Why Surface Go is better for students than iPad (and why it may not be) a certified Warditorial

Microsoft’s 10-inch Surface Go and Apple’s 7.9- and 9.7-inch iPads have students in their crosshairs. Each “mini” device has its advantages. Here’s what you need to know.

Microsoft and Apple bring unique hardware and software strengths to personal computing. Microsoft’s enterprise partnerships, pervasive software presence, and decades-long PC dominance make it synonymous with productivity and personal computing. Apple’s high-end devices, hardware, and software synergy and invaluable “cool factor” make it an industry powerhouse, the standard by which rivals are measured and a consumer and media darling.

In the PC space, Microsoft has crushed Apple’s consumer and business efforts for decades. Conversely, Apple’s iPhone-led charge ultimately resulted in the death of Microsoft’s phone strategy. And the iPad, which dominates the tablet PC market, overshadows Microsoft’s successful Surface 2-in-1, though the two devices exist in distinct product categories.

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PyDev of the Week: Ines Montani | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Ines Montani | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Ines Montani (@_inesmontani) as our PyDev of the Week! Ines is the Founder of Explosion AI and a core developer of the spaCy package, which is a Python package for Natural Language Processing. If you would like to know more about Ines, you can check out her website or her Github profile. Let’s take a few moments to get to know her better!

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

Hi, I’m Ines! I pretty much grew up on the internet and started making websites when I was 11. I remember sitting in school and counting the hours until I could go back home and keep working on my websites. I still get that feeling sometimes when I’m working on something particularly exciting.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my life, so I ended up doing a combined degree of media science and linguistics and went on to work in the media industry for a few years, leading marketing and sales. But I always kept programming and building things on the side.

In 2016, I started Explosion, together with my co-founder Matt. We specialise in developer tools for Machine Learning, specifically Natural Language Processing – so basically, working with and extracting information from large volumes of text. Our open-source library spaCy is a popular package for building industrial-strength, production-ready NLP pipelines. We also develop Prodigy, an annotation tool for creating training data for machine learning models.

I’m based in Berlin, Germany, and if I’m not programming, I enjoy bouldering 🧗‍♀️, eating good food 🥘 and spending time with my pet rats 🐀.

Why did you start using Python?

It really just kinda… happened. I never sat down and said, hey, I want to learn Python. I’m actually pretty bad at just sitting down and learning things. I always need a project or a higher-level goal. When I started getting into Natural Language Processing, many of the tools I wanted to use and work on were written in Python. So I ended up learning Python along the way. It also appealed to me as a language, because it’s just very accessible and straightforward, and I like the syntax.

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

These days, I mostly work in Python and Cython. I’m also fluent in JavaScript, have recently started working more with TypeScript, and did a bit of PHP and Perl back in the day.

I don’t want to get hung up on the definition of a “programming language”, but in terms of *writing code*, I also really love building things for the web. CSS is quite elegant once you get to know it, and it’s actually one of my favourite things to write.

<SNIP>

Thanks for doing the interview, Ines!

 

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What is needed in 2019…

In these times that are as troubled as any in American history and Worldwide, for that matter, here comes a young lady who gets it.

Also a shameless plug for the great weekly newsletter from CNN, The Good Stuff.

ACA Medicaid Expansion Reduces Mortality Rates, Study Shows

North and South Carolina: How many more studies do it take to convince your respective General Assemblies to expand Medicaid when the federal government is paying for most of it.

While you are at it, North Carolina, get rid of vehicle inspections; add the state’s portion to existing fees, like South Carolina did.

The Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid seems to reduce mortality rates, increase enrollment and coverage, and decrease the uninsured rates.

Source: ACA Medicaid Expansion Reduces Mortality Rates, Study Shows

Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism: An update on our progress two years on| Microsoft on the Issues

Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism: An update on our progress two years on| Microsoft on the Issues

The following announcement was jointly written by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft and posted to our respective online properties.

In summer 2017, Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft, and Twitter came together to form the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).

The objective of the GIFCT has always been to substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to promote terrorism, disseminate violent extremist propaganda, and exploit or glorify real-world acts of violence on our services. We do this by joining forces with counterterrorism experts in government, civil society and the wider industry around the world. Our work centers around three, interrelated strategies:

  • Joint tech innovation
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Conducting and funding research

Today, building on the commitments we made as part of the Christchurch Call to Action, we are adding a fourth pillar to our work that will focus on crisis response. Specifically, we are introducing joint content incident protocols for responding to emerging or active events like the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch, so that relevant information can be quickly and efficiently shared, processed and acted upon by all member companies. We are also releasing our first GIFCT Transparency Report and a new counterspeech campaign toolkit that will help activists and civil society organizations challenge the voices of extremism online.

And as we head into our third year as GIFCT, we are pleased to welcome Pinterest and Dropbox as members. We will continue to add new members, particularly smaller companies that could benefit from the collective experience of GIFCT members.

More than 200,000 unique hashes now in our joint database

When terrorists misuse the internet, they often upload the same piece of content to multiple platforms to maximize their reach. To disrupt this behavior, we jointly developed a shared industry database of “hashes” — or digital fingerprints — that allows us to safely share known terrorist images and video propaganda with partner companies. This enables us to more quickly identify and take action against potential terrorist content on our respective platforms…

First GIFCT Transparency Report

We have heard loud and clear from government and civil society that we need to be more transparent about what we are working on as an industry. As a result, today we are releasing our first-ever GIFCT Transparency Report. The report goes into detail about the GIFCT’s primary work streams, providing greater insight into how the Hash Sharing Consortium has defined terrorist content, and the volume and types of content included in the database. The full transparency report, which is available here, will complement the transparency reports put out by individual GIFCT member companies.

A toolkit to counter violent extremism

When we committed to the Christchurch Call to Action and issued a nine-point plan outlining concrete steps we plan to take as an industry, we said, “We come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence.” Never has that commitment been more important. As industry partners, we continue to prioritize and deepen engagement with governments, civil society, and smaller tech companies around the world…

Enabling and empowering companies to respond to crises like Christchurch

Perhaps most importantly, today we are adding a fourth pillar to the GIFCT’s core mission: enabling and empowering companies to respond to crises like Christchurch. The horrific terrorist attack highlighted the importance of close communication between members, and between government and the wider industry, which is why we are introducing joint content incident protocols to enable and empower companies to more quickly and effectively respond to emerging and active events…

We are grateful for the support of and collaboration with governments, international organizations, and NGOs around the world, including the EU Internet Forum and the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate. We look forward to sharing more updates in the coming months.

The post: Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism: An update on our progress two years on appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

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Microsoft President Brad Smith email to employees: There is no room for compromise when it comes to ethical business practices | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft President Brad Smith email to employees: There is no room for compromise when it comes to ethical business practices | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft president Brad Smith sent the following email to all Microsoft employees following announcements by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that they had reached an agreement with Microsoft to settle claims of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

From: Brad Smith

Sent: July 22, 2019

To: Microsoft – All Employees

Subject: There is no room for compromise when it comes to ethical business practices

I’m disappointed to share some news today that I hope we’ll never need to repeat – about the announcement of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle claims of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA.

More specifically, it was announced that our Hungarian subsidiary has entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement, or NPA, with the DOJ and we have agreed to a Cease and Desist Order with the SEC. This follows Microsoft’s cooperation with a multi-year government investigation, reported previously, into potential violations of the FCPA between 2012 and 2015. (An NPA is a public contract between the DOJ and a company in which the company agrees to take certain actions; it does not involve the filing of any charges in court. The SEC Cease and Desist Order similarly is based on an agreement and doesn’t involve a court filing.)…

But it’s even more important that we take the time to learn from this moment, applying some broader lessons that are even more fundamental:

First, today’s settlements involved employee misconduct that was completely unacceptable. We conducted our own investigation and provided complete information to the DOJ and SEC. In Hungary, where the most concerning conduct took place, we fired four Microsoft Hungary employees over three years ago and terminated relationships with four resellers. Some of the resellers responded by complaining to local regulators in an attempt to restore their business and some of the employees responded by suing us. We’re grateful that local courts and regulators have backed up our decision to cut all ties with individuals and businesses that, in our view, behaved in a wholly unethical manner. We’re also grateful that the agreements with both the DOJ and SEC recognize the extent of our cooperation and the DOJ agreed that we deserved the maximum credit allowable for cooperation in determining a monetary penalty…

Second, we appreciate that strong words need to be backed by effective deeds. The first critical step, taken more than five years ago, was to learn from these issues and identify our own opportunities for improvement, especially in the systems and controls that reduce the risk that even a small number of employees and resellers can evade our policies. We’ve learned a lot from the work leading to today’s announcement and have continued to build on these efforts in a way that’s important for the issues in Hungary, as well as in three other countries described by the SEC today, and more globally as well…

Finally, I want to offer some words to each of you – our more than 140,000 Microsoft employees. Satya and every member of the company’s Senior Leadership Team readily recognize that the overwhelming majority of you are committed to doing business ethically and consistently with our high standards. Today’s announcement is a testament in part to the big problems that can be created by a few people. It took misdeeds by only a few people between 2012 and 2015 to lead to today’s $26 million settlement with two government agencies. That entire amount relates to conduct in Hungary, just one of the more than 120 countries in which we do business…

Ethical business conduct will always remain a team sport. We’re grateful for the support you’ve provided for this work around the world, and as we go forward, it’s critical that every individual employee come to work in the morning with the appreciation that you’re both our first and last line of defense.

It’s a never-ending job that deserves our focus and attention each and every day.

Thank you.

Brad

 

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PyDev of the Week: Cris Medina

PyDev of the Week: Cris Medina

This week we welcome Cris Medina (@tryexceptpass) as our PyDev of the Week! Cris is the author behind the popular tryexceptpass blog. He is also the maintainer of sofi and korv. You can catch up with Chris’s other projects on Github. Let’s spend some time getting to know him better!

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

I was born in the Dominican Republic. I finished high school there and went to Puerto Rico to study Computer Engineering, specializing in hardware. But I’ve been writing software in some form since I can remember. My dad introduced me to IBM System 360 Basic as my first language. Go figure!

Most of my professional career (going on 17 years now) was spent doing test engineering, along with developing all the hardware and software tools required to execute those tests and maintain their infrastructure. The rest of the time I’ve held formal software engineering roles.

I like to spend some of my free time with music. My mother is a music teacher and she got me into piano early on. Though I moved into string instruments as I got older. Today I mostly play classical guitar, but I own several types of guitars and dabble in other string instruments.

I also enjoy cooking. My family is from various parts around the Mediterranean, so most of my meals have that flare. Cooking reminds me a little of the dev process: you have some idea of what you want, you follow a basic set of instructions on how to get there, but there’s usually some extra flavor you throw in to make it yours and it can take several iterations to get it just right.

Why did you start using Python?

I gave it a go maybe 10 years ago when writing some backend code to support a Java application that I also owned. There were a lot of Python vs Perl arguments around the office at the time, but I already knew that I disliked Perl’s syntax from trying to read code that my colleagues had written. So I decided to give Python a shot and haven’t looked back since.

Really the question is: why didn’t I start any sooner!

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

Besides Python, I used C++ / C to write drivers and for embedded systems dev, Assembly in some embedded systems, Visual Basic and Java for business applications, plus the usual Bash scripting, JavaScript for web dev, and some other custom stuff.

I’ve also tried Erlang, Go and Rust, but haven’t had a use case to last me beyond training examples.

I definitely like Python the best. It’s the most practical. The syntax is close to how I think and there’s no crazy boilerplate code required. Very rarely do I have to spend time figuring out how to use a given construct. You can also stand up new software in minutes, and the sheer amount of modules available in PyPI, plus the built-in libraries, takes care of almost any use case. It integrates with C very easily, so that also takes care of any performance concerns people may have with dynamic languages.

Thanks for doing the interview, Cris!

 

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