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What’s new in Microsoft Office 2019 and is it worth buying?

(TECHNOLOGY) As Microsoft announces a new version of Office, we wonder not only what is different, but if it is worth the money.

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Microsoft Office 2019 is finally rolling out on a consumer level. We’re due for an update after years with Office 2016 — so is 2019 worth buying, and if so, what are the incentives?

Let’s first get the gross stuff out of the way – if you haven’t yet upgraded to Windows 10 or macOS Sierra, you’ll need to do so before you can use Office 2019. You’ll find available 32- and 64-bit downloads if you’re a Windows user, but the fact remains that Microsoft has officially relinquished support for Windows 7 and 8 as of this version of Office.

These requirements alone may be enough to deter some would-be users, but it’s clear that Microsoft (and, presumably, Apple by extension) isn’t interested in supporting older iterations of their products as they’ve done in the past.

It’s also worth noting that 2019’s features will only be available as part of the standalone Office 2019 package, meaning that you’ll need to make a one-time purchase to access Office 2019 rather than receiving updates through an existing Office 365 subscription.

This is another unpopular move by Microsoft, but it makes sense – Office 365 users will still continue to receive updates and tweaks that aren’t available to Office 2019 users, so they aren’t actually missing out on much.

As for the Office 2019 suite’s features themselves, the bulk of the improvements are centered around productivity and accessibility.

Many of the Office 2019 apps have a “focus” mode that darkens on-screen elements to show only the work area, and you’ll find handwriting- and speech-to-text features for programs like OneNote and Word. This includes increased pen support if you’re using a touch screen device.

PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook are also seeing minor tweaks – you’ll be able to export presentations as 4K videos in PowerPoint, browse new formulas and templates in Excel, and use “@” queries to tag inside emails on Outlook.

The bottom line is that if you purchased a one-time version of Microsoft Office 2016 and have been using it ever since, Office 2019 is probably worth your time. Office 365 users need not look into 2019, however, as many of the standalone suite’s features are either included or predicted to join the cloud-based service.

This story first published on October 09, 2018.

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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

Real Estate Technology

The app for pros that rely on their network for sales

(TECH NEWS) When you network frequently as part of your sales strategies, connections can get confused and become impersonal. This app intends on fixing that.

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Part of any successful professional’s life is networking in person, be it within your network, or among consumers. But keeping everyone straight takes a lot of brain power and skill.

You can never have too many apps when it comes to networking. Which is why I’m thrilled that with the arrival of Hippo, we have a meaningful entry in the field.

Like its distant cousin “personal finance and budgeting,” there are more apps out there than I have fingers and toes. Yet Hippo is attempting to do what dozens of other networking apps are trying to do as well: Get and keep your attention.

That said, it appears that Hippo is trying to tap into your vein of nostalgia by letting you know that networking is akin to happiness. In other words, the more people you know, the happier you are – their premise is supported by a giant TED talk on their website’s landing page.

The Hippo app lets you personalize your entries: names, ages, descriptions, personal notes, special dates.

For anyone involved in sales, Hippo could offer one hell of an advantage.

For those of us used writing things down about the people you meet, Hippo makes your conversations instantly searchable. Hippo can find notes using any obscure keyword you can remember. The search is brilliant.

The app promotes the idea of the “Farley file,” wherein Franklin D. Roosevelt’s campaign manager, James Farley kept notes of every single person they came across, including personal details that could be accessed by Roosevelt days, weeks, or even months later to improve the personal touch of any conversation. This was not the standard method at the time and many believe it changed how politicians were expected to communicate.

Hippo is just waiting to be downloaded.

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Partners in Grind is an accountability match-making site

Partners in Grind is a website that strives to help you find an accountability partner – something that could really help with inspiring productivity.

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We all have that friend who serves as our “partner in crime,” the one they go on crazy adventures with and have great stories to tell as a result. For me, all of my friends fall into this classification; but I digress…

While these relationships are fun for “every once in a while” behavior, not everyday needs to be an adventure. But, it is difficult to find the day-to-day friends that encourage good, even productive, behavior.

This is now possible with Partners in Grind which strives to help you find an accountability partner – something that could really help with inspiring productivity.

Speaking from experience, it can be extremely difficult to find self-discipline and motivate yourself to work; especially when working in a freelance role. However, when you have someone else in the know of your work, you are likely to try harder.

According to the company, “Partners in Grind is match-making tool for accountability partners to promote proper habit building. Habits are everything – our daily habits dictate the quality of our lives.

Research shows social accountability is critical during the formation of habits, but finding someone to kick ass with can be HARD.

“Partners In Grind will handpick an accountability buddy based on the specific Success-Habit you want to add to your life. Build new habits like Working Out, Eating Healthy, Meditating, Reading, and Mastering Your Mornings with an accountability partner. As an added bonus, every week you receive a mini present in your inbox of pro-tips and inspirational clips specific to that habit.”

This free service works with the ideas of science, support, and challenge. With science, studies show the significance of social accountability. Having the support of someone on your team to contact at anytime for motivation is priceless; and this leads to challenge because playful competition is likely to transpire.

To find your “Partner in Grind,” you can fill out a sign-up form, which leads to personalized guidance, then receive challenges and tips. And, if you are your partner are incompatible, you have to option to be re-matched.

Stay in touch with your partner through text, Skype, or email. Being able to share with someone else the completion of a project is incentive enough.

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Real Estate Technology

Twitter made it easy to report doxxing – why won’t Facebook or Instagram?

(TECHNOLOGY) Doxxing is a problem that impacts every day citizens, not just celebrities, and some social media giants are complicit as they allow it to continue.

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Doxxing — the act of publishing someone’s personal information online for malicious purposes—is a constantly growing threat for anyone with an online presence. While platforms such as Twitter have made it easy to report this specific form of harassment, other social media powerhouses like Facebook have yet to make the leap. It’s perplexing.

Doxxing can take on many forms, from posting someone’s online contact details all the way to placing their address and other highly sensitive information (e.g., a credit card number) in a public environment. The basic premise is usually the same: to cause the recipient of the doxxing stress, pressure them into moving or deleting their account, and/or prevent them from continuing to use their platform in an organic manner.

The consequences of doxxing can differ depending on how rabid the doxxer’s following is, but it isn’t unheard of for conflicts that result in doxxing to escalate into real-world harassment or violence.

Doxxing may seem like a problem reserved for celebrities and other high-traffic accounts, but the truth is that it can happen to anyone with an online presence. In fact, doxxing has become so common that some sites or services include a specific doxxing option when reporting a post for harassment.

Twitter, for example, allows you to report a tweet that “includes private information” as harassment.

Unfortunately, the inclusion of the option to report doxxing on some platforms creates a notable absence thereof on other comparable sites.

Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook) — both of which are ground zeroes for some of the most egregious forms of harassment — do not allow users to report posts for doxxing; instead, users must mark a post as inappropriate or a generic form of harassment and hope that the Facebook Gods recognize it for what it is.

As doxxing continues to impact both virtual and real lives of victims, Facebook and other companies which have yet to follow Twitter’s example will need to pick up the slack if they want to remain relevant in the cybersecurity realm. And they must put effort into stopping doxxing, lest they be complicit in the nefarious acts.

Doxxing may seem like it doesn’t affect enough people to warrant a full feature, but people who encounter doxxing certainly deserve better than a catch-all “harassment” option when reporting doxxing abuse online.

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