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07/20/2018   PC World Latest News
07/20/2018   PC World Latest News

The rapid ramp-up toward review season continues this week, as evidenced by an absolute mountain of trailers for you to climb, Sisyphus-style. No Man’s Sky, Theme Hospital, We Happy Few, new expansions for Hollow Knight and Total War: Rome II—they’re all due within the next few weeks. Phew.

That, plus the story of a man who tried to sue Star Citizen to get his $4,500 back, Todd Howard says “never say never” to the idea of another New Vegas (but he kind of means never), and The Culling 2 ’s brutal failure and subsequent removal from Steam acts as a warning to anyone developing a battle royale game at the moment.

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07/20/2018   PC World Latest News

Consumers, rejoice: Microsoft cares about you again. Maybe. It depends on whether the head of Microsoft's new Modern Life & Devices group has substantive plans behind his statements. 

For the past few years, Microsoft’s attention has been fixated upon the enterprise. While the company has built products like Azure and related services into thriving businesses, consumer-focused products like the Groove Music service, Microsoft Band, and Windows Phone have fallen by the wayside. 

Microsoft essentially acknowledged its neglect of the consumer market at the company's Inspire partner conference this week. Yusuf Mehdi, now the corporate vice president in charge of the Modern Life & Devices group within Microsoft, led a closed session on "Modern Life Services," according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. A tweet that Mehdi posted from the event includes the words, "we begin the journey to win back consumers with our vision," presumably this year.

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07/20/2018   PC World Latest News

The Data Transfer Project addresses one pain point we all experience on our phones: moving our stuff around. While it’s certainly gotten easier over the years to share individual photos, songs, and files from one app to another, shifting large chunks of data or entire libraries and histories between services is often an exercise in futility, even with hundreds of gigabytes of cloud storage at our disposal.

The open-source Data Transfer Project initiative aims to solve that problem once and for all. It already has four major players pledging support—Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft—with the ultimate goal of separating the data from the service. Once it’s up and running, the project will make it easier for users to switch to a new app or network, or simply try out a different one without needing to start from scratch.

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07/20/2018   PC World Latest News
07/20/2018   PC World Latest News

In this episode of the Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad Chacos, and Adam Patrick Murray are joined by special guest Gamers Nexus editor-in-chief Steve Burke!

GamersNexus digs deep into enthusiast PC hardware, so we spend some time talking to Steve about his extensive adventures overclocking Intel’s new Core i7-8086K processor, which has no problem hitting 5GHz across all cores. And by adventures, we mean adventures; Steve delidded his 8086K and used liquid metal to improve thermal and acoustic performance. He talks about the results, and whether stripping the integrated heat spreader off your CPU is as scary as it sounds. (Spoiler: Nope. Mostly.)

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07/20/2018   PC World Latest News

We don’t normally cover case fan launches here on PCWorld, because while proper airflow is a key component of any build, fans don’t tend to be that exciting.

Today is different. Thermaltake’s just-announced Riing Trio 12 RGB stands out from the crowd of spinning blades with a unique twist: Amazon Alexa support.

The Riing Trio 12 RGB—named for being a three-pack of 120mm RGB LED-equipped fans, natch—supports Thermaltake’s TT RGB Plus software ecosystem. In the third quarter of 2018 TT RGB Plus will gain Alexa voice support, so you can control it via Amazon’s Echo.

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07/20/2018   PC World Latest News
07/20/2018   PC World Latest News

Once you’ve used a variable refresh rate monitor, you can’t go back. AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync technology promise PC gamers a buttery-smooth experience free of stuttering, screen tearing, or V-Sync-like input lag. But both ecosystems have their perks—and their downsides.

Now that adaptive sync monitors have several years of maturation under their belts, it’s time to take stock of FreeSync vs. G-Sync yet again. Here’s everything you need to know about AMD and Nvidia’s gaming displays.

Editor’s note: This article was last updated to include availability information for FreeSync 2 and G-Sync HDR displays.

What is adaptive sync, or variable refresh rate?

Before we dive into the differences between FreeSync and G-Sync, let’s take a quick look at the adaptive sync, or variable refresh rate, technology underneath both.

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07/20/2018   PC World Latest News
Pixel-pushing, PC-melting graphical firepower
best looking games primary

Image by Gordon Mah Ung/Rob Schultz

So you built yourself a brand-new gaming rig, you’ve slotted your sweet new graphics card into the PCIe slot, you’ve sealed up the case, and you’ve heard it all POST—congrats! Now it’s time to throw games at your fresh build until it breaks, then cry at the thought that if you’d spent just 200 dollars more you could’ve played at 4K instead of a mere 1080p!

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07/20/2018   PC World Latest News
Video doorbells maintain a continuous watch over the most important part of your property but which one is best? We take a look at the field.
07/20/2018   PC World Latest News
This avant-garde approach to smart home control needs refinement.
07/19/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft officials say the company also closed the highest number of multi-million-dollar deals ever across its commercial cloud during its fiscal 2018.
07/19/2018   PC World Latest News
07/19/2018   InfoWorld Insider

The team behind Google’s Go language, aka Golang, has released the beta version of Go 1.11, the next version of the popular open source language. Go 1.11 is expected to be in production release in August 2018. The most recent beta adds preliminary support for modules.

Next version: What’s new in the Go 1.11 beta

Go 1.11 features an experimental port to the WebAssembly binary format. The port is called JS/Wasm. In addition to potential application performance benefits, WebAssembly provides a binary format that serves as a compilation target for other languages, enabling deployment on the web for both client and server applications.

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(Insider Story)
07/19/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's Windows 10 officially still has not yet crossed the 700 million 'active device' line. It's still almost there, as it has been for months now.
07/19/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is hoping to repair its tarnished image with consumers by trying to position its cross-platform apps and services as making them more productive.
07/19/2018   PC World Latest News
07/19/2018   PC World Latest News

Microsoft is not playing around with the Xbox Ultimate Game Sale that runs now through July 30. There are a bunch of Xbox Play Anywhere games in the sale that allows you to play the games on either Xbox or PC. That means PC gamers on Windows 10 can also take advantage of the big deals event.

Here’s our look at some of the highlights:

Forza Motorsport 7 Standard Edition is $30 down from its MSRP of $60, and the Ultimate Edition of the game is $50, a 50 percent discount from its $100 MSRP. Forza 7 is a fantastic racing game, though when it came out we didn’t like the loot box system.

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07/19/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's plan to ultimately replace its Skype for Business Online communications service with Microsoft Teams has achieved a key milestone, company officials say. Not all users agree, though.
07/19/2018   PC World Latest News
The best gear money can buy
multi person vr

Image by Gordon Mah Ung/IDG

One of the PC’s greatest strengths is its extreme flexibility. There’s a vast selection of hardware out there, of all different shapes and sizes and makes and models—so much so that even if your budget’s not a concern, buyer’s paralysis very well could be.

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07/19/2018   PC World Latest News

Frank Hammond asked PCWorld how to access the AppData folder and copy files from it.

The Application Data—or AppData—folder contains data created by programs. Almost every program you install creates its own folder in AppData and stores information there. At least in theory, users don’t have to worry about these files.

But in reality, you probably do. For instance, Firefox and Thunderbird profiles reside inside AppData and can be transferred from there between PCs. If you’re using an older version of Outlook, that program’s data is probably in AppData as well.

Finding this folder is easy if you know the tricks. The AppData folder resides in your user folder—the same location that contains Documents, Music, and other library folders (unless you’ve moved them elsewhere). Normally this is something such as C:\Users\[username]\AppData, but unlike those other folders, AppData is hidden, which means you can’t normally see it.

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07/19/2018   InfoWorld Insider

AI’s rapid evolution is producing an explosion in new types of hardware accelerators for machine learning and deep learning.

Some people refer to this as a “Cambrian explosion,” which is an apt metaphor for the current period of fervent innovation. It refers to the period about 500 million years ago when essentially every biological “body plan” among multicellular animals appeared for the first time. From that point onward, these creatures—ourselves included—fanned out to occupy, exploit, and thoroughly transform every ecological niche on the planet.

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(Insider Story)
07/19/2018   PC World Latest News
Slick style and outstanding build quality can't make up for sonic shortcomings.
07/19/2018   PC World Latest News
We're often asked whether there's a DVR for streaming video services. The answer is complicated.
07/18/2018   PC World Latest News

In a landmark ruling this morning, the European Union has hit Google with a record $5.1 billion antitrust fine over the way it distributes Android. In the decision, the court ordered Google to change the way it bundles its own apps into its mobile operating system, specifically Google and Chrome, within 90 days in an effort to give its "rivals the chance to innovate and compete."

Google, of course, disagrees and has vowed to appeal the decision. But while the case will likely stretch out for years before any final action is taken, the ruling is almost certain to affect the way Google makes and distributes future versions of Android. A fine this large is unlikely to be fully reversed on appeal, so there's a good chance that Google will be forced to change Android in some way down the line, which has the potential to dramatically alter the way we decide which phone to buy.

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07/18/2018   InfoWorld Insider

A distributed file system, a MapReduce programming framework, and an extended family of tools for processing huge data sets on large clusters of commodity hardware, Hadoop has been synonymous with “big data” for more than a decade. But no technology can hold the spotlight forever.

While Hadoop remains an essential part of the big data platforms, and the major Hadoop vendors—namely Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR—have changed their platforms dramatically. Once-peripheral projects like Apache Spark and Apache Kafka have become the new stars, and the focus has turned to other ways to drill into data and extract insight. 

Let’s take a brief tour of the three leading big data platforms, what each adds to the mix of Hadoop technologies to set it apart, and how they are evolving to embrace a new era of containers, Kubernetes, machine learning, and deep learning.

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(Insider Story)
07/17/2018   InfoWorld Insider

Azure’s service platform’s adoption of Kubernetes and containerschanges how you build, deploy, and manage cloud-native applications, treating containers and services as the targets of your builds, rather than the code that makes up those services.

Kubernetes itself automates much of what had been infrastructure tasks, orchestrating and managing containers. Azure’s AKS tools simplify configuring Kubernetes, but you need to deploy straight into an AKS instance—a hurdle for anyone developing new apps or handling a migration of an existing service. Although AKS itself isn’t expensive, setting up and tearing down orchestration models takes time—time that can better be spent writing and debugging code.

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(Insider Story)
07/16/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is rolling out an updated release of Skype 8.0 to Windows desktop, iPad users and others in anticipation of version 7.0 ceasing to work after September 1.
07/16/2018   InfoWorld Insider

ASP.Net Web API is a lightweight framework that can be used for building RESTful HTTP services. When working with controller methods in Web API, you will often need to pass parameters to those methods. A “parameter” here simply refers to the argument to a method, while “parameter binding” refers to the process of setting values to the parameters of the Web API methods.

Note that there are two ways in which Web API can bind parameters: model binding and formatters. Model binding is used to read from the query string, while formatters are used to read from the request body. You can also use type converters to enable Web API to treat a class as a simple type and then bind the parameter from the URI. To do this, you would need to create a custom TypeConverter. You can also create a custom model binder by implementing the IModelBinder interface in your class and then implementing the BindModel method. For more on type converters and model binders, take a look at this Microsoft documentation.

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(Insider Story)
07/16/2018   InfoWorld Insider

Deep learning is an important part of the business of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook, as well as countless smaller companies. It has been responsible for many of the recent advances in areas such as automatic language translation, image classification, and conversational interfaces.

We haven’t gotten to the point where there is a single dominant deep learning framework. TensorFlow (Google) is very good, but has been hard to learn and use. Also TensorFlow’s dataflow graphs have been difficult to debug, which is why the TensorFlow project has been working on eager execution and the TensorFlow debugger. TensorFlow used to lack a decent high-level API for creating models; now it has three of them, including a bespoke version of Keras.

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(Insider Story)
07/13/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is advocating that Congress become involved in regulating facial-recognition technology, on the heels of criticism of potentially negative impacts of its own work in that area.
07/12/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
With end of support looming for Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, Microsoft has a new option for those users to keep getting security updates: By moving workloads to Azure.
07/12/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is adding previews of new Azure Box data-migration, Azure Virtual WAN and Azure Firewall services to its line-up.
07/12/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is making available starting today a preview version of its Teams group-chat service that is free and doesn't require a subscription to Office 365, plus other new collaboration tools.
07/12/2018   InfoWorld Insider

One key devops best practice is instrumenting a continuous integration/continuousdelivery (CI/CD) pipeline that automates the process of building software, packaging applications, deploying them to target environments, and instrumenting service calls to enable the application. This automation requires scripting individual procedures and orchestrating the steps from code checkin to running application. Once matured, devops teams use the automation to drive process change and strive to do smaller, more frequent deployments that deliver new functionality to users and improve quality.

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(Insider Story)
07/11/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Windows 10 test build 17713 includes a bunch of new Notepad features, along with Edge, Defender Application Guard and other tweaks, fixes and updates.
07/11/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
More adapters for Microsoft's Surface -- one for Ethernet and USB-A and another for USB-C to USB-A -- are coming as of August 2.
07/11/2018   InfoWorld Insider

The power of Docker images is that they’re lightweight and portable—they can be moved freely between systems. You can easily create a set of standard images, store them in a repository on your network, and share them throughout your organization. Or you could turn to Docker Inc., which has created various mechanisms for sharing Docker container images in public and private.

The most prominent among these is Docker Hub, the company’s public exchange for container images. Many open source projects provide official versions of their Docker images there, making it a convenient starting point for creating new containers by building on existing ones, or just obtaining stock versions of containers to spin up a project quickly. And you get one private Docker Hub repository of your own for free. 

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(Insider Story)
07/10/2018   InfoWorld Insider

The Xamarin acquisition was one of Microsoft’s smartest deals. It quickly gave it access to tools that let developers use familiar tools and technologies to build cross-platform applications. Now built into every version of Visual Studio, and providing the basis for its MacOS Visual Studio release, Xamarin has become a key element of Microsoft’s development tools.

Until recently—even with Xamarin—building cross-platform applications wasn’t easy. For all that the core development tools handle working with iOS and Android from .Net, using it to build apps meant having significant amounts of device-specific code to handle both native UX and deep platform integration. Although you could keep your core code across device-specific projects, building and testing the full application required domain knowledge and specialized skills. The result was code that, although a little cheaper than using native tools for each platform, really wasn’t as cheap to build as it could have been.

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(Insider Story)
07/09/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's new Surface Go isn't just another, cheaper Surface. Microsoft has plans to try to capture a bigger piece of the overall PC/tablet pie with this device.
07/09/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's Surface Go tablets will hit shelves starting in early August 2018, and are meant for not just the education market, but also consumers and business users.
07/09/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's new low-end Surface device could launch as soon as July 10, based on hints from Microsoft's Surface Twitter account.
07/09/2018   InfoWorld Insider

If you have experience building ASP.Net applications, you are undoubtedly familiar with role-based authorization. In ASP.Net Core – Microsoft’s lean and modular framework that can be used to build modern-day web applications on Windows, Linux, or MacOS – we have an additional option.

Policy-based authorization is a new feature introduced in ASP.Net Core that allows you to implement a loosely coupled security model. In this article I will explain what policy-based authorization is all about and how we can implement it in ASP.Net Core.

Assuming that you have .Net Core installed in your system, follow the steps below to create a new ASP.Net Core project in Visual Studio 2017.

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(Insider Story)
07/09/2018   InfoWorld Insider

It’s the kind of meta notion that makes undergraduate philosophers say, “Whoa!” Software today is so complicated that we need to write software to help us understand and construct the software we need to write. Code begets code begets more code…

The code repository named Git is everyone’s favorite tool for curating software, but even this neat open source software isn’t enough. Most programmers and the teams to which they belong are now wedded to online versions of Git that add many extra layers of analysis and presentation to make it possible to wade through the vast swamp that is our code. 

There are three big contenders now for the best place to stash your regular expressions, anonymous functions, and intense recursive tree-walking flashes of genius: GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab. All of them are competing to be the best place for you to store your source.

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(Insider Story)
07/06/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is bringing Dynamics 365 Online in line with Windows 10 and Office 365 by releasing feature updates twice annually in April and October.
07/06/2018   InfoWorld Insider

Microsoft’s open source development tool is an important piece of the developer’s toolkit. Built using GitHub’s cross-platform Electron framework, Visual Studio Code is a full-featured development editor that supports a wide selection of languages and platforms, from the familiar C and C# to modern environments and languages like Go and Node.js, with parity between Windows, MacOS, and Linux releases.

Microsoft regularly updates Visual Studio Code. Keep track of the updates’ key features in this changelog.

Where to download Visual Studio Code

To download the editor for Windows, MacOS, and Linux, go to Microsoft’s Visual Code Studio website. It’s also available in Anaconda Python as an option in Distribution 51.

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(Insider Story)
07/05/2018   InfoWorld Insider

In the old world, the operating system was the center of the computing universe. In today’s modern application age, container platforms fill the space once occupied by the OS. That fact helps to explain why so much cash and code is pouring into Kubernetes.

What it doesn’t explain, however, is why comparatively few companies are investing heavily enough in Kubernetes. Given the central role Kubernetes seems destined to play in shaping enterprise infrastructure, we should see more competition to contribute, given that more code tends to equal more influence in open source. Oddly, only Google and Red Hat seem to be playing to win in Kubernetes, based on contribution counts.

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(Insider Story)
07/05/2018   InfoWorld Insider

MySQL remains one of the most common and consistent elements in the modern application programming stack. If you want a database for your app or service, and your needs are fairly generic, MySQL is one of the easy defaults. It’s widely used and well-understood, so you can draw on a wealth of community knowledge and experience when deploying MySQL for your particular application.

The latest major revision, MySQL 8, fixes a number of long-standing issues with MySQL—changes major enough to demand a revision to the left of the decimal point. 

In this article we’ll walk through the basic steps needed to bring up a standard MySQL 8 server installation. Along the way we’ll pay attention to the settings you need to keep in mind both when installing fresh or upgrading from a previous MySQL installation.

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(Insider Story)
07/03/2018   InfoWorld Insider

One key platform feature of Office 365 that is not well understood is Microsoft Graph. Building on the information stored in Office 365 and in Microsoft’s systems management and identity tools, Microsoft Graph is a way of not only using that information in your code, but a way of using that information to infer additional details about the context of that information, details that could well be more useful than the underlying data.

There’s a lot of data stored in Microsoft Graph, both at a personal and at a corporate level. It’s an information source that’s quickly growing, with the addition of new applications like Teams, and a rapid rollout of new APIs and queries. Microsoft is doing a lot to encourage developers to use Microsoft Graph in their applications, with APIs and with tools to help users construct and test graph queries.

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(Insider Story)
07/02/2018   InfoWorld Insider

The latest version of the container orchestration system Kubernetes, 1.11, adds a new load-balancing method and provides custom resource definitions. 

Where to download Kubernetes

You can download the Kubernetes source from the releases page of its official GitHub repository. Kubernetes is also available by way of the upgrade process provided by the various vendors that supply Kubernetes distributions.

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(Insider Story)
07/02/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's rumored portable Surface 'Andromeda' device and the AndromedaOS software that would power it aren't looking like 2018 deliverables. It's back to the drawing board, sources say.
07/02/2018   InfoWorld Insider

During my decades as a database application developer, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would ever have access to a transactional, planet-scale, distributed database, much less that I would be comparing many of them. But with Google Cloud Spanner, CockroachDB, Azure Cosmos DB, Neo4j Enterprise, and most recently YugaByte DB all available in production, that one-time pipe dream is now quite real.

In broad terms, Google Cloud Spanner offers a scalable, distributed, strongly consistent SQL database as a service that can handle around 2,000 writes per second and 10,000 reads per second, per node, with a median latency of about five milliseconds. To speed up reads that don’t need absolutely up-to-date data, you can ask Spanner for stale reads, since it supports time-travel queries. Spanner uses a Google dialect of SQL and runs only on the Google Cloud Platform.

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(Insider Story)
07/02/2018   InfoWorld Insider

Azure WebJobs give you an easy way to schedule and execute background tasks in Microsoft Azure. The Azure WebJobs SDK simplifies the work of creating background tasks with declarative binding and trigger management features. Your Azure WebJobs then can be executed in three different ways: They can run continuously, or on a pre-defined schedule, or even on demand. In this article we will examine how we can build and deploy Azure WebJobs in .Net.

First off, you should make sure that you have Visual Studio 2017 and all of the latest updates installed. You will also need the Azure SDKs including the Azure Functions and Web Jobs Tools. You can install the Azure development tools in Visual Studio by choosing Tools -> Get Tools and Features. And you can ensure you have the latest updates to the Azure Functions and Web Jobs Tools by choosing Tools -> Extensions and Updates. 

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(Insider Story)
06/29/2018   InfoWorld Insider

Now that Oracle has released Java Development Kit 10, the next version, JDK 11, is just around the corner. With a release candidate due in August 2018 and the production version in September 2018 as part of Oracle’s new six-month release cadence for the standard edition of Java, Version 11 will have 15 major feature changes.

Java 11 is also set to lose some capabilities through the removal of CORBA and Java EE (recently renamed Jakarta EE) modules, as well as the removal of JavaFX.

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(Insider Story)
06/29/2018   InfoWorld Insider

Python 3.7, the latest version of the language aimed at making complex tasks simple, is now in production release. The most significant additions and improvements to Python 3.7 include:

  • Data classes that reduce boilerplate when working with data in classes.
  • A potentially backward-incompatible change involving the handling of exceptions in generators.
  • A “development mode” for the interpreter.
  • Nanosecond-resolution time objects.
  • UTF-8 mode that uses UTF-8 encoding by default in the environment.
  • A new built-in for triggering the debugger.

Where to download Python 3.7

You can download Python 3.7 from the Python Software Foundation.

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(Insider Story)
06/29/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft expects to roll out to all OneDrive for Business users on Windows 7, 8 and 10 by the end of July a new content-migration feature, Known File Migration.
06/28/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft Office 365 for U.S. Government Cloud customers are set to get Teams starting next month. Teams for other Microsoft U.S. Government Cloud users is 'coming soon.'
06/28/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's LinkedIn unit has developed a new dynamic translation service for posts in the LinkedIn news feed, and used some of Microsoft's cognitive services to build it.
06/27/2018   ZDNet Microsoft
The latest Windows 10 'Redstone 5' test build, Build 17704, includes a number of new enterprise-focused features, but also removes Microsoft's 'Sets' windows-management technology.