Accessibility with the new Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Logo Image
Microsoft Edge (Chromium)

What’s new in Microsoft Edge accessibility

We try to make browsing with assistive technologies as easy and intuitive as possible. Check out the accessibility enhancing features we’ve added in the new Microsoft Edge:

  • Microsoft Edge supports the Windows high contrast theme and improved text scaling.
  • The Windows Ease of Access features are now integrated to Microsoft Edge with closed captions and appearance enhancements.
  • You can navigate Microsoft Edge using the same keyboard shortcuts that you know from Windows. For the list of shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Edge.
  • Tooltips appear on keyboard focus and include keyboard shortcuts.
  • You can select text with your keyboard by turning on caret browsing (F7).
  • Menus now support underline access keys on Windows.

For more info on accessibility, refer to Accessibility features in Microsoft Edge.

Source: Accessibility with the new Microsoft Edge

Using AI to advance the health of people and communities around the world | Microsoft on the Issues

Using AI to advance the health of people and communities around the world | Microsoft on the Issues

The health of people and communities around the world has been improving over time. For example, the steep decline in child and maternal mortality is a key indicator of positive momentum.

However, progress has not been equal across the globe, and there is a great need to focus on societal issues such as reducing health inequity and improving access to care for underserved populations. While researchers work to unlock life-saving discoveries and develop new approaches to pressing health issues, advancements in technology can help accelerate and scale new solutions.

That is why we are launching AI for Health, a new $40 million, five-year program to empower researchers and organizations with AI to improve the health of people and communities around the world. The program is underpinned with a strong foundation of privacy, security and ethics, and was developed in collaboration with leading health experts who are driving important medical initiatives. AI for Health is the fifth Microsoft AI for Good program, a $165 million initiative to empower researchers, nonprofits and organizations with advanced technologies to help unlock solutions to the biggest challenges facing society today.

The AI for Health initiative will focus on three key areas:

  • Quest for discovery. Accelerating medical research to advance prevention, diagnoses and treatment of diseases
  • Global health insights. Increasing our shared understanding of mortality and longevity to protect against global health crises
  • Health equity. Reducing health inequity and improving access to care for underserved populations

AI for Health is a philanthropic initiative that complements our broader work in Microsoft Healthcare. Through AI for Health, we will support specific nonprofits and academic collaboration with Microsoft’s leading data scientists, access to best-in-class AI tools and cloud computing, and select cash grants.

I am honored to lead AI for Health as part of my mission at Microsoft to fuse AI and data to address the world’s greatest challenges. As a tech company, it is our responsibility to ensure that organizations working on the most pressing societal issues have access to our latest AI technology and the expertise of our technical talent.

The rest of this fascinating post Using AI to advance the health of people and communities around the world appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

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Phone calls in the Your Phone app now rolling out to regular Windows 10 users

Phone calls in the Your Phone app now rolling out to regular Windows 10 users

In December Microsoft rolled out the ability to make and receive phone calls via the Your Phone app to Windows Insiders. Now the feature is rolling out to regular Windows 10 users…

I just did this, and it works OK. I would eventually like to put in the always run taskbar, so it runs without notice. Not easy to do. I also want the same on my phone as well.

My comment from Flipboard where this was initially placed.

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PyDev of the Week: Thomas Wouters | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Thomas Wouters | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Thomas Wouters (@Yhg1s) as our PyDev of the Week! Thomas is a core developer of the Python language. He is very active in open source in general and has been a director of the Python Software Foundation in the past. Let’s spend some time getting to know him better!

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

I’m a self-taught programmer, a high school dropout, a core CPython developer, and a former PSF Board Director from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I’ve been playing with computers for a long time, starting when my parents got a Commodore 64 with a couple books on BASIC, when I was 6 or 7. I learned a lot by just playing around on it. Then in 1994 I discovered the internet, while I was still in high school. This was before the days of the World Wide Web or (most) graphics, but I was sucked in by a programmable MUD, a text-based “adventure” environment, called LambdaMOO. LambdaMOO lets you create your own part of the world by making rooms and objects, and programming their behaviour, in a programming language that was similar to Python (albeit unrelated to it). One thing led to another and I dropped out of high school and got a job at a Dutch ISP (XS4ALL), doing tech support for customers. A year later I moved to the Sysadmin department, where I worked for ten years. I gradually moved from system administration to programming, even before I learned about Python. 

Besides working with computers I also like playing computer games of all kinds, and non-computer games like board games or card games. I do kickboxing, and I have a bunch of lovely cats, about whom I sometimes tweet. I’m pretty active on IRC as well, and I’m a channel owner of #python on Freenode. I also keep ending up in administration-adjacent situations, like the PSF Board of Directors and the Python Steering Council, not so much because I like it but because I don’t mind doing it, I’m apparently not bad at it, and it’s important stuff that needs to be done well.

Why did you start using Python?

While working at XS4ALL, a friend with whom I worked on a TinyMUX-based MUD knew I preferred LambdaMOO, and mentioned that Python was a lot like the MOO language, at least conceptually. I knew BASIC, Perl and C at the time, but I wasn’t particularly happy about any of them. The MOO language had always just seemed more logical, more natural to me. When I finally tried Python, it was an eye-opening experience. Mind you, this was in 1999, and it was Python 1.5.2; compared to Python 3.8, practically the stone age. Still, I fell in love with it instantly. It just fit my brain so nicely. That I was able to easily (compared to the state of the art at the time) use C libraries, or even embed Python in C programs, was an extra bonus. I didn’t get to use Python much at work until I moved to Google, but I did all kinds of hobby programming with it. 

Part of why I kept programming is that I found out how much fun it was to work on CPython itself. I had worked on a number of different C code bases at the time, and CPython’s was the cleanest, most readable, most enjoyable by far. I learned a lot from just reading it, and implementing small features that people asked for. I took a proof-of-concept patch from Michael Hudson to add augmented assignment (+=, *=, etc) and ran with it, getting guidance from Guido himself on a lot of the details. It took a lot longer than I expected, but that ended up becoming PEP 204, and made me a core Python developer. I was just in time to help found the Python Software Foundation as well, which we did in 2003, and I was on its Board of Directors the first three years (and again later).

My involvement with Python also meant I got offered a job at Google, working remotely from Amsterdam, to help maintain Python internally. The rest of my team is in California, and I get to visit them regularly. The work at Google is complex and diverse and challenging enough that after 13 years I’m still not bored.

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

I know C intimately, and C++ and Java fairly well. I use all three (along with Python) at my day job. I’m also somewhat familiar with Haskell, D, Objective C, and Perl. I used to use Perl a lot at my previous job, but I never enjoyed it and I don’t remember much of it now. My favourite language by far is Python, but C is in a firm second place. I’m familiar enough with its pitfalls that I know when I don’t know something, and where to look it up. I’m also under no illusions about its drawbacks, and would be quite happy if everybody moved to more memory-safe languages. Modern C++ — at least the set of features we’re encouraged to use at work — is also growing on me. The main issue I have with C++ is that it has so many features you shouldn’t use. At work we have a lot of tooling to help us make those choices, which greatly improves the C++ experience.

Thanks for doing the interview, Thomas!

The rest of the post PyDev of the Week: Thomas Wouters appeared first on The Mouse Vs. The Python.

Next Generation Washington: Our priorities for 2020 | Microsoft on the Issues

Next Generation Washington: Our priorities for 2020 | Microsoft on the Issues

As we’ve done in recent years, I’d like to share what we’re focused on for Washington State’s current legislative session, as well as share our reaction to one key November 2019 election result. As we’ve said in the past, we believe in the transparency that comes from publishing a preview of the positions we’ll be sharing with legislators as they work in Olympia.

As a company, Microsoft is committed to furthering policies that create new jobs, opportunities and innovations here in Washington State. With more than 50,000 Microsoft employees and their families calling Washington home, these goals and the outcome of the decisions made today aren’t abstract – they’re personal.

As we embark on a new year, we are more committed than ever to two chief objectives: 1. Ensuring Microsoft’s success contributes to the overall success of the state; and 2. Engaging with elected officials and our neighbors to find ways in which we can help improve the quality of life for everyone who lives or works here.

From the 2019 Election to the 2020 Legislative Session

  1. I-976
  2. Affordable housing
  3. Data privacy
  4. Facial recognition
  5. Broadband access
  6. Cascadia Innovation Corridor – High-speed rail

Looking through the joint lenses of economic opportunity and quality of life, we were disappointed in the passage of Initiative 976, which will eliminate billions of dollars of much-needed funding for major transportation projects, city-level street maintenance, transit services, ferries and state patrol services over the coming years. Microsoft was a major supporter of the diverse business-labor-environmental coalition that opposed this measure, and we continue to believe that investments in transportation infrastructure are critical for the vitality of our state in the years ahead.

The rest of the post (without my bolding) Next Generation Washington: Our priorities for 2020 appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

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PyDev of the Week: Sebastián Ramírez | The Mouse vs The Python

PyDev of the Week: Sebastián Ramírez | The Mouse vs The Python

This week we welcome Sebastián Ramírez (@tiangolo) as our PyDev of the Week! Sebastián is the creator of the FastAPI Python web framework. He maintains his own website/blog which you should check out if you have some free time. You can also see his open source projects there. You can also see what projects he is contributing to over on Github.

Let’s take a few moments to get to know Sebastián better!


Sebastián Ramírez


Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):
 
 
Hey! I’m Sebastián Ramírez, I’m from Colombia, and currently living in Berlin, Germany.
 
I was “homeschooled” since I was a kid, there wasn’t even a term for that, it wasn’t common. I didn’t go to school nor university, I studied everything at home. At about (I think) 14 I started fiddling with video edition and visual effects, some music production, and then graphic design to help with my parent’s business.
 
Then I thought that building a website should be almost the same …soon I realized I had to learn some of those scary “programming languages”. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (“but!!! HTML and CSS are not…” I know, I know). But soon I was able to write a very short text, in a text file, and use it to make a browser show a button, that when clicked would show a pop-up saying “Hello world!”… I was so proud and excited about it, I guess it was a huge “I maked these” moment for me. I still feel that rush, that excitement from time to time. That’s what makes me keep loving code.
 
I also like to play videogames and watch movies, but many times I end up just coding in my free time too. I’m boring like that… 😂


Why did you start using Python?

 
At some point, I was taking several (too many) courses on CourseraedX, and Udacity. I knew mainly frontend vanilla JavaScript (Node.js was just starting), so I did all the exercises for the Cryptography, Algorithms, and other courses with JavaScript running in a browser, it sounds a bit crazy now.
 
Then I took Andrew Ng’s ML course on Coursera, it used Octave (kinda Matlab) and it taught me enough Octave/Matlab for the course, and also that learning a new language was not so terrible. But then an AI course from Berkeley/edX required Python… so I took the Python crash course that was embedded (it was just like one page). And I went into the AI course with that. I loved the course, and with it, I started to love Python. I had to read a lot of Python docs, tutorials, StackOverflow, etc. just to be able to keep the pace, but I loved it. After that, I took an MIT/edX Python course and several others.
 
And I just kept learning and loving Python more and more.

 

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

 
I’m quite fond of JavaScript as it was my first language. I have also used some compile-to-JS languages like CoffeeScript, TypeScript. I have also ended up doing quite some Bash for Linux and Docker.
 
I really like TypeScript, and now I almost never do plain JS without TS, I love having autocompletion everywhere and type checks for free. I naturally got super excited when optional type hints for Python were released as a Christmas gift in 2016. And 2 years later FastAPI came to be, heavily based on them.
 

The rest of the post PyDev of the Week: Sebastián Ramírez appeared first on The Mouse Vs. The Python.

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Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030 | Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030 | Microsoft on the Issues

The scientific consensus is clear. The world confronts an urgent carbon problem. The carbon in our atmosphere has created a blanket of gas that traps heat and is changing the world’s climate. Already, the planet’s temperature has risen by 1 degree centigrade. If we don’t curb emissions, and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic.

Read about Microsoft’s commitment on the Official Microsoft Blog and at https://news.microsoft.com/climate/

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