Franz – one app to view them all: What’s App, Telegram, Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, GCal etc

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I started using an application called Franz recently to help me view an unwieldy load of messages on several platforms for multiple projects. I had used Adium before but it died in 2017 with macOS High Sierra, I think.

Note that this is a desktop application only. 

I love that Franz includes GCal, because scheduling meetings are critical with working groups, volunteers, committees, and recently, reunions. Technology and a soft, persuasive touch help get busy people together, and switching to a person’s favoured platform helps. After all its to help protect the environment and promote harmony!

Switching between services is a keystroke away – I’ve arranged it as Cmd-1 (What’s App), Cmd-2 (Telegram), Cmd-3 (Facebook Messenger), Cmd-4 (Twitter) etc.  Franz can handle emails too but those are much more scary so I restrict those to mail programs. 

Franz is available on multiple platforms at meetfranz.com. 

Franz is multi-platform

 

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Free exhibition at SBG: “Beneath Tide, Running Forest” – an art and science exploration of Singapore’s marine biodiversity

“Beneath tide, Running forest” is an art and science exploration of Singapore’s marine biodiversity. Curated by Dr. Ruobing Wang, this is a group exhibition by four local artists: Chen Sai Hua Kuan, Shirly Koh, Henry Lee & Wang Ruobing.

Exhibition details: 24 Nov 2018 – 14 Apr 2019: 9:00am – 6:00pm @ Singapore Botanic Gardens: CDL Green Gallery @ SBG Heritage Museum, free entry. For details, visit the NParks webpage.  

Catch artist Henry Lee live in action at the gallery from 2.00pm – 3.00pm on the 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd Dec 2018

ArtScience exhibition

 

Turning off Office Intelligent Services to prevent data access (macOS)

Microsoft Office 365 introduced Office Intelligent Services at least as far back as 2016, These are cloud-enhanced features on the Office applications Word, Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint meant to aid the user. I only noticed this last month, i.e. September 2018, when Office 365 updates on my Macintosh each flashed a window about turning on “Intelligent Services”. I dismissed those but went on to check.

With the Office Intelligent Services option turned on, it appears that document content would be accessed by Microsoft. Even if it is Microsoft policy to not use this data for other purposes, this poses a problem for confidential data. I have kept that data off any cloud service, including the ones provided by NUS. This option, however, circumvents that control of privacy with any Office document.

Happily, Office Intelligent Services can be turned off within the preferences settings of each of the Office applications. Just go to Preferences > Privacy (in earlier versions this is “Security & Privacy”) > unselect Enable services, like so:

Word preferences

Office Intelligent Services

I process student data intermittently, so I keep this option turned off. After checking in on colleagues, a couple of Mac users had this option turned on, without them being aware of having opted in or of its significance. This is a problem, so I’ve suggested to NUS IT that they explain this to users.

It was suggested that I might be prompted every now and then by Office 365 to turn Office Intelligent Services back on. That would be terrible, but it’s been two months since, and not word from the suite!