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Microsoft targets frontline workers with Teams walkie-talkie feature

Microsoft has added new features aimed at frontline workers that use its Teams workstream collaboration app, including a new “walkie-talkie” feature. 

With 200 million monthly active users on Office 365, Microsoft has been expanding its focus on  workers in the hospitality, manufacturing and retail industries. Many such employees have been underserved by IT in the past, the company argued, even though they’re the first point of contact with customers or products. 

Microsoft and others such as Google and Facebook, with its Workplace enterprise social network, see a lucrative – and relatively untapped market – in frontline workers. Microsoft notes there are some two billion people worldwide now in service- or task-oriented roles.

A raft of updates to Teams, Microsoft’s Office 365 collaboration app, arrived last week. Among them is the walkie-talkie feature, which is built into the Teams mobile app and lets users begin a conversation with a coworker at the push of a button or broadcast an audio message just as they’d do on an analog device. 

Unlike traditional walkie-talkies, there is no risk of cross-talk or eavesdropping by outsiders, Microsoft said in a statement. As it relies Wi-Fi or cellular data, the feature can be used across different geographic locations, too. The feature, available in preview “in the first half of this year,” is designed to reduce the number of devices workers carry and cut IT costs. 

The push-to-talk (PTT) function will be integrated into Samsung’s Galaxy XCover Pro, a ruggedized smartphone aimed at enterprise use and unveiled at the end of the CES trade show on Sunday. The XCover Pro features two programmable buttons users can press to activate the voice option in Teams.  

“Microsoft and Samsung have a deep history of bringing together the best hardware and software to help solve our customers’ challenges,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “The powerful combination of Microsoft Teams and the new Galaxy XCover Pro builds on this partnership and will provide firstline workers everywhere with the technology they need to be more collaborative, productive and secure.” 

The push to talk option should help Microsoft as it targets frontline workers with its products, said Raúl Castañón-Martínez, a senior analyst at 451 Research.

“These workers have typically been outside the scope of IT and business communications, but are becoming increasingly relevant for digital transformation initiatives,” he said. “The addition of PTT in Teams is particularly relevant because in many cases, frontline workers can benefit from a ‘heads up, hands free’ approach to mobile communications.”

Other features announced by Microsoft include integration with Microsoft Tasks in Teams,; integration with third-party work management platforms from Kronos and JDA; and identity and management features such as SMS sign-in using one-time codes sent to a smartphone; delegated user management; and shared device sign-out.

This is not the first time Microsoft has offered Teams features for frontline workers. A year ago, the company added location sharing, the ability to record and share audio messages, and a camera module with image annotation. It has also folded in functionality aimed at frontline workers from separate services, including shift management tool StaffHub and WhatsApp-like communications app Kaizala.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Steam’s New Design and Remote Play Together Feature Are Now Available for All – Review Geek

Steam has released an update that includes a new game library interface and a new feature that lets you play offline co-op games online. Both changes have existed in beta builds of Steam but are now available for everyone.

For all of the features that Valve has added to Steam over the last 16 years, the platform is sometimes criticized for having an outdated interface compared to the dashboards you’ll find on consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Today’s update works toward addressing that criticism with a modernized interface for the Steam client’s Library tab.

The Library tab still lists all your Steam games on the left, but the main panel on the right side is now full of tiled cover art from your games, which are organized into categories such as the titles you’ve played recently and what your friends have been playing lately. The games listed here include recommendations for what your friends are really into that you don’t already own.

Along with making it a little easier to discover new games, the Library tab features a “What’s New” section where you’ll find a news feed for games that you play and for Steam itself (there’s a notice about this interface update). This section is displayed right up top and should make it easy for players to see updates about their games as they go to play them through the Steam Library.

And although the Library tab still lists all your Steam games on the left, there are new options to organize the titles into separate “Collections” such as “Best Indie Games.” Right-click on the game in your library and go to Add to > New Collection where you can enter a new collection. This screen also lets you create dynamic collections that add filters to the mix.

Today’s update also brings the new Remote Play Together feature from Steam’s beta builds to the mainstream client for all. Remote Play Together lets you host multiplayer sessions for games that would otherwise be limited to local sessions where you and your friend are sitting on the same couch together. The feature works by streaming video of the host’s game to other players and sending control inputs from the other players to the host.

Both the updated Library interface and Remote Play Together should be available in an update for your Steam client.

Source: Steam





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YouTube Kills Its Direct Messaging Feature

YouTube is killing its native messaging feature, which means you’ll no longer be able to send direct messages on YouTube. However, the chances are you’ve never actually messaged anyone on YouTube and weren’t even aware that YouTube Messages existed.

In August 2017, YouTube introduced in-app messaging


YouTube Adds In-App Messaging on Android and iOS




YouTube Adds In-App Messaging on Android and iOS

YouTube is making a concerted effort to keep you using its app for longer. In order to achieve this lofty ambition the Google-owned company is adding messaging to its mobile app.
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on Android and iOS. Then, later on, the same messaging feature was added to the YouTube website. In a nutshell, Messages, as it was named, allowed you to share videos and chat with people.

YouTube Removes Its Direct Messaging Option

Now, two years on, YouTube is killing Messages. Google revealed the decision in a post on YouTube Help (as first spotted by 9to5Google). YouTube will be removing the ability to message people directly on September 18, 2019.

The reasons for retiring YouTube’s direct messaging feature are unclear. However, we suspect it simply wasn’t popular enough. YouTube claims it’s “constantly reevaluating our priorities” and has decided to “focus on improving public conversations”.

Most people are unlikely to be upset at this move. Firstly, because YouTube messaging has never been particular popular, and secondly, because there are so many other messaging apps available. So you can just grab the URL of the video and share it elsewhere.

However, having native messaging on YouTube did bring some benefits, such as integrated search and access to your viewing history, so for those who did use YouTube Messages, this could be a wrench. Hence the complaints posted on that support page.

YouTube Is Focusing on Public Conversations

YouTube says that since launching its direct messaging feature it has also “focused on public conversations with updates to comments, posts, and stories.” And these are the areas YouTube is likely to focus on improving moving forward.

If you’re one of the minority who will miss YouTube Messages, consider trying one of these strange and unusual messaging apps. Or, if you’re all about the content, check out our YouTube starter kit full of YouTubers worth watching


The YouTube Starter Kit: 20 YouTubers Worth Watching




The YouTube Starter Kit: 20 YouTubers Worth Watching

There’s a treasure trove of original content on YouTube. However, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Let us help you with our list of 20 YouTubers that form the perfect YouTube starter kit.
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Image Credit: Rego Korosi/Flickr





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How to Use Chrome’s Hidden “Send Tab to Self” Feature

Google Chrome logo on a blue desktop background

A new “Send Tab to Self” feature in Google Chrome lets you quickly send tabs between all your Chrome devices. This feature, available via a hidden flag in Google Chrome, is available in the stable version of Chrome today.

How It Works

Sure, you can access open tabs on other devices via the History page without any hidden flags if you use Chrome Sync—but this new feature is slicker and faster.

Once you’ve enabled it, you’ll find a new “Send to Your Devices” option when you right-click on a web page. It’ll list all the Chrome browsers you’re signed into with your Google account—on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, and even iPhone and iPad. Select a device to send a Chrome tab to that device.

Remember Google’s old Chrome to Phone browser extension, which let you send tabs from the Chrome browser on your computer to your Android phone? It’s kind of like that—but you can send tabs between your computers, too.

Like all flags, this is a work-in-progress feature. It may change or be removed at any time. Google may soon launch this as a stable feature that doesn’t require a flag. However, it’s available now in the stable version of Google Chrome 76.

RELATED: What’s New in Chrome 76, Available Now

How to Enable “Send Tab to Self”

This option is available as a flag. To find it, plug chrome://flags into Chrome’s address bar and press Enter. Search for “Send tab” in the search box.

Finding the Send Tab to Self flag in Google Chrome

You’ll see several different options. You must at least enable the “Send tab to self” and “Send tab to self show sending UI” options—click the boxes to the right of each and select “Enabled.”

You may also want to enable “Send tab to self history” to see sent tabs in your History page and “Send tab to self broadcast,” which lets you broadcast a tab to all devices instead of sending it to an individual one. (The broadcast flag didn’t appear to work when we tested it.)

Finally, if you want to use this feature without enabling Chrome Sync, enable the “Send tab to self: enable use when signed in regardless of sync state” option.

Enabling the Send tab to self flags in Google Chrome

When you’re done, click “Relaunch Now” to restart your Chrome browser with your flags enabled.

Repeat this process on all the Chrome browsers you use on different devices. If you only enable Send tab to self on a single device, you can’t send tabs to any other devices. Note that Chrome for iPhone and iPad doesn’t have flags, but it can still receive sent tabs.

Relaunching Chrome after enabling a flag

How to Send Tabs Between Your Devices

After enabling the flags and restarting your web browser, you’ll have access to the feature in two places.

You can right-click a web page to see the Send to Your Devices menu and click one of the devices to send the tab to it.

The "Send to your devices" menu in Google Chrome

The same option is available on the Omnibox, also known as the address bar. Click once in the bar, and you’ll see a “Send This Page” icon at the right side of the bar, to the left of the bookmark (star) icon. Click it, and you’ll see a list of devices along with when they were last active.

Sending a tab to another device from Chrome's omnibox

You’ll see a notification when you send the tab.

A Windows desktop notification for sending a Chrome tab to another device

A notification will appear on the other device, too. Click or tap the notification to immediately open the sent tab in Chrome.

Notification for a shared tab in Google Chrome on Windows 10

It will work differently on some platforms. For example, on iPhone, you won’t receive a notification—but you will see a “Tab Received” notice at the bottom of Chrome’s New Tab page. Tap “Open” to open the tab you sent.

"Tab received" notification in Google Chrome for iPhone

If you don’t see one of your devices in the list here, ensure it’s running the latest version of Google Chrome with these flags enabled, and that you’re signed into your same Google account on all your devices.

Other features are available via Chrome flags, too. For example, Google Chrome has a hidden “Reader Mode” that works just like the reading modes available in Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge.

RELATED: How to Use Google Chrome’s Hidden Reader Mode





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New Windows 7 ‘security-only’ update installs telemetry/snooping, uh, feature

Back in October 2016, Microsoft divided the Win7 and 8.1 patching worlds into two parts.

Those who got their patches through Windows Update received so-called Monthly Rollups, which included security patches, bug fixes – and we frankly don’t know what else – rolled out in a cumulative stream.

The folks who were willing to download and manually install patches were also given the option of installing “security-only” patches, not cumulative; these were meant to address just the security holes.

…From October 2016 onwards, Windows will release a single Security-only update. This update collects all of the security patches for that month into a single update. Unlike the Monthly Rollup, the Security-only update will only include new security patches that are released for that month. Individual patches will no longer be available…. The security-only update will allow enterprises to download as small of an update as possible while still maintaining more secure devices.

We’ve had lots of problems with the security-only patches in the intervening three years, with most of the difficulties tied to bugs created by the security-only patches that are fixed in Monthly Rollups. 

Those who use Windows Update to get their Win7 patches have been treated to all sorts of extraneous stuff, including the infamous snooping (or should I be politically correct and call it “telemetry”?) patch KB 2952664.

Now comes word that the July security-only patch, KB 4507456, includes an unexpected bonus. Snooping, er, telemetry.

According to an eagle-eyed anonymous tip on AskWoody:

The “July 9, 2019—KB4507456 (Security-only update)” is NOT “security-only” update.

It replaces infamous KB2952664 and contains telemetry. Some details can be found in file information for update 4507456 (keywords: “telemetry”, “diagtrack” and “appraiser”) and under http://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/ScopedViewInline.aspx?updateid=7cdee6a8-6f30-423e-b02c-3453e14e3a6e (in “Package details”->”This update replaces the following updates” and there is KB2952664 listed).

As @PKCano explains:

Microsoft included the KB2952664 functionality (known as the “Compatibility Appraiser”) in the Security Quality Monthly Rollups for Windows 7 back in September 2018. The move was announced by Microsoft ahead of time.

With the July 2019-07 Security Only Quality Update KB4507456, Microsoft has slipped this functionality into a security-only patch without any warning, thus adding the “Compatibility Appraiser” and its scheduled tasks (telemetry) to the update. The package details for KB4507456 say it replaces KB2952664 (among other updates).

Come on Microsoft. This is not a security-only update. How do you justify this sneaky behavior? Where is the transparency now.

Windows guru @abbodi86 has looked at the internals of the patch and concludes:

Disabling (or deleting) these schedule tasks after installation (before reboot) should be enough to turn off the appraiser

MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceProgramDataUpdater
MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceMicrosoft Compatibility Appraiser
MicrosoftWindowsApplication ExperienceAitAgent

but it’s best to wait until next month to see if the Security-only update comes clean

I’ve found no indication that the Windows 8.1 Security-only patch has been similarly subverted.

Debate among patch cognoscenti rages. Some feel that Microsoft is justified in adding telemetry to the last vestiges of Win7 – due for the scrap heap in January. Most see a fundamental deceit at play, with yet more Windows snooping software getting installed without forewarning or consent…, this time in a “Security-only” patch for heaven’s sake.

Security veteran Dr. Vess Bontchev put it simply:

I have officially stopped updating my Win7 machine. I no longer trust Microsoft’s updating process. I’ll protect it from any existing and future vulnerabilities with my other defenses, as well as I can. 

Even if Microsoft’s motives are clean as the driven snow, I find it difficult to justify this kind of contempt for Windows 7 customers. Unfortunately, with just six months of support left for the old OS, it seems unlikely that any regulatory body will take MS to task.

Join the debate on AskWoody.





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Wyze Cameras Add New “Person Detection” Feature for Notifications and Searches – Review Geek

An update to Wyze cameras allows users to be notified only if people are visible.
Wyze

If you’re using a security camera at home, you’re dealing with hundreds of hours of video a week. But if you need to retrieve any of it, you might only be interested in the bits with humans. Wyze gets that.

To help deal with constant live and recorded video, the company is rolling out “Person Detection” to its inexpensive cameras. With this feature enabled, the Wyze app will notify the phone app when a human walks into the frame of one of the cameras connected to your home network. Users can also search through recorded video, highlighting only the portions that include a human.

This sort of detection is much harder to automate than you might think—most of the consumer-facing software in the area has been focused on, well, faces. Wyze’s press release says that the company has partnered with Seattle-based software firm Xnor (pronounced Ecks-nor, not Znore) to perform AI processing on the Wyze Cam itself, no cloud server required.

Wyze says the person detection feature will reduce the number of false positives its users receive from the Wyze Cam v2 and Wyze Cam Pan. The feature will roll out in a firmware update starting today.





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Microsoft pares Windows 10 feature upgrades to 1 a year

Microsoft has again given its Windows 10 update model a furious shake, voiding one of the foundational concepts of the “Windows as a service” (WaaS) strategy.

In a multi-part announcement spread across three blog posts, Microsoft on July 1 said it had begun testing of the next Windows 10 feature upgrade, which it has codenamed 19H2 but by the company’s four-digit (yymm) labeling will be tagged with 1909 when it ships.

The first build of 19H2/1909 was released that same day to Windows Insider participants who set their PCs to receive the “Slow” ring versions. Insider will continue to deliver previews of 20H1 – the feature upgrade that will likely be dubbed 2003 to show it was completed in March 2020 – to testers on the “Fast” ring, as has been the case since February, when Microsoft debuted next year’s edition.

Although Microsoft did not put the announcement’s biggest news in plain English – instead relying on some marketing-speak, coded language and at least one new acronym – that news was impossible to miss.

Microsoft has ditched the idea of generating more than one feature upgrade annually, and will instead produce a single substantial refresh, apparently each spring.



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Which Web Browser Was The First To Feature Tabbed Browsing?

Geek Trivia

Which Web Browser Was The First To Feature Tabbed Browsing?

A Kernel Of Popped Corn Is Known As A?


Example of the first tabbed web browser interface
BookLink Technologies

Answer: InternetWorks

Although the concept of GUI tabs dates back decades (and first began appearing in commercial products as early as 1982 with IBM’s WordVision DOS word processor), the first web browser with a tabbed interface did not appear until the mid-1990s.

In 1994, BookLink Technologies released the InternetWorks web browser; InternetWorks’ most prominent feature was a tabbed GUI wherein tabs were laid out across the bottom of the browser pane and new browsing instances were kept within the same application window.

While the interface was copied by other browsers, including Internet Explorer add-on shell NetCaptor and the IBrowse web browser in the late 1990s, tabbed browsing didn’t really take hold until the early 2000s after modern browsers like Opera and Mozilla Firefox adopted the interface style.





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Facebook Dating Now Has a “Secret Crush” Feature

You can now find out which Facebook friends fancy you. This is thanks to a new Facebook Dating feature called “Secret Crush”. And as the name suggests, it plays on the fact that people often fancy other people from afar, but never actually say anything.

A Brief Introduction to Facebook Dating

Facebook announced Facebook Dating at F8 2018. Once you have opted in, you can browse Groups and Events for potential dates. Once you find someone you’re interested in, you can send them a text message. If they reciprocate, you can then take things further.

Facebook Dating has been available for a while in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina, and Mexico. It’s now also available in the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.

Secret Crush Matches You With Your Friends

Now that Facebook Dating is established, Facebook is ready to take things up a notch. So, at F8 2019, Facebook unveiled “Secret Crush”. This is a Facebook Dating feature designed to match you with your actual Facebook friends. Which is both clever and creepy.

Facebook Dating has a lot in common with Hinge, the dating app for people who hate dating apps


What Is Hinge? The Dating App for People Who Hate Dating Apps




What Is Hinge? The Dating App for People Who Hate Dating Apps

This is a short introductory guide to Hinge for those who are seeking a different kind of dating app.
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. Secret Crush adds a Tinder element to proceedings, because, like Tinder, people need to express a mutual attraction for each other before being matched.

Once you have opted in to using Secret Crush, you can select up to nine friends who you secretly fancy. If any of those friends is also on Facebook Dating they’ll get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them.

You can add any of your Facebook friends, but unless they’re also on Facebook Dating, have created a Secret Crush list, and put you on their list, they’ll never know you’re crushing on them. However, if you both add each other to your lists, it’s a match.

Helping Facebook Friends Hook Up Since 2019

Facebook Dating is a fantastic idea, as it makes use of Facebook’s vast userbase to help strangers get together. However, Secret Crush is designed to help friends get together, and that’s a riskier maneuver. Especially if the new relationship goes wrong.

While Facebook Dating still isn’t available in the US, Facebook has stated that it will arrive by the end of 2019. However, if you don’t want to wait that long for a potential relationship you could always check out these free alternative dating apps


Tired of Tinder? Seven Free Alternative Dating Apps




Tired of Tinder? Seven Free Alternative Dating Apps

Now that Tinder is charging for its services, it might be time to turn to one of the many other dating apps available. Which will you try?
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Explore more about: Facebook, Online Dating.





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Which 1980s Film Was Criticized As Being A Feature Length Commercial?

Movie cover for The Wizard
Universal Pictures

Answer: The Wizard

The Wizard was a 1989 film focused on the lives of three children: Jimmy (a young boy, played by Luke Edwards, who is suffering from PTSD after his twin sister Jennifer drowned two years earlier), Corey (Jimmy’s brother, played by Fred Savage), and Haley (played by Jenny Lewis). The plot revolves around Corey breaking his brother Jimmy out of an institutional home he’s been placed in and their quest to hitchhike to California to prove, via Jimmy’s savant-like video game abilities, that he has a talent and can function outside of the home.

When framed by just the plot, the movie sounds like a pretty heartwarming one, but that didn’t stop critics at the time from panning the film as an extended commercial. How much of a commercial? The video game tournament in the movie is completely Nintendo oriented. The antagonist in the film wields a Nintendo Power Glove, which is used to show how advanced a gamer he is. The movie features screen time for a staggering number of Nintendo video games including: R.C. Pro-Am, Contra, Double Dragon, Mega Man 2, F-1 Dream, Ninja Gaiden, Rad Racer, Super Mario Bros. 2 & 3, China Gate, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link; it was a veritable who’s-who of popular Nintendo titles.

In his review of the film, famed movie critic Roger Ebert wrote:

The movie is filled with shots of these little kids walking down highways, and hitching rides, and walking into bars and video parlors and Reno gambling casinos, and there wasn’t a moment when I didn’t question the sanity of the film and fear for their safety. It was only after the three kids arrived safely at the championships that I began to question the ethics of the film, which is, among other things, a thinly disguised commercial for Nintendo video games and the Universal studio tour.

Overall the number of video games and video game accessories in the film practically compete with the actors themselves for screen time. Given that, it’s little wonder that critics and parents viewed the film as little more than a Nintendo commercial.





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