NASA tech could trim air travel delays

NASA tech could trim air travel delays

By Derek Major as written on
When severe storms hit, air travel delays are all but guaranteed. Last month alone, more than 10,000 flights were cancelled in a three-day period after a snowstorm dropped up to 30 inches on the East Coast from New York to Georgia. But NASA is working on a software-driven solution that could ease the pain for travellers, airlines and air traffic controllers alike.
NASA's Ames Research Center, the Federal Aviation Administration and industry developers are developing and testing a system known as Dynamic Weather Routes. According to NASA, the system updates and compares weather and air traffic data to find alternate routes when severe weather is likely to impact planes already in the air.
The DWR system collects and updates weather and air traffic information every 12 seconds and uses the data to find alternative routes and resolve air traffic conflicts. (The traditional method depends on a teleconference held every two hours.) DWR can account for frequent weather changes and plot new routes to avoid traffic or airspace that is designated for special use.
A 10-person team has been developing DWR since 2010, and research shows the software could save 10 minutes per flight. “The [current] static weather avoidance routes may not be well tailored to the weather of the day,” Kapil Sheth, a NASA aerospace research engineer, explained. “Large buffers compensate for forecast uncertainty of up to four hours ahead. When weather changes, it leaves an opportunity to save time and fuel.”
The Ames Research Center was awarded a patent for DWR late last year, and an industry partner has been field testing the prototype system for more than two years. Dave McNally, NASA’s principal investigator for DWR, said that one aerospace company already has licensed DWR, and the system is currently being used for advisories on flights.

Ford Uses Microsoft Cloud to Seamlessly Update Cars

By Sharon Gaudin as written on

Ford Motor Co. is moving to automatically update its cars’ infotainment systems using Microsoft’s Azure cloud service.

The U.S. auto maker will begin selling some cars later this year with a computer system that can be automatically updated anytime the car connects to a Wi-Fi network. The cloud-based system is expected to be available in all of Ford’s cars by the end of 2016, according to Don Butler, Ford’s executive director of Connected Vehicle and Services.

The system — the Ford Service Delivery Network — will enable car owners to more easily get new services, even if their car is as much as 10 years old.

Ford is using cloud computing, data analytics and in-car software to change the consumer experience. Now a car’s navigation, entertainment and communication systems will be refreshable.

Previously, Ford’s infotainment system could be updated — but only by bringing the vehicle into a dealership or via a USB stick.

With a cloud-based system, updates to the car’s navigation system, contacts, audio system and center touch screen will be easier.

The updates should download seamlessly, without the driver being distracted – or even aware – of it happening.

“We couldn’t do this without the cloud,” Butler told Computerworld. “It’s really the only way to do it. Otherwise, we’d still need people to make a physical connection either at the dealer or through a stick.”

Other auto companies, including Tesla Motors, will be using over-the-air updates and cloud services to upgrade car owners’ infotainment, safety and powertrains.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said car owners rarely update their in-car systems when they have to drive to the dealer or get a USB stick. The cloud-based service should make it easier for systems requiring updates to work.

“I think it will be something that’s expected eventually,” he said. “Using the cloud is smart as it’s the only scalable way to do real time, over-the-air updates.”

To make this work, Ford is using a hybrid cloud system, which combines the features of a private and public cloud system.

Customer-sensitive data, such as the owner’s name and address, the vehicle’s mileage, its location and how well it’s running, will be stored on a private, on-premise cloud network that was built by Ford’s IT department.

For the public cloud, Ford is using Microsoft Azure, which the company uses for software updates.

Microsoft also is supplying the connection between Ford’s private cloud and the Azure public cloud.

“It’s a flexible solution that lets us tailor it to our needs,” Butler said. “Azure allows us the ability to flex between our own data centers and public data centers. And it’s global.”

That flexibility is the reason Ford’s IT executives chose Azure, instead of another cloud provider, like IBM, Google or Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“We wouldn’t have had that kind of flexibility with AWS or Google,” Butler noted. “You use their cloud as they constructed them. With Azure, we’ve constructed and architected our own service delivery network, and Azure is a component of that network. It gives us the ability to have a solution that bridges their public cloud and our own private cloud. Azure is the plumbing that connects the two clouds.”

Ford also had already worked with Microsoft on its in-vehicle software, so the Redmond, Wash., company came to the cloud job with an understanding of the automaker’s vision and needs.

“It’s important to work with a partner that understands the environment you’re trying to operate in,” Butler said. “Microsoft had that.”

Kerravala said he’s a little surprised that Ford selected Microsoft. “I think Azure versus AWS versus Google is really in the preference of the customer,” he added. “I think most people think of Amazon as being the de facto standard of the cloud, but Azure is a solid choice, too. Azure has Microsoft support behind it and may prove to be easier to grow long term because of that.”

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said it makes sense for Ford to stick with Microsoft since they have a history of working together.

“As far as picking Microsoft, Ford and Microsoft have been collaborating for a long time,” he noted. “And Azure is a good platform for managing digital assets on a network. Here, it’s really two things — the Azure fabric, which is a software services platform, and the Azure service, which is Microsoft’s hosted version of the platform. Both make sense here.”

About Managed Solution

We're technology enthusiasts with a people-first approach. For over two decades, we've witnessed the profound impact that the right technology and support can have on businesses and individuals. Success, to us, is seeing our clients, partners, and team conquer challenges to achieve their greatest goals and build lasting connections. This relentless pursuit of inspiration drives us forward, pushing us to deliver innovative solutions that empower growth and lasting success.

View Services.

legal professionals with matter center - managed solution

Matter Center Helps Legal Firms Do Better Business

As you might imagine, Microsoft employs one of the largest corporate legal teams in the world. Having access to Microsoft’s development team, the legal team has used tools such as Office 365 extensively and has benefited from customization of those tools to enhance their utility in a legal environment. If you’re legal professional you’re probably asking yourself how this helps you. Well the great news is that Microsoft is now making these enhancements more broadly available to their legal professional customers through an add-in called Matter Center.
By working with a Microsoft partner, like Managed Solutions, your firm will be able to enjoy the enhancements made possible through the work of Microsoft’s Legal & Corporate Affairs (LCA) team. Once installed, Matter Center allows your team to create or view legal matters right from Outlook; tie Word, Excel, OneNote and other files to those matters; and securely collaborate with other legal professionals inside or outside your organization.
By working with nearly 200 law firms and partners in the legal industry, the LCA team was able to solicit feedback and input that went into building a world-class solution for the legal profession. Learn more about the development of Matter Center by the LCA team in this short video.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key benefits that will make Matter Center a game-changer for your legal practice:
  • Complete integration with Office 365 – Create and view right from Outlook, Word, Excel, OneNote and all the tools your team already has experience with.
  • Seamless mobile experience – Access Office 365 and Matter Center across all devices – PCs, Macs, tables and phones whether using Windows, Apple or Android OS.
  • Powerful and intuitive search and data visualization – You can easily and quickly search, find and retrieve matters and related documents across all cases.
  • Pinning and tagging – Track and pin frequently used matters and documents for easy access.
Learn more about boosting productivity for your office, both your team of legal professionals and for any IT professionals you employ or contract, with Office 365 and Matter Center.
Running Matter Center in the cloud will require Office 365 and Azure subscriptions. Matter Center has been designed to support multiple deployment configurations as well, whether on-premises or hybrid cloud. Managed Solutions can help your firm implement Office 365 and Matter Center quickly and cost-effectively. You can scale up and out at a pace that makes sense for your practice.

Get started with Power BI

Microsoft Power BI helps you stay up to date with the information that matters to you. With Power BI, dashboards help you keep a finger on the pulse of your business. Your dashboards display tiles that you can click to explore further with reports. Connect to multiple datasets to bring all of the relevant data together in one place.
Need help understanding the building blocks that make up Power BI? See Power BI - Basic Concepts.
If you have important data in Excel or CSV files, you can create a Power BI dashboard to stay informed anywhere and share insights with others. Do you have a subscription to a SaaS application like Salesforce? Get a head start by connecting to Salesforce to automatically create a dashboard from that data, or check out all the other SaaS apps you can connect to. If you are part of an organization, see if any organizational content packs have been published for you.
Read about all the other ways to get data for Power BI.

Step 1: Get data

Here's an example of getting data from a CSV file. Want to follow along with this tutorial? Download this sample CSV file.
Sign in to Power BI. Don’t have an account? You can sign up for Power BI for free.
  1. If you're in your workspace, select Get Data at the bottom of the left navigation pane.

    Get started with Power BI - managed solution

  2. Select Files. Get started with Power BI 2 - managed solution
  3. Select Local File, browse to the file on your computer, and choose Open.

    Get started with Power BI 3 - managed solution

  4. Power BI uploads the CSV file and adds it as a new dataset (the yellow asterisk indicates a new item). Since we did not already have a dashboard, Power BI also created a new dashboard for us. In the left navigation pane, the new dashboard is listed under the Dashboards heading, and the new dataset appears under the Datasets heading.

    Get started with Power BI 4 - managed solution

Step 2: Start exploring your dataset

Now that you have connected to data, explore to find insights. When you've found something you want to monitor, you can create a dashboard to keep up-to-date with changes.
  1. Select the dataset image on the dashboard to explore the data you just connected to or, under the Datasets heading, right-click the dataset name and select Explore.

    Get started with Power BI 5 - managed solution

    Another way to explore your data is Quick Insights. For more information, see Introduction to Quick Insights
  2. In the Fields list on the right side of the page, select fields to build a visualization. Select the checkbox beside Gross Sales and Date.

    Get started with Power BI 6 - managed solution

  3. Power BI analyzes the data and creates a visual. If you selected Date first, you'll see a table. If you selected Gross Sales first, you'll see a chart. Switch to a different way of displaying your data. Try changing to a line chart by selecting the line chart option.

    Get started with Power BI 7 - managed solution

  4. When you have a visualization you want on your dashboard, hover over the visualization and select the Pin icon. When you pin this visualization, it will be stored on your dashboard so you can track the latest value at a glance.

    Get started with Power BI 8 - managed solution

  5. Because this is a new report, you need to save it before you can pin a visualization from it to the dashboard. Give your report a name (e.g., Sales Over Time) and select Save and Continue.

    Get started with Power BI 9 - managed solution

    The new report appears in the navigation pane under the Reports heading.
  6. Pin the tile to an existing dashboard or to a new dashboard.

    Get started with Power BI 10 - managed solution

    • Existing dashboard: select the name of the dashboard from the dropdown.
    • New dashboard: type the name of the new dashboard.
  7. Select Pin.
    A Success message (near the top right corner) lets you know the visualization was added, as a tile, to your dashboard.

    Get started with Power BI 11 - managed solution

  8. Back on your dashboard, you can see your new visualization. Make your dashboard even better by renaming, resizing, linking, and repositioning tiles.
    Get started with Power BI 12 - managed solution
    You can select the new tile on your dashboard to return to the report any time.
  9. For a quick exploration of your data, try asking a question in the Q&A box. For example, try typing "what segment had the most revenue".

    Get started with Power BI 13 - managed solution

Step 3: Continue exploring with Q&A

  1. Select the pin iconGet started with Power BI 15 - managed solution to show this visualization on your dashboard too.
  2. Pin the visualization to the Financial Sample dashboard.

    Get started with Power BI 14 - managed solution

  3. Select the back arrow Get started with Power BI 16 - managed solution to return to your dashboard where you'll see the new tile.
Ready to try more? Here are some great ways to explore more of Power BI.
Not quite ready to jump right in? Start with these topics designed to help you feel comfortable with Power BI.


New offers make it easier for small and midsized businesses to move to Office 365

Microsoft recently announced new FastTrak offers to make it easier for small to midsized businesses (SMBs) to move to Office 365 and experience the ability for your employees to access team files from anywhere, collaborate in real-time from any device and get enterprise-grade security that works as hard for you as for the largest organizations.
Customers with 50 to 149 seats of Office 365 enterprise and small business plans can take advantage of the customer success service Microsoft FastTrack. Previously available only to customers with 150 seats or more, FastTrack provides resources to ensure you get the most business value from your investment.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Managed Solution has the experience and a team of IT experts to help companies small and large get up and running with the right technology. In addition to extending FastTrack to more customers, Microsoft is expanding the FY16 Adoption Offer to include Office 365 small business plans and adding payouts for customer deployments of 50–149 seats. Contact us 800-307-0296 to see if you qualify.
Gartner recently analyzed cloud email usage among public companies of different sizes, industries and geographies to see how Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work are faring. The report states that more companies use Office 365 than Google Apps.

Try Office 365!



5 Reasons to Break Up with Your Google Apps & Move On To Office 365

Valentine's Day is a time for love - and also a time for break ups.
Here are five reasons people are dumping Google Apps and switching to Office 365.
    1. Passwords.
      Google's approach to logging in and managing various e-mail identities is complicated. To make matters worse, employees often have trouble telling whether they're logged in to the company's virtual e-mail system or their own personal Gmail account. Also, be prepared to be bombarded by ad-supported content. Text ads are Google's main business, so you're pretty much always looking at them. Some may be relevant, but many businesses will be wary about opening their private company e-mails to marketers, even if anonymously.
    2. Permissions in Projects/Scheduling.
      Time and time again, this has been difficult to manage with Google Apps. Usually, it requires a third party plug-in. If your company is starting a new project that needs to be shared ASAP, good luck waiting for all those plug-ins to download.
    3. Google Docs.
      Google Docs will not replace Microsoft Word when it comes to producing slick, professional looking documents. It can be difficult to format a document in Google Docs, which has very limited formatting capabilities. Often times, this means you have to format the document in word, and then upload it to Google Drive as a Word document. So why not skip the extra steps?
    4. Google Presentations and Connectivity.
      Think your work is automatically safe in Google Drive? Think again. Connectivity can still be an issue, a scary prospect when Google Presentations freezes up in the middle of saving a document.Google Presentations does not have the same level of features as PowerPoint so design features are limited. This means if you want to really impress your boss with your next big presentation, you won't find the tools and features you need with Google Presentations. The good news is PowerPoint has endless features and options to help you nail that proposal.
    5. Google Spreadsheets.
      Data entry in Google Spreadsheets can be buggy with lines disappearing without warning. Functionality can be complicated. Even simple formatting can be difficult. Fans of Microsoft Excel, prepare to be disappointed."I once worked on a project at work for about 4 hours, inputting information and employee names into a Google Spreadsheet. I shared it with my boss after telling her I had finished the project. When I went into work the next day, more than half of the information I had put in got deleted through no fault of my own - meaning I had to redo more than half of the project and waste about half of my day (thanks Google)."

Breakups aren't always easy, but sometimes you just have to let them go (we're looking at you Google Apps).. eat chocolate and try

Office 365 instead


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]tips and tricks managed solution

Give Your Data The Chart It Deserves

As written on
Definitely for the arithmophobic. Thanks to the Live Charts feature in Excel, you can give them an instant makeover with colorful charts. In older versions of Excel, charting was one of the more difficult tasks. It wasn’t only about the time it took, but also about the right chart type that fit the data. Excel 2013 makes it easy as a click with Live Charts. Excel uses a special algorithms to show the chart types you can use based on the data.
Select the data to chart and click Insert — Recommended Chart to see options such as line, bar, and pie charts that Excel feels is right for your data. Click each chart to preview what your data will look like. Pick the right chart and Excel inserts the chart with some page elements to work with styles, colors, and the chart data. Do note: Not every chart type is recommended. Specialized chart types are available from the Insert Chart button on the Ribbon..

From PDF to editable Word documents

One of the best features of PDFs are that they are not editable as a default. It’s also an irksome feature if you want to take information out of it. A whole industry of tools exist that help you be more productive with PDF files. Don’t disregard the new PDF Reflow feature in MS Word 2013. Making it uncomplicated – open a PDF with Word 2013 and it will behave like a normal Word document. You can reuse the content without too much effort. Now, all that rich data locked in PDF files is ripe for picking.
Word creates a copy and opens it as a normal document as you would any other from File – Open. Make any changes - the original PDF is left intact. The conversions are not always perfect, but this is a very handy feature.

Use Share Link As A Quick Presentation Tool

Microsoft Office 2013 brings new collaborative features for Word and PowerPoint which piggyback on a Microsoft Account. With the Office Presentation Service your collaborators do not even need the Office suite at their end. A web browser does the job with the help of the Office web app. Work on your document and begin sharing from File — Share — Present Online. From here, select Office Presentation Service and click Present Online. A share link is created. Send it via Skype, email, or any other online medium. Start your presentation and the recipients get to view it on their browsers when they click on the shared link. Share notes and your team members can follow you through the document. They can also watch the presentation independently. The presenter controls the presentation from this special menu bar.

Refer Wikipedia Within Word

The official Wikipedia app is a quick resource for general research. With the Wikipedia app inside Word. Go to Insert – Apps for Office– Wikipedia. You might have to search for it among the featured apps. The app also allows you to insert a section of a text or an image. Select the text or hover over the image. Click on the insert symbol to insert it into the body of your Word document. The source link is automatically included with the insert. The Wikipedia app can also be used to research something on the side-pane by simply selecting something in your document. Nice.

Use Your Ears with Assistive Technologies

With the Office suite, you can take advantage of the built-in screen reader (Narrator) to read and create Word documents, PowerPoint slides, Excel spreadsheets, OneNote notebooks, and Outlook email. Microsoft Support recommends that you become familiar with shortcut keys as well. For example, you can use voice to record your comments on PowerPoint slides or a Word document. If you are short on time, use the Narrator to have it read aloud Outlook emails or a Word doc. Microsoft Office 2013 also comes with an audio-enabled Mini Translator that can take a selected foreign phrase and read aloud its pronunciation. Select a foreign word. Click onReview – Translate – Mini Translator. Hit the Play button.

Go Easy on the Eyes with Read Mode

If you have a touch enabled computer, Office 2013 was designed for productivity with fingers. The Ribbon menu was restyled and made more functional. I will ask you to do one thing if you are still deciding to come aboard (c’mon, it’s been a year now!). Go to View – Read Mode. That’s a bonus point for a distraction free reading experience.
It auto-resizes the document to the full screen and is completely uncluttered. Click on View to see options for tweaking this mode. For instance, the color modes that make it easier on the eyes. You can get rid of the toolbar for a full-screen experience.

Save Time With a Copy

Don’t go hunting for the document to copy. The shortcut for creating a copy of an Office document is not very apparent but it is a huge time saver if you want to work on a copy while keeping the original intact. Click on File – Open – Recent Documents. If the document was opened recently, the filename will be displayed. Right-click on the filename and select Open a copy. Any changes that you make are saved to the copy. You can then save it at any location. This tiny step is a time saver because you are spared from browsing to its location and manually creating a copy to work on.

Work Anywhere With Documents Online

Save your Office documents online via the Microsoft account. Microsoft has the sister suite ofweb apps for Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint save the last location where you left off work before saving– to the letter, cell, or slide. Pick up where you left off working on a different device while away from your main computer. You can also continue your work on Mobile apps for Office.

Don't Cut and Paste Anymore

There’s this quicker way that uses lesser key presses. Using Cut-Paste (Ctrl-x Ctrl-v) to move text from one place on the page to another within a Word document is fine. But try this. Select any block of text. Press F2. You will notice that the status bar (at the bottom of your screen) says Move to where. Place the cursor at the location where you wish to move the block of text. Press Enter and the selection will be moved.

Searching for Data in Excel

When you search for data, you can use ? to represent any single character or * to represent a series of characters. Example if your data has all the states, you could type “*Dakota” and it will pull up both North and South Dakota data.

Auto Filter in Excel

Too much data to go through? Use AutoFilter to find values, show or hide values, in one or more columns of data. You can filter based on choices you make from a list, search to find the data that you want to see. When you filter data, entire rows are hidden if values in one or more columns don't meet the filtering criteria. Click the Data Tab- Filter to activate.

Save and Auto Recover in Word 2013

It will happen! A computer crash, power goes out or you just close without saving. To avoid losing all your work when this happens, make sure AutoRecover and AutoSave are turned on. Simply click on the File Tab- Options- Save and make sure the SAVE AUTORECOVER INFORMATION IS SELECTED and you can select the number of minutes from 0-120.

Calendar Views in Outlook 2013

Managing and Viewing multiple calendars? By default, calendar groups appear side by side. To make the calendars overlap, click the View in Overlay Mode arrow on the tab of each calendar you want to overlap. In Microsoft 2013 there is a world of cool new things to discover. However, a favorite new feature in Outlook 2013 is located below the Navigation pane where you can have mail, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes.

Extended Clipboard in Microsoft Work 2013

Microsoft Word has a useful "Spike" feature that allows you to cut text and images from multiple locations in a document and paste them all at once to a different location. To use this feature, select the text, images or other objects in your document that would like to move and press "CTRL +F3" to move that selection to the Spike. You can to that same spike using the same key combo shortcut.

Adding Video to Microsoft PowerPoint 2013

Ask any teacher, and they'll tell you nothing captures your audience more than a movie. To add a movie to your PowerPoint Presentation, click "Insert" on the Ribbon. You will see a button for "Video" on the right side of the ribbon. Using the drop-down menu, you can insert a video from YouTube, Facebook or your OneDrive account, or any other video embedding website.

Refreshing the Same Query in Access 2013

You may use a report or query with the help of parameters as a filter tool. With this one report of query you filter different departments or dates you need to print multiple reports for different purposes. You may only need your mouse click to click the refresh button to prompt for a new parameter window. You can work much faster by staying on the keyboard and creating a smoother workflow. After running your first query or report stay in the same view (don't switch back to design). Press "SHIFT + F9" to run the report again with a new parameter.

Copy and Paste Tricks in Word 2013

When you copy a passage of text from the web to Word, styles and formatting are retained. However, there's an easy way to remove this styling from any block fo text in Word - just select the text you copied and press "Ctrl+Space Bar". The rich text will be transformed to plain text. Additionally, you can move text in Word without the traditional "Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V" shortcut. Highlight any block of text, press "F2", and place the cursor at the spot where you wish to move that text. Press "Enter" and the selection will be moved! Test it out with this paragraph!

PowerPoint Presentation Tricks

While you are conducting a PowerPoint presentation, if something comes up that you don't want to be seen at that point without having to stop the slideshow, hit the letter 'B' on your keyboard. This will blackout the screen without losing your place. Hit 'B' again, and you'll be back in business. Another cool trick... while in presentation mode, hold 'Ctrl+P' and you will change your pointer into a pen that can write or draw. Hit the 'Esc' key and you will change back to your pointer!

Custom Views in Outlook 2013

In Microsoft 2013 there is a world of cool new things to discover. However, a favorite new feature in Outlook 2013 is located below the Navigation pane where you can have mail, calendar, contacts, tasks and notes.
While working in your inbox, to view your calendar without leaving your inbox, right-click on the calendar and select open new window. You will now be able to stay in your inbox and open your calendar at the same time. You can now actively work in your calendar and read your emails. Tada!

Visually Represent Your Data in Excel

Here is a great Excel trick for all of us out there that like visual representations of our data. You can use this trick with Excel 97-2013. Whenever you have a table of data and want to create a chart, here is what you do. Click in a cell within the table you want to chart. Press the Key on the top row of your keyboard, and say "WOW"! Now you have a new chart of your data on a new worksheet named "Chart 1". Your original table is still on the original worksheet!

Navigate Excel Workbooks Easily

Here's a little-known trick that will allow you to quickly and easily navigate to a specific worksheet in Excel workbooks that contain more than one (Sheet1, Sheet2, etc.). You can display a pop-up list of all worksheet names in your workbook by right-clicking one of the navigation arrows to the left of the worksheet tabs that are located at the bottom of the screen. Simply select a sheet from the list, and you're there in a flash![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]



Bye-bye, buyer’s remorse. Feel comfortable with your gift budget when you plan and track gifts in Excel. Click here to download the free guides now!

Get the new Office 2016 apps with Office 365.


Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.