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Briefly: Free Office for students; Sony's mirrorless Alpha;

Big name computer companies like Microsoft and Apple have run educational discount schemes for more than a generation. They charge students and teachers less for their products hoping they'll be hooked on the tools long before they enter the paid workforce. At this point the scheme pays off because the steady flow of new, tech savvy, workers will influence their employer's technology choices.

Now Microsoft has taken the idea to a new level. The company will now give students a free Office 365 ProPlus subscription when their schools or other educational institutions licence Office for all their staff.

It's a big deal. Microsoft New Zealand managing director Paul Muckleston says more than a million students will be eligible. And as he points out, it will do a lot to help disadvantaged students get access to the tools - that's something that will help prepare them for the workforce.

Office 365 ProPlus is Microsoft's name for the subscription version of the desktop Office software. It includes the full suite of applications, students will be able to install the software on up to five devices each. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath and Access are all included. Windows PC users get the lot, Mac owners have a reduced set of applications.

First full-frame mirrorless cameras from Sony


Sony's New Zealand office squeezed out a press release last night just as the company took the wraps of its amazing Alpha A7 mirrorless camera models to international media. There are two models, the 7 and 7R along with a new $1900 RX10 zoom camera in the company's Cyber-shot line.

Sony says the mirrorless models are the world's smallest full-frame interchangeable-lens cameras.

They come a range of imaging features, including Sony's Bionz X processor, fast autofocus and an XGA OLED viewfinder. The cameras handle full HD 60p video recording and come with Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

Both are made of magnesium alloy and built to withstand dust, moisture and tough weather conditions.

New Zealand prices for the mirrorless range are:

A7r body: around $2999

A7 body: around $2399

A7 body with 28-70mm lens: around $2699

35mm Zeiss lens: around $1299

55mm Zeiss lens: around $1699

24-70mm Zeiss lens: around $1899

Lens adaptor: around $499


  • Later than expected, the Apache Software Foundation finally pushed Hadoop 2.0 out the door yesterday. Strictly speaking the new release is Hadoop 2.2.0 and by all accounts it is a leap forward for managing big data collections. Apache's official statement says: “The project’s latest release marks a major milestone more than four years in the making, and has achieved the level of stability and enterprise-readiness to earn the general availability designation".

  • Meet other IT business owners at the Auckland ICT War stories from the ICT trenches event on October 31. Ian Miller from Nutshell, Luigi Cappel from SoLoMo consulting and Kevin Andreassend ICE AV will be speaking. The idea is to hear first hand accounts of life at the sharp end of the technology business and then discuss matters over a drink.

  • Another meet-up opportunity for Aucklanders at Ryan Ashton's A few quite yarns where a couple of hundred IT industry people catch up for informal drinks at a city centre bar. The next event is on November 7 at Bungalow 8 at Viaduct Harbour.


[digitl 2013]

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