17 Jun 2019
With Internet Explorer quickly approaching it’s end of life as a browser option for FIS customers (tentatively scheduled for the end of 2019), it’s worth exploring Microsoft’s latest web browser, Edge.
Edge is not new. It was introduced in 2015 when Microsoft launched Windows 10. While many people’s initial reviews were not positive, it has since grown into an accomplished internet tool that is worth consideration to be used as your default browser. This is not to say that you have to use it over other excellent internet browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla FireFox. This article’s mere intention is to better inform you of the various notable features of Microsoft Edge, and to help you make an informed decision about potentially changing your default browser.
The first and probably the most important feature to the majority of people that we are going to cover is speed. Performance tests indicated that Edge is more or less just as fast as its competitors, Chrome and FireFox. It is significantly faster than it’s predecessor, Internet Explorer.
The second notable feature is that Edge is designed to work as a companion to Windows 10. If a web search is run from the taskbar, the results will appear in Edge even if your default browser is something different. Also, websites can be easily pinned to the taskbar and Start Menu from within Edge. This integration is associated with other Microsoft products as well.
Edge offers some unusual and appealing features as well. One of these is built-in sharing. Share makes it easy to transfer contents from your browser to nearby devices. The share icon is located in the top right-hand corner of Edge and is an arrow pointing to the right.
Another unique feature is the ability to scribble or annotate on the websites you visit. This feature can be accessed by clicking the icon that looks like a pen in the top right-hand corner. Once accessed, you can highlight text, and draw and write content on the page. You also have the ability to save and share the notes you made.
If you open a lot of tabs during the course of your day, Edge’s tab preview feature will benefit you quite a bit. Tab preview is accessed by clicking the chevron icon which is located next to the new tab icon. Edge will display a preview of the open tabs through a panel that is docked at the top.
The last feature we will mention is the ability to sync Edge across multiple devices. Microsoft have versions of Edge for both iOS and Android. This allows you to sync your bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, reading list, and tab layout to your phone or tablet.
The features listed in this article are but a small portion of what makes up Edge. To learn more about Edge and it’s myriad of features, please submit a help ticket through the FIS portal.
The heart of winter has arrived and as usual temperatures across the Northeast and Midwest have plummeted. Just a few weeks ago, wind chills in the greater Pittsburgh went below zero degrees F. It can be excruciating to stay outside for more than five minutes when temperatures dip that low, but many of us at the University of Pittsburgh have to brave the weather in order to make it to work due to a lack of parking spots in Oakland. Of course, this is nothing new. What is new, relatively speaking, is the technology that makes our morning commute in the harshness of winter more tolerable. Unfortunately, technology loses functionality when temperatures drop below freezing. This article’s intention is to inform you of what to expect from the various components of your devices and how to better manage them in the extreme cold. After all, there isn’t anything that makes a commute to or from work much worse than having your devices fail while waiting for public transportation.
What to Expect
Batteries are by far and away the most likely part of your device to fail in the cold. This is problematic because almost every device we use is powered by lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are the industry standard for personal electronics because they have high energy density and have the ability to handle both low and high currents. These are good properties to have in a battery. However, those same properties run into problems when temperatures dip below 32 degrees F. The reason is because lithium-ion batteries have very little internal resistance. Less resistance means these batteries generate less waste energy heat. In general, this is a positive attribute to have in a battery. However, the absence of waste energy heat means the battery is more vulnerable to cold temperatures. In other words, the colder it becomes, the chemical reaction that occurs inside the battery gets slower. This means the battery drains faster. Smartphones, in particular, are vulnerable to this problem because they are designed to sit mostly inactive for long periods of time throughout the day. What this means is that their batteries do not draw enough current to heat themselves.
The performance of individual products will vary based on the manufacturer, battery model, and wear and tear on the device. According to Apple, you should use iOS devices where the ambient temperature is between 32 and 95 degrees F. The Amazon Kindle Oasis user guide states the same temperature range for its operating temperature. The FitBit Charge 3 manual lists an operating temperature range of 14 to 113 degrees F. Samsung’s Galaxy S9/S9+ user guide does not give an operating temperature range.
While batteries are the main component most likely to have issues in cold weather, LCD (liquid crystal display) screens also run into problems. These screens are in most of the devices we use. LCDs consist of a layer of millions of multicolored pixels. Each one of these pixels is controlled by a separate transistor. The pixels are switched on or off electronically using liquid crystals to rotate polarized light. While this sounds complex, the main thing to take away from this is that the technology gets sluggish when it gets too cold. Just like batteries, the colder it gets the slower the response is from the signal to pixel transition. This will lead to the image on your screen becoming blurry.
The last component that is affected by extreme cold are the sensors within the devices we use. The sensors are designed to collect a wide variety of information from where we’re going to how many calories we burned in a day. Basically, sensors track the orientation of the device you are using and how fast it’s moving through space. This is crucial for navigation applications, telling time, and logging activity goals. Like the previous two components, sensors’ performance decline when temperatures fall. The main issue with degrades in a sensors’s performance is accuracy. If you were to take off a digital watch and wave it around in the cold, you could very well lose seconds if not minutes of your day. The reason for this is because the sensor, which is located on the backside of most digital watches, is calibrated to 98.6 degrees F.
How to Manage
Quite simply the easiest way to manage your device in the cold is to not use it. That being said, there are times when you have to use a smartphone in the cold. If that is the case try and store your device as close to your body as possible. Simply putting it in a backpack or purse does not suffice. Also, try and keep your time outside using the device to under 5 minutes. Carrying a smartphone in temperatures colder than -35 degrees F will kill it completely in five minutes. If your device does freeze, do not try and charge it will it is still cold. Make sure it is at room temperature before recharging it. Ignoring this advice can potentially do permanent damage to the battery.
Apple has allowed its customers to set up two-factor authentication for their Apple ID. Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for your accounts that is designed to ensure that someone else simply knowing your password is not enough to gain access to your account. Pitt employees should be very familiar with this as the login process for my.pitt.edu uses dual authentication. This article’s intention is to explain how Apple’s two-factor authentication works, how to set it up, and how to manage your account it’s set up.
How it works
Your Apple ID can only be accessed on devices you trust and trusted phone numbers. A trusted device is an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 9 and later, as well as a Mac with OS X El Capitan and later that you’ve already signed in to using two-factor authentication. This will make the device known and can be used to verify your identity by displaying a verification code from Apple when you sign in from a different device or browser. A trusted phone number is a number that can be used to receive verification codes by text message or automated phone call. You must verify at least one trusted phone number to enroll in two-factor authentication.
When you sign into a new, trusted device for the first time, you will need to provide two pieces of information. The two pieces of information are your password and the six-digit verification code that’s automatically displayed on your trusted devices. The verification code is a temporary code sent to the trusted device when you sign in to a new device or browser with your Apple ID. Entering the code verifies that you trust the new device.
For example, if you already have an iPhone and are signing in to your Apple ID for the first time on a newly purchased Mac, you will be prompted to enter your password as well as the verification code that’s automatically displayed on your iPhone. This means that if someone was trying to access your Apple ID, they would need to know your password and physically obtain the device you registered as trusted.
A few things to note from the example provided above. Once you signed into your newly purchased Mac, you will not be asked for a verification code on the device again unless you sign out completely, erase the device, or need to change your password for security reasons. If you sign in on the web, you have the ability to choose to trust your browser, so you will not be asked for a verification code the next time you sign in from that computer.
How to set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID
An important thing to note before we get into setting up two-factor authentication, once it is on, it can only be turned off within the first two weeks of enrollment. To turn on two-factor authentication on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, follow the steps below.
Turn on two-factor authentication
If you are using iOS 10.3 or later:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap <your name>.
- Tap Password & Security.
- Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.
- Tap Continue.
If you are using iOS 10.2 or earlier:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap iCloud.
- Tap <your Apple ID>.
- Tap Password & Security.
- Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.
- Tap Continue.
Enter and verify your trusted phone number
- Enter the phone number where you want to receive verification codes when you sign in.
- Choose to receive the codes via text message or automated phone call.
- Tap Next.
- A verification code will be sent to the phone number you provided.
- Enter the verification code to verify your phone number and turn on two-factor authentication.
How to manage your two-factor authentication account
You are able to manage your trusted phone numbers, trusted devices, and other related account information from your Apple ID account page. To view and manage your trusted devices follow the steps below.
- Go to your Apple ID account page.
- Sign in with your Apple ID.
- Go to the Devices section.
The device list that will appear shows the devices that you are currently signed in to with your Apple ID. On this screen, you can view the model, serial number, and other useful information such as whether or not the device is trusted. You are also able to remove a trusted device from this page.
For more information about Apple ID Two-Factor Authentication, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
07 Nov 2018
Last week, Apple held its second keynote in two months. The first press event that was held in September unveiled the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. Last week’s announcement, while not as splashy and exciting as a new iPhone reveal, centered around the new iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini. This article’s intention is to get you up to date on Apple’s latest releases and changes.
iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR
The iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR phones are updates to last year’s iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus. The XS retains the same familiar, cosmetic design of the iPhone X. This includes the 5.8-inch OLED display and stainless-steel sides. Its battery life should last about 20 hours.
The XS Max is a larger version of the XS. The OLED display is 6.5 inches, making it the largest display found on any iPhone. Its battery life is slightly larger than the XS as it should last about 25 hours. Both the XS and XS Max come in silver, space gray, and gold.
While the XS and XS Max are similar in style to last year’s iPhones, the XR is a cosmetic departure. The iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch LCD display and an aluminum and glass body. It comes in white, black, coral, yellow, blue, and red. The XR has a single rear camera whereas the XS and XS Max both have dual rear cameras.
All three phones come with a new A12 Bionic processor that Apple claims is 15 percent faster and uses 40 percent less energy than last year’s A11 chip. They all use wireless charging, are water-resistant, and no longer feature a headphone jack or home button. Lastly, all three are now using Face ID unlock software.
iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini
The new iPad Pro is 5.9 millimeters thinner (about 15 percent) than its predecessor. It no longer features a headphone jack or home button, meaning you will need to swipe certain spots on the screen to get back to previous pages. The iPad Pro also features nearly an edge-to-edge display and rounded corners. It now supports Face ID and USB-C. With USB-C, it can now connect to monitors up to 5K so that you can turn into a workstation. It is also capable of charging your iPhone and comes equipped with an Apple Pencil. The iPad Pro’s Pencil magnetically connects to the side of the device and automatically charges. It is available in two sizes, 11 and 12.9 inches. All of these new features has Apple calling it the biggest change to the iPad since its inception eight years ago.
Apple also made redesigns to the MacBook Air. It is 25% lighter than previous iterations weighing in at 2.75 pounds and 13.3 inches. The cosmetic changes go beyond weight though. The familiar aluminum bezel has been removed making the MacBook Air’s borders sleeker, and for the first time ever, its base is made out of 100 percent recycled aluminum. According to Apple, this helps reduce the computer’s carbon footprint by 50%. Aside from Apple’s efforts to make the MacBook Air more eco-friendly, it now features a more responsive keyboard. The most noticeable absence is the TouchBar feature that was introduced two years to mainly universal criticism.
Updates were also made to the Mac Mini. These are the first updates to it in four years. While still looking strikingly similar to the last model, the Mac Mini comes equipped with a quad-core Intel processor with an option to upgrade to a six-core version. It features four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and an HDMI port. Apple states it is five times faster than before.
If you wish to learn more about all of Apple’s exciting new products, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
We all know the role that social media now plays in the world. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and LinkedIn, social media has become nearly inescapable. While these sites are amazing resources for connecting people across the globe, they all come with risks. These risks not only could affect you but also your friends, family, and employer. This article is going to cover some key steps for securely using social media.
Perhaps the most important and obvious step towards securely using social media is to be careful of what you post. Even if you enable privacy features and think your posts are not viewable to everyone, you should still post with the mindset that it can be viewed by everyone. If it could negatively impact your reputation and future, it should not be posted on any social media platform.
Even though privacy features should not be viewed as a filter that blocks your posts from being viewed by anyone, they should still be enabled. Almost all social media sites have strong privacy features. However, with strong privacy features comes change and confusion. You should make it a habit to check for any changes and to confirm they are working the way they are intended.
Another seemingly obvious security step is to create a strong, unique password. This has been drilled into all computer users head’s but it is still avoided by many people. The reason for its avoidance is simple. People have a hard time remembering complex passwords and do not want to have to remember passwords for multiple systems. While we recognize the annoyance in having multiple complex passwords, it is still a key step in securely using not only social media sites but computers in general.
Unfortunately, creating a strong password for all of your accounts is no longer enough. You should still have a strong password but you should also enable two-factor authentication on all of your social media accounts. Pitt has already enabled two-factor authentication when logging into my.pitt.edu in order to protect you from people who could potentially obtain your password. While this may seem like more work, your personal information will be substantially more secure. To look at it another way, you would not want simply having your ATM card as a way to withdraw money. Banks knew this and decided a pin was also necessary to access the features of an ATM card.
You should also be careful of what you click on when using social media sites. There is a good chance you can be tricked into providing personal information by clicking on a fraudulent post or link. If a friend’s post seems suspicious you should avoid accessing it.
Being careful of what you post, creating a strong password, enabling two-factor authentication, and being careful of what you click on when using social media sites are all effective ways to securely use social media. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to continue our discussion on Microsoft Planner. Part I on Planner focused on what it is, how to access it, and how to create buckets and tasks. Part II is going to focus on how to check on the status of tasks and view the schedule for the various tasks that have been created.
How to Check on the Status of Tasks
To check on the status of tasks, click “Charts” which will be located underneath the various Teams channel spaces (discussed in Part II of Teams). Charts will display the status of the tasks. It lets you know which tasks have not been started, are in progress, late, or completed. It will also display the various buckets that were created as well as your team members. The team members section will show the status of their individual tasks.
View Schedule for Various Tasks Created
Next to Charts is “Schedule” which functions hand in hand with checking on the status of tasks. Schedule will display the various tasks that have been assigned and their status in calendar format. It will allow you to see when the start date and end date of the task. Also, you can open the task directly from the calendar. You can also change the display between week and month.
This ends the series on Planner. As you may have noticed, it is a relatively straightforward and lightweight program that definitely has its advantages as a task manager.
Continue to check the FIS website for more exciting articles on Microsoft Office 365 applications. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to move on from Teams (Part I, II, III and IV) and start to discuss Microsoft Planner. Part I is going to focus on what it is, how to access it, and how to create buckets and assign tasks.
What is Planner
Planner provides a hub for team members to create plans, organize and assign tasks to different users, and to check updates on progress through dashboards. In other words, Planner is a task manager and is a great way to organize teamwork. It is a great solution for those without an extensive background in Project Management, and it has tight integration with Office 365 for ease of access. Listed below are many of the features of Planner:
- Create new plans, assign tasks, and share files with others
- Organize teamwork and collaborate on projects in a simple, visual way
- Chat with others to make sure you’re on the same page
- Keep track of your team’s progress and stay on top of your project
- Works within Microsoft Teams
- Access the application from anywhere on any device
We will be getting into more detail of Planner features, but that list gives you a pretty basic idea of all its capabilities. As a result of all those functions, it can be overwhelming when viewing and using it for the first time. Let’s start with possibly the most important and easiest part. How to access it.
How to Access Planner
Planner can be accessed by going to portal.office.com, logging in with your Pitt Credentials, clicking “Explore all your apps”, and selecting the Planner icon. There is currently no locally installed application. It can also be opened within Microsoft Teams. To open it within Teams, click on your team channel, select the plus symbol at the top of the page, and choose Planner. You will be prompted to enter a tab name. Once it is accessed, the next step towards effectively using it is creating buckets and assigning tasks to individuals.
How to Create Buckets and Assign Tasks
We are going to focus on using Planner within Teams as the ease of access is one of the program’s greatest benefits. Buckets should be thought of as the event or project. To create a bucket, simply click “Add New Bucket” and enter a name. Within each bucket, you can assign tasks to individuals. To create a task, click the plus symbol, enter a task name, set a due date, and assign the task to an individual. More details can be included by clicking on the task you created. You can include a description of the task as well as add checklists, comments, and attachments. You can also include a start date and adjust the due date. From the assignee’s perspective, they will receive an email and can open their assigned task from the message’s contents.
Thus concludes the first part on Microsoft Planner. Please check in next week to find out more about this exciting and useful application. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to continue discussing Teams. Part I discussed what Teams is, how to access it, and how to create a team. Part II discussed the various channel spaces within the team you created. Part III focused on meetings, managing your team, and apps. Part IV is going to focus on Polly as well as briefly touch on chat, activity, T-bot, and search.
Polly is a bot that allows you to create polls. It can be downloaded through apps and integrated into Teams as its own tab. You can view the various polls you created, view poll results, and see who created polls once Polly is its own tab on the team channel you created. To create a poll, go to the conversations tab on the team channel you created. Once there, click in the “Start a new conversation. Type @ to mention someone” field. Enter @Polly and type in your question and poll options. For example, “Do you like Microsoft Teams? Yes, No” and hit enter. Polly will then create the poll for you. Keep in mind Polly cannot have more than five options as of right now.
Chat functions in much the same way as Skype for Business. It allows you to directly chat with members of your team. The member of your team who you are chatting with is the only person who is able to see what is being discussed. Chat also gives you the option to audio and video call. This option is located in the top right-hand corner of the chat you are within.
Activity keeps track of what’s going on within Teams. Each new or unchecked activity will be highlighted in bold. When you click on an activity, you will be directly taken to the section of Teams that it occurred in. Activity also contains a filter option. Filter allows you to sort by unread, mentions, replies, following, likes, missed call, voicemail, and apps.
T-bot is located within the chat location. It provides answers to questions about using Teams.
Search is just like it sounds. It will allow you to search for anything that was mentioned within Teams. It is located at the top of the application at all times.
This ends the series on Microsoft Teams. Please check in next week as we delve into Microsoft Planner. For more information, please submit a help ticket through the FIS portal.
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to continue discussing Teams. Part I discussed what Teams is, how to access it, and how to create a team. Part II discussed the various channel spaces within the team you created. Part III is going to focus on meetings, managing your team, and apps.
Meetings is a clickable icon that is located in the sidebar on the left-hand side of Teams. It allows you to schedule, edit, join, accept, decline and cancel meetings as well as view your Outlook calendar on a day to day basis. The meeting invites you send will come into an invitee’s Outlook inbox. So it works in conjunction with Outlook. To create a meeting, click the “Schedule a meeting” icon at the bottom of the page. At this point, you will be able to enter the title, location, start time, end time, and details of the meetings. To invite someone to the meeting, start typing their name in the “Invite Someone” field and they will appear in the drop-down below. Once the meeting starts the interface is very similar to Skype for Business. In fact, Teams Meetings will eventually be taking the place for Skype for Business. Also, you are able to record your meetings in Teams.
Managing your team
Managing your team provides you with a wide variety of options such as: adding members, changing members role permissions, adding channels, adding a team picture, changing guest role permissions, etc. To manage your team, click on the ellipses icon next to the team you created and select “Manage team” from the available drop-down options. This is where you can add members and change their permissions. To add a member, click the “Add member” icon on the top right-hand side of the page, type in their name and click “Add”. The other options manage teams provides is channels, settings, and apps. Channels allows you to add channels and settings provides you with multiple options mainly involving permissions. Apps will be discussed below.
Apps displays a list of programs that you have integrated with Teams. A default set of applications is listed that is entirely organization based but you are able to add apps. To add apps, click the “Go to store” icon located in the top right-hand corner of the page and select from a very large list of programs. Apps can also be added as tabs to your team channels. To add an app as a tab, go to the team channel you created (in previous parts of this series the channel is General) and click the “+” icon at the top of the page. A list of apps will appear. Select the app you want to add. At this point, it will let you name the tab and add any appropriate content.
Thus concludes the third part on Microsoft Teams. Please check in next week for the last part on Microsoft Teams. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.
Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers. The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing. We are going to continue discussing Teams. Part I ended with how to create a team. Part II on Teams is going to focus on the channel spaces within the team you created.
There are three different channel spaces contained within the team you created. The spaces are conversations, files, and notebook. They are accessed by clicking on the team you created and selecting a channel (for example, General). Once on the channel, the spaces are at the top of the screen. The channel space we are going to start with is conversations because it is more than likely what you will use the most.
Mainly, conversations allows you to live chat with other members of your teams. If you want to address someone specifically with the teams conversations channel, type the @ symbol and a list of the various members of your team will appear. Simply select their name and type in your message. Everyone will be able to see the message but the person you specifically addressed it to will get a notification. If you wanted to address your team members in a more formal way, you can use the formatting option. The formatting option lets you add a subject to your message, change font options like color and size, and mark the message as important. This would be useful for creating an announcement to your team. You can also create announcements and mark them as important. A few other less important but fun options conversations provides is the ability to add stickers, add GIFs, and create memes. Lastly, conversations contains a “Meet Now” icon. Meet now works like a skype meeting. You can record the meetings and save transcripts.
The second channel space we are going to discuss is files. Files is pretty self-explanatory. It lets you create or upload documents. If you are creating a document, it will open in the online version of the program you are using which doesn’t have all of the features of the locally installed versions. However, the online versions are more than suitable to use when creating basic word documents, excel spreadsheets, and powerpoint presentations. Once the document is created or uploaded, it is stored in the files channel space. At this point, you can open it in SharePoint and a site will be created.
Notebook usage varies based on the team you created. Since part one of this series advised that the team you are most likely going to want to choose is PLCs, the notebook usage example will be PLCs. The PLC Notebook is essentially a digital three-ring binder that works in conjunction with OneNote. OneNote within Teams functions as if the program was installed locally on your computer. You are able to create sections which look like tabs in a binder and pages within those sections. This feature could be very helpful when dealing with large projects that involve multiple meetings. Each meeting could have its own section and the various things discussed can have their own pages.
Thus concludes the second part on Microsoft Teams. Please check in next week to find out more about this exciting and useful application. For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.