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As Microsoft continues its Office for iPad marketing campaign, the team that developed the productivity software has taken to Reddit for an AMA, or Ask Me Anything, to answer questions and discuss the development process behind Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad. By measure of upvotes, the most popular question as of the time of this writing asked when Office for iPad would gain the ability to print, something Apple’s iWork suite and many of apps already offer, to which the team replied “in due course” while noting the high demand of the feature.
But the team didn’t stop there; Microsoft’s Office for iPad team also shared photos of their lab (as seen in the above photo), talked about the development process for bringing Office to the iPad, and even addressed the notion that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer held Office back from the iPad…
Something that I found interesting but may be assumed is that Microsoft’s Office for iPad team is also their Office for Mac team, which has been reported to be due for an update later this year. When someone asked if the Office for iPad team could ask the Mac team when the update is coming out, someone from the team replied back saying “actually, we are also the Office for Mac team.”
With that in mind, one clever Reddit user asked if Office for iPad had delayed Office for Mac thus far as well as its transition from using Carbon to Cocoa in development. Microsoft’s reply:
The code for Office for iPad and Office for Mac is shared, as the development platforms for both are very similar. 🙂 The iPad work required us to create an all-new UI and to redesign the interface between UI and the internal logic. That work actually helps us with de-Carbonizing Office for the Mac, instead of delaying or hindering it. We’re able to create new Cocoa UI on the Mac and tie it into the new logic interface now.
When asked if recent headlines portraying Microsoft’s direction should be attributed to now retired CEO Steve Ballmer and the company’s current CEO Satya Nadella, the iPad team attributed the company’s new Office apps to Ballmer’s approval.
The decision to ship Office for iPad was made before Satya became CEO. Steve Ballmer approved the plan to ship Office for iPad.
Another team member quoted Steve Jobs when addressing what exactly took so long.
Since we were designing Office for iPad from a “blank slate” so to speak, we wanted to take the time to deliver the highest possible quality Office experience that is fully optimized for the iPad. A wise man once said, “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right.” That rings true for how we thought about it.
And Microsoft says its apps were approved on the first submission:
We have a very normal team Apple Developer account. And yes, Apple did approve the apps on the first try. We’re very proud of that!
Microsoft’s Office for iPad team took this opportunity to show off their stash of Apple products for making software for OS X and iOS as well.
On writing extensions for Office for iPad…
Sections 2.7 and 2.8 of Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines emphatically state that downloading, installing, or launching any sort of code other than your app’s own code is prohibited. I don’t know if Apps for Office would be allowed in the iOS App Store.
…and the popular question of why pay for Office 365 when iWork is free to new users:
There are multiple benefits of having an Office 365 Home premium $100/yr subscription including getting Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs and 5 tablets, always being up to date, getting OneDrive storage of 20G per household user (up to 5 users) and 60 min of free Skype calling.
Another popular question asked about people actually paying for the Office 365 account and the numbers behind that:
And check out this banner!
Finally, when asked if the team felt like traitors to the rest of Microsoft, a few members had their own responses:
This will date me, but, when I applied for a job at Microsoft, my resumé said that I was interested in working on application software for Windows, Unix and OS/2. Microsoft hired me to work on Word for the Macintosh, and I’ve been a Mac developer ever since.
So, I’m a Mac person because of Microsoft. If that makes me a traitor, it’s all Microsoft’s fault.
This quote from Satya says it all for me: “…we are absolutely committed to making our applications run what most people describe as cross-platform great. There’s no holding back of anything. It is about being able to excel everywhere our customers are. One of the questions is, is this a massive tradeoff for you? There is no tradeoff. It’s reality for us. It’s not a competitive reality. That’s not what motivates us. What motivates us is the realities of our customers.”
So I feel like my work is more aligned than ever with the company’s vision.
Also notable is Microsoft’s approach to marketing by letting its developers take to Reddit in the first place. Perhaps Satya Nadella could rub off on Tim Cook a little and Apple could let the iWork and iLife teams out of the office for a Q&A session one of these days.
You can read the full Reddit AMA here.
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You're reading Microsoft’s Office For Ipad Team Talks Development Process, Ballmer, And More During Reddit Ama
When Office for iPad arrived last month, it was a bittersweet moment. The elation over the promise of true tablet productivity muted by the realization that the apps were little more than document viewers without an Office 365 subscription.
The good news is that the lengthy wait for an official Office solution for the iPad gave rise to several capable all-in-one office apps that cost little to nothing, many of which are still available.
While no third-party suite can fully replicate the real deal, these four came closest. We tested them with an eye toward usability, cloud support, and faithfulness to Office file formats (the last of which disqualified Apple’s iWorks right out of the gate). Each has stronger points, such as a more elegant interface, or better file or cloud support, but any will get the job done admirably until you can get back to your desk.Documents to Go Premium ($17)
Documents to Go has long been a favorite for working on Microsoft Office files on mobile devices. The premium version of the iPad app can create and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files (though in the last case it can only edit text). File fidelity is superb and documents edited within Documents to Go retain their original formatting, thanks to DataViz’s InTact Technology. The app supports change tracking, but note that if you’re working on a collaborative document, all revisions will be rendered in the same color—look for authors’ initials appended at the end of each edit to keep track of who changed what.
Documents to Go: Fantastic file fidelity. Too many toolbars.
Though we can’t fault its functionality, navigation in Documents to Go is unnecessarily complex. At least three separate, hidden toolbars handle formatting and other tasks, such as find-and-replace and sharing, and there’s some overlap of functions among all of them. Because of this, a simple function sometimes took two or three steps when it realistically could have been performed in one.
Another quirk of the interface is that when the Virtual keyboard is activated, it covers the bottom formatting bar. While anyone serious about iPad productivity will be using an external keyboard, it’s not a significant knock, but it is a head-scratcher.
Documents to Go offers robust cloud support, syncing with Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, SugarSync, OneDrive, and even iCloud accounts. Data Viz also offers a free Documents to Go desktop app so you can remotely access files on your Mac or PC.HopTo (Free)
HopTo is a relative newcomer to the all-in-one office app crowd. Its tabbed interface feels more like a web browser than a typical word processor, but its visual gallery of all your documents—displayed in three sliding rows—makes it one of the easiest office apps to navigate. It’s also the only suite in this round up that lets you switch among multiple documents side by side.
HopTo’s sliding file galleries make it a breeze to get around.
You can view, edit, and create Word and Excel files in HopTo, but you may only view PowerPoint presentations. Editing capability will be added in a future version.
HopTo supports virtually every major cloud service not offered by Apple. However, once you associate HopTo to a cloud account, there’s no way to sign out of it. The only current workaround is to reset HopTo in your iOS settings, which will clear all your cloud accounts and require you to reconnect them. That’s not enough to recommend against it but it can be tiresome if you frequently switch between, say, your work and personal OneDrive accounts. HopTo also offers a free remote desktop installer that allows you to access files on your Mac or Windows PC from your iPad.QuickEdit (Free)
The popular all-in-one office app Office2 HD was recently purchased by Citrix and renamed Sharefile QuickEdit, but it remains a capable option with excellent Office compatibility. You can view, edit, and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. We found it maintained file integrity for the first two file types, but it had some minor problems with the last.
QuickEdit offers great Office compatibility if you don’t mind its dreary design.
Where QuickEdit shines is in collaboration. The app tracks changes with the same colored revision balloons Office uses, making it easy to identify multiple authors in a marked-up document. It also boasts the most file-sharing options of any app in our roundup: Quick edit comes with 1GB of free Sharefile storage; support for nearly a dozen cloud services including Dropbox, Google Drive, MyDisk, Box, and OneDrive; and the ability to connect to generic WebDAV accounts.Quickoffice (Free)
A couple of years ago, Google purchased Quickoffice, the company behind the popular iPad office suite Quickoffice Pro HD. The app hasn’t lost too much luster in the changeover, though. It still provides some of the best support for viewing, creating, and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. (Curiously, it does not support Google documents. For those, you need the separate Google Drive app.)
Google’s Quickoffice makes it easy to work on collaborative documents.
Quickoffice’s interface is clean and intuitive, with a simple toolbar across the top providing all the basic Office functions and formatting options. Change tracking is particularly well done: Each addition or deletion is denoted by a plus or minus button, respectively. Pressing the button opens a time-stamped window with the author’s name, the content of the edit, and options for accepting or rejecting the change.
One of the casualties of Google’s purchase of Quickoffice was comprehensive cloud support. Where previously the app could sync to popular cloud services like Dropbox and Evernote, it now—not surprisingly—connects only to Google Drive. That may limit its appeal for some. But if being tethered to Google’s cloud doesn’t faze you, Quickoffice will ably fill the Office gap.
Microsoft is sending its Office clip art to the digital beyond, where it shall rest in glory with Clippy, Zune, and the rest of the Redmond saints.
In other words, those wonky, yet charming images that graced countless PowerPoint presentations are in their last days. Microsoft already nixed the website where you could download Clip Art, so it may not be long before it disappears from Office entirely.
These guys won’t be around much longer.
So it’s time for a different plan. The good news is that Office already has better options for spicing up your files than relying on the dated and questionable-looking Clip Art. For example, Office’s integrated Bing Images search is solid, parsing the web for copyright-free images that you can use to bring some life to the staid world of business presentations.
That’s not the only available solution, however. Here’s a rundown of your best options for grabbing the clip art that’s still there—and learning some new strategies for better images.Clip art search is still inside Office – for now
Choose from Office clip art, Bing images, or your own OneDrive storage.
Microsoft did not indicate when it would exactly be eliminating Office Clip Art, so it could hang around for some time—though it didn’t exactly sound like that in Microsoft’s memo. Plus, if we’re being honest, Clip Art fell out of fashion at least a decade ago. Embrace the future! Keep reading to learn about more modern alternatives. Your audience will appreciate it.Find copyright-free images through the built-in Bing search
Bing’s Image search is your best option for finding and inserting images inside of an Office file. Sure, Bing may not be your search engine of choice but it’s actually rather good, especially at finding photos and other types of art to use.
After you type in a search term (unfortunately there isn’t an auto-suggest) and pressing Enter you’ll notice a message about copyright files.
By default all images are licensed for your use by Creative Commons.
By default, Bing presents images that are licensed through Creative Commons, meaning their owner allows anyone to use, publish, or redistribute them without a copyright claim. This may sound like legalese nonsense at first, but it’s actually pretty important, especially if you’re presenting your images or publishing a Word document as a flyer or other kind of print version.
If you use copyrighted images, you’re setting yourself up to get a nasty letter from the company or whomever holds the copyright to the images. If it’s possible that your work may see public eyes in any form, make sure you’re in the clear by sticking with licensed work.There’s always OneDrive for your own files
If you’re all-in with Microsoft then there’s a chance you’re using OneDrive as your cloud backup service. If so, then importing your own images into Office is way easier than digging through the Windows file menu.
Any image stored in your OneDrive can be added right into your file.
Unfortunately there’s no search option after selecting OneDrive as your file source—you just need to work your way through the scroll of images or folders that you have saved in your cloud storage.Use Google search instead
There’s a reason Google still has the bulk of search market share; it’s usually better than the competition at finding exactly what you’re looking for. Such is the case with finding images. You can always just fire up your browser of choice and head to Google’s image search.
There are a couple of additional tools to help you sniff out proper images to use. After conducting a search, you’ll see different sub categories with previews of other image groups. You can check any of those and see if something tickles your fancy.
The world’s biggest clip art collection is on the Internet.
Go back into your Office project and select Pictures from the Insert tab and it will fire up the Explorer menu. Just find what you downloaded and insert it into your file.
Upload your new find from the Internet right into your Office file.
Once you’ve used Bing, OneDrive, or Google search to find pictures you’ll forget all about those zany Clip Art images. Well, some of them are hard to forget—but at least you won’t be caught using them again.
In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I come up with my overall theme, color schemes, backgrounds, and how I put these basic elements together to give my reports a clean and easy-to-navigate look. This has a huge impact on my Power BI report development process because it affects how people navigate through the report and interpret the data I’m presenting.
I’m going to use a report I created for one of the Power BI Challenges as an example to give a clear step-by-step on how I do it.
The moment I receive the brief for a challenge like this, I immediately try to decide what kind of theme I’m going to do. It’s the first part of my Power BI report development process even before I bring in any data, models, or measures so that there’s no need to apply the theme into every element one by one.
You can scroll through all the results and pick the one that you feel works best with your report. In my case, this is the one I chose.
Just remember that we’re not after the brand name here. All we need is the theme, then we’ll use our own name or title.
This will automatically change the name on the slide.
Now that I like how the name looks, I’m going to choose an icon to add to the name. This will help us create a logo to use for our report.
This will give me an entire page of possible icons I can add to the brand name or title.
I can use the search bar on top to find specific icons that match the theme of the report I’m trying to build. So if I type in DNA, it narrows down the results to the most relevant icons.
I can also resize this icon by moving the slider on the icon menu.
If I want to edit the icon’s color, I can do that through the same menu as well.
Now that I like how my logo looks, I just need to take a screenshot of it and save it to a folder on my desktop.
The next step is to come up with a color scheme based on the theme I picked earlier. To do that, I’m going to a website called chúng tôi
There’s a button at the bottom of the homepage that says “Upload your image.”
Inside the Advanced Theme Generator, I can enter all those hex codes under Multiple Input.
Once I hit add, my palette will show up, with the specific hex codes for each color.
One of the other Enterprise DNA Experts, Brian Julius, also uses this same tool. He mentioned the Properties tab in one of his previous tutorials.
I can adjust the font size, as well as do different customizations on the X-axis.
I can select the title, a color for the title, the label color, and the font size. More importantly, I can also adjust my data colors here.
It’s great that I can set all these up here because that means once I place this entire theme into Power BI, I won’t have to adjust the colors one by one as I create entries. Even with the data labels, the moment I turn them on in Power BI, these settings will automatically kick in.
That’s the key to seamless Power BI report development – finding things that could lessen the steps to complete your report.
In most of my models, I would use a darker background, then use white as a data label. You can choose your own colors; just make sure that you have enough contrast between the background and the labels so that they’re easier to read.
The same settings can be changed for the chart title.
If I open the JSON file, it looks like this.
As I look at the code, I can see the eight hex codes here.
Aside from the color pallete, that JSON file also contains all the settings that I saved earlier. This means that once I import this file into Power BI, I wouldn’t have to do as much detailed work once I get started on my report.
You’ll notice that there are ten rows of colors here, but we only saved eight earlier. That’s because Power BI automatically includes white and black in any color theme. Then, you’ll see that the third row says “Theme color 1”, which means that it’s the first of the eight colors I imported with my theme.
Now that I have my whole theme in Power BI, I’m going to show you how I picked out all these icons I used on the report homepage.
When I did a Google search for white icons, this website was the first thing that showed up in the results.
Here’s the link to get to that page.
Remember that I prefer using dark backgrounds in my reports. That’s why I searched for white icons here. There are a lot of other sites where you can get your own icons based on your theme and preferences.
On this website, I just need to type in a keyword to get the most relevant icons in the site’s database. I’m going to use the word “decision.”
Once I have all the icons I need, the next stop in this process is creating the slides for my background using PowerPoint.
I usually start with a blank slide, but I’ll just show you the file I created when I was still working on the report in the example I’m using here. Looking at this slide, for example, you’ll see that I’m using the same logo that I created earlier.
As for the slide header, it’s just a text box where I can type in the name of each slide.
I also added this line that goes across the page to isolate the header from the rest of the content I’ll be adding to the page.
Note that all these elements on the slide have to be saved as a group for them to show up in the image once I save it. Otherwise, these elements won’t show up when I save this slide as an image.
Once the file has been saved, it can now be used as a template for all the other slides needed for the report.
I also made my report’s homepage here.
As you can see, this is a little bit more detailed compared to the regular template I worked on earlier. I just used the shapes available in PowerPoint to put this together.
Notice that it doesn’t have the icons that I saved earlier just yet. I’m going to add the icons once I’m in Power BI and use them for page navigation. For now, this is all that my homepage needs.
Now, I’ll head back to my Power BI desktop to show you how I added all of these into my reports and how I set up the page navigation as well.
This is going to open up my folders. Once I get the slides and icons into the report, I can resize them as needed so that everything is laid out properly.
As you can see, the page now shows the slide I worked on in PowerPoint plus the icons that I got online.
Now, I’m going to add some page navigation. I’ll start with this icon for Defects.
Then, I’ll go to the Action section on the right and choose Page navigation under Type.
Under Destination, I just need to choose the page where I want that icon to lead to. In this example, I’m going to choose Defects.
So whenever I highlight my mouse over the icon, you can see that tooltip showing up.
On the Defects slide, you’ll see the template I worked on earlier, but with more content on the page. I also added a home icon on top so that users can go back to the homepage anytime they need to.
I did the same process with the other icons on the homepage, making it easier for users to jump from one part of my report to another.
The things that I went through in this tutorial are critical to the Power BI report development process because it can have a huge impact on how your report will be interpreted.
Choosing the right color palette alone could make or break your report. Knowing that the wrong choice of colors might leave your labels unreadable or your visualizations hard to understand.
I hope that this tutorial can help you create your own Power BI report development process, too. You can always come up with your own workflow, but this would be a good place to start if you’re just starting to get a feel of what works for you.
All the best,
It’s great having so many technologies available to us. How else would we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine measures!
Let’s take an inside look at what actual value these technologies bring to retailers and eateries. And where it all will eventually lead us.
Shifting to online orders is not that difficult from a technology point of view. But it requires a new business flow to be implemented. Once going online, you will no longer have such an option as:
“Let me check to see if there’s any tuna salad left.” Placing an “available” option online means you have to be able to deliver everything you offer.
So it’s all about the automated menu and inventory management systems. Moreover, coronavirus pushes restaurants into the grocery business and meal kits delivery.
Such changes force restaurants to automate the process. Good news — they don’t have tens of thousands of products to manage.
Still, business transformation is necessary. Even after the World will be back on track, the question of how to be prepared for the next crisis will remain.
Some might say that being a grocery store from around the corner is a sweet spot these days. According to research, spending on groceries has grown by up to 40%.
Instead of going to a restaurant, we put on a mask and visit the nearest open store or choose online ordering, which is another growing niche.
Anyway, a boost in sales seems to be temporary for local grocery stores as the lockdown will eventually end. Moreover, we haven’t seen many changes in the way they do business. Besides, there’s competition from delivery services. For example, Walmart brings 2-hour delivery.
According to ComCash ERP CEO, Richard Stack, many of small to medium retailers, groceries and liquor stores were using ERPs and inventory management systems long before the crisis.
But many of them were not operating online actively. After March 2023, things changed, and now the implementation of e-stores is the most in-demand service.
Getting online seems like a necessary, but not sufficient solution. It’s a bit of a different business with its own rules, marketing budgets, and technologies.
What we learned from our retail clients — they know their customer journey in detail. And apply technologies exactly to those cases where it could be most valuable to customers.
With the end of COVID-19, there’s going to be a shift in customer behavior. Perhaps, not that huge as some predict, but still enough to make an impact.
These people are visionaries who can see what customers will look for tomorrow and provide them with value and service.
Here are some use cases of how trending technologies in retail could impact customers.
The Canadian winery brought its customers an augmented experience to stand out from the crowd. Users have to point the camera at the wine label to see AR scenes and get additional information about the product.
Also, retailers use augmented reality for marketing and branding — virtual instructions, presentations, and online fitting rooms.
ChatBots are not that hard to bring onboard. There’s plenty of ready to use solutions. But let’s be realistic — chatbots can not replace real customer service (yet).
It can, however, speed up service and increase engagement. For example, a chatbot can suggest additional goods to your customers, help to navigate and perform checkouts. According to most analytics, the revenue generated with chatbots’ help is growing and will continue to grow in the future.
Clients have changed during COVID-19. Probably, many people will avoid crowded lines. Thus, SmartTab POS brings a different experience with its customer mobile application.
Since the app is integrated with the bar’s point of sales solution, it reduces interactions between bartenders and visitors. The idea is to let customers open and close their tabs, make payments through the app with zero interpersonal communication.
Machine learning application in retail is another dominant technology trend. It often sounds complicated and expensive.
And in most scenarios, it is really complicated, costly, and not needed for small or medium retailers. Still, there are cases when it could bring value. For example, you can detect and identify your visitors if you have their photos by utilizing face recognition technology.
But make sure that they are ok with it. From a technology perspective, the task to match visitors’ faces with your database is not that complicated. But it could give significant personalization to the in-store experience.
Also read: Blocked On Snapchat: Figure Out What-To-Do, The Fixes, and FAQs
As you might see, there’s nothing new among those priorities. It feels like this crisis will boost prior existing technology trends, not necessarily bringing new ones.Serhii Maksymenko
My career started with iOS applications development but growing interest in various fields of AI made me get into researching Machine Learning and Deep Learning solutions. I’ve been working on different Data Science projects at MobiDev, from time series forecasting to face recognition. I am a speaker at the Machine Learning conference and author of articles in online Data Science communities.
Though the iPhone and iPad have Screen Time feature, it is still in the nascent stage. This has led many parents to look for an alternative to Screen Time. But recently, Apple cracked down on some of the famous parental control apps, as they were misusing the MDM certificate. However, there is one reliable parental app called FamiSafe that follows the App Store policy strictly in regard to using the MDM certificate.
To validate their claim and also see what the app offers, we tried it for a week. Below are our findings and reviews on the FamiSafe app.
Review – FamiSafe App for iPhone
One of the biggest fears for parents is when their kids are away from their sight. Also, no parents can always keep them in front of their eyes all the time. The only solution to this problem is to have live tracking on their device. FamiSafe offers this feature, and it works flawlessly.
All you need to do is to enable the tracking feature within the app, and you can see where your kid is in real-time. This is particularly helpful for parents when their kids are either playing outside or when they travel long distances for their school.
Another concern for parents is to make sure their kids don’t fall into the wrong company. In most cases, kids go on the wrong path when they hang out with the wrong people. With the location history feature of the app, you can know where your kid was at any particular time. If you find anything suspicious, you can talk with them and sort it out.
This is one of the most innovative features of the app. It allows parents to mark specific locations as safe. It can be your home or school. When the kid is away from the areas marked as safe, parents receive an alert. You can add multiple geofences based on the travel plans of your kids.
Another concern for parents is the content available on the internet. No matter how smart Google or YouTube is, they fail at an individual level to filter content. Something okay for them, may not be suitable for parents. Thankfully, the FamiSafe app allows you to set different conditions for filtering content.
The app already has a massive database of websites with adult or gambling content, but you can also manually add other websites that you may find not suitable for your kids. In regard to YouTube, you can connect to your kids’ YouTube account and see what videos he/she is viewing, what channels they have subscribed to, and then act accordingly.
Features discussed above are more of tracking things, but you can also set restrictions to limit the usage of the smartphone. You can restrict specific apps or set a global timer for smartphone usage. This is one of the easiest ways to avoid iPhone or iPad addiction. On top of that, you can also schedule the Screen Time feature for specific hours like school time, study time, or sleeping time.
The app isn’t free, mainly because of the hard work invested in developing it. There are multiple subscription options available on the App Store. Depending on your requirements, you can subscribe to it.
One Month: $9.99
Three Months: $19.99
One Year: $59.99
That’s all, mate!
It is rightly said that modern problems need modern solutions. We cannot stick to the old parenting ways to deal with new issues. If technology is the problem, then it is technology that provides the solution. The FamiSafe app proves that philosophy perfectly. With that said, as a parent, it’s your call how you wish to keep a keen eye on your kid.
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.
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