Microsoft 365 is getting a rather uncharitable price hike

Microsoft has announced it will soon raise the price of its office software subscriptions for non-profit organizations.

The price hike will take effect on September 1 2022, and vary by degree depending on the specific subscription bundle. The most significant change will apply to the Office 365 E3 package, which will rise in price by almost 30% to $ 5.75/user/month.

Although Microsoft has only provided specific figures for US-based customers, the company has confirmed the rise will apply worldwide, with “local market adjustments” in some regions.

Microsoft 365 pricing

The move to raise prices for non-profit customers comes hot on the heels of a more broad-based price hike, announced last month. The change was described by Microsoft as the first “substantive Office 365 pricing update” since the launch of the productivity suite just over a decade ago.

In an FAQ post addressing the latest increase, Microsoft gestured towards the introduction of new Office 365 apps and services as justification for the change.

The company also said it believes both commercial and non-profit customers have recovered sufficiently from pandemic-related turmoil to shoulder the rise, even if conditions remain somewhat unpredictable.

“This is the right time to update our pricing. Although there are still questions and uncertainty, we see clear signs of economic recovery around the world,” wrote Microsoft.

“Moreover, over the past few years our competitors have increased prices, in some cases aggressively. We simply have a better story and proven track record of reinvestment in the product and consistently delivering new value to our customers.”

Despite the price hike, the rates for charities and other non-profits remains considerably lower than for typical commercial customers, with discounts as large as 75% across some packages.

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This Microsoft Edge update could bring some rather unexpected bloatware

The bloatware controversy surrounding Microsoft Edge looks set to rumble on a little while longer following news of another update.

The browser is set to receive a Skype Meet Now extension icon for its toolbar that will allow users to launch a video meeting directly from their window.

However, users have already noted that including such a potentially resource-heavy tool could put extra strain on older machines, and slow down Microsoft Edge even more.

Skype Meet Now extension

Digging into the latest Edge Canary build, WindowsLatest found the new Skype meetings launchers in the toolbar alongside several other existing extensions and services such as screen capture and download management.

The site discovered the new Skype Meet Now icon would let users launch a call with just one click, meaning no need to download other software or even sign up to the service. Users simply need to add a name for their meeting to receive a unique URL that can then be shared with others.

It does seem that the Skype Meet Now tool can be disabled from the Microsoft Edge settings menu, but it's the latest potentially unwanted and unloved addition to the browser.

The news comes as Microsoft looks to make Edge more of a multi-faceted tool for users everywhere as it gets close to Version 100

The company recently revealed it is working on using Edge to make it easier to install progressive web apps (PWAs) across multiple devices, meaning once you have installed a PWA on one device, you will then see an option to install it on other devices with a single click.

Microsoft Edge continues to perform strongly in the global browser market, with recent figures placing it on the verge of surpassing Apple's Safari offering. 

The latest StatCounter numbers show Microsoft Edge is now used on 9.54% of desktops worldwide, just behind Safari at 9.84% – although both are still far behind runaway market leader Google Chrome on 65.38%.

Via Windows Latest

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How I solved Wordle #255 – spoilers for today’s (rather tough) answer

Welcome back to my weekday Wordle Solution Diary, where I take you step-by-step through my own Wordle puzzle efforts. Today, we're tackling Wordle #255.

For those unfamiliar with Wordle, The New York Times’ (recently-purchased) daily word game asks you to guess a five-letter word in six tries.  Simple right?

If you just want to skip to the Today's Wordle answer, (and yes, we have a page to do just that), you can depart right now. But what would be the fun in that? 

You want to preserve your streak and, I believe, learn how to get better at Wordle, which means making smart choices and understanding the tactics that can take you from a “Winning in 5” to a “Solved in three” kind of Wordle player.

The guide below includes how I make my guesses and images of my work. When I make a mistake, you'll see it. Maybe it'll help you avoid some of your own.

Let's Wordle together.

Spoiler Alert: If you do not want to know today’s Wordle answer, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY.

Feeling strong

Even though it took me four attempts, yesterday's solution (Wordle #254) in four strengthened my confidence. Seeing the “CH” combination reminds me that all those decades of writing might, in fact, count for something. 

I'm so cocky that now I'm ready to Wordle from the train. I'm still using my laptop, though. I'm convinced the big screen is helping me focus.

Wordle Guesses

The Wordle start screen (Image credit: Future)

The first word

Your biggest leap will always be that first word. I can choose any five-letter word but, generally, dismiss anything with double letters, as per our guide on how to win at Wordle

There are two goals: Get as many correct letters in the right spots as possible and miraculously guess the word on the first try. Thus far, I've never accomplished the latter.

This morning, I make a slight change in tactics and look up a massive list of five-letter words to help jog my memory. I'm no dummy but I'm also not a dictionary. I can't start every Wordle with “FACES” (though I do love that as a starting point).  

I spot “BREAD” and immediately fall in love (who doesn't love bread?). This word has everything: Two key vowels, “E” and “A” and excellent consonants that can live anywhere in a five-letter word. Can you imagine if this is the moment I get Wordle in one?

Could've been worse

Surprise, doing this on a train with a spotty mobile broadband connection is as risky as starting your Wordle with a word that repeats two letters. Sadly, I lost the original 'BREAD” entry image, but can present the middling results here.

Getting two letters in the wrong spots on the first attempt isn't exactly a success story, but I like to focus not only on what I got but what's been permanently excluded.

I hate to see “A” go. There are so many good “A” words like “CHAIR” and “FAITH.”

The “R” is useful and knowing that it's not the second letter makes me think it could start or end the word.

Even so, with just two letters to work with, I think I will stick with my tried and true strategy of pulling in an entirely new set of letters. I need more material to work with.

Second word result

(Image credit: Future)

Wild guess

I go wild and drop “YOUTH” in there like the risk-taker I am. It's a solid word with another pair of vowels and three consonants that all could work well with the “R” or “E.” I'm especially excited about the “R” possibilities. It could work right next to that “T” or at the end of a “Y” word.

Please don't judge me because I still refuse to use Wordle's Hard Mode. It's not that I don't think I could work each word with previously-guessed letters but it's that I know the majority of you are not playing in Hard Mode. Maybe someday.

Second word guess

(Image credit: Future)

Slow climb

Grabbing one more letter is, if we're being honest here, not a great result. Two chances in and I have three letters. There are a lot of words you could make with “R,” “E,” and “U.” It's actually good news that none of them are in the right place. 

I always take my time on the third turn. No sense in rushing to try a new word. I want to win in three. Can I see any obvious word combinations?

Second word result

(Image credit: Future)

A long think

Having no “O” to go with the “U” or “A” to go with the “E” is throwing me a bit. I start thinking about “S” and “R” and where they might take me.

I always recommend putting letters into the Wordle game board to see how they look and if they work and fit in the five letters before committing (hitting Enter).

This is the trial and error phase of the game. 

As I'm thinking through word and letter combos, I start considering “P,” an excellent way to start a five letter words. I know that “R” won't follow “P” (it's been excluded from that position) but having a “U” and an “E”…I stop thinking.

The best parts of Wordle are those moments of pure inspiration. Literally “PURE” is where it started. I needed one more letter and my old friend “S” seemed like the perfect fit.

I type in “PURSE.” nNever have I believed in a word or Wordle guess more.

I hit enter.

Third word guess

(Image credit: Future)

Hubris, you are thy enemy

Third word result

(Image credit: Future)

In my defense, I cooked up “PURSE” on the train as we were pulling into the station. I then had to run uptown with the guess in my head, which only led to me believing even more feverently that I was about to solve Wordle in three.

Looking on the bright side, we now have four letters “P,” “U,” “R,” and “E,” but with only two of them in the right place. My love affair with “S” temporarily suspended, I look to see what raw materials I'm working with.

These are good letters and I believe there aren't too many combinations. At this juncture, it's critical to take stock of not only the letters you have but, based on previous work, where they can and cannot live on the board.

“P” cannot live in the first, second, or fifth spot, which “E” now owns.

“R” can't live in the second, third, or fifth spot.

This should be simple but I am now in one of those terrible Wordle loops where no configuration of the four letters leads to recognition.

I have a meeting in five minutes. I often tell people when they're Wordle stumped to take a break. Thinks might make sense in 10 or 15 minutes.

I try 'ERUPT” because that's what I'm about to do. It's a perfectly fine five-letter word, but I don't hit enter because that “T” simply cannot be there. “E” owns the last spot.

Not the word

(Image credit: Future)

Monetary gains

I'm not sure why I've chosen “RUPEE.” There's the double letter attempt (“R,” “P,” and “E” are all double-letter candidates) but with a truly oddball word that few would ever guess.

My confidence level right now is low. If I hit “Enter” and I'm wrong, I stumble into fifth attempt territory.

Fourth word

(Image credit: Future)

Son of a gun

I am more than a little surprised that “RUPEE” was the Wordle result. That guess managed to save me from Wordle in 5 or Wordle in 6 purgatory.

Just another reminder to always think outside the box and DO NOT FORGET DOUBLE-LETTER WORDS.

Until next time…

Fourth word result

(Image credit: Future)

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