Microsoft Monday: Windows 10 Source Code Leak, Digital IDs For The Undocumented, Dictate For Outlook – Forbes

A Microsoft logo glowing at the Computex Show in Taipei (Photo credit: SAM YEH/AFP/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 digital ID program for the undocumented, a new video streaming service, the Microsoft Dictate add-in for Outlook and a portion of the Windows 10 source code leaking.

Microsoft And Accenture Are Building Digital IDs For The Undocumented

Microsoft is partnering with Accenture to create a digital ID network through the use of blockchain technology for 1.1 billion undocumented people. And this project is backed by the United Nations. The goal of the project is to help identify individuals like refugees so they can gain access to health care, banking and other basic rights. Microsoft and Accenture revealed a prototype of this network at the UN headquarters in New York during the second summit of the ID2020 consortium.

“Without an identity you can’t access education, financial services, healthcare, you name it. You are disenfranchised and marginalized from society,” said David Treat, a Managing Director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice via Business Insider. “Having a digital identity is a basic human right.”

How does blockchain fit into the picture? Blockchain was developed as a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. The platform would be able to connect existing record keeping systems of commercial and public entities with blockchain so users will be able to pull up their personal information wherever they are.

Refugees who left behind birth and education certificates while fleeing their country would be able to provide proof of those credentials using the new system. An advantage of blockchain is that systems of different organizations can communicate with each other said a Microsoft executive.

The biometric identity management prototype was built using an existing Accenture platform. Accenture and Microsoft worked on the prototype with managed service provider Avanade. PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cisco Systems are also participating in the digital ID project.

Microsoft Rolls Out Streaming Business Video Service

Microsoft is rolling out its Office 365 Video replacement called Microsoft Stream. Microsoft will make the new video service for business users generally available in most countries. Stream can be used for uploading, sharing and managing corporate videos for education, training and sharing information within the company.

Stream has searchable speech-to-text transcriptions, linked timecodes and face detection in videos. Microsoft Stream is built on Azure Media Services and it integrates with Office 365 Groups, Yammer, Teams and SharePoint. And Stream uses Azure Active Directory for authentication and encryption purposes.

Office 365 Video will be replaced in phases by Microsoft Stream. And Office 365 will continue to be supported until all customers are migrated over. Microsoft Stream will be available through Office 365 Education, Education Plus, Enterprise K1, Enterprise K2, Enterprise E1, Enterprise E3 and Enterprise E5 plans. If you do not have Office 365, then you can use Stream as a standalone service.

Microsoft Says It Disabled Third Party Anti-Virus Software To Keep Customers Safe

Kaspersky Labs filed antitrust complaints against Microsoft a couple of weeks ago for allegedly disabling third-party antivirus software in order to push Windows Defender. Rob Lefferts, the partner director of the Windows & Devices Group, Security & Enterprise, wrote a blog post acknowledging Microsoft temporarily disabled some parts of antivirus software due to compatibility issues with Windows 10 Creators Update.

“Because AV software can be deeply entwined within the operating system, we doubled down on our efforts to help AV vendors be compatible with the latest updates. By the time the most recent Windows 10 Creators Update released on April 11, for example, nearly all of the antivirus applications that Microsoft tested were fully compatible. In fact, Microsoft’s application compatibility teams found that roughly 95% of Windows 10 PCs had an antivirus application installed that was already compatible with Windows 10 Creators Update,” said Lefferts. “For the small number of applications that still needed updating, we built a feature just for AV apps that would prompt the customer to install a new version of their AV app right after the update completed. To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began. We did this work in partnership with the AV partner to specify which versions of their software are compatible and where to direct customers after updating.”

Microsoft said it worked with anti-virus partners to build a consistent set of notifications to let customers know if their license is about to expire and present options for renewing the license. When an anti-virus subscription expires and the AV application no longer provides protection to the customer, Windows Defender Antivirus will start providing protection.

Microsoft Plans To Phase Out Wunderlist In Favor Of To-Do App

Microsoft acquired a popular to-do list app called Wunderlist back in June 2015. And thispast April, Microsoft announced a new app called To-Do — which would serve as a replacement for Wunderlist once it phases out. Unfortunately, the To-Do app does not have as many features as the original app. The To-Do app is still in preview stages and Wunderlist is still available for download.

According to Business Insider, one of the best features in the Microsoft To-Do app is called “My Day.” This feature suggests you pick a few items from your to-do list to get done every day. And there is an “Intelligent Suggestions” feature that scrapes those lists to find to-do items you should focus on first.

Microsoft Dictate Uses Cortana To Provide Voice Dictation On Office

Microsoft Dictate is a new free Microsoft Office add-in for Outlook, Word and PowerPoint. The app converts speech to text using speech recognition features built into Cortana and Microsoft Translator.

It’s worth mentioning that voice-to-text was already available for Office, but Dictate offers new features like support for up to 20 languages and new editing commands like “delete” and “new line.” And the app has real-time translation features so you can say something in English and have it translated into over 60 different languages.

Microsoft Dictate is usable for 32- and 64-bit versions of Office. But you must be running Windows 8.1 or above. You can download the add-in from dictate.ms now.

Microsoft Outlook For Mac Now Has A “Send Later” Feature

Microsoft has added a “Send Later” feature as part of an update for Outlook 2016 for Mac. The Outlook Send button now has a drop-down menu that will allow users to select the Send Later option and set the date and time to send the email from the Drafts folder. Plus the email will still deliver even if Outlook is not open at the set time.

Office Insiders can use the Send Later feature in version 15.36 (build 170606) of Outlook 2016. And the feature is expected to be rolling out to all Office 365 subscribers next month.

What other features have been added? Microsoft has made it easier for users to set up email accounts in Outlook using the Add Account feature. “Now you can simply enter your email address and Outlook detects your account settings and guides you through the process,” said Microsoft in a blog post. Plus Mac users can now create calendar events or tasks simply by dragging and dropping emails.

Microsoft Announces Classroom Experience For Teams Is Now Available

Last week, Microsoft announced a new immersive classroom experience for Teams is now available in 181 markets and 25 languages. Microsoft originally revealed these features in last month.

There is a School Data Sync feature that connects to the school information system to automatically populate classes with the student rosters. And OneNote Class Notebooks will be integrated so teachers can set up interactive lessons and to “deliver personalized learning.” Apps also integrate into the classroom experience so teachers can quickly access the Office 365 apps they already use and customize their classroom with education apps. And there is end-to-end assignment management in Teams, which will enable teachers to quickly grade and provide feedback.

The new classroom experience also integrates with the new Microsoft Stream video service. And there are new features like class themes, emoji, stickers and GIFs.

Portion Of Microsoft Windows 10 Source Code Leaks Online

Over the weekend, Microsoft confirmed that a portion of the Windows 10 source code leaked online. The leaked files pertain to Microsoft’s USB, storage and Wi-Fi drivers. Those files were posted to Beta Archive.

Beta Archive is one of the largest “Beta and Abandonware repositories,” which mainly contains Windows and Apple betas. And members are asked to donate money for Windows-related source code.

“Our review confirms that these files are actually a portion of the source code from the Shared Source Initiative and is used by OEMs and partners,” said a Microsoft spokesperson via The Verge. This is not a huge deal because Microsoft already shares this source code with partners, governments, enterprises and customers that license it through Shared Source initiative.

Plus Beta Archive owner Andrew Whyman revealed the source code was only 1.2GB in size and was removed. The source code leak happened only one day after two men were arrested in the UK due to unauthorized access to Microsoft’s network.

Warrants were executed to arrest a 22-year-old man from Lincolnshire and a 25-year-old man from Bracknell. At least one of these men is a donator to Beta Archive. It is unknown whether these arrests are linked directly to the Windows 10 source code leak.

Microsoft Monday includes seven days worth of updates from the Redmond-based software giant. What are your thoughts about the “Microsoft Monday” news from this week? Please leave a comment!

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