How to Monitor VM Memory Pressure with PowerShell

In a previous article, I gave you an introduction to using performance counters with Hyper-V and PowerShell. Of course you can use performance counters to manage all sorts of things, but personally, memory is the most critical. Even though I’m running Hyper-V in a non-production setting and don’t have access to massive server farms and back-end storage, the concepts that I am discussing will still apply to those instances. So even though this article is going to look specifically at Dynamic Memory counters, you might need something else. I encourage you, as with all of my content, to look at the techniques and concepts and not focus entirely on the end result.

Finding Instances

I am running Hyper-V on my Windows 10 box and will be querying the local computer. But there’s no reason this won’t work with a remote Hyper-V server. Although I have not tested anything with Window Server 2019. To keep the code re-usable I’ll define a variable for the Hyper-V host. You naturally will set it to whatever you need.

I want to check for counter instances on a single virtual machine. In the previous article, I talked about getting counter data from instances so I’m going to use a regular expression pattern to retrieve the instances associated with a given VM.

This is what I get.

Dynamic Memory perfomance counters

I can pass this array of counters to the Get-Counter cmdlet.

Getting counter data

There are a few more but you get the idea.

Monitoring Performance Counters

One of the nice features in Get-Counter is that you can watch a given set of counters. I will trust that you will read full cmdlet help and examples. But I can run this command to collect 10 samples of the specified counters, taking a reading every 2 seconds.

Don’t get too gung-ho on your sampling interval.

The PowerShell output is far from user-friendly. You might want to save all the output into a variable or export to an XML file. Don’t use CSV. Or, let’s have PowerShell format the results into something a bit more manageable.

This is much easier to read.

Formatted performance counters in PowerShell

Or send it to Out-Gridview.

PowerShell performance counters in Out-Gridview

Of course, none of this is actual monitoring. Here’s a code sample that achieves the same result as my earlier snippet: 10 samples at a 2-second interval.

In this example, I am using the PowerShell console window as a monitoring tool. The performance data is written to the console with a refresh every 2 seconds.

Another option is to use my ConvertTo-WPFGrid function which is part of my PSScriptTools module which you can install from the PowerShell Gallery. With this command, I can display the performance counter data in a graphical form that will automatically refresh itself. Here’s a complete code snippet.

When run I get something like this:

Display performance counters in a WPF form

My code snippet is getting 5 samples every 10 seconds. You could also use a Do Loop or other techniques to achieve the same effect.

Fine-Tuned Performance Gathering

Before I wrap up for today let me leave you with some techniques for fine-tuning the capture of performance counter data.  Let’s say that I am interested in the Pressure counters for a single virtual machine. I can fine tune the regular expression pattern to retrieve just those performance counter instances.

Getting a subset of performance counters

Using this as the foundation and with some additional regular expression voodoo, I can build a little bit of monitoring code for a single virtual machine.

Finding the right dimensions takes a little bit of experimentation.

Memory Pressure Performance Data

Next time I’ll wrap up this series on Hyper-V performance counters in PowerShell with a technique I think you’ll find intriguing.

If you’re having problems with your PowerShell scripts use this guide to troubleshoot, diagnose problems and solve your PowerShell woes.

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Author: Jeffery Hicks

The Twins Challenge: Office 365 crushes Office 2019 – Microsoft 365 Blog

Here’s a question I get a lot: What’s the difference between Office 2019 and Office 365? Aren’t they the same?

Well—actually, no.

In fact, while they have similar names, there’s a world of difference between the two. Office 365 includes fully installed Office applications—including the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. And these apps keep getting better over time, with new capabilities delivered every month. Most importantly, Office 365 is connected to the cloud, so you can access your content from any device, coauthor with anyone in real-time (regardless of whether or not they’ve purchased a copy of Office), and use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to create more impactful content with less effort.

On the flipside, Office 2019 also delivers full installs of the Office apps we know and love—but they’re “frozen in time.” They don’t ever get updated with new features, and they’re not cloud-connected. Also, Office 2019 doesn’t support real-time coauthoring across apps, and it doesn’t have the amazing AI-powered capabilities that come with Office 365.

To test our claim that Office 365 can save you time and make work easy (and fun!), we did something unprecedented: We pitted our own software suites—Office 2019 and Office 365—against each other in a head-to-head showdown. We challenged three sets of twins to complete the same tasks in both versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and filmed them along the way.

Want to get to know Office 365?

I think the results speak for themselves; visit the Twins Challenge website for ideas about how to start maximizing your time while creating your best work. AI-infused features—like Ideas in Excel and PowerPoint, Excel Data Types, Ink to Text, and more—will transform your productivity.

If you don’t have Office 365, we have a trial offer for one free month, so you can test it out before committing. We love Office 365, and we think you will too.

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Author: Steve Clarke

Userful taps partners to manage digital signage systems

Userful Corp., a Calgary, Alta., company that provides cloud and on-premises AV-over-IP offerings for managing digital signage systems and other displays, has introduced a channel-oriented pricing structure, along with a new partner portal.

The channel program expansion follows Userful’s recent launch of a visual networking platform architecture that the company said centrally manages all video and visual communication across an organization.

The new platform helps partners take a different sales approach with customers, said Kevin Dillon, vice president of global channels and alliances at Userful.

Dillon said traditional audiovisual (AV) systems operated as silos within an enterprise. For example, a company might separately install an AV system in a control room for security monitoring, deploy digital signage systems on the factory floor to deliver supply chain information and provide a display system for an executive dashboard.

Userful software, however, lets enterprises manage the full range of their digital assets, tapping IP-based networks as the common infrastructure.

Kevin Dillon, vice president, channels and alliances, UserfulKevin Dillon

“With the partners and especially the integrators, we can now elevate the conversation to a strategic discussion with enterprise customers about how they are going to go about managing all of their digital assets,” Dillion said.

AV applications have historically run on their own networks. But, now, the larger companies want to put those applications on a converged AV-over-IP network, noted John Marshall, CEO of Userful. “It’s just leveraging the networking backbone of the enterprise as it stands today,” he said.

To attract partners to its visual networking platform, Userful has revamped its pricing. In the past, the company offered an on-premises server that could be configured in multiple ways, which led to a complicated pricing schedule.

John Marshall, CEO at UserfulJohn Marshall

Userful now offers small, medium and large on-premises server options, as well as a software license based on the feature sets needed for a given use case. A cloud licensing option is available for customers who prefer to run Userful software in the cloud, rather than on an in-house server.

The company has also deployed a partner portal that the company said supports training, communications and deal registration.

With the partners and especially the integrators, we can now elevate the conversation to a strategic discussion with enterprise customers about how they are going to go about managing all of their digital assets.
Kevin Dillonvice president of global channels and alliances at Userful

Userful, meanwhile, seeks to build relationships with the top 50 North American AV partners and also plans to work with large global systems integrators, such as Tech Mahindra and World Wide Technology.

Userful also partners with digital signage systems companies. For instance, Userful is introducing its uClient app, which eliminates the hardware usually required to display content, on LG’s webOS Signage platform. The arrangement enables digital signage displays for video walls and dashboards, among other applications, according to Userful.

Dillon said Userful partners, depending on their focus, can provide a range of services around Userful’s technology. Those services include installation, support, content creation management and professional services. In addition, partners can perform remote diagnostics using Userful software and the company’s central management GUI. Partners can also integrate their management tools with the Userful platform, using the company’s open API.

Dashboard screenshot
An enterprise dashboard deployed with Userful technology

Kaseya rolls out Unitrends Xtra program

A new channel program from Kaseya aims to give resellers an onramp to recurring revenue streams.

The Xtra partner program targets value-added resellers (VARs) of Kaseya’s Unitrends backup and disaster recovery suite. Kaseya said the program offers higher margins on Unitrends sales, as well as recurring revenue opportunities when Unitrends customers buy additional products from Kaseya’s IT infrastructure management platform, IT Complete. The bulk of IT Complete products are subscription-based, Kaseya said.

Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya, based in New York, said the vendor found the “vast majority of our customers that bought Unitrends … bought two times what they spent on Unitrends on other components of IT Complete within the first 12 months.”

In most cases, he said, the customer buys IT Complete products directly from Kaseya, without a partner facilitating the sale. However, under the new Xtra program, Kaseya will now “compensate the VAR for any dime of revenue that [a] customer purchases of IT Complete, regardless if the VAR touched it or sold it … for the lifetime of that [customer] relationship,” he said.

In addition to vendor’s flagship Kaseya VSA remote monitoring and management (RMM) software, the IT Complete platform includes products for network management, IT documentation, cloud-to-cloud backup and compliance management.

Voccola noted that the Xtra program, while aimed at VARs, has appeal for managed services providers (MSPs), as well. Many MSPs derive a portion of their overall revenue from infrastructure consulting and reselling in the midsize business market, he said.

Cybersecurity vendors target channel

AttackIQ Inc., CrowdStrike Inc. and JASK all made channel partner moves this week.

AttackIQ, a continuous security validation specialist based in San Diego, unveiled its Accelerate Channel Program and adopted a 100%-channel sales model. The program is geared to service providers such as MSPs, managed security service providers (MSSPs) and systems integrators; value-added resellers; and security consultants.

Program features include discounts for registered opportunities, market development funds, lead sharing, joint selling with AttackIQ sales and sales engineering teams, and pre-sales and post-sales technical assistance.

CrowdStrike, a cloud-based endpoint protection provider based in Sunnyvale, Calif., launched a tiered program that the company said offers reseller partners additional revenue streams through partner-provided services. The CrowdStrike program’s new tiers include Associate, Resell Focus, Resell Elite and Partner Security Service.

And JASK, a company with offices in San Francisco and Austin, Texas, that offers an autonomous security operations center platform, launched its JASK Momentum global partner program. The program offers rebates, an MSSP program, and technical sales and training certifications. JASK launched its first partner program, JASK Answers for Channel Partners, in February 2018.

The company also entered a partnership with Dark Rhino Security, a management consulting firm. Under the arrangement, JASK will serve as the security information and event management solution provider for Dark Rhino’s DRS Shield Foundation.

More 2019 predictions

Digital transformation could help drive a global IT industry growth rate as high as 6.4% in 2019.

That’s the rosiest projection for IT expansion offered in CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2019 report. CompTIA’s midrange forecast for industry growth is 4%, while its low-end projection is 1.5%. The 1.5% projection takes into account the possibility of an economic slowdown “exacerbated by international trade turmoil,” according to CompTIA.

Expectations for the U.S. market are in line with the global projection, the industry association said.

Another forecast comes from Synechron, a financial services consulting and technology services provider based in New York. The company outlined the top trends it expects to witness in the financial services technology sector in 2019.

A Synechron report, “Digital Strategies and Transformation 2019: Methodologies and Practical Approaches,” projected four financial services priorities this year: digital business ecosystems, technology-led transformation, data as a horizontal and culture transformation.

Other news

  • HP Inc. expanded the HP Partner First program with an accelerator for its display and accessories portfolio. According to HP, the Display and Accessories Accelerator doubles partner benefits and incentives on commercial displays and accessories SKUs. The accelerator is open to U.S.-based HP Platinum- and Gold-level PC partners, the vendor said.
  • RMM vendor Pulseway introduced a toolkit to help MSPs with marketing. The MSP Toolkit offers a growing library of marketing resources and tutorials, as well as customizable digital marketing campaigns, Pulseway said. Pulseway users can access the MSP Toolkit via the RMM tool’s interface. According a survey of Pulseway’s customer base, seven out of 10 MSPs cited lead and demand generation as a challenge. Additionally, six out 10 MSPs use an outmoded lead-generation model, Pulseway said.
  • MSP software firm Datto unveiled the latest version of its remote monitoring and management platform, Datto RMM. Datto RMM 6.5 bolsters cybersecurity and remote endpoint software patch management capabilities, the company said.
  • Green House Data, an IT managed services provider based in Cheyenne, Wyo., said it has unified Infront Consulting Group with Green House Data under a single brand. The companies announced a merger in May 2018.
  • Encryption vendor Fortanix named Tammy Schuring as its senior vice president of worldwide sales and field operations. Schuring joins Fortanix from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, where she served as worldwide vice president of sales and field operations for data security. Fortanix this week also revealed it raised $23 million in a funding round led by Intel Capital. A Fortanix spokesperson said the funds will be used, in part, to expand the Fortanix Partner Program, which launched in January 2018.
  • The Google Cloud Partner Program has added Dell Boomi to its partner roster. Dell Boomi said its Dell Boomi for Google Cloud offering is now available.
  • Unified Office Inc., an MSP focused on business communications services, said it has extended its Total Connect Now Dental Management Suite service offering to include a Virtual Communications Console. The console integrates with dental practice management software solutions.
  • Anexinet Corp., a digital business solutions provider based in Philadelphia, debuted Office 365 Migration and Office 365 Data Security Kickstart programs. The migration program provides customers a roadmap to convert Exchange, Lotus Notes and other legacy platforms, while the security program assesses Office 365 environments, determines appropriate security settings and reviews applicable security requirements and standards.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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Keep your devices and data safe using these simple security best practices | Windows Experience Blog

Ransomware, botnets and phishing scams were at an all-time high in 2018 and attackers are taking every opportunity to steal data for their own gain. In 2018 alone, Microsoft found that “More than 75 percent of phishing mails include malicious URLs to phishing sites. Other variations include malicious phishing attachments and links in attachments.” But there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself – including using the tips below and keeping proactive security features, like Windows 10 in S mode, Windows Defender Antivirus protection and auto-updates, turned on.
Our customers’ security is of the utmost importance to Microsoft and we’ve designed our solutions to enable productivity while providing a secure, streamlined experience.
Use Microsoft 365 to help protect your devices and data, and follow these easy best practices:

Beware of phishing scams. Don’t risk clicking on unfamiliar links, and carefully review notifications from banks to track potential damage to your accounts. Personalized emails that appear to be from a credit company can suggest an urgent need to act. If the email and link look the slightest bit suspicious, open a new window (don’t click the link), and go directly to the website or call the main phone number to check your status.
Always have a backup. To better safeguard your files, use a cloud storage source like Microsoft’s OneDrive to back-up and protect your data against ransomware attacks. Microsoft follows a set of guidelines, requirements and processes for delivering rigorous levels of secure engineering, legal and compliance support for its cloud services.
Be careful when using insecure Wi-Fi networks. Research has found that one in five consumers make online purchases over insecure Wi-Fi networks. If you are using public Wi-Fi networks, make sure your connection is encrypted and secure by looking out for the “lock” icon in the top left of the address bar and always double check that the address you are navigating to is what you expected. Many modern devices, like the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS (Windows on Snapdragon), now feature LTE built-in, which – when enabled with a data plan – offers a more secure experience for your online habits.
Don’t rely on passwords alone. When possible, always use multi-factor authentication like the Microsoft Authenticator app for managing your Manage Service Account logins and Windows Hello for easy and secure sign-in to your Windows 10 device. They enable biometric authentications like your face/fingerprint to quickly and safely log in across devices, apps and browsers without you having to remember passwords. Did you know that with a Microsoft Account, you can securely and automatically sign-in to other Microsoft cloud-based applications including Bing, MSN, Cortana, Outlook.com, Xbox Live (PC only), Microsoft Store and Office?
Keep software current. Run a modern operating system, like Windows 10, with the latest security and feature updates, in tandem with built-in anti-virus protection, such as Windows Defender Antivirus.
Use privacy screens to stop “shoulder surfing.” Use devices with integrated privacy screens like the button you can find on the HP EliteBook x360 and HP Spectre x360 keyboards that instantly makes your screen private, so those sitting near you cannot see it. If your device doesn’t come with one built-in, check out the Microsoft Store to purchase one.

Learn more about Microsoft Security and follow/share these easy tips to keep your devices and data safe.

For Sale – Mac Mini (Late 2014) – 1.4GHZ – 4GB – 500GB

Good Afternoon!

After having a little clear out, I’ve got two Mac Minis which are no longer needed… They were in a small office, but have been sat on a shelf since we upgraded a couple of months ago! £220 each including delivery.

They are both 1.4GHZ – 4GB – 500GB, and in mint condition (fully boxed).

Will be sent via courier.

Price and currency: 220
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BACS
Location: Hampshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

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Available today: Latest Surface devices launch in over 20 more markets around the world | Microsoft Devices Blog

Today, we’re excited to bring the latest Surface devices – Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Studio 2 – to more customers around the world and to announce that Surface Headphones will be available in eight new markets beginning in March.

It’s been an exciting start to the year for Surface. In January, Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2 and Surface Headphones launched across Asia for our customers in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. Last week we showed strong momentum for the business when we announced Q2 results. Surface revenue increased 39 percent, with its biggest quarter ever, as our new devices clearly resonated with customers across commercial and consumer segments.
And today we’re thrilled to launch Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Studio 2 in over 20 additional markets as well as announce that Surface Headphones will launch in eight new markets next month.

These devices add to our growing family of Surface products, giving our customers the ability to choose a device that will fit their own personal style and adapt to their needs. The addition of the new matte black finish for Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 brings a sophisticated elegance to the Surface line-up. Every Surface brings to life innovations across hardware, Windows, Office and AI to empower people all around the globe to do more, achieve more and dream more.
Surface Headphones launch in eight new markets

Beginning in March, Surface Headphones will launch in eight new markets: Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland. Built to complete the Surface experience, Surface Headphones are designed to help get you in your flow, no matter where you are. Whether you’re working on a train, sitting in a coffee shop or in an open office environment, Surface Headphones let you control what sounds you tune in or out with the intuitive dials on each ear that control volume and 13 levels of noise cancellation. With up to 15 hours of battery life*, Surface Headphones can follow you throughout your day. Surface Headphones pair nicely with any Bluetooth-enabled device, allowing you to move seamlessly across multiple devices.
Customers are what bring Surface to life
We build Surface products to empower people, all around the globe. Whether you’re an architect designing a new building, a student entering college, or a frontline worker working outside of a traditional office, the teams that are building Surface across hardware and software work tirelessly to create experiences that will help push our customers forward. Nothing inspires our teams more than seeing the incredible things our customers do with our products. With Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2 and Surface Headphones becoming available to more customers around the world, we can’t wait to see the amazing things they do.
*Battery life varies with usage and settings

Garage Externs from MIT partner with The Met to spark global connections to art using AI – Microsoft Garage

To help celebrate the second anniversary of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Open Access Program, The Met teamed up with Microsoft engineers and MIT students and faculty to imagine new ways in which their encyclopedic collection could be explored by global audiences.

The Met, MIT, and Microsoft collaborate at December 2018 hackathon at The Garage at NERD
Chris Hoder speaking at December 2018 hackathon with The Met, MIT, and Microsoft

The collaboration started with a 2-day hackathon in December 2018 at The Garage in Microsoft’s New England Research and Development (NERD) center. Microsoft researchers and creative technologists along with students and faculty from MIT’s Open Learning and Knowledge Futures Group worked alongside a group of curatorial and digital department participants from The Met. At the hackathon, The Met provided a pre-release of their “subject keywords” dataset. The new dataset contains keywords about depicted subject matter and provides a new pathway into the museum’s collection.

Collaborators from MIT included Matthew Ritchie, the Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology and computational neuroscientist Sarah Schwettmann from the Brain + Cognitive Sciences, Knowledge Futures Group. Participants leveraged Microsoft’s AI technologies and built custom models with Azure Machine Learning to parse, explore, and create prototype experiences. At the heart of these multifaceted experiments is something Ritchie, a contemporary artist, explained so simply: “Machine learning makes it possible to begin visualizing the diversity and complexity of artistic creation.”

On February 4th at a private event hosted at The Met, teams revealed five concepts from the hackathon brought to life as prototypes that connect and inspire a global audience using art and AI.

Gen Studio frontpage screenshot
Gen Studio website experience

One experience showcased is Gen Studio, a project based on sophisticated generative adversarial networks (GANs) which allow users to explore, search, and even be immersed within the latent space between art pieces.

Generist Maps, a component of the Gen Studio project, enables users to visually and creatively navigate the shared features and dimensions underlying 5,000+ years of human creation represented in The Met’s collection.

“It’s an interactive map-like model showing how each piece of art relates – in both linear and unexpected ways – based on corresponding datasets and attributes like country, material, and keywords.” Mark Hamilton, software engineer at NERD for cognitive services and co-manager of the project brought his deep learning research and applied AI background to the collaboration. In exploring the connections amongst different art pieces, the spaces between is where users can discover dreamlike images created by the AI. “Each space corresponds to a full painting the network dreams up so you can take two paintings and discover what’s between the space of those paintings. It’s the researcher’s job to figure out what’s going on in the network’s brain – and now you the user can explore the network as an artist in this map-concept.” The project enlists the help of multiple Azure tools including Azure Kubernetes Services, Azure Cognitive Services, and Azure App Services.

Hamilton, alongside Microsoft colleague and program manager, Chris Hoder, mentored five MIT students who built a working prototype during their MIT externship with The Garage at NERD for the entire month of January.

“It’s been fun to work with everyone to get everything up and running, we’ve moved very quickly to take ideas and implement them in hours instead of weeks.” Hoder has been involved with The Garage at NERD since its  opening last year and managing this collaborative project since the December hackathon event. “The prototype we built is such an intriguing and interesting experience that I’ve found myself getting lost in and playing in it for hours.”

Screenshot of Generist Maps website experience
Generist Maps website experience

Generative Explorations, the second component of the project, is a searchable web experience that uses Azure Search with MML Spark to make it easy to find specific art pieces. “We take all of The Met’s data and add searchable fields so you can query based on properties like tags and medium.” Alonso Salas Infante, sophomore at MIT interested in cyber security, was on point for the search experience. “In some cultures, the artist of the art piece doesn’t matter, so, many pieces did not have authors. There are also differing labels. We had to find a balance between how much information we should make available to the user and what we shouldn’t for the best experience.”

For some of The Garage externs, working with machine learning was a new experience. Elaine Zhang, junior at MIT, explained how the externship was her crash-course on neural networks and deep learning algorithms. “Getting thrown headfirst into ML has been challenging but so rewarding. We didn’t know what project we’d be working on prior to accepting the externship, so this was a very cool project I did not expect.” Zhang focused her efforts on the GAN, inputting data into the machine learning model to fine-tune the results.

Photo of MIT externs at The Garage sitting on a staircase
MIT externs at The Garage. Left to right, top to bottom: Chris Templeman, Maria Guirguis, Mark Hamilton, Chris Hoder, Linda Thackeray, Alonso Salas Infante, Gillian Belton, Darius Bopp, Diana Nguyen, Elaine Zhang

Studying computer science at MIT and interested in game design and product development, Darius Bopp was responsible for much of the front-end including building the website infrastructure. “I took a class on web development last semester so I’m pretty new to it. That’s where Chris [Hoder] helped me a lot, and the community here has been really supportive. Learning the project workflow from Microsoft’s point of view was great and this is the first project I’ve worked on where the stakeholder wasn’t in the same room as me. We had a lot of autonomy in our day-to-day work.”

Gillian Belton, senior at MIT, drove the visual map-like exploration piece of the app. “The biggest reward for me was dealing with all the things on the back-end, setting up remote computers, using Azure. There’s been three or four different frameworks I’ve never seen before. Now I’m able to go in and feel confident working with all these things. It made me realize I could pick up almost anything and do it.”

Diana Nguyen, a junior at MIT, previously interned with The Garage and worked on an exploratory HoloLens concept that was more under wraps. “I’m really happy to see something I worked on getting into the hands of potential customers and being shown at such a public venue. Seeing how these technologies can be applied here with art, has made me realize machine learning is something I would be interested to work on more.” Nguyen’s focus was integrating the backend ML with the website and deploying models on Azure, ensuring the site could call these models to create more images.

Though currently still in the prototyping phase, the larger goal is to eventually release Generist Maps and Generative Explorations publicly and open-source much of the nuts and bolts of the project so developers can use the APIs in their own apps.

Though Microsoft Garage has internship opportunities in many worldwide locations, the New England location sits in a unique area with an incredibly vibrant STEM ecosystem and student population. So much so, that more organizations from all over are reaching out to partner on hacking opportunities with not only Microsoft engineers, but students who bring fresh perspectives to tough problems. The MIT externship program is a lot like The Garage internship, students can explore the industry they are interested in working in, but a key difference is how long externships last – approximately 4 weeks rather than an entire semester. “Though Microsoft has been participating in externships for a while, this is only the second year that we have brought externs into The Garage.” Maria Guirguis, Garage Software Developer, engineer, and the industry sponsor of the January MIT externs, provided guidance and helped the students settle into their new digs at NERD.

Collage of paintings generated by the network
Collage of paintings generated by the network

“Definitely one of the most fun experiences in my time at Microsoft.” Mark Hamilton shares. “I think The Garage really understands the importance of trying something, going out on a limb, it’s been a great space to work in. And you know software development doesn’t have to be a monolithic thing. All you really need is a few passionate people and interesting content to work with.” Hamilton grew up in New York and visited The Met on numerous occasions. “It was amazing to be able to see behind the scenes. The people we worked with at The Met were very open and excited about this opportunity. And the externs never cease to amaze me with how fast they can pick things up and hit the ground running.”

Having all the right tools helps, as Chris Hoder explains. “This collaboration shows what you can do today with Azure and AI without needing a depth of data science and expertise. Azure and our AI tools can make it easier to apply this kind of technology to any project.”

Linda Thackeray, Director of The Garage, is excited to cultivate more partnerships both within and outside of Microsoft. “Having Mark and Chris embedded with the extern team and working so closely – they’re literally right down the hall – has been fantastic. It was meant to be. And we’re excited to see what comes next.”

Learn more about The Met, MIT and Microsoft hackathon and other projects.

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Author: Steve Clarke

IBM, CTA: Apprenticeships key to bridging IT skills gap

Apprenticeships are common in many trades, but not in the IT sector. But organizations, such as IBM and the Consumer Technology Association, think there is opportunity to use apprenticeships to address the so-called IT skills gap.

As companies have increased their dependency on software and require more IT support, there is a corresponding increase in demand and competition for a limited pool of skilled IT staff. Code.org estimates that there are nearly 500,000 computing jobs open right now, yet only about 50,000 computer science graduates entered the workforce last year.

Meanwhile, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) estimates that there will be more than one million unfilled U.S. tech jobs by 2024, which includes an estimated 800,000 looming IT worker retirements.

To shrink the IT skills gap, the industry must create technology career pathways and build a lasting pipeline to grow the workforce over the long term, said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, in Downers Grove, Ill.

IBM, CTA iron out plan for ‘new collar’ jobs

At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in early January, IBM and Consumer Technology Association (CTA) launched the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition, a collection of 18 companies across 20 states that hopes to create thousands of IT apprenticeships. IBM has pledged to provide at least 450 apprenticeships over the next five years. Members of the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition include Bosch, Canon U.S.A., Ford Motor Company, SoftBank Robotics, Sprint, Toyota and Walmart.

The coalition’s model comes from the IBM apprenticeship program, which the company launched in 2017, according to Jennifer Taylor, vice president of U.S. Jobs at CTA, who heads up the coalition effort.

IBM created 15 different types of apprenticeships across software engineering, data science and analytics, cybersecurity, mainframe system administration, creative design and program management.

Working together with IBM and sharing IBM’s playbook … member companies are going to come out of the gate a little faster, which means more jobs being made available faster.
Jennifer Taylorvice president of U.S. Jobs, CTA

Big Blue needed more talent to create and maintain its vast line of IT products, as well as work in its services business. The apprenticeship program is part of IBM’s New Collar jobs initiative that waive a four-year college degree requirement and seeks to train and hire skilled workers faster.

IBM approached CTA to offer its apprenticeship approach and assets, and share them with other CTA members, Taylor said.

“Working together with IBM and sharing IBM’s playbook … member companies are going to come out of the gate a little faster, which means more jobs being made available faster,” she said.

Programs such as the IBM-CTA model can help both employers and employees, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, in Hayward, Calif. First, they offer an avenue to obtain training in areas people are passionate about, and that could secure their financial and professional futures. Second, the programs should help address the IT skills gap and expand the workforce in areas of need for enterprise IT and consumer electronics vendors.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty unveils the CTA apprenticeship coalition
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty launches the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition at the CES show in January 2019.

IBM filling software development needs

Like so many companies that face the IT skills gap, IBM particularly wanted software engineering and application development talent, so its first cohort of apprentices focuses on software engineering. To date IBM has brought in more than 180 apprentices, said Kelli Jordan, talent leader for IBM’s New Collar Initiative.

Apprentices must prove competency in a variety of skills related to their chosen specialty. For a developer, these skills could include private cloud, hybrid cloud, front-end development, back-end development, DevOps and more.

IBM projects that each apprenticeship should take about one year to complete, and even longer for more complex roles in mainframes (about 18 months) and data science (about two years), Jordan said. IBM was expected to enroll its first class of data science apprentices by the end of January 2019.

Ages range from 18 to 59 and are recruited from IBM’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, community colleges, veterans groups and people looking to change careers to find apprenticeships.

A software engineering apprentice

Ryan Reed, an IBM software engineer apprentice in Research Triangle Park, N.C., is a former firefighter and paramedic who left the field after job-related injuries and surgeries took a toll. However, a passion for technology since high school and a desire to learn made him jump at the IBM apprenticeship opportunity, and he feels right at home.

Now, five months into the program, he evenly splits his time learning and working on software development projects — one of which is a Node.js project with Angular on the front end and another is an Angular front end with Go server on the back end, he said. If he gets stuck or wants to learn something new like TypeScript, he can access any of the IBM online resources or simply ask one of the IBM pros for help, he said.

“I loved firefighting, but I love this just as much as I liked going into the station every day,” Reed said.

The program’s diversity also is part of its appeal, as CTA believes that an increasingly diverse workplace drives more innovation. Another benefit to the program? Apprentices don’t take on debt as they might if they take on a college degree. Here, they earn a salary.

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For Sale – Mac Mini (Late 2014) – 1.4GHZ – 4GB – 500GB

Good Afternoon!

After having a little clear out, I’ve got two Mac Minis which are no longer needed… They were in a small office, but have been sat on a shelf since we upgraded a couple of months ago! £220 each including delivery.

They are both 1.4GHZ – 4GB – 500GB, and in mint condition (fully boxed).

Will be sent via courier.

Price and currency: 220
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BACS
Location: Hampshire
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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