Saturday, 22 Jan 2022

Whatever next? Microsoft Word gets woke new feature to help users avoid offensive terms

Rishi Sunak ‘planning to bid for leadership’ says Paul Embery

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The tech giant’s feature scans a user’s work and identifies language which might cause offence. It does so by highlighting phrases focusing on gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity or “socioeconomic status”, according to The Sun.

A purple line appears beneath words or phrases which could be a problem, though the function can be turned off.

Word’s new function will bring up alternatives it deems more acceptable, including changing Postman Pat to mail carrier or postal worker.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous line on being the first man to step onto the surface of the moon, “One giant leap for mankind”, results in alternatives including humankind and humanity.

Microsoft Word has traditionally offered tools to its 250 million users such as checking for errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar.

It comes as a recent poll found Microsoft ranked as one of the most trusted big tech companies in the US with 43 percent of those taking part saying they trust the company a great deal.

The new software also follows reports earlier this month that the year 2000 computer programming flaw known as the Millennium bug had returned, with Microsoft Exchange users reporting similar problems accessing emails 22 years later.

The issue hit exchange servers worldwide and began as clocks struck midnight on New Year’s Eve.

System administrators at Microsoft dubbed the glitch Y2K22 in reference to the Y2K bug.

Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it has stopped manufacturing all Xbox One consoles to focus on producing its next-generation consoles.

Cindy Walker, senior director of Xbox Console Product Marketing, told Reuters: “To focus on production of Xbox Series X|S, we stopped production for all Xbox One consoles by the end of 2020.”

Microsoft originally discontinued its Xbox One X and digital Xbox One S ahead of its Xbox Series X launch in 2020.

The software giant had launched two models of its Xbox Series X in November 2020, seven years after the debut of the previous version, to capture a pandemic-driven boom in consumer spending on games.

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Reuters reports that several industries around the world are bearing the brunt of an unprecedented shortage in semiconductor microchips, causing delays in delivery for several products.

Electrical retail giant Currys’ trading update issued on Friday, describes its performance over the Christmas period as resilient against a softer market.

Alex Baldock, Group Chief Executive, said: “The technology market was challenging this Christmas, with uneven customer demand and supply disruption.

“Customer demand for some tech was strong. This was a gamers’ Christmas, the year that virtual reality broke into the mainstream and when consoles flew off the shelves. Oculus Quest 2 and PS5 were stars.”

Currys said its outlook assumes no further significant disruption from COVID-19 with pre-tax profits of about £155 million expected.

There was welcome news for the economy as an Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate shows Britain’s gross domestic product grew by 0.9 percent in November, above its pre-pandemic level for the first time.

According to the ONS, services, production and construction output all increased between October and November by 0.7 percent, one percent and 3.5 percent respectively.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “It’s amazing to see the size of the economy back to pre-pandemic levels in November – a testament to the grit and determination of the British people.

“The government is continuing to support the economy, including through grants, loans and tax reliefs for businesses, and our Plan for Jobs is ensuring people up and down the country have fantastic opportunities.

“We all have a vital part to play to protect lives and jobs, and I urge everyone to do theirs by getting boosted as soon as you can.”

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