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. https://ift.tt/2L6P9BH via IFTTT

Advertisements

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.

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

airband-hero

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

World faith leaders join governments, nongovernmental organizations and industry to protect children online | Microsoft on the Issues

Understanding online risks to teens and young people

At Microsoft, we see online risks to all people as stemming from four primary sources, what I call the Four C’s: content, contact, conduct and commerce. In and of themselves, the Four C’s are fairly innocuous, but when we consider illegal content, inappropriate contact or conduct, or illegitimate commerce, we’re addressing online safety risks and harm. To better understand that landscape, three years ago we began conducting research into online pitfalls as the centerpiece of our work in promoting digital civility: leading and acting with empathy, respect, compassion and kindness in all online interactions.

 

Two decades of child online protection

 

Microsoft’s commitment to protecting children, and indeed all individuals, online dates back more than 20 years. We readily and willingly collaborate with individuals and groups that share our goal of safer online communities for children and disrupting the online spread of illegal material. Earlier this month, we hosted a cross-industry hackathon focused on developing a tool to identify and root out potential instances of child online grooming for sexual purposes. We are encouraged by the outcomes of the hackathon, which included not only a technical and an engineering track but also teams examining the requisite legal and operational aspects of implementing such a technique. The hackathon was mentioned in several circles at the Abu Dhabi event.

 

As we and others continually note: No one entity or organization can tackle these weighty issues alone. They continue to require new, innovative approaches and, the integration of the faith sector as an informed and involved actor can only speed our collective progress for the world’s children.

 

The post World faith leaders join governments, nongovernmental organizations and industry to protect children online appeared first on Microsoft on the Issues.

 

PyDev of the Week: Reimar Bauer| The Mouse Vs. The Python

PyDev of the Week: Reimar Bauer| The Mouse Vs. The Python

I tried something new to help automate the process of this blog post weekly. It worked as a starting point; just need further tweaking. Could there be a Python script for this?

This week we welcome Reimar Bauer (@ReimarBauer) as our PyDev of the Week! Reimar is a core developer of the popular Python wiki package, MoinMoin. He has spoken at PyCON DE, FOSDEM and EuroPython about Python. Let’s take a few minutes to get to know him better!

 

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

 

I am a programmer from Jülich, Germany. That‘s a small town between Aachen and Cologne.

 

I work at the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH. Employees research in the fields of energy and the environment, information and brain research with the aim of providing society with options for action facilitating sustainable development.

 

My work is related to atmospheric science.

copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

Why did you start using Python?

It was because of the MoinMoin Software. I had an idea. I wanted to have a Gantt chart view in MoinMoin.

 

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

I have only one favorite, and that‘s Python. It also plays a role what my colleagues need for their work. I still maintain a large IDL library, but since development froze about 2013, we moved on to Python. I also know Fortran, but stopped using it..

via The Mouse Vs. The Python