Assigning multiple users to a task is now possible in Microsoft Planner

Assigning multiple users to a task is now possible in Microsoft Planner

As written on blogs.office.com
As of today, Microsoft Planner users can assign multiple people to a task—a feature that tops the list at planner.uservoice.com. Now, users can assign more than just one user to a task in Planner, and every user that is assigned the task will see it on their My Tasks page.

Our goal is to support additional collaboration, and we will continue to develop features and enhancements that our users want. Feel free to join the conversation about this feature and many others at our TechCommunity page. Also, please share your feedback with us about Planner features you would like to see at planner.uservoice.com.
—The Planner team

4 Reasons More Businesses are Choosing Managed Service Providers

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Better business needs better business tools. Successful companies are using Managed Service Providers to increase profitability without out-of-control IT costs.

A Managed Service Provider advises in the selection and design of Cloud, mobile and on premise environments.  With our flexible management service models your infrastructure becomes agile, secure and cost effective with a pay-on-a-per user model.  Check out these four reasons modern businesses are choosing Managed Service Providers: 

1) Cloud Strategist guides to the RIGHT CLOUD strategy  

2) Flexible CHOICE to integrated layered support services 

3) Secure Data access from anywhere, any device

4) Trusted Technology Roadmap Advisor & Partner

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Extending User Control of Flash with Click-to-Run

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Extending User Control of Flash with Click-to-Run

Written by Crispin Cowan  as seen on blogs.microsoft.com
Adobe Flash has been an integral part of the web for decades, enabling rich content and animations in browsers since before HTML5 was introduced. In modern browsers, web standards pioneered by Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Apple, Mozilla, and many others are now enabling sites to exceed those experiences without Flash and with improved performance and security. Starting in the Anniversary Edition of Windows 10, we began to give users more control over Flash by selectively pausing certain Flash content, like ads, that were not central to the page.
In our next release, we will extend this functionality and encourage the transition to HTML5 alternatives by providing additional user control over when Flash content loads. Windows Insiders will be able to try an early implementation of this feature soon in upcoming preview builds. The user experience will evolve as we move towards a stable release in the Windows 10 Creator’s Update next year.
Sites that support HTML5 will default to a clean HTML5 experience. In these cases, Flash will not even be loaded, improving performance, battery life, and security. For sites that still depend on Flash, users will have the opportunity to decide whether they want Flash to load and run, and this preference can be remembered for subsequent visits.
Screen capture showing an Edge browser window with a dialog from the address bar which reads "Adobe Flash content was blocked. Do you want to allow Adobe Flash to run on this site?" The options are Close, Allow Once, and Allow Always.

Sample of the user experience when the user clicks on a blocked Flash control.

We are deeply aware that Flash is an integral part of many web experiences today. To ease the transition to HTML5, these changes initially will not affect the most popular sites which rely on Flash today. In the coming months, we will actively monitor Flash consumption in Microsoft Edge and will gradually shorten the list of automatic exceptions. At the end of this process, users will remain in control, and will be able to choose Flash for any site they visit.
We advise web developers to migrate to standardized content delivery mechanisms like JavaScript and HTML5 Encrypted Media Extensions, Media Source Extensions, Canvas, Web Audio, and RTC in the coming months.
This change will provide all users improved performance, greater stability, and stronger security. These changes are similar to updates coming from our friends at Apple, Mozilla, and Google. We look forward to continued work with these partners, and with Adobe, to improve the capabilities and security of the web for all users.

Technology Expert & CEO, Sean Ferrel speaks with SBA Director, Ruben Garcia about Security and Productivity.

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Technology Expert & CEO, Sean Ferrel speaks with SBA Director, Ruben Garcia about Security and Productivity

October 6, 2016.
Sean Ferrel, CEO of Managed Solution appeared on U.S. Small Business Administration Radio Show on 9/29/16 as a trusted advisor to the SMB community. Sean’s hour long segment, “Increase Business Productivity by Being Cyber Intelligent” was hosted by SBA Director, Ruben Garcia at WS Radio Station in San Diego, California. Topics discussed included, “Why backups are critical for small business”, “What are the biggest security threats facing small business” and “What’s the best strategy for blending personal and work information on devices that employees use every day”.

Alex Eaton: Helping small farmers turn animal waste into clean energy

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Alex Eaton: Helping small farmers turn animal waste into clean energy

By Vanessa Ho as written on news.microsoft.com
When Alex Eaton started his company in Mexico to help small farmers, his timing couldn’t have been worse. It was 2010, the global economy was fragile, Mexico’s drug war was peaking and swine flu was pandemic.
Then there was Eaton’s challenge of introducing new technology – a system that turns animal waste into clean energy – to old-school farmers. His company was lean, with employees building the system in a cramped garage at night and selling it directly to farmers by day. They traveled on cheap “chicken buses,” which sometimes also carried livestock.
“I slept on a lot of farmers’ dirt floors,” says Eaton. “In terms of challenges, we certainly did not have any shortages. It was a radical, bootstrapping operation, and it made us stronger as a company, because we generated a culture in which you wouldn’t have worked for us if you weren’t passionate.”
Six years later, Eaton’s company, Sistema Biobolsa, has become a thriving business with a global mission in environmental sustainability and social justice. It has installed more than 3,000 of its digester systems, which now serve 20,000 people in Mexico, Central America, South America and Africa.

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“We want small farmers to grow, improve their productivity and efficiency, and grow into the important and sustainable food producers that they can be,” Eaton says.
With the help of Microsoft tools for productivity and collaboration, the company boosts local economies by enabling farmers to turn cow and pig waste into biogas that fuels stoves and other equipment. Sistema Biobolsa’s affordable, scalable digesters also help produce an organic, nutrient-rich manure, so farmers don’t have to buy chemical fertilizers and can further save money.
“A huge disadvantage of being a small farmer today is you live in an environment filled with flies and horrible odor,” with animal waste contaminating rivers, lakes and watersheds, says Eaton, who grew up on a small farm in New Hampshire. “We take that waste and turn it into a clean, renewable energy source.”
All features of the digester — a durable-membrane bag in which microorganisms break down waste anaerobically — are designed to serve farmers. Black membrane absorbs heat for faster composting and efficient piping makes the system easy to use. The company’s microfinancing program, run in partnership with nonprofit Kiva, allows farmers to easily invest in the system with a no-interest loan. For many farmers, it’s the first time they’ve had access to credit, helping them grow and diversify their business.

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“We have been saving a lot of money with this Sistema Biobolsa,” says Herles Cortez, a pig farmer in Puebla, Mexico, who installed a digester about 18 months ago. “We buy very little gas for the business anymore. Before, gas was a big expense for us.”
He says the system produces enough gas to fuel the family’s stove as well as a barn heater that keeps the piglets warm at night, leading to healthier animals. His farm is also more pleasant with less odor. “Take a look around now; there are no flies. It’s cleaner now,” he says, showing his farm recently to visitors.
As Sistema Biobolsa grows, its team of 30 employees relies on Skype to collaborate across four offices in Mexico and Nicaragua and with hundreds of installers and promoters around the world. Skype has helped the company install digesters in remote areas, from the Andean region in South America to pilot programs in Ghana, Nigeria and Madagascar. The company is also developing new pilot programs in East Africa and India.
“With collaborators all around the world, we use Skype over regular landlines,” says Eaton, a longtime Skype user. “This is completely non-negotiable for us. Being able to put together a number of people virtually and seeing people online really makes the connections a lot more tangible.”
Windows 10 also powers new computers for field staffers, and Office 365 helps Eaton work on finances and communications wherever he is, whether in his office in Mexico City or on the road.
“We couldn’t live without Microsoft Office, so I have Word and Excel open at all times,” he says. The tools help him reach his goals of empowering small farmers to work sustainably and thrive financially.
He recalls how the company years ago had helped a small dairy farm in Mexico, run by a woman whose husband had left to work in the U.S. and send money home.
When the struggling farm started using a digester, its 10 cows began creating gas that fueled a pasteurizing machine. That allowed the family to sell pasteurized milk and yogurt, make more money and buy more cows.
“It was an incredible transformation of a typical Mexican farm, which was essentially in a death spiral and being abandoned. It started using modern technology, serving the community and helping the family get ahead,” Eaton says.
“As we continue to grow, it is exciting to think about the potential to create more stories like this at hundreds of thousands of small farms throughout Latin America.”

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