Tag Archives: JavaScript

For Sale – Intel NUC6CAYH 8GB RAM/240GB SSD

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As title, for sale is one Intel NUC6CAYH with one stick 8GB RAM and an Integral V series 240GB SSD which has 198GB free after Windows & prog’s.
This has a licensed Win 10 Pro installed together with the 1909 update, as well as: VLC; BBC iPlayer; ITV Hub; All 4; My 5; Amazon; Netflix; Youtube; Firefox; and Glary Utilities.
It has had very little use (see below) and is in excellent condition with factory protective film still attached to the top surface and to the front.
It all works just as it should with zero problems noted; it comes in the original box with backplate, booklets etc. plus it comes with an extra spare power supply.

The plan was that following a major operation I would be bed-ridden for around three months and this was going to be the bedroom PC “link” to the outside world while I recuperated. The spare power supply was to allow easy removal from behind my bedroom TV to wherever I needed it, & the PSU has been tested and works just fine. So that’s why it was set up as almost a Windows HTPC, so that I could use it for both media and business purposes BUT thankfully my recovery surprised my consultant as much as it surprised me and I never needed to use it. And that’s why it sat in my bedroom for over a year doing nothing other then me updating it when I remembered to.

Payment by BT only please (no PP) and delivery will be by Royal Mail Special Delivery with me posting it as soon as I can following receipt of payment.
If you want to collect from the Lincolnshire coast you’re welcome.
Price: £170 including delivery

I may also sell my NUC6i5SYH with 16GB RAM/500GB Samsung 950 Pro M2 PCIE/480GB Kingston SSD if anybody is interested at a sensible price? This one is fast with the Samsung software benchmarking the 950 Pro at 2508MB/s read & 1501 write in this system. Again with Win10 Pro installed and with original box, and in good condition
£270 delivered.

DSCF2330.jpgDSCF2329.jpgDSCF2332.JPG

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Location
Mablethorpe
Price and currency
£170
Delivery cost included
Delivery Is Included
Prefer goods collected?
I have no preference
Advertised elsewhere?
Not advertised elsewhere
Payment method
Cash or Bank Transfer only please

Bump ….

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For Sale – EVGA 650 Watt GQ Gold Semi Modular PSU

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EVGA 650 Watt GQ Gold Hybrid Modular

Semi Modular PSU, has had about 2 weeks worth of usage so nice and clean.

unfortunately I dont have the box anymore so what you see is what you get (Check Pics)

Location
Caterham
Price and currency
£45
Delivery cost included
Delivery Is Included
Prefer goods collected?
I have no preference
Advertised elsewhere?
Advertised elsewhere
Payment method
BT/PPG

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For Sale – Lamicall Tablet/iPad Silver Metal Stand & Lamicall MacBook Laptop Riser Stand *RRP £45*

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Lamicall Silver Metal Laptop Stand
Selling as silver doesn’t match my new Space Grey set-up, so selling to buy a new matching set!
About 6 months old and still in excellent condition. RRP £29.99 on Amazon and the only stand with 89 reviews, all at 5 star!

And

Lamicall Silver Adjustable Tablet Stand/Holder
About 12 months old and still in excellent condition. RRP £14.99 on Amazon and the only stand with over 1000 reviews, all at 5 star!
Location
Milton Keynes
Price and currency
25
Delivery cost included
Delivery is NOT included
Prefer goods collected?
I prefer the goods to be collected
Advertised elsewhere?
Advertised elsewhere
Payment method
PPG

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For Sale – Dell XPS 15″ 9560 I7-7700hq 4K, 16gb RAM 512gb SSD

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Dell XPS 15″ 9560 I7-7700hq 4K 16gb RAM 512gb SSD Laptop. Condition is Used. Dispatched with eBay delivery – Packlink 1 day.

Samsung PM981 512gb SSD – One of the fastest on the market.
Intel 9260 WiFi – the killer WiFi that comes with these line of laptops has many issues, it has been replaced with an Intel 9260 which is one of the best / most reliable on the market.

You will receive:

  • The laptop described above
  • Official 130W Dell Charger
  • Original Box
Location
London
Price and currency
800
Delivery cost included
Delivery is NOT included
Prefer goods collected?
I have no preference
Advertised elsewhere?
Advertised elsewhere
Payment method
PPG / BT

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Native Ads in Microsoft Advertising SDK

Overview

Native Ads is a component-based ad format that gives publishers the flexibility of placing the individual components of a creative – title, image, logo, description, call to action text – so as to provide the best possible fitment to the look and feel of the rest of the app. This enables the developers to use fonts, colors and animations of their own to stitch unobtrusive user experience in their app while earning high yield from advertising. For advertisers as well, this provides high performing placements since the ads experience is tightly built into the app and users tend to interact a lot more with such sponsored content. According to a report by Mobile Marketing, native in-app ads typically see five times greater engagement than traditional banner ads and, hence, get greater spend from advertisers as well (as per eMarketer and other reports).

Starting now, developers can create Native Ad slots in their apps or games using the latest version of Microsoft Advertising SDK (10.0.4 or later). Microsoft Monetization platform provides developers with the maximum amount of freedom to create their own presentations and is available to a limited set of publishers in a closed pilot. Please contact [email protected] to express your interest to be part of this pilot.

Where Do I Start?

As always, start with downloading the Microsoft Advertising SDK. This provides you the libraries to include Native Ads into your app or game.

Create a “Native” ad unit for your app in ‘Monetize with ads’ section on DevCenter (dev.windows.com). This is the ad unit that you will use in your app when you request for an ad in the code.

How Do I Get Native Ads Integrated into my App?

This section assumes that you are familiar with the Microsoft Advertising SDK for your UWP app or game. If you haven’t played around with this, consider going through the Get Started guide.

To show Native Ads in your app, follow the instructions for project type:

XAML/.NET

HTML/JavaScript

XAML/.NET

This section provides C# examples for your XAML/.NET project. You will need to go through these simple steps to get Native Ads in your code.

Step 1: Setup References

Open your project in Visual Studio. In Reference Manager, expand Universal Windows, click Extensions and then select the check box next to Microsoft Advertising SDK for XAML.

In appropriate code file in your app (for example, in MainPage.xaml.cs), add the following namespace reference.

using Microsoft.Advertising.WinRT.UI;

Step 2: Setting up Native Ads Manager

In an appropriate location in your app (for example in MainPage or some other page), declare a NativeAdsManager object and string fields that represent the application ID and ad unit ID for your Native Ad. The following code example assigns the myAppId and myAdUnitId fields to the test values for Native Ads provided in Test Mode values. These values are only used for testing; you must replace them with live values from Windows DevCenter before you publish your app.

NativeAdsManager nativeAdsManager = null;
string appId = "d25517cb-12d4-4699-8bdc-52040c712cab";
string adUnitId = "test";

In code that runs on startup, instantiate the NativeAdsManager.

// Ad Events

nativeAdsManager = new NativeAdsManager(appId, adUnitId);

Step 3: Request for an Ad

When you want to show an ad, request for one using the NativeAdsManager and wire up the events.

nativeAdsManager.RequestAd();

nativeAdsManager.AdReady += NativeAd_OnAdReady;

nativeAdsManager.ErrorOccurred += NativeAd_ErrorOccurred;

Step 4: Using components of the Ad to stitch up the experience

Assume you have a XAML page which has various placeholders for Title, Description, Sponsored By, Call To Action of an Ad and a container which contains all these elements. Sample StackPanel containing all the elements.

<StackPanel x:Name="NativeAdContainer" BorderThickness="2" BorderBrush="Azure">
   <StackPanel x:Name="IconImageContainer" BorderThickness="2" BorderBrush="Azure" Visibility="Collapsed" >
       <Image x:Name="IconImage" />
   </StackPanel>   
   <TextBox x:Name="TitleBox" Text="The title will go here" Margin="78,0,-78,0"/>
   <TextBox x:Name="DescriptionBox" Text="The Description will go here" Visibility="Collapsed" />
   <TextBox x:Name="SponsoredBy" Text="The SponsoredBy will go here" Visibility="Collapsed" />
   <StackPanel x:Name="MainImageContainer" BorderThickness="2" BorderBrush="Azure" Visibility="Collapsed">
        <Image x:Name="MainImage" Margin="0,8,0,4" />
   </StackPanel>
   <Button x:Name="CallToAction" Margin="0,8,0,4" Visibility="Collapsed" />
</StackPanel>

Based on components of the creative that you want to stitch up in your app, your code may differ. Here is a sample OnAdReady event listener where Title, Description, CallToAction and Image is being used.

void NativeAd_OnAdReady(object sender, object e)
        {
           NativeAd nativeAd = (NativeAd)e;
           TitleBox.Text = nativeAd.Title;
		
		//if description is not null show description textbox
           var description = nativeAd.Description;
           if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(description))
           {
               DescriptionBox.Text = nativeAd.Description;
               DescriptionBox.Visibility = Visibility.Visible;
           }

           //if sponsoredBy is not null show sponsoredBy textbox
           var sponsoredBy = nativeAd.SponsoredBy;
           if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(sponsoredBy))
           {
               SponsoredBy.Text = sponsoredBy;
               SponsoredBy.Visibility = Visibility.Visible;
           }

           //if CallToAction is not null update Button
           var callToAction = nativeAd.CallToAction;
           if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(callToAction))
           {
               CallToAction.Content = callToAction;
               CallToAction.Visibility = Visibility.Visible;
           }

           // Assets consists further information about Ad
           var assets = nativeAd.AdditionalAssets;

           // Loading images
           var icon = nativeAd.IconImage;
           if (icon != null)
           {
               var bitmapImage = new BitmapImage();
               bitmapImage.UriSource = new Uri(nativeAd.IconImage.Url);
               IconImage.Source = bitmapImage;
               // Best view when using the Height and Width of the image given
               IconImage.Height = nativeAd.IconImage.Height;
               IconImage.Width = nativeAd.IconImage.Width;

               IconImageContainer.Visibility = Visibility.Visible;
            }

            // There might be multiple main images sent by the server
            var mainImages = nativeAd.MainImages;
            if (mainImages.Count > 0)
            {
                var mainImage = mainImages[0];
                var bitmapImage = new BitmapImage();
                bitmapImage.UriSource = new Uri(mainImage.Url);
                MainImage.Source = bitmapImage;
                // Best view when using the Height and Width of the image given
                MainImage.Height = mainImage.Height;
                MainImage.Width = mainImage.Width;

                MainImageContainer.Visibility = Visibility.Visible;
            }

            // It is required to show the AdIcon in your container
            NativeAdContainer.Children.Add(nativeAd.AdIcon);

            // Register any xaml framework element for clicks/impressions
            nativeAd.RegisterAdContainer(NativeAdContainer);

P.S: The developer is required to “Register” the XAML ad container (any framework Element) with the Native Ads object. This is required for handling impressions and click tracking and is critical for ad earnings. Failure to do so may result in ad-units and advertising payouts being blocked by Microsoft.

HTML/JavaScript

More details on the HTML feature will be coming soon! Please reach out to us ([email protected]) if your apps are in HTML/JS and you need this feature.

Guidelines

Even though the developer has complete control over how to create the ad experience and which components of the creative is displayed to the user, the advertiser’s creative should get its due message out to the user. There is a fine balance that needs to be achieved to reap maximum value from the Native Ad.

Here are some guidelines to ensure the balance.

Required to Show

There are two advertiser assets that must always be shown to the user in your Native Ad design. Failing to include any of these could result in low performance of your ad unit and eventual low (or no) yield. These assets are:

  • Ad Title
  • Either Distinguishable ad icon (This Ad Icon is sent as part of NativeAd object – property named AdIcon) or Sponsored By or texts such as ‘Sponsored’, ‘Promoted’, ‘Recommended’

Not following these guidelines may result in the removal of the adUnits from the advertising system.

Ad Experience

Your Native Ad should be clearly delineated from the rest of your content and have space around it to prevent accidental clicks. Use border, background or some other treatment to separate the ad content. Always remember, getting user to accidentally click on the ad is not beneficial in the longer term for your ads based revenue and for end user experience.

You should always show the distinguishable “Ad” icon in the ad view. Whenever possible, show the “Sponsored By” field to clearly call out that the content is an ad and provided by an advertiser.

Text Display Requirements

Native Ads should always have the Title displayed. Provide enough space to display at least 25 characters of the title. If the title is longer, ensure to replace the additional text with an ellipsis.

Ensure that the Call-to-Action (CTA) is separated out from the rest of the promotional text from the advertiser.

If you choose the rest of the promotional text (Description) from the ad response, provide space to display at least 75 characters of the same. It’s best to use animations to show the full content of the ad description.

Call-to-Action

Native Ads should always have the CTA displayed to the user as something clickable like a button or hyperlink.

CTA string should always be displayed in its entirety as it is a critical component of the advertiser’s creative.

Learn and Optimize

It is recommended that different ad units are created and used for each different placement of Native Ads in the app. This enables reporting and learning for each placement which then can be used for optimizing each placement separately till optimal performance is achieved.

In case of any further queries, please reach out to [email protected] and we’ll be glad to help you out.

What’s new in Microsoft Edge in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Today, the Windows 10 Creators Update began rolling out to over 400 million Windows 10 devices. With the Creators Update, we’re upgrading Microsoft Edge with dozens of new features and under-the-hood improvements to make the best browser on Windows 10 faster, leaner, and more capable than ever.

This release updates the Windows web platform to EdgeHTML 15, the fourth release of EdgeHTML and a major step forward both in terms of the browser user experience, web platform capabilities, and fundamentals like performance, efficiency, and accessibility. In this post, we’ll share a quick overview of what’s new in each area, for both users and web developers. Stay tuned over the coming weeks, as we’ll be sharing a deeper look at many of these topics individually.

Web developers can start testing EdgeHTML 15 today by updating their Windows 10 device, or by downloading a free virtual machine from Microsoft Edge Dev. You can also test Microsoft Edge for free in BrowserStack, which offers instant cloud-based testing from a Mac or PC, including WebDriver automation. BrowserStack will be updated to include the final release of EdgeHTML 15 in the coming weeks.

Introducing Microsoft Edge in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Over the last eight months, the Microsoft Edge team has been focused on exciting new features to make the browsing experience better than ever:

Organize your web with new tab management experiences

Windows users spend more than half of their time on the web, and it’s all too easy to get tangled up in the chaos of search results, sites, and other content that can build up over hours, days, or weeks of browsing. In this update, we’ve introduced two new features to take the pain out of tab management.

Microsoft Edge now lets you set your tabs aside for later, sweeping them aside and organizing them neatly in a special section for easy access when you’re ready.


Set your tabs aside for later

Simply click the new “Set these tabs aside” button next to your row of tabs, and they are moved out of sight. When you’re ready to come back to them, just click the “Tabs you’ve set aside” icon, and you get a tidy, visual view of previous sessions. Restore one tab, or restore the full set!

If you have a lot of tabs open, it can be daunting to tell them apart, or to find a specific page in the sea of tiny icons and titles. Microsoft Edge now includes the ability to preview all your open tabs at once, so you can get back to what you’re looking for in a snap.


Show tab previews to scan your tabs more easily

Simply click the “Show tab previews” arrow to the right of your new tab button, and your tabs will expand to show a preview of the full page. You can scroll through this list to see as many tabs as you have open – when you find what you want, just click it to get back to browsing!

New reading experiences in Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge now lets you read books from right inside the browser, putting your favorite e-books from the Windows Store or from EPUBs on the web alongside your reading list and other content you expect to find in your browser.


Find ebooks in the Microsoft Edge Hub

You can find books in the new “Books” section of the Microsoft Edge Hub, and a wide selection of books for every taste in the Windows Store.

That’s just the beginning – you’ll find new features and extensions, and improvements to performance, usability, and more, all throughout Microsoft Edge. You can find tips on what’s new and how to get the most out of Microsoft Edge at Microsoft Edge Tips.

More efficient, more responsive, and more secure

We’ve made no secret of our ongoing obsession with making Microsoft Edge get more out of your battery, run the web faster, and keep you safer. We’ve been busy on these fronts, and EdgeHTML 15 is better than ever by any measure.

Pushing the frontier of energy efficiency

In the Creator’s Update, we’re taking the longest-lasting browser on Windows and supercharging it yet again. Thanks to major improvements in Microsoft Edge, like encouraging HTML5 content over Flash, improving the efficiency of iframes, and optimizing hit testing, Microsoft Edge on the Creators Update uses 31% less power than Google Chrome 57, and 44% less power than Mozilla Firefox 52, as measured by our open-source efficiency test that simulates real-world browsing.

These improvements translate into hours more browsing time for our customers – time to finish a crucial report while you’re at a coffee shop with no power, or to watch an extra movie on a long flight. In a head-to-head video rundown test, Microsoft Edge outlasted Google Chrome by more than three hours when streaming video!

There are countless enhancements to improve efficiency in the Creators Update, and we’re methodical about measuring the impact of each fix or new feature to make sure you get the most out of your browser. Watch this space for a detailed update on the engineering work that enables our greater power efficiency, and more on how we measure power consumption, coming early next week.

Responsiveness that puts the user first

In the past, we’ve been happy to share our leadership in synthetic JavaScript benchmarks like Google’s Octane benchmark, Apple’s Jet Stream, and others. Microsoft Edge continues to lead by those measures, but ultimately any single benchmark can only tell part of the story. In EdgeHTML 15, we’ve focused on making Microsoft Edge feel faster and more responsive, even when the page may be busy or hung, by prioritizing the user’s input above other activity, and optimizing rendering for real-world scenarios.


Comparing scrolling on a busy page, before and after the input responsiveness improvements in EdgeHTML 15.

These improvements dramatically reduce input blocking on busy sites – put simply, the browser responds much more quickly to user input like clicking links or scrolling with the keyboard, even when a page may be busy loading or executing JavaScript in the background.

That just scratches the surface – for example, over the past two releases, we’ve been working on an ongoing, multi-year refactoring of the Microsoft Edge DOM tree, which is now substantially complete. Together with a number of performance optimizations, this has resulted in a more than twofold improvement in performance in many real-world scenarios, as measured by the Speedometer benchmark, which simulates real-world app patterns using common frameworks.

Chart showing Microsoft Edge scores on the Speedometer benchmark over the past four release. Edge 12: 5.44. Edge 13: 37.83. Edge 14: 53.92. Edge 15: 82.67.

We’ll be exploring these performance and responsiveness improvements in more detail over the coming weeks – stay tuned!

Safer than ever

Microsoft Edge in the Creators Update includes two broad categories of security improvements which make the browser more resilient to typical attack strategies.

First, we’ve introduced a series of mitigations to prevent arbitrary native code execution: Code Integrity Guard and Arbitrary Code Guard. These mitigations make it much more difficult to load harmful code into memory, making it less likely and less economical for attackers to be successful in building a compete exploit. You can read more about this work in Mitigating arbitrary native code execution in Microsoft Edge.

Second, we’ve dramatically improved the resiliency of the Microsoft Edge sandbox. Microsoft Edge has always been sandboxed in a series of app containers on Windows 10 – in the Creators Update, we’ve tuned these app containers by reducing the access scope to only the capabilities that are directly necessary for Microsoft Edge to work properly. This work dramatically reduces Microsoft Edge’s attack surface area (including a 90% reduction in access to WinRT and DCOM APIs), and when combined with the exploit mitigations that apply to Microsoft Edge and its brokers, increases the difficult of exploiting any remaining vulnerabilities. You can read more about this work in Strengthening the Microsoft Edge Sandbox.

Modern capabilities for web developers

The Windows 10 Creators Update upgrades the Windows web platform to EdgeHTML 15, which introduces a number of new, modern capabilities for web developers. A few of these are highlighted below – you can find the full list of changes on the Microsoft Edge Dev Guide.

Simpler web payments with the Payment Request API

The new W3C Payment Request API enables simpler checkouts and payments on Windows 10 PCs and phones. In Microsoft Edge, the Payment Request API connects to the user’s Microsoft Account (with the user’s permission), allowing easy access to payment information. Because payment information is securely saved in a digital wallet, shoppers don’t have to navigate through traditional checkout flows and repeatedly enter the same payment and shipping address information repeatedly.

Screen capture of a Microsoft Wallet dialog box with shipping and payment information.

This can provide a faster and more consistent experience across websites, which saves shoppers time and effort by allowing them to securely share saved payment information. Learn more about the Payment Request API in our blog post, Simpler web payments: Introducing the Payment Request API, or see the Payment Request API samples on Microsoft Edge Dev.

CSS Custom Properties

CSS Custom Properties (formerly called CSS Variables) are a new primitive value type to fully cascade variables across CSS properties. Custom Properties enable the same fundamental use cases as variables in CSS pre-processors, but have the additional benefits of being fully cascaded, being interacted with via JavaScript, and not requiring the additional build step to work. Learn more about CSS Custom Properties in our blog post, CSS Custom Properties in Microsoft Edge, or see Custom Properties Pooch: a Microsoft Edge demo on Microsoft Edge Dev.

WebVR Developer Preview

Microsoft Edge now supports the WebVR 1.1 draft specification, which has been collaboratively authored by Mozilla, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Oculus and others. Developers can now use this API to create immersive VR experiences on the web with the recently available Windows Mixed Reality dev kits. You can even get started without a headset using the Windows Mixed Reality Simulator. Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo will ship the world’s first Windows Mixed Reality-enabled headsets later this year, starting at just $299 USD. Note that while WebVR is enabled by default in Microsoft Edge, using the Windows Mixed Reality Portal or Mixed Reality dev kits currently requires Developer Mode to be turned on in Windows settings.

Brotli

Brotli is a compression format that achieves up to 20% better compression ratios with similar compression and decompression speeds (PDF). This ultimately results in substantially reduced page weight for users, improving load times without substantially impacting client-side CPU costs. As compared to existing algorithms, like Deflate, Brotli compression is more efficient in terms of file size and CPU time. Learn more about Brotli in our blog post, Introducing Brotli compression in Microsoft Edge.

And lots more…

There’s simply too much to list in one post – the list goes on with features including WebRTC, async-await, TCP Fast Open, Intersection Observer, experimental support for WebAssembly, and more. You can find the full list of what’s new in the Microsoft Edge Dev Guide, or a comprehensive view of which standards are supported, planned, or in preview at Microsoft Edge Platform Status.

Built in the open

We’re proud to continue building Microsoft Edge in the open, using the voice of our community to drive product planning, and sharing our roadmap transparently. Windows itself is on an exciting journey with 10 million Insiders. These initiatives are better together – Windows Insiders are essential to building Microsoft Edge faster and with better quality, and Windows itself has been able to leverage tools like Microsoft Edge Platform Status and Microsoft Edge Platform issues – for the first time launching an open backlog and bug tracker for the Windows platform.

The voice of our community is helping us chart the course for 2017 and beyond. Nolan Lawson recently shared a look at the top highest-rated CSS features on the Microsoft Edge UserVoice:

At An Event Apart Seattle, we recently announced the development has begun on our updated CSS Grid implementation. With this announcement, every one of the features pictured are in development (or, in the case of CSS Custom Properties, shipping today!).

Beyond CSS, our roadmap for preview releases over the rest of 2017 is focused on three areas: doubling down on fundamentals like performance and reliability, delivering Progressive Web Apps on Windows, and continuing to innovate in the user experience of Microsoft Edge. We’re excited to share more about what the future holds soon!

Get started today on Windows 10, or test for free via BrowserStack

You can try Microsoft Edge on the Windows 10 Creators Update today! If you’re on a Windows 10 device, simply check for updates – see the instructions here for more details. If you’re on another platform, you can test EdgeHTML 15 instantly for free via BrowserStack, or download a free virtual machine from Microsoft Edge Dev.

Kyle Pflug, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge

Cognitive Services APIs: Speech

Speech recognition is in many ways at the heart of Artificial Intelligence. The 18th Century essayist Samuel Johnson captured this beautifully when he wrote, “Language is the dress of thought.” If the ultimate goal of AI research is a machine that thinks like a human, a reasonable starting point would be to create a machine that understands how humans think. To understand how humans think, in turn, requires an understanding of what humans say.

In the previous post in this series, you learned about the Cognitive Services Vision APIs. In this post, we’re going to complement that with an overview of the Speech APIs. The Cognitive Services Speech APIs are grouped into three categories:

  • Bing Speech—convert spoken audio to text and, conversely, text to speech.
  • Speaker Recognition—identify speakers and use speech recognition for authentication.
  • Custom Speech Service (formerly CRIS)—overcome speech recognition barriers like background noise and specialized vocabulary.

A good way to understand the relationship between the Bing Speech API and the other APIs is that while Big Speech handles taking raw speech and turns it into text without knowing anything about the speaker, Custom Speech Service and Speaker Recognition go further and try to use processing to clean up the raw speech or to compare it against other speech samples. They basically do extra speech analysis work.

Bing Speech for UWP

As a UWP developer, you have several options for accessing speech-to-text capabilities. You can access the UWP Speech APIs found in the Windows.Media.SpeechRecognition namespace. You can also integrate Cortana into your UWP app. Alternatively, you can go straight to the Bing Speech API which underlies both of these technologies.

Bing Speech lets you do text-to-speech and speech-to-text through REST calls to Cognitive Services. The Cognitive Services website provides samples for iOS, Android and Javascript. There’s also a client library NuGet package if you are working in WPF. For UWP, however, you will use the REST APIs.

As with the other Cognitive Services offerings, you first need to pick up a subscription key for Bing Speech in order to make calls to the API. In UWP, you then need to record microphone input using the MediaCapture class and encode it before sending it to Bing Speech. (Gotcha Warning — be sure to remember to check off the Microphone capability in your project’s app manifest file so the mic can be accessed, otherwise you may spend hours wondering why the code doesn’t work for you.)

var CaptureMedia = new MediaCapture();
var captureInitSettings = new MediaCaptureInitializationSettings();
captureInitSettings.StreamingCaptureMode = StreamingCaptureMode.Audio;
await CaptureMedia.InitializeAsync(captureInitSettings);
MediaEncodingProfile encodingProfile = MediaEncodingProfile.CreateWav(AudioEncodingQuality.Medium);
AudioStream = new InMemoryRandomAccessStream();
await CaptureMedia.StartRecordToStreamAsync(encodingProfile, AudioStream);

Once you are done recording, you can use the standard HttpClient class to send the audio stream to Cognitive Services for processing, like so…

// build REST message
cookieContainer = new CookieContainer();
handler = new HttpClientHandler() { CookieContainer = cookieContainer };
client = new HttpClient(handler);
client.DefaultRequestHeaders.TryAddWithoutValidation("Content-Type", "audio / wav; samplerate = 16000");
// authenticate the REST call
client.DefaultRequestHeaders.TryAddWithoutValidation("Authorization", _subscriptionKey);
// pass in the Bing Speech endpoint
request = new HttpRequestMessage(HttpMethod.Post, uri);
// pass in the audio stream
request.Content = new ByteArrayContent(fileBytes);
// make REST call to CogSrv
response = await client.SendAsync(request, HttpCompletionOption.ResponseHeadersRead, cancellationToken);

Getting these calls right may seem a bit hairy at first. To make integrating Bing Speech easier, Microsoft MVP Gian Paolo Santopaolo has created a UWP reference app on GitHub with several useful helper classes you can incorporate into your own speech recognition project. This reference app also includes a sample for reversing the process and doing text-to-speech.

Speaker Recognition

While the Bing Speech API can figure out what you are saying without knowing anything about who you are as a speaker, the Speaker Recognition API in Cognitive Services is all about figuring out who you without caring about what you are specifically saying. There’s a nice symmetry to this. Using machine learning, the Speaker Recognition API finds qualities in your voice that identify you almost as well as your fingerprints or retinal pattern do.

This API is typically used for two purposes: identification and verification. Identification allows a voice to be compared to a group of voices in order to find the best match. This is the auditory equivalent to how the Cognitive Services Face API matches up faces that resemble each other.

Speaker verification allows you to use a person’s voice as part of a two-factor login mechanism. For verification to work, the speaker must say a specific, pre-selected passphrase like “apple juice tastes funny after toothpaste” or “I am going to make him an offer he cannot refuse.” The initial recording of a passphrase to compare against is called enrollment. (It hardly needs to be said but—please don’t use “password” for your speaker verification passphrase.)

There is a client library that supports speaker enrollment, speaker verification and speaker identification. Per usual, you need to sign up for a Speaker Recognition subscription key to use it. You can add the client library to your UWP project in Visual Studio by installing the Microsoft.ProjectOxford.SpeakerRecognition NuGet package.

Using the media capture code from the Bing Speech sample above to record on the microphone, and assuming that the passphrase has already been enrolled for the user through her Speaker Id (a Guid), verification is as easy as calling the Speaker Recognition client library VerifyAsync method and passing the audio stream and Speaker Id as parameters.

string _subscriptionKey;
Guid _speakerId;
Stream audioStream;

public async void VerifySpeaker()
{
    var serviceClient = new SpeakerVerificationServiceClient(_subscriptionKey);
    Verification response = await serviceClient.VerifyAsync(audioStream, _speakerId);

    if (response.Result == Result.Accept)
    {
        // verification successful
    }

}

Sample projects are available showing how to use Speaker Recognition with Android, Python and WPF. Because of the close similarities between UWP and WPF, you will probably find the last sample useful as a reference for using this Cognitive Service in your UWP app.

Custom Speech Service

You already know how to use the Bing Speech speech-to-text capability introduced at the top of this post. That Cognitive Service is built around generalized language models to work for most people most of the time. But what if you want to do speech recognition involving specialized jargon or vocabulary? To handle these situations, you might need a custom language model rather than the one used by the speech-to-text engine in Bing Speech.

Along the same lines, the generalized acoustic model used to train Bing Speech may not work well for you if your app is likely to be used in an atypical acoustic environment like an air hangar or a factory floor.

Custom Speech Service lets you build custom language models and custom acoustic models for your speech-to-text engine. You can then set these up as custom REST endpoints for doing calls to Cognitive Services from your app. These RESTful endpoints can also be used from any device and from any software platform that can make REST calls. It’s basically a really powerful machine learning tool that lets you take the speech recognition capabilities of your app to a whole new level. Additionally, since all that changes is the endpoint you call, any previous code you have written to use the Bing Speech API should work without any alteration other than the Uri you are targeting.

Wrapping Up

In this post, we went over the Bing Speech APIs for speech-to-text and text-to-speech as well as the extra APIs for cleaning up raw speech input and doing comparisons and verification using speech input. In the next post in the Cognitive APIs Series, we’ll take a look using the Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) to derive meaning from speech in order to figure out what people really want when they ask for something. In the meantime, here are some additional resources so you can learn more about the Speech APIs on your own.

Windows SDK for Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics libraries for websites and mobile apps. Google Analytics is widely used to track user sessions, screen views, events, crashes, social interactions and promotional campaigns on Android and iOS.

Today, we are excited to announce that Microsoft is launching a Windows SDK for Google Analytics, providing an easy way for Windows 10 developers to access these valuable services. The SDK can be integrated into your apps via a NuGet package. The source is hosted on GitHub.

There is a C# SDK that can be used both by Universal Windows Store apps and desktop apps, and there is also a C++ WinRT component for developers targeting UWP apps written in C++ or JavaScript.  Both the C# SDK and the C++ WinRT component use the same API names, so moving between them is seamless.

The SDK is built on top of Google’s Measurement Protocol, a service that allows developers to send engagement data to the Google Analytics Servers over HTTP requests. The APIs in the Windows SDK for Google Analytics are modeled on class names and design patterns from Google’s Android SDK, to ensure maximum portability and readability for those already familiar with Google Analytics on other platforms.

Getting started

If you prefer video format, this “Getting Started with the Windows SDK for Google Analytics” demonstrates every step below.

If you prefer written form, here is how you would add the Windows SDK for Google Analytics to your project:

The following are a few examples for a C# app. (If you prefer to see examples written for JavaScript or C++, the GitHub project includes additional samples in these languages.)

var tracker =  AnalyticsManager.Current.CreateTracker("EnterYourPropertyIdHere");
            AnalyticsManager.Current.ReportUncaughtExceptions = true;

            //create a timing event 
            var screenName = "MainPage";
            TimeSpan timeSpanToLoad = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(237); // sample:) 
            tracker.Send(HitBuilder.CreateTiming("load", screenName, timeSpanToLoad).Build());

            //Send a page view 
            tracker.ScreenName = screenName; 
            tracker.Send(HitBuilder.CreateScreenView().Build()); 
                         
            // Send a userclick event 
tracker.Send(HitBuilder.CreateEvent("user-events-category", "click", "sharing-button", 0).Build());

            // Send a social interaction 
            tracker.Send(HitBuilder.CreateSocialInteraction("facebook", "share", "link").Build());

Roadmap, feedback and contributions

We are excited about this feature-rich first release and the new capabilities it lights up for Windows developers. We welcome your suggestions for improvements as well as reports of any issues you find on our GitHub. Finally, remember that this is an open source initiative. We invite you to contribute your own code to make the SDK even better.

Announcing Project Rome Android SDK

Project Rome Overview

Project Rome is a platform for creating experiences that transcend a single device and driving up user engagement – empowering a developer to create human-centric scenarios that move with the user and blur the lines between their devices regardless of form factor or platform.

We first shipped Project Rome capabilities for Remote Launch and Remote App Services in Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Project Rome Android SDK

Today we are excited to announce the release of the Android version of the Project Rome SDK.  This Android SDK works both with Java and with Xamarin.

You can download the Project Rome SDK for Android here.

Capabilities exposed through the Project Rome Android SDK

Let’s take an example of an app that might need this capability. In the last blog post, we had talked about Paul and his Contoso Music App. In that scenario, Paul had his UWP app which was a music player, and he wanted to make sure that his users had a way to communicate between his app as they moved between devices.

If we take that example further, we can imagine that Paul has a Contoso Music App for Android as well. Paul notices that most of his users use his app on Windows, and on Android. These are the same users logged in with the same MSA. Paul wants to make sure that his users’ experience translates well when they move between their Android and Windows devices. Paul also notices that many of his Windows users run his UWP app on their Xbox at home.

With the Project Rome Android SDK Paul can use:

  1. The Remote Systems API to discover other Windows devices that the user owns. The Remote Systems APIs will allow the Contoso Music app to discover these devices on the same network, and through the cloud.
  2. Once discovered, the Remote Launch API will launch his app on another Windows device.
  3. Once his app is launched on the other device, Paul can use remote app services to control his app running on Windows from his Android device. We are not releasing this functionality in the release today, but it is coming soon in a future release of the Android SDK.

Thus, using the Project Rome Android SDK, Paul can bridge the experience gap that exists as his users move between their Android and Windows devices.

Capability Walkthrough

We will briefly walk through both a Java and Xamarin example.  We have full examples of UWP here: https://github.com/Microsoft/Windows-universal-samples/tree/dev/Samples/RemoteSystems and Android here: https://github.com/Microsoft/project-rome/tree/master/Project%20Rome%20for%20Android%20(preview%20release).

Click on the image below to see the Android Sample app in action:

Using Java

Here are snippets in Java from our sample of how you’d use the Project Rome Android SDK.  The first step to get going with the Android SDK is to initialize the platform, where you’ll handle authentication.

Platform.initialize(getApplicationContext(), new IAuthCodeProvider() {
    @Override
    public void fetchAuthCodeAsync(String oauthUrl, Platform.IAuthCodeHandler authCodeHandler) {
        performOAuthFlow(oauthUrl, authCodeHandler);            
    }
}

Using OAuth you’ll retrieve an auth_code via a WebView:

public performOAuthFlow (String oauthUrl, Platform.IAuthCodeHandler authCodeHandler) {

    WebView web;
    web = (WebView) _authDialog.findViewById(R.id.webv);
    web.setWebChromeClient(new WebChromeClient());
    web.getSettings().setJavaScriptEnabled(true);
    web.getSettings().setDomStorageEnabled(true);

    // Get auth_code
    web.loadUrl(oauthUrl);

    WebViewClient webViewClient = new WebViewClient() {
        boolean authComplete = false;
        @Override
        public void onPageFinished(WebView view, String url) {
            super.onPageFinished(view, url);

            if (url.startsWith(REDIRECT_URI)) {
                Uri uri = Uri.parse(url);
                String code = uri.getQueryParameter("code");
                String error = uri.getQueryParameter("error");
                if (code != null && !authComplete) {
                authComplete = true;
                authCodeHandler.onAuthCodeFetched(code);
                } else if (error != null) {
                  // Handle error case                                    }
            }
         }
    };

    _web.setWebViewClient(webViewClient);
}

Now, discover devices:

RemoteSystemDiscovery.Builder discoveryBuilder;
discoveryBuilder = new RemoteSystemDiscovery.Builder().setListener(new IRemoteSystemDiscoveryListener() {
    @Override
    public void onRemoteSystemAdded(RemoteSystem remoteSystem) {
        Log.d(TAG, "RemoveSystemAdded = " + remoteSystem.getDisplayName());
        devices.add(new Device(remoteSystem));
        // Sort devices
        Collections.sort(devices, new Comparator<Device>() {
            @Override
            public int compare(Device d1, Device d2)
            {
                return d1.getName().compareTo(d2.getName());
            }
        });
       }
});
startDiscovery();

Remote launch a URI to your device:

new RemoteSystemConnectionRequest(remoteSystem)
String url = "http://msn.com"

new RemoteLauncher().LaunchUriAsync(connectionRequest,
        url,
        new IRemoteLauncherListener() {
            @Override
            public void onCompleted(RemoteLaunchUriStatus status) {

            …
            }
        };

Using Xamarin

Similarly, here are snippets in Xamarin.

You will first initialize the Connected Devices Platform:

Platform.FetchAuthCode += Platform_FetchAuthCode;
var result = await Platform.InitializeAsync(this.ApplicationContext, CLIENT_ID);

Using OAuth you’ll retrieve an auth_code:

private async void Platform_FetchAuthCode(string oauthUrl)
{
    var authCode = await AuthenticateWithOAuth(oauthUrl);
    Platform.SetAuthCode(token);
}

Now, discover devices:

private RemoteSystemWatcher _remoteSystemWatcher;
private void DiscoverDevices()
{
    _remoteSystemWatcher = RemoteSystem.CreateWatcher();
    _remoteSystemWatcher.RemoteSystemAdded += (sender, args) =>
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Discovered Device: " + args.P0.DisplayName);
    };
    _remoteSystemWatcher.Start();
}

Finally, connect and launch URIs using LaunchUriAsync:

private async void RemoteLaunchUri(RemoteSystem remoteSystem, Uri uri)
{
    var launchUriStatus = await RemoteLauncher.LaunchUriAsync(new RemoteSystemConnectionRequest(remoteSystem), uri);
}

If you want to see the Xamarin code, please head over to https://github.com/Microsoft/project-rome/tree/master/xamarin.

Wrapping Up

Project Rome breaks down barriers across all Windows devices and creates experiences that are no longer constrained to a single device. With today’s announcement, we are bringing this capability to Android devices as well. The Remote Systems API available in Windows 10 is a key piece of Project Rome that provides exposure of the device graph and the ability to connect and command – this is fundamental for driving user engagement and productivity for applications across all devices.

To learn more and browse sample code, including the snippets shown above, please check out the following articles and blog posts:

The Windows team would love to hear your feedback.  Please keep the feedback coming using our Windows Developer UserVoice site. If you have a direct bug, please use the Windows Feedback tool built directly into Windows 10.

ICYMI – What happened over vacation?

We hope everyone had a great vacation and a very happy New Year!

We’re excited to be back and while we have a few exciting updates on the way, here are a few things that you might have missed.

Patterns & Controls Tutorials

Fly out menus. Dialogue boxes. Buttons. Check, check and check. Learn how to add all of these controls and patterns to your UWP apps, and spruce up your UI for 2017.

Tell us what you want to see on our blog!

Our blog team wants to create the content that you want to read. Sounds simple, right? Do you want more tutorials? More code samples? Guest blogs? Whatever you want more of, let us know. We’ll do our best to use your feedback to inform our future blog content.

New Ch9 Show on Gaming

Don’t miss Stacey Haffner, our very own .NET Program Manager, in her new Ch9 show all about gaming and UWP game development.

Typescript Tutorial for C# Developers

Jesse Liberty has a new video tutorial about Typescript for C# devs.

He says that, “TypeScript brings object-oriented programming to JavaScript, giving developers a scalable, feature-rich language that compiles into super clean code. While TypeScript is traditionally taught from the perspective of JavaScript, C# is a great entry point, since it features some of the same constructs, abstractions and syntax.”

Check it out below.

The best automated e-mail response of the break:

And that’s it! Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week.

Download Visual Studio to get started.

The Windows team would love to hear your feedback. Please keep the feedback coming using our Windows Developer UserVoice site. If you have a direct bug, please use the Windows Feedback tool built directly into Windows 10.