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Microsoft today announced a partnership with Agile Networks to bring high-speed internet access to 110,000 currently unserved people in rural areas in Ohio. Microsoft will make use of Agile’s telecommunications infrastructure throughout the state including TV white spaces, to provide broadband internet for the next four years. This high-speed internet will enable many critical functions in medical clinics and rural hospitals, schools, oil and gas wells, agriculture operations, and households. “In today’s digital economy, broadband access has become a necessity across industries including healthcare, agriculture, business, and education,” said Shelley McKinley, Microsoft’s head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility. “Our partnership with Agile will help deliver broadband internet access to rural communities across Ohio so that they can take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s opportunities and the latest cloud technologies.” “People across the state, no matter where they choose to live, work and send their children to school, should have the same access to strong, reliable broadband service,” said Kyle Quillen, Agile Networks Founder, and CEO. Follow this trend on OUR FORUM.

The Internet is an awesome place filled with knowledge and ideas. It lets us access information anywhere and lets us connect with friends and family no matter where we may be. The beauty of the Internet is in its neutrality. It doesn’t care what color we are, what gender we identify as, or how large (or small) are our bank accounts are. But, the Internet is under siege. If you’ve been on the web recently, chances are you’ve already heard about the ongoing war for net neutrality. It’s an urgent matter that affects us all- whether you’re a consumer or enterprise. Read on to find out more about the current situation and what you can do about it.
Net neutrality explained
If you’re new to all of this (or just need a quick recap), net neutrality is the principle that ISPs should treat all data on the internet equally and without discriminating by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. The term was first coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003 and has gone on to be used worldwide. read more on our Forum

Microsoft Pay now supports Masterpass by Mastercard, so that consumers can use their Microsoft account for fast and secure checkouts at their favorite retailers that accept Masterpass, without the need to reenter their information. This work further advances Mastercard and Microsoft’s shared goal to help optimize the payment experience for customers and merchants alike. “We are deeply committed to powering a secure and optimized shopping experience that consumers and merchants deserve. Integrating technologies like Microsoft Pay with Masterpass will help the industry move to standards-based payments. Microsoft is a great partner and we will continue to collaborate with Microsoft to make shopping a better experience on all devices,” says Raj Dhamodharan, senior vice president of Digital Solutions at Mastercard. Now U.S.-based consumers using the latest Microsoft Edge browser on Windows 10 devices can sign in to their Microsoft account and use Microsoft Pay to make secure purchases wherever Masterpass is accepted online.

Android 9 is officially here and it’s called Android Pie. Keeping up with the tradition of naming Android versions after sweets, Google today revealed the official name for the upcoming Android P update. The update will be available for Essential Phone and the Pixel devices today. While Essential has already announced the availability of Android Pie update today, we still have to wait for other OEMs to announce the Android Pie availability. However, Google confirmed that the devices which were in the Android P beta program will receive the Android Pie update in a timely manner. Google also confirmed earlier that Android One and Project Treble will allow more devices to get upgraded to Android Pie. The new update will bring many new features to Android like Digital Wellbeing dashboard, a new gesture-based navigation system, and other AI-enhanced improvements to the UI. However, these features are still in the works and will be available for Android devices by the end of the year. Digital Wellbeing dashboard is still in beta and you can follow the steps below to get it on your Pixel device right now. Visit OUR FORUM for more.

Microsoft MVP Susan Bradley has written an open letter to top management at Microsoft about the quality of Windows 10 patches. She has also pointed to results of her survey of IT admins who are admittedly not very happy with shoddy patches and that the Windows Insider program isn't helping in identifying issues. Microsoft, however, thinks otherwise. Susan Bradley carries 'Patch Lady' as her middle name and it is not hard to see why. Susan is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) who specializes in updating and securing Windows PCs in the enterprise. While Windows 10's frequent update cadence might be warranted in this age of devious malware, the quality of recent fixes has prompted people like Susan to caution enterprises about the potential pitfalls of shoddy updates.  Susan has written an open letter addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft Corporate VP of Windows Servicing and Delivery Carlos Picoto, and Microsoft Executive VP Cloud and Enterprise Group Scott Guthrie, drawing their attention towards the diminishing quality control in recent Windows 10 patches. She writes, ... read more on our Forum

Ditching the default DNS service can boost performance, reliability and security. Any attentive business or home user will quickly change their internet service provider if availability is not up to scratch and yet few realise they can do exactly the same thing with the 'name servers' resolving the global Domain Name System. Doing this costs nothing and the benefits in terms of improved performance and security can be significant, yet few bother. Most users continue to take Domain Name System (DNS) for granted, unaware of the hidden bottlenecks of internet service provider (ISP) services and the potential for improvement.
How does a DNS service work? Put very simply, the job of DNS name servers is to resolve public web addresses or domains to their underlying TCP/IP addresses. This sounds like a straightforward process but there are a number of variables that affect performance. The most obvious of these is simply the round-trip time between the client device and the DNS server itself, which will depend on geographical proximity as well as response times from any other DNS infrastructure involved in a query. Even meaty name servers will not cache every possible website domain and have to look that up recursively by sending a query to a remote server. This is why visits to websites in remote countries sometimes take perceptibly longer for reasons that aren't (as many assume) to do with a slow web server on the other end of the request. Another problem is that DNS name servers can become congested due to heavy use at peak times or malicious DDoS attacks causing problems behind the scenes. DNS was designed to be resilient but under stress, it will still slow. ...read more on our Forum