All posts in “Microsoft”

Learning Excel with this course could be your ticket to a higher pay grade

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Forget learning how to code or design and forgot blowing your money on cryptocurrencies. Your ticket to clinching a bigger paycheck is sitting right on your computer and you don’t even know it. Because ladies and gentlemen, your claim to a higher pay grade and better promotion prospects could actually hinge on learning all the nooks and crannies of Microsoft Excel.

You might think you know everything about the spreadsheet app after using it since you were in middle school, but you’re probably wrong. Excel isn’t just about creating tables and doing basic computation; it’s so much more complex than that. 

The eLearnExcel: The Microsoft Excel Master Certification Bundle online course will introduce you to a wider spectrum of Excel functions, along with providing you with certifications to show for it. Plus, you can get it on sale for only $39.

Across nine courses and over 200 lessons, this training pack will take you from beginner to certified Excel whiz. Not only will you discover how to properly format cells and create stunning charts, you’ll also learn how to better utilize popular formulas like VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP so you can handle large datasets. You’ll come to grips with automating macros and VBA, safeguarding your workbooks to protect them from prying eyes, and find out what Pivot Table is and how to build your own. You’ll even get tips on how to streamline your workflow via a myriad of shortcuts, tricks, and functions.

By training’s end, you’ll emerge with a CPD-certified Excel Developer Certification, which you can use to impress your boss or potential employers.

This bundle of courses is typically valued at $1066, but you can get it now for only $39. A quick percentage calculation in Excel would tell you that’s a whopping 96% discount.

Microsoft promises to keep GitHub independent and open

Microsoft today announced its plans to acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion in stock. Unsurprisingly, that sent a few shock waves through the developer community, which still often eyes Microsoft with considerable unease. During a conference call this morning, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, incoming GitHub CEO (and Xamarin founder) Nat Friedman and GitHub co-founder and outgoing CEO Chris Wanstrath laid out the plans for GitHub’s future under Microsoft.

The core message everybody on today’s call stressed was that GitHub will continue to operate as an independent company. That’s very much the approach Microsoft took with its acquisition of LinkedIn, but to some degree, it’s also an admission that Microsoft is aware of its reputation among many of the developers who call GitHub their home. GitHub will remain an open platform that any developer can plug into and extend, Microsoft promises. It’ll support any cloud and any device.

Unsurprisingly, while the core of GitHub won’t change, Microsoft does plan to extend GitHub’s enterprise services and integrate them with its own sales and partner channels. And Nadella noted that the company will use GitHub to bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services “to new audiences.”

With Nat Friedman taking over as CEO, GitHub will have a respected technologist at the helm. Microsoft’s acquisition and integration of Xamarin has, at least from the outside, been a success (and Friedman himself always seems very happy about the outcome when I talk to him), so I think this bodes quite well for GitHub. After joining Microsoft, Friedman ran the developer services team at the company. Wanstrath, who only took over the CEO role again after its last CEO was ousted after harassment scandal at the company, had long said that he wanted to step down and take a more active product role. And that’s what’s happening now that Friedman is taking over. Wanstrath will become a technical fellow and work on “strategic software initiatives” at Microsoft.

During today’s call, Friedman also stressed Microsoft’s commitment to keeping GitHub as open as it is today — but he also plans to expand the service and its community. “We want to bring more developers and more capabilities to GitHub, he said. “Because as a network and as a group of people in a community, GitHub is stronger, the bigger it is.”

As for the product itself, Friedman noted that everything GitHub does should be about making a developer’s life easier. And to get started, that’ll mean making developing in the cloud easier. “We think broadly about the new and compelling types of ways that we can integrate cloud services into GitHub,” he noted. “And this doesn’t just apply to our cloud. GitHub is an open platform. So we have the ability for anyone to plug their cloud services into GitHub, and make it easier for you to go from code to cloud. And it extends beyond the cloud as well. Code to cloud. code to mobile, code to edge device, code to IoT. Every workflow that a developer wants to pursue, we will support.”

Another area the company will work on is the GitHub Marketplace. Microsoft says that it will offer all of its developer tools and services in the GitHub Marketplace.

And unsurprisingly, VS Code, Microsoft’s free and open source code editor, will get deeply integrated integrated GitHub support.

“Our vision is really all about empowering developers and creating a home where you can use any language, any operating system, any cloud, any device for every developer, whether your student, a hobbyist, a large company, a startup or anything in between. GitHub is the home for all developers,” said Friedman.

It’s unclear whether all of these commitments today will easy developers’ fears of losing GitHub as a relatively neutral third-party in the ecosystem.

Nadella, who is surely aware of this, addressed this directly today. “We recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement,” he said. “We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos operate independently and remain an open platform. We will always listen to develop a feedback and invest in both fundamentals as well as new capability once the acquisition closes.

In his prepared remarks, Nadella also stressed Microsoft’s heritage as a developer-centric company and that is it already the most active organization on GitHub. But more importantly, he addressed Microsoft’s role in the open source community, too. “We have always loved developers, and we love open source developers,” he said. “We’ve been on a journey ourselves with open source and the open source community. Today, we are all in with open source. We are active in the open source ecosystem. We contribute to open source project and some of our most vibrant developer tools and frameworks are open-sourced when it comes to our commitment to all source judges, by the actions we have taken in the recent past our actions today and in the future.”

Microsoft has acquired GitHub for $7.5B in stock

After a week of rumors, Microsoft today confirmed that it has acquired GitHub, the popular Git-based code sharing and collaboration service. The price of the acquisition was $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. GitHub raised $350 million and we know that the company was valued at about $2 billion in 2015.

Former Xamarin CEO Nat Friedman (and now Microsoft corporate vice president) will become GitHub’s CEO. GitHub funder and former CEO Chris Wanstrath will become a Microsoft technical fellow and work on strategic software initiatives. Wanstrath had retaken his CEO role after his co-founder Tom Preston-Werner resigned following a harassment investigation in 2014.

The fact that Microsoft is installing a new CEO for GitHub is a clear sign that the company’s approach to integrating GitHub will be similar to hit it is working with LinkedIn. “GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries,” a Microsoft spokesperson told us.

GitHub says that as of March 2018, there were 28 million developers in its community, and 85 million code repositories, making it the largest host of source code globally and a cornerstone of how many in the tech world build software.

But despite its popularity with enterprise users, individual developers and open source projects, GitHub has never turned a profit and chances are that the company decided that an acquisition was preferable over trying to IPO.

GitHub’s main revenue source today is paid accounts, which allows for private repositories and a number of other features that enterprises need, with pricing ranging from $7 per user per month to $21/user/month. Those building public and open source projects can use it for free.

While numerous large enterprises use GitHub as their code sharing service of choice, it also faces quite a bit of competition in this space thanks to products like GitLab and Atlassian’s Bitbucket, as well as a wide range of other enterprise-centric code hosting tools.

Microsoft is acquiring GitHub because it’s a perfect fit for its own ambitions to be the go-to platform for every developer, and every developer need, no matter the platform.

Microsoft has long embraced the Git protocol and is using it in its current Visual Studio Team Services product, which itself used to compete with GitHub’s enterprise service. Knowing GitHub’s position with developers, Microsoft has also leaned on the service quite a bit itself, too and some in the company already claim it is the biggest contributor to GitHub today.

Yet while Microsoft’s stance toward open source has changed over the last few years, many open source developers will keep a very close look at what the company will do with GitHub after the acquisition . That’s because there is a lot of distrust of Microsoft in this cohort, which is understandable given Microsoft’s history.

In fact, TechCrunch received a tip on Friday, which noted not only that the deal had already closed, but that open source software maintainers were already eyeing up alternatives and looking potentially to abandon GitHub in the wake of the deal. Some developers (not just those working in open source) were not wasting time even to wait for a confirmation of the deal before migrating.

While GitHub is home to more than just open source software, if such a migration came to pass, it would be a very bad look both for GitHub and Microsoft. And, it would a particularly ironic turn, given the very origins of Git: the versioning control system was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005 when he was working on development of the Linux kernel, in part as a response to a previous system, BitKeeper, changing its terms away from being free to use.

The new Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella strikes us as a very different company from the Microsoft of ten years ago — especially given that the new Microsoft has embraced open source — but it’s hard to forget its earlier history of trying to suppress Linux.

“Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation,” said Nadella in today’s announcement. “We recognize the community responsibility we take on with this agreement and will do our best work to empower every developer to build, innovate and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Yet at the same time, it’s worth remembering that Microsoft is now a member of the Linux Foundation and regularly backs a number of open source projects. And Windows now has the Linux subsystem while VS Code, the company’s free code editing tool is open source and available on GitHub, as are .NET Core and numerous other Microsoft-led projects.

And many in the company were defending Microsoft’s commitment to GitHub and its principles, even before the deal was announced.

Still, you can’t help but wonder how Microsoft might leverage GitHub within its wider business strategy, which could see the company build stronger bridges between GitHub and Azure, its cloud hosting service, and its wide array of software and collaboration products. Microsoft is no stranger to ingesting huge companies. One of them, LinkedIn, might be another area where Microsoft might explore synergies, specifically around areas like recruitment and online tutorials and education.

Microsoft reportedly buys code-sharing site GitHub

Microsoft brings in code-hosting service GitHub.
Microsoft brings in code-hosting service GitHub.

Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The developer platform GitHub, which is widely used for storing, sharing, and collaborating on code, will apparently soon be a Microsoft company.

Microsoft has reportedly acquired the San Francisco-based hosting service and might announce the deal as soon as Monday, a Bloomberg report said, according to “people familiar with the matter.”

Murmurs about the acquisition bubbled up late last week as the CEO-less GitHub was reportedly in talks with Microsoft about a sale. Its co-founder, Tom Preston-Werner, resigned in 2014 after harassment allegations surfaced.

Bloomberg reported that the company was swayed to sell instead of going public because it was impressed with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

GitHub raised $250 million in 2015 and was last valued at $2 billion. Microsoft, a public company worth $760 billion, has a long list of acquisitions, including networking site LinkedIn in 2016 and Skype in 2011.

It looks like GitHub will be added to the list, giving Microsoft an edge in open-source development.

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The Microsoft Launcher for Android now lets you track your kids’ whereabouts

Microsoft is launching an update to its Android launcher today that gives parents the ability to track their kids’ location. This is one out of a number of parent- and kid-focused announcements the company made today. Others include the ability to block sites in Microsoft Edge on Android and the launch of MSN Kids, a new curated news website for children.

At the core of these new features are Microsoft’s family group settings that already allowed you to do things like track a child’s activity on Windows 10 and Xbox One devices or limit screen time in general.

“As a mother to a young and curious daughter, I deeply understand the need for tools to help balance the use of technology in the home as well as out of the home,” writes Shilpa Ranganathan, the General Manager of Microsoft’s Mobile Experiences group, in today’s announcement. “It’s especially near and dear to me as leader of a team building experiences for mobile devices. We emphasize the idea of transparency as a guiding principle for these new experiences.”

The new tracking tool is rolling out with today’s update of the Microsoft Launcher for Android and will put the latest known location of your kids right in its personalized news feed.

I’m not sure how useful blocking access to sites in Edge for Android really is, but if you manage to lock your kids out from Chrome or any other pre-installed browser — and block them from downloading them — then I guess this could work.

As for MSN Kids, Microsoft notes that the site will curate information from trusted sources, including Time for Kids, Popular Science, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic, and USA TODAY. It’s worth noting that there is no sponsored content or advertising on the site.