Panos Panay, Microsoft Chief Product Officer, announced what’s coming next in Microsoft’s Surface family as well as Windows & Office. 

He sent a summary of the announcements to us at Microsoft that I thought I’d share some of:

imageToday we came together as a company in New York for an incredible event, sharing what’s next for Microsoft in Surface, Office, and Windows.

We announced new products lead by new silicon, new experiences, new platforms, and a new expression of Windows 10. Our company is evolving, and today was a big moment for Surface and Microsoft. As we came off the stage this morning all I could think about is how humbled and grateful I am to have had the support of so many across the company, both in creating the products and experiences we shared with the world today, and in making this event happen.  Thank you so much for the hard work that got us here, and your continued hard work to get these products and experiences into the hands of our customers.

In case you didn’t get to watch today’s announce, we’ve included a summary of what we shared below as well as an early look at what the press and our fans are saying about the line-up.

  • Surface Laptop 3
    • The new Surface Laptop 3 provides the perfect balance of power and elegance. Now twice as fast with the same slim design and all-day battery life and offering a choice between colors – Matte Black, Cobalt, Platinum, or the all new Sandstone, materials – fabric or all metal aluminum chassis, size – 13.5” and 15” displays, and silicon – Intel 10th generation processor in the 13.5” and the custom AMD Ryzen Surface Edition in the 15”.
  • Surface Pro 7
    • Surface Pro 7 has been redesigned from the inside out, now twice as fast with a new 10th generation Intel core processor, both USB-A and USB-C, and all-day battery. While Surface Pro 7 keeps the iconic design customers love and businesses rely on, it has more performance and amazing new experiences across Office.
  • Surface Pro X
    • Surface Pro X is about what’s next for the 2-1 category. At 5.33mm and 1.68 pounds with LTE advanced connectivity, pen storage and charging, and the thinnest bezels of any 2-1 ever created, it’s an incredibly thin, light, connected, and powerful product for our customers who want the most modern device.  The new Microsoft SQ1 processor co-designed with Qualcomm for Surface Pro X pushes 2 teraflops of graphics processing power, and 9 teraops of computational power, making it the fastest Qualcomm processor ever created for a PC. 
  • Surface Earbuds
    • Featuring an ultra-comfortable and stable fit, premium sound, and all-day battery-life, Surface Earbuds offer intuitive touch and voice controls for music, calls, and incredible integration with new Office features like transcription, translation, and slide control.
  • New accessories
    • We’re also announcing a range of accessories– from type covers, pens, and mice designed to work with our Surface products to a selection of accessories to help you be more productive from any PC. We built on decades of experience delivering workspace comfort with new Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard and mouse, and are adding  new sleek, affordable Bluetooth®  products including a keyboard and compact, colorful Bluetooth® mouse, as well as bringing new colors for our popular Arc Mouse.
  • New Office Features
    • New Office enhancements include transcription in Word for the web, inking capabilities in Excel that leverage the new Surface Slim Pen and ultra-portability of the Surface Pro X, gesture support in PowerPoint for the new Surface Earbuds and ink and voice comments in Word.
  • Surface Neo – Coming in 2020
    • Surface Neo is our new dual-screen device powered by a new expression of Windows – Windows 10X. It’s built for productivity and creativity from anywhere with a 360-degree full-friction hinge that connects two 9” screens, enabling Surface Neo to adapt to you with every posture you need.  When you open it up you have a full-size 13” display with the thinnest LCD in its class.
  • Windows 10 X – Coming in 2020
    • Windows has a long history of enabling productivity for people. To support Surface Neo, we are evolving Windows 10 with a new edition of the Windows product line – Windows 10X – to enable breakthrough dual-screen experiences. With Surface Neo the combination of hardware and software from across Microsoft empowers you to be productive from anywhere.
  • Surface Duo – Coming in 2020
    • Surface Duo is the first Surface to fit in your pocket. It brings together the best of Microsoft productivity experiences, Android mobile apps, and Surface hardware design into a single device you can take with you anywhere.  With two paper thin 5.6-inch screens that unfold to 8.3 inches and a 360 degree hinge enabling dual-screens and a variety of postures, along with the ability to make phone calls and texts, Surface Duo is the ultimate in mobile creation and productivity. 

We’ve seen incredible feedback already from press and fans about these products:

  • @JezCordenApple who? Samsung what? Microsoft crushed everyone today. #Surface
  • @SmashDawgOver 60 coax cables –each thinner than a human hair — connects the two screens on the Surface Neo — the coolest thing you’ve seen in computing in years.#SurfaceEvent
  • @RealTonyBradleyMicrosoft unveiled an array of innovative hardware at the Surface Event: Surface Laptop in 13” and 15”, Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X, Surface Earbuds, and the future of the Surface line—Surface Neo and Surface Duo.
  • @briantongWhat @Microsoft brought to the table today just moved us, competitors and the entire industry forward. LOVE IT. Can’t wait to get my hands on this stuff!#MicrosoftEvent @surface #Surface #SurfaceNeo #SurfaceDuo
  • @JoannaSternMost exciting Microsoft event I’ve been to since the original Surface event in Los Angeles. A dual screen Windows tablet, the Surface Neo. A dual screen phone, the Surface Duo.

These products are the culmination of incredible partnerships across Microsoft. It’s been an amazing experience seeing so many teams come together to make this launch a reality. The innovation in form and function, the joining of software and hardware experiences, and the focus of putting people at the center of our products is all thanks to the hard work of people across the company. 

I truly believe that products are a reflection of the people who make them and the people who use them.  Each of the products we announced today is a reflection of the passion, dedication, and care of so many. THANK YOU…product-making takes a village, and Microsoft is a great one.

We will be retiring the Planning Services benefit in Software Assurance.

Bimageeginning in February 2020, we’re retiring the Deployment Planning Services benefit in Software Assurance. We’re consolidating our programmatic deployment planning assistance to a single approach, and Microsoft FastTrack is our primary implementation support offer. You can use FastTrack for Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365 engagements. Cloud services will be retired from Deployment Planning Services eligibility in February 2020 in favor of FastTrack deployments. Learn more about FastTrack.

Deployment Planning Services will be available until January 2022. With deployment planning you get in-depth planning assistance from qualified partners or Microsoft Consulting Services to help you plan your deployment—whether on-premises or in hybrid environments. These structured engagements help you plan your deployment of the latest Microsoft technology.

  • Help ensure efficient deployments through collaborative planning built on best practices.
  • Extend your IT staff with expert advice from on-site deployment planning specialists.

The above was taken from:

imageSo for those of you who still need to install & activate Windows 10 PCs occasionally, using Windows 7/8/8.1 activation keys still conveniently works to activate personal installations of Windows 10. (Thanks to a change that was made as of Windows 10 Threshold 2/1511)

Here’s some pointers:

  1. DOWNLOAD WINDOWS 10 INSTALLATION MEDIA
    Download the Winodws 10 Media creation tool from the link below.  There are other options listed as well if you have access to the Volume Licensing Service Center, have MSDN, are a Windows Insider, etc. 
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10/
  2. GET YOUR 25-DIGIT WINDOWS 7/8/8/1 ACTIVATION KEY
    I am assuming that you have your Windows 7/8/8.1 key stashed away.  (I have more keys than I know what to do with. Smile)  You can use this during or after the installation of Windows 10 – the key will be accepted just as a Windows 10 activation key would.

    EXTRACTING YOUR KEY FROM WINDOWS 7
    If you DON’T have your key, take a look at the link below on how to use NirSoft’s tool for extracting the key from your existing Windows 7 installation.
    https://www.howtogeek.com/206329/how-to-find-your-lost-windows-or-office-product-keys/

  3. USE YOUR 25-DIGIT WINDOWS 7/8/8.1 KEY TO ACTIVATE
    If you’re activating Windows 10 after the installation, go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation to enter the key.
    (Follow the instructions here for steps on how to use the key if it isn’t clear.
    https://www.howtogeek.com/266072/you-can-still-get-windows-10-for-free-with-a-windows-7-8-or-8.1-key/)

The following was sent to all SA Benefit Administrators & SA Benefit Primary Contacts:

imageMicrosoft is retiring two Software Assurance benefits that have similar offerings outside of Software Assurance and changing the eligibility criteria for a third benefit. Specifically:

1. We’ll retire the Deployment Planning Services benefit and fulfill your implementation needs through Microsoft’s premier cloud migration and deployment program Microsoft FastTrack.

2. Microsoft is investing in new, modern skilling programs. Training vouchers will be phased out as a Software Assurance benefit and will no longer be used to convert to planning services.

3. We’re adjusting the eligibility criteria of 24×7 support and changing support allocations to align Software Assurance support with Microsoft’s new Unified Support offering.

The first of these changes go into effect in February 2020, with the remaining changes gradually rolled-out through Jan 1 2022, to give your organization time to accrue and use your remaining planning days, training vouchers, and support incidents. You can find details on each benefit change and timeline for benefit allocation and use deadlines here.

Software Assurance continues to offer a set of helpful benefits coordinated across software and cloud to support your organization’s deployment, management and support needs. Contact your Microsoft sales professional for more details. You can see a full list of benefits and eligibility at https://www.microsoft.com/licensing, and learn more about FastTrack, Microsoft Learn, and Microsoft Support.

The public statement of these changes are highlighted on the following page under each of the SA benefits tabs:

imageOne of my new favorite – and free – tools: PureText.

PureText is a tiny tray utility that removes all text formatting from your clipboard and optionally pastes the resulting pure text to the active window with a single hotkey.

Have you ever copied some text from a web page or Word document, and wanted to paste it as plain text into another application without getting all the formatting from the original source?

PureText makes this simple. Just copy/cut whatever you want to the clipboard, click on the PureText tray icon, and then paste to any application. Better yet, you can configure a PureText Hotkey to convert and paste the text for you. The pasted text will be pure and free from all formatting.

After running PureText, you will see a "PT" icon appear near the clock on your task bar. You can click on this icon to remove formatting from the text that is currently on the clipboard. You can right-click on the icon to display a menu with more options.

The easiest way to use PureText is to simply use its Hotkey to paste text instead of using the standard CTRL+V Hotkey that is built into most Windows applications. To configure PureText, right-click on its tray icon and choose "Options" from the pop-up menu. The default Hotkey is WINDOWS+V, but this can be changed. In this Options window, you can also configure PureText to run each time you start Windows.

Posted by: kurtsh | September 25, 2019

EVENT: SharePoint Saturday, Los Angeles – Sept 28, 2019

imageSharePoint Saturday returns to Los Angeles, CA. This is a free event organized by the West Coast SharePoint Saturday Organizing Committee and will focus on sessions from Office 365, SharePoint, OneDrive, Azure and other products in the Microsoft technology stack.

SharePoint administrators, end users, architects, developers, and other professionals that work with Microsoft SharePoint Technologies will meet on September 28th, 2019​ at the Microsoft Playa Vista Office, in Los Angeles, CA.

Posted by: kurtsh | September 25, 2019

INFO: Microsoft Ignite 2019 – Waitlist for Registration

imageI’ve received over a dozen requests & questions related to Microsoft Ignite 2019.  Here’s an FAQ of sorts for those of you wondering:

  1. NO COMPLIMENTARY PASSES
    There are no complimentary passes available.  If you’re a customer of mine, I did submit your name as a requestor but unfortunately we were not granted any passes.
  2. PREMIER-FUNDED PASSES ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE
    Ignite passes purchased through Premier had to have been done back in April-May.  They consumed roughly 10hrs of Premier contract time and again, needed to be done early – as I’ve mentioned before.  There were only a limited number of passes that were allowed to be purchased this way and once those were gone around mid-May, that was it.
  3. NO ESCALATION OF WAITLIST PRIORITY
    The online waitlist is your best option for passes at this time as we have exhausted all of our passes & registrations in the US. I’ve gone as high as I can go and our marketing team has no influence or ability to prioritize the waitlist. The Ignite registration team will contact a customer directly as space becomes available.

Sorry for the bad news but this is what I know to date.

We have discontinued the eLearning benefit in Software Assurance.

imageThe Software Assurance E-Learning benefit has been replaced with Microsoft Learn. Microsoft Learn is a free, interactive, quick, and fun way to learn Microsoft products and services! Microsoft Learn helps you quickly learn new skills with step-by-step interactive tutorials including videos and hands-on learning. The E-Learning Software Assurance benefit and associated platform have been retired, and access to current courses, transcripts, completion certificates and administrative tools residing on those sites is no longer available.

You will be able to access the Microsoft Learn training resources at the following locations.

Courses by Product – New Location

Read the announcement and an FAQ here:

Recently announced change to the Software Assurance Benefits program:

imageWe’re retiring the Software Assurance training voucher benefit starting in February 2020, and training days will no longer be used to convert to Planning Services days. You can still use training vouchers until January 2022, with the exception of Azure training, which will be removed from the course catalog in February 2020.

Software Assurance training vouchers provide in-depth technical training for IT professionals and developers. Developed by Microsoft experts with classroom training, taught by Microsoft Certified Trainers and Microsoft Official Courses On Demand (MOD) hosted online and taught by top trainers. Training vouchers help your IT staff deploy, manage, support new software and stay current with technology—without impacting your budget.

Your training days are based on the type and number of licenses you have with Software Assurance. Work with your Microsoft Certified Trainer partners to identify the right option for your training needs.

This is all I have on the matter.  Read the announcement here.  (Note there is an FAQ in the article that may be worth reading):

Posted by: kurtsh | September 23, 2019

HOWTO: Automatically dismiss reminders from past events

imageOutlook has an option to automatically dismiss reminders for past events.

It’s not enabled by default.  Here’s how to enable it:

Automatically dismiss reminders for past events

If you don’t want to see reminders for events in the past, you can tell Outlook to automatically dismiss reminders for past events. For example, if you’re out of the office for three days, you might not want to come back and see reminders for the meetings that took place while you were gone.

  1. Select File > Options > Advanced.

  2. In the Reminders section, select Automatically dismiss reminders for past events.

[stolen from Jen Gentleman]

The support page documentation is here:

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