reasonably optimistic one here – and that’s assuming that the backup vendor is using modern APIs for migration. If we go with the Medium example for Office files, it could take 50 days to perform a full restore.

In a scenario you might be looking to protect against – such as most PCs being infected with ransomware and corrupting a large number of files in user OneDrive locations – 50 days isn’t really going to be helpful. If you dismiss the likelihood of that happening and assume that it might only be a smaller number of users, then the capabilities to either detect it client-side or recover as an admin will be just as useful.

Instead, preventing the likelihood of this occurring is a better strategy. Removing risks of users consenting to dangerous sites accessing their data, by eliminating the ability for a user to grant consent, enabling security defaults or conditional access policies, using advanced functionality like Microsoft Cloud App Security, Office 365 ATP, Defender ATP or equivalent functionality. Microsoft has a wealth of information available, if you want to hear it from Microsoft directly.

What do other Microsoft 365 customers typically do?

Large enterprises have so much data it takes years to move all their email and file data into Microsoft 365. Recently there’s a popular suggestion that a lot of digital transformation that typically takes years has taken place in weeks. In some cases, some organizations spent a lot of time thinking about what they’ll do before doing it – but in most cases, the multi-year program takes that long because there’s a maximum speed data can be migrated. For a full, complete digital transformation, they usually re-organize and relocate a large amount of existing data.

This typically means that buying a third-party backup service to backup supported services in Microsoft 365 in their entirety simply isn’t possible. Most organizations in this situation will be fortunate enough to employ outside consultancy, Subject Matter Experts and even whole teams who can take time to understand the protection features in the service, agree upon configuration settings that will be appropriate, and implement a suitable operating model for ensuring the aspects of the Microsoft 365 a customer is responsible for are managed correctly.

A sizable minority of enterprises supplement protection functionality in Microsoft 365 with third-party tools to provide backup capabilities, though. It might be understood that it’s not likely to be practical to back-up all data, or even all data that could be backed up and restored.

However, there may be certain SharePoint Sites (for example) that contain business-critical data that will provide additional assurance to have a secondary backup. In some other cases, there may be contractual stipulations that require a customer’s data to be backed up to a secondary service.

There are other organizations – not just enterprises – who consider email to be the most business-critical method of communication and decide to use email continuity services that work with Microsoft 365. These services are typically marketed as Office 365 backup, but obviously only work with email. These typically also work as an email protection gateway product, providing similar functionality to Office 365 ATP (but without SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and Office client protection) and also provide email journaling functionality.

The key selling point of a service such as this is that should Exchange Online become unavailable for a short period of time, an organization can continue to send and receive email using the email continuity service.

However, longer-term, an email continuity service might become less useful. Message protected by technologies like AIP might not be accessible in the event of a supposed Microsoft 365 service failure. And most organizations that plan to use email less, and use technologies like Teams and Yammer more, and wisely collaborate on documents in SharePoint or OneDrive, will either need to accept that the service will provide less value to them over time, or hold back from adopting those services.

Like any rule, though, there is an exception. Smaller to medium size customers often have a more durable case for finding value in a Microsoft 365 backup service.

An IT professional in a medium-size organization, responsible for the system administration of a variety of platforms and services has a broad set of knowledge that many enterprise IT professionals with technology specializations don’t possess.

Crucially, in many medium-sized organizations, Microsoft 365 isn’t the focus of their day-to-day job, in much the same way the Exchange Server wasn’t something they spent each day carefully managing. Microsoft 365 is an evergreen service, which does mean there is a continuous learning process about upcoming changes and new functionality, and even Microsoft 365 specialists struggle to keep up with the various changes weekly.

Understandably, therefore, more small and medium-size customers opt for Microsoft 365 backup solutions. Hearing from those customers it may be that they don’t have the level of licensing available to provide the complete protection discussed earlier, or in many cases, the relative cost of an Office 365 backup solution for the number of users or amount of data they have provides a good value offering.

Summary

If you’re dead-set on opting for a Microsoft 365 backup solution, then it is crucial to look for a solution that covers all the scenarios you are looking to protect against – and the services you need to protect.

Overwhelmingly the better option for most organizations appears to be cloud-based Microsoft 365 backup solutions. These solutions tend to either be from companies who have developed their solutions from the ground-up to support Microsoft 365. Therefore many will keep pace with available opportunities to backup and restore.

More traditional backup solutions, while familiar, tend to lag behind the cloud-first vendors. These solutions often offer a Hybrid backup solution – such as backup of on-premises Exchange Servers – and generally only extend to the most basic scenarios. Rudimentary Teams backup, for example, appears non-existent in on-premises backup tools for Microsoft 365 I’ve looked at.

Source Practical365

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Whiteboard Gets Sticky Notes Across Versions

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Users of Microsoft Teams can now tap into new Whiteboard features after a recent update. According to Microsoft, its Whiteboard tool will now support sticky notes and text in Teams. As well as arriving on Teams a week ago, those same features are now available on the web version of the tool.

Furthermore, Microsoft is also expanding the availability to Windows 10 and iOS versions of Whiteboard. There’s still no word on when Android can expect the features. When the update debuted on Teams last week, it was only for education users. With the expansion to other versions, the new tools are also coming to enterprise users.

Sticky notes support is an important addition. With this available, users can add their ideas quickly to a canvas. Sticky notes can be posted anywhere on the canvas, while text objects can also be added in this way.

Users also benefit from now being able to move objects around the canvas, ideal for reorganizing Whiteboard content.

For web users, the biggest change is a revamp of the web application. Microsoft says this overhaul has focused on performance and general improvements. The company adds it can now roll out updates to the Teams and web versions of Whiteboard together.

Application

Whiteboard integrates with the inking capabilities of Microsoft Office to bring content to a screen that can be used by multiple users across devices.

Functional locally or online, the service works with mouse, keyboard, pen, and touch. Documents sync automatically to the loud for use on any PC at a later date and inviting another user is as easy as sharing a link.

If you’re interested in the Whiteboard app on Windows 10, you can download it from the Microsoft Store here.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Flight Simulator Teams with AI Firm Blackshark

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Microsoft Flight Simulator is now in its Closed Beta ahead of a full launch later this month. As Microsoft wraps up preview development of the bleeding edge title, the company is turning its attention to other areas. Specifically, a partnership with an AI firm.

In the latest development update for Microsoft Flight Simulator, the company announced a collaboration with blackshark.ai. Thomas Richter-Trummer, who represents blackshark says the company’s AI solutions will be folded into Flight Simulator.

By leveraging AI, users can “fly over the whole world as a backdrop of the game, offering unmatched gaming experiences on all levels”.

Elsewhere in the world of Flight Simulator, Microsoft says the recently launched Marketplace Partnership Program is already a success. In fact, Redmond says hundreds of companies have already shown interest in the program.

Also in the latest update, Microsoft Flight Simulator SDK got a tweak. Microsoft says it will now make new features clearer in its documentation.

Coming Soon

Last month, Microsoft confirmed its Microsoft Flight Simulator game is arriving on Windows 10 in August. Following a year in preview, Microsoft did not discuss other platforms that will be supported. Also in July, the company says the title will be available on Steam, while VR support is also incoming.

Microsoft says the title will come to Steam on August 18. That’s the same day the game will go live on Windows 10. Pre-orders for the Standard, Deluxe, and Premium Deluxe editions are open now. As for VR support, Microsoft says the game will support TrackIR and VR. The former will be available at launch in August, while VR support will drop during the fall.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft Looking to Expand Surface Duo Native Apps Over Time

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All reports and movement point to Microsoft launching the Surface Duo in August. Of course. the company introduced the Android smartphone last October. During the interim time, the company has been working to bring the device to launch-ready maturity.

However, it seems the software package first adopters of the Duo receive will not be the final one. Instead, Microsoft looks to be working on constantly improving the app bundle that is available on the smartphone.

According to a new Redmond job post, the company is looking for a Senior Software Development Engineer. Under this role, the employee will work on Android apps that highlight the dual-screen of the Surface Duo.

Microsoft will also develop a software roadmap for these future applications. It is worth noting that those early buyers of the Duo won’t miss out on anything. Any new apps that are developed for the device will be available on already purchased units.

Expanding Functionality

This is arguably an important step for Microsoft. Many smartphone manufacturers have a rounded collection of base apps that arrive with their devices. You can think of these as similar to native Windows apps. Because Microsoft has not built smartphones for years and never on Android, these kinds of apps are something the Duo will need.

Yes, Microsoft can call on an arsenal of services like Office, but those little task-oriented apps will be important, especially for the dual-screen nature of the Duo. While the handset will launch with a collection of these apps, Microsoft clearly wants to flesh out the catalog over time.

That means users can expect the functionality of the Surface Duo to increase in the months following its release.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Edu

Microsoft July 2020 Patch Tuesday Update Arrives for Windows 10 20H2

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It’s that time of the month again where Microsoft rolls out cumulative updates for Windows. For July 2020 Patch Tuesday, the company has sent out its usual batch of security patches and fixes. As well as update all existing supported builds, including the new Windows 10 version 2004, Microsoft also patched Windows 10 20H2.

This is the company’s next major Windows 10 release, which will arrive later this year. Windows 10 20H2 is previewing in the Beta channel, which recently replaced the Fast Ring of the Windows Insider Program.

It is worth noting Windows 10 20H2 is the new version name for what was one previewing as Windows 10 version 1909. Microsoft decided to start naming Windows versions for their date cycle instead of year and month.

Fixes

Either way, this means July 2020 Patch Tuesday is rolling out cumulative updates to 20H2 just as it would for version 1909. Specifically, the update that handles the 20H2 preview is KB4565503. Below is the changelog, which mostly mirrors the wider Patch Tuesday updates for Windows 10 version 2004:

  • “We fixed an issue that might prevent you from using PowerShell to change the system locale on Server Core platforms.
  • We fixed an issue that might cause certain games and applications to have visual distortion when resizing in windowed mode or switching from full screen to window mode.
  • Fixed an issue that causes lsass.exe to fail with the following error message, “A critical system process, C:\WINDOWS\system32\lsass.exe, failed with status code c0000008. The machine must now be restarted.”
  • We fixed an issue that might prevent some applications from printing documents that contain graphics or large files after installing Windows Updates released June 9, 2020.
  • We fixed an issue that might prevent you from connecting to OneDrive using the OneDrive app. This issue occurs on some older devices or on devices that have older apps, which use legacy file system filter drivers. As a result, this might prevent these devices from downloading new files or opening previously synced or downloaded files.
  • Security updates to the Microsoft Scripting Engine, Windows App Platform and Frameworks, the Microsoft Store, Windows Graphics, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Media, Windows Shell, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Management, Windows Kernel, Windows Hybrid Cloud Networking, Windows Storage and Filesystems, Windows Update Stack, Windows MSXML, Windows File Server and Clustering, Windows Remote Desktop, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge Legacy, and the Microsoft JET Database Engine.”

RemoteFX vGPU Disabled

Earlier today, we reported on Microsoft’s decision to disable RemoteFX vGPU in Patch Tuesday because of an unpatched vulnerability. The aging tool is being completely shut down in February next year and Microsoft says it is not even a part of current Windows builds.

“A remote code execution vulnerability exists when Hyper-V RemoteFX vGPU on a host server fails to properly validate input from an authenticated user on a guest operating system. To exploit the vulnerability, an attacker could run a specially crafted application on a guest operating system, attacking certain third-party video drivers running on the Hyper-V host. This could then cause the host operating system to execute arbitrary code,” Microsoft explains in CVE-2020-1036.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Flight Simulator Nears Closed Beta Release

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Microsoft Flight Simulator is moving towards the final stages of its preview development. Microsoft has announced the game is now in final testing for its closed beta. Furthermore, the company says this closed beta preview will be made available on July 30.

This means Microsoft Flight Simulator is leaving a relatively long period of Alpha builds. Anyone who has been testing the game in alpha will be automatically promoted to the closed beta. The next step seems to be Microsoft putting a rubber stamp on when the full game will be released.

It’s worth noting the company is hosting a game showcase on July 23. There’s a solid chance Flight Simulator will play a part in that virtual event. However, it’s likely Microsoft will confirm a launch date for the PC version before console.

This months’ game showcase is for the upcoming Xbox Series X. Although, it also serves as a replacement for at least part of Microsoft’s planned E3 2020 schedule. As such, we could see some information about Microsoft Flight Simulator’s launch on PC.

New Update

Furthermore, Microsoft could also detail its plans for the game on its Xbox consoles. Another round of alpha invites have been sent out, which will also bring more users into the closed beta when it launches.

Elsewhere, Microsoft has also rolled out a new Alpha 5 update (build 1.5.4.0). This release focuses on making improvements to the flight model, tweaking airports and planes, and dealing with some bugs.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Testing Your Phone Multi-Device Sync Features

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Microsoft’s Your Phone is increasingly becoming the powerful tool we hoped it would be when it arrived two years ago. In its latest push, Microsoft is testing a feature that would allow the app to sync multiple devices to a Windows 10 PC.

It’s been a long road for Your Phone to reach the sort of functionality that will make it valuable to users. That’s partly because Microsoft has been incrementally updating the app. That cautious approach has been frustrating sometimes, but recent features have expanded Your Phone beyond mere novelty.

Microsoft took to the official Your Phone Twitter account to reveal the new features. As mentioned, it is currently in testing and will allow users to add another smartphone to the app.

If you’re unfamiliar with Your Phone, it is a bridging application that let’s users view and use their smartphone on their Windows desktop. While it is available on Android and iOS, the Android version has more features because of Apple’s platform micromanagement.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see the multiple sync feature testing on Android and not iOS. Although, this is probably the type of tool that Microsoft can transition to iOS in the future. When that will happen, or indeed when this feature will be fully launched, remains to be seen.

Image Management

Just this week we discussed another inbound Your Phone feature that will expand the usefulness of the app. Specifically, more robust image management is coming to the service.

When the feature arrives, it will allow users to collect images from their smartphone on their Windows PC. Furthermore, the Your Phone desktop app will also provide the ability to browse through images and delete them.

Microsoft is also bringing a prompt that allows users to pin the app to the Windows taskbar.

Source Winbuzzer
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Microsoft Edu

Build 2020: Microsoft Edge Gains Pinterest Integration and Sidebar Search Tool

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At Build 2020 today, Microsoft introduced two important new tools for its Microsoft Edge browser. Firstly, the company revealed an integration between the Edge Collections feature and social image platform Pinterest. Secondly, Microsoft Edge has also received a new Sidebar Search tools.

Starting with the Pinterest collaborations, it could extend the functionality of Collections and make them useful. Edge Collections currently allow users to organize content into groups. For example, images, text, and notes can be saved together into a collection.

It is a decent organization tool that you can use to group content from multiple websites, pages, and even browser sessions. With the new Pinterest integration, users can now look for content that will fit into the collections.

“This new integration with Pinterest will help you find ideas to spark inspiration, save time, and be more productive by suggesting content related to what you have already collected. When you enable the feature, you will see Pinterest suggestions at the bottom of your collection.”

When the feature is enabled, Pinterest feeds suggestions at the bottom of the Collection page. Clicking a relevant suggestion opens a board showing similar Pins that you can then add to a collection on Edge.

Microsoft says the integration will also come to OneNote and will reach both services in preview next month.

Sidebar Search

Also at Build, Microsoft introduced Sidebar Search for Microsoft Search. The company says this is a new way to search without leaving the page that may have prompted the search.

For example, if you’re reading a Wikipedia page and want to search for something that piques your interest. Instead of opening a new tab and leaving the page, you can use the Sidebar Search tool.

Microsoft wants the search to be as intuitive as possible. Highlighting a word or phrase presents the user with a “search in sidebar” option on a right click. Like the Pinterest integration, Sidebar Search will come to Insiders in the coming weeks.

Source Winbuzzer

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