Microsoft Built 2022, and the Productivity News This Week
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In this Cast | Microsoft Built 2022
Art Gelwicks, a productivity and collaboration consultant, blogger at GelwicksTech.com, and host of the Being Productive podcast, CrossPlatform podcast, as well as ProductivityCast Podcast.
Headlines & Show Notes | Microsoft Built 2022
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Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:00
Hello, personal productivity enthusiast and community Welcome to Anything But Idle the productivity news podcast. Today’s show is brought to you by co working space by personal productivity club. I’m Ray Sidney-Smith.
Augusto Pinaud 0:14
I’m Augusto Pinaud.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:16
And we’re your hosts for Anything But Idle. This is episode 108108. This is being recorded on June 1 2022. This is about our reactions to Microsoft build 2022. And of course, the productivity and technology news of the week, each week of this show, and I read and review, watch, listen, we do as much as we can to consume the productivity and technology news to then be able to digest it and review it for you here in the show. This show is going to be all about Microsoft builds. So we’re going to be really talking mostly about our reactions to what was announced at build. But in order to do that we have brought on to the show, of course, Art Gelwicks Art Gelwicks is our Microsoft aficionado. He is also the founder of Gelwicks Tech. And so with that I’m going to bring art onto the stage and welcome him to the show. Welcome art.
Art Gelwicks 1:10
Hey, guys, it’s Microsoft time. That’s as close to Mighty Morphin Time as I’m gonna get. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:17
I’m excited. I’m glad you’re excited
Augusto Pinaud 1:20
to be excited after what I saw.
Art Gelwicks 1:22
This time of year. Announcements time is a fun time. It’s just like in the fall when all the hard work comes out. This is a little bit more geeky, but hey, it’s still new stuff is always fun to look at.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:37
Absolutely. So we’re gonna start off with a couple of productivity articles that we brought, we want to bring to folks attention. And then we will get into the hardcore Microsoft build 2022 news and updates. So Gousto what is our first productivity article this week?
Augusto Pinaud 1:55
My computer crash.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:59
We hear you we see you.
Augusto Pinaud 2:01
You see me but my computer doesn’t work. Okay. The first one is used as strategies is a Lifehacker article and is use your strategies to dominate your scattered brain. And knowing that the three of us may or may have not experienced a lot of scatterbrain moments. I thought this was a very good article to start this discussion today.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 2:26
Yeah, I thought it was really interesting, you know, talking about one just tracking things outside of your head and not attempting to keep everything inside your mind. You know, this comes back to the theory of extended mind or the you know, concept that we can externalize thoughts as humans. And so frequently, what we think of doing is trying to trap everything in our heads, as opposed to just getting it out of our heads and putting it into something semi permanent. Like, you know, paper. We could also capture it into digital tools, of course, but I thought that was actually a really good component of the article was to just as a reminder of that reality that we should all be thinking about how to keep things in mind. The article, you know, gave some very generic advice about to do lists, and you know, having an organizational system and you know, other things like that. But for me, the thing that stood out was like, oh, yeah, that’s right. You know, the, the practice of capturing in the kind of GTD perspective, for me is just so important and imperative for me to be able to stay sit, stain, and keep my thoughts clear and collected throughout the day. And that’s, you know, it’s a strategy, of course, but it’s also just a fundamental piece to remind me why I’m doing it sometimes. Because you can feel that sense of like, Oh, I’m capturing for just capturing sake, or whatever that might be. And it’s just a good reminder for any of you who have that feeling like, why am I doing that?
Art Gelwicks 3:49
I couldn’t agree more. And the more I’ve thought about it, as we’ve talked through various topics and articles, I think the capture piece, the a consistent single point of capture, that honestly can be overused, it doesn’t really matter. It’s it’s an intake is the most critical part, because there’s only two places for that stuff to go do either goes into your capture bucket, whatever that bucket is, or it goes into your head, or actually third places, it goes nowhere and gets forgotten. So having that consistent, consistent ubiquitous point that it doesn’t matter what it is, you write it down, even if you think you’re going to remember it, or you know, you can remember it, the time you need to is the time you won’t be able to. And Digital Tech has no weight for all intents and purposes capturing things in a notetaking app or something like that. Just go ahead because if you find you don’t need it, you can always delete it.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 4:49
Correct. And what I’ve always kind of heard from people who are concerned about this is that somehow they’re going to lose the faculty like they’re going to they’re going to start forgetting things because they’re trapping things outside of their mind, but the reality is, is that your mind is actually very resilient. It is very capable of remembering things, and the things that it doesn’t need to remember it won’t. And the things that it will need to remember it will. And you need to learn the things that need to be captured outside of your mind, and kept, you know, kind of on track in, you know, track in some external tool and learn the things that you need to keep on your mind. And I think those are just, you know, a factor of reality. But don’t Don’t, don’t be so concerned about the fact that you’re not going to remember, you know, every little detail that you write down, your mind automatically exercises those things, once it knows that it has a secure place to remember it, what you need to do is give yourself the comfort to know that you can actually access that information when you need it where you need it. All right, on to our next story, which is a story that was really interesting that the article is from a person who was a teacher, and worked at a call center. And the article is titled I multitask and lived in distraction for eight months. And here’s what I learned. And and I thought it was really funny, because really what the person learned was that multitasking is bad. Yes. So I thought that was really interesting. You know, any thoughts?
Art Gelwicks 6:20
I think, I think we’ve come to realize that across the board, I think people have had the opportunity, especially over the past couple of years, to much more single task in cases where they’re not running around at the level of distraction that they typically have. And they recognize that trying to do two or three or four things at the same time is just, you know, untenable. It’s an impractical solution to a situation that can be mitigated just by focusing on something then moving to the next thing and moving to the next thing. And yes, doing things in sequence is going to take longer than trying to do them at the same time. But when you finally at the end of the day, look at it, it probably doesn’t. Because each of those individual things takes longer if you’re trying to jump back and forth between them, being able to just say, Look, I’m going to do this, I’m going to get it done, and I’m going to move on to the next thing, that’s fine. If you’re of a mind that’s easily distracted, okay, then you set your processes up to allow you to change between things, you’re just not trying to do them simultaneously. You’re not trying to study for something while you’re emptying the dishwasher. It that creates a low bar of success and a low bar of in that case comprehension. So yeah, these types of articles, they come out frequently. And I think we’re going to see again, more and more. In this space that we operate in, though we have to remind people that it’s it’s okay just to work on something, say I’m not going to look at my email for the next couple of hours while I work on this, I’m going to turn off those notifications, I’m going to put my phone on mute for a couple hours while I do something, that’s alright, you’re allowed to do that. If it doesn’t work for you, that’s also fine too. But give yourself permission to concentrate, don’t be told from the outside world say oh, no, you got to do everything at once.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 8:11
That was a really good article, research study that talks about even having the presence, the physical presence of your phone, in sight, while you were working diminished your focus, because you have that anticipatory reaction constantly going on of what’s going to show up on my phone, what’s going to happen. And so putting it out of sight is actually also really helpful. Just putting the phone in the drawer can be can be useful to you being able to start to single task in those ways. I’ll also note that I use the analogy of of driving in the winter, with regard to focus. And when I was learning to drive at least, that you know, where I am in where I was in the northeast, you know, you had to walk walk through the the realities of driving an ice, and they always used to say like, turn the wheel in the direction, you know, look and turn the wheel and the direction you want to go and the car will will follow. And and that’s kind of how your mind works, where you look is where you will attend. And if you’re trying to look in multiple places at once, you know you’re gonna get one cross-eyed lose focus, or you’re going to keep switching back and forth and you’re not actually going to direct the vehicle in the right. You know, you’re going to get you know, run into the ditch basically, as opposed to going in the direction you want to where you focus is where you will go. And you know, if you want to get to the end of a project, you need to focus on that project and not try and look in multiple directions at once. You know, think about your car fishtailing and you wanting to get that car safely back in the lane. And and that’s how you’re dealing with it throughout the day. You’re being beamed and dinged and buzzed and, and distracted by people all the time. And I think it’s really important for us to just keep reminding ourselves and us here behind the mics reminding you that controlling your attention and I’m protecting your attention is a worthy cause. And this article just kind of reminded me of that of that factor.
Art Gelwicks 10:07
I was talking to an individual last week and we got into the analogy of the seesaw of attention. So you take, for example, we talked about multitasking, but then people will say, Well, I like to watch something on my tablet while I’m walking on the treadmill. Okay? Technically, that’s multitasking. But if you think about it, like a seesaw, one of those activities requires very little mental energy. Walking is something you can most people can do. So the other side, it has a lot of free mental energy available to do things like absorb whatever you’re watching. Larger hard focus items require greater energy, which means you have less to give up to something else, to try and be equal. And often what we do is we get into situations where we’re trying to do too intense things at the same time, we’re trying to read review and process incoming emails while working on a report. That’s, that’s too much, you can’t balance the seesaw. At that point, you’re trying to lift the seesaw, which doesn’t work. So think thinking about the amount of effort something takes mentally and also, you know, psychologically can help you understand it’s like yeah, you know what, I need to pack everything away for a little bit so I can work just on this to get it done.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 11:27
Yeah, and there’s there’s a layered tasking you know, some people call it habit stacking, some people call it switch to meta tasking, I actually call it meta tasking, but like, kind of like doing two tasks that kind of overlap one another, like folding the laundry and watching television, you know, it depends on how much you feel like you want to, like, if you want to watch a movie, I wouldn’t try to fold laundry and watch a movie because I want to be immersed in the story and in the visuals and the and the auditory experience. But if I’m folding laundry and watching, you know, just something on television, or I’m watching a lecture or seminar that I’ve been wanting to watch, I’m actually not bothered by the idea of in that case, what you would consider kind of multitasking right your your switch tasking. And in that sense, because you’re going back and forth between folding the item and watching the show, or hanging your clothes and whatnot, you know, you have to take some, you know, balanced approach to the concept of, of multitasking or switch tasking inappropriate contexts. But say in the example of of running, I’m a runner. And so I have read lots of research on the fact that you actually run more poorly, you’re more prone to injury, when you are distracted by listening to an audio book, or listening to your favorite music or those kinds of things, you’re not actually focused on your form on increases your, it’s like, you’re distracted, basically, from the from the primary thing at hand. And so I’ve had to actually work on my form, so that I am like, really, really keen on that. And I’ve just satisfied, I’ve decided that, yes, I’m going to be a little bit distracted, because I can’t do a 15 mile run on a Saturday morning, with no music, without, you know, without an audio book actually been listening to a great courses course on, like, all of the mythologies of the world. And it’s like 20 Something hours of content. And, and so it’s not like, it’s not the most like riveting content in the world, you know, some university professor, you know, droning on about this stuff, I find it fascinating. But it’s not, it’s not, you know, jumping music or anything like that. But what I found is that I am, I’m switching my focus between my form making sure that I’m in very, very good, you know, alignment, and that my pace is staying appropriate. And as long as I’m focused primarily on the functions of running, then I feel like I’m doing the best I can, right, like I just can’t get through at that 10 mile mark, you’re my mind is like other places, you know. And so it’s like, bring you back to the run. Actually, the music or the audio book or the the audio content is actually helpful to bring me back to actually my form and function. So there is some mediating between the extremes of like, focus on the run completely and only focus on your running form, you’re going to be bored out of your mind. And you probably don’t want to do that. At the same time. You can’t have like, you know, your super fun pop music on the entire time and think that you’re going to have a great run because your body just isn’t going to do as much of a workout. So it’s kind of balancing those pieces out. But I think it’s funny because you think about like mono tasking or single tasking, and your focus in certain environments where it just may not be possible. And so just kind of giving a little bit of of balance there in that sense. All right. We’re going to take a pause for a word from our sponsor, and then we’re going to come back and we’re going to talk all about Microsoft build. So I will pause this here we’ll take a break and I will see you all after the break. Well, working in
Sponsor Voice Over 14:51
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Raymond Sidney-Smith 16:03
Welcome back everybody to Anything But Idle. I’m Ray Sidney-Smith joined with our guest art Gelwicks. And hopefully, Cousteau will be joining us again shortly. But in the meantime, we’re going to continue on with the show. And we’re going to talk about our announcements or reactions to the announcements from Microsoft build 2022. So for those of you who are not aware, Microsoft build 2022, or Microsoft build generally is a developer conference. So it’s focused on the developer community, it’s not focused on the general community. But I think that it’s really important for us to really think through how a lot of these underlying infrastructure based things are creeping their way into our personal productivity, and how we might be able to use those things, just from the synchronization between the mobile operating system and the desktop. And does all of those kinds of things plus the infrastructure infrastructure on the cloud server side? Lots of good announcements there? So are where do you want to start with Microsoft build?
Art Gelwicks 17:04
Well, I think he laid the groundwork really well for this, because build is one, it’s not your, hey, we have new shiny hardware. This is the underpinnings of most of the things that will come later on. And functionality and development capabilities that development teams will have access to some of this stuff is still yet to come. It’s announcements of things. But I figured we can just start from the top of where Satya was talking with his keynote, and kind of work our way down through because I think they did a good progression of laying out where they see themselves going. And if there were a couple of key takeaways, that from a terminology standpoint that I took away from this one, cloud, as always, Microsoft’s all about the cloud. Now, they are one of the biggest cloud players Azure is their platform, it is direct competition to AWS. What we’re seeing now is Microsoft is making even more efforts to make it easier for businesses to operate in the cloud with Azure, not only for the fact that it just provides easier infrastructure in many cases, but also for Microsoft, it’s a cash cow, which I get it makes perfect sense. But when we look at some of the things they’re starting to do, for example, one of the things they were talking about is adding new features, to allow the migration of virtual machines and physical servers over to cloud based environments. When you think about a business, small business medium sized business, that may have existing architecture may have physical servers on site, or maybe running virtual machines, maybe they took that step, this kind of smoothing of the path over to that cloud based environment makes the transition much easier. But it also means that they don’t have to maintain and support that in house infrastructure that they’ve maintained to date, where they may have had a fair amount of legacy gear, which unfortunately, that kind of technical debt can really weigh on an organization. Now what they can do is they can leverage the power and the functionality of the cloud based systems to say, Okay, we’re going to have everybody be able to operate off of virtual machines. So, again, we think about the combination of it when we talk about ideas like remote work, or work anywhere, virtual machines make work anywhere extremely interesting and extremely viable. It opens up platforms that we haven’t had before. It opens up support channels. So to be able to see Microsoft really going all in on that not only from the infrastructure standpoint, but the development standpoint, being able to modernize their At ASP dotnet infrastructure, being able to and we’re seeing this in the application side, a conversion of existing desktop applications to more of a progressive web app model, actually, they have a few that they’re basically going to cut over to pw A’s, that from a development standpoint, and from a developer’s standpoint, means that they can produce content much more easily, they can generate new applications across multiple platforms with less development effort, therefore, being able to focus on the functionality, rather than the portability of their of their coding. So I think that’s really good to see. Microsoft also threw out some interesting things, everybody likes to see something physical at a developers conference, they want to see a box. And Microsoft did not disappoint this year, they they brought out a what’s called the dev box, the dev box, or in this case, I believe it was project Volterra. But we choose, yeah, it’s it’s a Windows ARM based development computer, for lack of a better term, that will be available later this year that developers can hook into their system and do and has Visual Studio built into it. It’s really designed to facilitate that development process of Windows on ARM based device. And you think, Okay, fine. That’s, that’s nice. But I don’t have an ARM based Windows device. Why should I care? Because at some point, you may write the ARM based platform has better battery support, it has better portability, it is designed to be working more in a mobile environment than the Intel based systems. And to be able to have that as a easier path of development for developers, means there’s a greater likelihood that we’ll see the software support for that hardware platform, resulting in more hardware developers saying, oh, there’s software, let’s bring out more hardware for it. So I was really happy to see that. I’ll be curious to see as people start to get that box in their hands, how well it works for them. It’s been a long time since I’ve written code from the ground up. So I leave it to the the ones far more qualified than me to tell me how good that particular device is. But that’s, that’s carrying us into their next area, where they’re providing more features for developers. So yeah, I
Raymond Sidney-Smith 22:31
just I want to I want to pause here, though, because I’m really curious about this. So they have the, they have this focus on Azure and and helping developers go to the cloud. They also, you know, this past year announced windows 365, which is basically a virtualized version of Windows that people can can basically port into through a browser. And you talk about arm and arm is really good in a kind of low powered environment, versus, you know, Intel, or another thing like Apple silicon, where you’re going to really have an a very high powered intensive, you know, SOC, and all of those kinds of things that help make the whole process much more resource heavy. And so I’m really curious where Microsoft is thinking the world is going for productivity, right? Like, do they really think the world is going remote? Or do they feel like the world is going hybrid, because they’re really trying to play both angles,
Art Gelwicks 23:31
I’ll just give you my completely speculative read on it. And this is just based on what they’ve done. Over the years, I think Microsoft is playing both sides of the fence, they’re playing the Hybrid Card, they recognize that in many cases, applications still need the power of a localized operating system, and some of that functionality. But they also need to be able to provide controlled security experiences for enterprise level, because keep in mind here, Microsoft plays the big game, they are playing for single proprietors all the way up to 500,000, employee corporations. So they’re they’re running scale across the board, building out solutions that can work anywhere within that scale plays to their strength. So when we look at things like being able to develop an application, that, for example, like a PWA style application that can be deployed and updated, without having to push updates down to the desktop level, without having to go through that kind of a security check and a much more moderated managed mode works the advantage of the companies. It also works to Microsoft’s advantage because it’s much easier to support legacy devices and move those devices to the future. I think what we will see is as this continues to grow as Windows 11 continues to take a larger and larger foothold. We’re going to see I want seemed like a supercharged Chromebook type of experience, where you have Windows 11, becoming a thick client, for cloud based services, even more so than it is now. A perfect example of that is what they’re doing with Outlook and moving Outlook on the web to a PWA type of structure. And really encouraging people, Hey, use this, instead of the installed desktop client, we’re gonna put all the features in there, that means they don’t have to worry about does everybody have the current version, because if they’re using it, they have the current version support wise, it becomes far simpler to provide that capability. But I think we’re gonna see Microsoft continue down this path, they’re not ones to play one particular hand, they like to have as many different options. And sometimes they’ll play a little bit behind the game, they won’t be on quite the cutting edge. But they’re okay with that. They’re not looking to try and stand everything up and say, you know, this is the way the future will be there more of a, we think that’s where the future is going to be. So we’re laying the groundwork to get there. But if it’s not, we’re also going the other direction, too. So they’re willing to cut bait, as well as fish any given day.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 26:12
Yeah, it’s funny, because I see them what they’re doing with with DWP, I see what they’re doing with the PWA side of things. And, you know, with when you i the framework and DWP, I see what they’re doing in the Linux space, I see what they’re doing in the Android space. You know, these are announcements coming from build 2022, where they talk about now you can run Linux apps natively on the Windows platform, you’re able to then run your so I mean, that really gives you a lot of, you know, capability for just, you know, from a developer perspective, but I think even from some of us productivity geeks who want to be able to run some of our native Linux apps, you know, spin up a boon to and just run things within the within the ecosystem, that you’re controlled within. Being able to run Android apps has been my ultimate like holy grail for for Windows for a long time now, and I really look forward to seeing when that’s consumer friendly, as opposed to you having to do as much as you need to to make that happen today. But even with the Amazon Appstore piece, now being able to have the Amazon App Store and run Android applications, you know, by installing it through the App Store. That was strange, I’m still it’s very strange to be thinking, I’m gonna install Android applications from the Amazon App Store on the Windows Store, like from the Windows environment, like very my little it’s
Art Gelwicks 27:34
a little weird. You can say, since we’re talking about stores, this is a this is one of those really interesting things that Microsoft throughout, not really as a throwaway comment, but the developer community immediately latched on. Because they’re talking about being able to have ads in the stores and promote your product within the Windows Store. Well, that’s kind of interesting, the Microsoft Store has a lot of presents, you can build it. And you can configure your machines, when you get a Windows machine to say, look, only install things from the Windows Store, don’t install them from anyplace else, right specifically, to make sure they’ve been scanned and protected, and they’re safe to use. But what I thought was the throwaway line, which is the big link is that from a payment standpoint, Microsoft said that, you know, we’ll we’ll work with you I forget what it was like 30 or 40%, something like that they were talking about that. They said, if you have your own payment method, you can keep 100% of your revenue. And that kind of floored me, because they’re the only ones who were saying, Look, you know what, we don’t care if we don’t get a cut from the store. It’s more important for us to have the store full. Which is ironic when you look at what Google’s doing. Because Google right now is going through and clearing out apps that are I think, like over two or three years old. It’s like 900,000 apps that are going to go away because they’ve been orphaned. So Microsoft’s on the flip side of that, but I also liked the idea. And this is where I don’t conspiracy theory, but I like to weave the things together. So think about what Google’s doing with tablets. They’re pushing Android to be able to support tablet layout, tablet functionality. Well, a tablet, for all intents and purposes, is a laptop screen in landscape. And if you’re going to support Android on Windows, you need apps that work well in that layout. So these all as Google starts to push down that path of encouraging developers to do tablet focused applications. Those naturally then carry over into this format that we’re talking about. So it’s, it’s neat to see this convergence slowly coming about and it is slow. Don’t get me wrong. It’s taken forever. But they’re making steps in the right directions and I have I have to say, I think there’s a little bit of an undercurrent in all of this in their relationship that they’re building. And they have built with Samsung, when you look at some of the integration pieces that they’ve started to bring out into place, for example, they just announced with edge edge now has a capability to allow easier transfer of files between devices, as long as you have an edge on the two devices. Well, that’s kind of some functionality that’s been there on the Samsung devices for a while. But to see that unification around these common problems, from a productivity standpoint, that’s great. Because that’s a problem we’ve got you take a picture on one thing, how do I get it to my desktop? Do I have to shove it up to the cloud and bring it down? Well, now there’s a simpler path. So I like to see that they’re, they’re tying these things together. They’re certainly not putting anything into place to undermine what they’ve done so far, which I think is good. I always worry when they start to bring out announcements on changes in development platforms and things, that they’re going to yank the carpet out from one of their prior decisions. And I haven’t seen anything, at least coming out of build so far, that has done that. They haven’t said, Oh, we’re gonna bail on this one, and we’re gonna go this direction, and everything has to be rebuilt. That’s not the case. They’re really saying, Okay, we’ve built these steps. And I think that’s part of the leadership of Satya. He’s gone through and he said, Look, this is where we want to go. And all the steps we need to do you know, he’s playing that long game three to five years ahead, make the steps in the right direction, so that we can get to that point. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 31:38
yeah, so a couple of things that kind of stood out for me on the on the windows 11. Side in the announcements were was that Windows 11 is now giving you the ability to search the correct me if I’m wrong, you’re capable of now searching the Windows Store apps, through windows search, if you’re on Windows 11, which used to not be the case. And I think this is part of their goal, again, like talking about how they’re like incremental ism is kind of here, you know, now you’re able to have ads in the app store. Now you’re able to have the ability to install, you know, all of these developer apps. And now you’re capable of searching for those apps directly from the windows 11 search, right? Like they want to make sure it’s easy for people to access applications, I really hope that they extend that to the Amazon App Store, so that you’re searching one, you know, go to Windows searching, you search for all of those things. So it doesn’t matter if it’s an an Android app I need or a desktop application, I need give me the options from the same interface. But I see that incremental, bringing me closer to being able to find the most relevant thing for me to solve the problem directly from the UI, which I really Yeah,
Art Gelwicks 32:52
I think that step of with Windows elevens capability to to make that seamless connection between content that you’re pulling off of the web, where you’re pulling out of the store, you’re pulling off of local local network, and giving you the best option to find those things. If I were looking, for example, for a PDF reader, well, if I’m Microsoft, I want you to get one out of the Microsoft store for a couple of reasons. One, I’d love to see you by one. Second, though, I want to make sure you get a safe one. And if I just shove you out to Bing or something like that, to try and find it, I can’t guarantee what you’re going to find. But within the store, I have better control over that from a user experience standpoint. And I can mitigate it and I can, I can really make sure that my users and again, businesses have a good experience with those types of application controls. And like I said earlier, you have that option when you set up a machine now to say look, only allow applications that come out of the store to be installed. Don’t allow anything else, it does limit it. But it does also give you a better sense of control, it’s really no different than the option you have on Apple and Android, to be able to say look, I’m only going to install things from the Play Store.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 34:12
Right. And again, I like the fact that you know, Windows is not for a consumer and certainly for an administrator, they’re not limiting you from doing that. But they’re doing that for your users if you need to have that kind of control, especially in an enterprise environment. What I also enjoyed about their announcements was there they this new automatic restore, I’m still curious to see how they’re doing it and what some of the security features are behind this. But the idea is is that you’re now able to go ahead and restore your apps automatically when you move to a new PC I love that because you know like setting up a new computer for me is like pretty much an every other month event and so you know when I’m when I’m I don’t change the computers, I just keep adding new ones. But but like you know, it’s really nice to be able to say okay, I have this new laptop I I just want all my, my regular software to just flow right over, that’s a really, really nice feature. Or you say, Okay, this laptop blew up, I’ve got to wipe it. And now for to automatic restore all the applications. So there for that, that’s just really a time saver that I’m looking forward to seeing come come come into the Windows 11 environment.
Art Gelwicks 35:18
And this is where I, I again, say they’re, they’re learning from others. I’ve always said that Microsoft is the Romans of the world. And Google were the Greeks, because they Google comes up with the original ideas, and Microsoft kind of polishes them up and then makes money on it. So when you look at things like Chrome OS, and powerwash, so that same principle, you do a power washing machine, and then you’re pulling the apps back down out of the cloud installation, Windows 11 isn’t at that point yet, but it’s emulating that same type of an idea. Now, if you set up a new device for Android or for Apple, and then you can pull your apps down, you want to get back up and running as quickly as possible. The only way to do faster than that is to use a virtual machine, such as Windows 363 65, where you literally re stand up an image of the machine. The other thing to keep in mind, too, is that some of this functionality focuses around issues like ransomware, and malware where you have to literally wipe a device down to the drive and then bring it all the way back up. You don’t have a lot of time to waste and you can’t risk extraneous or leftover installations, when you go to restore a machine. This gets you much closer to being able to start from a clean slate, and then build up from there. So I agree with you completely. Now, I do have my reservations I’ve been doing Windows work for ever since Windows 1.0. And it has never done restorations particularly well. There’s always been challenges with it. Because there’s so much legacy hardware, I want to see how it handles things like drivers, I want to see how it handles things like software updates that have happened since the Restore. What’s the amount of data frequency? There’s a lot of questions that come into play,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 37:02
are drive failures, all kinds of things. Yeah,
Art Gelwicks 37:04
there’s what happens if you go to a perfect example, if you go from a machine, that’s a 256 gig SSD down to a 128. Does your restore work? Will it work? Will it go? Wait? I can’t fit. It’ll be it’ll be interesting to see where they take this. I think it’s an excellent idea. I just think we need to give it some time to play itself
Raymond Sidney-Smith 37:27
out. Yeah, absolutely. Let’s let’s move on to OneNote. They made some very, to me sounded like very surface updates to OneNote. But talk to us a little bit about what they’ve added to OneNote. And maybe I’ll be convinced that it is more productive in its new form.
Art Gelwicks 37:46
It’s interesting, because one note, one note, unfortunately, I saw a great meme the other day, and it had the for Office applications. You had Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all all lined up. And then they showed one notice Cinderella cleaning the fireplace, which which is unfortunate, but true. I mean, it doesn’t get the respect it needs at times. But what’s really interesting with this is they’re finally getting around to starting their integration between the web level capabilities and the desktop level capabilities. And if you use one note, you recognize that there’s five different versions of this app. And they all have different sets of features. And sometimes they sync sometimes they doesn’t they don’t I mean, it’s it’s got a long history, one note, it’s been around since 2012. But getting everything on the same page. That’s what this announcement really talks to when you start to look at the things that they’re talking about. Aside from the visual updates, they’re making it more unified with the other Office applications. One of the things that they’re doing is they’re bringing out capabilities that they’ve tested in OneNote classroom. So for example, the E Ink capability they have added. It’s not called Smart Shapes. But basically, if you draw a shape, it will clean up the shape for you. If you draw a rectangle, it will actually make it look like a rectangle. It doesn’t sound like much. But that’s something that was available in one no classroom that students have used over the past couple of years that we know works great. And there’s a demand for. But it’s difficult to roll that out to the desktop level, because you don’t have a lot of people using digital pens as of yet. But they’re coming. So how do you make that available when you make it available to the web, and then you bring it downhill. So by being able to unify the functionality in the back end, it really starts to provide that mass capability. The second thing too, and this is the one thing that really doesn’t get called out by this because they’re moving the back end processes more to cloud based, rather than the desktop version of OneNote which has always been the most powerful one. It fixes a lot of this synchronization issues that have happened over time because desktop synchronization has always been in a mechanical process, it literally would reconcile files back and forth. And it had speed issues and things like that. This doesn’t have that. This is actually parking the files in the cloud and then pulling them downhill. So that whatever app you have, it’s going to go and get that and then work with it. The upside is, is we’re talking about being able to have local versions as well, which, as a notion user, that is the Achilles heel, heel of notion has no local capability. OneNote does. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 40:37
yeah. The balancing out of of these features here, right, which is like, you know, if you are disconnecting from online, Google has done a really good job within Chrome at least. And for the most part, they’ve extended that to Firefox and Safari, to some extent, the ability to work in offline mode. This is the thing that I’m very concerned about for OneNote, which is that working locally is fine with OneNote. You know, Evernote has gone to the conduit perspective, right, that is the software that’s running the engine, you know, basically in this on the macro level for Evernote, and you’re being fed the software as its doing the work. And to some extent that works really well. But it can also create, you know, connectivity issues and some synchronization issues that you have to be concerned about. And now one note is going in that direction. And so that’s a little bit concerning for me. And it’s even more concerning for me with with one Outlook with Project Monarch, whatever they want to call it, you know, Outlook is going to be like their chopping, like so many features in in its launch. And these are things like quick steps, you know, things that people are, are so used to using in their in their usage of Outlook, I think Microsoft has to do some really fast work to get parity for what in essence feels like a PWA.
Art Gelwicks 41:54
You know what it is? That’s what it is in one or let’s talk about the outlook piece, Outlook is a PWA. And you can run the PDA PWA. On desktop, there are functions that are only available through the PWA. There are functions that are have not carried over. Microsoft has been consistent over the years. That is if there is a feature that is not being used, over time, they will shut it down and get rid of it. Perfect example, Microsoft Excel, they just got rid of support for Wolfram Alpha, Alpha data. Why? Because nobody was using it. So if they’re not going to use it, they’re not going to support it, even though that it was released to great fanfare. If it’s not used, it’s not supported. The thing with the PW A’s are and the web based solutions is they can do that. They don’t have to worry about the 14 different versions that are floating around out there that they’re going to break if they shut those features down. But you’re right, that is one of the issues that OneNote has had since they released OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote. On the web is feature parity and feature parity has been a big issue. The the key thing, I think that this sets the tone for something that was talked about last year, and the year before, which is what’s called the fluid framework, sorry, fluid framework or whatever they passed, no chance that’ll get ugly and messy. It’s what’s called flow. And for all intents and purposes, what it is, it’s from a code level, the ability to embed live pieces, say live Excel spreadsheets, live document components, you can drop an Excel workbook embedded into OneNote. Now, but it’s literally just a window out to excel, if you want to edit that table, you have to actually go to Excel, make the changes, and it pulls forward. Looking at again, applications like notion where notion has databases embedded in Microsoft has massive database capabilities, I mean, but from Excel to access to Azure databases, being able to or Microsoft SQL, being able to pull that forward in an application like OneNote makes OneNote extremely powerful. The problem is, is none of the architecture that’s there right now will support that on the desktop level, it just can’t do it, they’ve got to get it up to an upgraded level of application without breaking and blowing out all these historical file collections that people have. So it’s something that it’s never going to happen as fast as we’d like it to. But it is taking steps in the right direction. It’s very interesting when these things come out. I’ve run a community on Facebook for OneNote for professionals, and there’s about 9000 people in there and you put one of these notices up there that you know, we’re gonna see changes to OneNote and everybody’s like, Oh, yeah, great. I want to see this. I wouldn’t see this. I’m like, guys, they’re making it more purple. That’s all, you know, that kind of thing. It’s it’s little steps. It’s incremental steps that we’re seeing. But the steps are good. And we’re talking a lot about OneNote. But we’re seeing the same types of things with Word, we’re seeing them with Outlook specifically. And I think that’s a really good thing, to be able to see the development of those applications, so that they can leverage localized storage when necessary. But the core of the application comes from the cloud. But it’ll still operate without the cloud. And I think that’s the most important piece. It should, it can start at the cloud, but it doesn’t have to live there all the time. If we can do if they can do that. Fantastic. I think they’ve got a winner across the board.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 45:37
Art Gelwicks 47:32
And I think that’s where we see the beginning part of what Microsoft is rolling out with their cloud based systems with Azure as the back end, being able to provide that high performance environment, I get it, a PDF PWA will never be as powerful as a native local application. Because a PWA doesn’t have the ability for those direct operating system level hooks. I mean, they can do a lot, but they’re never going to be that same level. That said PWA A’s are much more of an agile development model. Benefits, because you can make changes, you can make improvements, you can get them into users hands, you can focus on the the median viable product, I hate the term minimum viable, the median Viable Product of have meets the majority of needs. And then in special cases, yeah, you build out the desktop app, which is going to be more powerful and do special things. But that’s going to be a special use case. So I agree completely, we’re going to see this push continue. And it’s a cycle. As the demand comes for more and more powerful PW A’s, we’re going to see a greater push for stronger or more powerful development languages and development tools for developers. As those come out, we’ll see more functionality hit the PW A’s and the cycle will continue.
Augusto Pinaud 48:55
And I think that’s one of the big, big, powerful things. And many people don’t see that until they experience it. And it’s that power of grab one device or the other device or any device and have exactly the same, you know, in OneNote it’s an application that suffer from this, okay, you turn it on in the Mac and you can do so much then you go to the phone and you can do some stuff that you cannot do on the Mac but you cannot do anywhere else either. And then now you go to the PC and experience the same. And I think out of all that they talk and announce that was for me to excite me in part, okay. Okay. Finally, we are going to come to have a similar experience, because for example, Excel, Excel on the iPad is terrible. Why? Because the processor doesn’t work. Now, the processor is way more powerful is just because it’s a second thought for Microsoft and that’s fine. But now if you let me go online and you let me be that a PWA. Now I’m going to get the same experience, I get into PC, I have the mouse, I have a right click, I have everything you want me to have. Now give me the power. And now give me the user the option to use your piece of software in whatever platform I like. I was talking this week to a client and his main device is his mobile phone. Okay, and that’s his criteria to install, then if he cannot access through his mobile phone, he don’t care, because that’s the only device that he said is with me 24/7. So PWA is is a fantastic alternative for him. But the moment he gets to his computer, then now he can go and work in the same comfortable experience instead of playing with something different.
Art Gelwicks 50:55
And and I’ll even take it a step further. It’s more than just a unified experience. It’s an optimized experience. And I’ll use the perfect example I have here on Android with one note, my Android tablet and my Android phone run different versions of the app, they look different, they have different capabilities, they function different, even though they’re both Samsung devices, both running the same version of Android. They’re just built different because of the devices they’re installed upon. If you’re building from a top down model, where you have the same unified code across all the platforms, and then you can go in, you can say, turn this off, and this off and this off, because they won’t work on that platform. That’s a whole different thing than building it from the ground up. And trying to maintain that across all the different devices. So I agree with you completely, if we can get closer. And not just one note, I don’t want to belabor the OneNote point, if we can get close on office across the board, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and all the other things that are part of Microsoft 365, which this is one of those big things I think people are finally starting to understand is that there is a plethora of functionality, a tied to that little monthly account that they never go near. But all you have to do is you get that monthly account, which is if I remember correctly, it’s about the price of a Netflix account nowadays, actually maybe a little bit less. And you can have a full install of Office on your machine, you can have access to all of those different capabilities, you have cloud based storage, you have all of that stuff that you want to be able to be productive. Now we’re getting it to the point where as they make updates, the update part isn’t painful. And I think that’s what makes a huge difference. Because no matter what we see, and I’ll go back to the Google example, Google makes very powerful applications, Google Docs, Google Sheets, that’s great. They don’t have local clients. You can do some work with them offline. But it’s still not a local client. And there is absolutely a need, especially on productivity applications, to this day, to be able to have that offline experience when you need it. We get complacent about how good our connectivity can be. If you’re out on the West Coast, if you’re out in, you know, here on the East Coast, you can get comfortable with Oh, we got 5g, we got 4g, I got guys who go into buildings that there’s no connectivity period. Well, does that mean they can’t do anything? Well, that’s not an option. So you’ve got to be able to have that multi environment support. And I think all the things that Microsoft is rolling out coming out of build, and talking about help to carry that forward, while still pushing the narrative of being able to say, You know what, let’s start from the cloud and work our way down from there.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 53:49
I think we should scrap all of this and go to either Google fuchsia or Samsung Dex.
Art Gelwicks 53:57
I’m not gonna go quite that far. Okay, I can’t get Dex to work consistently on a couple of things. But I still like it. Still love it. I’m fine with that. But here’s, we chuckle about it. But the benefit of those two options, is being that kind of not thick client, not thin client kind of intermediate middle client, to provide more functionality to provide and follow that model that Chrome OS has and others to be able to just be the platform that allows you to do things. I mean, think about years ago, we had everything had to have a locally installed app. If we wanted to record a podcast, we’d be running on local apps. But now we’re running on a cloud app. We’re just logging into our website, and so much of it is tied to that. But we still can’t forget that many cases that connection isn’t there. It isn’t reliable, or it isn’t at the level to allow for a true thin client experience. So we have to be able to have both and PDF PW A’s are a good option for that right now.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 55:03
Yeah, I wanted to just give a clarification for folks. So the windows 365 plans and pricings, at least that I see on the business side, which means that you don’t have to buy like, you know, X number of licenses through like an E three subscription, they’re starting out at around $32 per month, which gives you 44 gigabytes of RAM, 64 gigabytes of storage on a two V CPU unit. And then they go up to eight VCPU 32 gigs of RAM 128, up to 512 of storage at the top point of 162 per month. So per user per month that is so I mean, it’s still it’s not like inexpensive, but it’s also not out of the reach, if you’re going to be in a low bandwidth environment. And you need to be able to have a really, you know, like highly powered version of Windows or running stuff, which is, well I kind of see that kind of operating, right, like I need to be able to churn something through, I could get a an eight, you know, like an eight VCPU unit, you know, for $127 a month, I can turn that stuff in the cloud. And it’s just streaming me what I need in order to be able to interact and engage with it, which is really, really powerful.
Art Gelwicks 56:12
So now let’s clarify, though, and this is, this is where I get on Microsoft case, because their marketing guys need to get their terminology straight. Windows in the cloud is a totally different thing than Microsoft 365. Yes, because windows in the cloud, you are actually running a virtual machine. So your device, whatever you have connecting to that virtual machine is not actually doing any work. It’s just a window on that virtual environment. So everything lives out there in the cloud, which means if you don’t have a connection, you can’t even get to that machine, it’s just
Raymond Sidney-Smith 56:48
once you can have a lighter connection, right? Like you don’t need, by far.
Art Gelwicks 56:53
By far, I mean, you could you could easily run off of like a 4g connection, if you were working off a mobile, you know, I would say reasonable, probably 10 to 12 megabits would probably you’d be just fine. Alright, actually a good benchmark for it is whatever bandwidth connection you need to support something like Xbox Game Pass, or x Xbox in the cloud their ultimate option, that’s more than adequate for what you would need to run Windows in the cloud. Now, that said, the other side is Microsoft 365, which gives you the productivity tools. Assuming you have Windows local, you don’t have to have Windows local, I run 365 off my Chromebook a bunch of times too. But that type of thing. What I’m looking at here is like a Microsoft 365 permanent personal account, which will give you work, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook teams, drive, and editor working across multiple devices, about 70 bucks a year with a terabyte of storage. This is the type of thing that’s like, oh, well, you know, I can sign up for that for years, I’ve had a family account, which is $100 a year and it supports six people. And I can install it and that six terabytes of cloud storage. Those options are there. I know if I need to update somebody’s machine, they’re going to have the latest version of Office, they can sign in, they can get that stuff, if they’re on a different device, they can just go to office.com Sign in with their Microsoft account, and they have access to their stuff. So that capability is huge. If you need to go further than that, if you need to say I never know what machine I’m going to be on, I never know if I’m going to have that option, then something like a Windows 365 may be a viable option. The trick is, is there are options, which is a good thing. And it’s a bad thing because they don’t do a really good job of explaining or breaking down the pricing because if you ever want a headache, try to understand Microsoft licensing.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 58:57
So I want to cover two things before we close out one is edge and its improvements. And kind of dovetailing off of the PWA conversation. What they announced was that edge was going to be getting these improvements that now allow you to be able to be to use PW A’s and they would actually show up alongside other applications in the Microsoft Store. So now you are seeing them side by side in that sense. Of course, they talked about all of the improvements that edge has has brought to the fore in terms of speed and lower processing, you know, needs and so on so forth. Those all really come from the Chromium base upward but good on Microsoft for for a good marketing language there. And otherwise, but I think the thing that kind of for me stole the show was live share in Microsoft Teams. So what did you think about their use of of live share in Microsoft Teams,
Art Gelwicks 59:54
live share something that has been kind of kicked around in various Microsoft discussions for a while. I’ll but the entire idea of being able to have in a hybrid environment, real time collaborative interaction in a virtual meeting, let’s say for example, you’re working on an engineering diagram and being able to simultaneously interact with that diagram and make changes and do updates, while you’re having the visual conversation in the visual connection. As if you were in a meeting room with a whiteboard. I think it’s a very good step. I don’t know that everybody’s going to use it, honestly. Because if we look at a lot of the functionalities, where you have collaborative editing capabilities, Word, Excel, those are perfect examples of it. Not a lot of people use them. But when they use them, they use them effectively, they’re able to go in and make modifications and updates, we do it frequently, using Google Docs being able to do the collaborative edits. That’s a perfect use case for that type of thing. Teams is that kind of center hub, again, of the Microsoft world, when it comes to groups. And it’s interesting, if you if you ever have the opportunity to dig into teams and look at what’s underneath it, you realize that teams is a kind of a shell, on top of things like Microsoft SharePoint, where it provides the data functionality and the storage capabilities, and the collaboration capabilities in the back end, being able to have that additional live interaction back and forth, and recognize that in the environment, we are now everybody should have equal representation in whatever conversation they’re participating in, is a big step. That said, I think this is one that will have to just play itself out. I also think it’s one of those things that can be kind of bandwidth, hoggy, for lack of a better term, there’s a lot of back and forth, that has to happen. And if somebody has connectivity issues or anything like that, they’re going to drop out, but not not sure how that’s going to work out. But I still like the fact that that kind of functionality is on their roadmap, and they’re still pushing that forward.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:02:13
I definitely see that being a clue G experience if there’s poor connectivity I have. And the other side is that you know, my my the number of times and reasons for me using that kind of collaborative software in my world has been very limited, you know, zoom, rolled out whiteboards inside of the Zoom client recently, and now you have the ability to have a distinct whiteboard experience inside of zoom used to be able to do it from the share screen and share a whiteboard. And it was kind of kind of there. But now they’ve really brought it into the into the fore in the application and a live, you know, multiperson whiteboarding experience. I’ve used it zero times. Right, like,
Art Gelwicks 1:02:56
so. It’s one of those wacky things. It’s an it’s a neat feature. But here’s the question I have? Have you used it zero times because you haven’t had a reason for it? Or is it what I call the last inch of technology that working with a digital link or the device. Drawing on a digital whiteboard with a mouse is a horrific experience, it’s just awful. I mean, you look like, you look like you had a stroke. So you have to kind of say, this is not going to work well. But now that we’re seeing devices, you know, we see more digital ink support, we have more of that capability. There’s some neat functions. Now I’m gonna backtrack a little bit. I’ve done that same type of experience using OneNote, where you have a shared notebook in a meeting room, and everybody’s connected to that meeting room, and they’re taking notes at the same time. And it’s synchronizing all of them together. And everybody gets that unified copy there, that capability is there. It’s the use case, and this is where I think we really come into this equation. And I bring this up with people all the time. It’s not a technology issue. It’s a people issue. We can lay these kinds of technologies on the table and say, Hey, you got digital whiteboards, hey, you’ve got live share capabilities. But unless management and unless executives unless professionals unless users are educated in the why of this kind of functionality. It doesn’t do them any good. They’ll try it and they may never use it again. How many virtual meetings after after COVID started, how many virtual meetings did you go into where it started with everybody’s cameras on and like two or three months later, nobody’s cameras on run. And it was just a conference call. And that’s exactly that’s exactly what it becomes. It has that evolution of back to what we’re comfortable with and we have to understand
Augusto Pinaud 1:05:00
I agree with you, it’s a conference call with him wonder that we can share content.
Art Gelwicks 1:05:07
Here’s the document, so you’re not holding it up to the screen.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:05:10
But part part of the part of the problem, though, that kind of takes me back here is that I bring up the whiteboard example, because it’s something that I really believe in. And I live share, to me feels like a really interesting function. I don’t use Microsoft Teams in my world. So I’m just not in that ecosystem all the time. But I am, I’m, I feel like this is the kind of collaborative experience that people should have when we talk about hybrid and remote work. And in my case, it’s because you know, Zoom has the ability to connect from multiple devices, and screen share those devices, I have already become comfortable with utilizing the Apple Pencil and the iPad. And using other note taking software and displaying that on screen. I’ve trained my clients to use those software to be able to do it. And so the introduction of these new features are too late to the game. And I feel like that’s what Microsoft Teams has done here. They’ve provided this really great infrastructure with this really great productivity tool. But it’s just late, it’s late.
Art Gelwicks 1:06:13
They can’t they have and we have always seen that Microsoft is never quite cutting edge. They like to let somebody else trip over it first, and then they’ll kind of stand them up, say, yeah, we can do that better and move along. I agree with you, I think that there is a lot of capability within that. What interests me around things like the digital whiteboard is creating, I want to say an equality of presence. If we go to the analogy of a whiteboard in a conference room, there’s many people who won’t contribute, because they’re not comfortable going up to the front of the room and taking the dry erase marker, and adding their contributions, they actually have to be compelled to participate. This type of a thing can create an equity of presence, to be able to say, look, I’m going to put my two cents in I feel okay doing it, I can do that. That’s what this type of technology needs to be driven towards and driven by not the Hey, it’s a cool feature, so that the manager can lay out, you know, his work list for everybody for the week that that’s no different than anything else we’ve done. But to be able to open those doors of opportunities. And we’ve seen this with Microsoft, not only a bill, but with other things. Their press for access, and inclusion and availability of technology is really a core driver in where they’re headed. I just think it gets lost in their messaging at times.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:07:41
Absolutely. The diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility messaging, you can you can definitely see that it’s weaved throughout Microsoft, and they are working very hard to be able to embrace a diversity of opinion, but also diversity of people. And so you know, definitely interesting and important. But yes, as you said, it kind of gets lost when they create, you know, the ocean mouse.
Art Gelwicks 1:08:05
I wish I would have been happier if it floated. That That to me that would have been cooler. I mean, waterproof, waterproof. Yeah, well see, that’s what you want remote work everywhere. I want everything to be waterproof. I want the mouse to float I want you know, I want it to be bright orange. So that way when it hits the bottom of the pool and surfaces on its own. We’re being silly, but it’s true. Sometimes they kind of get off on a bit of a tangent. But I think this is one of the few companies where there isn’t a lot of conversation around Oh, are they do they have their I want to say aren’t in the right place. They’re not in the controversy. That’s the one thing if we go all the way back to the beginning, there was nothing controversial that I saw that they talked about there. They weren’t trying to reinvent the world or upset the applecart or anything like that. They’re just turning the wheels and making things move forward. And I think this is a good level, even thing that they’re delivering. It’s not it’s not the fanciest, but it works. And from a productivity standpoint, that’s all I’m asking for is for stuff to work.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:09:18
I will also note that Microsoft Bing did tell me this morning that it is World reef day. So Microsoft Bing for noting that it was the only reason I know is because they put this little icon in my taskbar that looks like a little reef with some sort of tropical fish. And I was like, what is that? And then I hovered over it. And it told me that it’s world reef day.
Art Gelwicks 1:09:37
Well, that was one of the things we didn’t talk about that but they brought out additional widgets for Windows 11. And if you go all the way back, I guess it was windows seven or even XP. Back in the days when we had Windows Desktop widgets that were so much fun. They’ve started to bring that capability out again, and it’s like, okay, that’s that’s a thing. It could be useful. But I’m sitting here I have a web or widget in the corner of my Windows screen, I don’t pay much attention to it unless I need to know what’s there. So it has a viable functionality. The other piece that I wanted to draw out though, going back to your comments about edge, I have enjoyed watching edge evolve, since they switched over from to chromium. That change changed the game. I think edge is an extremely powerful and capable browser, I actually use it quite a bit. Where I struggle is in two areas. One, it doesn’t have quite all the Chrome extensions that Chrome does. So sometimes you’ll go in and you’ll find an app and it’s like, oh, look, the Chrome extension, then you got to load it for agents like it’s not there. That’s a problem. The second one, though, is there are still some sites that you will bump into functionality and says, Well, we’re not so we don’t support edge. Guys, come on, get on the stand. So but aside from that, from a functional standpoint, as a browser, not only on the desktop, not only on Windows 11, but also on Android, I like edge, I’m happy with it, and I use it as much as I can. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:11:12
that’s good, that’s good, I don’t use edge and I get frustrated every time Microsoft tells me that I need to use some application in order to launch edge in order to view that application, you typically it’s like SVGs, or whatever. And then I’ve got to change the default app back to whatever I actually wanted it to open in. But you know, it’s like one of those things. But I’m glad to hear that it’s competent. And you know, I’m a big advocate of the Chromium project. I’m one of the Google Chrome product experts. So I help out in the forums. And I just really, really support Google Chrome. But I think that the Chromium at its core is is really the most powerful tool, you know, today in terms of ecosystem. And so it’s really, really great to see Microsoft support it.
Art Gelwicks 1:11:57
So one last thing about edge before we wrap that up. One of the things they announced recently is edge is now expanding its capability, it has a right now have the ability to go over to Chrome and suck over all the settings and the bookmarks and everything like that. Now they’ve added to edge the ability for it to go and do that frequently. So if you’re using both browsers, and you’re using Chrome a lot, it’ll run over to Chrome and go grab that stuff, and then pull it over here. So I think that’s kind of funny, because I think they’re recognizing the fact that they’re not going to supplant chrome anytime soon. So they’re doing everything they can to stay relevant 24/7 in a dual browser environment. That said, dual Browser is a tough environment to work in. It’s it’s not as easy as one would think, because you trip over stuff. And that’s where we get back to the whole PWA issue. I shouldn’t care what my browser is, I should be able to just do the work I need to do.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:12:58
Yeah, it’s really frustrating for me, because I’m running Chrome in multiple profiles, I usually have about five different Chrome Profiles open plus Firefox for personal use. And so it’s, it’s that reality factor of switching between them and recognizing, oh, I don’t have that extension in this particular browser, oh, this PWA won’t work, you know, in Firefox, so now I have to go back over to Chrome in order to make that stuff happen. Those kinds of hiccups really do dampen your productivity that productivity disables. And, and so I just really hope that over time, all of these platforms recognize I mean, quite honestly, you know, while I feel like it’s a little poachy, for my edge to do that, I actually wouldn’t mind if edge and chrome, just synchronize their, their their settings, so that I was able to stay persistently, up to date in both applications. And that I really wouldn’t care that when I needed to use edge for certain circumstances, I could, and when I needed to use Chrome, I could as well, that kind of thing actually appeals to me, I’d rather that Chrome Firefox synchronization, just if any, you know, and if the gods are listening, I’m happy to have them do that synchronization. But you know, that’s probably never gonna happen. But you know, like, you’re, you’re, you’re on point there, which is that, you know, people want to just get what they want to get done, right. They don’t want to have to be focused on the browser they’re using, and that those kinds of features really, really are helpful. Final Thoughts on build 2022.
Art Gelwicks 1:14:23
I think build was, again, being a developers conference, it’s hard, unless you’re kind of a nerd, like I am to get really hyped up about a lot of the stuff that they’re talking about. Oh, the one thing we didn’t talk about, and I do want to bring it out real quick. They talked about Power Apps, specifically low code, no code development. I’ve done power app development in the past. And there’s a lot of value to being able to build those things without having to write a lot of code. That said, Don’t let anybody kid you that there’s no code involved. It requires a good understanding of Excel functionality, just saying that, but what intrigued me is they released Something called Power pages. Now, here’s a little bit of history. If you remember back in the day, there used to be a thing called Microsoft front page, which was their web editor, it kind of was a competitor to Dreamweaver at the time to build websites. Now, we don’t have that issue anymore. But power pages, takes functionality, which used to be portals within Power Apps, and allows you to build standalone public facing websites using Power Apps capabilities. So you’ve got websites that you can build now and build in Power BI database displays, as your database connections, you can build in entire layouts, data forms, this is something that I did not know that they were headed towards, I’ve always wondered is like, you know, when are we gonna be able to do public facing sites again, because you can’t do it with anything else. You couldn’t do it with SharePoint you can, you had the capability for a while, but it all went away. Well, now
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:16:00
it’s a SharePoint Designer, right? SharePoint Designer, points,
Art Gelwicks 1:16:03
Designer allows you to directly edit SharePoint sites, but there was a while where you could make them public facing, rather than just sharing them out? Well, now power pages gives you that ability to create those public facing things. What I find interesting is, is Power Apps itself from a platform capability. And from a development capability allows you to build apps that are very mobile friendly, as well as desktop friendly. So you can build the site responsive, across multiple devices, with your database hooks, to your business functionality. All of that integrated together in that low code, no code environment, it’s really interesting that they’re going down this path. And I’m curious to see one, if it survives, I hate to say it, I don’t, I don’t have grand aspirations of power pages being highly successful or highly adopted. But I think from a targeted standpoint, it could be very viable. But yeah, low code, no code, we didn’t talk about it. But if you’re a Microsoft person, and you’re in that space, and you have a business professional license, or better, I believe it’s worth taking a look at it, it really is to build an application. Here was one of the cool things. And we didn’t really highlight this, the ability to draw a form on a piece of paper, put your labels, put your boxes where the forms are, take a picture of it. And Power Apps will render that as a data form and generate the data table that goes behind it to capture the data.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:17:35
So it’ll create a Microsoft forms form.
Art Gelwicks 1:17:38
No, it’s actually a power app. So it’s not a mic. Because Microsoft forms is a little bit it’s that’s more like Google Forms. The power app itself is that no code environment where you can go in and build things like configurations and drop downs and relationships. But the ability to take it from an image and generate go from step to step to step without actually touching the back end is fascinating to me, as a former developer, and designer, scares the heck out of me of the mess that I would get handed by customers. But the concept still kind of interesting. So it’s fascinating to see where they’re going with that. And I think we will see more of that this all ties together. If they get it to the point, and somebody would have to clarify this for me. If we can get to the point where power apps can be rendered into standalone applications that are available through the store. I think we could see a massive number of applications rollout. I don’t know if that’s an option. Or Not to my knowledge, but it may be coming. Who knows. Yeah, I’m just speculating now.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:18:42
So I think power pages is DOA. No, no offense. I’m calling it I’m calling it calling Google Sites. No, no Google Sites, it runs. Google Sites really manages a whole bunch of pieces of Google Maps with a Google business profile, as well as Google workspace, you know, basically acts as the intranet for Google workspace in so many ways. I have lots of clients who actually run Google sites as their primary site, but the fact that you have to use a CNAME record, you know, as a subdomain, in order to be you have to have a www or some other CNAME record in order to even run a site is kind of just it’s just a little, it’s too much for me, because you have to forward the naked domain, you know, your root domain in order to be able, it’s just it’s a mess. And Google needs to fix figure out a better more elegant solution. But you know, like, it serves its purpose. It’s never going to be you know, phenomenal. You know what I mean? But power pages, Microsoft doesn’t have their heart in, in in I don’t I don’t think
Art Gelwicks 1:19:46
okay, so here’s here’s the thing is power pages initially, your first reaction when you see what they’re presenting, is, oh, they want to take on Squarespace. They want to take on WordPress and I’m going no, no, that is absolutely not where they’re headed. This is Designed from the core to be that extra net capability to be able to provide that built out portal functionality, which it originally was, it just has a better UI configuration structure for building the page structure is out. So if I was going to build and I will limit, I’m going to build one using this tool. Now, I have a client that has a need for one, to be able to build an extranet portal with a secure interface to get into that interfaces with the back end office 365 data and capabilities. That’s a compelling argument to keep that entire thing in that ecosystem. So there’s definitely a benefit. I don’t know that I would go build my next, you know, genealogy website using, you know, power pages. I don’t know if there’s a lot of demand for that. But from a targeted need set, yeah, I can definitely see use cases,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:20:58
I can, I can just see a better use of their time exploring making access more powerful, you know, like access,
Art Gelwicks 1:21:06
don’t get, don’t get your hopes up on that. Because if anything,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:21:09
connected Power Apps and access and really made a beautiful,
Art Gelwicks 1:21:13
like, access, I love access, use access for years access, access just needs to be rolled up, put in a little box and shoved off appear somewhere.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:21:22
There was a there was a there were there were years when I built one access application after another and I just loved them loved them, I would make the background database. And I wouldn’t you know, because because we were before that was Fox and I would build all these things. And then I built a lot of access databases for the law firm I worked for, and and then to see access just kind of dwindle, and it’s, you know, grant year, really
Augusto Pinaud 1:21:48
well. And they finally say if I may say we can put access in the same box of FileMaker Pro, okay, let’s put them on the box. Okay, seal it very well,
Art Gelwicks 1:21:58
you’re gonna pick up right with the access ground because they’re really going to get riled. What do you mean, comparing me to a flat file database? Yeah, it’s it’s difficult because access has a long history and a long legacy, there’s a lot of established footprint for access, having done power apps development, being able to have that back end connectivity with things for example, like SharePoint lists as your data source, or an Azure or sequel system or a third party system that it’s more difficult to build those connections and maintain them with access. I think we see the writing on the wall for access that and it’s it’s a smaller, it’s a smaller group of people who have that skill set for access to be able to maintain it. If I build a power app. And I know that something very simple, I’m going to build a power app, its data is going to be stored into a SharePoint list. And I can use Power BI to generate renderings, and data reports off of that, and pull those reports back out to the app I built. And I know that I don’t have to write any code anywhere to do that. Maybe some formulas, but that’s about it. That’s very compelling. And I can turn things around very rapidly. Again, it’s all cloud based. I’m not installing anything on my local machine unless I’m doing updates. But I do have a lot of that functionality. And this is where from a business standpoint, and a productivity standpoint, you start to say, well, maybe I could have my own app. Maybe I don’t need to go have an Android developer do something or an Apple developer, I can get an app and give a web address. And it’s just going to kind of work.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:23:36
Yeah, great extent this is. Yeah, go ahead. Oh, no, I’m just saying this is this is what Microsoft is doing to catch up with Google on the Google Cloud with App sheet and App Script, you know, being able to connect to all of the Google Cloud services, and use App sheet to just basically build an application that can tie in all of the back end features is really powerful. It sounds like Power Apps is doing that with Power BI and with all of the other Azure cloud infrastructure behind it, you know, just tapping an API and switching on features is really, really powerful. And I think it just gets time to app just so much faster, right? You’re, you’re in production so much faster. And also it lowers the barrier to entry, as you as you noted, which is, you know, I think good for all of us. On the on the consumer side, I will say that most of you who are who are productivity minded, and thinking about doing this stuff, this is probably outside of your bailiwick. But if you’re if you’re tech savvy, there are a bunch of low code, no code application platforms that are available to you for you to build your own app. And you can do it you know, think thinkable, and others in that space, just type in fuckable, and then type in related and then thinkable and you’ll find a whole bunch of application platforms that allow you to like if you wanted to build your own to do app, you could do that. You know, it would be it would be clunky and it would be only for you, but you can do it. You know Oh,
Art Gelwicks 1:25:01
and we talked about things like, again, this is developer stuff. But if you bring it down a level, we still have that base need, you’re talking about a To Do app, you could generate a To Do app that’s very powerful in Excel, you could generate it to do well, that’s very powerful. In SharePoint, you have those capabilities there, those tool sets are there. And this is something that we talk about all the time, learn your tools, learn what you have already available to you. And you will find in so many cases, that you can accomplish a lot of what you need to do with what you already have. You don’t need to go out and build a custom app or hire a developer to build a custom app. A lot of times you can accomplish it at least, you know, 5060 70% of what you need.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:25:47
Absolutely. All right. Augusto, do we have any announcements today before we close out?
Augusto Pinaud 1:25:53
We actually have one announcement. Next week is we will talk about Apple but it’s not going to happen Monday night it’s going to happen. To stay at noon. At least East Coast time. So episode 109. The Apple WWDC 2022. With we have or we will have Michael Solinsky, June 7 12. Noon, Eastern Standard Time.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:26:24
Fantastic. And with that, thank you art for joining us here today on anything about Bill 2022. How can people keep up to date with you and what you’ve got going on in the world?
Art Gelwicks 1:26:35
Best thing to do is come over to Gelwicks tech.com. Everything I’m doing so we’re there including the other podcasts. I’m on for ProductivityCast with these lovely John and crossplatform with one of these two lovely gentlemen. So. So yeah, come come visit me. And let’s talk about this stuff and other stuff.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:26:53
As always, thank you so much for joining us. And, of course, you can always hear art on ProductivityCast Each week with us. But thanks as always for being our Microsoft. Just excited Microsoft advocate. All right. Thanks. All right. All right to do so that does it, we have it or we just do that now. Now we’re there too. And we’ve covered some of the productivity articles of the week, not so much of the technology news, but all of the Microsoft bill that we could cover in the time together. But thank you for putting together the show this. And of course every week.
Augusto Pinaud 1:27:31
No problem. My pleasure.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:27:33
All right, everybody on anything but idle.com, you will find our show notes. Those contain links to all the stories that we cover today, mostly on Microsoft build, but we’ve got our blog posts, and we’ll put some extra stories in there that we didn’t cover this week. We’ve got text transcripts that you can read and download on the site as well. So if you go to anything, but idle.com forward slash 108, that’ll be take, you’ll take be taken directly to that episode and be able to check out that information. If you think we’ve missed something. Watch the week after next because next week is gonna be all about Apple. But then the following week, we’ll catch up on all the news. So just hang tight, and we’ll cover probably something that you think we missed in in Episode 110. And so, but if you think that we absolutely needed to talk about something you can always comment, you know, tweet at us at Anything But Idle on Twitter, you can use our contact form, you can find us if you need us. If you want to go ahead and join us inside of our group dedicated to this podcast. We actually have a group inside of personal productivity club that is dedicated to this podcast, you can go to anything but idle.com forward slash community and it’ll take you directly to a page to register and join the Anything But Idle group inside of personal productivity club. With that, if this is your first time watching the live stream, feel free to click the subscribe button that will get you notified when we go live weekly. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We go live there as well simultaneously so you’ll be able to be notified there as well. If you can’t watch live during the live shows that we record weekly, you can always listen after the fact via podcast so you can go ahead and find us in your favorite podcast app and subscribe or follow us for free and and then we’ll just show up in your podcast feed each week when we record. Thank you so much for spending this episode with us. We will see you all next time on Anything But Idle here’s to productive life
Transcribed by https://otter.ai