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PL-400 Microsoft Power Platform Developer

Exam ID : PL-400
Exam Name : Microsoft Power Platform Developer

Candidates for this exam design, develop, secure, and troubleshoot Power Platform solutions. Candidates implement components of a solution, including application enhancements, custom user experience, system integrations, data conversions, custom process automation, and custom visualizations.

Candidates must have strong applied knowledge of Power Platform services, including in-depth understanding of capabilities, boundaries, and constraints. Candidates should have a basic understanding of DevOps practices for Power Platform.

Candidates should have development experience that includes Power Platform services, JavaScript, JSON, TypeScript, C#, HTML, .NET, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, RESTful web services, ASP.NET, and Microsoft Power BI.

Create a technical design (10-15%)
Configure Common Data Service (15-20%)
Create and configure Power Apps (15-20%)
Configure business process automation (5-10%)
Extend the user experience (10-15%)
Extend the platform (15-20%)
Develop integrations (5-10%)

Create a technical design (10-15%)
Validate requirements and design technical architecture
 design and validate the technical architecture for a solution
 design authentication and authorization strategy
 determine whether you can meet requirements with out-of-the-box functionality
 determine when to use Logic Apps versus Power Automate flows
 determine when to use serverless computing, plug-ins, or Power Automate
 determine when to build a virtual entity data source provider and when to use connectors
Design solution components
 design a data model
 design Power Apps reusable components
 design custom connectors
 design server-side components
Describe Power Platform extensibility points
 describe Power Virtual Agents extensibility points including Bot Framework skills and Power Automate flows
 describe Power BI extensibility points including Power BI APIs, custom visuals, and embedding Power BI apps in websites and other applications
 describe Power Apps portal extensibility points including CRUD APIs and custom styling
Configure Common Data Service (15-20%)
Configure security to support development
 troubleshoot operational security issues
 create or update security roles and field-level security profiles
 configure business units and teams
Implement entities and fields
 configure entity and entity options
 configure fields
 configure relationships and types of behaviors
Implement application lifecycle management (ALM)
 create solutions and manage solution components
 import and export solutions
 manage solution dependencies
 create a package for deployment
 automate deployments
 implement source control for projects including solutions and code assets
Create and configure Power Apps (15-20%)
Create model-driven apps
 configure a model-driven app
 configure forms
 configure views
 configure visualizations
Create canvas apps
 create and configure a canvas app
 implement complex formulas to manage control events and properties
 analyze app usage by using App Insights
 build reusable component libraries
Manage and troubleshoot apps
 troubleshoot app issues by using Monitor and other browser-based debugging tools
 interpret results from App Checker and Solution Checker
 identify and resolve connector and API errors
 optimize app performance including pre-loading data and query delegation
Configure business process automation (5-10%)
Configure Power Automate
 create and configure a flow
 configure steps to use Common Data Service connector actions and triggers
 implement complex expressions in flow steps
 implement error handling
 troubleshoot flows by analyzing JSON responses from connectors
Implement processes
 create and configure business process flows
 create and configure business rules
 create, manage, and interact with business process flows by using server-side and clientside code
 troubleshoot processes
Extend the user experience (10-15%)
Apply business logic using client scripting
 create JavaScript or Typescript code that targets the XRM API
 register an event handler
 create client-side scripts that target the Common Data Service Web API
Create a Power Apps Component Framework (PCF) component
 describe the PCF component lifecycle
 initialize a new PCF component
 configure a PCF component manifest
 implement the component interfaces
 package, deploy, and consume the component
 configure and use PCF Device, Utility, and WebAPI features
 test and debug PCF components by using the local test harness
Create a command button function
 create the command function
 design command button rules and actions
 edit the command bar by using the Ribbon Workbench
 manage dependencies between JavaScript libraries
Extend the platform (15-20%)
Create a plug-in
 describe the plug-in execution pipeline
 design and develop a plug-in
 debug and troubleshoot a plug-in
 implement business logic by using pre and post images
 perform operations on data by using the Organization service API
 optimize plug-in performance
 register custom assemblies by using the Plug-in Registration Tool
 develop a plug-in that targets a custom action message
Create custom connectors
 create a definition for the API
 configure API security
 use policy templates to modify connector behavior at runtime
 expose Azure Functions as custom connectors
 create custom connectors for public APIs by using Postman
Use platform APIs
 interact with data and processes by using the Common Data Service Web API or the
Organization Service
 implement API limit retry policies
 optimize for performance, concurrency, transactions, and batching
 query the Discovery service to discover the URL and other information for an organization
 perform entity metadata operations with the Web API
 perform authentication by using OAuth
Process workloads
 process long-running operations by using Azure Functions
 configure scheduled and event-driven function triggers in Azure Functions
 authenticate to the Power Platform by using managed identities
Develop Integrations (5-10%)
Publish and consume events
 publish an event by using the API
 publish an event by using the Plug-in Registration Tool
 register service endpoints including webhooks, Azure Service Bus, and Azure Event Hub
 implement a Common Data Service listener for an Azure solution
 create an Azure Function that interacts with Power Platform
Implement data synchronization
 configure entity change tracking
 read entity change records by using platform APIs
 create and use alternate keys
Microsoft Power Platform Developer
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Microsoft Power Platform Developer
Question: 73
You are developing an app for a sales team to record contact details in their Common Data Service (CDS) database.
The app must handle loss of network and save the data to CDS when reconnected.
The main screen of the app has a form to collect contact data and a button.
The OnSelect property for the button has the following expression:
For each of the following statements, select Yes if the statement is true. Otherwise, select No. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
Box 1: Yes
LoadData and SaveData combine to form a simple mechanism to store small amounts of data on a local device. By
using these functions, you can add simple offline capabilities to your app.
Box 2: No
Box 3: No
Box 4: Yes
Question: 74
You need to identify the execution mode that is being used for the ISV solution reported by User5.
Which type of execution mode is in use?
A. asynchronous
B. atomicity
C. transfer
D. synchronous
Answer: D
User5 receives the error message: Endpoint unavailable during a test of the technician dispatch ISV solution.
When you choose to use a synchronous execution mode any failure will be reported back to the user of the application
with an Endpoint unavailable error dialog informing the user that the webhook service endpoint may be configured
incorrectly or is not available.
Question: 75
You need to ensure that users can create the required charts.
Which two actions should you perform? Each correct answer presents part of the solution. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
A. Create a quick view form to show the Accounts entity.
B. Configure filter fields in the Annual revenue field.
C. Add the Facility field to the account form.
D. Delete the Annual revenue field from the account form.
E. Create a view with annual revenue sorted lowest value to highest value.
Answer: B,C
Pharmacy orders must be displayed in four graphs as follows:
Annual revenue over $100,000
Annual revenues under $100,000
Research facilities
The graphs must be interactive, and users must be able to drill down on any dimension.
Question: 76
You need to assign security roles to groups of users.
Which security roles should you use? To answer, drag the appropriate security types to the correct roles. Each security
type may be used once, more than once, or not at all. You may need to drag the split bar between panes or scroll to
view content. NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
Graphical user interface, text, application
Description automatically generated
Scenario: The company identifies the following job roles:
You must grant users the minimum permissions required to perform their job tasks.
Intern: Environment Maker
Environment Maker: Can create new resources associated with an environment, including apps, connections, custom
APIs, gateways, and flows using Microsoft Power Automate. However, this role doesnt have any privileges to access
data within an environment.
Manager: System Administrator:
System Administrator: Has full permission to customize or administer the environment, including creating, modifying,
and assigning security roles. Can view all data in the environment.
Sales representative: Common Data Service User
Basic User/ Common Data Service User: Read (self), Create (self), Write (self), Delete (self)
Can run an app within the environment and perform common tasks for the records that they own.
Question: 77
You need to modify the Power Automate flow to resolve CustomerCs issue.
What should you do?
A. Add a configure run that is set to is successful.
B. Add a data operation that specifies the false conditions.
C. Add a condition containing approval hierarchy.
D. Add a timeout setting to the approval flow.
Answer: C
Scenario: CustomerC requested additional information from the parts department through the customer survey and has
not received a response one week later.
Question: 78
You are training a group of makers to use Power Automate.
You have the following expressions:
You need to identify what each expression is doing.
What does each expression do? To answer, select the appropriate options in the answer area. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
Description automatically generated
Box 1: Return the statuscode at runtime.
You could try the following method to get the status code.
Configure Compose action under the specified action to get the status code. outputs(ActionName)[statusCode]
Box 2: Return all the results from all actions from MyScope
The @result() expression accepts the name of a Scope as a parameter and returns a JSON array of objects that
represent the results of the execution of each action within the Scope.
Question: 79
Note: This question is part of a series of questions that present the same scenario. Each question in the series contains
a unique solution that might meet the stated goals. Some question sets might have more than once correct solution,
while others might not have a correct solution.
After you answer a question in this section, you will NOT be able to return to it. As a result, these questions will not
appear in the review screen.
You are designing a one-way integration from the Common Data Service to another system.
You must use an Azure Function to update the other system. The integration must send only newly created records to
the other system. The solution must support scenarios where a component of the integration is unavailable for more
than a few seconds to avoid data loss.
You need to design the integration solution.
Solution: Register a webhook in the Common Data Service that connects to the Azure Function. Register a step on the
webhook which runs synchronously on the records Create message and in the post-operation stage.
Does the solution meet the goal?
A. Yes
B. No
Answer: B
Instead use asynchronous communication.
Question: 80
You need to reduce response time for the information email on the website.
What should you create?
A. A flow that create a notification in Microsoft Teams
B. A power Apps app that displays the number of emails received in a dashboard
C. A flow that creates a SharePoint item for each email response
D. Logic app that moves all emails received to Azure Blob storage.
Answer: A
Customers report that the response time from the information email listed on the Adventure Works Cycles website is
greater than five days.
Microsoft Teams is used for all collaboration.
Question: 81
Note: This question is part of a series of questions that present the same scenario. Each question in the series contains
a unique solution that might meet the stated goals. Some question sets might have more than one correct solution,
while others might not have a correct solution.
After you answer a question in this section, you will NOT be able to return to it. As a result, these questions will not
appear in the review screen.
An organization has an Azure SQL Database instance that must be synchronized daily with data from Dynamics 365
Sales. A large amount of data might need to be synchronized on some days.
You need to reduce the time required to synchronize data.
Enable change tracking for entities that will be synchronized.
Use the Data Export Service to sync data between the database and Dynamics 365 Sales.
Does the solution meet the goal?
A. Yes
B. No
Answer: A
Large organizations that synchronize their data with external data sources can now enable entities for change tracking.
You can export or retrieve a selected set of data, and then keep the external data warehouse in sync.
The Data Export Service is an add-on service made available on Microsoft AppSource that adds the ability to replicate
data from Common Data Service database to an Azure SQL Database store in a customer-owned Azure subscription.
The Data Export Service intelligently synchronizes the entire data initially and thereafter synchronizes on a continuous
basis as changes occur (delta changes) in the system.
You can use the Data Export Service with model-driven apps in Dynamics 365, such as Dynamics 365 Sales and
Dynamics 365 Customer Service.
Question: 82
You are developing a Power Platform solution. You plan to add three buttons to a form.
The buttons have the following requirements:
You need to complete each buttons action.
Which commands should you use? To answer, select the appropriate options in the answer area. NOTE: Each correct
selection is worth one point.
Box 1: Now() only.
The Now function returns the current date and time as a date/time value.
Box 2: Switch() or IF()
If and Switch functions in Power Apps determines whether any condition in a set is true (If) or the result of a formula
matches any value in a set (Switch) and then returns a result or executes an action.
Box 3: isMatch( TextInput1.Text,"emergency",Contains & IgnoreCase )
Example: IsMatch( TextInput1.Text, "hello", Contains & IgnoreCase )
Tests whether the users input contains the word "hello" (case insensitive).
Question: 83
An international organization has a series of client-server applications that manage red light cameras and traffic
violations across a wide geographic region. The daily volume of traffic violations is very high and growing.
You plan to use Microsoft Power Platform apps to manage the following types of data:
Existing vehicle licensing data must be imported into Common Data Service and easily queried.
Red light camera images must be stored in a repository for later analysis.
Information about traffic violations must be stored and related to vehicle details.
You need to select data storage mechanisms for the new apps.
Which data storage mechanisms should you use? To answer, drag the appropriate data storage mechanisms to the
correct data types. Each storage mechanism may be used once, more than once, or not at all. You may need to drag the
split bar between panes or scroll to view content. NOTE: Each correct selection is worth one point.
Question: 84
You need to configure the trigger for the priority field in the Account entity.
Which expression should you use?
C. ADDWEEKS(1, CreatedOn)
D. DIFFINDAYS(Createdon, now())
E. ADDDAYS(10, CreatedOn)
Answer: C
A trigger must be created that changes the Priority field to 1 in the Account record 10 days after an Account record is
Date.AddWeeks returns the date, datetime, or datetimezone result from adding numberOfWeeks weeks to the datetime
value dateTime.
CreatedOn gets the value to store in the history table indicating when this entry was created.
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Microsoft wants to make cybersecurity a team effort. 

 The company wants to patent tech that detects when a device that's part of a network is on the fritz. This tech uses what Microsoft calls a "hive-mind approach" to detect a dysfunctional device, analyzing the behavioral information of neighboring devices in the network to tell if one is doing anything out of the ordinary.

Essentially, devices in a network are in charge of keeping each other in check. If neighboring devices pick up that one device in a network isn't "alive, active, and reporting" its behavior information (a.k.a telemetry data that determines if a device is working properly), they will relay this information to the system. Based on one or multiple reports, the device is marked as abnormal, and is investigated further. 

Devices may be dysfunctional for several reasons, Microsoft noted, including hardware failures, misconfigured or tampered-with software, and malicious attacks. The company's patent filing also outlines "anomaly detection logic," which uses machine learning to differentiate between malicious and non-malicious abnormal behavior. 

Traditional monitoring methods, which rely on teams to monitor device behavior by looking just at reported data, are "prone to error when a device is alive but stops reporting on its status and health." 

"Conventional approaches for identifying abnormal or potentially harmful behavior within an enterprise network remain deficient," Microsoft noted. 

If Microsoft's patent activity is any indication, the company is very interested in getting security right. The company has sought patents for cloud tenant cyberattack preventionremote biometric authentication and even computer vision-based airport security technologies

A lot of Microsoft's security-related patents have to do with keeping one very important thing safe: its cloud network. Makes sense, right? Microsoft Azure boasts thousands of personal and commercial clients, including 95% of Fortune 500 companies. Cyberattacks, specifically related to major companies, could deeply damage customer trust in Azure, potentially driving them to competitors like Google Cloud or AWS. 

That said, Azure has suffered a number of vulnerabilities over the years. In August 2021, researchers discovered a flaw in an Azure database which had left the data of thousands of customers exposed for around two years. And in January, a cybersecurity firm discovered four more vulnerabilities which posed a risk of exposure. While all of these have since been patched, Microsoft may be keen on avoiding these missteps in the future. 

Cloud computing represents a massive moneymaker for Microsoft. In the most exact quarter, the company's Intelligent Cloud unit brought in $22.1 billion, up 16% year over year. Within this, Azure and other cloud services saw a 27% bump in revenue growth compared to the previous year's quarter. Overall, its cloud business made up more than 40% of its sales for the quarter. 

Cloud security is all the more crucial as the data needed for rapid AI development relies on massive cloud capacity. With competitors like Amazon and Google in the space, getting it right could be a determining factor in who remains ahead in the AI arms race. 

Have any comments, tips or suggestions? Drop us a line! Email at or shoot us a DM on Twitter @patentdrop. If you want to get Patent Drop in your inbox, click here to subscribe.

Mon, 05 Jun 2023 06:00:14 -0500 en-US text/html
Microsoft vets lead secretive education startup using generative AI to help students learn Maximal Learning co-founders Eran Megiddo (left) and Liviu Asnash. (Maximal Learning Photos) © Provided by Geekwire Maximal Learning co-founders Eran Megiddo (left) and Liviu Asnash. (Maximal Learning Photos)

Two decades after selling their startup to Microsoft, Eran Megiddo and Liviu Asnash are going back to their entrepreneurial roots.

The longtime Microsoft leaders are the co-founders of Maximal Learning, a new Seattle startup that just raised a $5.7 million seed round.

Maximal is using the latest advances in generative AI technology to provide students personalized instruction that can cater to different learning styles.

“The ability to understand the learner and their intent, and then personalize a response to them — at this level, it’s never been possible before,” Megiddo said.

Megiddo was most recently a corporate vice president at Microsoft. He and Asnash spent more than 21 years at the tech giant, working on the company’s flagship products and also leading education efforts.

Their startup is targeting all age groups, including K-12 and higher education. It has a research partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Education. “It’s a pattern that we followed when developing tools at Microsoft and is critical to ensure learning outcomes,” Megiddo said.

Megiddo didn’t divulge many more details about the product, as the company is still in stealth mode.

The hype around generative AI is already impacting education and learning. Schools are grappling with the use of tools like ChatGPT. Language learning apps such as Duolingo are integrating the tech into their products.

Speaking at an event last month, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said AI will eventually “be as good a tutor as any human ever could.”

“Seeing the magic that the software can now perform, particularly for reading and writing, but within the next 18 months for math as well … I am really quite optimistic that the field of education will improve,” Gates said.

Megiddo was Microsoft’s corporate vice president of education from 2015 to 2022. Asnash led groups that developed education analytics software.

“Microsoft is doing phenomenal things,” Megiddo said. Leaving to launch a startup is about “spending 100% of our effort and time focused on this one thing,” he said.

The co-founders are both originally from Israel. They previously worked on two startups together, including analytics software maker Maximal Innovative Intelligence, which Microsoft acquired in 2001.

Seattle-area venture capital firm Trilogy Equity Partners led the seed round. Other investors include Seattle’s Pioneer Square Labs; Honeystone Ventures, based in the Bay Area; GSV Ventures, another Silicon Valley firm that backed Coursera and Guild; and Owl Ventures, one of the largest edtech investors.

“We think Eran and Liviu are the perfect team to take advantage of the new powerful capabilities of generative models to finally be able to provide truly personalized learning at scale,” said Yuval Neeman, managing director at Trilogy.

Austin Beutner, former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District and former L.A. Times publisher, is another investor.

Megiddo and Asnash are the company’s only employees. The startup will use the fresh cash to hire engineers and designers.

Wed, 31 May 2023 02:13:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Microsoft Word, Excel, and Teams are all coming to Apple’s new Vision Pro headset Word, Excel, and Teams on the Apple Vision Pro. © Image: Apple Word, Excel, and Teams on the Apple Vision Pro.

Apple has just announced its new $3,499 Vision Pro augmented reality headset, and Microsoft is ready to bring its Word, Excel, and Microsoft Teams apps to Apple’s new platform.

Apple briefly demonstrated Excel, Word, and Teams running inside the Vision Pro headset, with a user interface that can be controlled with your eyes. Microsoft appears to be using a similar simplified ribbon interface that’s available on its existing web versions of Excel and Word.

While Apple didn’t demonstrate too much of the Teams interface, it did reveal that Microsoft will be supporting its 3D personas. These digital personas are built using machine learning techniques to recreate your face virtually. Zoom and Webex will also support these 3D personas on the Apple Vision Pro headset.

Alongside Microsoft’s support for the Apple Vision Pro, Unity apps will also run natively on the headset. That should mean we’ll see plenty of games on Apple’s new AR headset once it’s available early next year. Adobe is also bringing Lightroom to the Apple Vision Pro so you can control the photo editing app with just your eyes and hands.

It’s not surprising to see Microsoft quick to support Apple’s AR efforts, even after it has tried to make AR a thing for years with HoloLens. The software giant has a history of bringing Office to Apple’s latest hardware, including being part of Apple’s announcement for its M1 silicon and quickly launching Office on M1 Macs. Microsoft has also partnered closely with Meta to bring Teams, Office, Windows, and Xbox to Quest VR headsets.

Mon, 05 Jun 2023 11:21:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Microsoft Edge 114 Arrives with Workspaces

Microsoft Edge 114

Microsoft released version 114 of its Edge web browser last night with the new Workspaces feature for businesses.

“Microsoft Edge Workspaces provides a way for customers to organize their browsing tasks into dedicated windows,” the Microsoft Learn website notes of this release. “Edge Workspaces lets users share a set of browser tabs so working groups can view the same websites and latest working files in one place and stay on the same page. Each Edge Workspace contains its own set of tabs and favorites, all created and curated by the user and their collaborators. Edge Workspaces are automatically saved and kept up to date.”

Workspaces appears to be the only new feature, and it requires an Azure Active Directory (AAD) account, or what Microsoft calls a Work or School account, with a OneDrive for Business license.

I had expected Edge 114 to also deliver the new Edge user experience, but it’s not enabled and only some of it works using flags. (You can search for “rejuv” and “rounded” to see the available options, but from what I can tell, only the rounded tabs feature works.) Likewise, the ability to pin the Edge sidebar to the side of the Windows desktop doesn’t appear to be offered in this version either.

Sat, 03 Jun 2023 04:55:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Use Microsoft Office 365 for free!

Jun. 1—RUSHVILLE — Microsoft 365 is available as both a free and paid subscription-based service that provides access to the latest versions of the Microsoft Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. It also includes several other cloud-based services like OneDrive, Teams, and OneNote.

To use the free version Microsoft 365, all you need is a Microsoft account such as Hotmail or Outlook. With the free version of Office 365, Microsoft provides 5 gigabytes of cloud-based storage (OneDrive) for files, photos, and other uses.

This free version of Microsoft Office is cloud-based (which means you don't have to install any software on your computer), so this version of Office will run on any type of computer (Windows, Mac or Chromebook). If you don't have an internet-ready computer, The Open Resource has free refurbished Chromebook laptops available if you attend their monthly Chromebook Workshop thanks to a grant from the Rush County Community Foundation.

The free version of Microsoft 365 is a great option for individuals and businesses of all sizes, as it provides a comprehensive set of tools that can help you be more productive and collaborative. It is also a good choice for anyone who wants to use the latest version of Microsoft Office.

There are many reasons why you should learn Office 365. Here are a few of the most important ones:

Office 365 is widely used in the workplace and is the most popular productivity suite in the world. It is used by businesses of all sizes. This means that if you learn to use Office 365, you will be able to use the same tools that your colleagues and clients use.

It is versatile and powerful. Office 365 includes a wide range of applications that can be used for a variety of tasks, from word processing and spreadsheet creation to email and presentation creation. This makes it a valuable tool for both personal and professional use.

It is constantly being updated. Microsoft is constantly adding new features and functionality to Office 365, which means that you can be sure that you are always using the latest and greatest tools.

It is easy to learn. Office 365 is designed to be user-friendly, even for people who are not familiar with computers. This means that you can learn how to use it quickly and easily.

If you are looking for a powerful and versatile productivity suite that is widely used in the workplace, then Office 365 is the perfect choice for you. Learning how to use Office 365 can help you to Strengthen your productivity, collaborate more effectively with others, and may be help you to enhance your job prospects by making you a more marketable candidate.

Many employers now require their employees to have proficiency in Office 365, so learning these skills can provide you a competitive edge in the job market.

If you want to learn more about Office 365, stop by The Open Resource and talk to a Digital Navigator or attend one of the Office 365 workshops.

The Open Resource's free June refurbished Chromebook laptop workshop are from 5 to 6:30 p.m. June 5 at 103 N. Main Street in Rushville. To register, leave your name and phone number on their workshop registration voice mail at 765-251-8048.

This community service is supported by a grant from The Rush County Community Foundation to promote digital inclusion. — Information provided

Thu, 01 Jun 2023 12:56:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Thousands report problems with Microsoft’s Outlook email platform

WASHINGTON — Thousands of Microsoft Outlook users reported issues with accessing and using the email platform Monday morning.

Microsoft 365 outage and problem reports peaked at almost 18,000 shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, according to outage tracker Downdetector. Reports have appeared to significantly decline since then.

Most of the reports expressed issues with Outlook. Many users of Microsoft’s emailing platform shared frustration on social media, with some noting they were unable to sign into or load their accounts.

The company said that it was “investigating an issue with accessing Outlook on the web” in a Twitter thread posted on its Microsoft 365 Status account – and added that a “downstream impact” was also identified for Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Microsoft 365 Status later said it had reverted an update and saw an improvement in service – soon confirming recovery for affected services.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press on Monday afternoon, Microsoft said it had “resolved an issue preventing users from accessing some of our services.”

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Mon, 05 Jun 2023 08:35:00 -0500 text/html
Microsoft Honors Captioning Software Maker Ava With ‘Special Recognition’ At Microsoft Store App Awards

Late last month, Microsoft’s Alexandre Chohfi wrote a post for the Windows blog in which the Redmond-based tech titan honored a slew of winners in this year’s Microsoft Store App Awards. One particularly noteworthy honoree was the team at Ava, makers of the AI-based captioning software for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

Ava uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to provide the Deaf community real-time captions for videoconferencing and other scenarios. The company claims its tech has “99% accuracy.”

“We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2023 Microsoft Store App Awards! This year, we’re excited to recognize apps and developers within two award groups: the Microsoft Store Community Choice Awards, with apps nominated by the community, and the Microsoft Store Editor’s Choice Awards, recognized by Microsoft,” Chohfi said in the post’s introduction. “We were amazed by the overwhelming number of nominations for the Community Choice Awards. It is absolutely energizing for us to see our community flourishing, and that is reflected in your interest in the Microsoft Store.”

Ava, who has seen coverage in this space in the past, was specially recognized by Microsoft for its “unwavering dedication to empowering individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing and ensuring their inclusion with its super user-friendly features and intuitive interface.” Microsoft added it was a “great pleasure” to bestow the award upon Ava.

For its part, Ava itself published a blog post of its own wherein they celebrate the recognition. The company wrote it’s “proud to stand in such good company” alongside former winners in Disney+, Spotify, and others. Looking towards the future, Ava said its commitment to its work in “revolutionizing communication” remains unwavering. As such, its development team looks forward to “enhancing the app’s features and expanding its reach, [including] refining the real-time captioning technology, exploring new platforms, and forging partnerships with organizations that share Ava’s vision of accessibility and inclusion.”

Ava is a Deaf owned-and-operated organization. Its co-founder and chief executive, Thibault Duchemin, is a CODA while chief technology officer Skinner Cheng is Deaf. For his part, Cheng recently sat down with the Deaf academic blog The Mind Hears for an interview in which he recounted first meeting Duchemin and Ava’s origin story.

Fri, 02 Jun 2023 06:46:00 -0500 Steven Aquino en text/html
Get a lifetime license to Microsoft Office, plus your pick of software training courses

Microsoft Office is one of those versatile toolkits that has something to offer for everyone, whether you're in school or at work. If you want to explore how Microsoft Office apps could be useful to you, a lifetime license might take some of the pressure off your budget. There are even beginner to advanced courses showing you how to use some of the hidden features in the Office suite. 

Take a look at some of these offers that all combine a lifetime license for Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2021 for Windows with courses that may help you take full advantage of these apps. Each lifetime license comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, OneNote, Publisher, and Access. Each app can only be installed on one computer, but once it’s there, it’s yours for life — no monthly payments. 

This bundle may provide you a chance to put your lifetime of Microsoft Word to good use. Lauren Lbik is the instructor behind Content Writing Secrets, and she neatly breaks down methods for differentiating your writing and taking advantage of keyword research and SEO tools(opens in a new tab)

Open up OneNote and get ready to start writing, because there's a lot of material in this 25-lesson course; it covers everything from the skills you need to get started to writing and editing your work. If you want to start up a side hustle as a content writer, this bundle could provide you the tools and the training to get started, and it's on sale for $39.99 (reg. $239).

It’s a good thing your lifetime license gives you plenty of time to practice with Excel, because this course package might turn it into your new favorite app. Pivot tables are a data analysis tool(opens in a new tab) used in many industries that work with large amounts of data. This three-hour video course shows you how to create and use pivot tables, as well as how to get your data organized with tools for conditional formatting, reporting, and managing calculations. 

You’ll even get a certificate of completion when you finish the course, which could be useful if you're applying for jobs with a data analysis(opens in a new tab) component. This course is taught by Excel expert Kathryn Tilley. This bundle is only $39.99 (reg. $239).

VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP are fantastic time-saving tools in Excel, but there's definitely a learning curve. These functions automatically find and retrieve information from other areas of your spreadsheets. This Excel course shows you how to use these functions and troubleshoot through common issues. Something as simple as an improperly formatted column could invalidate your VLOOKUP function(opens in a new tab), but this course bundle walks you through the whole process and even gives you rules to follow when using VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP.

All course materials are yours for life when you get this software and learning double feature for $39.99 (reg. $221).

This software and learning bundle gives you the chance to practice with Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint, starting from zero knowledge and working through advanced tools and methods with each app. This learning bundle could be useful if you haven't had many chances to really explore the advanced features on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. Plus, it also gives you some advanced Excel tutorials(opens in a new tab) with lectures on VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP for quick data pulling and conditional formatting.

You may even learn to create animations and videos in PowerPoint, but first you'll have to get the whole bundle for $39.99 (reg. $239).

If you want to try streamlining some of your workflows in the office, this bundle comes with lectures showing you how to use DAX and Power Pivot in Excel(opens in a new tab) to create custom calculations and combine large volumes of data. Study seven hours of content spread over 91 lectures. You also get interactive lessons, project files, quizzes, and homework exercises, as well as one-on-one support from an expert. 

If your job relies on efficient data processing, this bundle could help you save some time. You even get a certificate of completion when you're done, and the whole bundle only costs $49.99 (reg. $229).

Prices subject to change.

Thu, 25 May 2023 22:21:00 -0500 en text/html
Microsoft wants to help Mac users actually enjoy using Windows

Woman using an Apple MacBook

Microsoft has lifted the covers off a new community space for Mac lovers to hang out - so long as they’re using its products on Apple’s hardware.

The new Microsoft Mac Admins promises to be a space for IT professionals to share their knowledge and experience of using Microsoft products, like its office software, on Apple devices. The company reckons the space will be best suited for connecting with similar people, sharing best practices, and learning from experts and peers.

As well as a social space, Microsoft Mac Admins looks to be a place where both seasoned professionals and novices can go to seek advice and guidance.

According to the announcement by Microsoft Intune Senior Product Manager, Arnab Biswas, the launch of the new community space comes in response to feedback collected from product users, including from Intune.

Biswas said: “we wanted to provide a platform where organizations, and specifically the IT community, can showcase their achievements, exchange tips and tricks, and collaborate with other Microsoft 365 or Intune administrators around the world.”

Read more

> These are the best mobile device management (MDM) solutions around

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> Microsoft has fixed the most annoying issue on Outlook for Mac

Anybody with a Microsoft 365 account can join, meaning the space’s reach could extend far beyond enterprises to SMBs, charities, and individuals seeking inspiration and support.

It will be hosted on Microsoft Viva Engage and moderated by members of the Intune product team.

While Redmond is keen to get its customers talking, it’s keen to stress that Microsoft Mac Admins is not a substitute for official support channels, which remain in place.

The small handful of replies to Microsoft’s announcement were largely positive, with a pair asking for Azure AD support for Mac.

Clearly, full Microsoft support for Mac is a long way off yet (and is frankly unlikely to ever happen, given that Microsoft has its own preferred hardware), but the company is taking meaningful steps in the right direction to retain users even as they transition to Apple’s hardware.

Fri, 02 Jun 2023 00:26:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Microsoft and Mitre Collaborating on AI and Machine Learning Security Tools


Microsoft and Mitre Collaborating on AI and Machine Learning Security Tools

Microsoft and Mitre Corp. last week outlined their collaborative efforts to shore up the security of machine learning models and artificial intelligence (AI) platforms.

MITRE is a nonprofit implementer of federally funded research and development centers. It typically works to address U.S. government and cybersecurity concerns.

Microsoft and Mitre Security Tools for AI
The two companies announced that Microsoft's Counterfit red-team AI attack tool, released last year, is now integrated in Mitre's Arsenal plug-in.

Arsenal is a tool that "implements the tactics and techniques defined in the Mitre Atlas framework and has been built off of Microsoft's Counterfit as an automated adversarial attack library," Mitre's announcement explained. The Arsenal plug-in is specifically designed for use by security practitioners who may be lacking in-depth knowledge about AI and machine learning technologies.

Additionally, Microsoft's Counterfit has now been integrated into Mitre's Caldera, which is used to automate red-team attacks using emulated attack profiles.

The two companies also collaborated on MITRE Atlas, which is a knowledge base of attack techniques used against AI systems. Atlas is described by Microsoft as an "ATT&CK-style framework for adversarial machine learning" attacks that is specifically useful for mapping "machine learning supply chain compromise" attacks.

Here's how Mitre described the overall AI security tools collaborations with Microsoft:

Microsoft’s Counterfit is a tool that enables ML researchers to implement a variety of adversarial attacks on AI algorithms. MITRE CALDERA is a platform that enables creation and automation of specific adversary profiles. MITRE ATLAS, which stands for Adversarial Threat Landscape for Artificial-Intelligence Systems, is a knowledge base of adversary tactics, techniques, and case studies for ML systems based on real-world observations, demonstrations from ML red teams and security groups, and the state of the possible from academic research.

Microsoft's AI Red Team and Best Practices
Microsoft, for its part, noted that it has an internal "AI Security Red Team" that has been probing AI and machine learning vulnerabilities, emulating "a range of adversaries, from script kiddies to advanced attackers."

This team has identified common software vulnerabilities as sensitive points for attacks on AI and machine learning systems. The vulnerabilities include "poor encryption in machine learning endpoints, improperly configured machine learning workspaces and environments, and overly broad permissions in the storage accounts containing the machine learning model and training data."

Microsoft's general recommendations to security professionals protecting AI systems is to use model registries and implement "security best practices" for AI systems. Those best practices, described in Microsoft's guidance, include "sandboxing the environment running ML models via containers and machine virtualization, network monitoring, and firewalls." Lastly, Microsoft urged security pros to use Mitre Atlas to understand AI threats and "emulate them using Microsoft Counterfit via MITRE CALDERA."

Microsoft's announcement included links to a bunch of tools and guides concerning AI security. It's "Taxonomy" document for engineers and policymakers is perhaps the best of the bunch for describing things in plain English. For instance, it defines AI attacks such as poisoning, model stealing and reprogramming, among others.

Microsoft also suggested that its AI security efforts will help remove complexity and open up cybersecurity jobs, per this announcement by Charlie Bell, executive vice president for security, compliance, identity and management at Microsoft.

In addition to its Mitre collaboration, Microsoft has also worked with machine learning repository company Hugging Face on building "an AI-specific security scanner."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

Fri, 02 Jun 2023 12:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html

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