Microsoft Bookings makes appointments a snap in Office 365

Microsoft Bookings makes appointments a snap in Office 365

Office 365 is rolling out a new service designed to make it easier for businesses to interact with customers and let them schedule appointments.

Microsoft Bookings gives businesses a hub web page which customers can use to schedule appointments. It's designed to be simple to use, with the customer picking the service they want, and then being presented with available appointment slots which they can select from.

Customers can do this at any time, day or night, and it's obviously far more convenient than trying to arrange an appointment via email or phone. It's also easy for businesses to publicise their bookings web page, and you can embed links to it in emails for example.

Flexible rescheduling

Microsoft Bookings also makes it a snap to reschedule appointments – you just hop on the web page, and you're done in a couple of clicks. Businesses can set time limits on the amount of notice required to change an appointment, though, to avoid frustrating last-minute cancellations.

The system also allows a company to send a reminder email nearer to the time of the meeting, as well as the initial confirmation email the customer will receive.

And naturally, the business gets an overview of all appointments, and capabilities such as reassigning different staff members to bookings, or contacting customers directly (Bookings automatically creates an entry under contacts for each customer).

Microsoft Bookings has started to roll out now, and Office 365 Business Premium subscribers will get it over the coming months. You'll see it in the app launcher when it arrives.

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French watchdog blasts Microsoft over Windows 10’s privacy failings

French watchdog blasts Microsoft over Windows 10's privacy failings

A French regulatory body has blasted Microsoft over Windows 10's habit of hoovering up plentiful user data, giving Redmond a deadline in which the firm must do something about it.

This warning comes from the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), which has issued an ultimatum to Microsoft to clean up its act in the privacy stakes and comply with French data protection regulations. Redmond has three months to do so or the software giant risks being fined.

The CNIL insists that Microsoft must "stop collecting excessive data and tracking browsing by users without their consent", and furthermore that the company must ensure "satisfactory measures" are taken in terms of keeping user data confidential and secure.

The regulatory body listed Windows 10's failings which went beyond excessive data collection to include complaints about a lack of security, specifically the fact that Redmond doesn't limit the amount of login attempts that can be made with a PIN to a user's Microsoft account (or other online services).

The company was also criticized for sending data from the EU back to the US under 'safe harbor' when the latter is now irrelevant in Europe thanks to a recent EU ruling.

Fast and loose

Having such a strongly worded official warning fired at it will obviously be a major concern for Microsoft, particularly seeing as there has been much talk for a while now about how Windows 10 plays relatively fast and loose with user data.

Indeed, in a survey of companies we highlighted earlier today, while IT pros praised Windows 10 for many strengths, their major concern with the OS was 'data privacy guarantees'.

Microsoft has responded to this matter, and as the Register reports, David Heiner, deputy general counsel, issued a statement to say: "We built strong privacy protections into Windows 10, and we welcome feedback as we continually work to enhance those protections. We will work closely with the CNIL over the next few months to understand the agency's concerns fully and to work toward solutions that it will find acceptable."

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Windows 10 is liked by bosses, not so much by workers

Windows 10 is liked by bosses, not so much by workers

When it comes to business adoption, Windows 10 is making good headway, and management are generally satisfied with the OS – even if employees aren't so convinced.

Those are the findings of a new piece of research from Spiceworks, which observed that Windows 10 had 'sprinted' out of the gate having been adopted by 38% of businesses surveyed across the US and EMEA, as of the end of June. That's pretty much bang on target to the predicted 40% adoption rate, Spiceworks noted.

Adoption was highest in larger companies with more than 250 staff members, which saw a figure of 51%.

And 85% of organisations said they were generally satisfied with Windows 10, an impressively high statistic. 51% went further and said they were very or extremely satisfied.

Windows 7 is still the crowd favourite

However, the satisfaction metrics with employees weren't so good. When the IT pros who were surveyed were questioned about which operating system their staff preferred, Windows 7 was top by a long way on 69%, with Microsoft's newest OS far behind on 17%.

As for the reasons why businesses are upgrading to Windows 10 – the majority, 66%, said they were making the move because of the free upgrade. 49% cited improved performance as the reason, and 48% said they had shifted because their current OS had hit end-of-life. 43% wanted to make use of Windows 10's new features – mostly revolving around better security and, naturally enough, the return of the Start menu.

In comparison to previous versions of Windows, respondents said that Windows 10 was a major improvement over Windows 8 in all departments, including performance, security, and the interface.

The only worry IT professionals had with the new desktop OS was data privacy guarantees, unsurprisingly given the amount of flak which has been flying around concerning Redmond hoovering up data left, right and centre from Windows 10 users.

Via: Business Insider

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iOS 10 second public beta is out now – here’s what you’ll get

iOS 10 second public beta is out now - here's what you'll get

Apple's iOS 10 update won't launch until the fall, but that doesn't mean you can't try it out now. Today, Apple released its second public beta for iOS 10, which lets anyone sample its latest and greatest mobile operating system.

On the surface, iOS 10 looks and feels just like iOS 9, but there are a lot of subtle tweaks under the hood. Notifications get a huge revamp, showing users more important info at a glance and bringing support for 3D Touch.

iOS 10 also changes how users unlock their phones. The "Slide to unlock" prompt is gone, replaced by a simple "Press Home to open" for iPhones that support Touch ID. iPhones will also wake up automatically when you pick them up from a resting position, allowing you to view your notifications without unlocking your device. The device will also vibrate when locked, giving users a little haptic feedback.

For a full list of new features, check out our iOS 10 release date, news and features roundup and our first impressions.

Macs gets some love too

macOS Sierra also gets a second public beta today, coming just two weeks after the release of its first public beta. Apple's desktop operating system is getting a huge revamp this fall with the addition of Siri and a much improved Photos app. iPhone users will also be able to view their phone's notifications on their Macs and share a clipboard between devices.

macOS Sierra

Apple Watch owners will be able to unlock their Macs when they're in range, making it easier to avoid typing your password. Speaking of passwords, Apple Pay is coming to Safari so you can pay for things instantly using Apple's mobile payment system.

For a full breakdown of what's new in macOS, check out our macOS Sierra release date, news and features post. If you want to try macOS before it's officially released in the fall, follow our how to download macOS Sierra public beta guide.

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