Archive for September 23, 2020

TikTok Files Lawsuit To Halt Download Ban

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 23, 2020 by itnerd

You might recall that TikTok tried to file a lawsuit to stop President Trump from banning it. Well they voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit. Presumably because Microsoft, Walmart, and Oracle were trying to buy them. Ultimately they cut a deal with Oracle and Walmart. But that wasn’t enough to stop Trump from banning the app. So now TikTok is back in court to stop that from happening. Variety has the details:

As a deal deciding the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance, the Chinese-owned video app is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the Trump administration’s order that would ban app stores from carrying TikTok in the U.S. as of Sept. 27.

TikTok alleges that Trump cited “national security” concerns as a pretext for trying to shut down the app in the absence of a deal to transfer ownership of TikTok to American buyers. The company, per its motion, claims the president was motivated “by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election.”

“There is simply no genuine emergency here that would justify the government’s precipitous actions,” TikTok said in the motion, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “And there is no plausible reason to insist the prohibitions be enforced immediately.”

We’ll have to see if this is as successful as the emergency injunction that WeChat got. If it is, it may be enough to send Trump running to Twitter to rant.

ServiceNow Delivers New Native Workflows In Microsoft Teams To Create The Future Of Work

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 23, 2020 by itnerd

At Microsoft Ignite 2020, ServiceNow introduced new workflows embedded in Microsoft Teams to improve employee productivity with seamless self-service and faster case resolution. Powered by the Now Platform, the new capabilities also improve agent productivity by enabling them to more effectively collaborate and complete key tasks in Microsoft Teams. 

Teams is Microsoft’s fastest-growing business app ever. That was true in 2018, long before lockdowns started driving up numbers for remote work and learning. As of April 29, Microsoft Teams had 75 million daily active users, up 70% from just six weeks prior. That month, Microsoft saw more than 200 million meeting participants in a single day, generating more than 4.1 billion meeting minutes. 

The new capabilities announced today include: 

  • Employee experiences in Microsoft Teams: Companies want to provide employees with support for whatever tools and devices they choose to use. By embedding ServiceNow natively within Teams, employees can submit requests, receive updates on in-progress requests, take action on notifications, chat with virtual agents for automated assistance, and connect with live agents when virtual agents cannot assist – all without ever leaving Microsoft Teams. 
  • Agent capabilities in Microsoft Teams: Agents spend most of their time in ServiceNow IT Service Management but want to more easily leverage the collaboration functionality in Teams to communicate with employees and collaborate with other agents. Now, agents can use Notify to launch the Teams client to engage with peers directly, push major incident updates to business stakeholders, and open direct chats with employees from an incident or request.  When used with the new Teams Meeting Extensibility feature, ServiceNow workflows enable agents to be more productive by resolving major incidents directly from within a Microsoft Teams meeting.  

The new capabilities are available for select customers as part of the Beta program today.  

Today’s updates come on the heels of the ServiceNow Now Platform Paris release, which features several high-demand Microsoft integrations to help enterprises accelerate their digital transformation journeys. Customers can use these integrations to: 

  • Optimize hybrid cloud spending and usage with Microsoft Azure support for ServiceNow Cloud Insights,
  • Streamline new hire onboarding with ServiceNow employee experiences and Microsoft Azure Active Directory, and
  • Gain greater control and visibility into organizational assets with ServiceNow Software Asset Management and Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

Additionally, the ServiceNow Virtual Agent Lite plugin for Microsoft Teams, also released in Paris, offers a limited version of Virtual Agent for IT Service Management standard customers. It launched with three prebuilt conversations for common IT support requests. These keyword-based conversations run in the web chat client and in a virtual agent messaging integration with Microsoft Teams.  

Today’s announcement furthers the companies’ partnership announcement from 2019 to accelerate digital transformation for joint customers. Customers are accessing the value of this partnership with more than 25 joint solutions available between Microsoft and ServiceNow today. The companies have committed to continued ServiceNow-Teams innovation to enable richer employee experiences from anywhere, at scale.


Which To Choose? Apple Watch Series 6 Or Apple Watch SE?

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 23, 2020 by itnerd

Apple came out with two new Apple Watches last week. The brand new Apple Watch Series 6, and the lower cost Apple Watch SE. And after my review of the Apple Watch 6, I got a number of questions about which one of these two watches that one should choose. And why did I pick the Apple Watch Series 6 over the Apple Watch SE. Hopefully, this story will answer both questions.

In terms of the differences between the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, here’s the key differences:

Apple Watch Series 6Apple Watch SE
ProcessorS6 S5
Blood Oxygen SensorYesNo
Always-on altimeterYesYes
International SOSYesYes
Supports Family SetupYesYes
Always On DisplayYesNo
Fall Detection YesYes
Cellular ConnectivityLTE + UMTS LTE + UMTS
WiFi802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
BluetoothBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Case Materials Aluminum, Stainless Steel, TitaniumAluminum
Display MaterialsAluminum models have Ion-X
glass displays. Stainless steel
and titanium models have
sapphire crystal displays.
Ion-X glass display.

So you can see that if you buy the Apple Watch SE, you give up the always on display, the ECG and blood oxygen sensors. You also give up WiFi on the 5GHz band and some of the fancy case and display materials. You also get the processor that was in the Series 5 (and Series 4 for that matter as there was no speed difference between the two) which is about 20% slower than the S6 processor. But in the grand scheme of things, the Apple Watch SE on the surface still seems to be a tremendous value as you get most of the Apple Watch experience at a lower price point. But that depends on your use case. Which is why I’ll get into the weeds now.

In my opinion, the Apple Watch SE is aimed at the following people:

  • Kids who’s parents want to give them an Apple Watch to keep in touch and keep tabs on them as they can be set up via Family Setup as long as you have a cellular model. One thing to keep in mind that the cellular model of the Apple Watch SE is cheaper than the iPhone SE and plans for the Apple Watch are far cheaper than iPhone plans.
  • A senior who’s kids want to keep tabs on them and leverage features like Fall Detection as they can be set up via Family Setup as long as you have a cellular model. One thing to keep in mind that the cellular model of the Apple Watch SE is cheaper than the iPhone SE and plans for the Apple Watch are far cheaper than iPhone plans.
  • Someone who wants the basic Apple Watch experience. Meaning that they aren’t going to be using it for marathons or anything that can be considered to be high levels of fitness tracking. Nor do they care about having the fancy case materials or the always on display.

The last point is a key one. The Apple Watch SE has two issues when it comes to fitness. This was uncovered by DC Rainmaker who is well known YouTuber who reviews fitness technology in high amount of detail. Specifically by directly comparing devices with each other and taking a deep dive into the data they generate.

The first issue is the heart rate monitor. Apple claims that the heart rate monitor is a 2nd generation optical HR sensor. Except that’s not true. Apple has had three generations of heart rate monitors. From DC Rainmaker’s review of the Apple Watch SE:

Apple Watch 1/2/3: This is a 2xLED, and 2xPhotodiode arrangement
Apple Watch 4/5/SE: This is a center LED (which technically has 4xLED’s in it), 8xPhotodiode arrangement
Apple Watch 6: This is a 4x LED (with each LED also having two colors in it, green for HR, red for SpO2), 4xPhotodiode

And this according to him shows up in his tests of the heart rate monitor of the Apple Watch SE:

Starting with the heart rate. This run was mostly evenly paced, but I threw in some solid sprints to check out responsiveness, and unfortunately, the SE failed on one of them – spiking the heart rate considerably higher than my viable max HR (and certainly higher than my effort) – nearly 190BPM:

This was something that he could not replicate with the Apple Watch Series 6. Which means that if you want absolutely accurate heart rate measurements, you want the Apple Watch Series 6.

When it comes to GPS tracking, the Apple Watch historically has had issues with mapping corners. Let me have DC Rainmaker explain:

It’s GPS that’s where the problems are. And in some ways, it’s easiest to just show Apple’s own app here, because it so easily makes things clear. With the Apple Watch Series 6, gone was what I’d dubbed ‘Mario Karting’ (or ‘Whooshing’) around the corners, where basically it ignores the laws of physics for GPS track beauty. It’d cut many corners, even when water/bridges/buildings/trees/rocks/statutes/angry geese, and others were involved. It’s been a stable of Apple Watch GPS tracks since the beginning, but the Series 6 unquestionably got rid of it. The SE though? Oh, it’s still here in force. 

That means if you want accurate tracking of your runs for example, you won’t get it with the Apple Watch SE unless you run in straight lines. Which nobody does. But you will get it with the Apple Watch Series 6. In short, people who are serious about fitness should be looking at the Apple Watch Series 6. And that’s the prime reason why I went with the Apple Watch Series 6.

Now neither of these issues are fatal. But they will impact your fitness experience if you care about having accurate data. Or if you would use your Apple Watch for fitness purposes at all as some users of the Apple Watch don’t do that. And that’s not to say the Apple Watch SE is a bad device. It isn’t. But it’s pretty clear that Apple when they came up with the Apple Watch SE made come compromises to hit a price point. Something that they didn’t do with the Apple Watch Series 6. So when choosing one over the other, you need to keep that in mind so that you choose the right Apple Watch for you.

I hope this story helps you to make the right choice. If you still need help, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you out.