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MS Office 2019 released

Microsoft Office 2019 has been released and is (has been) the default version that is installed if you do a new install from the Office 365 portal. Yesterday I had my first PC which automatically received the forced update from the 2016 version of office 365 to the 2019 version.For subscription based MS Office the startup splash screen has, for some time, just indicated that its "office 365" and not 2016 version or otherwise. This is the case with office 2019 as well, its "software as a service" and you just get the latest versions fixes, updates and new versions (regardless if you want them or not). So you may not initially notice much of a difference except for new Icons on the "Microsoft ribbon" toolbar.


For Office 2013 standalone (perpetual license) applications you won't get upgraded at all, if you were to want to upgraded you would need purchase the next Office 2019 standalone package or more sensibly now subscribe to office 365. The reasoning for that recommendation is below.

Now that the new version is out, that pushes Office 2016 to the "old version" and 2013 to "the really old and nearly forgotten version". Microsoft has a habit of only supporting the current version and the one before only so I am expecting that at some point office (Outlook) 2013 will stop working with office 365 mail.

No action is required just now but any new installs, significant changes or investment in time needs to bare all of this in mind, its fairly complex once you start talking about MS office in a business environment.

Microsoft has said here: https://products.office.com/en-au/office-system-requirements

Office 365 is designed to work with the latest browsers and versions of Office. If you use older browsers and versions of Office that are not in mainstream support: Microsoft won't deliberately prevent you from connecting to the service, but the quality of your Office 365 experience may diminish over time.
Microsoft won't provide code fixes to resolve non-security related problems.
See the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy site for Office mainstream support dates."

Office 2013 *is* out of mainstream support.

However, as I have already blogged about here. In 2020, Microsoft has specifically said it will block non subscription based Microsoft Office products from accessing Office 365 mail.
I do notice that on this page https://products.office.com/en-au/office-system-requirements they appear to be saying that they will in fact allow office 2016 and 2016 perpetual (Non- subscription) to access office 365 mail. I don't know if that's a softening of their stance or not.

"Effective October 13th, 2020, Office 365 services (e.g. Exchange Online, SharePoint Online) will only support Office client connectivity from subscription clients (e.g. Office 365 ProPlus), or the following Office perpetual clients: Office 2019 and Office 2016. See the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy site for Office mainstream support dates."

However regardless of the above statement being carried through or the policy being changed (again) I think it's time to move to subscription based. Say goodbye to 7-10 years of MS Office for $169 per PC, it will now cost you around AU$10 a month* (or AU$840 for 7 years) per user. On the flip side you do get 5 MS office installed FOR THE LICENSED USER (not purchase one user and install it for 4 of your other staff), so you can have full function MS office on your PC, laptop, phone, tablet and other PC.

One thing to bear in mind is that Office 2019 will only install on Windows 10, if you have any Windows 8.1 or 7 PC's the new 2019 version will not install, we had the same pinch point situation with Office 2010 and office 365 mail.

So that may mean a new MS office update, triggers a new MS Windows install, which may trigger a new PC as well depending on how sensible it is to invest time in an old windows 7 or 8 PC hardware. Roaming Windows profiles won't roam between Windows 7/8 either so that triggers a need to recreate and reconfigure roaming profiles for all staff if you upgrade windows version.

Roaming Windows profiles between different versions of MS office:
If you have roaming user profiles in your office to allow users to seamlessly move between PC's bear in mind that office (specifically Outlook) won't properly roam between different PCs that have different versions of MS outlook.

Microsoft access 2019 run time is now available free for those of you who have custom access databases I haven't invested any time in testing it yet but this open the gateway to being able to use the latest version of MS office *and* the access runtime.

This blog post has been provided for the benefit of digitalwelcomemat IT customers.
Treat this information as informative only and do not take actions or make decisions on the basis of the information contained here. All IT decisions and actions should be made after consultation with your chosen IT professional taking into account all the of the relevant factors.

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Roaming user profiles known issue

There is a Roaming user profiles known issue that Microsoft describes as follows: 

On a computer that's running Windows 10 Version 1803, you experience logon or logoff delays when you use roaming user profiles. You also receive the following error message: Your roaming profile was not completely synchronized. See the event log for details or contact administrator".

https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/4340390/roaming-profile-was-not-completely-synchronized-error-and-logon-logoff

If think you are experiencing this issue please let me know.

This blog post has been provided for the benefit of digitalwelcomemat IT customers.
Treat this information as informative only and do not take actions or make decisions on the basis of the information contained here. All IT decisions and actions should be made after consultation with your chosen IT professional taking into account all the of the relevant factors.

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UPS?

 Today would be a good day to consider if all your servers and PC's are protected by an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), more detail here:

https://www.digitalwelcomemat.com/index.php/home/entry/every-pc-deserves-a-ups

No UPS = unmitigated serious risk of catastrophic hardware failure and data loss in the event of a power surge or sag.

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MS Surface *Pro* with 4G

The Microsoft Surface Pro is now available with built in 4G as an option. Just grab an extra shared sim card and no more need to worry about shared Wi-Fi or hotspot when you're in and out of the office. This has been available on the low powered Atom based Surface [Standard] previously but this is new for the Surface Pro which is a full powered PC just like a laptop. (12.3" screen)

Although Surface starts AU$1,199.00 inc GST, sadly it's only the at AU$2,199.00 model that has 4G for now. (Special pricing for eligible students, parents and teachers is available on all models).

https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/surface/devices/surface-pro/overview


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Microsoft office 2019

Microsoft office 2019 which will be released later this year, as the traditional one-off purchase model or via office 365, will require Windows 10. 

It won't install on Windows 7 or 8. 

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Internet vs Local IP address

Normally I try to keep my posts here not too technical but I am getting this question a fair bit so here goes:

IP addresses on a local network vs "my" IP address on the internet simplified into one "easy to understand" diagram.

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711 million unique email address and passwords released on the internet

Be on the lookout for anything unexpected in your inbox after 711 million unique email address "Many containing passwords" have been made freely available on the internet in the last few days. This is being reported as the largest documented data dump to date. This data can be used in a variety of ways.


Worth mentioning a couple of important security practices:

  • DON'T REUSE PASSWORDS for different services, otherwise if www.sarahsmuffins.com.au gets hacked because Sarah doesn't know much about security then the bad guys will get access to all your accounts on the entire internet. Consider a password manager like LastPass or RoboForm.
  • Don't just click on links in emails, at least hover first to see where the link goes, if its an email from Telstra and the link is to www.getyourvirushere.com then don't click. If you are unsure just don't click it at all. Phone or email the sender from a new clean email seeking more details.


Details are here:
https://www.troyhunt.com/inside-the-massive-711-million-record-onliner-spambot-dump/

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Office changes, If you use Office 365

If you use Office 365…. and a perpetual (rather than subscription based) licence, Microsoft has announced some coming changes with the "supported version" of MS Office. 

Firstly if you don't use Office 365 for mail or SharePoint/OneDrive professional this does not affect you. 

MS has made this statement:
Effective October 13th, 2020, Office 365 will only allow Office client connectivity from subscription clients (Office 365 ProPlus) or Office perpetual clients within mainstream support to connect to Office 365 services. (Please refer to the Microsoft support lifecycle site for Office mainstream support dates.) https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/Office-365-system-requirements-changes-for-Office-client/ba-p/62327 

What this means is that from 2020 onward you will need either a subscription based version of MS office (Office 365) to be able to use it with "cloud based services" or you will need to update (and keep updated) your current version of MS office perpetual licence as the Office 2016 "mainstream support" ends on October 13th, 2020. All previous versions will be in the same situation at this point also. 

If you don't upgrade your $265 MS office home and business perpetual licence from Harvey Norman or Officeworks, you won't be able to connect to office 365. As you are probably aware the MS Office 365 subscription version is continually updated and you are always provided the latest version as part of your subscription. 

For business, the Office subscription is currently $10.50 per month extra for Office 365 (A total of $17.50 per user per month vs. $7.00 per user per month for just mail) https://products.office.com/en-au/compare-all-microsoft-office-products?tab=2 Over a 3 year period your MS office costs you $360 but you have the benefit of installing it for you to use on 5 different devices, for example your desktop PC, your laptop, your tablet and your phone. What you are not licenced to do is install it on another PC for another user to use, the 5 licences are for the single user account. 

In the past you have been able to effectively half the cost of MS office for your organisation by purchasing and then skipping the next version. For example purchase 2010 and (when there is a need) purchase 2016 (skipping 2013). However this appears not to be a viable option any longer and you will be required to update each version anyway which makes the subscription model better value. 

I would expect that there is a new version of Office to be released in 2018 based on the normal 3 year cycle from the last MS office release date which was September 2015. 2020 seems like a long way off but you need to be aware to be able to plan for moving to the subscription based version of MS office, knowing that you would be required to upgrade your MS office perpetual version anyway. 

This probably means any new users/PC should go on the subscription model from now onward.

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A SSD Hard drive provides a significant boost to performance but…

A SSD, or solid state [hard disk] drive provides a significant boost to computer performance over a traditional (platter) HDD additionally this technology generates less heat, less noise and provides for better battery consumption, but because of the cost to manufacture your typically SSD will be significantly smaller than the traditional option. A standard traditional hard drive will be perhaps 1TB or 2TB, a typical SSD might be 250GB (i.e. a quarter of a TB).

Make sure that you have considered your required HDD space before purchasing. You will have to share the hard drive with Windows, its updates, temporary/system files, program files (including games) as well as your data.

In a desktop PC, you may wish to consider two hard drives, a SSD for Windows which allows for fast start-up and general performance and a larger traditional (slower) hard drive for storage of large amounts of data. In a laptop you don’t typically have that option as there is normally (but not always) only space for one hard drive.

Images, video and installed games are the biggest hard disk consumers data wise (besides Windows and other required applications).
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Change the "default app" in Windows 10

To change the default program in Windows 10 that opens a particular file type, follow the instructions below. In this example Windows 10 defaults to opening PDF files in Microsoft edge browser which significantly reduces your functionality when working with PDF's here is how to change it to Adobe PDF reader . 

  • Locate a file of the type you want to change, right click on the file and select "open with" then "chose another app" (see points 1-3 below). 
  • When the dialog box comes up to make the selection, chose the app that you want to use (see 4 below), tick the "always use this app…" checkbox (see 5 below) and then press OK
  • From that point on this file type will open by default with your preferred program.
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Default printer changing by itself in Windows 10?

Default printer changing by itself in Windows 10? See here for the why and how to turn it off.

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FIVE key considerations to help with protecting your data

FIVE key considerations to help with protecting your data, your network, your identity and your money. 

  1. Don't be an administrator on your own PC for normal day to day work. Create a separate admin account and just be a normal "user" unless required. 
  2. Don't run outdated software; Old versions of Windows, Java, adobe other apps 
  3. Have a good quality antivirus installed, working with a current subscription 
  4. Don't visit undesirable or illegal sites (or if you must; learn enough to mitigate the risk, run in a sandbox, another user account, a Virtual PC, or another PC setup for this task) 
  5. Social engineering - Be vigilant when opening links or emails, unsolicited mail or other peoples USB drives 
  6. (Bonus) Get a good antispam/antivirus system that blocks you from as many threats as possible before they enter your network or PC. 
  7. (Bonus) Use complex passwords that are unique for your internet services
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Australia’s New Privacy Laws (2014)

I don't claim to be any expert on these legal matters but it looks like the Australian privacy laws are about to get a whole lot more complex and onerous to manage.

Happy reading:

http://complispace.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/australias-new-privacy-laws-are-you-ready/
http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-resources/privacy-fact-sheets/other/privacy-fact-sheet-17-australian-privacy-principles

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Windows phone

I have discussed Windows phone with a number of people recently here is some more information:

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-au/features

"Stay closer to the people and things you care about: Start screen

The Windows Phone Start screen makes sure you're always caught up and plugged in – to your best friend's texts, the time of your next meeting, the latest Groupon deals and whatever else you decide to pin there."

It’s not so much about any particular brand its more about the operating system (Microsoft Windows Phone 8), however a great brand would be Nokia. I love wireless charging!!.

You do need to think it through a bit before you make the change. If for example you are using Android now changing to Windows phone  you need to check if you have special apps that you need and see if they are available on the WP marketplace sure, not as many as Android but 145,000 will give you plenty of options, plus the phone has so much built in smart functionality that it really does make some of the other offerings out there look dated.

b2ap3_thumbnail_WP8.JPG

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Digitalwelcomemat provides IT consultancy and services for business customers on the NSW Central Coast in Australia.

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