PyDev of the Week: Mike Grouchy | The Mouse Vs. The Python

PyDev of the Week: Mike Grouchy | The Mouse Vs. The Python

May the glorious of New Years be upon the fans of this blog and everyone else as well.

This week we welcome Mike Grouchy (@mgrouchy) as our PyDev of the Week. Mike co-founded PyCoder’s Weekly along with Mahdi Yusuf (@myusuf3). He is also the creator of Django Stronghold, a fun Django package you should check out. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Mike better!


Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):


I currently work as the VP of Engineering at a Startup called PageCloud I am also one of the co-founders/creators/curators of Pycoders Weekly a weekly Python newsletter. As for my background, I’m from St.Johns Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada. I got a BSc in computer science at Memorial University there and then moved to Ottawa, Ontario after that to work (a short stint working in the Canadian government and startups since).


Why did you start using Python?


I played around with Python a little bit in my teen years writing little scripts for automating things and whatnot but I started to get into Python seriously working at my university in the computer science department.


What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?


Python is definitely my favorite language (and the one I am best at) but I have professionally written C, C++, C#, java, VB, JavaScript. I have also dabbled a bit with plenty of other languages but my experience is so small they aren’t even worth calling out.


from The Mouse Vs. The Python

PyDev of the Week: William Vincent | The Mouse Vs. The Python

This week we welcome William Vincent (@wsv3000) as our PyDev of the Week! William is the author of 3 books on the Django web framework, including Django for Beginners. You can find out more about what William is up to on his website where he writes about Python, Django and more. Let’s take a few moments to get to know him better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):


I have a “non-traditional” background in that I started my career as a book editor, transitioned into startups on the business side, and finally in my 30s learned how to code and now work as a software engineer and teacher. I basically locked myself in a room for two years and learned how to code, founded my first startup, and went through a lot of ups and downs along the way. 


Why did you start using Python?


I started programming in earnest back in 2012 while I was living in San Francisco and working at Quizlet. At the time, the choice was either Ruby on Rails or Python/Django among the other startups I knew. I chose Python because I needed to pick something and I liked the idea that Python could be broadly used beyond just web development, unlike Ruby.


What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?


I always find it interesting to experiment with other languages. Lisp in particular was mind-blowing. But day-to-day I mainly use JavaScript as my other language of choice. It has some warts but I really like using it and don’t find it off-putting at all. It’s become a lot more Pythonic with ES6 features.



via The Mouse Vs. The Python

Episode #191: Python’s journey at Microsoft | Talk Python Podcast

Episode #191: Python’s journey at Microsoft | Talk Python Podcast

Who da thunk it. This can almost be described as Dogs and Cats getting along.

I especially like the Medium post by the subject of the Podcast; even contributed a small question.

Python and Microsoft, a marriage made in Development Heaven!

Six principles to guide Microsoft’s facial recognition work

In his recent speech at the Brookings Institution, Brad Smith talked about the urgent need for governments to adopt laws to regulate facial recognition technology. The recommendations, outlined in an accompanying blog post, frame a broader journey we as a society must take to address important questions about the technology while it is still in its infancy before it’s too late to put the facial recognition genie back in its bottle. He also introduced the principles that will guide Microsoft in how we develop and deploy facial recognition technology. The principles are:


  1. Fairness. We will work to develop and deploy facial recognition technology in a manner that strives to treat all people fairly.
  2. Transparency. We will document and clearly communicate the capabilities and limitations of facial recognition technology.
  3. Accountability. We will encourage and help our customers to deploy facial recognition technology in a manner that ensures an appropriate level of human control for uses that may affect people in consequential ways.
  4. Non-discrimination. We will prohibit in our terms of service the use of facial recognition technology to engage in unlawful discrimination.
  5. Notice and consent. We will encourage private sector customers to provide notice and secure consent for the deployment of facial recognition technology.
  6. Lawful surveillance. We will advocate for safeguards for people’s democratic freedoms in law enforcement surveillance scenarios and will not deploy facial recognition technology in scenarios that we believe will put these freedoms at risk.


We explain these principles in more detail here. Our goal is to make these principles operational by the end of March 2019. But even as we implement them, we do so knowing that the issues are novel and complex and that we still have much to learn. We fully anticipate the principles will evolve over time based on our experience, the experience of others, and the ongoing conversations we will have around facial recognition technology with customers, public officials, technologists, academics, civil society groups, and multi-stakeholder organizations such as the Partnership on AI.  We remain committed to continuing these critical conversations, to advocating for laws that keep pace with the inevitable advances of this technology, and to sharing what we learn.


The post Six principles to guide Microsoft’s facial recognition work appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

PyDev of the Week: Irina Truong | The Mouse Vs. The Python

This week we welcome Irina Truong (@irinatruong) as our PyDev of the Week! Irina has been a speaker at several Python conferences and is a maintainer for pgcli, a Python package that is a command-line interface to the Postgres database. You can see what else she has been up to over on Github. Let’s spend some time getting to know Irina!

credit: The Mouse Vs. The Python

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc)?


I have a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the Kharkiv University of Electronics (in Ukraine). I do aikido, and ride my bike to places when possible. 


Why did you start using Python?


I’ve been working for a long time in C# (.NET) [Microsoft won’t be very happy about this statement], but I was not very impressed by the whole .NET ecosystem. I wrote web applications in a few different languages, and yet there was no love at first sight. Until I encountered my first Python tutorial on building a small web application. The code was clear, concise, and the application did not need any servers set up to run locally. I knew I wanted to write in this language.


What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?


I wrote for a few years in Perl, PHP, Java, and a little in Ruby. I learned Scala, but never had the chance to use it in a real-world project. C# was the longest phase, but once I switched to Python, I never looked back. Occasionally, I had to do some work on the front-end (HTML/CSS/JavaScript) but I prefer back-end. Python still has my heart, with Scala a close second.


via The Mouse Vs. The Python

Fuchsia Friday: A first look at the Fuchsia SDK, which you can download…

Fuchsia Friday: A first look at the Fuchsia SDK, which you can download…

The edition for this week covers some technical, development aspects of Fuschia with an emphasis on the Dart language, one of 3 used by Google for the development purposes of their creation. What I find interesting here is that so far, no mention of the Go Language. It sounds like a subject for another episode as I find it hard to believe Go won’t play a huge part in Fuschia, which IMO is designed to be Android without ties to Java, therefore Oracle [successor to Sun Microsystems].

With the significant news this week that the Fuchsia SDK and a Fuchsia “device” are being added to the Android Open Source Project, now seems like a good time to learn more about the Fuchsia SDK.


The curious can find a download at the bottom of this article, but I obviously don’t recommend its usage for any major projects as it will swiftly become outdated and/or outright wrong. The tools in the included version are designed for use with 64-bit Linux, so if you’re on OS X, you’re on your own.


Not mentioned in the article means you are also on your own regarding Windows.

via Fuschia Friday SDK edition.

How Microsoft’s Reward Program could make Bing a better Google competitor | a certified Warditorial

How Microsoft’s Reward Program could make Bing a better Google competitor | a certified Warditorial

Image Credits Windows Central/Jason Ward & Youth Village 

Let’s keep it real here, if Microsoft wasn’t paying you to use bing, would you actually use it? My answer is almost always No. Jason Ward highlights this reality. BTW, it has helped me build my Amazon Gift Card balances to the point where when my mobile carrier introduced a plan with Amazon Plan included, this was a perfect match for me.

Microsoft has a Rewards Program through which it pays ou to use its Bing search engine. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re not alone.


Last year I wrote how Microsoft is paying me (and could pay you) to use Bing. I received feedback from individuals outside of “Microsoft’s universe” — non-Microsoft enthusiasts — inquiring if Microsoft’s Rewards Program was the real deal. I assured them that it was.


Still, those exchanges highlighted a reality that many Microsoft enthusiasts and perhaps Microsoft itself takes for granted. Not everyone is aware of something simply because it’s part of another product. In other words, the marketing strategy of integrating products within other products hoping for an organic promotion of that product isn’t always sufficient to create its awareness.


from Windows Central – News, Forums, Reviews, Help for Windows 10 and all things Microsoft. via IFTTT

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: An important anniversary for people and for technology | Microsoft on the Issues

Eleanor Roosevelt holding copy of UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force behind the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, a 1948 charter of liberties born from the atrocities of the Second World War. Photo credit: Alamy.

By Brad Smith & Carol Ann Browne


Seven decades ago on this day, the world came together to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eleanor Roosevelt, who led much of the work to craft the declaration, called it a “Magna Carta for all mankind.” As she hoped, it remains an important document that has stood the test of time, in large measure because of the timeless values it protects. Today’s anniversary provides a moment for reflection around the world. From our vantage point at Microsoft, part of this reflection should include the role of technology, both in its impact on human rights in the past and even more for its role in the future.


We should use today’s anniversary to reflect on the role technology can and should play in advancing human rights in the future. This calls on us to think about three things.


First, it’s as important as ever to address clear-eyed and head-on the risks that technology poses for human rights…


Second, on a brighter note, technology has become a powerful tool for protecting human rights…


Finally, the protection of people in the 21st century requires new forms of multi-stakeholder action, including to addressing the intersection between technology and human rights…


On a day that marks an anniversary of 70 years, we need to recommit ourselves to the hard work needed to address proactively and thoughtfully the thorny issues that connect human rights with technology. We need to make this more than a day to commemorate the past. It needs to be a day that moves toward a brighter future.


The post The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: An important anniversary for people and for technology appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

Python at Microsoft: flying under the radar

Python at Microsoft: flying under the radar

Python is an important piece of Microsoft’s future in the cloud, being one of the essential languages for services and teams to support, as well as the most popular choice for the rapidly growing field of data science and analytics both inside and outside of the company. But Python hasn’t always had such a prestigious position around Microsoft.

In 2010, our few Pythonistas were flying under the radar, in case somebody noticed that they could reassign a few developers to their own project. The team was small, leftover from a previous job, but was chipping away at a company culture that suffered from “not invented here” syndrome: Python was a language that belonged to other people, and so Microsoft was not interested.

Python in Visual Studio

Before starting at Microsoft, I was still in grad school in Australia. Already a Visual Studio fan and a Python developer, I was excited to see the earliest releases of Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS) in 2010. IronPython, the version of Python that runs on .NET, had been handed off to the community, and a small team with Dino Viehland and Shahrokh Mortazavi was put together to keep building Python support into Microsoft products. After months of negotiation with the legal team, PTVS was published on CodePlex (Microsoft’s former open-source hosting service) under the Apache 2.0 license and allowed to accept external contributions.

Contributing to Python

Meanwhile, at PyCon US in 2015 I volunteered to help support Python on Windows, an offer which was gladly accepted and, after multiple interviews with the legal teams, I soon became a Microsoft-supported CPython core developer.

For the Python 3.5 release, I ported Python from using the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 compiler and runtime to the latest version, including having changes made to our C Runtime specifically for CPython (such as the _set_thread_local_invalid_parameter_handler() function). I also rewrote the installer, fixing per-user installations and changing to properly secured install directories. Finally, I took on the responsibility for building all the Windows versions of Python available from

The Version of Python available at the time of the post.

The Rest Of The Post Source: Python at Microsoft: flying under the radar

PyDev of the Week: Steve Dower | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Steve Dower | The Mouse vs The Python

In the “embrace, extend, extinguish” days of Microsoft, an evangelist of a language not created by Microsoft would have no constituency inside of the company. Thanks partly to Steve Ballmer, and continued under Satya Nadella, this is not the case. As far as I’m concerned, this is a great thing.

This week we welcome Steve Dower (@zooba) as our PyDev of the Week! Steve is a core developer of the Python language itself where he produces the Windows builds and installers. He also works for Microsoft.


Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc).


I studied mechatronics and software engineering and computer science in Australia, then moved out to the US in 2012 to take a job at Microsoft.


Why did you start using Python?


One of my summer jobs while I was studying was for a startup designing medical diagnosis devices. They had this amazing custom MATLAB-like app for controlling their prototype, and all its scripting was in Python. So I spent a summer driving pumps and motors and reading sensors using Python, then went back to university and never really looked back!


What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?


I’ve been developing for a long time now, so I’ve encountered a lot of languages. I actually really enjoy C++, particularly template metaprogramming, because like Python it lets the library developer do a lot of magic that the user never has to know about.


via The Mouse Vs. The Python

The rural broadband divide: An urgent national problem that we can solve | Microsoft On The Issues


Photo Credit: Microsoft

My favorite US-based tech company, behind Canada’s Corel and Norway & Iceland’s Vivaldi, is at it again. Just because you live in the hinterlands should not determine that you are a second-class digital citizen. Or for that matter, certain urban neighborhoods not unlike where I live in Charlotte and similar cities. This has to be done by large tech companies not tied to mobile bandwidth due to its data cap limitations via its business model. Below comes from Microsoft President Brad Smith in a blog post:

Every day the world is becoming more digital. Cloud computing combined with new productivity, communication and intelligent tools and services enable us to do more, do it more quickly and in ways that were simply unimaginable a generation ago. But participating in this new era requires a high-speed broadband connection to the internet. While it’s a service that is as critical as a phone or electricity, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband is unavailable to roughly 25 million Americans, more than 19 million of which live in rural communities. That’s roughly the population of New York state.


The broadband gap is a solvable issue


At Microsoft we believe this is an urgent national problem that can and must be solved. In the summer of 2017 we called for a national effort and set an ambitious goal — to eliminate the country’s rural broadband gap by July 4, 2022. Closing the broadband gap will require a focused and comprehensive solution that combines private sector capital investment in innovative technologies with targeted financial and regulatory support from the public sector.


For the past 18 months we’ve contributed to this effort through our Microsoft Airband Initiative, a five-year commitment to bring broadband access to 2 million unserved Americans living in rural communities. During this time, we’ve accomplished and learned a lot.


Raising our ambition as a company, and a country


While we’ve made significant progress, we know there’s a lot more to do to bring broadband to every American. That’s why we are raising our ambition as a company and encourage the federal, state and local governments to do the same.

The post The rural broadband divide: An urgent national problem that we can solve appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

PyDev of the Week: Erika Fille Legara | The Mouse vs. The Python

PyDev of the Week: Erika Fille Legara | The Mouse vs. The Python

This week we welcome Erika Fille Legara (@eflegara) as our PyDev of the Week. Erika is a professor and program director at the Asian Institute of Management. She has spoken at PyCon Philippines.


Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):


Hi, I’m Erika. I am a physicist by training. I am your typical grad school (assoc.) professor/administrator who’s always trying her best to strike the appropriate balance between teaching, research, and fulfilling certain administrative duties.


Outside work, I enjoy traveling and travel photography. With the recent career transition, however, leisure travels have been minimized. Nowadays, I spend most of my free time reading, listening to music, and yes, binge-watching. I also love highway driving, every now and then, on weekends; it helps the mind relax. I like the fact that in long drives I get to listen to awesome road trip playlists without interruption.


Why did you start using Python?


I started writing scripts in C++ for my undergrad research. My thesis was on the study of complex systems; network science, in particular. One of my colleagues then at the lab introduced me to Python when he saw me writing really, really long scripts in C++ to build complex network models. He showed me how I can reduce the 50 or so (or longer) lines of code I wrote in C++ to only a few lines, less than 10 actually, in Python, thanks to all python scientific libraries developers and contributors. Since then, I’ve never looked back.


What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?


Other languages are C/C++, R, and MATLAB. I am also familiar with PHP. But my one and only favorite is Python, of course.


via The Mouse Vs. The Python