On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled the latest addition to the Surface line, the Surface Laptop. This is not to be confused with the Surface Book, which is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop. The Surface Laptop is a no frills, regular laptop. No removable screens or keyboards, no kickstands, just a pure laptop. Despite the existence of the Surface Book, many have been clamoring for Microsoft to build a proper laptop to compete with Apple’s Macbook line. While powerful, the Surface Book is expensive and may not fit the needs of regular college student or consumer. Therefore, Microsoft is trying to appeal to the average college student who wants a simple (but not cheap) laptop.
First the techie stuff: The base model starts at $999 and comes with the latest Intel Kaby Lake i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. The processor can be upgraded to an i7, the RAM up to 16GB, and the storage up to 512GB. The screen is a 13.5 inch PixelSense display with a 2256 x 1504 resolution, the same 3:2 aspect ratio as the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The display is also a touchscreen with support for the Surface Pen. Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of ports around the machine. There is the proprietary Surface connector for power, regular USB-A port, a mini DisplayPort, and a headphone jack. Conspicuously missing is the inclusion of a USB Type C port. According to Windows Central, Microsoft believes that Type C is still in its infancy and thus doesn’t warrant inclusion into the Surface Laptop. They believe most students will still carry a traditional USB thumb drive. This is despite most of Microsoft’s OEM partners like HP, Dell, Asus, and Razer including USB Type C ports into their laptops. Externally, the Surface Laptop features a sleek anodized aluminum body and has the same alcantara fabric around the keyboard that the Surface Pro type covers use. It also comes in four different colors: Burgundy, Platinum, Cobalt Blue, and Graphic Gold.
One of the more interesting features of the Surface Laptop is the fact that’s running Windows 10 S, a version of Windows that only allows Windows Store apps to be installed. If that sounds familiar, that’s because Microsoft tried this strategy somewhat with Windows RT and original Surface tablet. That didn’t work out so well. The primary difference here is that The Surface Laptop can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for $50. With that upgrade comes the ability to download regular Windows applications. Speaking of Windows 10 S, Microsoft is trying to position that version of Windows into a Chromebook competitor and to hammer that point home, HP and Acer announced $300 computers that run Windows 10 S. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t gotten developers to invest in apps for the Windows Store so only time will tell if this new effort to encroach on the Chromebook’s popularity in schools will pan out. If Microsoft can successfully land in schools then that will hopefully spur developers to create more apps for the Windows Store. The Surface Laptop is available for preorder now and ships June 15th.
OpenStudio – Business Management All-In-One
We all need a service that makes business easier, right? Managing your team, your finances, your documents, and your customers can be an arduous juggle. There are a few services out there that help businesses manage all of this. But have you heard of OpenStudio? No? Well, allow us to make a proper introduction.
OpenStudio helps you centralize all the applications and services you may need in order to run a business.
Some of the top features offered by OpenStudio are necessary in order to run a business but haven’t necessarily been rolled into one package. Things like IT Protocol/Document Management create a shared workspace to save your important documents for future consultation.
Or perhaps you may find the Permissions and Authorization Management feature useful. You can decide which permissions and applications every member can access.
OpenStudio offers the following services:
- Content Management
- Task Management
- Document Management
- File Sharing
There are other similar services, but none of them are as neatly packaged and formatted as OpenStudio. Running a business doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need should be at your fingertips. A custom environment to manage your team, your finance, your documents, and your customers? Sign us up.
Archbee Is Here To Centralize Your Company Data
If you could describe Archbee in two words they would be: “documentation specialist.”
Founded in 2018 with $1 million in funding. Archbee is a knowledge base platform for technical teams to create, structure, and share documentation internally and to customers.
The software provides a set of customized tools for software developers. This enables everyone in the business to organize key information and intelligence in a single hub. That’s a benefit of colleagues and customers, both present and future.
In an interview with Forbes, founder and CEO of Archbee, Dragos Bulugean stated:
“We are talking about the knowledge that makes your business what it is. Archbee is meant to be the one-stop-shop for the documentation needs of software companies.”
“Businesses are in a rush to create products, launch them faster, and be the first to market. An important part of creating a product is its catalog or index – in essence, the ‘how to’ guide.’”
“It is this often neglected task that Archbee is making it easier to create. It is not just a product manul but a central knowledge base and the true front of knowledge which is making an impact on commercial metrics – helping improve onboarding time for customers, reducing the number of support tickets and, importantly, making the products understood by users.”
“We’re focused on helping any company that builds software to create collaborative spaces which are accessible to all and easy to use.”
This long-awaited platform offers editing, document collaboration, Slack integration, file storage, and other related services. These features, in turn, enable engineers to disseminate real-time information about planning on their construction team.
When you have a software as innovative as Archbee, it frees time up for developers and engineers. That way they’re able to spend more time in “deep-work” mode and solve more challenging problems that require full attention.
In short, with Archbee, you can centralize all of your information in one place.
Meet The World With Memrise
All over the world, around 60-75% of people speak at least one language. People who speak more than one language report improved memory, problem-solving, critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, and more. So, if you speak more than one language, you essentially have an improved brain. If you want to join this crowd, Memrise may be the most effective option out there.
“One of the things that had kind of caught my attention was that psychology around how we learn languages.”
Ben Whatley, Co-Founder and CPO of Memrise, learned French the way most of us learn a second language. We’re given the rules of the language, the grammar, how to speak properly. But there’s a flaw in that approach.
“I would go to France and I couldn’t speak a word. I wanted to understand why that was.
“That was a light bulb moment.”
The way we’re taught language is from the left brain perspective as opposed to the right. The left brain involves analytics, reading, and writing. The right brain involves creativity. If you need a metaphor to help you out, the left brain is the uptight, brilliant nerd and the right brain is the hippie-dippie artist.
Whenever you’re learning a language, you may often hear that the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in it. If you’re learning Spanish, spend a month in Mexico City. If you’re learning Japanese, take a trip to Tokyo. And so on. The grammatical approach to learning language has its value, but it’s the colloquial experience that truly helps imprint
Whatley and fellow Oxford classmate, Ed Cooke, founded Memrise in 2010. Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory, had combined his skills with Whatley’s observations and ideas. They conceived of a new method of language learning. One more in line with immersion than grammar.
“We’ve been gradually and daringly evolving the product to bring more and more of the richness of real-world content into the course of our ongoing experience.”
“In 2016, we did a tour around Europe on a double-decker bus to collect a video dictionary of all the European languages.
“Tens of thousands of short videos of native speakers [speaking] in context.”
While other language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel have computerized voices, Memrise has actual recorded voices.
“That kind of got baked into our core algorithm – namely naturalistic accents, idioms, phrases as they’re spoken in the real world, not sort of in the kind of academic sense, but a kind of multi-dimensional learning.” – Cooke
“Most everyone really wants when they’re learning a language is they’re learning it to connect with other people, to be able to read what other people mean and to be able to express themselves to other people.” – Whatley
Speaking Spanish to your teacher versus speaking to a coworker is notably different. Your teacher will have you say “poco” to mean “little” when your coworker will make fun of you for sounding too proper. Memrise would teach you that “poquito” is the casual way to say “little.”
Memrise is disrupting the academic dominance of language learning by focusing more on practice than technique. How many native English speakers do you know that speak perfectly grammatical English?
Let’s take “you all.” In the south, you’ll here “ya’ll.” But in Pittsburgh, you’ll hear “yinz.” Do you think ESL teachers are noting things like that? Probably not. Memrise, however, does focus on this more casual ways of speaking because they have a stronger understanding of how the human brain functions and how we communicate with one another.
One interesting feature you’ll find with Memrise but not any other language learning app are Zoom conversations. These are free rooms where you can hop in and speak, say, Spanish with other people. Instead of traveling to Mexico City to immerse yourself in the Spanish language, you can log into Zoom and speak it with other speakers.
“It’s live person to person – it’s not a lesson. It is just about trying to use whatever language skills you’ve got in your in your bag. Just try and get it out there and use it, because that’s what happens when you are actually in a country.” – Whatley
“The aspiration is to make it as fun as being in the country.” – Cooke
It’s never too late to learn a language. The pleasure of learning and speaking a new language is immeasurably rewarding. As Memrise says on their site, “learn and language and meet the word.”