Tag Archives: shows

New enterprise 14 TB HDD options cater to cloud-scale users

The latest wave of helium-based 14 TB hard disk drives shows there’s still innovative life in the storage media, mainly for cloud-scale users in need of economical, high-density drives.

Seagate Technology this week launched its new 14 TB helium hard drive portfolio. It includes the 12 Gbps SAS- and 6 Gbps SATA-based Exos X14 designed for hyperscale data centers and SATA-based IronWolf for NAS, SkyHawk for surveillance systems and BarraCuda Pro for desktop workstations and DAS.

Toshiba recently disclosed that it’s sampling 14 TB and 12 TB helium-sealed 7,200 rpm SAS HDDs with 12 Gbps data transfer rates. They join Toshiba’s previous helium-based 14 TB HDD that uses the 6 Gbps SATA interface.

Earlier this year, Western Digital began shipping helium-based 12 Gbps SAS- and 6 Gbps SATA-based 14 TB HDD models to select hyperscale cloud customers. China-based internet service provider Tencent, a customer of Western Digital’s 12 TB HelioSeal HDDs, confirmed it was qualifying the latest 14 TB Ultrastar DC HC530 drives. The 14 TB HDD models use helium instead of air to reduce aerodynamic drag and turbulence inside the drives. Helium-based HDDs require less power and enable manufacturers to use thinner disks and squeeze in more tracks to store more data per HDD.

Shingled magnetic recording

In June, Western Digital disclosed Dropbox as a customer for its 3.5-inch helium-based 14 TB Ultrastar DC HC620 HDD. The drive — formerly called the Ultrastar Hs14 — uses host-managed shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology, in contrast to the two-dimensional magnetic recording the Ultrastar DC HC530 uses.

Dropbox qualified and deployed Western Digital’s SMR-based HC620 HDD for its custom-built Magic Pocket storage infrastructure. A Dropbox blog noted the SMR HDDs offer higher bit density and lower cost per GB than HDDs that use conventional perpendicular magnetic recording technology, which aligns bits vertically rather than horizontally.

Conventional magnetic recording enables random data writes across the entire disk, whereas SMR is best suited to writing data in sequential mode. Dropbox chose the host-managed SMR HDDs for the Magic Pocket workload because its storage architecture is geared for sequential writes.

But the Dropbox scenario is not the norm at this point. John Rydning, an IDC analyst who focuses on HDDs, said demand is low for SMR technology because customers would need to tweak their systems in order to use drives designed for sequential rather than random writes.

“With SMR, tracks on the disk are partially overwritten intentionally — like shingles on a roof — to increase the number of tracks on the disk and increase the storage capacity per disk,” Rydning wrote in an email. “Yet, it’s difficult to change or modify data once it’s written to the disk.

Seagate 14 TB HDD
Seagate’s IronWolf 14 TB HDD is designed for network-attached storage.

“Think of what it’s like to change a shingle in the middle of a roof. You have to peel off a few rows to change one shingle. Similar for SMR HDDs. To change data already written to the disk, you have to read several tracks to cache, modify the data in cache, then rewrite to the disk.”

Rydning said the competition for 14 TB HDD market share in the near term will center on drives that use conventional magnetic recording rather than SMR technology.

Additional high-density HDD technologies in the works include heat-assisted magnetic recording and microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR), but those options have yet to emerge in commercially shipping products. Western Digital said last year that it expects to begin shipping ultra-high capacity MAMR HDDs in 2019 and claimed that MAMR has the potential to enable HDDs of 40 TB and beyond by 2025.

Toshiba’s nine-platter 14 TB HDD

In the conventional magnetic recording space, Toshiba’s new MG07SCA 14 TB HDD uses a nine-platter helium-sealed mechanical design unlike the eight-disk 14 TB options from rivals Seagate and Western Digital. Toshiba uses eight platters with its helium-based 12 TB MG07 model, after using seven platters with its traditional air-based MG06 10 TB generation, said Scott Wright, the company’s director of HDD marketing.

Toshiba lagged competitors on previous product generations with 8 TB, 10 TB and 12 TB HDDs, IDC’s Rydning said. The company is now time-to-market competitive with Western Digital and Seagate with 14 TB HDDs for cloud-scale customers and positions itself well for higher capacities in the future, he said.

But Toshiba’s nine-platter 14 TB HDDs carry a higher manufacturing cost per drive for the extra disk and two heads than the eight-platter 14 TB HDDs from Western Digital and Seagate, Rydning said. “On the other hand, given that Western Digital and Seagate are using the higher areal density heads and disk, they may encounter production yield challenges in the first one or two quarters of production,” he said.

Toshiba didn’t disclose retail pricing for the MG07SCA 14 TB HDDs.

Enterprise HDD market leaders

Seagate and Western Digital lead the market in nearline enterprise-class 7,200 rpm SAS and SATA HDDs, according to Trendfocus vice president John Chen. Seagate has the edge in units shipped, and Western Digital leads in exabytes shipped, Chen said. SATA is the dominant interface for nearline HDDs, with SAS at only about 20% unit share, he said.

SATA HDDs are single ported, but Toshiba’s Wright said there’s still demand for dual-ported SAS HDDs among users who want to map redundant paths to each storage device for high availability. He said some customers want to be able to support SSDs and HDDs in a common architecture, with the same 12 GBs data transfer rate.

Wright doesn’t expect the new wave of upcoming 3D NAND flash-based SSDs that store four bits of data per cell — known as quadruple-level cell (QLC) — to eat into the nearline enterprise HDD market that is “all about cost of capacity.”

“Where we see solid state challenging HDD is in very low capacities, at the lower end of the notebook PC market, and then also, of course, on performance at the high end of the enterprise market where some SSDs are being used in place of the traditional 15,000 rpm types of high-performance [hard disk] drives,” Wright said.

Inside Xbox is Live from gamescom on Tuesday, August 21 – Xbox Wire

Inside Xbox kicks off one of the world’s largest video game shows with a live broadcast direct from Cologne, Germany on Tuesday, August 21 at 7:30 a.m. PDT/10:30 a.m. EDT on MixerTwitchYouTubeFacebook, and Twitter.

Our gamescom content will include the latest on Forza Horizon 4Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2, plus breaking news, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen content for many other games.

Stay tuned @Xbox on Twitter and here on Xbox Wire for the latest Inside Xbox: Live @ gamescom news, and mark August 21 on your calendar so you don’t miss out!

Inside Xbox is Live from gamescom on Tuesday, August 21 – Xbox Wire

Inside Xbox kicks off one of the world’s largest video game shows with a live broadcast direct from Cologne, Germany on Tuesday, August 21 at 7:30 a.m. PDT/10:30 a.m. EDT on MixerTwitchYouTubeFacebook, and Twitter.

Our gamescom content will include the latest on Forza Horizon 4Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2, plus breaking news, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen content for many other games.

Stay tuned @Xbox on Twitter and here on Xbox Wire for the latest Inside Xbox: Live @ gamescom news, and mark August 21 on your calendar so you don’t miss out!

McAfee details rise in blockchain threats, cryptocurrency attacks

A new McAfee report on blockchain threats shows

cryptomining
malware grew more than 600% in the first

quarter
this year.

McAfee’s “Blockchain Threat Report” details the massive increase in

cyberattacks
against cryptocurrency owners, exchanges and other companies leveraging blockchain as the value of those cryptocurrencies has surged over the last year. Steve Povolny, head of advanced threat research at McAfee, said the intent of the report is to create a baseline for the industry as it deals with increased blockchain threats that use many of the same attack techniques and methods of the last five to 10 years.

“We’ve seen an explosion in cryptocurrency value recently,” Povolny said. “Hundreds of them were created in a very short time, and now we’re seeing threat actors trying to capitalize on that value.”

While attackers have learned to adopt different attack methods that target both consumers and businesses, according to McAfee researchers, the four major attack vectors include familiar threats like phishing, malware, implementation vulnerabilities

and
technology. Phishing is the most familiar blockchain attack due to its prevalence and success rate, the researchers wrote. Malware, meanwhile, has exploded over the last year; the report shows the total

cryptomining
malware
samples increased 629% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 of this year. The report also notes that malware developers began to shift from ransomware to cryptocurrency mining in the last six months with “ransomware attacks declining 32% in Q1 2018 from Q4 2017 while coin mining increased by 1,189%.”

Technology attacks, as explained by the researchers, are threats like dictionary attacks that are used against cryptocurrency private keys. Lastly, implementation vulnerabilities refer to flawed deployments of blockchain technology; the report cites examples such as the 2017 attack on blockchain startup Iota, where attackers exploited cryptographic vulnerabilities to created hash collisions and forged signatures, which enabled the hackers to steal coins from users’ digital wallets. Povolny stressed these vulnerabilities are not flaws with blockchain itself, which has proved to be secure so far.

The “Blockchain Threat Report” states, “In most cases, the consumers of blockchain technology are the easiest targets. Due to a widespread start-up mentality, in which security often takes a backseat to growth, cryptocurrency companies often fall in this category.”

Povolny said the issue of security within cryptocurrency and blockchain creates a two-sided problem. The first side revolves around the companies that initially rushed to capitalize on cryptocurrency but didn’t complete basic security checks and risk assessments; those shortcomings, which include a lack of proper access controls,

make
them easy targets for threat actors, he said. The second side is the financial motivation, as many cryptocurrencies’ values reached all-time highs in late 2017, when Bitcoin was valued at almost $20,000 per coin, thus catching the attention of hackers. This two-sided cryptocurrency problem created a continuous cycle that resulted in the development of wallets and ledgers being built without a complete understanding of security risks or an implementation of security around the programs, McAfee researchers claim.

The report also notes that “recovering from cryptocurrency theft is more difficult and complicated than with most other currencies due to their decentralized nature.” In order to secure a network, a tailored risk assessment should be conducted.

As industries begin to implement their own blockchain technology, users should prepare for continued development of new technologies by cybercriminals to further compromise them, McAfee researchers wrote. However, since there is not a clear understanding of where these risks are,

trust
may be placed in unwarranted blockchain applications. In order to keep cryptocurrency wallets safe, Povolny recommends storing them locally on a computer that lacks network accessibility and notes that we may not see people flock to a currency like this again.

Despite the increase in threats, Povolny said the surge in cryptocurrency startups and blockchain deployments is expected to continue.

Mixed Reality @ Microsoft – June 2018 Update – Windows Experience Blog

Recent Microsoft-Harvard Business Review survey shows 87 percent of respondents are currently exploring, piloting, or deploying mixed reality in their company.

Hey everyone — I hope this month’s blog post finds you well!

Today, we are welcoming the solstice in the U.S., and I am very much looking forward to summer in Seattle. In addition to some planned vacation time, I will also be working with our team and partners on some exciting product development efforts for mixed-reality business applications. I can’t wait to share more about that in the coming months!

But before we look too far ahead, June has already been filled with some cool mixed-reality moments.

Earlier this month my colleagues Dio Gonzalez and Katie Kelly presented at the sixth annual Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara, California. I was encouraged but not at all surprised to hear from them about the tremendous growth of the conference, with many more incredible and varied AR solutions than ever before. This mirrors the signals we’ve long observed at Microsoft and aligns with the level of activity we continue to see in this space: Mixed-reality technology is increasingly providing demonstrable value across a wide range of workplace scenarios, which is fueling further interest from developers and businesses alike. AWE is a great conference, and I hope to be able to join again next year.

Supporting this observation, Microsoft recently partnered with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services to conduct a survey investigating the unique role and importance of mixed reality within the context of the modern workplace. This research surveyed 394 executives of companies with more than 250 employees each and spanning several industries, from manufacturing, engineering, and construction to retail, defense, and education.

The results—which you can read here—were released today, and the findings are fascinating: Among a great many observations, we learned that 87 percent of respondents are currently exploring, piloting, or deploying mixed reality in their company work flows. Similarly, 68 percent of respondents believe that mixed reality will play an important role in helping to achieve their companies’ strategic goals over the next 18 months.

The survey results identified several exciting areas of opportunity in the growing mixed-reality space.

One of the key opportunities is with Firstline Workers, who make up 80 percent of the workforce but often have limited access to relevant, contextual information due to the on-the-field nature of their jobs. These are the workers who are typically on the frontlines of any business workflow: behind the counters, in the clinics, traveling between customers for field service, or on the factory floors. Several of Microsoft’s commercial customers, for instance, are already empowering their Firstline Workers today with mixed-reality solutions that enable remote assistance, spatial planning, environmentally contextual data, and much more. Mixed reality allows these Firstline Workers to conduct their usual, day-to-day activities with the added benefit of heads-up, hands-free access to incredibly valuable, contextual information.

Lastly, a couple of days ago Alex Kipman spoke about mixed reality in the modern workplace at LiveWorx in Boston. LiveWorx brings together BDMs, engineers, and developers to learn about the tools available to help drive digital transformation in the workplace – such as IoT, mixed reality, and robotics.

Given our mission to help empower people and companies to achieve more, the conference was a great fit for our team. Alex hit on Microsoft’s strategy for mixed reality, in particular how it will serve to accelerate our ambition for an Intelligent Cloud and an Intelligent Edge. For those who have been with us on our mixed-reality journey, and for those who are just joining us, his fireside chat with Jon Fortt is a must-watch.

I am already looking forward to next month’s blog. In the meantime, as always, I’m available on Twitter (@lorrainebardeen) and eager to hear about what you’re doing with mixed reality.

Talk soon!

Lorraine

I heart MR on a blue and white background

Mixed Reality @ Microsoft – June 2018 Update – Windows Experience Blog

Recent Microsoft-Harvard Business Review survey shows 87 percent of respondents are currently exploring, piloting, or deploying mixed reality in their company.

Hey everyone — I hope this month’s blog post finds you well!

Today, we are welcoming the solstice in the U.S., and I am very much looking forward to summer in Seattle. In addition to some planned vacation time, I will also be working with our team and partners on some exciting product development efforts for mixed-reality business applications. I can’t wait to share more about that in the coming months!

But before we look too far ahead, June has already been filled with some cool mixed-reality moments.

Earlier this month my colleagues Dio Gonzalez and Katie Kelly presented at the sixth annual Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara, California. I was encouraged but not at all surprised to hear from them about the tremendous growth of the conference, with many more incredible and varied AR solutions than ever before. This mirrors the signals we’ve long observed at Microsoft and aligns with the level of activity we continue to see in this space: Mixed-reality technology is increasingly providing demonstrable value across a wide range of workplace scenarios, which is fueling further interest from developers and businesses alike. AWE is a great conference, and I hope to be able to join again next year.

Supporting this observation, Microsoft recently partnered with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services to conduct a survey investigating the unique role and importance of mixed reality within the context of the modern workplace. This research surveyed 394 executives of companies with more than 250 employees each and spanning several industries, from manufacturing, engineering, and construction to retail, defense, and education.

The results—which you can read here—were released today, and the findings are fascinating: Among a great many observations, we learned that 87 percent of respondents are currently exploring, piloting, or deploying mixed reality in their company work flows. Similarly, 68 percent of respondents believe that mixed reality will play an important role in helping to achieve their companies’ strategic goals over the next 18 months.

The survey results identified several exciting areas of opportunity in the growing mixed-reality space.

One of the key opportunities is with Firstline Workers, who make up 80 percent of the workforce but often have limited access to relevant, contextual information due to the on-the-field nature of their jobs. These are the workers who are typically on the frontlines of any business workflow: behind the counters, in the clinics, traveling between customers for field service, or on the factory floors. Several of Microsoft’s commercial customers, for instance, are already empowering their Firstline Workers today with mixed-reality solutions that enable remote assistance, spatial planning, environmentally contextual data, and much more. Mixed reality allows these Firstline Workers to conduct their usual, day-to-day activities with the added benefit of heads-up, hands-free access to incredibly valuable, contextual information.

Lastly, a couple of days ago Alex Kipman spoke about mixed reality in the modern workplace at LiveWorx in Boston. LiveWorx brings together BDMs, engineers, and developers to learn about the tools available to help drive digital transformation in the workplace – such as IoT, mixed reality, and robotics.

Given our mission to help empower people and companies to achieve more, the conference was a great fit for our team. Alex hit on Microsoft’s strategy for mixed reality, in particular how it will serve to accelerate our ambition for an Intelligent Cloud and an Intelligent Edge. For those who have been with us on our mixed-reality journey, and for those who are just joining us, his fireside chat with Jon Fortt is a must-watch.

I am already looking forward to next month’s blog. In the meantime, as always, I’m available on Twitter (@lorrainebardeen) and eager to hear about what you’re doing with mixed reality.

Talk soon!

Lorraine

I heart MR on a blue and white background

Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants: Broadening the PhD pipeline to increase innovation – Microsoft Research

Research shows that diverse teams are more productive teams. Diversity, particularly in the area of computing research, means including unique perspectives that otherwise might not have a voice, fueling innovation. These are some of the key reasons that Microsoft is committed to diversity. One aspect of demonstrating that commitment is that, for the second year in a row, we are awarding Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants to talented PhD candidates from groups that are under-represented in computing. The goal of these awards (up to $25,000 each) are to widen the narrow pipeline of women, African-Americans, American Indians, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and those with disabilities who earn PhDs in computer science or related fields. These awards are given to students in the “last mile” of their PhDs, where a little money can push them over the finish line by helping them to complete their dissertation research.

I am pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Microsoft Research Dissertation Grants:

  • Cynthia Bennett, University of Washington, “Toward Disability-Informed Human-Centered Design”
  • Eric Corbett, Georgia Institute of Technology, “Trust, Technology and Community Engagement”
  • Ryan M. Corey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “Array Signal Processing for Augmented Listening”
  • Maria De-Arteaga, Carnegie Mellon University, “Quantifying and Mitigating Risks of Algorithmic Decision Support”
  • Jane E, Stanford University, “Artistic Vision: Providing Context for Capture-Time Decisions”
  • Sahar Hashemgeloogerdi, University of Rochester, “Computationally Efficient Modeling and Audio Enhancement Algorithms for Reverberant Acoustic Systems Using Orthonormal Basis Functions”
  • Francesco Pittaluga, University of Florida, “Privacy Preserving Computational Cameras”
  • Ramya Ramakrishnan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Human-Guided Reinforcement Learning in Real-World Environments”
  • João Sedoc, University of Pennsylvania, “Hierarchical Approaches to Improve the Flow, Style, and Coherence of Conversational Agents”
  • Mina Tahmasbi Arashloo, Princeton University, “Programmable Network Monitoring and Control”
  • Sarah Tan, Cornell University, “Methods in Interpretability and Causal Inference for Better Understanding of Machine Learning Models”

From the almost 200 research projects submitted, these PhD candidates were selected as grant recipients based on review by scientists at Microsoft Research of the quality of the students’ dissertation research, the potential impact of their research, and the uses toward which they would put the grant monies awarded.

For example, Ryan Corey’s grant proposal included funds for purchasing high-quality recording equipment to capture and separate sources of audio to prototype products that augment people’s ability to hear, and also to fund outreach efforts for him to go into community schools to demonstrate his research. Ramya Ramakrishnan will use her grant to hire undergraduate women as research assistants, so she can further amplify the mentoring she receives from this award. Cynthia Bennett, who has a visual disability, is using her grant to increase the ability of people with disabilities to design products that other people with disabilities will use.

There were interesting themes running across this year’s set of awardees, including the ethics and sociological impact of their research. Eric Corbett’s research on using technology to increase public trust and Maria De-Arteaga’s research on mitigating risks of algorithmic decision support in the criminal justice system are two such examples.

In addition to monetary grants, each award comes with an all-expense paid trip to a two-day Microsoft Research workshop in Redmond, Washington, in the autumn of 2018. There, the awardees will present their research, meet with researchers in their field, and receive career coaching.

For a complete list of awardees and their projects, visit our Dissertation Grant Program page.

The UK is in the fast lane to the future and teachers are in the driving seat

By Cindy Rose, UK CEO, Microsoft Ltd

The Chancellor’s Budget today shows that the Government and Microsoft share the same goal: to build a hi-tech UK that’s fit for the future.

We welcome the announcement by the Chancellor to triple the number of fully-qualified computer science teachers from 4,000 to 12,000. There is an urgent need for the UK to tackle its digital skills gap and use technology to nurture the creativity already embedded in the next generation.

Teachers across the country need more support to deliver the plans laid out today in the Budget. They need the skills to pass on to their students, the tools to enable them to engage young minds, the freedom to experiment in class and find the best way to engage youngsters, and the professional support to ensure they can get help if they need it.

A YouGov survey published last month found that 67% of primary and secondary school teachers can’t teach coding because of a lack of “skills and teaching tools”, and just under 40% don’t have access to the right hardware and software.

School provision of GCSE Computing in 2015-16

Microsoft is working to ensure everyone can benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and has launched a programme to help people across the UK improve their digital skills to ensure the country remains one of the global leaders in cloud computing, AI and other next-generation technologies.

Philip Hammond has promised to put Britain in the “fast lane” with funding for artificial intelligence, computer science education, driverless cars and digital skills.

The road to making the UK a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be a long one, but we are on it together.

It’s also important to remember that the country is not starting from scratch, and the UK is built on a strong foundation of innovation. From Ada Lovelace, through Alan Turing to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Britain has always shown itself to be at the cutting-edge of science and technology.

You only have to look at cities such as Dundee, Manchester and Cambridge to see that this trend continues today, and the Government should be applauded for its work in creating a digital economy in which our brightest minds can shine for the benefit of everyone.

Learn more about Microsoft’s Digital Skills Programme

Student uptake of GCSE Computing in 2015-16

Being “future-ready” means ensuring children leave school with a strong foundational knowledge in STEM and computer science. This means ALL children. Just 20% of Computer Science GCSE students in the past year were female, and only 10% of those continued to study the subject at A-level. Microsoft believes the UK’s digital skills gap is unacceptable and we are working tirelessly with our partners to encourage more girls and those from minority backgrounds to study STEM subjects.

It takes a range of skills and personalities to achieve success, which is why we also welcome the formation of a National Retraining Scheme, including a multi-million-pound commitment to digital skills courses using AI. Microsoft has been a long-standing advocate for and supporter of computer science education, working with the Royal Society, the British Computer Society, Computing at School and others in the technology industry. Government, schools, the voluntary sector and industry need to work together to ensure every child has the chance to fulfil their potential in a future transformed by digital technology.”

The UK’s future is bright if we empower teachers to do what they do best – teach.

Inclusion in action: Jack shows students what’s possible with Office 365, a screen reader and a keyboard

Today, we meet Jack Mendez, an instructor, at the Louisiana Center for the Blind. Jack shows his students the full power of technology, and teaches them about the accessibility features and capabilities in Office 365 and Windows 10. Jack’s story is part of our Inclusion in action series announced last month, highlighting how accessible technologies enable transformative change.

Here’s his story.

[embedded content]

When a sighted person walks into Jack Mendez’s classroom, one of the first things they notice is a workstation without a screen. For Jack, this is a striking example how far assistive technology has advanced.

“I have a computer without a screen, and that’s intentional because I want people to understand that all you need is a keyboard and some headphones.” said Jack. “You can produce and consume content and use the computer and navigate just with the screen reader and your keyboard.”

A man who is blind walking

Jack Mendez is the Director of Technology at the Louisiana Center for the Blind.

As the Director of Technology at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, Jack is in charge of the school’s IT systems and the software used to prepare students for life outside of school.

When you enter his classroom, you discover a flurry of activity. Jack deployed Office 365 on all the school’s workstations. “It’s the best that’s out there. If you find something better, let me know.”

Students manage their calendars and access email through Outlook. They use OneNote to take notes and access them across multiple devices.

Jack is a big advocate for the use of Office 365 built-in accessibility checker to make content more inclusive, saying,

“It’s just something that it makes sense to click on. It takes a second, and a lot of times for most recommendations that the tool produces, it’s like a five-second fix.”

If students want to know how to perform a task in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, they use Office 365’s Tell Me feature and ask how it’s done. The answers are quickly provided.

For Jack, these accessible technologies are a game changer for him and his students.

“I can now open up Excel or PowerPoint or Word and I can produce content that someone across the world would look at and never know a blind person had a role in that production. It be just as appealing, just as in-depth as anything else someone with no disabilities could have produced.”

Jack says that students want to come to the school for technology classes because they see how productive you can be if you have good training and understand how the tools work.

“My hope for all of my students is that they’re able to use technology to make their lives better. Many of them go on to college. A lot of them start working. Some of them already have careers and they’re using this time to enhance their ability to be more independent at their current job.”

In addition to working with students, Jack shows companies the ways that accessible technologies can enable them to expand their workforce and employ more people with disabilities, like blindness.

During a recent demonstration he did for some local bankers generating a visual presentation on a computer without a screen, he opened up Office and started producing a document.

“I wrote some things, I changed some fonts, I saved the document all using the keyboard, all without a screen.”

Desk view

Jack uses a computer without a screen to create visual content.

Since that demonstration, some of his students have earned employment with those same bankers.

Jack serves as an example of how to personalize and maximize the use of technology. He says he was always curious as a child. When he got in touch with computers, he realized this meant even more stuff to explore.

During a routine visit to his dentist at age 15, Jack overheard staff talking about a problem with the computer. When he told the dentist he could fix it, the dentist hesitated before he gave him a chance. Jack repaired the computer and earned $500. The dentist then recommended him for other jobs, and that was the birth of his career in IT.

Jack’s hopes that accessible technologies become a given in the future, which he believes will make life and business better for everyone.

“When I’m able to help a business understand that when you make a hiring decision with someone who’s had good training that they’re going to help the entire company,” he said.

As for teaching? “It’s about helping a student understand what’s possible.”

Visit aka.ms/InclusionInAction to discover more stories of people pushing the boundaries of productivity and inclusion with Microsoft technologies.