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Office 365 vs Google Apps: Is Microsoft trying to be like Google?

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Office 365

Microsoft is trying to be a little more like Google. When you think of Microsoft you most likely think of Windows and Office. With the new Office 2013 launching, the team from Redmond is really trying to tie in other products besides the typical office suite. I say really trying because they are offering a few free add on services for the first time.

Skype was purchased by Microsoft in 2011 and not much has been different with the company. Users are still able to Skype video chat to other Skype subscribers for free and they can use the Skype to phone option with cheap per minute rates. The lack of change might soon be over as the subscription based Office now includes 60 minutes of Skype International calling each month. This means you get an hour of calling select countries from your Skype account on any device that supports the app.

Could Microsoft be using this method to get Skype into the daily routing of more consumers? As with many promotions, they will hope users try Skype and go over the initial 60 minute allocation.  Skydrive is also going to get a bump in storage for existing accounts. When you subscribe to Office, your Skydrive account will receive a 20GB increase in online storage.

Office 365

Skydrive is similar to Google Drive and Dropbox with cloud sync ability among different devices.  Both the Skype and Skydrive applications are available on iOS and Android phones along with of course Windows Phone. Microsoft could leverage both platforms together and have the ability to collaborate on a document with others while using Skype Voice or Video calling.

The $99 a year subscription to Office 365 will provide up to 5 installs on either PC’s or a Mac. This breaks down to $20 a year per user if all 5 installs are used under the 1 household rule. Microsoft is not doing a lot to prevent you and 4 friends to split that cost, but it is against the TOS. When broke down to $20 a year, this becomes a much more consumer friendly option. Considering Google Drive has a limited, but compatible version of Office built in for free, it is a good deal at $20 a year for the full suite with Skydrive integration.

You are also getting the ability to sign into their cloud site, office.com and have a fully functioning version that is actually streaming from the web. It will require a Windows 7 or 8 PC, but the technology works great and it gives the impression you are working on native software. This feature has extreme potential as it  can be used anywhere you have an internet connection on any compatible OS.

Of course users can still opt for the ‘old’ version of the software with the flat up front cost. Three options are available for potential customers. Office Home & Student includes Word, Excel, Power Point and One Note for $139.99. The mid tier version for $219.99 includes the same software with Outlook included. Office Pro 2013 comes in at $399.99 and includes  the additional Publisher and Access titles. All of the non cloud versions are for installing only a single copy.

Microsoft is really pushing users to the Office 365 platform based on price and value alone. It is a step into their future, but not forcing users is the correct choice. Many office customers upgrade every so many versions and it might not make sense for them to pay on a yearly model if they are currently happy using Office 2003.

Offering monthly services and connecting other applications is very similar to the Google model. After creating a simple Google account, users have access to hundreds of other free Google services that mostly are connected in some fashion. The recent mail switch from Microsoft Hotmail to Outlook.com has a distinct Gmail like appearance. Yahoo has just  gone through a similar approach to their mail layout. Good or bad, the Google model is working and of course the competition will attempt to mimic everything from looks to functionality.

Google took to the cloud first with the original Google Docs product. Having the ability to open, view, edit and save official Office documents on any device was a huge leap. Microsoft has taken a step in the right direction with Office 365, but for team collaboration Google still has an advantage with the ability for multiple users to view and edit a document at the same time. Microsoft does offer this service, but it requires a Sharepoint setup. Having used both I would much rather prefer the Google Drive setup for most basic documents.

Here is a brief look at each company and just a few of their competing products.

Chrome vs Internet Explorer
Google vs Bing
Gmail vs Hotmail
Google Talk vs Lync
Android vs Windows Phone
Google Maps vs Bing Maps
Google Voice vs Skype
Youtube vs Skydrive Video
Drive vs Office 365
Drive vs Skydrive
Google Wallet vs Microsoft Wallet
Finance vs MSN Money
Chromebooks vs Surface line
Google Ads vs Microsoft Adcenter
Google Plus vs Microsoft Socl
Chrome OS vs Windows

As you can see, the two companies have each introduced different products to compete on all levels. Google still considers themselves an advertising company and Microsoft is a software service company. Those lines continue to blur as they each tip toe the line.

Do you plan on subscribing to Office 365? Personally I would not pay $99 a year for office, but splitting with it with a few friends or family members might make it worth while. Until then, i’ll continue to use my legit student version of Office 2007 when needed, but Google Drive for most of my everyday tasks.

Microsoft Office 365

Collaboration in the cloud with Office 365. Enterprise class software for businesses of all sizes.

Office 365 Overview

Office 365 is familiar Microsoft Office collaboration and productivity tools delivered through the cloud. Everyone can work together easily with anywhere access to email, web conferencing, documents, and calendars. It includes business-class security and is backed by Microsoft. Whether you are a small business or multinational enterprise, Office 365 offers plans designed to fit your organization’s unique needs.

Environmentalist. Consumer Tech Journalist. Science Explorer. And, a dreamer. I've been contributing informative news content since 2010. Follow me on all socials!

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Automotive

Nissan-Renault’s Ghosn: From Hero To Zero

The once-famed Nissan leader has fallen with allegations relating to financial misconduct and dragging the company along with him. Click To Tweet

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Renault-Nissan Alliance. Photo from: Nissan-Global.com

In a time when Nissan was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, Carlos Ghosn stepped in not only to save the company but help it to rise back as one of the world’s top car manufacturers. Today, Nissan is facing a similar financial crisis, but this time around, the Japanese carmaker had Ghosn removed from the company.

Through Ghosn’s efforts of restructuring and eventually, reintroducing innovations to Nissan, the company rose significantly within the last two decades under Ghosn’s lead. He also made the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi agreement possible that made them one of the leading car companies in the world.

The company had a good track record. But, CNN reported last Tuesday, May 14, that Nissan posted a significant drop in profits where operating profits plunged to 45% at 318 billion yen ($2.9 billion) in the fiscal year that ended in March and revenue fell 3% to about 11.6 trillion yen ($105 billion), while vehicle sales were down 4.4% to 5.5 million.

This is “rock bottom,” Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa said during the earnings presentation.

Moreover, analysts also expect Nissan to plunge at decade-low numbers in the coming year. Nissan forecasts operating profit for the fiscal year to March 2020 would fall to 230 billion ($2.1 billion). Also, Nissan shares closed down at 3% in Tokyo.

On Friday, May 17, the Japanese carmaker proposed plans to make changes within its executive board as a reaction to Ghosn’s fallout from the company.

The firm told shareholders that they would start implementing a new board structure composed of 11 members, which 6 of whom would be external.

“With the lessons from the recent executive misconduct still fresh, Nissan resolves to rigorously pursue the separation of supervisory and executive functions,” said the firm.

Thierry Bollore, Renault’s chief executive and chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will both be included in the proposed board.

Nissan conceded to allowing Senard into the board though Bollore’s urges. The Japanese firm isn’t too happy about Senard siding with Ghosn during his arrest.

On the other hand, Nissan’s current CEO Hiroto Saikawa has also been reported to be pressured from vacating his position in the company for doubts that he is capable of turning things around for the company and his close relations with Ghosn.

Saikawa responded that he wishes to stay on the company until he sees it return to profitability and will consider the idea of stepping down “at the appropriate time.”

Additionally, Saikawa told reporters that Renault chairman Senard “has one idea in mind, which is integration or merger.” He also added that “what we’ve told Mr. Senard is this is not the right timing to discuss this matter.”

Regarding the topic of a possible merger between Renault and Nissan, the Japanese company seems to be against the idea since Nissan brings in a lot more profitable compared to the two. But, ironically, Renault holds more stake in the company.

Obviously, the Japanese brand has been struggling to manage internal structures with Ghosn leaving its ranks for multiple cases alleging financial misconduct.

Allegedly, Ghosn is accused of abusing and taking advantage of his power and position in the company to meet personal gains. Specifically, Ghosn allegedly used a Nissan subsidiary to send millions of dollars of payments to a business partner of the company abroad, which then sent money to a third company that he controlled. The actions were taken for the purpose of obtaining a “personal profit,” The New York Times reports.

Prosecutors accused Ghosn of using the method on three occasions from December 2015 to July 2018, resulting in a total of $5 million in losses to Nissan.

As of date, Ghosn has been arrested on four separate occasions including the first arrest in November on charges of underreporting his compensation. The second when he was rearrested on related charges and then a third time on suspicion that he had shifted his personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books.

However, Ghosn and his team of lawyers have consistently denied all allegations about him. In a video Ghosn posted before his fourth arrest, he told that the allegations made against him “is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing.”

Meanwhile, the French carmaker, Renault also made new allegations against Ghosn, claiming that there were “questionable and concealed practices” regarding the expenses made under Ghosn. Moreover, Renault also announced Ghosn’s resignation from its board.

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The ‘2019 NAACP Image Awards’ Issues And Winners

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The 2019 NAACP Image Awards has made Hollywood celebrities jam-packed in a star-studded night held at the Dolby Theater for the first time in history as the organization celebrates its 50th anniversary.

This year’s event focuses on celebrating ‘the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film, as well as, honoring groups or individuals who promote social justice through creative endeavors.’

The NAACP Image Award is an annual awards’ ceremony presented by the US-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to honor outstanding performances in film, television, music, and literature.

Similar to other awards like the Oscars and the Grammys, more than 40 categories of the Image Awards are voted on and agreed upon by the organization’s members while Honorary Awards are added which include President’s Award, Chairman’s Award, Entertainment of the Year and the Hall of Fame Award.

Below are the lists of awards and nominations that were given to outstanding Hollywood actors and actresses who show significant roles in the field of entertainment.

Anthony Anderson hosted the said event who won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in black-ish. Netflix and HBO had the highest number of nominations garnering 22 and 20 nominees respectively. While ABC followed closely behind with 18, and Black Panther tailed on as it gathered 14 nominations including Best Motion Picture.

Donald Glover’s hit show Atlanta is nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series alongside black-ish, Dear White People, Grown-ish and Insecure.

The most coveted and prominent award is given to ‘Jay-Z’ known as ‘President’s Award’ which centers on dedication to public service. The rapper, during his speech, acknowledged the roles of strong black women who dedicated their full acting prowess in the entertainment world and helped shape future generations through its influential parts in TV shows.

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series goes to Tracee Ellis Ross in her role in black-ish (ABC.

Empire Star ‘Jussie Smollett’ who has been at the center of investigation which shocked the world by faking an attack on January 29 is nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category. However, he refused to attend the awards night and therefore lost his chance to receive the said reward. On Tuesday, Chicago prosecutors announced that all charges against him were dropped.

Marcus Scribner won an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series from black-ish (ABC) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, went to Marsai Martin also from black-ish.

The hit series ‘Power’ (Starz) won the Outstanding Drama Series with Omari Hardwick as the Best Actor for Drama Series, also the lead star of Power. The Best Actress for Drama Series revealed to be Taraji P. Henson for her role in Empire from Fox.

Jesse Williams bagged the Supporting Actor in a Drama Series from the all-time hit TV series, Grey’s Anatomy from ABC. Its counterpart is claimed by Lynn Whitfield from Greenleaf which faced several criticisms from its competitor Thandie Newton in Westworld who believed that the award should be given to someone who has a critical role in TV series.

The long list of the award also gave importance to television movie, and the Outstanding Television Movies, Limited Series or Dramatic Special is awarded to The Bobby Brown Story, and the Outstanding Actor for the same category went to Michael B.Jordan for his award-winning role in Fahrenheit 451, while Regina King from Seven Seconds (Netflix) received the award in the female category.

The Real, won the award for Outstanding Talk Series, and Black Girls Rock for the Outstanding Variety Show. The long-running Doc Mcstuffins from Disney Junior took the Outstanding Children’s Program, while the Outstanding Performance by A Youth Series went to Marsai Martin of black-ish.

Several hosts are also given honor for their outstanding performances for Talk/Variety and Game show. Steve Harvey won Outstanding Host in the Game show from Family Feud, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield Norris and Willow Smith for Red Table Talk under the Outstanding Host in News/Information Category.

In the music category, major awards were bagged by Bruno Mars for Outstanding Male Artist and H.E.R under RCA Records for the female group.

The said event is an avenue for black people to be recognized for portraying significant roles in different TV programs, but NAACP is being criticized for its flawed standards of choosing the nominees. Critics are pointing out factors such as criminal charges inconsequential in this regard, just like the case of Jussie Smollet who was nominated for a significant award despite his criminal offense.

The nomination of Smollet is similar to the case of Tupac Shakur in 1994. The artist was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture in a film ‘Poetic Justice’ despite the filing of sexual assault charges against him. R Kelly is no exception to the controversy, where his album Chocolate Factory was nominated for Outstanding Album while he was under indictment for costs related to child pornography.

Although significant issues currently surround NAACP, the organization is still determined to continue its effort on acknowledging the contribution of black people to the entertainment world and field of art as a whole. Other individual and minor awards can be viewed through the organization’s website at www.naacpimageawards.net

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Arts & Entertainment

Netflix’s Queer Eye: Starting Conversations About Differences And Changing Lives

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We are living in a world where differences are highlighted more than similarities. It has made conversations about things that matter very polarized, and understanding seems to be a pipe dream for everyone. That is why it is essential for people to be reminded that there are more things that we all share rather than things that keep us apart.

It is with this premise that Netflix’s Queer Eye is born.

The new Queer Eye is hosted by five gay guys known as the Fab 5, each of them having specific expertise. Antoni Porowski is the show’s resident food and wine expert. He helps the “heroes” to prepare food for themselves and their families. Jonathan Van Ness, the grooming expert, helps the chosen heroes to establish a day-to-day grooming routine to take care of their bodies. The heroes are dressed and improved in the fashion aspect by Tan France, and their homes/spaces were renovated and redesigned by Bobby Berk to suit their needs. Karamo Brown is the life coach that helps the heroes overcome their fear and build more confidence in them.

In hindsight, the premise of the show is very stereotypical. The roles of the Fab 5, the fashion expert, interior designer, and hair stylist, in particular, are the stereotypical roles given to gays and members of the LGBTQ community.

When you think of fashion, style, and design, the first thing that comes to your mind is that either women or gay guys do it. That’s why the show, to an extent, is perpetuating a narrative that fashion experts and groomers and interior designers are gay people.

True enough. However, the little stereotyping that happens in the show is compensated by the conversations that happen every episode. In a way, through the help of these “gay fashionista” or “gay hairstylist” or “gay interior designer,” people will start to realize that these aspects of human lives are necessary for everyone – even for straight guys.

In most of the episodes, the show has seen heroes who are adamant of wearing certain types of clothing because they think they think that dressing up a certain way is a way for them to either be comfortable or otherwise they might be seen as less masculine. But their minds change in the end, always. After Tan France makes them understand that dressing up doesn’t need to be loud or obnoxious for it to be appropriate or hip or in trend, the heroes, in most cases, embrace the change.

It is with this kind of narrative that Queer Eye aims to affect the same change to their audience. While not everyone will become “heroes,” everyone will still be getting the same fashion, grooming, food, interior design, and culture advice from the Fab 5. By this, the conversation is extended from that of between the Fab 5 and the heroes to the show and its audience.

The conversation does not end at that, however. Real issues are being tackled in the show, and as the hosts in recent interviews claim, most of those conversations are not produced nor directed. Meaning, the message that gay people can contribute something in the society is a narrative that organically happens in the show.

In one episode in the first season of Queer Eye, the Fab 5 were stopped by a police officer as they drive to the new hero. Tan France and Karamo Brown, both POCs, had echoed how they feared for their lives when that happened. While the entire thing was just orchestrated by production, the hosts were not briefed about it, and thus their reactions were genuinely organic.

Karamo later said to the hero, which was a police officer, that he was honestly hesitant to have a conversation with him because he was a cop. This conversation led to a discussion on the reality that black people are facing right now in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. As the police officer apologized on behalf of all the cops in America for their atrocities against POCs, Karamo felt like it was a form of “healing” for him.

In another episode, the Fab 5 was tasked to make over a devout Christian black woman and the community center of her church. During the episode, Bobby Berk refused to get inside the church because “he might break down” and because he “promised myself that I would never get inside another church again.”

Berk’s life story is eerily similar to most gay men. At the age of 15, Bobby, who was raised in a very religious family, ran away from his home because he was gay. He said that the church consistently taught him that gays are an abomination and being one is a sin.

In the end, Bobby had an emotional conversation with Mama Tammy, who also had a gay son, and made them learn the lesson of acceptance and love – an experience that the show has successfully translated for its audience to learn from.

Five gay guys helping straight people make their lives better is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the conversations that organically happen that make shows like Queer Eye necessary. We need more Fab 5 in the entertainment industry, and we need more Queer Eyes to open the world’s minds to the reality other people are living.

It is in the hope that through these shows, people will learn a thing or two about tolerance and acceptance – that more things keep us together than pull us apart.

The third season of Queer Eye was released by Netflix on March 15, 2019. /apr

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