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The history of doing more, in less time

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People have been using tools to do more with less for millions of years. Whether it was the invention of the wheel, fire, the PC, or the Internet, human beings have always utilised innovation to become more productive in their professional and personal lives, writes COLIN ERASMUS, Device Sales Lead at Microsoft SA.

In 1990, the pace and scope of the evolution of productivity hit top gear with the release of Office 1.0, as it brought productivity software together in a way that empowered workers across all departments of an organisation in a way that was unprecedented.

Since then, there have been many versions of Microsoft Office, with each iteration building on the feature set of the last as part of an evolution that has shaped the way people work across the globe.

Today, digital transformation is changing every aspect of business: shaping growth, disrupting industry landscapes, and providing the catalyst for new business models, products, services and experiences. It is enabling businesses to reimagine their structures and become digital businesses.

Doing more in less time, fewer steps

As a non-renewable resource, employees need to devote their time to the most important tasks with the highest returns on investment for the business. New features in Office enable them to save a great deal of time and hassles including features such as Smart Lookup and Researcher.

The former is available from within Word and uses Bing to enable users to look up information right from within Word, while the latter enables users to pull in relevant content right into their document.

Additional time and effort can be saved by using Designer within PowerPoint, which automatically provides designs for your slides based on any image you insert. With a single click, you can pick from a ton of designs that complement your content and give your slides a professional, polished feel.

Additionally, Morph lets you focus on writing great content while PowerPoint creates eye-catching transitions between slides that make your presentation look like it’s been professionally animated.

New capabilities keeping your devices secure

Buyers can opt for a range of new Windows 10-powered devices that come in various form-factors from traditional notebooks through to tablets, All-in-Ones and convertible (two-in-one) laptops. These devices boasts many new capabilities that will boost your productivity while keeping your data secure.

For instance, Windows Hello logs you into your Windows devices in less than two seconds, three times faster than a password. This feature is available on notebooks and two-in-one devices that sports an Intel RealSense 3D camera or built-in fingerprint reader for enterprise-grade security.

When you are logged in, you can use natural input to input data the way you want, using touch gestures on touch-enabled notebooks and tablets, or digital ink via a Windows Ink capable device by using a stylus to jot notes, use annotations and draw.

Windows 10 Pro -powered devices allow you to use BitLocker Drive Encryption on your computer’s hard-drive as well as for removable drives on which data is stored, to prevent sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

In the digital era, managers need to re-envision entire business models and embrace a different way of bringing together people, data, and processes to create more value and better experiences for their customers. Office and Windows has been designed to help meet your organisation’s needs for robust security, enhanced productivity, and taking the hassles out of standard, everyday business tasks.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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