Office 2013 No Longer Available for Installation for Office 365 Subscribers

As of February 28, 2017, Office 365 subscribers can no longer download or install Office 2013 from the Office 365 My Account web portal, Microsoft released on their Support blog last week.

Customer support and troubleshooting came to end, too, for the following products:

  • Office 365 ProPlus (2013)
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium (2013)
  • Office 365 Business (2013)
  • Project for Office 365 (2013)
  • Visio Pro for Office 365 (2013)

Looking for more information on Office 2016 before you upgrade? Check out our guide, and let us know if you find it helpful!

Microsoft Delays February Patch Release

Microsoft announced today that they are postponing their February 2017 security update for Windows and other products, which was slated to release today.

The Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted the following to their blog this afternoon:

Our top priority is to provide the best possible experience for customers in maintaining and protecting their systems. This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.

After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan.

So far, there’s no word on when the updates will release. We will continue to keep you post here on the blog, and on Twitter and Facebook!

Is Windows 7 Dangerous to Use?

Microsoft is warning Windows 7 users that the platform contains security deficiencies and hardware restrictions that essentially make it more susceptible to cyber-attacks.

“Today, [Windows 7] does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments,” says Markus Nitschke, Head of Windows at Microsoft Germany.

Microsoft says that continuing use of Windows 7 will result in reliability and compatibility problems that will lead to “higher operating costs.”

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A lot of contributors to the tech blogosphere are calling this a “scaremongering” tactic by Microsoft to “drive more users to Windows 10,” given the recent announcement that Microsoft will end support for the aging operating system in January 2020.

I think that Windows 10 is a great upgrade. I think users will organically switch over, after the initial hesitation and potential risks for compatibility issues has subsided.

What version of Windows does your institution use? If you haven’t already, when will you make the upgrade to Windows 10?

Does Academia Know What Technology Employers are Looking For?

It started two years ago. I stopped using my laptop or tablet at home, and only used my phone to Google, shop, scroll through Instagram, or check email as I’d wind down at night. Now, I still use my phone, but I mostly rely on Siri to do my Googling for me.

Now, with Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa, the talk-to-tech trend is taking off – it’s easier and faster than finding your phone, unlocking it, opening an App, or tapping any keys.

Now that Amazon allows programmers to connect existing services to Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers the Echo, every-day programmers can build entirely new voice-powered experiences, called Skills, with “just a few lines of code,” for free. Voila! Alexa now opens and uses Apps for us!

Alexa is taking over home appliances, too.  Appliance makers LG, Whirlpool, GE, and Samsung introduced products, like a vacuum, that starts by issuing a command to an Echo. LG’s forthcoming Smart InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerator will connect to Alexa, so users can ask her to pull up recipes on a touchscreen, or order food.

It’s still the early days with voice command services, but what does this mean for education? I think it means Computer Science & Programming education is more important than ever. STEM job growth will surpass all other jobs at 18.7% between 2010 and 2020, leading to 1.1 million computing jobs by 2024.

Does the academic community know what technology employers are looking for? Last week’s post discussed the relevancy of the computer lab in today’s schools – Cengage author Mark Frydenberg shared his Sandbox mission – should more schools get onboard?

Are Computer Labs Necessary in Today’s Schools?

Are computer labs necessary in today’s schools?

According to Cengage author Mark Frydenberg, the answer is yes, but not in the traditional way.

As BizEd Magazine reports, in 2017, “students have their own laptops, so they no longer need a place to connect to the internet or write papers. Instead they need spaces where they can experiment with new technologies.

That’s why, in 2011, Frydenberg spearheaded the development of Bentley University’s Learning & Technology Sandbox, also known as “CIS Sandbox,” for the computer information systems department.

He tells BizEd, “When I was asked to take over the lab in 2010, I was reluctant because it wasn’t a place where I wanted to spend my time. But then I started thinking about what the future of computer learning could be.”

The Sandbox replaced the old computer lab, a traditional space with 40 computer stations, gray carpeting, gray furniture, and no windows, as described by BizEd. With the help of University funding, the space underwent a complete renovation, “replacing the computer stations with six U-shaped tables with monitors for group work, wall-mounted display monitors, and soft chairs for lounging.”

How is the CIS Sandbox used? Frydenberg says it provides IT tutoring, exposes students to new tech, and hosts speakers, workshops and other programming, and gives students a place to study and socialize.

It’s popular, too. The article notes that more than 3,000 students spend time at the Sandbox each semester, and the admissions office, who once said “every school as a computer lab, so no one’s going to come to Bentley because of that space,” has now put the Sandbox on the tour for prospective students.

“Our mission at the Sandbox is to create a space where students can explore technology in a social way,” Frydenberg tells EdBiz. “Giving them the ability to play with the next up-and-coming technological tools or program an app—it’s a pretty powerful thing.”

Tell us what you think – Is a Sandbox the computer lab of the future?

Leaked Preview Hints at Option to Pause Windows Updates

If you’re using the Home edition of Windows 10, you know that you cannot defer the automatic system updates. However, according to leaked preview builds of Windows 10, Microsoft will soon release a new option to pause updates for up to 35 days.

The Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10 already allow users to defer updates, delaying upgrades for 30 to 180 days, depending on whether it’s a feature update, or a quality update.

Microsoft faced criticism over their handling of Windows 10 in 2016, with some accusing the company of “tricking” Windows 7 & 8 users to upgrade.  Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela owned up to this during the Windows Weekly Podcast, admitting to aggressively pushing users to upgrade to Windows 10.

What do you think of Windows 10 updates? So far, so good? Or are there other unresolved issues you think Microsoft should address?

MindTap Integrates Live Virtual Machine Labs for IT Students

Further preparing students to succeed in the high-demand field of computer and information technology (IT), Cengage and Practice Labs, a London-based edtech company, announced the integration of live virtual machine labs into MindTap last week!

Employment in the computer and IT space is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024 – faster than the average for all occupations. With Practice Labs integrated directly into MindTap, students are able to work with live servers and networking hardware from their web browser without leaving the MindTap platform, giving them the hands-on practice needed to develop and master skills that are immediately transferable to the workforce.

“Students love that they are working in a live environment with real servers and networks that they can explore, fail, try again until they succeed. Instructors love that the labs are already built and tested – and that they map to the certification objectives, the Cengage text, and their curriculum.,” said Ricky Doyle, CEO of Practice Labs.

To learn more about Practice Labs, and to see which MindTap courses have live virtual machine labs integrated into the Learning Path, click here.

Microsoft’s LinkedIn Acquisition to Close Soon

Microsoft announced today that they have received all necessary clearance for their acquisition of LinkedIn, and that the deal is set to close “in the coming days.”

The European Commission was the last to approve the $26.2 billion buyout, after the US, Canada, Brazil and South Africa.

Microsoft said they had the opportunity to review the acquisition with government officials and regulators in “considerable detail,” thus formalizing several commitments regarding Microsoft’s support for third-party professional social networking services.

Why does Microsoft want LinkedIn? LinkedIn is a key tool for professionals. With 433 million members, it’s safe to say that most adults in the US use LinkedIn for finding jobs, and general networking. That said, it’s important to note that Microsoft has more than 1 billion Office users, but has no social graph, or representation of the interconnection of relationships in an online social network, of its own and until now, has had to rely on LinkedIn or Facebook to provide that connection.

In an internal memo, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explains, “This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete. As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.”  

Read more about Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition here.

Microsoft Joins the Linux Foundation

In an attempt to encourage and drive developers to make more use of the Microsoft Ecosystem, Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation.

The Microsoft Ecosystem is designed to make resources available to a wide variety of technology companies so that they can build solutions around Microsoft technologies. In this case, Microsoft wants to drive more use of Azure, Windows 10, and Office 365.

Linux is an operating system platform that is classified as a free and open-source software. This means that anyone is freely licensed to use and change the software in any way, resulting in an operating system that is widely utilized to power servers, desktops, Android smartphones and other devices.

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By joining the Linux Foundation, Microsoft is allowing developers to use more tools regardless of their preferred platform, making the Microsoft Ecosystem platforms more desirable for building cross-platform applications and solutions. In other words, Microsoft wants developers building apps for its Ecosystem whether they’re working in Linux or in Azure.

This is big news for developers, as Microsoft has built its software empire on close-source proprietary software. The times, they are a-changin’.

What do you think? Is open-source the future of software?

Microsoft Ends Windows 7 & Windows 8 Sales

The lifecycles for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have come to an end, as Microsoft confirmed last week that they’ve discontinued sales of the operating systems.

“End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of OEMs are Dell and Toshiba – PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software,” explains Microsoft.

Looking for a brand new PC with Windows 7 or Windows 8? You’ll likely have to look for an OEM who is selling off existing stock.

Although Microsoft will continue to provide ongoing updates support for Windows 7 until January 2020, and for Windows 8 until January 2023, they are likely ending sales in an effort to boost Windows 10 sales, which have been stagnant since their free upgrade offer ended in July.  

For more information, visit the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet.