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04/06/2020   PC World Latest News

When you're ready to boost your Adobe Photoshop skills, try one of these features to work some magic with your images. We start with what to do when your Scratch Disk fills up, then dive right into tips for getting started with Content-Aware Fill, Clipping Mask, Brushes, and Vignettes. 

The Photoshop Scratch Disk is full

01 scratch disks JD Sartain / IDG

When the Photoshop Scratch Disk is full, save your work and exit Photoshop to clear the space. 

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04/06/2020   PC World Latest News

A USB-C hub allows you to add connections and ports that your laptop or tablet lacks: an HDMI connection, for example, or an SD card slot. Some laptops only have USB-C ports—that means a USB-C hub is essential if you want to connect a wired USB mouse or keyboard, or an older wired printer. 

Fortunately, there are so many USB-C hubs available with various combinations of legacy I/O that finding one to meet your particular needs is as easy as ordering off a menu. We’ve divided our picks into two categories: basic and full-featured, the latter denoting hubs that offer greater extensibility, including charging. We’ve also tried a sampling of hubs to point out details you can’t tell from the specs, like whether the ports are too crowded or the hub runs a bit hot. Below our picks you can find information on how to choose a USB-C hub and how we tested these hubs in our evaluations.

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04/06/2020   InfoWorld Insider

With Java 14 having reached general availability March 17, work has begun on the successor, Java 15, due in September 2020. Thus far five official changes have been slated for the release, the latest being hidden classes. Previous proposals include the addition of text blocks, the addition of the Z and Shenandoah garbage collectors, and the removal of the Nashorn JavaScript engine.

All five proposals have been targeted for Java Development Kit (JDK) 15, which is the basis for the next version of Java SE (Standard Edition). Text blocks and the removal of Nashorn were officially targeted for JDK 15 as of April 6, 2020, while the other three remain in the “proposed for targeting” stage.

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(Insider Story)
04/06/2020   PC World Latest News

The gaming laptop landscape is experiencing an earthquake-like shift. With the near-simultaneous launches of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 and Intel’s Comet Lake-H mobile CPUs, we have a real fight for the first time ever, focusing onRyzen 4000's cores vs. Comet Lake-H’s clock speeds. Meanwhile, Nvidia has unveiled a new generation of mobile graphics technologies. Check out our top picks immediately below, and keep reading to catch up on the latest news and reviews. 

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04/06/2020   PC World Latest News

The best laptops of 2020 are experiencing an earthquake-like shift. With the near-simultaneous launches of AMD's Ryzen 4000 and Intel's Comet Lake-H mobile CPUs, we have a real fight for the first time ever: Ryzen 4000's cores vs. Intel's clock speeds. At the same time, a lot of mainstream users actually don't need to wait for Ryzen 4000 and Comet Lake H); they stand to get good deals on laptops with existing processors that already have solid performance and great battery life.

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04/06/2020   PC World Latest News
SXSW, the Ashland Independent Film Festival, Film Forum, and more are turning to virtual screenings in the wake of COVID-19.
04/06/2020   PC World Latest News

Buying a processor for a gaming rig isn’t as hard as it used to be. Now that AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s 9th-gen Core CPUs come with more performance and cores than ever before, it’s hard to buy a stinker these days—especially because most games favor graphics firepower over CPU oomph. All that said, there are specific chips that stand out from the horde as the best gaming CPUs due to their price, performance, or nifty extras.

Whether you’re on a budget or willing to pay for sheer face-melting speed, these are the best CPUs for gaming PCs that you can buy.

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04/06/2020   PC World Latest News

TCL’s timing couldn’t be better. In a world where premium smartphone sales are slumping, the company best known for affordable 4K TVs is turning its attention to much smaller displays at prices that make the OnePlus 7T Pro and Galaxy S10e look downright expensive. If it wasn’t for TCL’s glorious embrace of headphone jacks, in fact, you might confuse the company’s new phones for competing models costing four figures.

Of the three new TCL phones, only two of them—the 10 Pro and the 10L—are coming to the U.S. at launch. The 10 5G “will be available in select regions around the world later this year,” though TCL does have plans to bring it to the U.S. “for under $500” by the fourth quarter of 2020.

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04/06/2020   PC World Latest News
Here's how the new Fitbit Charge 4 compares to its predecessor.
04/06/2020   InfoWorld Insider

ASP.NET Core is an open source, cross-platform, lean, and modular framework for building high-performance, scalable web applications. ASP.NET Core comes up with a built-in logging framework out-of-the-box. It is available as part of the Microsoft.Extensions.Logging namespace.

One of the hidden but powerful features in ASP.NET Core is LoggerMessage, which has reduced overhead compared to the Logger extension methods. This article presents a discussion of the features and benefits of LoggerMessage and how we can work with LoggerMessage in ASP.NET Core 3.0.

To work with the code examples provided in this article, you should have Visual Studio 2019 installed in your system. If you don’t already have a copy, you can download Visual Studio 2019 here

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(Insider Story)
04/06/2020   PC World Latest News

Plenty of Windows laptops try to position themselves as MacBook Pro alternatives, combining slick designs and vibrant displays with powerful PC performance, but the Lenovo Yoga C940 15 is no mere copycat.

While the Yoga looks sharp and has a bright display, it also leans into its differences as a Windows PC. It has a touchscreen that flips around into tablet mode, a built-in stylus for writing or sketching, and—thank heavens—a full-sized USB-A port to complement its two USB-C connections. It even fits in a number pad without cramping its excellent keyboard.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

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04/06/2020   PC World Latest News
You can use it as a stand-alone security for your front door or integrate it into a larger DIY system, with optional professional monitoring.
04/05/2020   PC World Latest News
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new project shouldn’t be dismissed as 'Short Attention Span Theater' for the new millennium.
04/05/2020   PC World Latest News
Apple is set to launch a new iPhone SE in April. Here's everything we think we know about it.
04/03/2020   PC World Latest News
The Call of the Wild, Onward, Bad Boys for Life, and more are available to rent or buy from streaming services way ahead of schedule.
04/03/2020   PC World Latest News

If you’re sick of peeling the tape off your laptop's camera every time you need to call into a virtual meeting, look no further than the Android phone lying on your desk. That’s right, you can use your Android phone as a makeshift webcam for Zoom or Skype video calls—no cables required.

There are a few different apps you can use, depending on your PC. If you have a Mac, your best bet is EpocCam, which also works well with an iPhone or iPad. For Windows or Linux users, we like DroidCam. Both offer free and paid tiers, depending on your streaming needs.

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04/03/2020   PC World Latest News

While Amazon has traditionally been a one-stop shop for tech gear, its mid-April delays are making other retailers viable options for getting what you want with a shorter lead time. Online stores like Newegg and B&H are stepping up, alongside (gasp!) actual brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy and Office Depot.

Alas, the old way of buying tech—looking for the absolute lowest price—is being set aside, as consumers are willing to pay a bit more for any products actually in stock. While we can’t guarantee a particular retailer will have the specific product you’re looking for, all of the ones we checked appeared to have a decent assortment of items in stock that we haven't been able to get through Amazon.

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04/03/2020   PC World Latest News

With millions of people currently connecting via online video and chat, Skype is promoting Skype Meet Now, a free, simple way of connecting via Skype without a subscription or even a download.

Announced Friday, Skype Meet Now is essentially a web-based version of Skype, with additional conveniences: a permanent link that you can toss into a text message or email, background blurring, and even a stored cloud recording of the call and files. Users can go to the Skype Meet Now webpage, click the Create a free meeting link, and get a shared meeting link to send to friends.

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04/03/2020   PC World Latest News

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad ChacosAdam Patrick Murray and special guest Mark Hachman talk about the next-gen Intel CPUs and Nvidia GPUs revealed for gaming laptops at the exact same time on the exact same day. What a coincidence!

Mark kicks things off with a deep-dive into Intel’s new “Comet Lake H” 10th-gen Core processors, which blow well past the 5GHz speed barrier. Whoa. How does Intel’s latest compare against the ultra-impressive AMD Ryzen 4000 notebook CPUs that also launched this very week? The gang digs in.

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04/03/2020   PC World Latest News

If you’ve been itching to try out the Galaxy S20’s best features but don’t want to drop a ton of money on a new phone right now, you’ll soon have your chance. As part of a global update rolling out to all users as of April 3, Galaxy S10 and Note 10 users will gain a variety of software enhancements that were previously exclusive to the S20.

Update 4/3: Samsung has announced that the software update is rolling out to Galaxy S10 and Note 10 users in the U.S. beginning today.

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04/03/2020   PC World Latest News
Battle buddies
bridge crew hero

Image by Ubisoft

It's good to have friends.

We’ve refreshed this list a few times over the years, but now feels like a particularly appropriate time to do so. We could all use a way to hang out with friends right now, right? Co-op games have long been a way for people to “see” friends from afar, and that’s doubly important at the moment. If you’re looking for a way to spend time with your loved ones digitally, what better way than robbing trains or shooting aliens or whatever?

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04/03/2020   PC World Latest News

Webcams are hard to come by at the moment. These sudden necessities have sold out across major retailers, with remaining stock going for inflated prices through third-party and eBay sellers.

All is not lost, however—you might still be able to cobble together an equivalent setup with a digital SLR (dSLR) camera, camcorder, GoPro, or premium point-and-shoot you already own. Provided that the device passes muster, you just need to buy a capture device and possibly a few accessories.

The cost? About the same amount of cash as those opportunistic webcam listings (currently between $130 and $180 for models with MSRPs of $100 and below). And you’ll very likely end up with better picture quality, too.

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04/02/2020   InfoWorld Insider

As agile teams get used to managing backlogs and requirements in Jira, there are opportunities to expand capabilities and the scope of the platform using third-party apps and integrations. As of this writing, Atlassian offers more than 1,000 applications in the Jira Marketplace that can improve the productivity, collaboration, and reporting by agile teams and larger agile organizations.

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(Insider Story)
04/02/2020   InfoWorld Insider

The thing about clouds is that they can change shape even as you watch them. So it is with the Google Cloud, and the guidance we provided InfoWorld readers two years ago about creating a SQL Server failover cluster instance (FCI) in the Google Cloud no longer reflects best practices.

The guidance provided then still works, but changes in the Google Cloud mean that organizations wanting a cloud-based infrastructure supporting SQL Server at 99.99 percent availability levels now have better, more efficient ways to create SQL Server FCIs. The fundamentals of those new guidelines can be found in Google’s online instructions for configuring a SQL Server FCI.

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(Insider Story)
04/01/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Slack also is integrating with other calling services including Zoom, Cisco Jabber, RingCentral and Dialpad.
04/01/2020   InfoWorld Insider

When I reviewed Amazon SageMaker in 2018, I noted that it was a highly scalable machine learning and deep learning service that supports 11 algorithms of its own, plus any others you supply. Hyperparameter optimization was still in preview, and you needed to do your own ETL and feature engineering. 

Since then, the scope of SageMaker has expanded, augmenting the core notebooks with IDEs (SageMaker Studio) and automated machine learning (SageMaker Autopilot) and adding a bunch of important services to the overall ecosystem, as shown in the diagram below. This ecosystem supports machine learning from preparation through model building, training, and tuning to deployment and management — in other words, end to end.

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(Insider Story)
03/31/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is moving to make most of its external (and some internal) events digital-only for its FY'21 in light of impacts of the coronavirus. Yes, that means Ignite 2020 for sure and likely Build 2021, too.
03/31/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft and AWS are racing to provide tighter ties between 5G and cloud services. Microsoft's strategy for this involves Azure Edge Zones and an expanding number of telco and carrier partners.
03/31/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Microsoft’s switch from its EdgeHTML rendering engine to Chromium in the new version of Edge has made it easier for users to find and install PWAs (progressive Web apps). Navigate to a PWA like Twitter or Spotify in Edge and it’ll show an icon of a small circle with + inside it in the address bar. Click this and Edge installs the PWA version of the site, adding it to your start menu and supporting offline operation.

You shouldn’t confuse this with another Edge feature, the ability to add a browser tab to the start menu and use it like an app with minimal chrome around the page. This isn’t a PWA, it’s more akin to the Windows 8 feature that let you add bookmarks to the Windows taskbar—best thought of as a way of adding links to your favorite Web applications to Windows’ navigation.

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(Insider Story)
03/30/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Just when you thought you had a handle on what Microsoft 365 is, Microsoft is changing some (but not all) of the branding around it.
03/30/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is readying several new capabilities for its new Edge browser, including a password monitor and vertical tabs.
03/30/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's Office 365 consumer subscriptions are getting a makeover, plus some new features around Teams, Family Safety, and Excel aimed at consumers.
03/30/2020   InfoWorld Insider

You will often have the need to send emails through your application. You can take advantage of the MailKit NuGet package to send emails in ASP.NET Core. MailKit is an open source mail client library that can be used in .NET or .NET Core applications running on Windows, Linux, or Mac systems. This article presents a discussion of how we can use the MailKit NuGet package to send emails in ASP.NET Core.

To work with the code examples provided in this article, you should have Visual Studio 2019 installed in your system. If you don’t already have a copy, you can download Visual Studio 2019 here

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(Insider Story)
03/29/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is sharing more guidance around capacity limits it is putting in place for its cloud resources caused by higher-than-usual demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
03/27/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Slack may be adding yet another Microsoft integration to its platform. But this time, it might be an integration with archrival Microsoft Teams.
03/27/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Angular 9.1 has arrived, with improvements for performance and concurrency to the ngcc compatibility compiler. The Ivy compilation and rendering pipeline received attention as well, resulting in better performance.

Angular 9.1, published March 25, follows the Angular 9.0 release, which became available as a production release on February 6, 2020. The version 9.0 upgrade to the popular TypeScript-based framework switches applications to the Ivy compiler and runtime by default.

Ivy offers faster, AOT compilation as well as smaller bundle sizes, faster testing, and better debugging. Improved CSS class and style binding is featured in Ivy as well, along with improvements in type checking, build errors, and build times. Also part of Angular 9 is ng update, which promises to be a more reliable and informative tool for updating applications and their dependencies. 

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(Insider Story)
03/26/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is still intending to bring its unified Microsoft Search technology to Windows 10, but not until the end of this calendar year.
03/26/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Citing the impact of COVID-19, Microsoft has granted an extension on its previously announced end date for MCSD, MCSE, MCSA certifications.
03/26/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is continuing its push to work with telcos on managing 5G workloads from the cloud with its latest acquisition of Affirmed Networks.
03/26/2020   InfoWorld Insider

TensorFlow remains the dominant AI modeling framework. Most AI (artificial intelligence) developers continue to use it as their primary open source tool or alongside PyTorch, in which they develop most of their ML (machine learning), deep learning, and NLP (natural language processing) models.

In the most recent O’Reilly survey on AI adoption in the enterprise, more than half of the responding data scientists cited TensorFlow as their primary tool. This finding is making me rethink my speculation, published just last month, that TensorFlow’s dominance among working data scientists may be waning. Neverthless, PyTorch remains a strong second choice, having expanded its usage in the O’Reilly study to more than 36 percent of respondents, up from 29 percent in the previous year’s survey.

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(Insider Story)
03/26/2020   InfoWorld Insider

With the coronavirus COVID-19 taking the world by storm, and everyone tightening down in their bunkers, it seems like a good time to think about how we work together. Because of the virus, technology conferences have shuttered and even frequent office dwellers and meeting makers are learning how to work remotely. Open source software development is usually done remotely, so maybe by borrowing some of the methods of open source development, we can all find better ways to work together and stay connected?

I spoke with Danese Cooper about “InnerSource” or using open source methods to develop internal or proprietary software. Cooper is a technology executive, long time open source advocate and now president of the InnerSource Commons Foundation. 

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(Insider Story)
03/26/2020   InfoWorld Insider

We are all familiar with this chart by now.

knime covid 19 figure 01 KNIME

Figure 1. Cumulative numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths due to COVID-19, and recoveries by day worldwide. 

With the increasingly rapid spread of COVID-19 all around the world, we have read and heard much about how contagious it is; its impact on China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and elsewhere; and the severe containment measures adopted. And we have seen many versions of this chart, monitoring the spread of the disease daily by counting the cumulative number of confirmed cases, deaths, and recoveries all over the world.

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(Insider Story)
03/24/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is prioritizing its Windows update focus on security updates and is temporarily ceasing its optional Windows 10 cumulative updates starting in May.
03/24/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Some Microsoft Azure cloud customers in Europe are reporting they are hitting capacity limits are unable to spin up virtual machines in their regions.
03/24/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is making temporary adjustments to OneNote, SharePoint and Stream video conferencing features in order to try to maintain Microsoft 365 and Office 365 performance.
03/24/2020   InfoWorld Insider

If you’re not working from home already, you most likely will be very soon. The question then is, how can we use the tools we already have to still be able to build and ship code?

VPNs and other remote access technologies can link our home networks to on-premises source code repositories and other key devops tools, offering secure connections. A remote development workstation doesn’t need to be completely isolated from key resources, though it may need additional security policies to ensure separation between personal information and work resources.

Connectivity is important, but it’s likely to be the least of your problems. We’re social animals, and much development work needs more than one pair of eyes. Social distancing policies mean that many of the techniques required for modern agile development are hard to implement. Although we have the option of conferencing tools such as Teams or Zoom for daily video standups, we still need to find ways of replicating the regular one-on-one interactions of code reviews, pair programming, or collaborative debugging.

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(Insider Story)
03/23/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's five-year-old Windows 10 testing program has a new chief who is a veteran of Windows and release management.
03/23/2020   InfoWorld Insider

There are several interesting new features and enhancements in C# 8.0. Indices and ranges are two new additions — available as part of the new System.Index and System.Range types, respectively — that are used for indexing and slicing. This article presents a discussion of how we can work with indices and ranges in C# 8.0.

To work with the code examples provided in this article, you should have Visual Studio 2019 installed in your system. If you don’t already have a copy, you can download Visual Studio 2019 here.

Create a console application project in Visual Studio 2019

First off, let’s create a .NET Core console application project in Visual Studio. Assuming Visual Studio 2019 is installed in your system, follow the steps outlined below to create a new .NET Core console application project in Visual Studio.

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(Insider Story)
03/22/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's AI chatbot for healthcare technology, which runs on Azure, is key to the CDC's COVID-19 patient-assessment bot.
03/19/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is giving customers an additional six months of support for some variants of Windows 10 1709 as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on IT professionals.
03/19/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is rebranding M365 F1 to F3 and adding a new lesser-featured F1 option.
03/19/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft says Teams usage is spiking because of remote working due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Meanwhile, it's readying more new Teams features for delivery later this year.
03/19/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Agile practices are not just for software development teams sprinting to code, test, and release applications. Agile methodologies, including scrum and Kanban, are being used today by a variety of business, data science, and technology teams, including IT operations.

Although agile methodologies can be applied to IT operations successfully, there are some notable differences in the charter, priorities, and culture of operating teams that need consideration. Understanding these differences and then defining strategic priorities structure how self-organizing IT operations teams can execute on their initiatives and be better members of other multidisciplinary agile teams.

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(Insider Story)
03/19/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Explainable machine learning is a sub-discipline of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that attempts to summarize how machine learning systems make decisions. Summarizing how machine learning systems make decisions can be helpful for a lot of reasons, like finding data-driven insights, uncovering problems in machine learning systems, facilitating regulatory compliance, and enabling users to appeal — or operators to override — inevitable wrong decisions.

Of course all that sounds great, but explainable machine learning is not yet a perfect science. The reality is there are two major issues with explainable machine learning to keep in mind:

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(Insider Story)
03/18/2020   InfoWorld Insider

By design, Python puts convenience, readability, and ease of use ahead of performance. But that doesn’t mean you should settle for slow Python code. There is probably something you can do to speed it up.

Among the tools available for profiling the performance of Python code, the simplest is the timeit module. timeit is used to measure the speed of small snippets of code — a few lines, a function — by executing the code thousands or even millions of times and reporting how long those executions took to complete.

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(Insider Story)
03/18/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Quantum computing, which was proposed in the 1980s, is just beginning to become available, albeit with small numbers of qubits, high decay rates, and significant amounts of noise. As we’ll discuss, IBM and Microsoft are beginning to offer quantum computer and quantum simulator access in their clouds.

Elsewhere, Google has demonstrated quantum computing capabilities (and claimed quantum supremacy) in its labs, but hasn’t announced public access. Intel is also working on quantum chips and systems, but hasn’t announced commercial availability.

Quantum computing definitions

Qubits are quantum bits. Classical bits have two possible values, 0 and 1. Quantum bits can take on an infinite number of values, all of which are combinations or superpositions of the two classical states. Any two-dimensional column vector of real or complex numbers with norm 1 represents a possible quantum state held by a qubit.

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(Insider Story)
03/17/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Java Development Kit (JDK) 14 has reached GA, arriving in a general-availability release for production deployments. The upgrade to standard Java includes new capabilities such as JDK Flight Recorder event streaming, pattern matching, and switch expressions. 

03/17/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Working with Kubernetes isn’t always easy. Managing your clusters and pods requires work, and although cloud-hosted Kubernetes instances such as Azure’s AKS can handle much of the heavy lifting for you, they’re not available if you’re running Kubernetes on-premises or on your own virtual infrastructures.

That’s where Kubernetes’ API comes in to play, as it’s how Kubernetes communicates between components and external controllers. You can use the kubectl command line tools to communicate with the API or use it through familiar REST (Representational State Transfer) calls. The API helps you manage workloads, configure clusters, and manage the behavior of your applications and cluster.

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(Insider Story)
03/16/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is acquiring npm, a major JavaScript-developer platform, which it is planning to integrate with GitHub.
03/16/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Logging is an essential feature for any application, as it is necessary for detecting, investigating, and debugging issues. Serilog is a third-party, open source library that allows .NET developers to log structured data to the console, to files, and to several other kinds of data stores. You can learn more about Serilog from my earlier post here

This article discusses how we can use Serilog to log structured data to a SQL Server database. To work with the code examples provided in this article, you should have Visual Studio 2019 installed in your system. If you don’t already have a copy, you can download Visual Studio 2019 here

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)