You Can Now Collaborate via Skype Voice, Video Calls in Office Online

Microsoft is bringing Skype voice and video integration into Office Online and Outlook.com. The feature will make it easier for users to talk to their colleagues and friends while working on Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and other Office Online services. The feature will go live in November.

Users have long been able to send text messages via Skype to their friends while working on Office Online. But as you may realise, you can only type at one place at a time. Which is where the new additions come into play. The company announced on Thursday that users will be able to see and chat with their Skype contacts right from within their file. The company says the chat history will be logged in the document.

Microsoft also released a Chrome extension dubbed Office Online which gives users a quick option to browse their Office and Sway documents stored on their computer or in OneDrive. The extension also gives users the ability to quickly create a document. It is already live on the Chrome Web Store for download.

On the sidelines, the company also announced that it has reduced the size, or footprint, of Office for Android apps by 40 percent. Furthermore, it said that it has also improved the login experience. The company also announced that it has updated the Visual Basic Editor (VBE) on Office 2016 for Mac to add several features such as the ability to Add Modules from with the Project Viewer.

The new addition to Skype and Office Online is one of the many features the Redmond company has added to its service in the recent times. Just last month, Microsoft introduced Skype for Business into Office 2016 (the standalone Windows client).

Sony PS4 Finally Gets a Price Drop in India

After many a delay, Sony India has finally informed retailers of the price drop on the PlayStation 4 (PS4). The 500GB version of the company’s latest console will cost you Rs. 32,990. It will not come with any games or accessories, rather the new price is for the console alone (plus one controller, HDMI cable, power adapter). This comes after Gadgets 360 exclusively reported that a price drop was in theoffing and Sony India was conducting a stock audit prior to revealing its new price for the PS4. The new pricing should be visible at most websites and stores from Saturday.

If you were expecting the quieter 1200 series (or C Chassis as it is also known) 500GB PS4 with improved thermal efficiency at a lower price, think again. The price drop pertains to existing stock in the country, all of which consist of older models. At this point in time the only consoles sporting the CUH-1200 model number is the 1TB edition that Sony is retailing for Rs. 37,990.

Nonetheless, we still feel that the 500GB PS4 at Rs. 32,990 is a solid deal. While it might lack the efficient, quieter internals of the 1TB console, you’re still covered by warranty from Sony and if you need extra hard drive space, you can always swap out the existing 500GB and install a 2TB laptop hard drive easily.

Besides, given how e-commerce companies are falling over each other to provide the lowest prices, we won’t be surprised to see the 500GB PS4 be available for under Rs. 30,000 in the weeks to come or a reduced price on existing bundles such as those that feature Sony’s horror sleeper hit, Until Dawn.

Will you pick up the PS4 at its newly discounted price or do you prefer the improved 1TB model? Let us know in the comments.

Sony Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact Receiving Firmware Update With Stagefright Bug Fixes

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Users of Sony’s latest Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact smartphones report they have started receiving a firmware update, which mainly focuses on the Stagefright bug fix. The OS update weighs 281MB and comes with a build number 32.0.A.6.152 as per user reports. The update is being reportedly seeded to all the smartphone versions.

Users receiving the update mentioned that the camera now loads much faster and the fingerprint sensor has become more accurate after the update. These changes were mentioned by the Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact users on Reddit and XDA-Developers forum (via Phonearena). Other changes mentioned by users are RAM optimisation and Calendar interface optimisation. It is worth noting that since the update is rolling out in phases, it might take time to reach all smartphones in every region. Sony has not yet mentioned the official changelog for the update.

For those unaware, Stagefright is an open source media player that is used by about 95 percent of Android devices, or about 950 million devices. Zimperium reported a vulnerability in Stagefright in July that, if exploited, could let attackers to take control of an Android device by sending a specially crafted media file delivered by an MMS message.

While the companies are still rolling out the Stagefright vulnerability fix to devices, security experts have already found a new Stagefright 2.0 vulnerability. The newer version of the bug can also affect devices running OS versions below Android 5.1 Lollipop. Unlike the previous Stagefright bug, the Stagefright 2.0 can enter any device in the form of mp3 or mp4 file instead of a MMS text. Until now, LG, Google, and Samsung promised monthly security updates to fix the Stagefright and other vulnerabilities in all their smartphones. Motorola and OnePlus and other companies have also rolled out updates.

Google Slams Symantec for Issuing Fake Web Certificates, Demands Answers

Google is demanding that Symantec must conduct an assessment to ensure it is still eligible to run a certificate authority. The search giant’s scathing statement comes after the security firm was found to have issued a large number of fake digital certificates.

In mid-September, upon Google’s notification, Symantec revealed that its Thawte certificate authority (CA) issued an Extended Validation (EV) pre-certificate for several domains including Google’s and Opera’s. A total of 23 certificates were issued without the domain owners’ knowledge. At the time, Symantec said that these certificates were only created for testing purposes, and were accidentally issued. Google found these domains in its Certificate Transparency system logs.

Following this discovery, Google asked Symantec to conduct a full audit. Upon investigation, Symantec reported an additional 164 bogus certificates spanning 76 domains, and an additional 2,400 test certificates for unregistered domains. The practice of issuing certificates for unregistered domains has been prohibited since April 2014.

In September, the security firm also fired a number of its employees for errors in issuing certificates. The company had said that “employee error” caused cryptographic certificates to be issued online.

The fake certificates, according to Google, make it possible for attackers to impersonate its as well as many other’s websites, potentially leading to data theft and other cybercrimes. “It’s obviously concerning that a CA would have such a long-running issue and that they would be unable to assess its scope after being alerted to it and conducting an audit. Therefore we are firstly going to require that as of June 1st, 2016, all certificates issued by Symantec itself will be required to support Certificate Transparency,” wrote Ryan Sleevi, Software Engineer at Google in a blog post on Wednesday.

“In this case, logging of non-EV certificates would have provided significantly greater insight into the problem and may have allowed the problem to be detected sooner,” he added.

Symantec seems to be downplaying the threat of the fake certificates. “In September, we were alerted that a small number of test certificates for Symantec’s internal use had been mis-issued. We immediately began publicly investigating our full test certificate history and found others, most of which were for non-existent and unregistered domains,” it said in a statement.

“While there is no evidence that any harm was caused to any user or organisation, this type of product testing was not consistent with the policies and standards we are committed to uphold. We confirmed that these test certificates have all been revoked or have expired, and worked directly with the browser community to have them blacklisted.”

Google is not pleased, as you can imagine. The company wants Symantec to conduct a further investigation to find how it failed to meet the basic requirements. Symantec must comply with Google’s demands if it wants to be trusted by Google for certificates. In addition it also requires Symantec, beginning June 1, 2016, to log all certificates with Google’s Certificate Transparency mechanism.

Lenovo Yoga 700 Convertible Laptops With Windows 10 Launched

Lenovo on Friday launched its affordable hybrid laptop series with the new Yoga 700. The 2-in-1 laptop is available in 11-inch and 14-inch screen sizes with starting prices of $649 (roughly Rs. 42,400) and $799 (roughly Rs. 52,200) respectively in the US. The India pricing and availability details are not yet known.

The Yoga 700 can be used in four different modes – laptop, tablet, tent, and stand. The audio on bothWindows 10 (64-bit) laptops is powered by Dolby DS1.0 Home Theatre tech.

The Lenovo Yoga 700 (14-inch) features a full-HD 10-point multi-touch IPS display with 700:1 contrast ratio and runs up to sixth generation Intel Core i7 processors with Intel HD Graphics 520 and 8GB DDR3L RAM. Users also have the option to include Nvidia GeForce GT 940M discrete GPU as well. It comes with up to 256GB SSD inbuilt storageĀ  and features a HD (720p) webcam as well. The connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (dual band), Bluetooth 4.1, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Card reader, and HDMI-out. Measuring 334.9×229.5×18.3mm, the base model weighs 1.6kg and is backed by a 45Whr Li-Polymer battery. Details can be found in the company’s US website listing.

lenovo_yoga_700_14.jpgAlthough the company has not fully revealed the specifications of the Lenovo Yoga 700 (11-inch), the company’s Australian website has listed the device with all the specifications. As per the listing, the base model features a 11.6-inch full-HD IPS display size with 10-point touch screen, OGS coating, and 800:1 contrast ratio. The laptop comes powered by a 64-bit Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor (2 cores, 4 threads, 900MHz base frequency, 2.2GHz burst frequency) with Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU and up to 8GB RAM. It houses 128GB SSD storage. It weighs 1.1kg, measures 290x197x15.8mm, and features a 40Whr Li-polymer battery that’s rated to deliver up to 7 hours of running time.

“We know fast performance, easy portability, and rich sound and display are features consumers expect in a laptop today,” said Johnson Jia, senior vice president, PC Business Group, Lenovo. “That’s why we made the new Yoga 700 thinner and more powerful than ever with Windows 10 and Intel’s latest processor. We also added a Full HD IPS display and Dolby stereo speakers as part of its standard features so that consumers can get a premium quality convertible laptop for work and travel, at the price of a standard laptop.”

BlackBerry Priv Android Slider Smartphone Detailed by Company

BlackBerry ahead of the commencement of shipping of the Priv smartphone next week wants to make sure users are familiar with all the features. The Canadian company has released a video showing the major features of its upcoming Android handset.

The company in its YouTube video stresses on the privacy and productivity features alongside the familiarity of the Android platform. The video shows some of the highlight features of the BlackBerry Priv including physical keyboard on the slider, BlackBerry Hub, pop-up widgets, 4K video recording support, dual curved edge screen, touch enabled physical keyboard with SmartSlide, rear camera with OIS, and DTEK by BlackBerry. You can watch the video below.BlackBerry Priv Android slider smartphone is up for pre-orders at $699 (roughly Rs. 45,500), and is slated to begin shipping in the US starting November 6.To recall, Priv features a 5.4-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels) Amoled display and sports a pixel density of 540ppi. Under the hood, it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor clubbed with 3GB of RAM, and supports up to 32GB of expandable storage. An 18-megapixel rear camera is at the rear while a 2-megapixel front-camera is also on board. A massive 3410mAh battery backs the device. The company is yet to reveal the exact Android Lollipop version of the Priv handset.

Recently, BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ or notifications on the curved edge display was spotted in a leak. An image of Productivity Edge on the Priv showed icons for quick viewing calendar, mails, tasks, and contacts. BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ looked similar to Samsung’s People Edge, which primarily allowed users to quickly access select contacts. Samsung also included an option to light up the edge screen when mails, messages, or calls arrive. Samsung had also implemented Apps Edge, which let users pin apps to the edge display.

Aircel to Launch 3G Services in 61 Towns in Bihar by Year-End

India’s leading private telecom service provider, Aircel, Thursday announced an aggressive expansion plan of its 3G network in Bihar by adding 61 new towns to its network by December this year, an official said.

For expanding its 3G services, Aircel will set up 600 towers across Bihar to provide seamless connectivity to its constantly growing subscriber base, Aircel Bihar’s business head Hitendra Kumar told reporters.

In order to provide quality service to its customers, the leading private telecom operator will set up 600 new towers in addition to existing 3,300 towers, he said.

The expansion to new towns is set to significantly benefit a large number of Aircel customers in Bihar and redefine their data usage experience with a maximum 3G speed of up to 7.2 Mbps, he said, adding that the Aircel customers in these towns soon will be able to consume live streaming videos, HD content, gaming, social networking and browsing at very high speeds.

“The population of 3G users that expects a seamless experience is dramatically increasing, especially as mobile handsets are increasingly being used for varied purposes. We have been working tirelessly to live up to this expectation of our customers and hence, we’ve redoubled our effort in expanding our 3G network all across Bihar. We are confident that by extending our 3G network to these 61 new towns across districts in Bihar, the Aircel network will prove to be the most reliable data companion of our customers for their smart devices,” Kumar said.

The 61 new towns include Arrah, Buxar, Motihari, Sitamarhi, Lakhisarai, Begusarai, Dighwara, Bettiah, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Purnia, Nalanda, Biharsharif, Munger among others, the Aircel Bihar Business Head said.

On availability of 4G mobile service in Bihar, he said that Aircel provides such service to its business customers.

Sharp Posts Big Loss on Smartphone Downturn, Restructuring Costs

Japanese electronics giant Sharp on Friday posted a whopping six-month net loss of nearly $700 million (roughly Rs. 4,570 crores), hit by restructuring costs and a slump in demand for its smartphone screens.

The liquid-crystal display giant, which is key supplier to Apple and other mobile phone makers, singled out a downturn in smartphone-screen demand in China for its latest set of poor results.

Sharp warned of the loss this week, reigniting concerns about the future of the Aquos-brand maker, which has repeatedly appeared on the brink of bankruptcy in recent years as it trudged ahead with a painful restructuring.

“The situation surrounding Sharp is still severe – they have strong technology, but their finances are extremely weak,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research institute in Tokyo.

Sharp posted an JPY 83.6 billion net loss in the half-year through September, down from a small profit a year earlier, while revenue fell 3.6 percent to JPY 1.28 trillion.

Earlier this year, Sharp said it was cutting 10 percent of its 49,000 global workforce as part of a turnaround plan intended to keep it afloat after posting a bigger-than-expected $1.86 billion (roughly Rs. 12,140 crores) annual loss.

Sharp earlier announced the sale of the building that houses its Osaka headquarters and issued shares to its banks, in an apparent lifeline that underscored the company’s desperate situation.

The once-mighty firm, like rivals Sony and Panasonic, has been working to move past years of gaping deficits, partly caused by steep losses in its television unit.

The trio were hammered by competition from lower-cost rivals, particularly from South Korea and Taiwan.

But, unlike Sharp, Sony and Panasonic booked soaring profits this week in a sign that efforts to fix their tattered balance sheets were finally paying off.

Indian Net Neutrality Activists Pen Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg

Even as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg expressed commitment to Net neutrality, volunteers of savetheinternet.in have raised questions over the Internet.org platform.

In an open letter to Zuckerberg, the Save the Internet team said it’s “a matter of distress” that Facebook through its Internet.org platform and lobbying on regulatory consultations, has sought to undermine net neutrality in India.

During his townhall address at IIT Delhi on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said his company is committed tonet neutrality, but supported zero-rating plans which have been criticised by many as violative of the principles of a free Internet.

“Even today, Internet.org has restrictions that those services which compete with telecom operator services will not be allowed on it,” the letter said.

The letter said its concern with Internet.org/ Free Basics is that it will create a new digital divide: those who access Facebook and its partner services, and those who access the open Internet.

The letter said Internet.org is not an open platform and “all we are asking for is for you to ensure that any such effort to bring access to the Internet ensure that users get access to the entire Internet, and not through a pre-determined menu or filter, which primarily benefits those who are selected for the platform”.

The letter flagged worries that data for all the websites on Internet.org will be with Facebook and restrictions on them publicly disclosing usage of their sites and services by users on Internet.org.

“Facebook, along with its intention to connect billions to the Internet, should support and advocate net neutrality and permission-less innovation in India, the way it has done in the US,” the letter argued.

Internet.org, which aims to bring free Internet access to the developing world, has faced a backlash, with activists alleging that it violates net neutrality, an idea which means that all online traffic should be treated equally.

Jupiter Bumped a Gas Giant From Our Solar System

A close encounter with Jupiter about four billion years ago may have resulted in another planet’s ejection from the solar system altogether, scientists have found.

The existence of a fifth giant gas planet at the time of the solar system’s formation – in addition to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune that we know of today – was first proposed in 2011, researchers said.

But the question remained: if it did exist, how did it get pushed out?

For years, scientists have suspected the planet’s ouster was caused either by Saturn or Jupiter.

“Our evidence points to Jupiter,” said Ryan Cloutier, a Ph.D candidate in University of Toronto’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and lead author of a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Planet ejections occur as a result of a close planetary encounter in which one of the objects accelerates so much that it breaks free from the massive gravitational pull of the Sun.

However, earlier studies which proposed that giant planets could possibly eject one another did not consider the effect such violent encounters would have on minor bodies, such as the known moons of the giant planets, and their orbits.

So Cloutier and his colleagues turned their attention to moons and orbits, developing computer simulations based on the modern-day trajectories of Callisto and lapetus, the regular moons orbiting around Jupiter and Saturn respectively.

They then measured the likelihood of each one producing its current orbit in the event that its host planet was responsible for ejecting the hypothetical planet, an incident which would have caused significant disturbance to each moon’s original orbit.

“Ultimately, we found that Jupiter is capable of ejecting the fifth giant planet while retaining a moon with the orbit of Callisto,” said Cloutier.

“On the other hand, it would have been very difficult for Saturn to do so because Iapetus would have been excessively unsettled, resulting in an orbit that is difficult to reconcile with its current trajectory,” Cloutier said.