Tag Archives: thrilled

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition Launches Today on Switch – Xbox Wire

Finally the wait is over and we’re thrilled to announce that Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is available today for Nintendo Switch in the Nintendo eShop! We couldn’t be happier with the reception so far, especially from our fans!

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition is a unique action platformer that combines deep Metroidvania style gameplay with emotional storytelling. The forest of Nibel is dying and Ori must find courage to confront Kuru, the dark owl, in order to save the forest. Ori’s journey is a story about love, sacrifice, and the hope that exists in us all.

To our Switch friends, we’re excited for you to enjoy the same Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition experience that Xbox and PC players know and love. We can’t wait for you to share your stories of your time exploring Nibel!

Stay tuned for the latest game news and updates at orithegame.com.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Announcing the public preview of Azure AD support for FIDO2-based passwordless sign-in

Howdy folks,

I’m thrilled to let you know that you can now go passwordless with the public preview of FIDO2 security keys support in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)! Many teams across Microsoft have been involved in this effort, and we’re proud to deliver on our vision of making FIDO2 technologies a reality to provide you with seamless, secure, and passwordless access to all your Azure AD-connected apps and services.

In addition, we turned on a new set of admin capabilities in the Azure AD portal that enable you to manage authentication factors for users and groups in your organization. In this first release, you can use them to manage a staged rollout of passwordless authentication using FIDO2 security keys and/or the Microsoft Authenticator application. Going forward you’ll see us add the ability to manage all our traditional authentication factors (Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), OATH Tokens, phone number sign in, etc.). Our goal is to enable you to use this one tool to manage all your authentication factors.

Why do we feel so strongly about passwordless?

Every day, more and more of our customers move to cloud services and applications. They need to know that the data and services stored in these services are secure. Unfortunately, passwords are no longer an effective security mechanism. We know from industry analysts that 81 percent of successful cyberattacks begin with a compromised username and password. Additionally, traditional MFA, while very effective, can be hard to use and has a very low adoption rate.

It’s clear we need to provide our customers with authentication options that are secure and easy to use, so they can confidently access information without having to worry about hackers taking over their accounts.

This is where passwordless authentication comes in. We believe it will help to significantly and permanently reduce the risk of account compromise.

Now, all Azure AD users can sign in password-free using a FIDO2 security key, the Microsoft Authenticator app, or Windows Hello. These strong authentication factors are based off the same world class, public key/private key encryption standards and protocols, which are protected by a biometric factor (fingerprint or facial recognition) or a PIN. Users apply the biometric factor or PIN to unlock the private key stored securely on the device. The key is then used to prove who the user and the device are to the service. 

Check out this video where Joy Chik, corporate vice president of Identity, and I talk more about this new standard for signing in. To learn more about why this should be a priority for you and your organization, read our whitepaper.

Let’s get you started!

To help you get started on your own passwordless journey, this week we’re rolling out a bonanza of public preview capabilities. These new features include:

  • A new Authentication methods blade in your Azure AD admin portal that allows you to assign passwordless credentials using FIDO2 security keys and passwordless sign-in with Microsoft Authenticator to users and groups.

FIDO2 hardware

Microsoft has teamed up with leading hardware partners, Feitian Technologies, HID Global, and Yubico, to make sure we have a range of FIDO2 form factors available at launch, including keys connecting via USB and NFC protocols. Sue Bohn has more details on those partnerships.

Please be sure to verify that any FIDO2 security keys you’re considering for your organization meet the additional options required to be compatible with Microsoft’s implementation.

Our passwordless strategy

Our passwordless strategy is a four-step approach where we deploy replacement offerings, reduce the password surface area, transition to passwordless deployment, and finally eliminate passwords:

Today’s product launches are an important milestone for getting to passwordless. In addition, the engineering work we did to provide authentication methods management for administrators and user registration and management, will allow us to move even faster to improve credentials management experiences, as well as bring new capabilities and credentials online more simply. We’re working with our Windows security engineering team to make FIDO2 authentication work for hybrid-joined devices.

Of course, we look forward to feedback from you across all of these features, to help us improve before we make them generally available.

Regards,

 Alex (Twitter: @Alex_A_Simons)

 Corporate VP of Program Management

 Microsoft Identity Division

Additional links

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Reddit Partners With Microsoft to Deliver Intelligent Search Results and Business Intelligence Tools

Today, we’re thrilled to announce a partnership two years in the making, harnessing the power of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence technology to deliver the best possible search experiences for Bing users and analytical tools for brands and marketers.

As our co-founder Alexis Ohanian shared earlier today in his presentation at Microsoft’s AI conference, we’re kicking off the partnership by unveiling two new products that apply Microsoft’s AI tools to Reddit’s vast data:

  • Bing Intelligent Search: first-ever search experiences returning Reddit results for AMAs, Questions, and Communities; and
  • The Power BI suite of solution templates for brand management and targeting on Reddit: a comprehensive set of business intelligence solutions enabling brands, marketers, and budget owners to quickly analyze their Reddit footprint and determine how, where, and with whom to engage in the Reddit community.

The Content You Love, Now Easier to Find

Reddit is home to the most engaging and authentic conversations online with more than 2.5 million comments per day across 138,000 active communities. Now, Bing is making it easier than ever to surface that content through smarter search results.

As part of the Intelligent Search features launching today, Bing users will notice three key search experiences that return the most relevant content possible from Reddit’s vast community:

Desktop view of Bing’s cross-platform Reddit community search experience

If you type in “reddit” and the name of a Reddit community, like “aww” or “data is beautiful,” the relevant subreddits will show up in a dedicated results section. Better still, Bing will surface a sneak peak of the community with the top conversations of the day.

Mobile view of Bing’s cross-platform Reddit AMA search experience

If you type in the name of someone who’s done an AMA—let’s say, Dr. Jane Goodall—their past or upcoming AMAs will surface along with additional information about Jane. l. Bing will give snapshots of completed AMAs and, for users just searching for “Reddit AMAs” in general, a carousel of popular AMAs.

Mobile view of Bing’s cross-platform Reddit Q&A search experience

Last but certainly not least, Bing users whose queries are best answered with relevant Reddit conversations, will see those conversations at the top of the page, easily getting perspectives from millions of Reddit users.

Best of all, Bing has launched their suite of Reddit-tailored results across platforms, so whether you’re on your phone wondering what the best free online certificates are that will look good on your resume or on desktop looking for a community devoted to baby elephant gifs, Bing users will have access to the most relevant Reddit content right at their fingertips.

As this initial set of experiences roll out, we will work with Bing to collect feedback and continue refining and adding features as we understand how people are using this experience.

Better Brand Insights from Reddit

But wait: there’s more!

In addition to launching an all-new consumer search experience for Reddit content on Bing, our partnership with Microsoft also leverages our relationship with Socialgist to bring Reddit’s data and API to Power BI, a comprehensive set of business modules that utilizes Microsoft’s AI and analytics to help brands and marketers analyze data and share insights.

As we developed our partnership with Microsoft, we found that Power BI offered incredibly robust, and easy-to-consume business intelligence tools to turn Reddit data into clear, useful insights. Power BI’s data analysis offers flexibility to customize and even build your own modules. It also enables dynamic querying, which allows users to easily re-run and change queries in real time and customize data visualizations through multiple variables.

With the general availability of the Power BI solution templates suite for brand management and targeting on Reddit, brands and marketers can now monitor, target, and compare their Reddit footprint across communities in a flexible, convenient format. Brands can use this solution to see which communities are talking about them the most, uncover the sentiment of those conversations, and receive detailed breakdowns of their mentions and sentiment over time. Learn more about the Power BI Solution Templates here.

We hope today’s announcement is just the first step in exploring the opportunities to bring relevant content, communities, and insights from our users to brands and consumers alike. In the meantime, check out Bing’s improved search experience for yourself and learn more about Microsoft Power BI here.

Sea of Thieves Arrives March 20, Pre-orders Available Now

At The Game Awards last night, we were thrilled to announce that Sea of Thievesshared-world adventure will be setting sail globally on the Xbox One family of devices and Windows 10 PCs on March 20, 2018 for $59.99/£49.99/€69.99. The game is now available for pre-order, and you can check out the trailer above for the latest taste of the daring adventures you’ll find in-game.

Pirates who pre-order digitally or at retail will receive exclusive access to a pre-release closed beta, providing the perfect opportunity for fans to find their sea legs ahead of launch. In addition, players will kick off their sartorial adventures in style in the form of the Black Dog Pack, offering unique clothing & items with spectacular designs.

Pirates are nothing without the right tools, so we’re also happy to announce the Xbox Wireless Controller – Sea of Thieves Limited Edition so you can fight, sail and loot in style. The controller features a deep purple translucent design, adorned with laser etched barnacles, one treasured golden trigger and haunted by a mysterious glow-in-the-dark skull. The Xbox Wireless Controller – Sea of Thieves Limited Edition is now available for pre-order for $74.99 USD and ships globally in all Xbox One markets on Feb. 6, 2018.  The controller comes with the exclusive Ferryman Clothing Set* for your Sea of Thieves character, a 14 day Xbox Live Gold trial, and a 14 day Game Pass trial at no additional cost.

For aspiring pirates new to the adventure, Sea of Thieves is a new type of multiplayer game where players take to the high seas on epic voyages to unravel puzzling riddles, engage in ship-to-ship battles and discover the treasure of a lifetime. Grab your crew and journey into a unique shared world where each pirate is a real player with their own intentions and goals.

While March 20, 2018 can’t come soon enough, we wouldn’t have gotten here without the loyal support of our awesome community. From the fantastic feedback received during the Technical Alpha to support during shows and conventions, Sea of Thieves is a testament to the incredible fans who have invested in this world with us. We look forward to your continued support as we sail toward release and beyond.

For the latest on Sea of Thieves and news on closed beta dates, stay tuned to SeaOfThieves.com in the lead up to March 20, 2018. We can’t wait to share more soon!

*In-game Ferryman Clothing Set available for use in Sea of Thieves game starting on March 20, 2018.

Take your first step towards the Imagine Cup with the Big Idea Challenge

Take your first step towards the Imagine Cup with the Big Idea Challenge

The 2018 Imagine Cup season is underway, and we are thrilled to announce the Big Idea Challenge! Pitch your world changing Imagine Cup idea and your team could win $3,000 USD, and technical resources to take your idea to the next level!

  • $3,000 USD – 1st Place prize
  • $2,000 USD – 2nd Place prize
  • $1,000 USD – 3rd Place prize
  • Judge feedback on project submission – Top 10 teams
  • $600 in Azure credits – Top 50 teams

Student developers around the world are asked every year to pitch their projects to investors, partners, customers, publishers, and even potential teammates. It’s how you share your vision, how you persuade people that you don’t just have the right idea, you’re also the right team to make it happen. Every winning pitch has a solid project plan to back it up. Want to win the Imagine Cup and get your project funded? Judges will want to know the why and the how you plan to bring your project to market.

How can you get a head start on the Imagine Cup? Create a three-minute pitch video as well as a project plan document and let us know what your Imagine Cup idea is all about. Your entry will be reviewed by a team of judges who will score it on a number of different criteria as described in the Official Rules. We’ve got plenty of resources to get you started: Take a look at winning Imagine Cup pitches as well as how to build your project plan, both should help you feel confident in taking that first step!

Start your journey today by registering for the 2018 Imagine Cup and submitting your solution to the Big Idea challenge from your account page by January 31st, 2018; winners will be announced in February. Don’t wait; 50 teams will win, and your Big Idea could take home $3,000 USD!

Pablo Veramendi
Imagine Cup Competition Manager

Cray Supercomputers are coming to Azure

I’m thrilled to share our new, exclusive partnership with Cray that will provide our customers unprecedented access to supercomputing capabilities in Azure to solve their toughest challenges in climate modeling, precision medicine, energy, manufacturing, and other scientific research.

This announcement is yet another step to help our customers harness the power of HPC and AI in an agile and cost-effective way. At Microsoft, we believe access to Big Computing capabilities in the cloud has the power to transform many businesses and will be at the forefront of breakthrough experimentation and innovation in the decades to come. We’ve already made significant investments to support this vision over the last several years, including industry-leading network performance with InfiniBand, our recent acquisition of Cycle Computing to simplify management of hybrid HPC deployments, and our recent announcements around bringing leading edge GPUs to the public cloud.

Microsoft and Cray are working together to bring customers the right combination of extreme performance, scalability, and elasticity. Customers can get a dedicated Cray XC or CS series supercomputers in Azure to run HPC and AI applications alongside their other cloud workloads directly on the Azure network. The Cray systems easily integrate with Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Data Lake storage, the Microsoft AI platform, and Azure Machine Learning services for rich workflows and collaboration. All of this provided in the cloud with the most datacenters worldwide, the most compliance certifications, and dedicated regions for government agencies and their partners.

Only this partnership with Microsoft and Cray allows customers to run a broad array of hybrid workflows in the cloud, and be fully supported by the experts in enterprise cloud and HPC.

To learn more about this offering, please see our press release or visit the Cray website.

Docker’s routing mesh available with Windows Server version 1709

The Windows Core Networking team, along with our friends at Docker, are thrilled to announce that support for Docker’s ingress routing mesh will be supported with Windows Server version 1709.

Ingress routing mesh is part of swarm mode–Docker’s built-in orchestration solution for containers. Swarm mode first became available on Windows early this year, along with support for the Windows overlay network driver. With swarm mode, users have the ability to create container services and deploy them to a cluster of container hosts. With this, of course, also comes the ability to define published ports for services, so that the apps that those services are running can be accessed by endpoints outside of the swarm cluster (for example, a user might want to access a containerized web service via web browser from their laptop or phone).

To place routing mesh in context, it’s useful to understand that Docker currently provides it, along with another option for publishing services with swarm mode–host mode service publishing:*

  • Host mode is an approach to service publishing that’s optimal for production environments, where system administrators value maximum performance and full control over their container network configuration. With host mode, each container of a service is published directly to the host where it is running.
  • Routing mesh is an approach to service publishing that’s optimized for the developer experience, or for production cases where a simple configuration experience is valued above performance, or control over how incoming requests are routed to the specific replicas/containers for a service. With ingress routing mesh, the containers for a published service, can all be accessed through a single “swarm port”–one port, published on every swarm host (even the hosts where no container for the service is currently running!).

While our support for routing mesh is new with Windows Server version 1709, host mode service publishing has been supported since swarm mode was originally made available on Windows. 

*For more information, on how host mode and routing mesh work, visit Docker’s documentation on routing mesh and publishing services with swarm mode.

So, what does it take to use routing mesh on Windows? Routing mesh is Docker’s default service publishing option. It has always been the default behavior on Linux, and now it’s also supported as the default on Windows! This means that all you need to do to use routing mesh, is create your services using the --publish flag to the docker service create option, as described in Docker’s documentation.

For example, assume you have a basic web service, defined by a container image called, web-frontend. If you wanted to publish this service to port 80 of each container and port 8080 of all of your swarm nodes, you’d create the service with a command like this:

C:> docker service create --name web --replicas 3 --publish 8080:80 web-frontend

In this case, the web app, running on a pre-configured swarm cluster along with a db backend service, might look like the app depicted below. As shown, because of routing mesh clients outside of the swarm cluster (in this example, web browsers) are able to access the web service via its published port–8080. And in fact, each client can access the web service via its published port on any swarm host; no matter which host receives an original incoming request, that host will use routing mesh to route the request to a web container instance that can ultimately service that request.

Once again, we at Microsoft and our partners at Docker are proud to make ingress mode available to you on Windows. Try it out on Windows Server version 1709, and using Docker EE Preview*, and let us know what you think! We appreciate your engagement and support in making features like routing mesh possible, and we encourage you to continue reaching out with feedback. Please provide your questions/comments/feature requests by posting issues to the Docker for Windows GitHub repo or by emailing the Windows Core Networking team directly, at [email protected]

*Note: Ingress mode on Windows currently has the following system requirements: