PyDev of the Week: Miguel Grinberg | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Miguel Grinberg | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Miguel Grinberg (@miguelgrinberg) as our PyDev of the Week! Miguel is the author of Flask Web Development and the very popular Flask Mega-Tutorial. You can find out more about Miguel by checking out his blog or his Github profile. Let’s spend some time getting to know Miguel better!

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

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Shortly after graduating from college with a Masters degree in Computer Science I was lucky to be offered a job in the United States, so I relocated to Portland, Oregon with my wife. We raised a family there and lived happily for several years. In 2018 we relocated once again, this time to Ireland. We plan to spend a few years on this side of the pond to be closer to my wife’s family and to be able to travel through Europe, but Portland is still our home and I’m pretty sure we will eventually return to America.

In terms of hobbies I have to say that by all standards I’m a fairly boring person. Outside of coding (which I do professionally and also as a hobby), what I enjoy the most is playing the Ukulele. I have a small collection of them, and I have recently expanded it with a Mandolin, which seemed appropriate now that I’m in Ireland. Everyone here seems to be in a band of some sort, so maybe one day I’ll join one as well, who knows!

Why did you start using Python?

This was around 2008 or 2009, I think. I was working at a company in which my team maintained a large library written in C++ that was used by several products, both internal and from partners. This was a big company, with a proper Quality Assurance department, but the QA engineers complained that they did not have an easy way to test our library, since it was C++ code. We had a homegrown unit testing suite written in a combination of bash, make, C++ and diff that was painful to maintain, and that was it in terms of testing. So I came up with the idea of creating bindings for our library in a scripting language that our QA people felt comfortable using. After a survey, the two contenders were Python and Ruby. At the time I knew very little about Python, and I had some knowledge of Ruby, so funny enough my personal choice would have been Ruby. But as it happens, one of the engineers in my team was actually very experienced in Python from a previous job, so strategically we thought it would be to our advantage to go with Python because we had an expert in the team. So I have to thank my teammate for getting me into Python!

I always approach the learning of new things through personal projects, so as soon as the decision to go with Python was made I started to play with the language at home just for fun. A few years after my initial introduction to the language I was thinking in starting a software blog and was having trouble finding a blogging platform that I liked, so I’ve got the idea of writing my own blog. By then the Python bindings we created at work were a success and Python had won me over 100%. So I naturally decided to use a Python web framework to make my blog, and looking through the available options I finally selected this minimalistic framework that at the time wasn’t that popular, called Flask. That turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Thanks for doing the interview, Miguel!

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KitoTech lands $1.5M for skin-healing ‘microstaple’ bandage | GeekWire

KitoTech lands $1.5M for skin-healing ‘microstaple’ bandage | GeekWire

I am not sure that there is an equivalent to GeekWire in other parts of the nation (there is absolutely not one in the SE/Carolinas), so in that respect this would be a local story. However, I do follow them, and it is tangentially related to an earlier post this week about a regional Medical School.

Being a Wound Care patient myself, any innovation to improve my interactions with the leg wound that is chronic is a plus and welcomed.

KitoTech Medical’s microMend device uses microstaples to hold wounds closed as they heal. (KitoTech Photo) via GeekWire

New funding: Seattle startup KitoTech Medical raised $1.5 million as part of a convertible note round to fund the development of its microMend wound closure device, which was made from technology originally developed at the University of Washington.

The startup says that microMend, which is currently undergoing clinical trials, can heal wounds up to three times faster than those closed with traditional sutures

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Preserving cultural heritage one language at a time | Microsoft on the Issues

Preserving cultural heritage one language at a time | Microsoft on the Issues

There are close to 7,000 languages spoken around the world today. Yet, sadly, every two weeks a language dies with its last speaker, and it is predicted that between 50% and 90% of endangered languages will disappear by next century. When a community loses a language, it loses its connection to the past – and part of its present. It loses a piece of its identity. As we think about protecting this heritage and the importance of preserving language, we believe that new technology can help.

More than many nations, the people of New Zealand are acutely aware of this phenomenon. Centuries ago, the Māori people arrived on the islands to settle in and create a new civilization. Through the centuries and in the isolation of the South Pacific, the Māori developed their own unique culture and language. Today, in New Zealand, 15% of the population is Māori yet only a quarter of the Māori people speak their native language, and only 3% of all people living in New Zealand speak te reo Maori. Statistically, fluency in the language is extremely low….

Globally, as part of our AI for Cultural Heritage program, Microsoft has committed $10 million over five years to support projects dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage that leverage the power of artificial intelligence. The ultimate role of technology is to serve humankind, not to replace it. We can harness the latest tools in ways that support an environment rich in diversity, perspectives and learnings from the past. And when we enable that knowledge and experience to be shared with the rest of the world, every society benefits.

For more information on Microsoft Translator please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/translator/languages/

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Microsoft went all in on accessible design. This is what happened afterwards | Fast Company

Logitech photo as part of a Fast Company article.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is one of the most telling products in how design as we know it is changing. It’s a boxy controller with two giant buttons and over a dozen ports for external peripherals, to allow people with disabilities the option to play Xbox in any manner they can…

But the Xbox Adaptive Controller was just the first step into more inclusive video games and voting machines. And we’re seeing that proven in a new, companion product developed by the mouse and keyboard giant Logitech. Called the Adaptive Gaming Kit, it’s a collection of mix-and-matchable buttons that plug into the Xbox Adaptive Controller for additional customization…

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Imagine a way to create skin and 3D print it. In Singapore, it becomes closer to reality | NowThis

When alerted to the story, a famous activist I follow, @PattyArquette had inquired about doing this for burn victims.

As I did some simple Binging (only because they Bribe you to search with them, but that’s another subject altogether) I found the closest Medical School to where I live is working on it. This particular University is in talks with the dominant health system here on a partnership to bring a Medical School to Charlotte after prior talks with UNC Healthcare fizzled.

There is a “kinda” branch of UNC Healthcare that is apparently still operational. My guess is that the planned combination either has not gotten far enough along to cover this conflict, or it’s not publicly communicated. Around here, either scenario is possible.

PyDev of the Week: Martin Uribe | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Martin Uribe | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Martin Uribe (@clamytoe) as our PyDev of the Week! Martin helps out at PyBites. You can find him on PyBite’s Slack channel answering lots of Python related questions. You can also find out what Martin is up to via his Github or LinkedIn profiles. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Martin better!

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

I’m 46 and happily married with 8 kids. Born and raised in South Central L.A. I joined the California National Guard while I was still in high school. I went to Basic Training between my 11th and 12th grades; came back and graduated with honors and was gone within the month for Advanced Initial Training where they taught me how to fix helicopter radios. After a couple of years I decided to enlisted full-time in the regular Army and did a stint for another 8 years in Automated Logistics and got an honorable discharge as a Sergeant in 2001.

Before getting out, I got in a semester of full-time college as part of a re-enlistment bonus. I loved it and I hit the books pretty hard. I was so pumped to learn that I pushed myself to continue to grow when I went back to work. As a result, I was able to get my MCSE, MCP+I and A+ certifications which allowed me to get into the role that I still hold as a Senior Field Engineer for Fidelity. I’m contracted out to one of our many customers, PNC Bank, at their Dallas lockbox location. The title has changed over the years but it entails a lot of hardware and software support. In case you don’t know, a lockbox is where everyone’s checks go for processing when they make a payment over snail mail. Everything gets imaged front and back and entered into the bank’s system and the banks customers can access their documents through a secure proxy connection immediately. The money transfers are made the next day once the checks have cleared. At the end of the month, the banks customers images are placed on encrypted CD’s or DVD’s and mailed out to them.

To blow some steam I like to play Minecraft with my kids, edit movies, play Beat Saber, take online courses, and do some Python coding.

Why did you start using Python?

While in the Army I got into the role of maintaining the 4th Infantry Division’s logistics database. Once I figured out that I could automate most of my work, I was hooked! I had this report that I had to generate daily. That thing was a beast and took several hours to put together. After doing it a couple of times, I decided to record a macro and the next time, it only took several minutes! I went from macros, to editing the VBScript code itself, to writing batch scripts on the NT servers. By the time that I left, the only I had to do was make sure the tape was in the tape drive for the nightly backups!

When I got into the role that I have now, it was a whole new ball game. Up to that point I was only familiar with Windows NT and Windows 95. I was plopped in front of a terminal on a FreeBSD network and told to take care of it! Trial by fire as they say! I soon got the hang of it and since our whole platform runs on Perl, I started to dabble a bit with that. Pretty soon I was writing Perl and shell scripts to make my job easier.

At this point of my life, I was into a bit of everything. From pentesting, web development, database management, to 3D modeling/rigging/animation. I even got certified as a Macromedia Flash Designer! Boy was I wrong for betting on that platform… My interests where so scattered that I was good at a lot of things, but not an expert at any of them. I finally got fed up and decided that it was time to stick to one thing and become really good at it.

While pentesting I had come across several Python scripts and I was impressed with how easy they were to read compared to Perl and how powerful they were. I decided Python would by my train and I hoped on without a second thought.

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

While taking some college courses I learned Java, but I didn’t like it much. I know enough of the following to get things done: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Perl, SQL, and BASH. Python is my favorite; I use it pretty much every day even though my job doesn’t require me to code

Thanks for doing the interview, Martin!

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Open government data – more critical than ever. | Microsoft on the Issues

Open government data – more critical than ever. | Microsoft on the Issues

What strikes me as interesting that there was no mention of former CEO Steve Ballmer’s USAFacts website, that is one of his first post-MS initiatives.

Today, in Washington, D.C., Microsoft was pleased to participate in an event hosted by  the Business Software Alliance, focused on Data Innovation Policy:  Enabling Access and Promoting Use. We were honored to have U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) provide introductory remarks. Rep. Kilmer is a strong advocate for open data, having served as sponsor of the OPEN Government Data Act, which was signed into law in January 2019. As Rep. Kilmer noted, Congress and the administration have recognized that the availability of useful government data is essential for the U.S. to lead a digital economy powered by AI and data analytics. The OPEN Government Data Act’s mandate – to encourage every federal agency to publish information as open data – is fundamental to achieving this goal. This mandate is ambitious and presents a range of policy, structural and technical challenges. Multiple agencies need to develop and implement effective approaches to identify, maintain and publish relevant data inventories, in a standardized, machine-readable format. Important progress has been made toward these ambitions.

And yet, there is more that can be done to achieve this vision. One idea I mentioned at the event is the idea of creating a Federal Chief Data Officer role to help spearhead the goals of the OPEN Government Data Act. The creation of such a role would help agencies coordinate and prioritize the work to unlock high value government data.

At the event today, we heard about many compelling examples where open government data has been used to advance research in important areas. For example, our speaker from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center spoke about how government data was being used by a scientist to help look at new ways to identify and treat endometriosis. We also heard from Rep. Kilmer about how environmental data was being used to help forecast weather and transportation trends.

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A conversation with the researcher who put a movie on a piece of glass with Project Silica | onMSFT.com

A conversation with the researcher who put a movie on a piece of glass with Project Silica | onMSFT.com

At Microsoft Ignite, I, Abhishek Baxi, sat down with Ant Rowstron, partner deputy lab director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, to learn more about Project Silica.

Why did you choose glass?

So, I think there are several reasons. First off, it’s a durable media, and it’s got a very long lifetime. So, the data that we’ve got written in here won’t get any decay, and it will be good for, you know, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of years.

You got your archive data, which is just cold. Today we’re using hard disk drives or tape to store that. With hard disk drive, you’re lucky to get five years from it. Not much longer. A tape, you’re going to get ten years. I think ten is the upper bound; some people use it for five years or even less…

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Microsoft study: Teens are better than adults at finding help with online issues | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft study: Teens are better than adults at finding help with online issues | Microsoft on the Issues

It’s World Kindness Day – and we’re calling on teens across the globe to assist adults with online issues. That’s because, according to our latest research conducted in 25 countries, teens are considerably better than adults at tracking down useful resources to help resolve digital difficulties…

Confidence in facing online risks

While two-thirds of teens say they know where to find help with online risks, their self-assuredness in managing online risk exposure is slightly lower than that of adults. Just under half of the teens surveyed (48%) said they were confident in handling online risks versus just over half of the adults (52%). To help build those confidence levels, check out our resources guide, which offers primary and secondary sources for all 21 risks covered in our survey. Additional information about a wide  range of online activities and potential risks and harm can be found on the resources page of our website

Chart showing online safety

Microsoft’s Digital Civility Challenge

We’re making this preliminary research available on World Kindness Day to again call attention to Microsoft’s Digital Civility Challenge – four basic tenets for life online to encourage kinder, more empathetic and more respectful interactions. We’d never want to thwart debate, discussion or the free flow of ideas; it’s just important that those interactions take place free of name-calling and abuse. Specifically, we’re encouraging people to:

  • Live the “Golden Rule” and treat others as you would like to be treated by leading with empathy, compassion and kindness, and affording everyone respect and dignity both online and off.
  • Respect differences by honoring diverse opinions and perspectives and, when disagreements surface, engage thoughtfully by avoiding name-calling and abusive
  • Pause before replying to comments or posts you disagree with and refrain from posting or sending anything that could hurt someone, damage a reputation or threaten someone’s safety.
  • Stand up for yourself and others if it’s safe and prudent to do so; report illegal and abusive content and behavior, and preserve evidence.

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Microsoft and Adobe announce expanded partnership | MSPoweruser.Com

Microsoft and Adobe announce expanded partnership | MSPoweruser.Com

With this news, the question is now begged to be asked in mixed company. Does Adobe split the company into the creative part and the Customer Relationship (Experience) / PDF parts? Or sell the creatives to either of Apple and/or Corel?

Imagine PaintShopPro and Photoshop on the same team! Draw and Illustrator? VideoStudioPro/Pinnacle Studio and Premiere? I could go for that, especially the first 2 creative combinations.

Copyrights and Trademarks belong to their respective companies. In this post, Corel is listed first, followed by Adobe.

MSPowerUser.Com photo/graphic

Microsoft and Adobe are already working together on multiple products and services. Yesterday, Microsoft and Adobe announced deeper integration across Adobe Sign and Microsoft Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Azure. Adobe Sign was already Microsoft’s preferred e-signature solution. Now, they are announcing deeper Adobe Sign integration across Microsoft’s products and services

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Paris Call: Growing Consensus on Cyberspace | Microsoft on the Issues

Paris Call: Growing Consensus on Cyberspace | Microsoft on the Issues

Today, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, France’s Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, announced remarkable progress toward securing cyberspace. The community of Paris Call signatories is growing and taking new initiative to thwart attacks that threaten our democracies, economies and public services. The number of signatories of the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, announced a year ago, has nearly tripled to more than 1,000 and now includes 74 nations; more than 350 international, civil society and public sector organizations; and more than 600 private sector entities. These commitments to the Paris Call from around the world demonstrate a widespread, global, multi-stakeholder consensus about acceptable behavior in cyberspace.

The principles in the Paris Call address real-world challenges we’re facing today, like preventing foreign interference in elections, protecting availability of the internet, and curbing attacks on critical infrastructure. Importantly, supporters are committed to working together in a multi-stakeholder model, with governments, industry, academia and civil society collaborating to protect our cyberspace from nation-state threats, including attacks on our democratic processes.

Nations now supporting the Paris Call reflect the broadening mandate for international action to address cyberthreats with 10 Latin American nations, 13 Asian and Pacific signatories and eight African nations joining with 42 European states and Canada. In total, Paris Call signatories represent almost 40 percent of United Nations member states.

Enterprises in more than 60 countries and civil society groups in more than 65 countries have now joined, with respected retailers like Migros of Switzerland and Rakuten of Japan; financial services and insurance companies like CIMB Group in Malaysia and AXA Group in France; the global logistics leader Deutsche Post DHL Group; media and telecommunications providers like Sky and Telefonica; as well as civil society organizations like the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. More than 60 enterprises and civil society groups in India have joined, although the Indian Government has not yet made its commitment

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Microsoft will honor California’s new privacy rights throughout the United States | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft will honor California’s new privacy rights throughout the United States | Microsoft on the Issues

As digital technology becomes more and more essential in our day-to-day lives, the lack of action by the United States Congress to pass comprehensive privacy legislation continues to be a serious issue for people who are concerned about how their data is collected, used and shared. There is good news, however. In the absence of strong national legislation, California has enacted a landmark privacy law, known as the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

CCPA marks an important step toward providing people with more robust control over their data in the United States. It also shows that we can make progress to strengthen privacy protections in this country at the state level even when Congress can’t or won’t act.

We are strong supporters of California’s new law and the expansion of privacy protections in the United States that it represents. Our approach to privacy starts with the belief that privacy is a fundamental human right and includes our commitment to provide robust protection for every individual. This is why, in 2018, we were the first company to voluntarily extend the core data privacy rights included in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to customers around the world, not just to those in the EU who are covered by the regulation. Similarly, we will extend CCPA’s core rights for people to control their data to all our customers in the U.S.

We continue to put these principles into practice every day through ongoing investments in tools that give people greater control over their personal information. More than 25 million people around the world – including over 10 million people in the U.S. – have used our privacy dashboard to understand and control their personal data. By being transparent about the data we collect and how we use it, and by providing solutions that empower businesses to safeguard personal data and comply with privacy laws, we can demonstrate our commitment in the absence of Congressional action…

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Microsoft and Veteran Hires, A Great and Welcome Change

It is Veterans Day (observed and actual) in the United States plus Canada and it’s more than just a day for no mail delivery and closed office buildings. The requisite veteran human interest stories abound the timeline, Facebook, Media in general. Here is my favorite tech company with a real solution.

Microsoft owned LinkedIn blog post.

PyDev of the Week: Vuyisile Ndlovu | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Vuyisile Ndlovu | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Vuyisile Ndlovu (@terrameijar) as our PyDev of the Week! Vuyisile is a contributor to Real Python and a Python blogger on his own website. He is also active in the Python community in Africa. You can find out more about Vuyisile on his website or by checking out his Github profile. Let’s take some time to get to know him better!

VuyisileNdlovu
This Week’s Subject: Vuyisile Ndlovu courtesy of Mike Driscoll

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

I’m a developer from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I have always been fascinated by computers so after I completed High School, I enrolled for an I.T Diploma program at a local community college that had programming as part of the curriculum. Unfortunately, my situation changed and I couldn’t graduate in the end. I switched to teaching myself computer science topics and programming through online courses and books.

When I’m not working on code, I like to work on woodworking projects in the backyard and taking my dogs for regular walks. Doing this allows me to take a break from tech, be creative in different ways and also get some exercise.

Why did you start using Python?

I was a core contributor to the Mozilla project for a few years and one of the teams I worked with used Python extensively for automating their work. I liked how simple and intuitive Python looked so I started learning it. Compared to C++, which is what I was used to, the Python syntax was easier for me to understand and I loved that it could be used for Web Development, which is an area I have an interest in. As I learned more about the language, I realised that it has an amazing community and since then I’ve made a lot of friends from being a part of the Python community and this is one of the reasons that reinforced my desire to keep using Python.

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

I don’t have a favorite language yet because I haven’t been programming for a long time and I know that different languages are suited for different things. I’m learning JavaScript and back in college, I took C++ and Visual Basic classes. I teach programming classes at a High School using VB.Net because I find that using Visual Basic makes building GUIs in a Windows environment easy and the language is relatively simple to teach to beginners.

The work projects I work on are web projects and I enjoy using Python and Django to build those out.

Thanks for doing the interview, Vuyisile!

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Why hospitals are a weak spot in U.S. cybersecurity | Axios

Axios Photo

It never occurred to me that Hospitals are soft targets. I’m mostly not alone in this fact. The reasons why scare the daylights out of me, and with cost pressures and the movement towards everyone being able to participate, this will only get work.

Now would be a good time to think of Hospital security in the same manner of our Election systems and other government entities, even if the Hospital is an official for-profit facility. The bad actors don’t make the distinction.

Over 32 million people have had their health information breached this year, in 311 hacking incidents against health care providers that are under investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The big picture: Complex, bloated hospital systems are a glaring weak spot in U.S. cybersecurity — and there are limits on the government’s power to help…

Source: Why hospitals are a weak spot in U.S. cybersecurity

Standing up for every Dreamer | Microsoft on the Issues

Standing up for every Dreamer | Microsoft on the Issues

They came to the United States as children, brought into the country undocumented by parents with dreams of a better life. Many were so young when they arrived that they have no recollection of their place of birth. We call these young people Dreamers – students, employees and military soldiers who aspire to make the country where they have lived most of their lives a permanent home.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they’ve ever known.

More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to our company and serve our customers. They help create our products, secure our services, and manage our finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty…

To read our merits brief on the case, click here.

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UPDATE 3/10/2020 Since this story was first published years ago. North & South Carolina continues to avoid Medicaid Expansion

Microsoft reveals the future of OneNote and it’s all about Fluid and desktop

Microsoft reveals the future of OneNote and it’s all about Fluid and desktop

Microsoft is detailing its plans for its popular OneNote app today. The software giant reversed course and revived its OneNote 2016 desktop app earlier this week, with a new dark mode and extended support. Microsoft has much deeper plans for this desktop app, and OneNote overall, though…

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Microsoft upgrades Charlotte to a Smart City

Microsoft upgrades Charlotte to a Smart City

This is wonderful. Microsoft does have a decent-sized presence here, and I have been on their campus a few times as it’s on transit and across town. When I was in IT, Microsoft at the time was doing primarily Windows NT support locally. I couldn’t tell you what they are doing now because I’m out of IT

The announcement was made in what is now Camp North End, a series of industrial sites and distribution centers from BITD and also nearby.

This Wednesday Microsoft signed an agreement with Charlotte, North Carolina, to help upgrade the city’s technology to a Smart City. As part of the 3-year alliance, Microsoft will help the city gather data and analyse data and offer technology such as smart buses and smart lighting and allow public services to talk to one another and collaborate more easily.

“One way to make sure we are a city of the future is using data and analytics,” said Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones. “It’s a great opportunity for us.”…

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