The Lighthouse IT Podcast - March 24th, 2023
This week, Matt & Griff discuss Microsoft's support for Apple users, Amazon (probably) making a web browser, a whole bunch of new/updated AI from many companies, ransomware down but cybercrime way up, and more!
Microsoft's Phone Link app now lets you use iMessage
- Phone Link finally supports iOS devices and lets you send/receive messages and calls, but also see their phone notifications.
- This should now be available to you, but only if you are on a Windows 11 device with Windows Insiders.
- Microsoft is using Bluetooth to link Windows devices to iPhones.
- But there are some limits. You won't be able to send pictures in messages or participate in group messages.
- You also won't see the full message history in conversations, as only messages that have been sent or received using Phone Link will be displayed.
Microsoft makes Outlook for Mac free to use
- macOS users can now use Outlook free of charge. You no longer need a Microsoft 365 subscription or Office license.
- It's a surprise move that coincides with Microsoft's push to make its Windows desktop Outlook email client more web-powered.
Microsoft's Bing hits 100 million active users, probably thanks to AI chat
- Google doesn't provide daily active user numbers for its search engine, but StatCounter data suggests that its market share typically hovers just under 90 percent in the US, compared to 6 or 7 percent for Bing.
- "We are fully aware we remain a small, low, single-digit share player." - Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi.
- The headline-grabbing AI-powered features from the "new Bing" preview that the company launched last month seems to be helping.
It sure seems like Amazon is making a new web browser
- Amazon customers reported via Twitter that an email survey hints that they may be considering developing a web browser.
- The survey asks detailed questions, including which features would "convince you to download and try" a "new browser from Amazon."
- This comes at a time when it would have an unusual impact on their advertising arm. The ad industry is bracing for a cataclysmic change as Google moves closer to killing third-party cookies in Chrome, which would kneecap one of the primary ways businesses track consumers for ads.
Microsoft Copilot, the AI-powered future of Office documents, is released to a small group of customers
- Copilot is an AI assistant that is designed to assist people with generating documents, emails, presentations, and much more.
- Powered by GPT-4 from OpenAI (as compared to GPT- model, which 4 runs circles around) will appear in the sidebar as a chatbot that allows Office users to summon it to generate text in documents or emails, create PowerPoint presentations based on Word documents, or even help use features like PivotTables in Excel.— It can also teach you Office features, just like Clippy.
Microsoft brings OpenAI's DALL-E image creator to the new Bing
- Microsoft also has fully integrated DALL-E into Bing, allowing for users to generate images with Bing Chat.
- The new image generator will also be available in the Edge sidebar.
- Prompts will generate the now-familiar square of four high-res DALL-E images, but there's one difference. There will be a small Bing logo in the bottom-left corner.
Google Bard opens for early access
- Users in the US and UK can join a waitlist for access, but Google is rolling out Bard with caution and stressing that the AI chatbot is not a replacement for search.
- Wonder why they would say that.
Adobe's Firefly AI
- Remember when users found Adobe was tracking artists' work to help develop an AI? Well, Adobe will soon be launching Firefly AI.
- Firefly will integrate into its existing suite of products.
- The product will generate content brushes, variations on existing images, and potentially transform photos and videos based on user prompts.
- Firefly will launch as a public beta, but they have simply said 'soon.'
Ransomware attacks are down 23%
- But it isn't because of our collective attitudes towards security. Instead, security software makers CrowdStrike observed an increase in data theft and extortion - a much simpler and more effective campaign for acquiring sensitive data. Plus no decryption keys or tools to manage. Just good old-fashioned thievery.
TikTok needs to be sold or risk banishment
- Looks like TikTok can't even make friends with the Biden administration.
- As the landscape and tensions rise between the US and China, and the knowledge that Chinese employees have access to US data raises security concerns in the US of A.
- Trump attempted it during his time, but was met with actions taken by the federal courts. Oracle has been entrusted in performing data hosting and review for US operations of TikTok data - but it's still accessible by the Beijing-based parent company.
Sorry ChatGPT, GPT-4 had the greatest language model of all time...
- OpenAI released an update to the GPT AI language model yesterday and already we're all geeking out about it. Sure it understands text, but it can also understand images (naturally that means that "testers" fed it with memes).
- Oh and while ChatGPT took a simulated bar exam and mustered in the bottom 10%, GPT-4 went ahead an crushed it - scoring amongst the top 10% within the simulation.