I am shocked at how quickly Microsoft updates have turned into a tire fire. From Ars Technica: Now it’s Office’s turn to have a load of patches pulled. “On November’s Patch Tuesday two weeks ago, Microsoft released a bunch of updates for Office to update its Japanese calendars. In December 2017, Emperor Akihito announced that he would abdicate and that his son Naruhito would take his role as emperor. Each emperor has a corresponding era name, and calendars must be updated to reflect that new name. The Office patches offer updates to handle this event. Two of these updates, KB2863821 and KB4461522, both for Office 2010, are apparently very broken, causing application crashes.”
BetaNews: Microsoft Office is now available for all Chromebooks . “A key piece of software that has been missing from Chromebooks is now available to everyone — Microsoft Office. Microsoft has made its office suite available for a range of platforms over the years, but Chromebook support has been notable by its absence. Now, without announcement from the company, this changes.”
The Hacker News: Russian ‘Fancy Bear’ Hackers Using (Unpatched) Microsoft Office DDE Exploit. “Cybercriminals, including state-sponsored hackers, have started actively exploiting a newly discovered Microsoft Office vulnerability that Microsoft does not consider as a security issue and has already denied to patch it. Last month, we reported how hackers could leverage a built-in feature of Microsoft Office feature, called Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), to perform code execution on the targeted device without requiring Macros enabled or memory corruption.”
eWeek: Microsoft Uses AI to Tighten Word’s Translation Tool in Office Update. “Thanks to Microsoft’s accelerated software release cadence, Word now features an improved built-in translation tool that can help users make sense out of documents from their overseas colleagues.”
MakeUseOf: The Best Free PDF Tools for Offices Running Windows or Mac. “While all-in-one PDF suites that can do everything exist, they can cost quite a bit. For example, Nitro Pro is $160, PDF Studio is $90, and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC will set you back $15 per month. If you’d rather not pay a single cent, then we have some good and bad news for you. The good news? Free PDF tools abound and many of them deliver acceptable results. The bad news? You’ll have to collect several different tools and assemble your own ‘PDF suite’ a la carte (if you want the very best results).”
PC World: The best free Microsoft Office alternatives of 2017. “Microsoft Office is the king of office productivity suites, but it doesn’t inspire warm, fuzzy feelings in all users. Parsing the ever-expanding list of features—many of which you’ll never use—can feel like stepping into a cockpit without a pilot’s license. The ribbon interface, introduced a decade ago, has many fans, but others pine for the static menus of the early aughts. And then there’s Office’s hefty price tag. Fortunately, alternatives abound, ranging from web apps to freemium and open source desktop installations, many of which are compatible with Microsoft Office docs.”
BetaNews: Want to switch from Windows 10 to Linux? Download Zorin OS 12.2 with Microsoft Office support. “If you want to switch to Linux, there is no shortage of operating systems based on the kernel. With that said, many of them aren’t very user friendly. If you have lived your life using Windows, it is wise to choose a Linux distro that caters to your habits and expectations. One such operating system with a very inviting user interface is Zorin OS, and today, version 12.2 sees release. If you have been on the fence regarding Linux, now might be your time.” I used Zorin at work a lot because it was the most friendly distro for those used to Windows XP. I recommend it, with the disclaimer that this is not paid advertising/shilling and the Zorin people probably have no idea who I am.