20 Apr 2018
20 Apr 2018
19 Apr 2018
19 Apr 2018

Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17650 for Skip Ahead

Author: Dona Sarkar
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Hello Windows Insiders!

Today, we are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17650 (RS5) to Windows Insiders who opted in to Skip Ahead.

What’s new in Build 17650

Windows Defender Security Center gets a Fluent Design refresh

We’ve heard your feedback and when you install this build you’ll find we’ve updated Windows Defender Security Center (WDSC) to include the Fluent Design elements you know and love. You’ll also notice we’ve adjusted the spacing and padding around the app and will now dynamically size the categories on the main page if more room is needed for extra info. Last but not least, we’ve also updated the title bar of the app so that it will now use your accent color if you’ve enabled that option in Color Settings – with Sets enabled, you will see this color in the WDSC tab.

We’ve updated Windows Defender Security Center (WDSC) to include the Fluent Design elements.

Windows Defender Firewall now supports Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) processes

You can add specific rules for a WSL process in Windows Defender Firewall, just as you would for any Windows process. Also, Windows Defender Firewall now supports notifications for WSL processes. For example, when a Linux tool wants to allow access to a port from the outside (like SSH or a web server like nginx), the Windows Defender Firewall will prompt to allow access just like it would for a Windows process when the port starts accepting connections. This was first introduced in Build 17627.

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

  • We fixed an issue where File Explorer would always open with the ribbon minimized, rather than remembering how you’d left it.
  • We fixed an issue where elements on the main page of the Windows Defender Security Center app would slightly change size on mouse hover.
  • We fixed an issue where non-default languages might unexpectedly have the option to remove in Settings greyed out.
  • We fixed an issue where the Color Filters and High Contrast icons were switched in Settings.
  • We fixed an issue where clicking links in Settings that launched other apps would result in Settings crashing and nothing else happening.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in some people experiencing a Settings crash when navigating to Apps > Default Apps > Set defaults by App.

Known issues

  • On resuming from sleep, the desktop may be momentarily visible before the Lock screen displays as expected.
  • When Movies & TV user denies access to its videos library (through the “Let Movies & TV access your videos library?” popup window or through Windows privacy settings), Movies & TV crashes when the user navigates to the “Personal” tab.
  • Tiling and cascading windows, including features like “View Side by Side” in Word, will not work for inactive tabs.
  • The Office Visual Basic Editor window will currently be tabbed but is not intended to be in the future.
  • Opening an Office document while the same app has an existing document open may cause an unintended switch to the last active document. This will also happen when closing a sheet in Excel while other sheets remain open.
  • Local files or non-Microsoft cloud files will not be automatically restored and no error message will be provided to alert the user to that fact.
  • Sets UX for Office Win32 desktop apps is not final.  The experience will be refined over time based on feedback.
  • The top of some Win32 desktop app windows may appear slightly underneath the tab bar when created maximized. To work around the issue, restore and re-maximize the window.
  • Closing one tab may sometimes minimize the entire set.
  • We’re aware of an issue that causes Narrator to read extra text when invoking Alt + Tab, and we’re working on a fix.
  • Using arrow and Page Up / Page Down keys doesn’t work to scroll webpages in Microsoft Edge. You’ll need to use another input method (mouse, touch, or touchpad).
  • If you complete the setup for a Windows Mixed Reality headset on this build, the headset will remain black until it is unplugged and reconnected to the PC.

No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,
Dona <3

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19 Apr 2018

Are Managed IT Services Right For You? A Few Things to Consider

 

 
Are Managed IT Services Right For You? A Few Things to Consider
 
How do you get a small business to recognize the value of manages IT services? In the start-up environment, we encounter an eclectic bunch of personality types. There is a reason people become entrepreneurs or C-level execs. When we meet the owners or decision makers at smaller companies and organizations, we can tell right away why they’re where they are. They’re visionaries. They’re risk takers. They’re competitive. They want to be in charge.
 
Therefore, they aren’t always quick to place the fate of their business technology in the hands of a third party. They’ve come as far as they have by being in control and they’re hesitant to give up that control. But we’ve learned a few things along the way.
 
For example, the Type A personality is highly independent but also very competitive. So we tap into the competitive advantage that managed IT services gives them.
 
The Type B personality is creative and doesn’t like static routines. But their ears perk up when they hear terminology like “cutting-edge” and we can then paint the big picture for them once their listening.
 
But anyone we do business with has to be committed to the efficiency, security, and stability of their business technology to see our value proposition. And they have to recognize that managing their IT infrastructure is an investment they cannot take lightly.
 
So here are a few things we commonly have to address before any deal for managed IT services is signed.
 
Is my business large enough to even consider managed services?
 
The truth is, any company, regardless of its size or the number of people they employ, will run more efficiently if its technology is monitored, maintained, and managed properly.
 
These are facets of your operations that drive profitability and give our Type A personalities that competitive edge they crave. And they can rest easy whenever business is booming because their technology is built to sustain their growth. That’s the big picture that our Type B personality can appreciate.
 
How is making another IT investment a cost-savings move for my business?
 
There are still many SMBs who feel a greater focus and investment should go towards their core operations or marketing and sales. They only worry about technology when it breaks, figuring they’ll just call a service technician to come to the office and fix whatever the problem is. Or buy some new hardware at Office Depot.
 
There are some very obvious flaws to this strategy.
  • You’re paying way too much when it’s way too late – An issue that was likely preventable with early detection has escalated into a full blown business disruption and that on-call technician likely charges a high hourly rate, on top of hardware replacement costs, and may not get to your site right away. Being proactive rather than reactive to technology issues is important.
  • Don’t forget productivity killers – It’s taking your employees too long to boot their computers. Servers and applications are running slowly. Employee devices are full of Malware. Non-technical employees are running around troubleshooting tech problems. If you see this, your present approach to IT management is killing employee productivity and your bottom line.
  • What happens internally is noticed externally – Don’t think for a second that customers or clients don’t notice outdated or slow internal technology and mismanagement. If your site or applications are down often, run slowly, or your customer service rep tells them “I’m sorry, our system is down”, they’re noticing and it’s hurting your business.
When all is said and done, professionally managed IT services will give you a competitive edge, guarantee your business is always leveraging the newest most cutting-edge technology, and enhance your relationships with customers and clients – all while reducing costs.
 
Contact us at 
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19 Apr 2018
19 Apr 2018

Introducing sonarwhal v1: The linting tool for the web

Author: Anton Molleda
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Just over one year ago, we started working on a best practices tool for the web called sonarwhal—a customizable, open-source linting tool, built for modern web developer workflows. Today, we are announcing the release of its first major version. With today’s launch, we’d like to talk you through a look back at how sonarwhal started, and the journey to v1 over the past few months.

It all started with feedback from web developers, partners, and from our own experiences building for the web. The web platform is becoming richer at a faster pace than ever before: we now have web experiences we couldn’t even imagine a few years back. Sites can work offline, push notifications (even when the user is not visiting the site), and even run code at native speeds with WebAssembly. On top of keeping up to date, developers also need to know about many other things like accessibility, security, performance, bundling, transpiling, etc.

Every day, we see sites that have a great architecture, built with the latest libraries and tools, but that don’t use the right cache policy for their static assets, or that don’t compress everything they should, or with common security flaws—and that’s just scratching the surface. The web is complex and it can be easy to miss something at any point during the development process.

Being a web developer can be overwhelming

What could we do to help web developers make their sites faster, more secure and accessible while at the same time making sure they remain interoperable cross browser? And that’s how all started. Picking the name was the easiest part: the team loves narwhals and they have one of the best echolocation beams in nature (or sonars) so it was an obvious choice.

We knew from the beginning that we wanted sonarwhal to be built by and for the web community. We didn’t want to indoctrinate our personal opinions into sonarwhal’s rules. We wanted sonarwhal to be backed by deep research, remain neutral, and allow contributions from any individual or company. Thus, we decided to make sonarwhal an open source project as part of the JS Foundation.

Since then, we’ve kept ourselves busy listening to your feedback and implementing many of the goals we had back then, while adding some new ones.

When creating a new rule, we follow the 80/20 principle:

80% of the time is research and 20% is coding

If there’s one thing we are most proud of, it’s the extensive research we do on each subject and how deep the rules go to check that everything is as it should be.

Just to give you some examples:

  • The http-compression rule will perform several requests for each resource with different headers and check the content to validate the server is actually respecting them. E.g.: When resources are requested uncompressed, does the server actually respect what was requested and serve them uncompressed? Is the server doing User-Agent sniffing instead of relying on the Accept-Encoding header of the request? Is the server compressing resources using Zopfli when requests are made advertising support for gzip compression?
  • The web manifest rules are also interesting. Does the web manifest point to an image? Does that image exist? Does the image meet the recommended resolution and file size? Does it have the right format to be used by any browser? Is the name of the web application short enough to be displayed on all platforms?
  • The web is full of lies (starting with the user-agent string). Just because a file ends with .png and has content-type: image/png doesn’t mean it’s a PNG. It could very well be a JPEG file, or something completely different. And the same goes for every downloaded resource. The content-type rule will look at the bytes of the resources and verify. the server is actually serving what it says it is, and where applicable, that is specifying the proper charset.

And the list goes on…

More than 30 rules in 6 categories (and counting!)

sonarwhal validates many different things: from accessibility and content types, to verifying your JavaScript libraries don’t have any known vulnerabilities and that you are using SRI to validate that no one has tampered with the code.

Some of the issues require developers to change their code, but others require tweaking to the server configurations. Changing the configurations might not be obvious, especially when targeting only certain resource types, or newer tools and techniques such as Brotli compression, which may not be as thoroughly documented. To make the developer experience easier, we’ve also added examples for Apache and IIS for the rules that require it.

Get started testing with our online scanner

sonarwhal runs on top of Node.js and is distributed via npm. But what happens if you want to check a site using your mobile phone? Or maybe your IT administrator doesn’t allow you to install any tool.

We needed a way to scale and make sonarwhal available anywhere with an internet connection.In November of last year we launched the online version. Since then, more than 160,000 URLs have been analyzed.

Each result page has its own permalink to allow you to go back to it later, or share it with anyone.

The code for the online scanner is available on GitHub.

Screen capture showing the sonarwhal.com online scanner results for example.com

Scan results for https://example.com

Configure sonarwhal to your needs

We think tools should be helpful and should stay out of your way. We can tell you what we think is important, but at the end of the day, you are the one that best understands what you are building and what requirements you have.

We build sonarwhal with strong defaults, but with the flexibility to let you decide what rules are relevant to your project, what URLs should be ignored, what browser you want to use—essentially, we want everything to be configurable.

To make it easier to reuse configurations, you can now extend from one or more and tweak the properties you want.

For example, to use the configuration “web-recommended” you just have to:

npm install @sonarwhal/configuration-web-recommended

And tell your .sonarwhalrc file to extend from it:

{
  &quot;extends&quot;: [&quot;web-recommended&quot;]
}

If you want to tweak it, you can do this:

{
  &quot;extends&quot;: [&quot;web-recommended&quot;],
  &quot;ignoredUrls&quot;: [{
    &quot;domain&quot;: &quot;.*.domain1.com/.*&quot;,
    &quot;rules&quot;: [&quot;*&quot;]
  }],
  &quot;rules&quot;: {
    &quot;highest-available-document-mode: [&quot;error&quot;, {
      &quot;requireMetaTag&quot;: true
    }]
  }
}

The above snippet will use the defaults of “web-recommended”, ignore all resources that match the regular expression .*.domain1.com/.* and enforce the X-UA-Compatible meta tag instead of the header.

Without doubt, one of our favorite features is the adaptability of the rules. Depending on the browsers you want to support, some rules will adapt their feedback telling you the best approach for your specific case. We believe this is really important because not everybody gets to develop for the latest browser versions.

Easily extend sonarwhal with parsers to analyze files such as config files

Catching issues early in the development cycle is usually better than when the project is already shipped. To help with this we created the “local connector” that allows you to validate the files you are working with.

Building a website these days usually requires more than just writing HTML, JavaScript and CSS files. Developers use task managers, bundlers, transpilers, and compilers to generate their code. And each one of these needs to be configured, which in some cases is not easy. To tackle this problem, we came up with the concept of a parser. A parser understands a resource format and is capable of emitting information about it so rules can use it.

Parsers are a powerful concept. They allow sonarwhal to be expanded to support new scenarios we couldn’t imagine when we first started the project. In our ca se, we’ve started creating parsers for config files of the most popular tools used during the build process ( tsconfig.json.babelrc, and webpack.config.js so far) and rules related to them:

  • By default TypeScript output is ES3 compatible, but maybe you don’t need to go all the way down and could be using ES5, ES6, etc. Using the information of your browserslist, we’ll tell you what target you should have in your tsconfig.json file.
  •  If you are using webpack, you should have "modules": false in your .babelrc file to make sure you have better tree shaking and thus, less generated code.

These are just some relatively basic examples of what’s possible. Parsers allow you to create rules for virtually anything. For example, someone could create a parser that understands the metadata of image files and then a rule that checks that all the images have a valid “copyright status.”

sonarwhal analyzing configuration files for webpack and TypeScript

sonarwhal v1 is now available! Go get it while it’s fresh!

As you can see, we’ve been busy! After all that, we’re finally ready to announce the first major version of sonarwhal!

While this is a big milestone for us, it doesn’t mean we are going to remain idle. Indeed, now that GitHub organization projects can be public we’ve opened up ours so you can know the project’s priorities and what we are working on.

Some of the things we are more excited about are:

  • New rules: you can expect more rules around security, performance, PWA, and development very soon.
  • User actions for the browser: sometimes the page or scenario you need to test requires a bit of interaction to get to it. We are looking in ways to allow you to control the browser before a scan.
  • Custom configuration for the online scanner: the user should be capable of deciding everything, even when using the online scanner.
  • Notifications for the online scanner: some websites take longer than others to scan and is easy to forget you have something running on a background tab. We will add opt-in notifications to let you know when all the results are gathered.

sonarwhal is completely open source and community driven. Your feedback is really appreciated and helps us prioritize this list. And if you want to help developers all around the world, join us!

Antón Molleda, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge

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19 Apr 2018

New survey explores the changing landscape of teamwork

Author: Lori Wright, GM, Microsoft Teams and Skype, and Natalie McCullough, GM, MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics
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Today, we’re seeing a new culture of work take shape before our eyes. For many companies, the amount of time employees spend engaged in collaborative work—in meetings, on phone calls, or answering emails—has increased roughly 50 percent and takes up 80 percent or more of their time.We are on twice as many teams as we were five years ago.2 New generations that have grown up with technology are entering the workforce, bringing new expectations and norms. Remote and freelance work are on the rise, and some experts even predict that by 2027 a majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelance.3

One of the central pursuits of any organization, especially in this environment, is how to assemble a high-performing team and set them up for success. It’s more than simply bringing people together to focus on a project—it’s bringing coherence around ideas, goals, actions, and values. Just as every individual is different, so is every team and every project. That’s what makes teamwork and collaboration such an art.

Companies are thinking a lot about what these changes mean for their teams and the technology that empowers them. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, 72 percent of companies are adopting social tools, with the goal of achieving their full potential innovation and efficiency through highly collaborative teams.4

In this new culture of work, Microsoft’s mission is to give teams the tools they need to thrive. So earlier this year, we set out to more deeply understand the forces shaping teamwork today. We wanted to learn how forces like gender and generation shape collaboration preferences and habits, or if things like your remote office location make a larger impact. We surveyed more than 14,000 people from seven countries in various stages of their career—from those who have been in the workforce a while, to those who are preparing to enter it.

Here’s what we found, and what we think it means for all of us navigating teamwork in the new culture of work.

 

  1. Collaborative Overload, a study published in Harvard Business Review by Rob Cross, Reb Rebele, and Adam Grant.
  2. Microsoft: U.S. Information Worker Survey.
  3. Freelancing in America, a study commissioned by Freelancers Union and Upwork.
  4. The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, a report by Mackenzie Global Institute.

The post New survey explores the changing landscape of teamwork appeared first on Office Blogs.

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18 Apr 2018
18 Apr 2018

Windows Community Standup – Improvements for Web and Backend Developers in the next update to Windows 10

Author: Tara Raj
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During our April Windows Community Standup, we discussed a few recent Windows 10 features that will help improve your development experience.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the features we spoke about:

  • Improvements to the Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • In-box command line tools
  • Virtualization in Hyper-V

Windows Subsystem for Linux

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) lets developers run Linux environments – including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications – directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a virtual machine.

Today, we showed various workflows with WSL and Node.js in Visual Studio Code (VS Code). Many of the integrations we showed come from community contributions and asks to improve development workflows. The demo is a culmination of all that – launching your project in VS Code from WSL, using WSL in the integrated terminal, using WSL in the debugger, and using a curl inbox in CMD.

We went over just some of the recent improvements in WSL. As we receive community feedback, we plan to continue addressing our top asks. Currently this includes improving the interop between Windows and WSL and adding more of your favorite tools inbox.

Hyper-V

Hyper-V is a virtualization technology that makes working with Linux VM’s a better experience on Windows.

Today, we showed RDP session improvements and the VM gallery. The RDP improvements include the mouse experience, clipboard, and drive sharing. We showed a preview of the VM Quick Create Gallery with a built-in Windows image and loading our own custom image. You can expect to see improvements in both these areas in the near future in areas such as windowing and additional built-in image templates.

Thank You & Feedback

A big thanks to our developer community for helping provide feedback on WSL, inbox tools, and Hyper-V. Be sure to let us know about your WSL experience by submitting issues on our sample GitHub repo and tweeting us at #WSL – @tara_msft.

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