Microsoft did what we expected last Thursday by putting generative AI called Copilot into Microsoft 365 next year. This technology is potentially a game changer for office productivity, as Microsoft Office initially was.

Let’s talk about the Copilot effect this week. Then we’ll close with our Product of the Week, a new laptop from HP that’s the result of an unusually close collaboration with AMD and gives people like me who don’t have an IT department an edge compared to most IT shops. Provides better support experience

Microsoft 365 Co-Pilot: Your Digital Secretary

When I started in the technology business, secretaries were common. I even shared one for a while, and it was a great experience. Sadly I was on the receiving end of such help. It was incredible to have an employee whose job I have my back and who would complement and reassure my work.

As products such as Office advanced, companies concluded that secretaries were no longer needed, and executives were given tools that supposedly automated the secretary’s role. They didn’t, however, because those devices weren’t smart.

Automated tools made us more productive but didn’t fix shortcomings we could have done with human assistants, such as writing a good letter, maintaining correspondence, and keeping a secret of our inability to manage our anger. Some social media blew up).

This initial use of generative AI in Co-Pilot, while much smarter than Office without it, won’t initially make up for all our shortcomings, but it will get smarter over time. I am confident that it will grow to fully embrace the role of the old Secretary. But in the beginning, it will increase our productivity by turning our ideas and concepts into completed works.

This digital secretary is still young and naive

We have to keep in mind that this technology, which is already in its fourth generation, is still very young and immature. We can’t depend on it like an experienced human assistant, which means it’s more about producing quantity than quality. We will need to learn this tool and be aware of its weaknesses.

While it is far more intelligent than Office, it is not as smart as a good human assistant. It can’t pick up on context, it won’t always understand intonation effects, and it won’t be able to protect you from a mistake.

The tool isn’t a peer to peer yet, although I expect it to evolve to become one. In a way, it is like a small child who looks up to his parents like God and does not question anything the parents say. It doesn’t understand nuance or realize that those parents aren’t perfect.

This tool will not only do what you tell it to do, even if it’s not in your best interests, but it will also take fed data, fact or fiction, and treat it like the truth. As a result, you’ll need to provide oversight and recognize that it may be operating at a speed that could be dangerous.

twitter alert

One of the things that makes Twitter dangerous is that you can see and react to something without thinking about the implications of your response. You see a funny post and like it without realizing the post is sexist or racist, and your career comes to an abrupt end.

You get angry and post your feelings about something your CEO did, you misread a post or just react poorly to a post and again, your career is over. Is. The speed at which you can deliver on Twitter is one of the biggest threats to your future.

Copilot is initially a speed tool. If you’re upset, this would draft an email that could end your career, so you should use restraint like Twitter to avoid sending it. One of the advantages of writing something yourself is that it gives you time to think about what you’re doing and maybe rethink it.

I’m not suggesting that the tool is bad, but like any tool that initially focuses more on speed than quality, the risk of acting rashly increases significantly. Luckily, for those of us who haven’t lost our jobs because of a poorly thought-out tweet (my fix was mostly to stay off Twitter), we know how to stop and think before we act.

Still, as awesome as it is (and it’s awesome!), we need to realize that this new technology is in danger of acting first, only to regret that action later.

Bringing Back Microsoft’s Office Assistant Clippy

After reading that headline, I can practically hear some people throwing things at me and yelling, “No!” While Clippy’s concept was cool, the technology and execution were admittedly terrible. But as Copilot develops, it will gain the ability to help you do certain tasks better as it learns how to accomplish them. In other words, Copilot is massively more helpful than Clippy, even in the beginning.

Where I’m particularly interested to see this tool work with PowerPoint. Most of us, myself included, suck at PowerPoint, which is ironic because my earliest success as an executive was creating great presentation slides. But as time went on, I got lazy and started creating word-heavy slides that didn’t properly utilize the visual aspects of that tool.

Copilot for PowerPoint takes that text approach and makes visually compelling slides out of it, so I can still be lazy and have more eye-catching presentations. This corrects the bad practice many of us have developed over the years and creates a tremendous amount of work where we can iterate over material until the slides tell the story we want to tell.

For me, this version of Copilot offers the greatest benefits with the least potential risk. Given my outrageous presentation history, this could be life changing. This video shows the CoPilot in action.


This brings up another point which is that this tool allows you to iterate more quickly. I write as I think, but this means I am often very wordy, and my flow is not ideal.

With Copilot, you can quickly iterate a document, then create multiple drafts, improving each one as you go. In fact, I recommend that approach for improving the quality of the result. I hope that the most benefit from CoPilot will be those who learn to use the tool and iterate to improve the quality of the results.

While this will reduce production somewhat, it will improve quality so that the results are otherwise better, rather than simply produced more quickly.

Wrapping up: who is most at risk?

As with any automation advancement, there are people who are at substantial risk and there are people who will benefit most from the technology. Those focused on speed over quality will be hurt at first by this device unless more quality assurance is built into it. Others, who focus on quality over quantity, will see it as a godsend.

An analogy would be a bad versus a good driver in a more powerful car. A bad driver is more likely to die, while a good driver will reach their destination more quickly and safely. This class of equipment will amplify both good and bad behavior. Disciplined and organized people will love this device. Others… not so much.

Like any new technology, looking beyond the hype to see the real benefits and risks of a new device will yield better results. While Copilot is already impressive, its initial focus is more quantitative than qualitative, meaning you’ll need to pay more attention to quality and learn how to use this tool before going hog wild with it.

tech product of the week

hp dragonfly pro

The Dragonfly line is HP’s flagship laptop line, designed to deliver the best experience and highest security of any HP offering.

The latest, the HP Dragonfly Pro, is unique in that it was jointly designed with AMD to strike a good balance of light weight, long battery life, and performance. Also, this product provides the kind of IT support that enterprises get but for small businesses and freelancers like me. In terms of design, it is a mix of some of the best Windows and Apple design elements.

The HP Dragonfly Pro has the oversized touchpad and clean lines of an Apple product and the more robust finish, touchscreen, ports, and IT tools, for example, the facial recognition and fingerprint reader of a Windows product – all wrapped with HP’s market-leading security Has happened.

The service offering that comes with Dragonfly Pro is also unique. Dedicated buttons on the right side of the keyboard allow quick access to the notebook’s features and functions and enable you to launch user-selected apps with a single button – and contact support, too. Its support button reminds me of a feature in newer cars where you press a button and get connected to support instantly.

HP Dragonfly Pro in Sparkling Black

Dragonfly Pro in Sparkling Black (Image credit: HP)

Something else new in this laptop is a high-performance charger, but it’s had mixed results. Unlike HP’s older chargers, this one has an attached AC plug, and, like most chargers of this type, it doesn’t work well in planes and has a tendency to fall off or hit feet depending on where those plugs sit. Is.

The easy fix is ​​a short extension cord that allows you to slide the charger under the seat and take the charger’s weight off the plug. Definitely use a three-prong extension cord, because on older planes, the AC outlet is so frayed that any two-prong plug will fall out regardless of weight. But the Dragonfly Pro has about 10 hours of battery life, so you may not need to use the charger on the plane if you charge the laptop before you leave.

I got a chance to try out the support experience, and it was great, with good engagement and aggressive follow-up, which is unusual for laptop support. You can pay extra for a package that will also provide a replacement laptop in case yours breaks.

Retail price starts at $1,399 for 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. For about $150 more, you can double both the memory and the storage (it’s a bargain, but most of us don’t need that much extra capacity).

oh, one more thing. The speakers on the Dragonfly Pro are amazing. I was watching a Netflix show on it in my hotel room, and the sound filled the room with incredible output from a laptop I could argue is the best. As a result, the HP Dragonfly Pro is my product of the week.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

I’ve been mulling over the concept of digital views for some time now. With issues surrounding climate change, living where some of the best views exist is not only expensive, but with rising sea levels and the potential for flooding, ocean views also come with undesirable risks. I once dreamed of living where I could see and hear the surf. Now? Not so much.

But what’s worth seeing? All else being equal, a space with a view will cost more than one without a view. But what if you could buy the scene and put it in any home? That’s what Liquid View has to offer. Depending on how large a scene you want, for between $25,000 and $100,000, you can purchase a stunning digital scene and place it in any home, regardless of location.

Let’s talk about that this week, and we’ll close with our product of the week, a new backpack from Dell’s Alienware unit that could be the perfect solution for someone who travels with a gaming laptop.

The promise of a digital scene

Growing up, one of my favorite books was by Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Door Into Summer”. The title comes from the main character watching his cat during the winter as he tried every door in the house. Knowing that it is cold outside, the cat keeps looking for the door that opens in summer, where going out does not threaten its existence.

One of the largest affordable apartments I lived in when I first moved away from home was great, but the views were terrible. It had a washer and dryer, a large kitchen, two large bedrooms, and a nice living room, but the view was onto a small, fenced-in yard, and the back of the apartment was decidedly industrial and not attractive at all. However, it was convenient and cheap for my workplace.

Later, I moved to a smaller studio apartment with a nicer view because, for me, that view was important to my state of mind. That latter apartment had two-story-high windows that looked out onto an almost exclusive small pool and garden-like common area. It was one of my favorite places to stay, even though it was quite small.

The idea of ​​being able to pipe a view into any home has long fascinated me, so a few years ago, I invested in the Atmoof Window 2, a 27-inch display you can hang from your wall And can feed in remote scenes – some streamed in real time, others taped. I still use this window that shows views of the International Space Station, views of famous landmarks, and even the undersea view that James Bond’s Dr.

But 27 inches isn’t too big for a window. You can buy and link up to three of these displays to create a bigger view, but even then, each window is very small.

Atmoph displays windows 2 - 3

Atomof Window 2 | image credit: atomof

At around $350 for a single panel it was affordable, but while attractive the result doesn’t really provide the virtual viewing experience I thought was possible. Oh, and you’ll have to pay a modest monthly fee to access over 1,000 viewing options.

liquid view

I recently heard about Liquid View, a much larger 75-inch and far more expensive Sony commercial-grade solution, but the result is very close to the Virtual View concept I was looking for. What makes this solution more expensive is the larger panels (again, up to three) with professional-quality displays. The difference between consumer and industrial displays is that consumer displays are not designed to run 24/7 as they will wear out, whereas commercial displays can run all day if necessary.

When framed in a wall, large displays appear more like windows and better convey the illusion of a realistic scene. Like the Atmoof product, they have a variety of visual options. Once professionally installed (hiding the power cord to hide the fact that it’s a display), you end up with something that looks and feels like a real window Big enough to be seen.

Liquid View Windows

Liquid View Windows | Image credits: LiquidView

With the advent of generative AI, there is future potential for these windows to display both the real world and computer-generated scenes. For example, how about a view to or from Hogwarts? Or a view from a window in Titanic looking out to Atlantis, or a fictional steampunk moon colony?

Often when you walk into an office, the scene establishes how impressive the person you are meeting is. Offices have visible status symbols. I once gave up going into the office from a large cubicle because the view from the cubicle was incredible (it was of an amusement park), while the office’s view was of the rest of the office (no exterior windows).

When I was at IBM, to prevent people from fighting to see the cubicles and offices, they built a giant glass building with walls inside of glass, so no one could see outside that solid wall except pedestrians. Neither got the view. The exterior of the building was stunning; Inside it was like a gloomy tomb. It was a terrible place to work which could be changed if employees could be provided with a digital view of their choice away from the windows.

I can imagine a future where a real view is less valuable than a digital view, and some kids who grew up with a digital view are upset that they can’t change the window view in their next house. Can

Although the cost is not trivial. A single panel costs around $25,000, and a three-panel solution, which is where this technology really shines, costs around $100,000. Plus, if you can’t find an empty wall that could use a window, retrofitting can be a problem.

I would expect this solution to be best where it is designed into the house, condo, or apartment rather than retrofitted because the $100,000 added to the cost of a house would increase to offset the value of the property to see otherwise Should pay the cost. But it can be difficult to remove existing windows to install digital windows in a home.

Additional Benefits

The cost of technology depreciates over time. Were this view solution to cost close to the cost of a glass double- or triple-pane window and were widely used in homes, you’d get some secondary benefits.

One is that windows leak heat badly, so losing them should save a lot on cooling and heating costs and reduce the load on your heater and air conditioner. In areas with extreme wind, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., often the reason a house explodes is due to window failure causing excessive pressure on the house. If you don’t have windows, your home is more likely to survive a high wind event.

Finally, if the front door is secured, thieves use windows to case and break into the home. Losing the windows would make the house more physically secure. Furthermore, as we move toward 3D-printed homes, dealing with the structural issues of installing windows will reduce construction costs and significantly increase construction speed.

However, you need to take into account the reduced ability to get out of the house in case of fire. That issue will need to be considered in the design of a house with a digital view.

wrapping up

The Metaverse is talked about often – more so this month, given that Microsoft just exited the segment. But what if you had digital windows and a view into this rendered world so you could create any scene you wanted, and your only limit would be your imagination?

Imagine a plant manager working remotely, with a view from their home of digital twins that represent the inside of the plant they manage. Or a port manager can remotely view the port they manage from their home office as if they were on site with a large window. Alternatively, they can watch their home, pets or children while in the office for peace of mind.

Or, if movement is detected, you can automatically transfer the living room view to security cameras around the house.

I have a large window in my home office, but the view of the river flowing behind my house is on the opposite side of the house from my office. With a digital window, I could move that view to look at the river instead of my driveway, which I do now.

I expect virtual visuals to be our future, and companies like Atomof and LiquidView are creating that future for us today.

tech product of the week

Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18

Gaming on the road is potentially great. With increased bandwidth on airplanes and Wi-Fi readily available in airports and hotels, being able to pass the time gaming should be one way we stave off the boredom and homesickness and distractions on the road. Can stay outside

However, there are some issues. We still don’t have much room on a plane for a gaming laptop and a mouse, and gaming laptops tend to be large and heavy, making them a problem to carry.

I once carried a large Gateway gaming laptop that was so heavy that when I took the backpack out of the car and slung it over my shoulder, the zipper ripped open, and the computer went flying across the parking lot (which ended well for him). Did not happen) laptop). Recently, I traveled with the latest Alienware 17-inch laptop. When I packed it up and its power supply, I didn’t have room for anything else, so I had to put the laptop in a bag.

The Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18, priced at $149, is the closest thing to a complete gaming backpack I’ve found so far.

Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18

Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18| Image credit: Dell

It has strong zippers that shouldn’t rip, is large enough to carry a gaming laptop and power supply, with enough room for clothing and travel essentials, and is attractively distinctive with the Alienware logo — but not so much that You would be embarrassed if your boss or co-workers saw you with it.

This backpack also has an RFID-protected pocket where you can keep your credit cards to protect them from being scanned remotely.

Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18 RFID Safe Top Pocket

Image credit: Dell

It’s weather-resistant (water and laptops don’t mix), shockproof, has excellent shoulder padding, TSA-friendly, and has a scratch-resistant interior which is great because large laptops can really make a mess inside an otherwise nice There are bags. TSA-friendly means you can open the backpack without removing the laptop to pass TSA screening, which is a lot less hassle when going through the TSA scanning process.

The Alienware Horizon Travel Backpack 18 is well designed and meets the needs of a mobile gamer, and it’s my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.