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Micromanaging Microsoft       

It seems Microsoft has had enough with bravery and is going the brute force route
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There’s an old Internet joke that goes “If Internet Explorer is brave enough to ask if it can be your default browser, then you’re brave enough to...”

It seems Microsoft has had enough with bravery and is going the brute force route. Coming with Windows 11, Microsoft is making it more tedious and difficult to change your default browser from Edge to anything else. Maybe it would be better — braver, even — to figure out why most people use Chrome?


More Moolah for Microsoft

Microsoft is raising the subscription fee for both Microsoft 365 and Office 365, effective March 1, 2022. The rate increase per user will be between $1 and $4 a month, depending on the plan. Doesn’t sound like much, but if you have many employees, it can add up. It definitely adds up for Microsoft; analysts predict they can make up to $5 billion — yes, billion — on these price increases.


Safety First

It’s a big, bad tech world out there, and companies large and small with reputations to uphold should be concerned about brand safety —keeping a brand “safe” in all environments, making sure ads don’t appear on sites or next to content that is contrary to a firm’s values. For companies advertising in analog, a clear conversation with the advertising sales rep is enough. For those advertising programmatically online, it’s vital to set up safeguards to ensure your brand only appears where you and your customers are happy to see it. You really don’t want your baby shampoo ad appearing next to current political news coverage, do you?


6 Ways to Ensure Brand Safety
  1. Define what brand safety means to you
  2. Use a reputable ad partner
  3. Set up negative keywords to avoid
  4. Buy premium inventory (ad space that a publisher deems higher quality and sells at a higher price)
  5. Consider a preferred deal if you’re with an agency or a large enough brand (also called “private marketplace,” or PMP; a deal negotiated to give you first dibs when an ad request arises for a desired inventory)
  6. Avoid blacklisted sites (duh, but tempting, because they’re cheaper)


Finding a Voice

Sonantic, an AI developer, used artificial intelligence to give a voice back to actor Val Kilmer after he lost his due to throat cancer. Using recordings of his voice, the software was able to produce a voice that is identical to Kilmer’s if you’re not listening too closely (it’s a little fuzzy around the edges).

This development brings both joy and concern. Imagine the voices you can enlist for your office’s answering service or the people who can be helped (though most people don’t have that many voice recordings to work with — no, voice notes don’t count).

On the flip side, there are obvious concerns about using it for deep fakes that mislead and scam people. It’s the basic technology conundrum: It’s not what it is, but what you do with it.


Tech Hack

Get a temporary email address that disappears after ten minutes to 24 hours (depending on the program). There are so many great uses for it. Now you can sign up for all the white papers you wanted to read from a company you don’t want to hear from ever again.

There’s also no personal information — so if you’re on a site you’re unsure about, and it requires an email address, just create a pretty new one, without letting them clutter or ruin your real inbox. Depending on the service, you may also be able to send emails. So now you can finally send that letter to the editor. It won’t be traced back to you, and your kids will still get good shidduchim. I promise.

There are many services that offer temporary email addresses. You can test run the following:

  • Emailondeck.com
  • temp-mail.org/en
  • Guerrillamail.com


FinTech You Want

The following companies just raised millions and millions of dollars because investors believe in them. Read a bit more and you might too (millions not necessary).



Amount raised: $2.8 million

Freelancers have their work cut out for them. They are the chief cooks and bottle-washers of their operation. Software that streamlines the process for them is always helpful. Often, though, the software is intended for larger operations, and freelancers try to adapt it. Lance is a digital banking solution created with freelancers in mind. Its services and features cater specifically to their needs. In the company’s own words on its website: “Freelancers! Get a bank account that pays your taxes, automates your savings, and sends you a paycheck.” Yup, I’m sold.



Amount raised: $13 million

Do you work with freelancers? Do you want to, but finding the right ones is too hard? Worksome serves as a platform connecting companies with freelancers (think Upwork). Their software will automatically match you with the most qualified freelancer based on your needs. They also offer tools to manage all administrative drudgery involved in hiring, managing, and paying freelancers.



Amount raised: $4 million

Any marketer worth his salt will tell you that a solid testimony and review can move product more than pretty pictures. Problem is, though, fake reviews are everywhere, and they hurt consumers and legitimate businesses with great products. The algorithm of shopping sites like Amazon, Best Buy, and Sephora moves products with good reviews up on the results page. That’s great if the product belongs there; oy vey if the reviews were faked.

That’s where FakeSpot comes in. Using AI and natural language processing, it evaluates reviews to determine their validity. It also considers things like if the amount of positive reviews makes sense considering how long the user has been active. This is a boon for both consumer and legit businesses.


Term: App Sprawl

Got too many work apps that are supposed to help you but really just leave you overwhelmed, running after notifications and getting less work done? You’re likely suffering from app sprawl. Don’t worry, it’s not just you.

Research by Citrix reveals that 64% of workers are using more apps than they did before the pandemic, and 74% say that it’s made work more complex. Yes, we know, it was supposed to simplify and connect things.

Now 90% of people surveyed want to work remotely or in a hybrid model, so app sprawl needs to be contained. Company leaders need to make more thoughtful decisions when bringing in new software. It’s often redundant and underused. Do you really need Slack, Zoom, and WhatsApp?


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 879)

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