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How to Create a Dial-In Conference with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams gives businesses reliable collaboration and communication tools through desktop, web, and mobile applications. While most audio calls are made through the app, Teams uses audio conferences to let anyone easily dial in using a phone number.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Joel Cornell

Defying Net Neutrality, AT&T Doesn’t Count HBO Max Streaming Towards Data Caps


If you use AT&T Wireless service and you’re subscribed to the new HBO Max, there’s good news: watching TV or movies on the latter won’t count towards your data cap on the former. AT&T told The Verge that customers using its subsidiary’s streaming service would be able to do so without hitting data limits or “soft” limits for unlimited plans.

It isn’t good news if you’re an HBO Max competitor. Naturally, watching video on other services—YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, almost literally anything else—will still be counted as used data and subject to caps. This is a brazen violation of the principle of net neutrality, wherein all data must be treated the same by a carrier no matter what the source or content. It’s also flirting with monopolistic behavior, since AT&T is now providing the data backend, platform, and entertainment content itself. DirecTV, U-Verse, and Fullscreen—all AT&T subsidiaries—are also exempt from data caps on AT&T Wireless, in a program the company calls “sponsored data.”

Since FCC commissioner Ajit Pai torpedoed policies enforcing net neutrality in 2017, such practices are entirely legal in the United States. Pai’s repeal was met with outspoken backlash from consumers, politicians, and even some members of the technology industry. But with pro-business conservatives in legislative, executive, and judiciary control, there was no realistic path towards a return to corporate oversight.

AT&T’s competitor T-Mobile has been accused of violating net neutrality with its “Binge On” service, allowing compressed streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and a few other services not to count against data caps. In principle, this could make it more difficult for smaller video services to start up and find customers. But importantly, T-Mobile doesn’t own any of these services, and the benefits it receives from Binge On are entirely competitive.

Source: The Verge

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Michael Crider

Cisco security breach hits corporate servers that ran unpatched software

Cisco security breach hits corporate servers that ran unpatched software

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Six servers Cisco uses to provide a virtual networking service were compromised by hackers who exploited critical flaws contained in unpatched versions the open source software service relies on, the company disclosed on Thursday.

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The May 7 compromise hit six Cisco servers that provide backend connectivity to the Virtual Internet Routing Lab Personal Edition (VIRL-PE), a Cisco service that lets customers design and test network topologies without having to deploy actual equipment. Both the VIRL-PE and a related service, Cisco Modeling Labs Corporate Edition, incorporate the Salt management framework, which contained a pair of bugs that, when combined, was critical. The vulnerabilities became public on April 30.

Cisco deployed the vulnerable servers on May 7, and they were compromised the same day. Cisco took them down and remediated them, also on May 7. The servers were:

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dan Goodin

Facebook goes big on ecommerce with Facebook Shops feature

Shopping on Facebook is already A Thing thanks to the social network’s ‘Marketplace’ feature, an eBay-like service connecting private buyers and sellers. Now Facebook is pushing on with its own ecommerce strategy, announcing Facebook Shops yesterday. “Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both […]

The post Facebook goes big on ecommerce with Facebook Shops feature appeared first on Music Ally.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Stuart Dredge

Only 45 Percent of Businesses Plan to Rehire the Same Workers Once They Reopen, Facebook Survey Finds


A new Facebook survey of small- and medium-sized businesses has found that, among those who have shut down amid the global covid-19 health crisis, only 45 percent plan to rehire the same employees when they reopen.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Catie Keck

Freeplane: A Useful Cross-Platform Mind-Mapping Software

organize-projects-and-thoughts-with-free Mind-mapping is a useful way to organize your thoughts and process flow with visual diagrams. When done properly, it can make massive projects easily manageable and allow you to better allocate tasks between the members of your team, while always keeping tags on everything. Freeplane is one of the best free open-source mind-mapping software. It is also cross-platform compatible, so you can use it in Windows, macOS or Linux. Let’s see how you can use Freeplane to create mind maps. Installation To get started, download Freeplane from its official page at SourceForge. Extract it and find the installer… Read more13546469.gif

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Odysseas Kourafalos

Many tech workers won’t be going back to the office


Tech companies are gaming out how to bring employees back to the office, but many are expecting a new normal in which a significant portion of their workers stay home for good.

Why it matters: Some tech firms may find they are just as productive with a remote workforce. But a shift away from in-office work will have profound impacts on everything from the commercial real estate market to the vast number of support jobs that were built around serving Silicon Valley’s sprawling campuses.

Driving the news:

  • Twitter told workers that they can work from home permanently if they want.
  • Others haven’t gone that far, but many tech companies have acknowledged publicly or privately that they don’t expect most workers to return to the office this year.
  • On a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday evening, the CEOs of Box, Okta, PagerDuty and Twilio all expressed a sense that they will end up with more remote workers permanently, even after the pandemic ends.

Some companies were headed toward more remote staff even before the coronavirus crisis.

  • “We were already trying to reduce our dependency on the Bay Area because of competition for talent and cost of doing business here,” said PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada.
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had announced in January, when COVID-19’s impact remained a distant threat, that Twitter was moving toward a remote-first workplace.

Others found themselves having to quickly switch gears.

  • Box CEO Aaron Levie said that he used to like to manage by walking around the office, but has found other benefits from a remote workforce.
  • Remote meetings have been a decent substitute for talking in person, connecting Levie to workers in Australia, Japan and England all on the same day, with no need to travel.

Between the lines: Embracing remote work has a number of benefits for companies beyond just the costs of hiring and retaining workers.

  • Many tech companies have built up a massive army of contractors and vendors to support their workers, including food service, shuttle bus drivers and janitorial staff. Even a partial shift away from the office would likely add up to significant savings over time for the firms — although fewer jobs for those support workers.
  • For workers, meanwhile, the ability to work remotely means more than just cutting down a commute. It also means the ability to live wherever they want, rather than being tied to the Bay Area or another tech hub, like Austin, New York or Boston. Considering the high cost of real estate and other expenses in the Bay Area, that could lead to a significant exodus, though people have long predicted “peak Silicon Valley” — and long been wrong.

Yes, but: Some companies have invested significantly in their campuses and have a vested interest in maintaining an office culture.

  • Apple is the poster child for this. It spent a fortune on its Apple Park HQ and likes its products designed behind closed (and locked) doors.
  • Bloomberg recently reported Apple is making plans for some office workers to return this summer.

The big picture: Companies’ stances will range from Twitter’s “stay home forever if you want” to Apple’s “can’t wait for you to come back in.” Software companies are likely to have an easier time than hardware producers relying on a largely distributed workforce.

What’s next: Not all the changes we are seeing as a response to the coronavirus will be permanent. Some jobs that are being done remotely at the moment, including many roles in sales and support, will require more travel once shelter-in-place rules ease.

  • “We are going to have to feel our way around this,” said Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora, a subscription management company. “I don’t think we know the end game.”

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ina Fried

US video game sales have record quarter, as consumers stay at home


New numbers from NPD confirm what we’ve known for a while: the first quarter of 2020 was a very good one for gaming companies. The new report notes that sales hit a record $10.86 billion in the States between January and March of this year, marking a 9% increase over a year prior. $9.58 billion of that figure was from video game content.

The primary driver is, you guessed it, COVID-19. As stay at home orders have been enacted on the federal and state levels, people are coping with the on-going daily horror that is life in 2020 by playing video games. Lots and lots of video games.

Here’s NPD’s Mat Piscatella further confirming our suspicions, “Video Games have brought comfort and connection to millions during this challenging time. As people have stayed at home more, they’ve utilized gaming not only as a diversion and an escape, but also as a means of staying connected with family and friends. Whether it was on console or mobile, PC or virtual reality, gaming experienced play and sales growth during the first quarter.”

According to NPD’s Q1 2020 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report, overall total industry consumer spending on #videogaming in the U.S. reached a record $10.86 billion in the first quarter of 2020 (Jan. – Mar.), an increase of 9 percent compared to the same time period last year.

— NPD Games (@npdgames) May 15, 2020

That last bit is, in part, key to many consumers’ choice of game titles. As already noted by the firm, Animal Crossing: New Horizons had its own record setting first quarter. That, in turn, helped drive Switch sales, in spite of Nintendo’s well documented supply issues. The title arrived just in the nick of time for stay at home orders in the U.S., delivering a kind of front-facing social experience that much of the competition lacks. Also, turnips.

Matter of fact, the Switch’s success actually helped supplement losses of other platforms. Microsoft and Sony will no doubt make up gains at the end of the year with their next gen consoles. For now, however, many consumers are likely holding out until their holiday arrives to invest in Xbox or Playstation hardware, in spite of the pandemic. The U.S.’s soaring unemployment rate no doubt also had an impact on the industry’s bottom line.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brian Heater

Unreal Engine is now royalty-free until a game makes a whopping $1 mill

Unreal Engine is now royalty-free until a game makes a whopping $1 mill

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Since the rise of Fortnite as a popular game and Unreal Engine 4 as a popular game-making toolkit, Epic Games, the studio behind both, has been keen to capitalize on this momentum. That has included an aggressive push to lock down game makers in its ecosystem, and Tuesday saw Epic announce its most generous developer-specific offer yet: a massive increase to its “royalty-free” grace period.

As of today, any game or software maker who uses Unreal Engine for commercial purposes doesn’t owe Epic Games a penny until a single piece of software exceeds one meeeeeeellion dollars ($1,000,000) in gross revenue. This is on top of the company’s existing policy to not charge Unreal Engine users a monthly fee, whether they’re using the software suite for commercial or educational purposes.

Previously, Epic offered a royalty-free grace period for a game or app’s first $50,000 of revenue, then began requiring payment of 5 percent of the software’s “worldwide gross revenue” from that point on, including DLC, crowd-sourced fundraising related to the software, and other related revenue streams. That 5-percent fee still applies, but it now leaves game makers unaffected until a $1 million threshold is hit.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sam Machkovech

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