News & Information       http://info.owt.com

PC/Windows

01/22/2020   PC World Latest News

Over the next few weeks, Microsoft will begin asking developers to start building apps for the dual-screen future, including the Surface Duo Android phone and the Surface Neo PC that will run Windows 10X, the company's next-generation operating system.

Microsoft said Wednesday that it will begin providing access to a pre-release version of the Windows SDK through its normal Windows Insider builds. Specifically, on February 11, Microsoft will drop the Microsoft Emulator, a HyperV development platform that will allow app developers to begin porting their UWP and Win32 apps to Windows 10X.

To read this article in full, please click here

01/22/2020   PC World Latest News

In what seems like a broad case of overreaching, an upcoming version of Microsoft’s Office 365 for enterprises will automatically switch Google Chrome’s search engine to Bing. And Firefox is next on the list.

Yes, Google Chrome. Yes, Bing. Microsoft says it’s doing so to enable Microsoft Search, which essentially evolves the Bing search engine into a way to delve through your corporate files and other information. But still, altering another company’s search engine to do so? (We’ve reached out to Google for comment, but the company hadn’t responded by press time. )

To read this article in full, please click here

01/22/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is starting to roll out developer kits and emulators for both Android and 10X developers who want to build for coming dual-screen devices, starting with its own.
01/22/2020   PC World Latest News

AMD’s $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT launched this week, and it goes toe-to-toe with Nvidia’s powerful $350 GeForce RTX 2060, nearly matching even AMD’s own $350 Radeon RX 5700 in several games. Sometimes. Other times, it’s merely an okay alternative to the $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, which itself was effectively rendered obsolete by the launch of the $230 GeForce GTX 1660 Super last fall. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. It all depends on which custom model you buy, and whether that card has the correct software preinstalled.

To read this article in full, please click here

01/22/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft now has 56 announced cloud regions, as of its latest addition, Israel, which is coming online next year.
01/22/2020   PC World Latest News

With the launch of the $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT, AMD’s finishing off the mainstream push for its cutting-edge “Navi” architecture by aiming for PC gaming’s sweet spot, the no-compromises 1080p arena currently dominated by Nvidia’s trio of GeForce GTX 1660 graphics cards. It more than gets the job done—especially if you get the right overclocked model, equipped with a supercharged BIOS.

Yes, the Radeon RX 5600 XT can be much faster than AMD originally claimed, but you need to jump through some hoops to achieve those speeds if you’re an early buyer, adding a regrettable layer of confusion.

In the default configuration announced at CES 2020, the card does a solid job of matching up with Nvidia’s identically priced $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. It’s good! But mere days before the card’s launch, AMD sent us a new BIOS for the custom $289 Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT on our test bench. This BIOS pushed the power limits to new levels, which allowed Sapphire to crank up the overclock on the GPU and the already blazing-fast GDDR6 memory. 

To read this article in full, please click here

01/22/2020   PC World Latest News

In Microsoft Word, templates are pre-designed documents that you or someone else (such as Microsoft) creates to use as a pattern for a project. The template could be for a business card, brochure, resume, presentation...the list goes on. Regardless of the purpose, templates provide the design consistency that any organization (or individual) needs to look professional. (You can also find templates for Excel, PowerPoint, and other applications, but in this article we’re focusing on Microsoft Word.) 

The template contains a specific layout, style, design and, sometimes, fields and text that are common to every use of that template. Some templates are so complete (such as business cards), you only have to change the individual’s name, phone number, and email address. Others, such as business reports or brochures, could require that everything is changed except the layout and design. 

To read this article in full, please click here

01/22/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Bias in artificial intelligence (AI) is hugely controversial these days. From image classifiers that label people’s faces improperly to hiring bots that discriminate against women when screening candidates for a job, AI seems to inherit the worst of human practices when trying to automatically replicate them.

The risk is that we will use AI to create an army of racist, sexist, foul-mouthed bots that will then come back to haunt us. This is an ethical dilemma. If AI is inherently biased, isn’t it dangerous to rely on it? Will we end up shaping our worst future?

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/22/2020   PC World Latest News
This inexpensive TV antenna does a good job pulling in strong signals, but you might be happier paying a little more for higher performance.
01/22/2020   PC World Latest News

In just about a month, Samsung will take the wraps off the new Galaxy S phone, the first premium Android phone of 2020. It’s shaping up to be a great one. Not only will it bring the latest processor, oodles of RAM, and tons of storage, but it’s also expected to make a major leap where it counts: the camera and display.

It’s so big, in fact, it’ll likely get a new name. A whole bunch of recent rumors and leaks (including the image at the top of this article) are claiming that Samsung is going to switch to whole numbers for the next Galaxy S phone and jump all the way to the Galaxy S20 (so for the sake of simplicity, that’s what we’ll call it here). This is all likely more marketing than magnitude, but Samsung’s new phone may still be worthy of a ten-fold jump in numbering. Here’s everything we know so far:

To read this article in full, please click here

01/22/2020   PC World Latest News
Whether you suffer from allergies or asthma or just want to optimize your indoor environment, these devices will give you insight into the air you're breathing.
01/22/2020   PC World Latest News
Ready to cut the cord? You’ll need a quality antenna to pick up digital broadcasts. Here are our recommendations for best indoor and outdoor TV antennas.
01/21/2020   PC World Latest News
You’ll still be able to keep using older Sonos devices, but they’ll gradually lose functionality once the software updates stop.
01/21/2020   PC World Latest News

Join The Full Nerd gang as they talk about the latest PC hardware topics. In today's show we go over the recent price drops of Nvidia RTX 2060 GPUs and Brad's review of AMD's Radeon RTX 5600 XT. As always we will be answering your live questions so speak up in the chat.

If YouTube is not your thing you can also watch us on Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter.

To read this article in full, please click here

01/21/2020   PC World Latest News

Although analyst firms recently predicted that PC sales for 2019 would show the first signs of growth in nearly a decade, Gartner threw cold water on those findings on Tuesday: After the Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration ends, PC sales will decline once again.

On the other hand, global device sales—PCs, tablets, and smartphones—should continue to grow slightly by 0.9 percent in 2020, the firm said. Of note, too, is what Gartner predicts about 5G smartphone penetration: an estimated 12 percent of smartphone shipments in 2020, growing to 43 percent in 2022.

To read this article in full, please click here

01/21/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is making new additions to the open-sourced ONNX Runtime to provide developers with access to advances it has made to deep-learning models used for natural-language processing.
01/21/2020   PC World Latest News
The ability to create scenes using your room’s lighting is positively magical.
01/21/2020   PC World Latest News

As soon as I took the Puma Smartwatch out of the box, I wanted to like it. Unlike the sea of bulky, all-black Wear OS entries of late, the Puma Smartwatch is lightweight and sporty, with a slimming aesthetic and minimal single-button design. Add to that Puma's fitness pedigree, Qualcomm’s newest Wear 3100 processor, and built-in GPS, and I had high hopes that I was strapping a rare Wear OS winner to my wrist.

puma smartwatch button Michael Simon/IDG

The single-button design eliminates some of the confusion from the Fossil Sport's trio of buttons.

To read this article in full, please click here

01/21/2020   InfoWorld Insider

When you get to the end of a devops build pipeline you’re left with a set of artifacts: binaries, configuration files, Web pages, even virtual machines and containers. They’re the components that go together to construct a modern application. Wrapping as many of those components as possible into a container makes a lot of sense, giving you a simpler deployment model. But that leaves a new set of questions: How do you manage those containers and how do you deploy them across a global-scale cloud application?

Services such as GitHub offer private and public registries for your build artifacts, using open standards and open source code. Azure has done the same, using the open source Docker Registry 2.0 as the basis for its own container registry, compliant with Open Container Initiative. It’s not intended to be only for containers; with the increasing importance of Kubernetes-based cloud-native applications, it’s meant to be a one-stop repository for all your OCI-compliant build artifacts. That now includes Helm charts, so you can use Azure’s Container Registry (ACR) as the deployment hub for your applications, using Helm 3.0 for delivery to Kubernetes instances.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/21/2020   PC World Latest News
Kwikset’s smart lock gains in connectivity, but loses out in the looks department.
01/20/2020   PC World Latest News

Maybe this will be the year virtual reality goes mainstream. If we say it enough times we’ll be right eventually, yeah?

But it really does feel like 2020 might be the year. Four years into consumer virtual reality, I finally feel excited again. The hardware is great, and cheaper than ever before. The games are promising, albeit few. And there’s a sense that maybe the “We need software to sell hardware to make developing software worthwhile” vicious cycle has finally been overcome. Maybe.

I could be wrong. I certainly hate to get excited about virtual reality’s prospects in 2020, in a “Fool me twice” sort-of way. I’ve had my heart broken by VR before. And yet…

To read this article in full, please click here

01/20/2020   PC World Latest News
This inexpensive mapping robot vacuum is a fantastic option for animal owners.
01/20/2020   PC World Latest News
Vacuuming is one of the most hated household chores. Here are your best choices for outsourcing it to some automated help.
01/20/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Any programming language that fails to add new functionality over time has stopped being a technology with a future and become a technology of the past. Python 3 continues to move forward with the addition of significant new features, though it’s difficult to keep up with them when you’re preoccupied with the nitty-gritty of your development work.

Here are six of the newest features in the last few versions of Python 3 that not only deserve your attention, but probably a place in your software projects.

F-strings

The Zen of Python states that there should be one obvious way to do things. String formatting in Python deviates greatly from this rule, because there is a slew of ways to do it. But the “f-string” format, unveiled in Python 3.6, is both the fastest and among the most convenient. Nevertheless, many Python programmers, who learned string formatting on earlier versions of Python, don’t take advantage of them. 

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/20/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Projection is an operation that transforms the results of a query. You can use projection to transform an object into a new form that has only those properties needed in your application. In this article, we’ll look at how we can work with projections in C#.

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

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.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/18/2020   PC World Latest News

This week, Kotaku reported that PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn may come to the PC in the near future. And let me first say, it’s interesting this became big news because when Quantic Dream announced that Detroit: Become Human was coming to PC last year—another Sony-published game—it didn’t inspire nearly the same levels of pontificating about Sony’s intentions for the PC.

Of course, people generally praised Horizon: Zero Dawn and disliked Detroit. Maybe that’s the only difference, that Horizon is seen as one of Sony’s “prestige” games. 

To read this article in full, please click here

01/17/2020   PC World Latest News

Antivirus software is nearly as crucial as a PC’s operating system. Even if you’re well aware of potential threats and practice extreme caution, some threats just can’t be prevented without the extra help of an AV program—or a full antivirus suite. 

You could, for example, visit a website that unintentionally displays malicious ads. Or accidentally click on a phishing email (it happens!). Or get stung by a zero-day threat, where an undisclosed bug in Windows, your browser, or an installed program gives hackers entry to your system.

We’re not suggesting that PC security software is fool-proof. Antivirus software often can’t do much to stop zero-day exploits, for example. But it can detect when the undisclosed vulnerability is used to install other nasty bits, like ransomware, on your machine. Anyone who actively uses email, clicks on links, and downloads programs will benefit from an antivirus suite.

To read this article in full, please click here

01/17/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Java Development Kit (JDK) 14 has moved to a second rampdown phase, with the overall feature set now frozen. The planned upgrade to standard Java will feature new capabilities such as JDK Flight Recorder event streaming, pattern matching, and switch expressions. 

[ Also on InfoWorld: 10 software development cults to join | Keep up with hot topics in software development with InfoWorld’s App Dev Report newsletter ]

JDK 14 is scheduled for a production release on March 17, 2020, following the six-month release cadence set for Java. The features targeted to JDK 14 include:

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/17/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
It's the start of 2020, so let the Microsoft executive shuffles and reorgs officially begin.
01/16/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Ahead of next week's Bett UK education conference, Microsoft is showcasing new and refreshed Windows 10 PCs..
01/16/2020   InfoWorld Insider

We’re only a few weeks into the new year, but already we’re seeing signs that automated machine learning modeling, sometimes known as autoML, is rising to a new plateau of sophistication.

Specifically, it appears that a promising autoML approach known as “neural architecture search” will soon become part of data scientists’ core toolkits. This refers to tools and methodologies for automating creation of optimized architectures for convolutional, recurrent, and other neural network architectures at the heart of AI’s machine learning models.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/16/2020   InfoWorld Insider

When I reviewed CockroachDB early in 2018, I found that the distributed SQL database, built on top of a transactional and consistent key-value store, was designed to survive disk, machine, rack, and even data center failures with minimal latency disruption and no manual intervention. That is all still true.

At the time, CockroachDB had three large deficits, in my opinion: Limited optimization of SQL JOIN queries, no fully managed service, and no support for JSON or Protobuf data types. I’m happy to report that all of these lacks have since been remedied. JOINs now use a cost-based optimizer, the CockroachCloud is in beta, and a JSONB data type has been implemented.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/15/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is making its new Chromium-based Edge browser available for manual download starting January 15. Here's what happens next in its migration plan.
01/15/2020   InfoWorld Insider

A big reason developers use a source control system like Git is to avoid disasters. If you do something as simple as mistakenly delete a file, or you discover that the changes you’ve made to a dozen files were all ill-advised, you can undo what you’ve done with little hassle.

Some Git mistakes are more intimidating and difficult to reverse, even for experienced Git users. But with a little care — and provided you don’t panic — you can roll back from some of the worst Git disasters known to programmers.

Here is a list of several of the bigger Git boo-boos, along with tips for backing out of them and preventing some of them. The further you go down the list, the bigger the disasters get.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/14/2020   InfoWorld Insider

You could say that the opposite of version control—from the perspective of internal software development—is chaos. If development teams don’t manage various versions of their work, things can quickly spiral out of control.

Version control software, a component of software configuration management, helps teams manage changes to documents, programs, websites, and other development initiatives. Given the fact that so many development efforts rely on teams working on the same files at the same time, a lack of version control could create serious problems.

When multiple teams design, develop, and deploy applications, often more than one version of the same software is deployed at different sites, and developers work on updates simultaneously. Some features—and in many cases some bugs—might be present in only certain versions of the software.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/14/2020   InfoWorld Insider

One of the more interesting announcements at Microsoft’s 2019 Ignite conference was Azure Arc, a new management tool for hybrid cloud application infrastructures. Building on Azure concepts, Arc is designed to allow you to manage on-premises resources from the Azure Portal, deploying policies and services to virtual machines and Kubernetes. It also includes containerized versions of Azure’s SQL Database and PostgreSQL Hyperscale to give your Kubernetes-based hybrid applications Azure-consistent data options.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/13/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is ready to push a full-screen warning to Windows 7 users who are still running the OS after January 14. The nag-screen payload is part of the December 10 Patch Tuesday monthly rollup.
01/13/2020   InfoWorld Insider

ASP.NET Core provides excellent support for formatting data, whether it’s output data or data in the request body. When working in ASP.NET Core, your API methods will typically return JSON data, but you can also return data in formats other than JSON such as XML.

For example, a call to /api/default.json should return data from the API method in JSON format, whereas a call to /api/default.xml should return the data in XML format. In this article, we’ll look at how we can control the format in which data will be returned from ASP.NET Core based on the extension of the URL.

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)
01/10/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is going to deprecate the Windows Store for Business and Store for Education, my contacts say, as the company works to undo past Windows 10 app-distribution mistakes.
01/09/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is continuing its pursuit of deskless, 'firstline workers' with several new features coming to its Teams group-chat application in the coming months.
01/09/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is ready to replace its Dynamics 365 Retail offering with the Dynamics 365 Commerce app, starting February 3, and will be showing off that app at NRF next week.
01/09/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Relational databases, data lakes, and NoSQL data stores are powerful at inserting, updating, querying, searching, and processing data. But the ironic aspect of working with data management platforms is they usually don’t provide robust tools or user interfaces to share what’s inside them. They are more like data vaults. You know there’s valuable data inside, but you have no easy way to assess it from the outside.

The business challenge is dealing with a multitude of data vaults: multiple enterprise databases, smaller data stores, data centers, clouds, applications, BI tools, APIs, spreadsheets, and open data sources.

Sure, you can query a relational database’s metadata for a list of tables, stored procedures, indexes, and other database objects to get a directory. But that is a time-consuming approach that requires technical expertise and only produces a basic listing from a single data source.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/08/2020   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft has rolled out a new Windows 10 feature update test build, No. 19541, to Fast Ring Insiders. It includes a couple of minor option changes which may or may not make it into some future Windows 10 release.
01/08/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Design patterns help us solve design problems often encountered in software development and reduce the complexities in our code. The Gang of Four design patterns fall into three categories: creational, structural, and behavioral.

The Flyweight design pattern falls in the structural category. The Flyweight pattern helps reduce memory consumption when working with many similar objects at the same time. This article examines how we can work with the Flyweight design pattern in C#.

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)
01/08/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Call it “serverless,” call it “event-driven compute,” or call it “functions as a service (FaaS),” the idea is the same: dynamically allocate resources to run individual functions, essentially microservices, that are invoked in response to events. Serverless compute platforms allow application developers to focus on the app, not the underlying infrastructure and all of its management details.

Most cloud providers offer some kind of serverless platform, but you can build one yourself with only two ingredients. One is Kubernetes, the container orchestration system that has become a standard platform for building componentized, resilient applications. The second is any of a number of systems used to build serverless application patterns in Kubernetes.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/07/2020   InfoWorld Insider

As the public cloud matures, it’s becoming clear that we need a new tier of systems and application management tools. Clouds, whether public, private, or hybrid, depend on one thing: the abstraction of the application layer away from the underlying physical infrastructure. Applications don’t need to consider the underlying physical hardware anymore; all that’s necessary is either a managed PaaS environment or an application-specific virtual infrastructure.

That change has already happened, and those new management tools are starting to arrive. Alongside basic management, they deliver a new set of questions: Who are they for and how do we build them into our workflows? They’re important issues, which seem to suggest a new role in our devops teams. It’s one we don’t have a name for yet, a role that lies between the new infrastructure operators and the applications teams, one that’s responsible for managing the PaaS and the virtual infrastructure, more closely aligned with the applications than traditional system administrators.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
01/02/2020   InfoWorld Insider

Enterprises are placing their highest hopes on machine learning. However machine learning, which sits at the heart of AI (artificial intelligence), is also starting to unnerve many enterprise legal and security professionals.

One of the biggest concerns around AI is that complex ML-based models often operate as “black boxes.” This means the models—especially “deep learning” models composed of artificial neural networks—may be so complex and arcane that they obscure how they actually drive automated inferencing. Just as worrisome, ML-based applications may inadvertently obfuscate responsibility for any biases and other adverse consequences that their automated decisions may produce.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
12/31/2019   InfoWorld Insider

At the end of 2019, it’s worth looking ahead as you put together your application development plans and your technology roadmaps. The last few years have delivered a lot of change for anyone building on Microsoft’s many platforms, and that pace isn’t slowing down.

What should you be looking at in 2020, and why? Here are five options for Windows, for Azure, and beyond. They’re not the only ones, but they should start you on a road to a more modern set of development platforms and tools.

Start the transition to .NET 5

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing anyone building .NET code is the change from the aging .NET Framework to .NET Core with the release of .NET 5 towards the end of 2020. Bringing together the two strands of .NET makes sense, even if it does require losing some older APIs. Microsoft has put out a list of what will and won’t make the transition on the .NET GitHub repository. Some of the missing APIs will shift to community implementations, while others gain more modern alternatives.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)
12/30/2019   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's Yousef Khalidi and Hoi Vo, key members of the original Azure 'dream team,' look back on the ups, downs and lessons learned since Microsoft began working on its Azure public cloud.
12/30/2019   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft made substantial headway in its goal to morph from the Windows company to a cloud company over the past decade.
12/23/2019   InfoWorld Insider

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become integral to practically every segment of the technology industry. It’s having an impact on applications, development tools, computing platforms, database management systems, middleware, management and monitoring tools—almost everything in IT. AI is even being used to improve AI. 

What changes in core AI uses, tools, techniques, platforms, and standards are in store for the coming year? Here is what we’re likely to see in 2020.

To read this article in full, please click here

(Insider Story)