Maneuvering Around Microsoft Teams

Tip of the Week: Maneuvering Around Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a video communication and collaboration platform that your organization can use to great success, but it helps to have a couple of pointers so you can make the most out of the software. Here are five ways you can maximize the value you get out of your Microsoft Teams software.

If you don’t already use Teams, you can think of it like this: it’s similar to other services out there, like Slack and Discord, in that it gives you access to various channels for communication through a variety of mediums, like video, instant messaging, voice chat, and so on. Knowing how to get the most out of Teams means maximizing your use of these features and using them to their fullest potential.

Pin Important Messages

While you are chatting with your team or coworkers in Teams, you might notice recurring themes in your conversations. If you think something is important enough to keep at the top of the conversation at all times, you can pin that message to the top by clicking on the pin icon. This will keep it in place so that everyone who opens the chat will see that message first. All you have to do is click the three-dot symbol on a message and select Pin.

Tag Someone in Conversations

Sometimes you really need someone to chime in and contribute to the conversation. In cases like this, you can use the @ symbol to tag someone in the conversation. This will send the user a notification that you have tagged them in the chat and are hoping they will respond. It’s not the best or most perfect way to convince someone to contribute, but it at least lets them know you want them to see the message.

Organize Your Teams Into… Well, Teams (And Channels)

Teams operates on the premise that your communications are segmented into various “teams,” or specific places dedicated to collaboration for various groups of employees or departments. You should have your Teams set up so that each department has their own dedicated space to collaborate as needed. These Teams can be further split into Channels for specific purposes, all of which can be customized according to what your needs are. For example, you might have a Team set up for human resources where only your HR staff are allowed to chat or view the messages within, or the same could be said for the executives within your company. Be sure to control permissions for these Teams and Channels as needed.

Connect Teams to Other Office Applications

As a Microsoft software solution, Teams integrates quite well with other Microsoft tools. For example, it can connect and sync to OneDrive and OneNote, which is helpful for when you need to share files with others within your organization. Furthermore, you can add files and other documents directly to your various Teams and Channels so that users in those Teams or Channels have access to them quickly and efficiently. It’s a great way to make sure everyone has access to the information they need to be successful and productive throughout the workday.

 

To learn more about how you can utilize Teams as best you can, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.

 

Tip of the Week: Using Your Voice to Type in Microsoft Word

Typing on your keyboard is something that you do every day, but sometimes you just don’t want to do it. You can give your hands a break and use Microsoft Word’s dictation feature; this lets you use your voice to write in the software. Let’s go over how you might use the feature on a desktop, web browser, or mobile device.

 

On Your Desktop Application

If you use Microsoft Word on your desktop or a laptop, you can use the built-in dictation feature. From the Home tab, click on the Dictate button. It is the blue microphone in the top-right corner. You can then click on the gear icon to adjust the settings as needed. Some of these settings include auto-punctuation, language filtering, and dialect. You can use the pause or unpause buttons to take a break when needed. There is also a guide available to show you how to do things like add punctuation.

On the Browser Version of Word

The browser version of Word is exactly the same as the desktop version; you just go to the Home tab and use the Dictate button. The settings are mostly the same, too, so just follow the directions as they appear in the previous paragraph. You can click the X to close out of dictation.

On Your Mobile Device

The mobile application version of MS Word gives you an easy-to-use button just above the keyboard for dictation. You’ll see a microphone on it. The same features as outlined above work here in the same way. To stop dictation, click on the keyboard icon that will take the place of the dictation button.

 

Sure enough, it’s easy to use the dictation feature, and that’s probably by design. However, we do want to make sure you are aware that you should be proofreading your work, as anything voice-related can be somewhat unreliable on its own.

 

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The Highest-End Smartphones Right Now – Foldables

For the past two weeks we have looked at some of the best phones and some that bring the most value. This week, we turned our gaze to a form factor that is only a couple of years old, but seems to be the future of mobile technology, foldable screens. The different form factors made possible by foldable OLED technology make the future of mobile devices more exciting. Let’s take a look at three of the top foldable devices right now.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

A couple of years ago Samsung came out with their first foldable device, the Galaxy Z Fold, and while the device itself wasn’t anything to really write home about, it did usher in a whole new era of mobile computing. The Galaxy Z Fold3, the third iteration of the line, is by far the most notable of the foldable devices.

 

The Z Fold3 is built on an aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass Victus front and back. When the phone is folded, it has a 6.2-inch, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 832 x 2268px display that has a booming 120 hertz refresh rate. Basically they put a high-end, mid-size smartphone screen on the outside cover of the phone. This means that it can ostensibly be used folded up most of the time, but unfolded it gives you a nice tablet-like experience. The larger screen is made from plastic, but it’s remarkable how it doesn’t lose any effectiveness.

 

The rest of the phone has flagship specs. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chip, and comes with a whopping 12 GB of RAM and 256 or 512 GB of onboard storage. The device runs Android 11, but is able to be upgraded to Android 12 and Samsung’s One UI OS. More and more applications are being designed to take advantage of the foldable screen and the flexibility it gives users.

 

The Z Fold3 features a 12 MP wide-angle lens with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), a 12 MP telephoto lens with 2x zoom and OIS, and a 12 MP ultra wide-angle lens. The front-facing camera on the large display is a 4 MP in-display wide-angle lens, while the cover camera is 10 MP wide-angle lens. Overall, the Z Fold3 presents a pretty impressive cache of cameras to do most anything you would need a smartphone to do.

 

The battery is pretty small at 4,400 mAh, but comes with 25 Watt fast charging to offset the lowly 75 hour endurance rating. For security, there is a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Other features include a iPX8 water resistance rating, Samsung’s DeX capability and 5G capability.

 

This ingenious device is available in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Green, Thom Browne Edition, and an exclusive Wooyoungmi Edition, the Galaxy Z Fold3 costs nearly $2,000 from Samsung and most major cell carriers.

 

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G

Body:  Aluminum Frame, Gorilla Glass Victus front and back, plastic large display

Display: Closed – 6.2-inch Super AMOLED 2X, 120 Hz,  832 x 2,268 (~374 ppi); Open – 7.6-inch Super AMOLED 2X, 120 Hz, 1768 x 2208

OS: Android 11; upgradable to Android 12, One UI 4.0

Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Memory: 12 GB RAM; 256-to-512 GB onboard storage

Expandable Memory: No

Cameras: Rear – 12 MP, 26mm, OIS; 12 MP 52mm 2x optical zoom OIS; 12 MP 123º ultrawide. Front of device – 10 MP 26mm; Front of folded display – 4 MP under-display

Sounds: Stereo Sound

Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,400 mAh (75 hours)

Security: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor

Miscellaneous: Samsung DeX, IPX8 water resistant, 24W fast charging

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

Samsung is definitely the leader in foldable devices. As the Z Fold3 is an engineering marvel, the Z Flip3 brings back one of the most popular form factors in smartphone history. The Z Flip3 is Samsung’s best folding phone for people who want both a compact device and a large smartphone experience. The Z Flip3 is effectively a flagship smartphone that folds in half for safekeeping.

 

The device is made on an aluminum frame, it has a plastic front and a back made from Gorilla Glass Victus. The screen is made from plastic and houses a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that comes in at 1,080 x 2,640 pixels and sports a 120 Hz refresh rate. Not bad for a phone that folds in half. When folded there is a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED screen for quick view of time and notifications.

 

The device runs Android 11 (upgradable to Android 12 with Samsung’s One UI 4.0) on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 FG chip. It comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB or 258 GB of onboard storage. For security it has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor.

 

The camera on the Z Flip3 has a 12 MP wide-angle lens and a 12 MP ultrawide angle lens, while the selfie camera is a 10 MP wide-angle lens. The battery is a paltry 3,300 mAh offering that allows for 15W fast charging. At a 69-hour endurance rating, the device is at the low end of the premium smartphone market…but it folds in half.

 

Available in a litany of colors including Phantom Black, Green, Cream, Pink, Dream White and more, the Z Flip3 runs about $1,000 from your friendly neighborhood cell carrier or from Samsung directly.

 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

Body: Aluminum frame, plastic front, Gorilla Glass Victus back

Display: 6.7-inch Foldable Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120 Hz, 1,080 x 2,640px

OS: Android 11; Upgradable to Android 12, Samsung One UI 4.0

Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G

Memory: 8 GB RAM; 128 GB-to- 256 GB of onboard storage

Expandable Memory: No

Cameras: Rear – 12 MP 27mm OIS; 12 MP 123º; Front – 10 MP 26mm

Sounds: Stereo sound

Battery (battery endurance rating): 3,300 (69 hours)

Security: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor

Miscellaneous: IPX8 water resistant, 15 W fast charging

Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Samsung might have superiority over the foldable device space, but other manufacturers are creating some pretty useful devices, too. Microsoft is one of them and their newest folding smartphone is a big upgrade over the first Surface Duo. Well, it has cameras this time at least.

 

The Surface Duo 2 has great build quality, what you would expect from a Surface line product. There is no outside display like you would find on the Samsung devices, but when closed there is enough of the wrap-around screen to show the time, notifications, and other information. When the device is open there are effectively two 5.8-inch AMOLED panels that add up to a total of an 8.3-inch screen when it’s completely folded out as it functions with large bezels.

 

The Surface Duo 2 runs Android 11 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G chip and has 8 GB of RAM and can go up to 512 GB of onboard storage. It comes with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor for security. The battery of the Duo 2 is a 4,449 mAh power cell with available 23W fast charging.

 

Microsoft decided to put a full suite of cameras on this year’s model, a feature that was suspiciously left off of last year’s. The rear mounted cameras have a 12 MP wide-angle lens with OIS, a 12 MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom and OIS and a 16 MP ultra wide-angle lens. The front-facing camera is a 12 MP wide-angle lens.

 

Available in Glacier and Obsidian, the Microsoft Duo 2 is currently being sold for $1,500 online and at microsoft.com.

 

Microsoft Surface Duo 2

Body: Plastic frame, Gorilla Glass Victus front and back

Display: 8.3-inch AMOLED, 90 hz, 1,832 x2,688 (~401 ppi)

OS: Android 11

Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Memory: 8 GB RAM; 128-to-512 GB onboard storage

Expandable Memory: No

Cameras: Rear – 12 MP 27mm OIS; 12 MP 51mm telephoto 2x optical zoom OIS; 16 MP 13 mm; Front – 12 MP 24mm

Sounds: Stereo sound

Battery (battery endurance rating): 4,449 mAh

Security: Side-mounted fingerprint reader

Miscellaneous: Stylus support

 

The foldable phone, or some other form factor using the incredible OLED foldable panels, is definitely not a fad. Once manufacturers can roll out these devices for less, you will see more people snatching them up.

 

is your PC ready

Is Your PC Ready for Windows 11?

Microsoft has officially unveiled Windows 11, the latest in its line of PC operating systems, as well as detailed its system requirements. Will your business be upgrading to Windows 11 when the time comes? We think a lot of it will depend on its current IT infrastructure and whether or not you meet the minimum requirements right out the gate. Let’s dive into the details and what you need to know about Windows 11.

First, a short disclaimer–Windows 11 does not release until fall of this year, and even if you can’t get your hardware up to speed before then, Windows 10 will remain supported until 2025. As for the hardware requirements themselves, that seems like a good place to start.

Windows 11 Hardware Requirements

Before we dive into Windows 11’s requirements, let’s first provide a little bit of context. The current system minimum requirements for Windows 10 are a 1GHz processor, either 1 or 2 GB of RAM, depending on whether you are using a 32 or 64-bit OS, and a display with at least a 800 x 600 resolution. Of course, these are bare minimums. You won’t get much mileage out of a PC with these specs.

 

Windows 11, on the other hand, has more stringent requirements for its operating system. Windows 11 will require a 1GHz multicore processor, but it doesn’t have to be top-tier to run the operating system. In terms of memory, Windows 11 will also need more of that as well; at least 4 GB of RAM will be required to run Windows 11, as well as 64 GB of onboard storage. Furthermore, the display requirements are also a bit higher, needing a resolution of at least 720 pixels.

 

For more on the specific requirements of Windows 11, check out this document from Microsoft.

 

For the most part, modern PCs won’t have an issue running Windows 11, but for now, we don’t recommend installing it on a PC that you need to use everyday for work.

Get Ready for Windows 11 Today

While Windows 10 will still be around until 2025, we want you to start thinking about your update strategy now. The reason for this is simple; you don’t want 2025 sneaking up on you out of nowhere (and trust us, it can and will sneak up on you if you let it). The last thing you want is to wind up in a situation where you are using an unsupported operating system in much the same way that many Windows XP users did all those years ago.

For Help, Contact Us!

If you can’t tell the difference or don’t know the difference between your various components and hardware specifications, we would be happy to help you make a determination about your current system specs. If you want to make sure your business can seamlessly transition to Windows 11 upon its release, Point North Networks, Inc., can help with the acquisition of new hardware, installation, and monitoring/maintenance. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.

 

two factor authentication

How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication for Your Google, Apple, and Microsoft Accounts

Two-factor authentication is commonplace in the office environment, but it’s not commonplace enough, if you ask us. Too many organizations pass on it, placing their security at risk for no good reason. While the methods might vary, the benefits of two-factor authentication are too good to ignore. We’ll walk you through how to set up two-factor authentication for three of the most common accounts in the business environment: Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

But first, let’s discuss what two-factor authentication is and why it’s so beneficial to utilize.

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

It used to be the case that users would only utilize passwords to secure their accounts. However, passwords are easy for hackers to take advantage of on their own. Two-factor authentication uses at least two of the three methods below to secure an account rather than just the password alone, theoretically making it more difficult for a hacker to access an account. Basically, unless two of the three methods are fulfilled, the account will not be accessible. Here they are:

  • Something you know (a password)
  • Something you have (a secondary device you own)
  • Something you are (biometrics, facial recognition, fingerprinting, etc)

Why Is It Important?

Imagine that your online accounts are a house with two doors: one for the mudroom and one for the house proper. If both doors use the same key, a thief only needs to steal one key to gain access to both the mudroom and the house. Now imagine that the mudroom and the house have two different keys. That essentially doubles the effort needed to break into the home.

Simply put, in the same way as the above scenario, it’s much harder for a hacker to access an account that is protected by multiple measures. For example, even if a hacker has your password, if the account is set up to use an external device like a smartphone or biometrics, they still won’t have access to the account. Unless the hacker goes through the trouble of stealing the secondary device or stealing your fingerprints/facial structure (something that is remarkably difficult compared to swiping a password), the account will remain secure.

Setting Up Two-Factor Authentication

Right, let’s get to the bread and butter of this article: how to set up two-factor authentication for the big three accounts: Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

Microsoft

Microsoft recommends that you either have a backup email address, a phone number, or the Microsoft Authenticator application installed on a mobile device before you get started with two-factor authentication for this account. To get started, go to this page and sign in with your Microsoft account. Next, select More security options. Under the option for Two-step verification, select Set up two-step verification. After that, it’s just a matter of following the on-screen instructions.

Google

The first step here is to log into your Google account by going here. Next, in the navigation panel, select Security. Under Signing in to Google, select 2-Step Verification. Finally, click on Get started. You’ll see the directions for the next steps appear on the screen. You can set up your verification step in a variety of ways, including Google Prompts, security keys, Google Authenticator, verification code via text or call, or a backup code. You can also disable this second step on trusted devices, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

Apple

To set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, go to your account by clicking here. Sign in, answer your security questions, then click Continue. If you see a prompt to upgrade your account security, tap Continue. Click on Upgrade Account Security. You can then add a phone number for which you will receive verification codes via text message or phone call. Click on Continue, enter the verification code, and turn on two-factor authentication.

Want to get started with two-factor authentication for your business? The three accounts outlined above are just the tip of the iceberg. Point North Networks, Inc., can help you implement a multi-factor authentication system that secures your data and network. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.