Microsoft adds AI tools to Office apps like Outlook, Word
Microsoft is infusing artificial intelligence tools into its Office software, including Word, Excel and Outlook emails.
The company said the new feature, named Copilot, is a processing engine that will allow users to do things like summarize long emails, draft stories in Word and animate slides in PowerPoint.
Microsoft is marketing the feature as a tool that will allow workers to be more productive by freeing up time they usually spend in their inbox, or allowing them to more easily analyze trends in Excel.
The tech giant based in Redmond, Washington, will also add a chat function called Business Chat, which resembles the popular ChatGPT. It takes commands and carries out actions — like summarizing an email about a particular project to co-workers — using user data.
“Today marks the next major step in the evolution of how we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work and unlock a new wave of productivity growth,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.
Mattel, Instacart and other companies have also been integrating generative AI tools like ChatGPT and the image generator Dall-E to come up with ideas for new toy cars and answer customers’ food questions.
Microsoft rival Google said this week it is integrating generative AI tools into its own Workspace applications, such as Google Docs, Gmail and Slides. Google says it will be rolling out the features to its “trusted testers on a rolling basis throughout the year.”
Microsoft spokesperson Jessica Dash said the new Office features are currently only available for 20 enterprise customers. It will roll it out for more enterprise customers over the coming months.
The announcement came two days after OpenAI, which powers the generative AI technology Microsoft is relying on, rolled out its latest artificial intelligence model, GPT-4.
Redmi Note 12 Turbo teaser images reveal even more specs
We already know that the Redmi Note 12 Turbo is on its way with an expected announcement time of 7 PM on March 28. We also already know quite a bit about the phone thanks to Weibo leaks and a visit to AnTuTu. A new set of teaser images has now surfaced online alongside some additional device specs.
Apparently, the Redmi Note 12 Turbo’s display will be 12-bit, support HDR10+ and feature a 120Hz refresh rate, 1920Hz PWM Dimming and SGS Low Blue Light Certification. Previous rumors have indicated a display diagonal of 6.67 inches and an FHD+ resolution. The phone will boast pretty thin bezels, measuring just 1.95mm on top, and 1.42mm on the sides of the display, with a 2.22mm chin underneath it and a 93.45% screen-to-body ratio. The phone’s entire body will measure 7.9mm in thickness and weigh 181 grams.
The Redmi Note 12 Turbo is also rumored to offer a stereo speaker setup with Dolby ATMOS and Hi-Res Audio support alongside a 3.5mm audio jack. Also on board is an IR blaster. Confirming earlier rumors, the handset is expected to be among the first, if not the very first, to rock a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chipset, alongside up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 1TB of UFS3.1 storage. As per the new teaser, the chip will be cooled by a 3725mm² vapor chamber cooler.
In a rather conflicting report, the new source now claims that the Redmi Note 12 Turbo will feature a side-mounted fingerprint reader instead of an in-display one. Also on the list of expected specs is a large 5,000 mAh battery with 67W charging. The phone is expected to have a 64MP main camera with OIS, 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP macro shooter. It is also said to run Android 13 with MIUI 14 on top.
There is still no word on pricing and availability. Though, it is worth noting that the Redmi Note 12 Turbo is expected to launch under the Poco F5 branding in India on April 5.
Why can’t I sync blocked numbers to a new Android phone?
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
I don’t switch phones often, but when I do, I dread every single part of the process. Although Google has smoothed out some of the steps thanks to a more robust Android backup system and a new Fast Pair phone setup, a lot of tedious bits and pieces remain. It’s painful to re-pair wearables and Bluetooth accessories, adjust smart home gadgets to follow the new phone for geolocation automations, and sign into and re-customize apps to my liking. It can take a day and do all of that manually; what I can’t do, though, is transfer or sync my blocked numbers on my Android phone to a new phone.
And this little issue has been annoying me for a couple of years now. It baffles me that it hasn’t been fixed yet.
I trust Google to identify some spam numbers on its own and stop them from disrupting me, but I also make an effort to report as spam and block any other spammers and unwanted numbers that slip through. Still, every year or so, I find myself answering calls and looking at messages from these same unwanted numbers just because the blocklist didn’t carry over when I switched to a new phone.
My blocked numbers list doesn’t carry over when I switch phones. I end up answering calls and reading messages from the same unwanted numbers.
Spam and phishing are massive problems in some countries like the US and India. In my experience, they’ve been less of an issue in France, but they were a major annoyance in Lebanon where GDPR and privacy rules don’t exist. Since I was a practicing pharmacist, my number was registered with the union and was shared, without my consent, with hundreds of pharmaceutical and not-so-pharmaceutical companies. Even two years after shutting down my practice, I still get dozens of unwanted messages every week on my Lebanese number.
With spam being such an annoying everyday occurrence, you’d think that all the tools would be at your disposal to fight it. And yet, Google is fighting it with Assistant call screening and massive data collection from millions of users to identify spam before it annoys you, but it’s forgetting one very simple trick that could save everyone extra headache: Just sync my list of blocked numbers on Android across phones.
Spam, phishing, and abuse are massive issues. I should only have to block a number once, but Google is trying to solve the problem differently.
Beyond spam, the issue gets worse when you imagine that an ex or an abusive person from your past keeps calling you or messaging you. You block them and think you’re done with that crap, only to see their number pop up again when you switch to a new phone. If we’re intentionally choosing to block a number or mark it as spam, we don’t want to find ourselves looking at that same number again, ever.
Here are three ways this problem can be fixed, from simple and manual, to complex and automatic:
- Add a manual export and import button to the blocked numbers list in the Google Phone and Messages apps.
- Treat the blocked numbers list like the call history and make sure it backs up and restores when users switch phones.
- Synchronize the blocked numbers list with my Google account (maybe as a part of Google Contacts?) so that it’s always updated across all my devices.
Apple does the latter with iCloud. You block a number on your iPhone and it’ll be synced to your iPad, iMac, and every other device you use. Google could and should do it the same way. Sure, this isn’t as sexy as Assistant call screening, but no one wants to keep blocking the same numbers again and again.
New film by Calgary’s Tank Standing Buffalo streams on HBO
A Calgary animator’s newest cartoon started streaming Thursday night on HBO Max.
Tank Standing Buffalo’s MONSTR was one of eight animated shorts chosen from more than 1,200 submissions to be part of the HBO Max series Only You: An Animated Shorts Collection.
MONSTR deals with Standing Buffalo’s fight with inner demons while apprenticing with a northwest totem carver following the death of his wife Marsha.
“My partner Marsha died suddenly in my arms of a brain aneurysm,” Standing Buffalo said in a release. “One moment she was there, the next she was gone. Without her, I was lost.
“I left Calgary to walk the west coast until I couldn’t walk, and ended up on carver Phil Ashbee’s doorstep. He saw I was in trouble, and took me in. I began a tough year-and -a-half apprenticeship, learning from him and another carver. The teachings were harsh, but helped me to heal.
Tank Standing Buffalo’s next project MONSTR is part of an HBO Max program for animators
“MONSTR takes place during my time with Phil, and brings to life how I confronted the grief of Marsha’s passing. It is my story, one only I can tell.”
Standing Buffalo worked with co-writer Xstine Coo, producer Amanda Miller and composers Cara Adu-Darko and Brandon Smith on the film, which features music by Walter MacDonald White Bear.
The film features the voices of Corey Feldman and Tristan Risk.
It’s Standing Buffalo’s third animated short, following RKLSS (2020), which screened at TIFF, and SAVJ (2021), which is currently being screened at a variety of film festivals.
HBO flew Standing Buffalo to Los Angeles for the Hollywood premiere of MONSTR Tuesday night.
Scene from MONSTR by Tank Standing Buffalo
In his artist statement, Standing Buffalo said art has literally saved his life – and his emergence as a rising animation star was launched by a scholarship he received to attend a Calgary animation workshop.
“I came to love animation six years ago when I received a scholarship through Quickdraw Animation Society in Calgary,” he said. “I am a person who thrives on routine and discipline. I appreciate the meditative repetition required to create animation.
“Through making my first two autobiographical shorts with monster and fantasy elements, I’ve found telling my story through animation is a form of time travel; my art is healing the person who I was in the past.”
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