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News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Microsoft offers Bing Rewards users 100GB of free OneDrive cloud storage

Microsoft offers Bing Rewards users 100GB of free OneDrive cloud storage | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The entire purpose of Bing Rewards is to—surprise!—reward you for using Bing. Usually, that entails earning points by conducting web searches and cashing in those points for gift cards and other goodies. But you don’t have to conduct a single Bing search to claim the latest juicy offering: Through February 28, any Bing Rewards member can claim 100GB of OneDrive cloud storage for absolutely free for two years—no searches or rewards points required.

The offer won’t entice Office 365 subscribers, who already enjoy an endless bounty of storage space in the sky, but this is a don’t-miss offer for any other OneDrive user. OneDrive's free tier offers only 15GB of data, and 100GB plans typically cost $2 per month.


There are surprisingly few strings: You’ll obviously need a Microsoft account to claim the 100GB, but if you’re a Bing Rewards member you already have one. Accepting the offer gives OneDrive the right to send you promotional emails, though you may cancel them at any time. And as mentioned, the freebie storage disappears two years to the day after you claim it. Microsoft obviously hopes you’ll fill up the space and pay to keep using the extra gigs after the deadline, but be sure to read up on what happens when your cloud storage dissipates just in case.

Head over to your Bing Rewards dashboard and look for the “Free storage” header next to a OneDrive logo to get in on the action.

The story behind the story: As Microsoft shifts to embrace services more and more, expect to see more hooks like this—the use of one service to entice you into using other Microsoft products and the greater Microsoft ecosystem. Now that Windows 8.1 with Bing (with Bing as the default search provider) is rolling out in low-cost devices that are often constrained storage-wise, using Bing Rewards to dangle gobs of OneDrive storage is a natural promotion. And once you’re signed up with Bing Rewards, you’re more likely to start using Microsoft’s search engine to claim more freebies, of course.

But who cares about all that? The important part is the free 100GB of cloud storage. Go get some!


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Dear Microsoft: Why does Outlook 2013 cost $110? - CNET

Dear Microsoft: Why does Outlook 2013 cost $110? - CNET | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

I don't understand Microsoft Outlook.

I mean, I understand how to use it. Truth be told, I actually quite like it. As desktop mail clients go, I think Outlook 2013 is the best option out there, and certainly the best version of the program Microsoft has ever produced.

What I don't understand is why Microsoft charges $109.99 for a single license. Maybe it's to thoroughly discourage anyone from buying it, in hopes that customers will instead opt for an Office 365 subscription. But here's the thing: I don't want Office 365. I just want Outlook.

The program debuted in 1997 as part of Microsoft's Office 97 suite. That coincided with the rise of the PalmPilot and other PDAs, and back then there was a thriving market for personal information managers (PIMs). A program like Outlook was the desktop side of the PDA, the big-screen manager of contacts, appointments, and to-do lists.

To say things are different now is a major understatement. Most folks manage their contacts and calendar on their phones, syncing everything to a cloud destination. Same goes for e-mail, and in fact some would argue that there's little point in bothering with a "local" (i.e., desktop) mail client at all.

So why am I bothering? Like a lot of people, I need to manage multiple accounts. I have three with Gmail and another from a domain tied to a small business. Can I deal with all of them in a browser? Sure, but it's a huge hassle: Google, maddeningly, offers no unified-inbox option, no way to sign into or view all your accounts in a single tab.

Desktop mail client FTW

No, for multiple accounts, nothing beats a desktop mail client. And call me a traditionalist, but my preferred layout is a simple inbox pane on the left and a preview pane on the right. I also insist on an "unread" view that shows just my unread messages -- across all my accounts, not just one of them.

Most important of all, and this may sound minor, I don't want a program that automatically marks a message as read after I click it or a certain amount of time has passed. That makes zero sense. A message is "read" when I reply to or forward it. But you'd be amazed how few mail clients work this way. I've tried tons of them, and found just two that afford this configuration: eM Client (which has proven maddeningly buggy of late) and -- wait for it -- Outlook.

So here's the thing: I like Outlook. I want Outlook. It's the perfect mail client for someone like me. But I won't pay $110 to get it, nor will I pay $69 per year for Office 365 -- not when the other 85 percent of the suite holds no value for me.

Outlook.com is not the answer, and neither is Microsoft's anemic Windows 8 Mail app. Mozilla Thunderbird is flaky and fugly, and has the same annoying mark-as-read issue as most other clients.

I suspect Microsoft itself doesn't know what to do with Outlook, which is ostensibly a business tool and probably overkill for most consumers. It has sort of outlived its usefulness, except as a mail client. So here's what the company should do: Sell Outlook licenses for $25 apiece. Give people a compelling reason to buy it, instead of shoveling it into a subscription plan like an afterthought.

Alas, it'll never happen, because Microsoft undoubtedly thinks the perceived value of the product will suffer. And because this version of Outlook is now two years old, there's almost certainly an Outlook 2015 planned for next year's Windows 10 release -- though what the former could possibly add, I have no idea.

All I know is, Microsoft has a perfectly good e-mail client no one in their right mind would buy for $110. Let me put the question to you: What's a fair price? And if you've found a good solution for managing multiple e-mail accounts, by all means share it in the comments!



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Motorola sales double in 2014 as the brand re-enters China

Motorola sales double in 2014 as the brand re-enters China | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Lenovo reported its earnings for the past quarter on Tuesday. During the quarter, the company officially completed its $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola from Google.

Lenovo announced its smartphone brand sold over 10 million handsets in the most recent quarter. Sure, that pales against sales figures from giants like Apple and Samsung, but at least it’s going in the right direction.

When Lenovo and Motorola smartphone sales are combined, the company is one of the top five smartphone makers in the world, behind Apple and Samsung and in fierce competition with Huawei and LG.
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Lenovo Group’s revenue includes laptop and desktop sales, in which Lenovo is the world market leader. Lenovo reported that total revenue was up 31 percent to $14.1 billion. But Lenovo has thin margins, around 2.8 percent, and managed a net profit of $253 million.

Motorola sales were up 118 percent to $1.9 billion. Lenovo once again confirmed that it plans to sell Motorola phones in China, and said it believes Motorola can become profitable in the next year.

Lenovo also completed its purchase of IBM’s server business for $2.1 billion in October.

More importantly, it appears that the Motorola brand resonates in massive and growing smartphone markets like China and India. Motorola announced Monday on Weibo that it had seen 1 million reservations for the decidedly high-end Moto X. In India, Motorola previously said it had sold 3 million smartphones last year, probably mostly the more affordable Moto E and Moto G models.

Because Lenovo didn’t officially complete its acquisition of Motorola until the end of October, much of this success isn’t from Lenovo’s input — it most likely stems from decisions made while Motorola was a Google company, such as the decision to streamline and simplify its main product line under the Moto moniker. Motorola was the hardware partner for the Nexus 6, Google’s reference device for the latest version of Android. Motorola also produces one of the better-received Android Wear smartwatches, the Moto 360.

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