Latest Posts
Latest Technology, Motorola

You Requested, We Listened: Asserting Modifications to Our Developer Variation Software

At Motorola, we’re focused on delivering the best Android experiences and the best of Google services. Over this past year, we’ve worked very hard to create ways for users to express themselves using their mobile devices. Customers who purchase Developer Edition devices want the flexibility to take this even further and tinker with the operating system. This may include creating and flashing a custom build of Android or porting one from an enthusiast community. Up until now, when a customer requested a bootloader unlock code we would void the warranty for that Developer Edition device.

We are excited to support the developer and enthusiast communities by making two key changes to the Developer Edition program:

  • Requesting an unlock code will no longer void the device’s warranty
  • We will start posting return-to-factory software images

For customers who have previously purchased a 2012 or 2013 Developer Edition device directly from Motorola and who have requested a bootloader unlock code, we will reinstate the warranty effective from the date of original purchase. (You’ll recognize these models because they come with a printed “Developer Edition” across the back and include the Moto X DE (for GSM networks), Moto X DE (for Verizon), and Droid Maxx DE (Verizon).)

In addition, recovery images (as shipped from the factory) will be posted here. A developer or enthusiast can use this image to restore their device to run with its original factory software.

We hope that you like these changes. Keep telling us what you think (you can use the comments section below or participate in one of the many G+ forums such as Moto X).

We strongly believe in the developer and enthusiast communities and intend to keep making changes to better support them.

Posted by Punit Soni, Software Product Management

Latest Technology, Sony

Sony Partners with eBay Inc. and Westfield Labs on Digital Storefronts in San Francisco

Starting today, if you live in the San Francisco area, you can shop for Sony gear in a whole new way! We’ve partnered with eBay Inc. and Westfield Labs, along with TOMS and Rebecca Minkoff to bring you a brand new Digital Storefront Experience at Westfield San Francisco Centre!

Digital Storefront_Sony

How it works:

Throughout the holiday season, Westfield San Francisco Centre visitors can go up to each retail window and shop through the interactive storefront displays. Your shopping experience will be completely secured via your smartphone. That’s where you can take care of payment and delivery.

You can’t beat the delivery options! For Sony, they include convenient pick-up at our Sony Store Gallery (located on Level 2 of the mall), same-day courier service within San Francisco, or free next-day home delivery.

So what Sony goods will be available via this digital experience?  Our assortment of hot gifts for the holidays – hand-picked for this — including the Sony Xperia™ Z Tablet, VAIO® computers, the Xperia Z smartphone, NEX cameras, audio products and 4K Ultra HD TV and 4K Media Player.

Not only are we participating in the shopping experience, but we’re also helping power it! Sony 7000 lumens 3LCD projectors are bringing all three digital storefronts to life.

Digital Storefront_Rebecca Minkoff 1 Digital Storefront_Toms

Come by and check it out! The digital storefronts are open now through the holiday season at the Westfield San Francisco Centre on 865 Market Street. Our digital storefront experience is located on Level 4.

Any time we embark on something new, we love to hear feedback. Let us know what you think either in the comments or tweeting at @SonyStore. You can also tweet at us with #SonyStore or #DigitalStore too!

Google, Latest Technology

Google Maps helps Navman Wireless customers keep tabs on 190,000 fleet vehicles

Posted by Paresh Nagda, VP of Engineering and CTO, Navman Wireless

Editor's note: Today we hear from guest blogger Paresh Nagda to find out how Navman Wireless, a global leader in GPS-based fleet optimization, uses Google Maps to monitor more than 190,000 vehicles for over 16,000 customers across five continents. This post is part of our series on the Transport and Logistics Industry and the ways they’re relying on Google Maps for Business to get people, products and assets to their destinations faster.
Fleet tracking & Google Maps--available wherever business demands
Every day, all over the world, millions of drivers hit the road to deliver goods and services. For our 16,000 customers – in dozens of sectors as diverse as mining, construction, transport, street cleaning and more – fleet monitoring is critical to their business success. Owning, operating and maintaining a vehicle fleet is a big expense, so more organizations are turning to advanced tools to maximize those assets. At Navman Wireless, our fleet optimization platform allows companies like Rio Tinto Group, Lloyds Pharmacy, JC Restoration, and Riviera Utilities to manage workers and keep track of important assets.

Before Google Maps, we had a hybrid solution – Microsoft Bing Maps combined with an in-house map engine. It was a drain on cost and engineering resources, and we struggled to keep data current. For example, map data updates required hours of our engineering team’s time; now with Google Maps, all updates are made automatically.

Google Maps was an obvious choice for us because it’s a cost-effective, reliable solution that works across geographies. We have customers in 14 countries who rely on us 100% to manage huge multimillion-dollar fleets, projects and logistics systems. With Google Maps, our customers see a visual display of their fleets constantly updated in real-time. One cool thing our customers love about Google Maps is the ability to use reverse geocoding to translate GPS data points into human readable addresses, so they can see where drivers are at all times.We can also draw polygons on maps to highlight customer sites, so they can see which trucks are coming and going.

Our customers can’t stop raving about Google Street View and traffic information. Dispatchers use Google Maps to get real-time traffic information and preview streets to help their drivers be more efficient. For example, a dispatcher could tell a driver to take a different route to avoid traffic, or to take a side road to deliver a package, since Street View shows the freight door is located on a back alley.

Using Google Maps has lots of benefits, but perhaps the best one is it just works — and that means we can focus on our work. Previously, 12-15% of our customer service calls were related to problems with our maps. Once we switched to Google Maps these calls went to almost zero. Our customers love how easy Google Maps are to use, and so does my engineering team. Quite simply, Google Maps helps make the Navman platform more effective, interactive and engaging for our customers.
Latest Technology

Retina-packing Apple iPad mini 2 hands-on

We expected the Apple iPad mini 2 to launch alongside the iPad Air – many people did – but that wasn’t quite the case. Anyway, the initial hurdle has been overcome (mostly overcome, shipping is sluggish in some markets) and it’s time to look at what could be the new most popular tablet, dethroning the 9.7″ iPad, which held that title for a long time.

The original iPad mini was just reheated iPad 2 in a smaller package, but the second iteration promises to get everything right.

It has the same screen resolution, which due to the smaller screen diagonal means it has one of the highest pixel densities around. It matches both the iPhone 5s and the Nexus 7, one of its chief competitors.

It also has the same chipset as the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air, which has already proven to be very competitive against even the Snapdragon 800 chipsets that most current Android flagships boast.

That extra resolution and beefier chipset required a bigger battery to handle the extra load – the original mini had a 16.3Wh battery, while the new one has 23.8Wh in its tank. That made it a bit thicker and heavier though. Battery life is unchanged, according to official numbers at least, we’ll see what our own battery tests reveal.

The loudspeaker has changed too, it went from mono to stereo. Apple also threw in a 128GB option, but with a base price of $400 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version, the $300 on top for the 128GB Wi-Fi only version seem like a lot. After all a 64GB microSD card is 50 bucks.

We’re almost done with the review of the Apple iPad mini 2, we’re just finishing things up like testing the battery, the camera and a few other necessities.

Misc. Gadgets

The CODE Keyboard: Old School Construction Meets Modern Amenities

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as the smooth and crisp action of a well built keyboard. If you’re tired of mushy keys and cheap feeling keyboards, a well-constructed mechanical keyboard is a welcome respite from the $10 keyboard that came with your computer. Read on as we put the CODE mechanical keyboard through the paces.

What is the CODE Keyboard?

The CODE keyboard is a collaboration between manufacturer WASD Keyboards and Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror (the guy behind the Stack Exchange network and Discourse forum software). Atwood’s focus was incorporating the best of traditional mechanical keyboards and the best of modern keyboard usability improvements. In his own words:

The world is awash in terrible, crappy, no name how-cheap-can-we-make-it keyboards. There are a few dozen better mechanical keyboard options out there. I’ve owned and used at least six different expensive mechanical keyboards, but I wasn’t satisfied with any of them, either: they didn’t have backlighting, were ugly, had terrible design, or were missing basic functions like media keys.

That’s why I originally contacted Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards way back in early 2012. I told him that the state of keyboards was unacceptable to me as a geek, and I proposed a partnership wherein I was willing to work with him to do whatever it takes to produce a truly great mechanical keyboard.

Even the ardent skeptic who questions whether Atwood has indeed created a truly great mechanical keyboard certainly can’t argue with the position he starts from: there are so many agonizingly crappy keyboards out there. Even worse, in our opinion, is that unless you’re a typist of a certain vintage, there’s a good chance you’ve never actually typed on a really nice keyboard. Those that didn’t start using computers until the mid-to-late 1990s most likely have always typed on modern mushy-key keyboards and never known the joy of typing on a really responsive and crisp mechanical keyboard. Is our preference for and love of mechanical keyboards shining through here? Good. We’re not even going to try and hide it.

So where does the CODE keyboard stack up in pantheon of keyboards? Read on as we walk you through the simple setup and our experience using the CODE.

Setting Up the CODE Keyboard

Although the setup of the CODE keyboard is essentially plug and play, there are two distinct setup steps that you likely haven’t had to perform on a previous keyboard. Both highlight the degree of care put into the keyboard and the amount of customization available.

Inside the box you’ll find the keyboard, a micro USB cable, a USB-to-PS2 adapter, and a tool which you may be unfamiliar with: a key puller. We’ll return to the key puller in a moment.

Unlike the majority of keyboards on the market, the cord isn’t permanently affixed to the keyboard. What does this mean for you? Aside from the obvious need to plug it in yourself, it makes it dead simple to repair your own keyboard cord if it gets attacked by a pet, mangled in a mechanism on your desk, or otherwise damaged. It also makes it easy to take advantage of the cable routing channels in on the underside of the keyboard to  route your cable exactly where you want it.

While we’re staring at the underside of the keyboard, check out those beefy rubber feet. By peripherals standards they’re huge (and there is six instead of the usual four). Once you plunk the keyboard down where you want it, it might as well be glued down, the rubber feet work so well.

After you’ve secured the cable and adjusted it to your liking, there is one more task before you plug the keyboard into the computer. On the bottom left-hand side of the keyboard, you’ll find a small recess in the plastic with some dip switches inside:

The dip switches are there to switch hardware functions for various operating systems, keyboard layouts, and to enable/disable function keys. By toggling the dip switches you can change the keyboard from QWERTY mode to Dvorak mode and Colemak mode, the two most popular alternative keyboard configurations. You can also use the switches to enable Mac-functionality (for Command/Option keys). One of our favorite little toggles is the SW3 dip switch: you can disable the Caps Lock key; goodbye accidentally pressing Caps when you mean to press Shift. You can review the entire dip switch configuration chart here.

The quick-start for Windows users is simple: double check that all the switches are in the off position (as seen in the photo above) and then simply toggle SW6 on to enable the media and backlighting function keys (this turns the menu key on the keyboard into a function key as typically found on laptop keyboards).

After adjusting the dip switches to your liking, plug the keyboard into an open USB port on your computer (or into your PS/2 port using the included adapter).

Design, Layout, and Backlighting

The CODE keyboard comes in two flavors, a traditional 87-key layout (no number pad) and a traditional 104-key layout (number pad on the right hand side). We identify the layout as traditional because, despite some modern trapping and sneaky shortcuts, the actual form factor of the keyboard from the shape of the keys to the spacing and position is as classic as it comes. You won’t have to learn a new keyboard layout and spend weeks conditioning yourself to a smaller than normal backspace key or a PgUp/PgDn pair in an unconventional location.

Just because the keyboard is very conventional in layout, however, doesn’t mean you’ll be missing modern amenities like media-control keys. The following additional functions are hidden in the F11, F12, Pause button, and the 2×6 grid formed by the Insert and Delete rows: keyboard illumination brightness, keyboard illumination on/off, mute, and then the typical play/pause, forward/backward, stop, and volume +/- in Insert and Delete rows, respectively.

While we weren’t sure what we’d think of the function-key system at first (especially after retiring a Microsoft Sidewinder keyboard with a huge and easily accessible volume knob on it), it took less than a day for us to adapt to using the Fn key, located next to the right Ctrl key, to adjust our media playback on the fly.

Keyboard backlighting is a largely hit-or-miss undertaking, but the CODE keyboard nails it. Not only does it have pleasant and easily adjustable through-the-keys lighting, but the key switches that the keys themselves are attached to are mounted to a steel plate with white paint. Enough of the light reflects off the interior cavity of the keys and then diffuses across the white plate to provide nice even illumination in between the keys.

Highlighting the steel plate beneath the keys brings us to the actual construction of the keyboard. It’s rock solid. The 87-key model, the one we tested, is 2.0 pounds. The 104-key is nearly a half pound heavier at 2.42 pounds. Between the steel plate, the extra-thick PCB board beneath the steel plate, and the thick ABS plastic housing, the keyboard has very solid feel to it. Combine that heft with the previously mentioned thick rubber feet and you have a tank-like keyboard that won’t budge a millimeter during normal use.

Examining The Keys

This is the section of the review the hardcore typists and keyboard ninjas have been waiting for. We’ve looked at the layout of the keyboard, we’ve looked at the general construction of it, but what about the actual keys?

There are a wide variety of keyboard construction techniques but the vast majority of modern keyboards use a rubber-dome construction. The key is floated in a plastic frame over a rubber membrane that has a little rubber dome for each key. The press of the physical key compresses the rubber dome downwards and a little bit of conductive material on the inside of the dome’s apex connects with the circuit board. Despite the near ubiquity of the design, many people dislike it.

The principal complaint is that dome keyboards require a complete compression to register a keystroke; keyboard designers and enthusiasts refer to this as “bottoming out”. In other words, the register the “b” key, you need to completely press that key down. As such it slows you down and requires additional pressure and movement that, over the course of tens of thousands of keystrokes, adds up to a whole lot of wasted time and fatigue.

The CODE keyboard features key switches manufactured by Cherry, a company that has manufactured key switches since the 1960s. Specifically, the CODE features Cherry MX Clear switches. These switches feature the same classic design of the other Cherry switches (such as the MX Blue and Brown switch lineups) but they are significantly quieter (yes this is a mechanical keyboard, but no, your neighbors won’t think you’re firing off a machine gun) as they lack the audible click found in most Cherry switches. This isn’t to say that they keyboard doesn’t have a nice audible key press sound when the key is fully depressed, but that the key mechanism isn’t doesn’t create a loud click sound when triggered.

One of the great features of the Cherry MX clear is a tactile “bump” that indicates the key has been compressed enough to register the stroke. For touch typists the very subtle tactile feedback is a great indicator that you can move on to the next stroke and provides a welcome speed boost. Even if you’re not trying to break any word-per-minute records, that little bump when pressing the key is satisfying.

The Cherry key switches, in addition to providing a much more pleasant typing experience, are also significantly more durable than dome-style key switch. Rubber dome switch membrane keyboards are typically rated for 5-10 million contacts whereas the Cherry mechanical switches are rated for 50 million contacts.

You’d have to write the next War and Peace  and follow that up with A Tale of Two Cities: Zombie Edition, and then turn around and transcribe them both into a dozen different languages to even begin putting a tiny dent in the lifecycle of this keyboard.

So what do the switches look like under the classically styled keys? You can take a look yourself with the included key puller. Slide the loop between the keys and then gently beneath the key you wish to remove:

Wiggle the key puller gently back and forth while exerting a gentle upward pressure to pop the key off; You can repeat the process for every key, if you ever find yourself needing to extract piles of cat hair, Cheeto dust, or other foreign objects from your keyboard.

There it is, the naked switch, the source of that wonderful crisp action with the tactile bump on each keystroke.

The last feature worthy of a mention is the N-key rollover functionality of the keyboard. This is a feature you simply won’t find on non-mechanical keyboards and even gaming keyboards typically only have any sort of key roller on the high-frequency keys like WASD. So what is N-key rollover and why do you care? On a typical mass-produced rubber-dome keyboard, you cannot simultaneously press more than two keys, as the third one doesn’t register. PS/2 keyboards allow for unlimited rollover (in other words you can’t out-type the keyboard as all of your keystrokes, no matter how fast, will register); if you use the CODE keyboard with the PS/2 adapter you gain this ability.

If you don’t use the PS/2 adapter and use the native USB, you still get 6-key rollover (and the CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT don’t count towards the 6) so realistically you still won’t be able to out type the computer as even the more finger twisting keyboard combos and high speed typing will still fall well within the 6-key rollover.

The rollover absolutely doesn’t matter if you’re a slow hunt-and-peck typist, but if you’ve read this far into a keyboard review, there’s a good chance that you’re a serious typist, and that kind of quality construction and high-number key rollover is a fantastic feature.

 The Good, The Bad, and the Verdict

We’ve put the CODE keyboard through the paces, we’ve played games with it, typed articles with it, left lengthy comments on Reddit, and otherwise used and abused it like we would any other keyboard.

The Good:

  • The construction is rock solid. In an emergency, we’re confident we could use the keyboard as a blunt weapon (and then resume using it later in the day with no ill effect on the keyboard).
  • The Cherry switches are an absolute pleasure to type on; the Clear variety found in the CODE keyboard offer a really nice middle-ground between the gun-shot clack of a louder mechanical switch and the quietness of a lesser-quality dome keyboard without sacrificing quality. Touch typists will love the subtle tactile bump feedback.
  • Dip switch system makes it very easy for users on different systems and with different keyboard layout needs to switch between operating system and keyboard layouts. If you’re investing a chunk of change in a keyboard it’s nice to know you can take it with you to a different operating system or “upgrade” it to a new layout if you decide to take up Dvorak-style typing.
  • The backlighting is perfect. You can adjust it from a barely-visible glow to a blazing light-up-the-room brightness. Whatever your intesity preference, the white-coated steel backplate does a great job diffusing the light between the keys.
  • You can easily remove the keys for cleaning (or to rearrange the letters to support a new keyboard layout).
  • The weight of the unit combined with the extra thick rubber feet keep it planted exactly where you place it on the desk.

The Bad:

  • While you’re getting your money’s worth, the $150 price tag is a shock when compared to the $20-60 price tags you find on lower-end keyboards.
  • People used to large dedicated media keys independent of the traditional key layout (such as the large buttons and volume controls found on many modern keyboards) might be off put by the Fn-key style media controls on the CODE.

The Verdict: The keyboard is clearly and heavily influenced by the needs of serious typists. Whether you’re a programmer, transcriptionist, or just somebody that wants to leave the lengthiest article comments the Internet has ever seen, the CODE keyboard offers a rock solid typing experience. Yes, $150 isn’t pocket change, but the quality of the CODE keyboard is so high and the typing experience is so enjoyable, you’re easily getting ten times the value you’d get out of purchasing a lesser keyboard.

Even compared to other mechanical keyboards on the market, like Das Keyboard, you’re still getting more for your money as other mechanical keyboards don’t come with the lovely-to-type-on Cherry MX Clear switches, back lighting, and hardware-based operating system keyboard layout switching.

If it’s in your budget to upgrade your keyboard (especially if you’ve been slogging along with a low-end rubber-dome keyboard) there’s no good reason to not pickup a CODE keyboard.

Key animation courtesy of user Lethal Squirrel.



Latest Technology

Introducing Office 365 Message Encryption: Send encrypted emails to anyone!

Shobhit Sahay is product marketing manager on the Microsoft Exchange team.

We're pleased to announce the upcoming release of Office 365 Message Encryption, a new service that lets you send encrypted emails to people outside your company. No matter what the, Yahoo, Gmail, Exchange Server, Lotus Notes, GroupWise, Squirrel Mail, you name it-you can send sensitive business communications with an additional level of protection against unauthorized access. There are many business situations where this type of encryption is essential. We've listed just a few.

  • A bank sending credit card statements to customers over email.
  • An insurance company providing details about the policy to clients.
  • A mortgage broker requesting financial information from a customer for a loan application.
  • A healthcare provider using encrypted messages to send healthcare information to patients.
  • An attorney sending confidential information to a client or another attorney.
  • A consultant sending a contract to a client.
  • A therapist providing a patient diagnosis to an insurance company.

Office 365 Message Encryption is the new version of Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE). This version includes all of the capabilities of EHE plus new features, such as the ability to apply your company's branding to encrypted messages. Like EHE, Office 365 Message Encryption works with Office 365 mailboxes as well as with on-premises mailboxes that use Exchange Online Protection.

Here's the added good news: Office 365 E3 and E4 users will get Office 365 Message Encryption at no extra cost. We're including it in Windows Azure Rights Management, which is already part of E3 and E4 plans.  We're also including it in the standalone version of Windows Azure Rights Management, without raising the price of that service. For $2 per user per month you can get a complete solution for internal and external information protection: traditional Rights Management capabilities like Do Not Forward for internal users, plus the new ability to encrypt outbound messages to any recipient.

Let's take a closer look at how Office 365 Message Encryption works.

Administrators set up transport rules to apply Office 365 Message Encryption when emails match specified criteria. Transport rules provide great flexibility and control, and can be managed via a web-based interface or PowerShell.

Setting up the transport rules is simple. Administrators simply select the action to apply encryption or remove encryption in the Exchange admin center. This is an improvement over EHE, which required complex headers and multiple setup steps.

You set up Office 365 Message Encryption rules in the Exchange admin center.

Once the admin sets up the rules, whenever anyone in the company sends a message that matches the conditions, the message is encrypted using Office 365 Message Encryption. The outgoing message is encrypted before it is delivered to the outside mail server to prevent any spoofing or misdirection.

When an external recipient receives an encrypted message from your company, they see an encrypted attachment and an instruction to view the encrypted message.

The encrypted message appears as an attachment in a message in the recipient's inbox, with instructions for how to view it. 

You can open the attachment right from your inbox, and the attachment opens in a new browser window. To view the message, you just follow the simple instructions for authenticating via your Office 365 ID or Microsoft Account.

Once you are authenticated, the content of an encrypted message appears.

The Message Encryption interface, based on Outlook Web App, is modern and easy to navigate. You can easily find information and perform quick tasks such as reply, forward, insert, attach, and so on. As an added measure of protection, when the receiver replies to the sender of the encrypted message or forwards the message, those emails are also encrypted.

When you reply to an encrypted message you've received, your reply is also encrypted.

Office 365 Message Encryption allows you to customize the branding on your company's encrypted messages and portal where the message is viewed. The customization is not limited just to your company logo, but can also extend to the text in the header, disclaimer, and the portal text in the sent email.

Screenshot of custom branding with Message Encryption

With Message Encryption, you can customize the disclaimer text and header text in your company's encrypted emails.

You can also customize your company Logo and portal text that appear in your encrypted emails.

Administrators can use PowerShell cmdlets to set up the branding for these texts and images.

PowerShell can be used to set up different branding texts and logo emails encrypted in Message Encryption.


With Office 365 Message Encryption you can send sensitive information to people outside your organization with the confidence that that information is protected. We're excited to bring its new capabilities to you, and we look forward to hearing your feedback.

 -- Shobhit Sahay


Q. When will Office 365 Message Encryption be available?

A. Office 365 Message Encryption will be available for purchase during the first quarter of 2014, and customers who are currently using Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE) will be upgraded to Office 365 Message Encryption beginning in the same timeframe. EHE customers can learn more about the upgrade by visiting the EHE Upgrade Center

Q: How do I get Office 365 Message Encryption?

A: Office 365 Message Encryption will be available as part of Windows Azure Rights Management. Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 users will get Office 365 Message Encryption at no extra cost. We're including it in Windows Azure Rights Management, which is already part of the E3 and E4 plans. We're also including it in the standalone version of Windows Azure Rights Management, without raising the price of that service. Office 365 Message Encryption is available as an add-on for other Office 365 plans and for standalone plans. For example, Exchange Online Kiosk Plan 1 and Plan 2 customers will be able to add the service to their subscriptions at a cost of $2 per user per month.

Office 365 Message Encryption is also available to Exchange on-premises customers who purchase Windows Azure Rights Management service. Office 365 Message Encryption requires on-premises customers to route email through Exchange Online, either by using Exchange Online Protection for email filtering or by establishing hybrid mail-flow.

Q. I am currently an Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE) Subscriber. What happens to my subscription?

Customers who are currently using Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE) will be upgraded to Office 365 Message Encryption beginning in the first quarter of 2014. EHE customers can learn more information about the upgrade by visiting the EHE Upgrade Center.

Q. How does Office 365 Message Encryption relate to other encryption technologies?

A. A variety of encryption technologies work together in Office 365 to provide protection for emails at rest and in transit:

  • TLS encrypts the tunnel between mail server to help prevent snooping/eavesdropping.
  • SSL encrypts the connection between mail clients and Office 365 servers.
  • BitLocker encrypts the data on the hard drives in the datacenter so that if someone gets unauthorized access to the machine they can't read it.
  • Information Rights Management. Windows Azure Rights Management in Office 365 prevents sensitive information from being printed, forwarded, or copiedby unauthorized people inside the organization.
  • S/MIME is an encryption scheme that uses client-side encryption keys, popular for some government B2B scenarios. Read more about the upcoming S/MIME enhancements in Office 365 here.

Office 365 Message Encryption is designed to help you send confidential messages to people outside your company simply and securely, without the administrative overhead required to use S/MIME or similar technologies. It's an outside-the-company companion to Information Rights Management, which is why it's included as part of the Windows Azure Rights Management offering.

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Latest Technology

Check the service health of your Office 365 service on the go

Lawrence Chiu is a senior product manager on the Office 365 team.

As we discussed in a recent blog post,  Cloud services you can trust, "Transparency requires consistent communication."  We're working to improve the transparency of the Office 365 service by continuously improving our communication with customers on changes that impact the Office 365 environment. Recently we deployed the improved Message Center, which delivers messages targeted to your organization. Now we're introducing another communication tool, one that was recently demoed on the November 6 episode of The Garage Series- a new app for on-the-go service health checks.

Starting today, Office 365 service administrators can connect to their organization's Office 365 service status from wherever they are with the Office 365 Admin app. The new app enables administrators to view service health information and maintenance status updates from their mobile device. They can also filter information by service subscriptions and configure app data refresh intervals.

Administrators can use the Office 365 Admin app to check the overall health of their organization's services, see the health of individual services, and set data refresh intervals.

To access service health data with the Office 365 Admin app, you must have an active Office 365 subscription with administrator user rights. Also, this app does not currently support Windows Azure Active Directory Multi-Factor Authentication.

The Office 365 Admin app is in the process of rolling out across multiple platforms, starting with Windows Phone 8 today and followed by Android (4.2.1 and up) and iOS 7 in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to this blog and your Message Center. You'll be notified as soon as the app is available on Google Play and in the Apple App Store.

To access the frequently asked questions or to follow what the community has to say about the app, please click this link.

Download the app on the Windows Phone 8 Store.


--Lawrence Chiu

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Latest Technology

Tablet makers accuesed of overcharging for internal storage

Apple, Google, and Amazon have all been accused of marking up costs of additional storage options for their tablet offerings in order to boost their profits.

A report out of popular tech review site Which? indicates that manufacturers like Apple pay roughly £6 to manufacture a tablet variant with an additional 16GB of storage, yet charge £80 to customers – a markup of 1267%.

Google and Amazon also have similar extravagant markups for their Nexus 10 and Kindle Fire HDX tablets, charging and additional 70 and 40, respectively. Suspiciously enough, many tablet offerings like the aforementioned Apple and Google offerings come without microSD card slots to expand your onboard storage cheaply.

Which? recommends that buyers looking at tablet offerings this that have microSD card slots when shopping this season, as a significant amount of money could be saved via expandable storage options. Not only that, but you could expand to even larger storage as higher-capacity microSD card slots become even cheaper.


Misc. Gadgets

Infant galaxies merging near ‘cosmic dawn’

Astronomers using the combined power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a far-flung trio of primitive galaxies nestled inside an enormous blob of primordial gas nearly ...
Latest Technology, Sony

How Light Comes Alive in Dying Light on PS4

Hi, I'm Maciej Jamrozik, the Lead Technical Artist at Techland, developer of the upcoming first-person, action survival-horror game Dying Light. Light and shadow play a crucial role in Dying Light. They affect not only the gameplay and its day-and-night cycle, but also the visuals.
Latest Technology

Verizon HTC One Max now on sale, $299 on contract

The HTC One Max is now available for purchase on Verizon's network. The carrier is offering HTC's phablet for $299 on a 2-year contract.

If you'd like to purchase the phone without commitment to the carrier, the price is $599. The phone is also available with a Verizon Edge plan for $25.22 a month.

Verizon is currently working on offering yet another phablet - the Nokia Lumia 1520. Earlier in October, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was made available on the carrier's network, carrying the same price tag of $299. However, it's off-contract price was $100 steeper than the HTC One Max's - at $699.

The HTC One Max is currently available on Sprint with AT&T preparing to launch it shortly.

Across the pond in the UK, the One Max is offered both on carrier plans as well as off-contract for the rather higher £585.

Source | Via