June, 2010

  • Microsoft Office 2010 now available for nonprofits through our technology donations program

    Earlier today we announced the worldwide availability of Microsoft Office 2010. This new release of the world’s most popular productivity software provides a range of tools that help nonprofits work more efficiently and effectively from managing e-mail, to connecting and working with colleagues online, and creating and sharing professional documents.

    Microsoft has long recognized the benefits technology can bring to nonprofit organizations. In keeping with our commitment to nonprofits, we are delighted to announce that Microsoft Office 2010 is available immediately for qualifying nonprofits through our technology donations program in the United States and in 32 other countries around the world through our partnership with TechSoup Global. Office 2010 is also available immediately through our other grant programs – learn more about our work in the community here.

    What’s new in Office 2010?

    Express ideas more visually

    Office 2010 opens up a world of design options from new and improved picture formatting tools to a wide range of new customizable themes and graphic layouts.

    Accomplish more when working together

    Brainstorm ideas, keep versions in sync, and meet deadlines faster when you’re working in groups. Co-authoring in Word 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Excel Web App, and OneNote 2010 shared notebooks enable you to edit the same file at the same time with other people — even when they’re in different locations using your Windows Live account or Sharepoint Foundation 2010.

    Microsoft Office Web Apps

    Extend your Office 2010 experience to the Web. Store your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files online and then access, view, edit, and share content from virtually anywhere.2

    Stay connected to your business and social networks

    Outlook 2010 is your hub for colleagues, donors, and friends. Use Outlook Social Connector to quickly view history of e-mails, meetings, or attachments you receive from individuals. Get additional information about people to stay on top of your business and social circles through SharePoint My Site, Windows Live, or other popular third-party sites.

    Broadcast your message

    Broadcast your PowerPoint presentation to a remote audience, whether or not they have PowerPoint installed. The new PowerPoint Broadcast Slide Show feature enables you to present right from your desk, while your audience views the presentation live in their Web browser. PowerPoint 2010 also delivers exciting new video editing capabilities for bringing your presentation alive!

    Create powerful data insights

    Track and highlight important trends with new data analysis and visualization features in Excel 2010. The new Sparklines feature delivers a clear and compact visual representation of your data through small charts within worksheet cells. Slicers let you filter and segment your PivotTable data in multiple layers so you can spend more time analyzing and less time formatting. {Beth Kanter recently shared how she is using Excel as a critical tool to guide the effective use of social media – Excel 2010 is full of features and imagery that will help her bring her data to life.

    Manage large volumes of e-mail with ease

    Save valuable time by streamlining your inbox. Outlook 2010 lets you compress long e-mail threads into a few conversations that can be categorized, prioritized, and conveniently filed. The new Quick Steps feature lets you perform multi-command tasks, such as reply and delete, with a single click.

    Store and track all of your ideas in one place

    Get the ultimate digital notebook for tracking, organizing, and sharing text, pictures, and audio and video files with OneNote 2010. New features such as page version tracking, automatic highlighting, and Linked Notes give you more control over your information, so you’re always on top of your content and changes made by others.

    Work your way, faster and more easily

    Microsoft Office Backstage view replaces the traditional File menu to give you a centralized space for all of your file management tasks, including save, share, print, and publish. The enhanced Ribbon, common across Office 2010 applications, lets you access commands quickly and create or customize tabs to fit your work style.

    There are two versions of Office offered through the technology donations program:

    Program

    Office Standard 2010

    Office Pro Plus 2010

    Microsoft Word

    Yes

    Yes

    Microsoft Excel

    Yes

    Yes

    Microsoft Outlook with Business Contact Manager

    Yes

    Yes

    Microsoft PowerPoint

    Yes

    Yes

    Microsoft OneNote

    Yes New!

    Yes  New!

    Microsoft Publisher

    Yes

    Yes

    Microsoft Access

     

    Yes

    Microsoft SharePoint Workspace

     

    Yes New!

    Microsoft Office Web Apps

    Yes New!

    Yes New!

    Microsoft InfoPath

     

    Yes

    Microsoft Communicator

     

    Yes

    For more information

    · Find out how qualifying nonprofits can order Microsoft Office 2010 through the Microsoft Technology Donations program here.

    · Discover information and resources on Office 2010 from the Microsoft Office site.

    · Explore the new Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps visit here.

  • Video: Preparing people for the jobs of today and tomorrow

    Today I wanted to share with you our final Accelerator Summit video.  This session addresses skills training and workforce development, an area of significant focus for Microsoft around the world.

    The session, which was moderated by Pamela Passman, explores the impact of training and workforce development programs from the real world experience of a number of guest speakers.

    We were privileged to have Liza Estlund Olson, Director, Bureau of Workforce Transformation, Michigan; Nalini Gangadharan, CEO, CAP Foundation; in India and Jim Gibbons, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International join us.

    You can also view a number of other videos from the Accelerator Summit:

  • Vote now to help students solve the world’s toughest problems

    Each year hundreds of thousands of students from around the world come together to compete in the Imagine Cup. The competition, which is part of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential initiative, challenges students to use technology and their imagination to solve the world’s toughest problems as inspired by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals:

    This year over 325,000 students registered for the competition and in July, the top 400 students will compete at the worldwide finals in Poland.

    Their projects range from a social media application that can help stop the spread of malaria, to a mobile alert system that warns citizens of a looming natural disaster and a mobile phone that can be used to detect vascular diseases like sickle cell anemia and type 1 diabetes. These students all have one thing in common; they are going to change the world!

    The Imagine Cup is a serious challenge that draws incredible talent, passion and perseverance. The event spans one year, beginning with local, regional and online competitions. The finalists go on to attend the Worldwide Finals held in a different location every year.  The intensity of the work brings students together, and motivates the competitors to rise above challenges and make an impact on the world.

    You can learn more about the students’ projects and watch their videos at www.imaginecup.com

    Vote for your favorite team in the People’s Choice Awards

    Why not get involved in this year’s competition? Visit the People’s Choice site, view videos from all the finalists and vote for your favorite team and project.  The winner of the People’s Choice award will be announced at the finals on July 8th in Poland.

    The tension builds ahead of last year’s Imagine Cup finals in Egypt.  This year the finals take place in Poland.

  • Sichuan two years on

    Who could forget more than 68,000 people killed, countless homes destroyed and lives shattered in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008? Yet even as many of the rebuilding projects are moving well and many of the people have been re housed attention now turns to the economic sustainability of the region.

    As you may know our Unlimited Potential (UP) grants are focused on improving the economic situation of people through technology. In my experience this often comes to life in places and ways that you least expect. Take my recent visit to the Sanjiang Community Technology Learning Centre and home visits in Caoping Village. Both of these areas benefited from a grant through our partner Fuping Institute who are currently bringing the UP technology training to many areas affected by the quake.

    Following the earthquake many residents were left with nothing and often the men, were forced into the cities to look for work leaving their families behind. This is where the story of one great woman I met comes to life. While she was living in the city with her husband she decided to do a computer course, she owned two pigs and was considering starting out in farming. Thanks to the basic computer skills she learned, she had more confidence and she was able to learn more about farming methods, and importantly she was able to learn about the potential market value of her produce – ensuring she would know the fair market value even though she was in a disconnected rural area.

    This woman now has more than 100 pigs and is both self-sufficient and successful. She credits her ability to use the internet and also learning to use Excel to track her work with helping her business to grow. She admitted that when she started the course she was not sure what she wanted to achieve but that it had surpassed her wildest expectations.

    She was just one of many inspiring people I met. I was moved by the current training class who presented the PowerPoint skills they had learnt to tell the story of the earthquake. One man told me how in just a few minutes his whole world changed but how he was adamant that he would rebuild and that learning technology had brought him hope.

    I met a woman and a man who had taken the basic training course and were opening up guest houses in the newly rebuilt area. They said tourists were slowly coming back and they were using their computer to keep track of guests and accounts. In the beginning they both took the course to give themselves something to do and they didn’t realize how much impact it would have – the more they learn the more ides they are getting for their business. With their guest houses close together, these two are friends but it looks like the competition in Caoping Village could be hotting up!

    When you see someone light up when they tell you about how learning to use technology is changing their outlook on life you can’t help but be affected – I know I couldn’t.

  • Meet Benedict and Ken – two generations buzzed about technology in Hong Kong

    I am just back from Hong Kong where I attended one of our NGO Connection Days. The connection days are held around the world and provide nonprofits with the opportunity to come together, network and find out about how they can use technology to support their organizations. The event in Hong Kong was a great success with around 180 participants who learned about a range of topics from cloud computing to social media. I also met with some of our local nonprofit partners.

    In Hong Kong we work with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service to help us improve how nonprofits access technology through our software donation programs and also to provide training and access to technology to underserved communities helping them to improve their economic prospects. In Hong Kong though, as in the case of many of our markets in Asia, there is an ageing population so often for the elderly while paid employment may not be on the cards contributing to the economy through volunteering is of huge importance to the Government.

                 

    Enter the delightful Benedict. Benedict was born in mainland China and studied earlier in his life in Macau. Benedict spent more than 30 years as a taxi driver in Hong Kong and after retiring was unsure what to do next but wanted to feel like he was still contributing. Benedict undertook one of our Unlimited Potential training courses through our partner Hans Anderson and was hooked! But the training was not enough, Benedict wanted to help Hans Anderson and Microsoft bring this world of technology to even more people, so now he is one of the star trainers at the Hans Anderson Centre at Chukyuen, a public housing estate in a much underserved community.

    Benedict is volunteering his services to allow more and more seniors to learn how technology can keep them contributing to the success of Hong Kong.

    At the other end of the age scale I met Ken. Ken is working for Hans Anderson providing training and courses. Ken and some of his colleagues see an opportunity to bring together technology and an environmental message together in a way that is fun and appeals to youth. They have come up with this nifty little speaker that is made from recycled plastic bulbs from vending machines. In their experience the students love making them and are so bust having fun they almost forget they are learning about technology and recycling! They may also have a burgeoning business in a few years as well!

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