The software giant has revealed that it is working on a new feature that will let users run apps built for Microsoft Teams within its Outlook email service.
The move should make online collaboration and communication a much more seamless and smoother experience, meaning users shouldn't need to constantly switch between Teams and Outlook to stay on top of their work.
Outlook and Teams
According to the official entry on the Microsoft 365 roadmap, the feature is currently in development, with a scheduled release date of December 2022. When released, it will be available for all web and desktop Outlook users across the world.
As well as running apps built for Teams within Outlook, users will also be able to acquire and use these updated Teams apps (including personal tabs and/or search-based message extensions) without leaving the email platform.
The feature could also form part of the highly-rumored all-new Windows 11 email service reportedly in development. Codenamed “Project Monarch”, the service looks to greatly improve email on Windows 11, offering a truly cross-platform experience for users looking to embrace hybrid working.
The new app will reportedly feature an overhauled interface similar to Outlook web, including the rounded corners and icons already seen in a raft of new Windows 11 apps as Microsoft looks to offer a unified design approach across its software suite.
Microsoft has been hard at work recently on a series of updates and upgrades for Outlook as it looks to breathe new life into the often-maligned software.
This includes an upcoming upgrade that will allow Outlook web users to customize the color of the events in their calendar app, the launch of spelling and grammar checks for Outlook on mobile platform, and another update to let users set a notice showing where they are working, whether that be at home, in the office, or elsewhere.
The story of Brendan Eich is in many ways the story of the evolution of the internet and the technologies we use to access it. It is also a story of battles won, lost and soon to be played out.
Recognizing that Netscape had lost its way, Eich spun out another project he had been working on, leading to the formation of the Mozilla Foundation. The organization went on to pioneer the concept of browser extensions with Firefox, which quickly became a household name, before it was crushed under the weight of Google Chrome.
Since departing Mozilla, Eich has focused his attention on a new company called Brave Software, which he believes will help usher in the next landmark period in the history of the internet.
Founded in 2015, Brave is the maker of a privacy-centric web browser by the same name, which blocks both ads and tracking cookies. It is also the proving ground for a novel opt-in advertising model, whereby users are paid for their attention.
With these building blocks, Eich is aiming to bring to fruition an internet characterized not by monopoly and unfettered surveillance, but rather decentralization, disintermediation and individual privacy.
When Eich joined Netscape in 1995, he says there was a “feeling of doom” hanging over the company, because Microsoft was breathing down its neck. The infamous Microsoft strategy was to “embrace, extend and extinguish”; it would embrace a new type of software, extend it with proprietary facilities that only functioned inside Windows, and harness these new capabilities to extinguish the competition.
After rewriting the core, Eich helped build out a vendor-neutral specification in collaboration with Microsoft and other players, which was then left under the stewardship of a standards body called Ecma International.
History shows that Netscape was ultimately unsuccessful in fending off the advances of Microsoft, which eventually captured 95% of the browser market with Internet Explorer. Bill Gates had not only made his browser free, but also packaged it with Windows machines, which left Netscape no room to maneuver.
“A bunch of us started to see the writing was on the wall,” said Eich. “The feeling that we were doomed had been fulfilled, and the question became: what next?”
Mozilla breaks free
Knowing itself beaten, Netscape decided to open source its browser code. Eich says the idea was to create a community like the one that surrounded Linux, which would engender new browser innovation.
The company tasked Eich and a group of other developers with setting in motion the project, which came to be called Mozilla. The team worked “inside a fishbowl” at Netscape, at a remove from the rest of the company, Eich explained.
In the coming years, however, the relationship between the Mozilla team and Netscape executives soured. The two groups traded blows over product design, release timelines, the toxic working culture and other topics.
“It was a difficult time,” said Eich. “I stopped using my Netscape email as much as I could and used an ISP email instead. I acted as if I were completely outside the firewall.”
“I also set up a proxy for the developers we were trying to bring in, who didn’t have the advantage of being employees. Meanwhile, Netscape kept regressing to the mean when it came to the strength of its programmers.”
After a series of layoffs in 2003, Eich and the Mozilla team broke out of their fishbowl to form a standalone non-profit called the Mozilla Foundation, which was tasked with carrying the project forward.
Meanwhile, wounded by the famous antitrust ruling over the bundling of Windows and Internet Explorer, Microsoft had grown lazy with its web browser. The strength of the company’s grip on the market meant it no longer had reason to innovate, creating a window of opportunity for a plucky newcomer.
Despite the politicking inside Netscape, the Mozilla team had managed to build a browser capable of rising to this challenge. The first ever to support extensibility, Firefox (as it came to be known after a series of name changes) rose quickly to prominence and reignited competition in the browser space, says Eich.
Mozilla reaped the rewards of its tenacity in the years that followed, attracting many millions of users to Firefox and netting a lucrative deal that saw Google become the browser’s default search engine. Ultimately, though, this level of momentum proved unsustainable and Mozilla was caught out by developments elsewhere in the technology world.
The rise of the smartphone in the late aughts transformed the way people engaged with the internet, and Mozilla failed to spot the danger. While the iPhone shipped with Safari pre-installed and Android devices came with Chrome, Firefox was left out in the cold. Once again, Eich found himself on the wrong end of the platform effect.
Locked out of the mobile market and unable to compete with Google’s marketing spend, Mozilla could do little to stop the numbers tumbling. Once responsible for roughly 30% of web activity, Firefox now holds just a 4% market share, the latest figures suggest.
Although there were efforts to limit the damage with Firefox OS and other projects, Mozilla never managed to regain a proper foothold and has now pivoted towards other products, including a new VPN.
Eich eventually left the organization under a cloud of controversy in 2015. After less than two weeks as CEO, it emerged he had made a donation in support of a ban on same-sex marriage, and the backlash was fierce. We were told an NDA signed between Eich and Mozilla precluded discussions of this chapter of his life.
Brave new world
While no rational person would dispute the importance of Eich’s contribution to the web, it is also true that he has been on the losing side of both so-called browser wars; first at Netscape, then at Mozilla.
This is a pattern he is hoping to break with Brave, which is pitched as the antidote to the threats posed by Google and its stranglehold on the browser and search markets.
Brave’s browser blocks all advertising by default and has a no-tolerance policy towards third-party cookies, which track users across the web to help inform highly-targeted advertising efforts.
Although there are now plenty of browsers that block invasive tracking techniques, Brave stands apart for its ambitions to rewire the economics that underpin the digital advertising industry.
“The plan was that Brave would be faster, easier on the battery and more private,” said Eich. “And with the help of blockchain technology, we also wanted to replumb the economic engine [of the web].”
The company’s unusual model is built around its Basic Attention Token (BAT), which was launched in 2017 via an initial coin offering (ICO). When an advertiser signs up for a campaign, Brave uses 70% of the fee to purchase BAT from the open market, and these tokens are then distributed to users who have opted-in to the ads program.
Once in the user’s possession, BAT tokens can either be donated to favorite content creators, used for microtransactions with Brave partners, or flipped into regular currency via an exchange.
Which specific ads are served to which specific users is determined by browsing data that is stored on-device and run through a machine learning (ML) model. Apparently, this approach actually yields markedly higher clickthrough rates than the 2% industry average.
Unlike the Google system, which is based on tracking users indiscriminately across the web, the Brave model is opt-in only, compensates the user for their participation and does not involve the transport of browsing data to the cloud.
The signs suggest this strategy is paying off for Brave, which has benefited from increasing awareness of the importance of privacy among consumers. The latest figures show the browser now attracts 50 million monthly users, which is double the figure from a year ago, and quadruple the year before that.
While these numbers are modest in the context of the total volume of web users, Eich predicts that enthusiasm for the service among developers, crypto fans and privacy evangelists is bound to spill over.
“There are privacy nihilists out there that we’ll never convince, but people have generally become more conscious about their privacy as a result of security breaches and events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal,” he said.
“But to breach the chasm to mass market, reaching people who are aware of these kinds of problems matters, because they convert their friends and family, and this creates rolling thunder.”
Over the last couple of years, Brave has quietly set about expanding its empire with new privacy-centric products. Orbiting its browser, there is now a Brave VPN, firewall, encrypted video conferencing service, crypto wallet, news aggregator and search engine.
Asked which areas Brave will look to expand into next, Eich declined to provide any concrete information, but did concede the company is “looking at the larger space”. We wouldn’t be surprised to see an encrypted email service from Brave in the near future, for example.
All of these technologies will be foundational to Web 3.0, a new generation of the internet defined by decentralization, disintermediation and greater user privacy. Among those attempting to bring Web 3.0 into being, many believe blockchain and cryptocurrency will play a fundamental role in the transition.
Naturally, Brave has attracted a large number of cryptocurrency enthusiasts, whose ambitions with regards to economic freedom align closely with the company’s attempts to create a more equitable and private web.
The long-term success of the project, however, will be determined by how effectively Brave is able to sell itself to a wider and less technical audience. It has a lot of ground to make up before it can hope to challenge the dominance of Google and other incumbents.
However, as Eich’s story demonstrates, the internet is littered with the corpses of fallen giants. The cry for greater privacy on the web is growing louder and louder, and Brave has put itself in a position to ride the zeitgeist.
Ariel Parnes joins host George Rettas, president and CEO of Task Force 7 Radio and Task Force 7 Technologies. Ariel is responsible for designing and delivering Mitiga’s cyber security solution set. Mi…
Almost 100 more Apple Stores are reopening in the US this week, but in most locations, they still won’t let you walk inside: instead, they’re offering curbside or storefront service only.
Apple Stores began reopening in early May with a four-state rollout, which expanded to 11 states later in the month. The next wave of openings will enlarge that list to 28 states, with the majority of locations located in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas, according to 9to5Mac.
It’s not totally clear why some locations are permitting in-store service while others aren’t, but it likely depends on local laws in various state, which have had different approaches to reopening public spaces as the coronavirus outbreak continues. Most of the Apple Stores reopening this week are restricted to curbside and storefront service only, but those that allow in-store service are almost all located in California, Florida, and Texas.
It’s also not clear when locations that only offer storefront and curbside service will open further to allow customers inside, but in the meantime, they’ll still permit order pick-ups (say, if you order an iPhone 11 for in-store pickup) and Genius Bar appointments so long as folks engage in state-required protective measures, like wearing masks and/or submitting to temperature checks.
MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020): our thoughts on the newest version of the powerhouse
iPad Pro (2020): our hands-on with the newest iPad Pro
Apple Store reopenings: a different case in different countries
Following the course of the coronavirus outbreak, Apple Stores in China closed in February and began reopening in March right as the company confirmed that US stores would be closed ‘until further notice.’
While that seemed indefinite, a leaked internal memo revealed Apple had set a target of early May for reopening US stores, and has followed that projected window. Given the company has safely reopened Apple Stores across countries recovering from the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ll likely see more US locations turn their lights back on in the coming weeks.
iPhone 12: the most powerful yet affordable iPhone on the market
If you're ready to cut the cord, your first step is buying an HD antenna. Depending on where you live, these inexpensive replacements for rabbit ears offer more than a dozen over-the-air channels that you can get without paying a dime.
Unfortunately the fact that TVs can receive these channels is a fact that has largely been obscured by cable companies that are all-too-eager to sign you up for an expensive cable plan. That said, while over-the-air broadcasts are much more limited than any cable package out there, they're totally free and still usually carry the biggest sports match-ups (the NFL on Sunday, the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup), plus sitcoms, dramas and comedy shows from NBC, ABC, CBS and more.
But which HD indoor antenna is the best? Well, that's exactly what we wanted to find out, so we called in a whole bunch from various manufacturers and put them to the test. What you'll find below is, in our opinion, the definitive round-up of the best indoor TV antennas for your money in 2020.
Best indoor TV antennas at a glance
AmazonBasics Indoor Flat TV Antenna (35-Mile Range)
It's right there in the name: Amazon's own antenna option is basic indeed, with a very thin, paper-like slab of plastic that mounts to your wall with the included double-sided adhesive pads. This one isn't amplified, so there's no power plug needed—it simply plugs into the coaxial input on your television.
In our testing location, we consistently saw stellar results with the AmazonBasics Indoor Flat TV Antenna, which is rated to reach sources up to 35 miles away. There were occasional discrepancies, though, such as struggling to get the local PBS channels. You may need to play around with positioning in your space to maximize the reach, but that's true with most indoor antennas.
If you live close to a major city, for example, this could be all you need. And at an asking price of just $ 20, it's a great deal if it fits your situation. Amazon used to sell a longer-range, amplified antenna rated for up to 50 miles, but it is now discontinued. If you live further out from a major city or broadcast source, or you anticipate having reception issues, then you may want to opt for an amplified alternative instead.
The TERK Trinity Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna doesn't look like any other TV antenna that we've seen, but it does look a lot like some internet routers we've used. We like the slim, distinctive look, plus the ability to adjust and reposition the three tri-modal antennas as needed to maximize reception.
We saw strong results in both testing locations, on the ground floor and second floor, especially with the antennas pointed towards the city. This amplified antenna is rated for up to 60 miles, which gives you a lot of range to work with, and the $ 40 price tag is great for a long-range indoor antenna that actually lives up to its claims.
The ClearStream Eclipse 2 is similar to Amazon's thin, plastic antenna at its core, but this very distinctive figure-eight design is one of a kind. Whatever engineering Antennas Direct did to pin down this kind of design clearly worked, however, as this amplified long-range antenna does an excellent job of picking up channels.
It's rated for 60+ miles and consistently delivered strong reception while pulling in all of the channels we expected to see. It also comes with curved double-sided tape pads that sit on the upper and lower backs of the design, ensuring a snug fit to your wall. It's a pricey option at $ 70, but that's an investment in a quality product.
If you live far from a broadcast source and/or you've had trouble with other antennas, the Antop HD Smart Bar (AT-500SBS) could solve your issues—if you're willing to pay a steep price and tolerate the very large size.
The Antop HD Smart Bar is a hard-plastic antenna that measures 2.5 feet wide and can be mounted on your wall like a soundbar, or you can use the included base stand to prop it up vertically. In any case, it's much more visible than nearly any other indoor antenna on the market, but the trade-off is a much longer promised range of 80 miles. It also has a 4G signal filter, an FM tuner, and the ability to connect to a second TV, plus the reception was excellent in our testing. However, with a $ 119 price tag, we recommend trying cheaper alternatives first to see if they'll meet your needs.
Antop's HD Smart Antenna (SBS-301) keeps most of the perks as the Antop model above, but does so with a slimmer design and slightly lower price. It's a flat plastic design like Amazon's antenna, but actually looks like two of them merged together. You can stick it to a wall with the included Velcro pads or prop it up using the simple plastic stand. In our testing, it pulled fewer channels on the stand next to the TV than when it was mounted higher up on the wall.
This amplified antenna's range is slightly less than the Smart Bar at 70 miles, but it still has the 4G signal filter, FM tuner, and ability to connect to two TVs at once. The $ 89 price point is easier to stomach too, even if it's higher than all the other non-Antop antennas on this list. The signal looked great to us, but as with the Smart Bar above, this might be an option for those who are having reception issues using other antennas.
Winegard's amplified FlatWave FL5500A antenna checks all of the same boxes as the AmazonBasics model listed above. It offers a 50-mile range, is flat and nearly paper-thin with black and white sides, and delivers a strong 1080p signal. In our testing, it found just over 50 channels in both locations. We have no complaints about the device itself.
Really, our only issue that the FlatWave FL5500A costs more than double the price of the AmazonBasics 50-mile option, and truth be told, we couldn't tell a difference between them in use. They are nearly identical across the board, but based on current pricing, you'll save more than $ 25 with Amazon's model. It's great, but there's no clear reason to pay extra that we could see.
Mohu's new Blade antenna is a one-of-a-kind – instead of a floppy sheet, it's a thicker, rectangular plastic panel that you might not be compelled to hide. You could mount it on the wall below the TV like a soundbar, or there's a little attachable kickstand if you'd rather put it on a TV stand. In any case, it's stylish in a way that most antennas simply don't strive to be. And if you want, you can mount it in an attic or even outside.
But that style comes with frustrations. We struggled mightily to attach a coaxial cable or 90-degree coaxial adapter to the back of the antenna, because its coaxial connector is wedged so tight to the backing. Ultimately, we used a screwdriver to remove the spongey support ring on the back to give our hands a bit more room, and then had to use pliers to tighten the adapter because it wouldn't budge using our fingers. It was a real pain.
Once it was finally up and running, we searched multiple times and found fewer channels with the ground-floor TV – just 44 max, compared to 50+ with the others. None of the omissions were crucial, but it was still a difference. Upstairs, we had to play around with the location before hitting the same 50+ mark as the other antennas. The Blade is sleek and stylish, but the smaller size brings a couple of frustrations along with it.
Antenna scams you should know about
Recently there have been a number of misleading product pages on Amazon that have promised customers outrageous features like a 120-mile range and 4K resolution. Do not take them at their word. These claims are misleading and, with our current technology, impossible.
You can read a great breakdown of lies antenna manufacturers tell you over on TechHive, but suffice it to say that the curvature of the Earth prevents more than an 80-mile range for broadcasts and no broadcast station in America currently puts out a 4K OTA signal. That is going to be part of the next set of ATSC standards that's currently in development and is called NextGen TV. That should start rolling out by the end of 2020.
Best indoor TV antenna: how we tested
For this piece, we tested indoor antennas that remain near your TV, both standard antennas that connect solely via coaxial cable, and amplified ones that add a USB connection or must be plugged into a wall outlet for a powered-up range boost.
We tested several current indoor TV antennas from the top makers in the business, watching to see how many channels each antenna could find, how easy it was to set up, how crisp the signal looked, the style and size of the device, and the price and overall value.
Our testing environment was a two-story house just outside of Chicago, less than 15 miles from downtown. Each antenna was tested on two televisions: one on the first floor, and another upstairs on the second floor.
Even if modern antennas are more reliable than the old versions, they can still be fickle: your distance from broadcast towers is important, but so too is where you place the antenna, where you are in your home, and what's around it. Your experience may vary to ours, as a result, and you may need to experiment with location to yield the most channels to watch.
These are the best indoor TV antennas that we've tested so far, and we'll be adding more to the list once we try more models.
In what it’s calling a world first, the BBC has sent one of its reporters into the world of Watch Dogs: Legion for an interview with the game’s creative director.
On behalf of BBC Click, Marc Cieslak travelled to Ubisoft’s Toronto studio where he went through the motion capture scanning process and was dropped right into Watch Dogs: Legion’s post-Brexit London.
Cieslak was joined in a virtual Piccadilly Circus (with traffic sounds and all) by the game’s creative director, Clint Hocking, to discuss Watch Dogs: Legion and the developer’s thoughts on its setting.
Get your head in the game
Given Ubisoft’s decision to set Watch Dogs: Legion in a post-Brexit London which has descended into a dystopian surveillance state against which players must fight back, Cieslak was interested to know whether or not the studio is anticipating any backlash as a result of touching on a thorny topic.
Hocking gave a surprisingly straightforward answer, stating that he looks at the matter as “a creator of culture.”
“If we were creating films or movies or books, it’s the same with video games,” he explains, “it’s our responsibility to look at the things that are happening in the world around us and have something to say about that. To create something that’s meaningful, that people can look at and engage with and it speaks to the world that they live in.”
Hocking also points out that Ubisoft has had to think about a lot of topics that are relevant to our present and future and consider whether or not they’re worth touching on in the game, including, but not limited to, drone regulations and self-driving cars.
Other than that, the interview doesn’t reveal much new information about the game or its progress but it is a fun insight into what’s possible with motion capture. Between this surprisingly natural interview—given the cumbersome headgear and studio set-up it requires—and the recent decision to debut a Star Wars trailer in Fortnite we’re seeing increasingly interesting examples of the potential of virtual spaces.
After it was delayed late last year alongside Gods and Monsters and Rainbow Six Quarantine, Watch Dogs: Legion still doesn’t have a firm release date. At the moment, all we know is that it’s been moved into Ubisoft’s next financial year and should be playable sometime before the end of 2020. When it is released, the game is expected on current-get consoles as well as the next generation PS5 and Xbox Series X.