Microsoft Monday: OneNote For iOS Revamped, ‘J’ Bug In Outlook To Get Fixed, Minecraft Update – Forbes

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaking at an event to introduce Windows 10 S and the new Surface laptop. (Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Microsoft Monday is a weekly column that focuses on updates in regards to the Redmond giant. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about a new human rights partnership with the United Nations, the Phantom Dust remaster being released on PCs for free, the “J” bug in Outlook is going to be fixed, OneNote for iOS gets redesigned, new data centers being opened in Africa and much more.

Microsoft Partners With United Nations On Human Rights Partnership

Microsoft and the United Nations have partnered on a five year deal involving human rights initiatives. Microsoft will provide the UN Human Rights Office with a $5 million grant. The partnership is expected to lead to the development of advanced technology, which would be able to better predict and respond to human rights situations.

“As a global company that sees the problems of the world, we believe that we have a responsibility to help solve them,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith in a statement. “We have an untapped opportunity to use the power of technology to collect data, analyze that data and equip the United Nations to advance human rights around the world.”

One of the technology projects resulting from the partnership is “Rights View.” This is a dashboard that gives U.N. staff the ability to aggregate large amounts of internal and external data on specific countries and types of rights violations in real time.

Microsoft Releases Phantom Dust Remaster On PCs For Free

In 2004, Darkside Studios released a game for the Xbox called Phantom Dust. Then at E3 2014, Microsoft announced the game would be remade. However, Darkside Studios ended up being shut down so the game was recreated internally free.

The Phantom Dust remaster can be downloaded through the Windows Store and it is an Xbox Play Anywhere title so your game progress will sync on the PC and Xbox One. What is new in the game? The frame rate was improved and resolutions up to 4K are supported on PCs. Plus it is native widescreen. And the multiplayer mode supports microtransactions.

WannaCry Ransomware Spread To Medical Devices

Forbes security and privacy reporter Thomas Fox-Brewster said that the WannaCry ransomware was used to infect medical devices at hospitals in the U.S., including Bayer Medrad radiology machines. “Operations at both sites were restored within 24 hours,” said a Bayer spokesperson in an interview with Fox-Brewster. “If a hospital’s network is compromised, this may affect Bayer’s Windows-based devices connected to that network.” Bayer will send out a Microsoft patch for its Windows-based devices soon.

Not only did the WannaCry ransomware infect about 200,000 Windows computers, including 48 hospital trusts in the U.K. and several medical facilities in the U.S. The WannaCry ransomware application would infect computers and demanded $300 per computer in payments to unlock it again. This affects machines based on Windows XP whereas Windows 10 is safe from the vulnerability. Even though support for Windows XP expired, Microsoft decided to take the “highly unusual” step to patch the vulnerability.

There is evidence linked to the WannaCry ransomware with a North Korea-based hacker group. A government contractor called BAE Systems detected that it found “multiple overlaps” between the WannaCry malware and source code written by Lazarus Group. And Symantec said that earlier versions of the WannaCry ransomware were found on computers that also contained cyber tools that were used against Sony Pictures Entertainment and banks in Bangladesh and Poland — which were connected to North Korea hacker groups. Plus Google researcher Neel Mehta pointed out that there was identical code used in the WannaCry ransomware and code that was used by the Lazarus Group.

Last week, Microsoft criticized the National Security Agency (NSA) for the “stockpiling of vulnerabilities.” Microsoft claims that the WannaCry ransomware was part of the  stockpile of stolen exploits from the National Security Agency earlier this year.

Random “J” Appearing In Microsoft Outlook Signatures Has Been Fixed

For those of you that use Microsoft Outlook, you may have noticed that some e-mail messages end with the letter “J” randomly. The reason why this happens is because the AutoCorrect feature in Outlook detects emoticons and replaces them with a single character from the Wingdings font. But if you see the message in a viewer that has Wingdings installed, you will see a smiley face graphic. Reading the message in a viewer without Wingdings will show the wide “J.”

Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Internet Explorer support the Wingdings font, but Google Chrome, iOS and a number of other applications do not support the Wingdings font. This issue seems to have surfaced back in 2010 when emoticons were added to Outlook.

Microsoft told Business Insider that the “J” problem is getting fixed. The fix is expected to be fully rolled out by the end of the year. Outlook is also expected to get better at rendering emoji on iOS and Android.

Frame Raises $16 Million From Several Investors Including Microsoft Ventures

Last week, Forbes contributor Patrick Moorhead reported that Frame raised $16 million in Series A from Microsoft Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures and In-Q-Tel with participation from previous investor CNTP. Frame is a service that allows users to run desktop applications in your browser over the cloud. Frame started in 2012 under the name “Mainframe2” as the demand for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) increased.

The apps run on a server and the GPU in the cloud rather than being hosted on the local device. Instead, you are seeing a compressed low latency video stream. Frame apps can be run in any modern browser without any connector software.

Frame’s revenue tripled in 2016 and it added support for Microsoft Azure, Azure Government and AWS GovCloud recently. And now Frame is preparing to launch a direct-to-enterprise called Frame Enterprise. This would allow enterprise IT departments to host their own Windows desktop applications.


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