September 2015 has been so exciting in the world of technology, especially with the release of Microsoft Office 2016 on Tuesday, September 22nd. If you’ve been contemplating purchasing the new program or you’re interested in seeing all that this amazing program it has to offer, you’re in luck. Renowned tech journalist, Jennifer Jolly who is a New York Times Wired Well columnist, and hosts two digital lifestyle series; TechNow for USA Today and Tech’s Appeal, the girlfriend’s guide to gadgets was kind enough to join me for an interview on Microsoft Office’s release date to dish on this amazing program that can do virtually everything you’ve ever wished it could do. Jennifer also introduced us to a revolutionary new tech gadget called Eero that will help ensure your Wifi is always working efficiently, which is a dream come true for people like me who rely on slow rural broadband. Please be sure to check out the interview below and watch the video for details!
Candace Rose: What are some of your top tech picks that will help make collaboration faster and better in the workplace?
Jennifer Jolly: “Well, today is a big day in the tech world because Microsoft has just launched Office 2016 – first major upgrade that we’ve seen out of Microsoft Office in this suite of tools in three years. I really think it’s the most significant overhaul of the entire suite of tools that I’ve ever seen. I’m a consumer tech journalist, I’m cynical, I’m skeptical, I feel like I’ve seen it all so I was like force me to be impressed here when Microsoft first introduced this a few weeks ago. I’ve gotten a real behind the scenes look at it, I’ve been using it now for a full week before launch and there are few bits and pieces of it that my jaw has actually dropped and I thought Oh my God, we’re living in the time of the Jetsons…it’s pretty amazing.
One of those is co-authoring. Say now you’re working on a Word document, people can join you from across the street or across the planet. You can all work on it in real time together at the same time. Multiple writers can be tweaking it here and there and you can see all of that in a really clean simple way. It used to be that you’d have to do track changes, and you’d have to email a document back and forth around the globe 50 bajillion times. It was super confusing, super time consuming – not anymore! This is very simple and fixes all of that.
The second one is Skype app integration. This is the one where I thought how great can this be? It’s ridiculously awesome. A little Skype window opens up in the bottom of your document whether it’s a PowerPoint or a Word document. It opens up and you can have real time face to face consultation and collaboration with one person or a group of people, and again be editing a document together at the same time, working on a project together at the same time. It’s amazing! Or you can be using Skype Instant Messaging within a document – incredible when it comes to productivity, working smarter…not harder.
Two tools that have been revamped and upgraded making a comeback in a really next generation cool sort of are Tell Me, so instead of remembering ‘What’s the command for this?’ You just type in a keyword, and the ribbon at the top of your screen brings it right to your fingertips, that’s incredible.
The Smart Lookup Tool brings the internet to your document. Say you want to look up a fact or a figure, instead of going to a whole other window and pretty soon opening up 20/30/50 windows on your laptop or desktop, this opens it up and brings all that information right in your document. That tool alone saves me so much time because as I’m writing my columns, my books – I go to look something up and then I forget what I was doing and I end up shopping for shoes.”
Candace Rose: The world revolves around data. What can we do to harness big data for our own benefit?
Jennifer Jolly: “I’m all about problem solving and one of the biggest problems that we have in this day and age (and it just happened to me yesterday) I needed someone to send me a file on the computer and he said ‘My Wifi is down, I’m having connectivity issues.’ Connectivity issues should not be something that is still such a bane of our existence in 2015, so there’s a new product called Eero. People are calling it the Nest thermostat of 2015. They’re going to wipe out Wifi issues for good. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon and then it will be delivered a little later in the fall. It’s basically an entire system that functions as a router, range extender and a repeater in one single device, so you have an entire Wifi system right there within one device and then it can deliver Wifi to every nook and cranny of your small business or your office or your home.
It’s collaboration, connectivity and the third part of all of this is mobility. You can’t take your work offsite, you can’t stay mobile when you have a dead battery – another problem that we’re all dealing with. Often times I leave the office with a tangle of cords, I can’t find a power outlet, so Ikea of all places has these new wireless charging plates that can either come built into your furniture or you can get them as a stand-alone. Any phone that has wireless charging capability, which is basically any phone these days – you just put it on there and it’s charging. It’s charging the whole time that you’re working at your desk. When you get up to leave and go somewhere else, it’s completely full of juice all charged up. Everything that I’ve talked about today is brand agnostic, it works across devices so finally we’re seeing tech tools play nice in the sandbox, everything working together…really incredible shift from sort of ‘me’ work to ‘we’ work.”
Candace Rose: I’m embarrassed to admit how many emails I have in my inbox! Do you have any tips on how I can declutter it once and for all?
Jennifer Jolly: “Your email inbox should be working for you, not against you! I have 10,000 or so right now and I read every single one of them that comes across and the way that I’m able to do that is with this upgraded Outlook. It makes your inbox smarter, there’s a lightning fast search, you can have it automatically remove low priority emails, send a bunch of your subscriptions, things keep wanting to unsubscribe from – send that right to your spam folder. You can use an app like Unroll.Me and you can get off all of those newsletters that you accidentally signed up for that you didn’t know.
With this Outlook you can have these modern cloud-based attachments so that you’re not stuck sending an email to someone that can’t open the photo or the video. There’s a lot of sort of built-in use in this whole upgraded Microsoft Office 2016. It’s for Windows but works across all devices. You can test it out and try it out today for free with a trial subscription to Office 365 – free for 30 days. I highly recommend you take it for a test drive because we’re all working on Office Windows and we’re all doing this everyday. All of these time saving tools put so much time back into your day and then you can do other stuff like go back and shop for shoes.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Jennifer Jolly: “That is going to do it for today, but I’ve always got some tech advice for you, so be sure to go to JenniferJolly.com. You can find out more everything I’ve talked about today and see everything else that I’m working on.”