Fresh off the IT Block on 7th August 2020
Welcome back once again to fresh off the block from us at IT Block! Today's posts will be focusing on Microsoft's updates to its OneDrive platform, SpaceX and NASA see touchdown back on Earth, and Apple looks set to release its cheapest ever Macbook.
Keep reading if you want to find out the full stories...
OneDrive gets a step up from Microsoft
Microsoft's collaborative file sharing service OneDrive recently got a tonne of new updates, which will massively help both businesses and individuals.
First up, Add to OneDrive is a new addition that allows groups to utilise shared folders even more. Users can view files in shared folders, and then go on to edit them and add notes to them as if they were their own files. This new feature will retain the same security and compliance policies as usual, and should allow companies to make resources much more accessible to different departments across the board.
Another great feature now available is improved Teams sharing integration. Microsoft Teams has been the pivotal tool for many companies since remote working became a mainstream thing, and now users can choose who can edit the files they share in Teams conversations. Users can now provide access to anyone, people within their organisation, people with existing access, or specific people, like those in a private or group chat.
This feature is already possible via Microsoft's other applications like Outlook and Office, and now that OneDrive has been extended to support Teams users, projects and files will be more secure than ever before, where teams can work on files straight after clicking on the link.
Certain users will like this next one - OneDrive now allows uploads of files as large as 100 GB! Instead of the previous upper limit of 15 GB, 100 GB upload limits will allow users and organisations to get their larger files synced up to access from any device. Think long videos, 3D files and CAD files, where ample storage is required. This will free up a lot of breathing room for those who needed their files sat via the cloud on OneDrive for Business!
In terms of other features, admins can now access better reports for their users. Admins will find it much easier to track and log sync reports, sync failures, sync completion rates etc. The features will allow admins to actively encourage other users to make use of syncing their files and documents onto the OneDrive storage facility.
Managers and admins can implement known folder move, a feature used to help redirect a user's files stored on Windows, and move them onto the OneDrive storage facility. This way, their files are always backed up, accessible to other users within the organisation, and protected with either a key or accessibility lock, blocking access attempts from those users who aren't part of the registered organisation.
We recommend OneDrive if you're in need of an easy way to store and access files from any device, at any time, for free!
SpaceX and NASA bring their astronauts home
It only seems like yesterday that Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley blasted off to the international space station. Back at the end of May, SpaceX successfully launched the first manned space mission from American soil since 2011, an exciting prospect, which has been made much better since they successfully touched down back on Earth.
NASA have praised Elon Musk and his aims for SpaceX. The space flight company has given NASA a chance to take away Russia's space flight monopoly, and begin their own plans for both manned and unmanned missions to the Moon, and eventually, Mars.
The crew described the return back to Earth as "being stuck inside an animal rather than a machine". They felt strong jolts and a gradually increasing noise as they passed through the atmosphere. The crew felt the heat that was building up on the outside of the capsule as it descended towards the ocean. The capsule finally took a plunge in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the east coast of Florida.
More recently for SpaceX, they have seen the first test flight of their Starship prototype take off and land safely (Whilst standing up!). It flew up past 500 feet and then safely touched down again in its original vertical position - SpaceX has been given huge praise for its ability to bring back its spacecraft and the parts that are crucial for launch. Their reusable boosters will save millions, if not billions of dollars on future space missions.
Space boosters can often cost several millions of dollars to build, but Elon Musk has claimed the boosters from the Falcon 9 should be able to be reused over 100 times. Heat shields and some other key pieces of the rocket's structure also come with the boosters, and these parts should be able to get reused around 10 times, according to SpaceX's CEO.
Falcon 9 has already been used 87 times, with more than half of those missions, whether long or short, using boosters that had already been flown historically. SpaceX are planning to make Starship completely reusable, instead of partially reusable, likening the spacecraft to a commercial airliner rather than a traditional rocket. The only major cost of a fully reusable spacecraft would be the fuel, and Musk aims to make this the only barrier between flights - The target is to have very short turnarounds between flights, and fly up to 100 people at a time on missions to the Moon, and Mars eventually.
More than $3 billion was raised in private funds for the Starship project, something that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk believes is the company's top priority - His team are working harder than ever before to start the roll-out of future missions for NASA's astronauts to participate in.
Apple is releasing a new MacBook, and it might be their cheapest laptop deal in years...
Apple might be about to release something that brings two words together for the first time - MacBook and cheap.
When we think of a MacBook, it is rarely something we associate as costing a few hundred dollars, most of Apple's laptop models will cost 4 figures, simply because of the brand and the unique operating software.
Reports have said that Apple's 2020 MacBook could see a price drop of as much as $200 USD, which would result in a MacBook being brought to the market for roughly $799 USD and the MacBook Pro 13 being listed at around $1,099 USD. There isn't one solid reason to explain this price drop, but the most common suggestion is that Apple are taking advantage of the current climate. With so many people working from home, companies are looking for an affordable, yet powerful device, to get their staff set up adequately from home.
As well as the obvious, there have been leaks that Apple have changed their processing chips, switching from the usual Intel range, to the A14 bionic chip-set. This change of approach means that Apple can sell their new range at a lower overall price, without sacrificing profits.
The new range of MacBooks are also said to be upgraded on the battery front. Up to 20 hours of battery support, and a longer lasting battery life overall means that remote workers especially will be able to work freely from their homes, without having to hook up their MacBook every 2-3 hours. Instead, it is likely the usual 9-5 worker will find themselves lasting the full working day without having to charge their device once.
Intel's chips didn't improve in terms of battery power year-on-year, hence their contract with Apple was lost. Now, the A14, part of Apple's own chip-set, is the same type of chip that Apple has used on its latest range of smartphones, such as the iPhone 12, and the latest iPad Air.
Although this is an exciting prospect to look forward to, we can't provide any info on when exactly the new generation of MacBook could arrive. In such uncertain times, tech companies including Apple will have been switching their production focus to cater for home working, and the low-cost ARM chips might help Apple see record sales come the end of the year. Things certainly won't be back to normal by the turn of the year and into 2021, but a new MacBook could make a lot of people's lives easier, especially if it costs considerably less, and remains powered on for more hours at a time.