Microsoft to launch new version of Office this year
A new version of Microsoft Office for commercial customers – Office LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) – will be launched later this year, as will Office 2021 for consumers and small businesses. It will be available for both Windows and Mac. It is designed for users who don’t want to use the cloud-based Microsoft 365 version of Office products.
Tom Warren from The Verge investigates more about this latest version.
The release of Office 365 in 2011 saw Microsoft take its productivity software in a new direction. For the first time, the Office suite will be available as part of a subscription service.
Features of the new version of Microsoft Office
The new version of Microsoft Office, for which there will be a preview next month, will include dark mode support, accessibility improvements, and features like Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP in Excel. The most obvious change visually will be with Dark Mode. Currently, Word has a dark mode which modifies the ribbon and toolbars. However, the canvas stays bright white. The ability to switch the canvas into dark mode, too, will be available in Office LTSC. The note taking program OneNote will also be available in the new version.
The interface will change and some features of the new version will mirror those of Microsoft 365.
“We have a lot of customers that have moved to the cloud over the last 10 months. That has happened en masse really. At the same time, we definitely have customers who have specific scenarios where they don’t feel like they can move to the cloud”, said Jared Spataro, Head of Microsoft 365.
Support and pricing
The new version of Microsoft Office LTSC will be supported for five years. This means, the support offered is two years less than with the current version. This revised length of support aligns more closely with how Windows is supported. Microsoft are aligning its release schedules for both Office and Windows more closely. Both 32- and 64-bit options will be available.
Pricing for Office Professional Plus, Office Standard, and individual apps will be increasing by ten percent for commercial customers.
Make sure your Office has the latest version
Efficiency is so important for business. Being able to create, collaborate and communicate seamlessly makes any organisation more effective. Having access to productivity tools that enable your team to do their jobs more easily. Accessing your work from anywhere, allows businesses to be agile and lets them compete in their sector.
Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss the new version of Microsoft Office. Are you running older version of Microsoft Office? We can help with upgrades, security, cloud back up and any of your IT requirements.
There’s no better feeling than getting a new PC. Until you start it the first time and realise it’s full of software you didn’t want or need! To your frustration your new PC is slow. You would expect it to come with a fresh installation of Windows and a clutter-free hard drive. But often manufacturers will preload their computers with all kinds of unnecessary programs, often called ‘bloatware’ and it will slow down your computer. Our new video shows why bloatware is on your computer, and what to do about it.
PC slowed down by bloatware? Almost all manufacturers are guilty of doing this to some degree. There may be lots of strange shortcut icons on your desktop when you first start your PC. Or if the All Programs section of the Start Menu lists lots of non-Microsoft applications that you never use, then your PC may be bursting with bloatware.
Why is bloatware still a threat?
All computer manufacturers are guilty of installing software on new machines. Lenovo for example is a company that installed bloatware on its devices that made users susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks. Another question to ask is, why is every new PC in this country pre-installed with German, French, Italian and Dutch office trials. If bloatware isn’t secure, it can put a PC at risk. All software installed on a PC must be kept up to date and secure – including bloatware.
Are you protected?
What Anti-Virus and other PC “protection” software does your new PC have installed? Many machines are shipped with massive dead weight old fashioned Anti-Virus which saps 30%+ of your performance when compared to a fast modern cloud managed product such as LIS managed Anti-Virus.
Like most PC problems, mobile devices are also susceptible to bloatware. While Android bloatware could be relatively harmless and just show ads, it can be used to expose users to risks. For example, some bloatware that can be used to spy on device owners could technically be used for legitimate purposes, such as managing the device.
How to detect bloatware
Is your PC slowed down by bloatware? Often, bloatware is identified by performance degradation. For example, devices weighed down by bloatware can take a long time to boot up, have slowed reaction times or storage issues.
Trialware is a common form of bloatware. Such software applications are included on devices for free when they are purchased and work for a specific trial period until a license is purchased. Adware that pops up on websites or on devices’ screens is another form of bloatware, as are system utilities and applications pre-installed on devices by manufacturers.
Bloatware can be detected by end users by looking through the installed applications and identifying any applications they did not install. It can also be detected by an enterprise IT team using a mobile device management tool that lists installed applications.
Make sure your computers are set up by professionals
This time of year, businesses are reviewing their IT equipment. Is your system running slow or in need of an upgrade? Don’t be fooled by large retail outlets special offers. Their solutions may not be right for you and most of them do not offer monthly IT support contracts.
Contact the LIS Help Desk for friendly, knowledgeable and impartial advice about IT systems. We can advise you on the best hardware and software solutions to suit your business. Our technicians will set up your PCs so they are ready for you to plug and play.
A good professional install will review and remove all bloatware. All PCs shipped by LIS come direct from the manufacturer but are then cleaned, secured and prepared to your business standard by our team before being released to you
“On 1st February 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union. The Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020. During the transition period organisations, residents and citizens in the UK will continue to be able to hold and register a .eu domain. The plan outlined below will apply as from the end of the transition period.
Find out what you need to do if you hold a .eu domain by visiting the government website.
According to Article 4 (2) (b) of Regulation (EC) No 733/2002, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/517. The following persons, undertakings and organisations are eligible to register .eu domain names:
a Union citizen, independently of their place of residence;
a natural person who is not a Union citizen and who is a resident of a Member State;
an undertaking that is established in the Union; or
an organisation that is established in the Union, without prejudice to the application of national law.
Do you a have a business or personal website? Is your email address based on your domain name? Does your business rely on sales via your online shop or email? How would you feel if it all stopped working?
The transition period ended on 31 December 2020. At the end of the transition period, EURid enforced the following measures:
As of 1st Jan 2021, EURid does NOT allow the registration of any new domain name by UK registrants. From that date, EURid will allow neither the transfer or update, of any domain name to a UK registrant.
On 1st October 2020, EURid notified by email all UK registrants and their registrars that they would lose their eligibility as of 1 January 2021. Unless they demonstrated their compliance with the .eu regulatory framework by updating their registration data before 31 December 2020. They could do so by indicating a legally established entity in one of the eligible Union Member States. As well as, updating their residence to a Union Member State, or proving their citizenship of a Union Member State irrespective of their residence.
On 21st December 2020, EURid notified by email all UK registrants who did not demonstrate continued compliance with the eligibility criteria and their registrars about the risk of forthcoming non-compliance with the .eu regulatory framework.
On 1st January 2021, EURid notified by email all UK registrants and their registrars that their domain name was no longer compliant with the .eu regulatory framework and therefore. It will be moved to the so-called “SUSPENDED” status until31 March 2021. A domain name in the “SUSPENDED” status can no longer support any service such as website and email. However, may still be reinstated if registration data is updated to meet the eligibility criteria.
On 1st April 2021, EURid will once again notify by email all UK registrants and their registrars that their domain name is no longer compliant with the .eu regulatory framework and consequently is moved to the so-called “WITHDRAWN” status. A domain name in the “WITHDRAWN” status is not in the zone file and cannot support any service.
On 1 January 2022, all the domain names in the “WITHDRAWN” status, formerly assigned to UK registrants, will be REVOKED. Subsequently, they will become AVAILABLE for general registration. Their release will occur in batches for security reasons.
Choose your domain name wisely
Choosing the right domain name for your website is crucial for your success. If you choose the wrong domain name, then it can be a hassle to switch later on without affecting your brand and search rankings.
Contact The LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our Technical Support staff. We can register you a new domain name for your business today, or maybe we have a domain name of interest in our large library of domains for sale. We can also provide web hosting for your new domain, Microsoft Office 365 for your email and cater for all your other IT requirements.
Domain names sell fast. Contact us today to see if your favourite domain names are available.
On December 31, 2020, Adobe officially stopped support for Flash – the browser plugin that helped define the early internet. The company announced it would be killing off Flash in 2017, but the time has finally come. Adobe won’t provide any new security updates and is actively encouraging people to uninstall it. It will also stop videos and animations running in Flash Player from January 12, 2021.
Adobe Flash Ends after 25 years
The plugin was first created way back in 1996. It became a pillar of the internet by allowing people to stream videos and animations within the browser.
Animator David Firth told theBBC: ‘You could make a full three-minute animation with multiple characters, backgrounds, sounds and music less than 2 megabytes (MB) and viewable from within the browser.’
Adobe Flash Player is finally laid to rest, and people are mourning its death with memes.
Why was Flash popular?
When Flash was first released, a majority of Internet users connected via dial-up connections. Thankfully the Internet is now a lot faster thanks to supper fast broadband.
However, Flash let web designers and animators deliver exciting content that could be downloaded relatively quickly.
“You could make a full three-minute animation with multiple characters, backgrounds, sounds and music less than 2 megabytes (MB) and viewable from within the browser,” explained animator David Firth.
His surreal animations and characters – such as the gangly, green hunchback Salad Fingers – enjoyed viral success before the advent of social media.
“I just made the stuff I wanted to see that I felt was missing: dark, surreal comedy,” he told the BBC.
“There were no shortcuts to viral content. No corporate fingers twiddling the algorithms. It was simply attention-grabbing and quality material that rose to the top.”
Sites such as Newgrounds – described as “the YouTube of Flash” by Mr Firth – sprung up to serve the growing demand for cartoons and interactive games.
“It was the first website I’d ever seen that allowed anyone to post content and it be available in real time. If the community felt the content was low quality, it would get removed at the end of the day, so you actually had to take that into account when posting,” he said.
Flash was about more than just animations – it also let websites such as YouTube stream high-quality video. By 2009, Adobe said Flash was installed on 99% of internet-connected desktop PCs. But by then the world was shifting towards mobile devices and Adobe was slow to react.
“We had optimised for lower-end phones with Flash Lite,” explains David Mendels, former executive vice president of products at Adobe.
“It was incredibly successful in places like Japan, but it wasn’t the same as the full desktop Flash. It wasn’t fully compatible.”
In April 2010, Apple’s Steve Jobs wrote a blistering open letter headlined Thoughts On Flash. It explained why Apple would not let Flash run on iPhones and iPads.
Flash, he argued, was cumbersome to use on a touchscreen, unreliable, a security threat and a drain on battery life.
He said videos and animations could instead be delivered with HTML5 and other open technologies. This will make Flash redundant on a smartphone or tablet. “When the iPhone came out, Flash wasn’t quite ready,” Mr Mendels told the BBC. “But also, I think Apple wanted to create an Apple-only ecosystem.”
Eventually, Adobe did get a version of its Flash Player working on smartphones.
It continued to produce Flash for desktop computers, but the software suffered from multiple security flaws.
In 2015, Apple disabled the plug-in in its Safari web browser by default, and Google’s Chrome started blocking some pieces of Flash content.
In July 2017, Adobe announced that it would retire Flash in 2020.
It said other technologies, such as HTML5 had matured enough to provide a “viable alternative”, without requiring users to install and update a dedicated plug-in.
What happens to all the old animations?
It is sad that Adobe Flash will be ending. As of 12th January 2021, Flash Player will prevent content from displaying. There are concerns that years of animations, games and interactive websites will be lost.
Gaming company Zynga closed the original version of its FarmVille video game on New Year’s Eve after 11 years, as it relied on Flash to run.
An open, collaborative project known as Ruffle is working to develop software that can play Flash content in a web browser, without requiring a plug-in.
The Internet Archive is currently hosting more than 2,000 items. Its collection includes episodes of Salad Fingers, although David Firth has posted official copies on YouTube, which he considers having been a “Flash killer”.
“As time went on and YouTube offered higher and higher-quality video formats, there was simply no reason to post in the Flash format,” he explained.
But since Flash was also used for interactive websites and games, there was “every reason to preserve the format”, he told the BBC.
Many of the feature’s animators used are still available in Adobe Animate. In its final update, Adobe said: “We want to take a moment to thank all of our customers and developers who have used and created amazing Flash Player content over the last two decades.
“We are proud that Flash had a crucial role in evolving web content across animation, interactivity, audio, and video.”
How can I remove Flash from my computer?
Adobe has provided instructions for removing Flash onWindowsandMaccomputers on its website.
It has warned: “Uninstalling Flash Player will help to secure your system. Adobe does not intend to issue Flash Player updates or security patches after the end-of-life date.”
Alternatively, please contact theLIS Help Deskand speak to our knowledgeable technical support team. We can assist you with updates and health checks for your computer systems. Now is the time to review your IT requirements. Make sure you have the latest software and security. This will provide the most effective solutions for your team and let you customers have the best experience.
You may have heard that Macs are safer than Windows PC’s when it comes to cyber security and that is partly true. But it doesn’t mean they’re completely safe. Can Macs get Viruses? The likelihood of catching a virus whilst using a Mac computer is increasing. There are now more threats to Mac users than ever before. Here’s everything you need to know.
Q: Can Mac’s get viruses? A: Yes.
For a long time, it was widely believed that Mac’s were safe from viruses. This belief was supported by the creators, Apple. For years Apple used ‘Macs don’t get viruses’ in their marketing and on their website. It wasn’t an unsubstantiated claim.
They have historically had a smaller share of the market, making them less of a target. The integration between their software and hardware has always had the benefit of being harder to penetrate. And since the arrival of macOS X, they have had built in security measures, particularly for preventing malware getting on to the computer.
This has made it pretty hard to install something malicious onto a Mac computer. But they don’t make the ‘we don’t get viruses’ claim anymore. Because unfortunately it’s no longer true Mac’s can get viruses!
Think you’re safe because you have a Mac? Think again: more Mac malware was detected in 2019 than viruses for Windows.
The real danger
Arguably the real danger facing Mac users is that they are unprepared. The assumption that you are safe simply because you are using a Mac actually leaves you more vulnerable to an increasing number of threats.
As useful as the in-built security features are, they only do so much. There are ways for seasoned hackers to bypass them and they don’t block all potential threats. As Macs have become more popular and the number of users has grown, so have the number of threats they face.
The safest option is to assume that you could be vulnerable.
What threats might you face when your Mac gets a virus?
The threats, like with any computer user, range from simply annoying to potentially devastating. Sometimes, something which seems as if it’s just annoying could actually be much worse. Here’s a few examples of what you could face.
ADWARE Adware could be any unwanted program or pop up that displays unwanted ads. Often these can lead to malicious websites that could then deliver spyware – a program which tracks activity online and steals information, used for fraud or theft. Even a benign pop-up can be annoying and intrusive and hamper the day-to-day use of your computer.
TROJAN HORSES Trojan horses hide a malicious software within an otherwise nonsuspicious link or download. Sometimes the malware inside the trojan horse will start operating without your knowledge, stealing personal data in the background. They’ve been a threat to Macs for a while. There was a particularly bad one a few years ago called ‘MacDownloader’ which hid in a fake Adobe Flash update.
MACRO VIRUSES These are sort of like a Trojan Horse and begin to work when the user clicks on an infected file, often a Word document. It then runs a code that can release new files, corrupt data, take screenshots and deliver malware.
What’s on the horizon?
The threats above are all based on previously recorded events and new threats are most likely to fit into those common categories. But the threats are ever-present. Cyber criminals are always finding ways of bypassing basic levels of security and will exploit vulnerabilities in your system.
Techrader.com talked about a recent threat which involves a dangerous new malware.
It’s thought to be distributed by a known Vietnamese hacking group called OceanLotus (yes, we know, it sounds like something from a James Bond movie, but it is real!)
The malware allows them to spy on machines and steal confidential info and sensitive business documents from macOS users. As this is a known threat, the latest security patches should help to protect against it.
Signs that your Mac has a virus
You won’t always know if something is wrong, if you don’t have a real-time scanner installed. Some malware is designed to run quietly in the background. However, there are a number of ways that might indicate that something is wrong.
LOTS OF ADS AND POP UPS This may be obvious but if you’ve got unwanted ads popping up and you don’t usually (and really any irregular pop ups are out of the ordinary on a Mac) then it suggests something has arrived on your computer.
RUNNING SLOW Your computer being slow may just be the result of lots of programs using up memory on your computer, but it could be an indication that you have a virus. If the spinning rainbow ‘wheel of death’ is constantly appearing, then you may have an issue.
BROWSER ISSUES Viruses come from the internet and are mostly designed to disrupt your online activity. If your browser is running slow, acting abnormally or crashing regularly then questions need to be asked.
What you should do?
As we mentioned above, really the first step is acknowledging that there is a threat in the first place. Yes, Macs may still be safer, but we always think we’ll be fine until something happens. If you’re a Mac user or your business uses Macs regularly then it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Contact the LIS Help Desk to make sure you have a good antivirus and cybersecurity system installed on your computer, as well as the standard tools you get in macOS. If you need support or help in this area, you know where we are.