Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18342 | Windows Experience Blog

Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18342 (19H1) to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.
[UPDATED] PCs with the following chipsets processor model numbers will not receieve this build due to an issue with Connected Standby: Intel64 Family 6 Model 142 and Intel64 Family 6 Model 158. To check to see if your processor falls into these two buckets:
Step 1: Open Device Manager by right-clicking on the Start button on your taskbar.Step 2: Open up the Processors group and right-click on one of the processors listed (you will see multiple for each core of the processor in your PC).Step 3: Click properties and go to the Details tab.Step 4: Choose “Hardware Ids” in the property dropdown. This will give you the model number of your processor.

If you are looking for a complete look at what build is in which Insider ring – head on over to Flight Hub. You can also check out the rest of our documentation here including a complete list of new features and updates that have gone out as part of Insider flights for the current development cycle (which currently is 19H1).

Improving Gaming on Windows 10
Thanks to everyone who signed up to try out our new Windows gaming technology in Build 18334. With today’s new build (Build 18342), we have some fixes that we can’t wait to have folks try out: the game now runs correctly with parental controls enabled, and the install process is more stable (including a fix for the game being stuck in “Pending” instead of downloading).

If you have already tried State of Decay and everything worked: we’d appreciate you uninstalling State of Decay and then trying the install again, to make sure everything still works.
If you have already tried State of Decay and something didn’t work: please try again and see if your issue has been addressed. If not, it would help us a lot if you let us know using the Feedback Hub in Windows (instructions here in this post). Even if you already sent feedback on the issue before, it’s very helpful to know that it’s still happening on a new version of Windows.
If you were not able to get a slot for State of Decay: we’ve opened up more slots now, so just go to the Xbox Insider hub and click Insider content to join. NOTE: we’re still limiting availability as we roll out, so we recommend joining right away. If you miss out this time, don’t worry, we’ll be adding more again soon!
If you are trying State of Decay for the first time: just do the following:

Install the Xbox Insider Hub app on the PC you’ll be flighting on.
Sign in to the Xbox Insider Hub with your Gamertag. If you don’t have a Gamertag, see instructions.
Select Insider Content in the upper left.
Scroll to the bottom and select the Windows Gaming program (in the System section).
Join the program.
Follow the instructions in the previous post, skipping any steps you’ve already completed above.

If you see any problems downloading or installing the game, or if important functionality like game saving isn’t working, please be sure to use the Feedback Hub to tell us. And thank you again for helping us find any issues!
Linux Files inside of File Explorer
We added the ability for users to access Linux files in a WSL distro from Windows. These files can be accessed through the command line, and also Windows apps, like File Explorer, VSCode, etc. can interact with these files. Access your files by navigating to \wsl$, or see a list of running distributions by navigating to \wsl$. You can learn more about this here.

New Chrome Extension for Timeline: We’re pleased to announce an extension that collects activities from your Google Chrome browser and adds them to your Timeline in Windows. You can download the new Web Activity extension now from the Chrome Web Store. Just sign-in to the extension on your Chrome browser with your Microsoft account, visit a site in Chrome, then watch it appear on Timeline – and pick up where you left off. Your Chrome activities will also sync with Timeline on Android devices using the Microsoft Launcher app. Give the new extension a try and let us know what you think in the Feedback Hub. This is just one of many updates inspired by Insiders to make Timeline even better!

The new tamper protection setting in the Windows Security app protects your device by helping to prevent bad actors from tampering with the most important security settings. The setting is now on by default for Insider Preview builds.
We fixed an issue where Windows Sandbox would not start on localized builds.
We’ve done some work to improve error reporting in Windows Sandbox. Now the error dialog includes the error code and a link to the Feedback Hub.
We fixed an issue where Windows Sandbox was unexpectedly throwing an error due to referencing a deleted file under Windows.old.
Windows Sandbox now captures hotkeys in full screen.
Windows Sandbox now supports configuration files! These files allow users to configure some aspects of the sandbox, such as vGPU, networking and shared folders. A blog post to explain this new feature will be available here.
We improved the capabilities of the wsl.exe command line interface, by adding new features such as importing and exporting distros and consolidating existing features from wslconfig.exe, such as listing distros and setting defaults.
We fixed an issue where if the Magnifier was enabled and set to docked mode, machine would crash and reboot on sign-in creating a boot loop.
We fixed an issue resulting in build unable to log into WinRE with an admin account in the last couple of flights.
We fixed an issue where if you unpinned groups from Start, apps might end up thinking their tiles were still pinned.
We fixed an issue resulting in being unable to re-arrange pinned folders in Start’s tile grid.
We fixed an issue where the text explaining the Downloads section of Storage Sense had unexpected characters in it.
We fixed an issue where Settings would sometimes crash when opening “Advanced Display Settings” from Display Settings.
We fixed an issue where after changing an app’s audio endpoint, it might no longer follow master volume changes.
We fixed an issue where it wasn’t possible to add a drive to the list of folders to exclude when setting up Enhanced Search in Settings.
We fixed an issue with the Settings header at certain window sizes where long names might be truncated in the middle, rather than wrapping properly.
We fixed an issue from the previous flight where right-clicking the desktop would bring up a light colored context menu in dark theme.
We fixed an issue impacting Emoji Panel and Clipboard History reliability.
We’ve made another fix to address reports of devices getting stuck with “Hibernating…” text on the screen on resume from hibernate.
We fixed an issue that could cause Windows logon to forget the last logged on user, and instead would display the sign-in prompt for the default user from the list after dismissing the lock screen.
We fixed an issue where an issue where some of the Real-Time Protection options for Malwarebytes Premium are not able to be turned on.
We fixed an issue resulting in Internet Explorer’s menu bar not always appearing if enabled.
We fixed an issue resulting in CDPUserSVC using an unexpectedly large amount of CPU for prolonged periods of time.
We fixed an issue resulting in DWM crashing frequently for some Insiders on the previous flight.
We fixed an issue resulting in certain games recently going into a black screen/not responding state if their resolution was lower than 1920*1080 and the game entered fullscreen.
We fixed an issue resulting in certain games no longer rendering UI updates (appearing visually stuck) after using Alt + Tab to quickly switch away and back to the game.
We fixed an issue resulting in significant video and audio lag when projecting videos from certain devices on recent builds.
We fixed an issue where turning off Location from the Action Center might take multiple clicks to react.
We fixed an issue resulting in single Unicode character insertion failing for IMEs, the touch keyboard, and the Emoji Panel in certain types of edit controls recently.
We fixed an issue resulting in the left and right arrows on the touch keyboard inserting 4 and 6, respectively, in certain languages.
We fixed an issue where newly installed apps might not show up in search results.
We fixed an issue resulting in the Search pane becoming truncated if launched after rotating the device orientation from horizontal to vertical.
We fixed a high impact issue resulting in a decrease in Start reliability in the last couple of flights.
We fixed a recent issue where if you hid the search icon in the taskbar, a number of win32 apps would unexpectedly redraw when opening the Start menu.
We fixed an issue that could result in unexpected flickering if you used pen or touch in certain win32 apps to launch a second instance of the app when in tablet mode.
Have a need to create a file that starts with a dot? File Explorer will now allow you to rename a file to be something like “.gitignore” – previously there would be an error siting that you needed to provide a name.
We fixed an issue resulting in File Explorer potentially hanging when trying to rename, delete, or move MKV files in the previous flight.
We fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders not being able to open Cortana when in Tablet Mode.
We fixed an issue resulting in the taskbar blinking if an AC adapter was attached when the device had less than 20% battery.
We fixed an issue resulting in the taskbar disappearing for a second when dismissing Start/Cortana/Search on a secondary monitor.
We’re updating the name of the “Windows Light” theme to now be “Windows (light)”.
We fixed an issue where Cortana’s icon on secondary monitors wouldn’t update colors after switching between light and dark theme.
We fixed an issue where when using light theme + small icons + a vertical taskbar orientation, text written on the taskbar would stay white and thus wouldn’t be readable.
We fixed an issue that could result in open apps not being shown on the taskbar (but being visible in Alt + Tab).
We fixed an issue resulting in greys having an unexpected slight pinkish/purple-ish tinge on some devices in recent flights.
We fixed an issue that could result in DWM crashing after enabling high contrast.
We fixed an issue in Ease of Access’s Cursor and pointer settings, mouse pointer size and color are now retained on upgrade. There is a remaining issue with mouse pointer showing white color instead of the selected color after signing out and signing back in.
When using the Magnifier with larger pointers, it pans smoothly as the pointers change shape.
We fixed an issue where navigation mode on Orbit display could not be changed.
We fixed an issue where Narrator paused unexpectedly when reading through a PDF.
We fixed an issue where users were unable to join or switch between Windows Insider rings.
We fixed an issue where the Windows Security app may show an unknown status for the Virus & threat protection area, or not refresh properly.

Launching games that use anti-cheat software may trigger a bugcheck (GSOD).
Creative X-Fi sound cards are not functioning properly. We are partnering with Creative to resolve this issue.
While we’ve done some work to improve night light reliability in this build, we’re continuing to investigate issues in this space.
When performing Reset this PC and selecting Keep my files on a device that has Reserved Storage enabled the user will need to initiate an extra reboot to ensure Reserved Storage is working again properly.
Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue.
In Windows Sandbox, if you try to navigate to the Narrator settings, Settings app crashes.
Mouse pointer color might be incorrectly switched to white after signing out and signing back in.
We’re investigating reports of the Chinese version of multiple games not working.

If you install any of the recent builds from the Fast ring and switch to the Slow ring – optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.

We have locked down the inbox apps in 19H1. These simplified versions of some of the inbox apps are what will ship with 19H1 when it is released. As a result, Insiders may have noticed that some features have disappeared from these apps. This was probably most noticeable with the Photos app. Insiders can get these features back by going into the settings of an inbox app like Photos and clicking the “Join preview” button.

The 91st Academy Awards will honor the best films of 2018 this Sunday. Find out everything you need to know before the ceremony with Bing. Check out this year’s nominees in each category, explore all nominated films, check out local showtimes, and even see who Bing predicts will go home with an award. Bing also gives you a red carpet rewind to see the best of Oscars fashion. Looking for something more competitive? Test your knowledge with the Bing Oscars quiz or cast your vote with the Oscar’s ballot.
If you want to be among the first to learn about these Bing features, join our Bing Insider Program.
No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,Dona

What’s in a face? Artificial intelligence deciphers the emotional mysteries of ancient Buddhist statues – Asia News Center

For centuries, the three faces of the Ashura Buddha have looked out from inside the Kofukuji Temple in the ancient Japanese city of Nara. But when devotees and scholars gaze back, what do they see? Or, at least, what do they think they see?

Long and thin with six arms and three heads, the 1,200-year-old masterpiece is both revered as an object of faith and admired as a work of art. It’s even been officially classified as a national treasure. But just as people in the West have long wondered about the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, Ashura’s subtle facial expressions have puzzled people in Japan.

The Kofukuji temple in Nara.

Now researchers have a new way of understanding it and other precious Buddhist statues. By using artificial intelligence (AI) tools, they are unraveling some artistic mysteries.

Take, for instance, the question of whether Ashura is happy or sad. As it turns out, that depends on how you look at the statue. From the right, it appears sadder, and from the left, happier. Also, Ashura’s appearance is that of a 23-year-old, says Professor Syun’ichi Sekine, of Nara University’s Department of Cultural Properties.

Professor Syun’ichi Sekine of the Department of Cultural Properties at Nara University. Credit: Nara University.

For much of last year, Sekine and a team of 18 students analyzed photographic images of more than 200 ancient Buddhist statues, including Ashura, with Azure Cognitive Services’ Face API – an AI tool that is increasingly being used in advertising and entertainment, as well for chatbots.

For the Nara University project, a pre-trained AI system recognized eight types of human expressions: anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, neutral, sadness, and surprise.

With this capability, the researchers were able to sidestep the subjective interpretations of believers and others made over generations and establish what the artists were really trying to convey when they created the statues.

“These Buddhist statues are objects of religious belief. So many Japanese people see different facial expressions according to the mental or emotional state of each worshiper,” Sekine explains.

“We wanted to look at how the statues came to be shaped by their sculptors before they were enshrined in religious surroundings as objects of worship. In other words, we wanted to figure out what the sculptors used as models – the kind of human expressions they used.”

Traditionally, Buddhist statues are not supposed to portray age or emotion, and, except for guardian deities, they are not supposed to have genders. “Their makers were sometimes explicitly told to avoid giving their works any human facial expression or emotional content… embodying the view of Buddha as definitely not being human,” Sekine explains.

According to tradition and belief, the more “indifferent” the face of a Buddha statue looks, the more “perfect” it is. Despite this, scholars believe that the sculptors were often influenced by the tastes and styles of their times as well as the wishes of those who commissioned the statues. For example, joyous expressions were fashionable in one period while angry expressions were favored in another.

As they strove for academic objectivity, the Nara University team were well aware of the sensitivities surrounding their project. It was one reason why they chose AI as a research tool.

A screenshot of the AI system analyzing the facial expressions of the Ashura Buddha. Credit: Nara University.

“Studying this sort of art sometimes requires researchers to judge religious idols. That might mean crossing a line that many believe should not be crossed,” Sekine says. “If people believe it is imprudent for human beings to judge Buddha, then maybe entrusting the process to AI is a way of objectifying such judgments, making them ‘inorganic.’”

The aim of the project was “to provide people with a means for reaffirming the beauty of Buddhism.” And, Sekine believes that new digital technologies will be increasingly used in cultural research.

“Initiatives that combine Buddhism with AI and other present-day technologies are beginning to emerge, albeit, gradually. We think that new approaches to Buddhism through technology are important ways of making Buddhism attractive, particularly to younger generations.”

As a bonus from their research, the team has created a Japanese language website where people can upload facial photos of themselves and have these matched to statues with similar expressions. It’s a way for 21st-century devotees to make personal connections with this ancient art.

ALSO READ: Mixed Reality Museum in Kyoto: A unique insight into centuries-old Japanese artwork

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Author: Steve Clarke

IBM Watson OpenScale: AI control, monitoring for any cloud

SAN FRANCISCO — Understanding how an AI system works — what it does well and stumbles on, and how it can be improved — is important for organizations that want to ensure they are using up-to-date, accurate and nonbiased analytical models.

That’s not always easy. However, machine learning and particularly deep learning models that are ever learning, growing and changing can be difficult to track and manage, particularly without a dedicated data science team.

Over the last few years, a number of software startups, consulting firms and enterprise IT vendors have begun offering products and services that are meant to provide the ability to control AI systems and dig into how they actually work. One such tool, IBM’s Watson OpenScale AI management platform, debuted in the second half of 2018.

Its launch didn’t garner much public attention. Yet, at the tech giant’s flagship Think 2019 conference, held Feb. 12 to 15 at the Moscone Center here, OpenScale was on full display, being touted by big-name users and demoed in numerous locations around the conference.

KPMG and IBM

KPMG, the global professional services firm and member of the “Big 4,” has been partnering with IBM’s Watson OpenScale team for the last few months, and also previously tried out beta and pre-beta versions of the platform.

Recently, KPMG launched AI in Control, an AI management framework designed to enable business leaders not necessarily trained in data science to understand and control their organization’s AI models.

The architecture for the future for a lot of these application sets will be multi-cloud.
Inhi Cho Suhgeneral manager, IBM Watson customer engagement

The system features a relatively easy to navigate UI and clear model health indicators that might show, for example, if, and how, a model is biased or if it is running on outdated data. KPMG claims the tool will help C-suite executives prove to boards of directors and regulators both the usefulness and accuracy of their organization’s AI models.

Swaminathan Chandrasekaran, managing director of AI innovation and enterprise solutions at KPMG, noted that while the product isn’t tied to Watson OpenScale, the IBM platform helps enable KPMG to make faster, more constant model monitoring and adjustments across cloud environments.

“There are areas that are not natural to OpenScale,” he acknowledged, and in those cases “we have to work around that.”

Chandrasekaran, who worked in IBM’s Watson engineering operations before joining KPMG in June 2018, offered an example of how the professional services firm would use Watson OpenScale.

“I want to be able to automate the aspect of monitoring a model,” Chandrasekaran said. “This is like saying, ‘I have a new applicational email server; I want to monitor that for CPU and utilization and everything.’ I want an API, so I can say, ‘This is the model, this is where it is running, I have things I want to monitor,’ and then set it up.” OpenScale makes that process easier, he said.

IBM Think 2019, Watson OpenScale
At IBM’s flagship Think 2019 conference, AI tools like Watson OpenScale were on full display.

The basics on OpenScale

Meanwhile, Rohan Vaidyanathan, program director for Watson OpenScale at IBM, explained during a session at IBM Think 2019 that the AI system helps organizations track and monitor business outcomes in production. Watson OpenScale also can enable users to explain, govern, adapt and scale AI models, and automatically design and optimize AI models, Vaidyanathan said.

“Once you’ve deployed a model … you can start monitoring it in Watson OpenScale,” he said.

OpenScale can provide monitoring information that is meant to be digested by businesses users, as well more technical information, like comparisons between training data and runtime data, for data science teams.

Pick your cloud

It’s a cloud-based product that runs on IBM Cloud and, as IBM revealed at the conference, it also now runs on IBM Cloud Private for Data, a cloud platform that enables users to merge select IBM applications with most cloud services, or run those applications on premises.

It was a big product introduction for IBM, which also said it had brought several other Watson applications to IBM Cloud Private for Data.

“The architecture for the future for a lot of these application sets will be multi-cloud, and the reason for that is the data will reside in multiple clouds,” said Inhi Cho Suh, general manager of IBM Watson customer engagement, in an interview at Think 2019.

The Watson Anywhere framework is expected to “drive not only new clients, but new innovation, and it’s going to help accelerate the adoption and growth across all industries,” she said.

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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

______________________________________________________
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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New studies highlight how AI is transforming employee productivity and accelerating business results – Microsoft 365 Blog

Artificial intelligence (AI) is undeniably transforming the way we work. Gartner estimates that in 2021, AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity. To take a closer look at the mission critical benefits of AI for knowledge workers and to help organizations harness the full potential of Everyday AI in Microsoft 365, Microsoft recently commissioned studies with Forbes Insights and Forrester Consulting.

Forbes Insights surveyed over 350 U.S. executives, 80 percent of whom recognized that their organizations need to begin mastering the art of human/machine collaboration. The executives highlighted how placing powerful AI-fueled applications in the hands of knowledge workers was critical to productivity and performance.

Infographic titled The Focus of AI is Shifting toward Knowledge Workers. 79% agree AI and related technologies are having a transformational impact on workflows and tools for knowledge workers. 80% say that placing powerful AI-fueled applications in the hands of knowledge workers is critical to productivity and performance. 84% agree AI streamlines process, freeing knowledge workers for more creative, intuitive, and laterally thinking activities.

Findings from the Forbes Insights study: Everyday AI: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Empower the Knowledge Worker.

Seventy-nine percent agree that AI is already having a transformational impact on workflows and tools for knowledge workers, but only 5 percent of executives consider their companies to be industry-leading in terms of taking advantage of AI-powered processes.”
—From the Forbes Insights study: Everyday AI: Harnessing Artificial Intelligence to Empower the Knowledge Worker

Read the Forbes Insights research report to learn more about the transformational impact of AI on knowledge workers and identify ways to create an AI-ready culture.

Forrester Consulting surveyed over 250 global executives and 1,000 knowledge workers, 59 percent of whom reported struggles to find the sources of information they need. The research revealed how knowledge workers can use AI, enabled by a broad graph, to drive efficiency, productivity, and overall business benefits.

Infographic of Summary of Benefits. More effective collaboration across teams and geographies. Better quality of life at work and improved employee satisfaction. More time for focused, value-added work. More frequent, more effective communication of data and insights across the organization. A quote from a collaboration and end user services manager of an industrial materials manufacturing company reads: This type of AI isn't replacing the employee; it's enhancing productivity and making people more effective.

Findings from the Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Microsoft: Extending the Value of AI to Knowledge Workers.

Knowledge workers depend on the free flow of information. When they can’t find the information they need, knowledge workers often make subpar decisions that affect the business as a whole. When graph information is properly analyzed and contextualized, it can help knowledge workers find the information needed to make decisions faster, find relevant expertise more easily, and make decisions more confidently.”
—From the Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Microsoft: Extending the Value of AI to Knowledge Workers

Read the Forrester Consulting research to learn more about how graph-powered AI is fueling knowledge worker productivity through improved discovery functionality and automatic task completion.

Additionally, in a companion study that involved interviews with IT leaders at seven global organizations leveraging AI capabilities in Microsoft 365, Forrester Consulting projected the direct financial impact of these technologies for a composite global organization with 8,500 knowledge workers. The quantifiable productivity and efficiency gains were estimated over four years to be $36.6 million.

A graph titled Summary of Mid-Range Projections over Four Years. Efficiency gains from automatically generated, professionally designed layouts in PowerPoint: $3.5M. Effeciency gains enabled by data-driven workplace insights and transformation with Workplace Analytics: $13.8M. Individual productivity gains from personalized, data-driven recommendations in MyAnalytics: $6.0M. Productivity gains from personalized Intelligent Search across the Microsoft 365 platform: $6.6M. Efficiency gains from streamlined data analysis in Excel: $6.7M. Four-year total projected benefits in present value: $36.6 million.

Findings from the Forrester study commissioned by Microsoft: The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft 365 AI For Knowledge Workers.

“[This technology] means we’re going to be able to get back to our clients more quickly, potentially close sales deals more quickly, and ultimately this will translate to more revenue.”
—Senior director of IT operations and security, global IT services company interviewed for the TEI of Microsoft 365 AI study

Get the Forrester Total Economic Impact study to examine the potential savings, efficiencies, and improved engagement, collaboration, and culture benefits organizations can realize with Everyday AI in Microsoft 365.

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Author: Steve Clarke

Server Core vs. GUI: Is Server Core ready for prime time?

Windows Server administrators who are on the fence in the Server Core vs. GUI debate might have to rethink their positions after Microsoft introduced a few ways to make it easier to run the lightweight deployment option.

Despite Microsoft’s push toward Server Core, many administrators prefer the full Windows Server installation because it provides access to the point-and-click GUI menus. In theory, managing thousands of servers with a few lines of PowerShell sounds impressive, but when a workload falters and pressure begins to mount, many in IT would prefer to stick with the familiar management terrain of a full Windows Server deployment. The lack of configuration options and application capability issues have deterred administrators from investing in Server Core.

Microsoft released the Windows Admin Center to coincide with the Windows Server 2019 Long-Term Servicing Channel release. The company developed this new tool based on customer feedback to lower the barriers to Server Core deployment. Windows Server 2019 debuted the Server Core App Compatibility Feature on Demand to add certain functionality that certain apps need to run. And, for the first time, Microsoft added support for Server Core as a deployment option for Exchange Server 2019.

But are all these changes enough to end the Server Core vs. GUI debate?

Christopher Rivers, the IT director at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, has used Server Core since its arrival in Windows Server 2008. His organization has 300 production servers and approximately a quarter of them are Server Core, and most of those deployments handle infrastructure roles, such as Active Directory domain controllers and domain name system servers.

In this Q&A, Rivers talks about Server Core’s advantages and disadvantages and why containers just might tip the scales toward Server Core in some organizations.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

What does your server deployment look like?

Christopher Rivers: We have Server Core 2016 in production. We have three clusters running [Windows Server] 2019 right now.

Christopher Rivers, IT Director, Canadian Museum for Human RightsChristopher Rivers

It’s so new to the market, we collectively thought that having GUI as that final emergency step to go in and fix something was more of an advantage for us. Probably in six months to a year, we’ll start phasing the nodes that are currently running 2019 with GUI over to 2019 Server Core.

Why did your organization decide to use Server Core?

Rivers: The advantages that Microsoft offers in terms of what they’re trying to do with smaller footprints for patching and a smaller footprint in terms of resources. You don’t have to have as many resources running the server or actually get more out of the resources you have by running Server Core.

The security feature that there’s less of an attack surface for Server Core is definitely a consideration for us.

Why is Microsoft pushing Server Core when most people seem to prefer the GUI full installation, and what are the challenges with Server Core?

Rivers: In the end, [Server Core] will make everybody’s life easier. Windows Admin Center is much better than the RSAT [Remote Server Administration Tools] were where you have a single pane of glass for all your management needs.

But, to date, there hasn’t been a complete tool set. You still needed to go onto GUI for some things. So that’s where Microsoft needs to evolve to make Server Core a reality for everybody.

We are on Server Core 2016 and only using GUI servers where necessary, but we’re having a little bit of a management challenge with that. It’s more of a learning curve and the tool set maturity that we’re facing.

Windows Admin Center is a good first start, but it’s still not the total replacement Microsoft was hoping it was going to be. Most of the administration tools and the learning experience of the teams supporting them haven’t quite come up as fast as I would have liked. We still use GUI servers more than I would like.

If you’re working on a production server’s downed environments [or] you’re struggling with the PowerShell tools or the remote management tools like Windows Admin Center and your leadership is pushing you to solve this problem as quickly as you can, you’re just going to fall back to your old ways of going to the GUI. The comfort level’s not there.

The IT community and skill sets have to come up to embrace that methodology of you don’t use a GUI to manage the server; you either use a GUI tool like Windows Admin Center from a management machine or you are using a remote PowerShell session. That’s where I see the biggest gap in everybody I’ve talked to. PowerShell is a steep learning curve.

Have you found Server Core easier to manage with patches and security?

Rivers: Yes, [when] Patch Tuesday comes out, you see Windows Server with GUI end up being like 15 patches and one or two for Server Core. Yes, you’re still patching the server on Tuesday. It’s the impact. It’s not always, but most often it’s like, ‘Oh well, there’s a patch for Internet Explorer on Windows Server,’ and that’s just not an issue on the GUI.

Are there any applications you tried with Server Core that didn’t work, or certain functions that require PowerShell skills, even with the Windows Admin Center?

Rivers: When we were going through the process for government purchasing requests for proposals for our ticketing system, we specified Server Core would be our preference and they said it doesn’t support it.

There are a lot of features that Windows Admin Center still doesn’t do. They’ve come a long way since they first started. Every release, they come up with new features.

For example, I know there are some things in Failover Cluster Manager that you need to do on the console using the GUI just because the feature set hasn’t been there. Several presenters at Ignite last year mentioned the direction internally at Microsoft. There’s a big push at Microsoft to develop all the tools in Windows Admin Center first and then support the GUI and all that after.

Do you think that Server Core is ready for prime time?

The biggest challenge to Server Core is all the major players are either risk-averse or just not able to change as quickly as Microsoft wants.

Rivers: [It depends] on the organization. We’re small and nimble. I think we’re well ahead of the curve of most organizations with us having Server Core as production servers and Server Core on our new 2019 clusters within a year. In previous roles, I was in a big enterprise with hundreds of thousands of servers, and those types of organizations don’t move as fast as the people working there, or Microsoft, would like.

The biggest challenge to Server Core is all the major players are either risk-averse or just not able to change as quickly as Microsoft wants. The bulk of those people working in the industry don’t have the day-to-day experience to really champion a Server Core. Your champions are in smaller, more nimble organizations. Every once in a while, you’ll find a larger organization that is aggressive in their stance on adopting new technology.

That’s why I’ve always encouraged people to be in the beta program and have their own personal strategies. We actually have a bit of a corporate strategy of testing production workloads in our beta environment. A lot of places don’t. That’s what it’s going to take for Windows Server Core to be mainstream.

The other revolution that’s going to force people into [Server Core] is the containerization initiative everybody’s going through right now. There’s just no room for GUI in a container. Windows Server for containers is likely where Server Core is going to really flourish.

Server Core is the interim step between full-blown physical servers and virtual servers to containers. The whole world is going into containers. That [Server Core App Compatibility] Feature on Demand is that container relationship from what I understand, where you just light up features. You don’t have to have them all installed.

So if you need a .NET framework, for example, for an application, you don’t have to have the whole .NET framework itself; it just basically spins up that server in a container for what you need.

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Black History Month: A time to lift each other up – The Official Microsoft Blog

As a child of “First to’s” (First African-American to command the U.S. Army Old Guard, First African-American to be selected National Elementary School Principal of the Year by President Bill Clinton), my family is deeply steeped in the history of African-American culture and civil rights in the United States, emanating from northern cities (Philadelphia, Pa. and Gary, Ind.) and the deep south (Hayneville, Ala.). I have been raised with a belief in the verse that “to whom much is given, much is required,” and a commitment to give back to our society, honoring those who paved a path forward for us.

When I look around our country today, I am so pleased to see how diversity and inclusion have moved from a concept to an expectation, embedded in every industry and sector of our society. I see leaders speaking up and actively listening to the feedback on what it takes to create diverse and inclusive environments. Mostly, I see regular citizens showing up, rediscovering their voice, sharing their stories, and demanding inclusion and equality – not just for people of color, but for groups of all kinds.

Every February during Black History Month, a 28-day window provides an opportunity for our nation, our company, and each of us to pause and take stock of the condition and progress of Black people and other minority populations. We can celebrate the achievements and contributions of so many and, at the same time, lament the increase in violence and hate crimes, inflammatory discourse in our political arena and sense of increasing polarization across our country.

At Microsoft, we have made the long-term commitment to build and sustain a culture that fosters an inclusive working environment, which will enable our employees to do their best work and serve the diverse needs of our customers around the world. We also are committed to engaging in and advancing diversity and inclusion conversations in communities where we believe we can help empower people.

Black History Month presents us with an opportunity to engage in diversity and inclusion dialogues across all minority groups.

  • At Microsoft, we kicked off the month with our Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) chapter ringing the Nasdaq bell on Wall Street for the second consecutive year. As a direct result of the impact our team had last year, Nasdaq has created its own employee network called GLOBE – Global Link of Black Employees.
  • Next week, I will share the stage with civil rights activist, Reverend Jesse Jackson, at the Wall Street Project, which strives to ensure equal opportunities for culturally diverse employees, entrepreneurs and consumers.
  • Reshma Saujani, who founded Girls Who Code with the single mission of closing the gender gap in technology, will be speaking with Microsoft employees later this month.
  • We celebrate the passionate young gamers who demonstrated to everyone, that a level playing field is possible with the help of their friends, family and adaptive technology.
  • At the upcoming BAM conference, we will recognize the pioneers who started the affinity group 30 years ago – the first employee group of its kind.

I count myself incredibly fortunate to work at a company that embodies many of the principles my parents instilled in me, which have stood the test of time as we continue to engage in the diversity and inclusion dialogue: set the bar high and exceed it, approach the world with a service mentality and, above all, lift each other up.

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Author: Steve Clarke

Originators form group to boost Presto SQL query engine

The Presto SQL query engine is determined to break out from the crowded pack of open source analytics tools.

To that end, members of the original Facebook Presto development team have joined with others to form the Presto Software Foundation.

The new group’s goal is to boost Presto’s open source credentials, and ensure the software’s quality and extensibility, while moving the Presto SQL query engine forward in mainstream organizations.

The software, which debuted in 2012, has found adherents at Airbnb, Uber, Walmart and other companies. Vendors supporting Presto include Arm Treasure Data, AWS, Google, Microsoft, Qubole, Sunburst Data, Teradata, Varada and others.

The software has seen a steady climb. Presto ranks 41st in a relational database category comprising 136 systems, as measured in the latest edition of the DB-Engines popularity ranking.

Presto SQL query engine on rise

While it has seen an uptick in recent years, Presto still significantly trails Apache Hive, a predecessor Facebook framework for batch query processing. That sits at number 10 in the DB-Engines relational database ranking.

As an older tool, Apache Hive has a lead on the Presto SQL engine. Hortonworks and others have devoted energy to improving its performance for queries. Also, Apache Hive has been a key component in many widely used Hadoop software distributions. Other open source SQL engine entrants include Drill, Hawq, Impala and Spark.

The numbers of Presto users outside of Facebook have grown dramatically, according to Martin Traverso, a co-creator of the software, and a co-founder of the Presto Software Foundation, which was formally announced Jan. 30. He pointed to Lyft, Netflix, Twitter and others as exemplary Presto users.

“Now, among users there is a general dependency on the success of the project,” Traverso said. “Going forward, we feel it is important that the project remain independent.”

So, to assure useful technology roadmaps, transparency and clarity, Traverso continued, he and others decided to set up the not-for-profit organization. The foundation is considering Presto SQL engine roadmaps security models for cloud object storage, failover and recovery protocols and means to better support ETL workloads, he said.

Presto SQL query engine timeline
The Presto SQL query engine arose within social media powerhouse Facebook. A foundation has formed to further Presto.

Multiple back ends

Traverso said Presto has made much progress since its first days as an ad hoc query alternative to batch Hive at Facebook. Meanwhile, the designers’ decision early on to support execution on multiple data back ends has proved important.

Presto provides a SQL abstraction layer that allows access to data wherever it may be.
Justin BorgmanCEO, Starburst Data

Justin Borgman, CEO at Starburst Data, said the broad federated back-end capabilities of Presto — for example, the ability to join log data stored in S3 with customer data stored in MySQL — are a significant driver of interest. Outside of Facebook, Starburst technical staff forms the largest group of committers to the Presto project to date, Borgman said.

In fact, Starburst principals spearheaded much of the effort to enterprise-harden Presto. They served first at Hadapt, an early SQL on Hadoop player that Teradata bought in 2014. At Teradata, the Hadapt crew turned its attention to improving Presto’s performance. The work was carried on at Starburst, which was spun out of Teradata in late 2017.

“Presto provides a SQL abstraction layer that allows access to data wherever it may be,” Borgman said. This is useful as data lake architectures, which started out as Hadoop-based, are now moving to encompass cloud object storage, he continued.

The PostgreSQL of big data? Presto

For his part, Borgman said having an organization like the foundation — one independent of corporate interests — is an important step in the spread of the Presto SQL query engine.

He said he hopes the software could find a reception akin to popular open source databases — potentially becoming something like “the PostgreSQL of big data analytics.”

As tools for SQL on Hadoop analytics began appearing a few years ago, a steady stream became a small torrent. Now, as SQL on Hadoop morphs into SQL on anything, a foundation that focuses on Presto could help it stand out in that stream.

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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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