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What it means to really be seen: Clark Ly fights for transgender visibility – Microsoft Life

One employee uses the lessons he learned from his own journey becoming his authentic self to insist that others who feel invisible are seen and heard

By Candace Whitney-Morris

Eight years into his career at Microsoft, Clark Ly, who identified as a woman at the time, decided to transition to being male. His friends and support system seemed surprised when he told them he was going to stay at the same company, in the same department, and on the same team.

“When you decide to transition, it’s not just you transitioning,” Ly said. “It’s everyone around you. You have to take that into consideration. Many people leave; they want a fresh start.”

But Ly loved his job helping Xbox publishers get their games out, so he decided to remain at his job as he transitioned to living openly as a man.

In January 2015, with the help of his manager, an email was sent to the team, rewelcoming Clark Ly. He knew the group was open and accepting, but he still wondered how this would affect everyone.

“The response was really great. I had grown adults crying in my office because they were so happy for me.”

Born in Vietnam to a father who was in the military, Ly grew up with an inclination toward law enforcement. After he moved to and grew up in the United States, he decided to become a police officer “to do some good in the world.” Though he moved on to Microsoft after a few years of patrolling the streets of Portland, his desire to do good in the world never waned. These days, that instinct powers his advocacy and support for those who are afraid to be who they are.

Ly is a big part of Microsoft’s efforts to help LGBTQ+ people and advocate against the kind of inequity that contributes to an unemployment rate among trans and gender nonbinary workers that is nearly twice that of the overall US working population.

As an active member in the LGBTQ+ employee resource group GLEAM, Ly helped cofound a subgroup of GLEAM called Gender Expression and Transgender* (GET*—the asterisk signifies inclusion of all who don’t identify under the term transgender) with two other transgender employees at Microsoft.

GET* members meet regularly to support each other and help influence inclusive policies in the workplace. The group is working on creating a “how to come out at Microsoft” recourse guide that helps transgender and nonbinary employees navigate their health benefits and anticipate what to expect if they decide to transition—for example, how to deal with people’s reactions and behaviors and what to do if coworkers accidentally call them by their old name or use the wrong pronouns. The group also shares personal stories to help prepare for some of the surprising things people might say out in the world.

Clark Ly“As the world continually changes and people become more visible, you’ll get more people who feel like they can just ask you anything,” Ly said. “Sometimes I get asked some of the most inappropriate questions from perfect strangers.”

Ly and GET* are chronicling these experiences so other transgender people can learn from them and to maybe make transitioning a little bit easier.

Ly said that GET*’s latest and most pressing focus is consulting with the Microsoft facilities team on designing new and renovating existing restrooms for all-gender use.

“While we’re transitioning, many of us don’t present as masculine or feminine. It’s important that we have restrooms where we don’t have to justify why we’re going into them, because we don’t look the way that people assume we should look,” Ly said.

Being asked “are you going into the wrong restroom?’” isn’t something anyone should have to face, he said. “Not when all they are trying to do is take care of a basic human need.”

Ly remembered responding with, “Well, I would rather go into the men’s restroom, but unfortunately, I am still presenting as a woman.” Or he would find a single-stall restroom somewhere just to avoid the conversation.

GET* also holds separate meetings just for allies of transgender and gender nonconforming employees. Microsoft has several parents of transgender kids who come to the ally meetings to connect with and support each other.

“It’s been really wonderful to have this resource,” Ly said. “We are building a community within Microsoft. Since creating GET*, we’ve had more people come out, whether they decide to transition or want to say ‘I identify as nonbinary’ or ‘I want people to know that they/them are my pronouns.’”

And just by walking around in the world, visible and empowered, Ly and others in his community are furthering acceptance and helping others to be seen for who they are. More acceptance, he said, means less time worrying about what others think or explaining yourself. It means more focus on work and creativity. It means hope.

“By being who I am, by being visible, other people, especially within the trans community, can see someone like me working at Microsoft and think, ‘I can do that. I can work at Microsoft, too.’ They will know that Microsoft values diversity and inclusion. Microsoft values people who want to be and bring all their authentic self.”

Ly believes that the more people who advocate and push for trans visibility, the easier it will get for transgender people to come out, both at work and in the community.

“At Microsoft, I don’t have to hide who I am.”

Meet more Microsoft employees who are changing hearts and minds and advancing human rights.
https://news.microsoft.com/life/topic/pride/

See how Microsoft is celebrating Pride 2018 and how you can be an ally.
https://www.microsoft.com/pride/

Learn how Microsoft and its LGBTQ+ employees push for change across borders.
https://news.microsoft.com/life/pride/

Ceph-based cloud block storage service debuts from Atlantic.Net

Atlantic.Net launched a cloud block storage service that uses standard HDDs to keep prices down and an NVMe-based flash cache to boost performance over major disk-based alternatives.

Alantic.Net claims its Secure Block Storage (SBS) performs sequential reads and writes faster than HDD-based block storage from AWS and Microsoft Azure. The hosting provider positions SBS as a choice between HDD and SSD Elastic Block Storage (EBS) options from AWS.

The Atlantic.Net SBS service uses open source, Ceph-based block storage, with a fast nonvolatile memory express SSD cache and inexpensive 7,200 RPM HDDs on the back end. The Ceph system makes three copies of the data, but the customer pays for only one of them, said Marty Puranik, president and CEO of Atlantic.Net.

Atlantic.Net offers 50 GB free for one year from the date the customer signs up for the service and charges 7.9 cents for each additional gigabyte per month. The 50 GB promotional offer is available to current customers through June 15, 2019.

Cloud block storage pricing

On-demand pricing for block storage in the U.S. was 5.5 cents per gigabyte, per month, in the second quarter, according to 451 Research’s Cloud Price Index. The index is based on the cheapest available option for a provider to fulfill a “small basket” specification of two web and two application servers, with 150 GB and 300 GB of attached storage, internet and inter-data center bandwidth for data ingress and egress, and round-the-clock support. The cloud providers generally use HDDs or SSDs for the block storage.

Atlantic.Net’s pricing is competitive against SSD-backed cloud block storage, but less so against HDD-backed block services, according to Deepak Mohan, a research director in IDC’s storage and infrastructure group. Much would depend on the IOPS level the provider can guarantee, he said.

Atlantic.Net offers a service-level agreement for uptime, Puranik said, but not for IOPS — unless the customer contracts for at least a year. The company negotiates IOPS into contracts with those customers and offers discounts based on the block storage quantity and term commitment, he said.

Atlantic.Net’s SBS price and performance level falls between the EBS hard-disk and SSD options, Puranik said. AWS charges 4.5 cents per gigabyte, per month, for its throughput-optimized HDD volumes; it charges 10 cents per gigabyte, per month, for its general-purpose SSD volumes and even more for provisioned IOPS SSD volumes.

“Our service gives better performance than their regular hard drives, and there’s no additional IOPS charge or overages or anything like that. It’s a straight 7.9 cents [per gigabyte] per month,” Puranik said.

Atlantic.Net hosting sites

Founded in 1994, Atlantic.Net started out as a residential internet provider before moving to business-to-business connectivity and web hosting. The company operates out of its own data center in Orlando, Fla., and colocation facilities in New York, Dallas, San Francisco, Toronto and London. Additional options in Ashburn, Va., and Singapore are coming soon, Puranik said.

The SBS service is available only at Atlantic.Net’s Orlando data center, but the company plans to extend it to colocation facilities and offer multisite replication, snapshots and backup, Puranik said.

Atlantic.Net has long offered traditional SAN and NAS storage to customers running applications at its Orlando data center. But, Puranik said, the company wanted a cloud block storage service with a higher level of reliability than the limited-capacity, RAID 10-based local SSD storage Atlantic.Net offered in individual compute servers. The SSDs were overkill in some cases, and customers wanted to scale their storage and move volumes between servers, he said.

Atlantic.Net’s local SSD storage option maxed out at about 2 TB, Puranik said, whereas the SBS service enables as much as 16 TB per volume and eight volumes per server.

Atlantic.Net runs the latest Ceph release with the new BlueStore storage back end that improves performance, supports built-in data compression and provides full checksums to verify data integrity.

Atlantic.Net wrote its own control panel to simplify customers’ deployment of open source Ceph, Puranik said. Users see a slider, choose the size of the block storage volume, create it, name it, mount it and point it at the desired server, he said.

“You wouldn’t know Ceph is running on the back end,” Puranik said.

More storage services planned

SBS is Atlantic.Net’s first dedicated public-cloud-based storage service. Puranik said the company would add an object storage service later this year — also based on Ceph — to target unstructured data. Ceph software supports block-, file- and object-based storage, and it scales out through the addition of commodity server nodes.

Puranik said he expects most customers will use the new SBS service to provide cloud block storage for applications that also run on Atlantic.Net’s cloud compute infrastructure.

“Workloads on the block side are more transactional and compute-driven, and if the compute is close to the block storage service, that would make more sense. So, directionally, Atlantic.Net is probably on the right path. But [it] will face a lot of serious competition from someone like an Amazon,” said Amita Potnis, a research manager with IDC’s storage systems program.

Potnis said Atlantic.Net’s London colocation facility could work to its advantage, because there’s considerable room for growth for a niche provider outside of North America, where Amazon dominates.

For Sale – Gaming or multimedia use Rig with 4k monitor

Hello

I built this for my son 12 months ago and now it gets little use as he uses his Xbox one X and PS4 with his friends.
The monitor is an AOC 4K 28″, very nice display and no dead pixels.was purchased from Amazon. The towers specs are as follows

i7-6700 @4.00GHZ
Asus Z170 Pro gaming motherboard
Nvidia Geforce GTX 980
Samsung SSD 750 Evo 250GB
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4
Thermaltake case with x2 front USB3.0
BeQuiet 650w PSU
Corsair H80i Cpu cooler

I’m not willing to send this unless you organise your own pickup, id prefer collection so you can see the PC fully working

Any questions, please ask :clap:

Price and currency: 820
Delivery: Goods must be exchanged in person
Payment method: Cash on collection
Location: Manchester
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

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

For Sale – Gaming or multimedia use Rig with 4k monitor

Hello

I built this for my son 12 months ago and now it gets little use as he uses his Xbox one X and PS4 with his friends.
The monitor is an AOC 4K 28″, very nice display and no dead pixels.was purchased from Amazon. The towers specs are as follows

i7-6700 @4.00GHZ
Asus Z170 Pro gaming motherboard
Nvidia Geforce GTX 980
Samsung SSD 750 Evo 250GB
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4
Thermaltake case with x2 front USB3.0
BeQuiet 650w PSU
Corsair H80i Cpu cooler

I’m not willing to send this unless you organise your own pickup, id prefer collection so you can see the PC fully working

Any questions, please ask :clap:

Price and currency: 820
Delivery: Goods must be exchanged in person
Payment method: Cash on collection
Location: Manchester
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

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

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

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

Microsoft creates AI that can read a document and answer questions about it as well as a person – The AI Blog

[embedded content]
Microsoft researchers have created technology that uses artificial intelligence to read a document and answer questions about it about as well as a human.

It’s a major milestone in the push to have search engines such as Bing and intelligent assistants such as Cortana interact with people and provide information in more natural ways, much like people communicate with each other.

A team at Microsoft Research Asia reached the human parity milestone using the Stanford Question Answering Dataset, known among researchers as SQuAD. It’s a machine reading comprehension dataset that is made up of questions about a set of Wikipedia articles.

According to the SQuAD leaderboard, on Jan. 3, Microsoft submitted a model that reached the score of 82.650 on the exact match portion. The human performance on the same set of questions and answers is 82.304. On Jan. 5, researchers with the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba submitted a score of 82.440, also about the same as a human.

The two companies are currently tied for first place on the SQuAD “leaderboard,” which lists the results of research organizations’ efforts.

Microsoft has made a significant investment in machine reading comprehension as part of its effort to create more technology that people can interact with in simple, intuitive ways. For example, instead of typing in a search query and getting a list of links, Microsoft’s Bing search engine is moving toward efforts to provide people with more plainspoken answers, or with multiple sources of information on a topic that is more complex or controversial.

With machine reading comprehension, researchers say computers also would be able to quickly parse through information found in books and documents and provide people with the information they need most in an easily understandable way.

That would let drivers more easily find the answer they need in a dense car manual, saving time and effort in tense or difficult situations.

These tools also could let doctors, lawyers and other experts more quickly get through the drudgery of things like reading through large documents for specific medical findings or rarified legal precedent. The technology would augment their work and leave them with more time to apply the knowledge to focus on treating patients or formulating legal opinions.

Microsoft is already applying earlier versions of the models that were submitted for the SQuAD dataset leaderboard in its Bing search engine, and the company is working on applying it to more complex problems.

For example, Microsoft is working on ways that a computer can answer not just an original question but also a follow-up. For example, let’s say you asked a system, “What year was the prime minister of Germany born?” You might want it to also understand you were still talking about the same thing when you asked the follow-up question, “What city was she born in?”

It’s also looking at ways that computers can generate natural answers when that requires information from several sentences. For example, if the computer is asked, “Is John Smith a U.S. citizen?,” that information may be based on a paragraph such as, “John Smith was born in Hawaii. That state is in the U.S.”

Ming Zhou, assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, said the SQuAD dataset results are an important milestone, but he noted that, overall, people are still much better than machines at comprehending the complexity and nuance of language.

“Natural language processing is still an area with lots of challenges that we all need to keep investing in and pushing forward,” Zhou said. “This milestone is just a start.”

Allison Linn is a senior writer at Microsoft. Follow her on Twitter.

For Sale – Lenovo H30 SFF Desktop PC (AMD A8-6410 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW)

Lenovo H30 SFF Desktop PC (AMD A8-6410 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW)

As per title, my Son is selling his desktop PC as he no longer uses it. Was purchased around 19 months ago for £300 and specs can be seen here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-Des…e_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&ref_=yo_ii_img

Excellent condition, it’s been looked after well and just sat under his desk while he’s had it. It’s been erased and reset back to a clean install of Windows 10 and the official product code will be supplied in case required.

Price and currency: £200 NOW £150!
Delivery:
Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Kent
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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

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

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

For Sale – Lenovo H30 SFF Desktop PC (AMD A8-6410 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW)

Lenovo H30 SFF Desktop PC (AMD A8-6410 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW)

As per title, my Son is selling his desktop PC as he no longer uses it. Was purchased around 19 months ago for £300 and specs can be seen here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-Des…e_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&ref_=yo_ii_img

Excellent condition, it’s been looked after well and just sat under his desk while he’s had it. It’s been erased and reset back to a clean install of Windows 10 and the official product code will be supplied in case required.

Price and currency: £200 NOW £150!
Delivery:
Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Kent
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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

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

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

For Sale – Lenovo H30 SFF Desktop PC (AMD A8-6410 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW)

Lenovo H30 SFF Desktop PC (AMD A8-6410 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, DVD-RW)

As per title, my Son is selling his desktop PC as he no longer uses it. Was purchased around 19 months ago for £300 and specs can be seen here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-Des…e_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&ref_=yo_ii_img

Excellent condition, it’s been looked after well and just sat under his desk while he’s had it. It’s been erased and reset back to a clean install of Windows 10 and the official product code will be supplied in case required.

Price and currency: £200 NOW £150!
Delivery:
Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Kent
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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

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

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