Bill Gates awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Outgoing President Barack Obama today names Bill Gates as one of the 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

The medal has previously been awarded to such luminaries as Mother Teresa and Stephen Hawking and was awarded for Bill Gates’s charitable work after he exited Microsoft in 2008. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aims to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, the mission is to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. The Gates Foundation has provided more than $36 billion in grants since its inception.

President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor – it’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better.  From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”

One of the founders of Microsoft in 1975, Gates stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in January 2000. He remained as chairman and chief software architect until 2006, when he transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work, and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  His last full-time day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008 and he stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in February 2014, taking on a new post as technology adviser to support newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella.

The awards will be presented at the White House on November 22th and livestreamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live. See the full list of recipients at Whitehouse.gov here.

Microsoft delivers test builds of Visual Studio for Mac, Visual Studio 2017 for Windows

Visual Studio for Mac is not a port of Visual Studio for Windows; it's a rebranded version of Xamarin Studio integrated development environment (IDE) that will work on the Mac. (Microsoft bought mobile-tool vendor Xamarin in February 2016.) Visual Studio for Mac is available as of today as a preview for download.

Visual-Studio-Mac

Visual Studio 2017 is the official name of the product Microsoft has been calling "Visual Studio Next" and/or codename "VS '15'." As of today, a near-final Release Candidate version of that product is available to testers. The RC includes a few brand-new features, but is mostly complete at this point. Officials told me this week that the final/general availability version of Visual Studio 2017 would be out in early 2017.

Microsoft made these announcements at its Connect() 2016 developer event in New York City on November 16.

At that event, Microsoft also announced it is joining The Linux Foundation as a Platinum member, and that Google is joining the .NET Foundation's Technical Steering Committee. The .NET Foundation is the vehicle Microsoft has used to open source a number of its developer technologies, including .NET and ASP.NET implementations and components.

Visual Studio for Mac will include IntelliSense and refactoring via the Roslyn Compiler platform. It will use MSBuild and the same debugger engines for Xamarin and .NET Core apps, as well as the same designers for Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android.

Visual Studio 2017 for Windows also is relying on the "Roslyn" work to rearchitect the C# and Visual Basic compilers. The coming release includes enhancements in refactorings, code generation, code analysis, navigation, testing, and debugging, officials said.

Visual-Studio-2017-Install

Other Connect() announcements today included a preview of a new Visual Studio Mobile Center, and general availability of both Visual Studio Team Foundation server 2017 and Azure Application Insights.

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Visual Studio Mobile Center is a portal that is meant to help developers build, test, distribute, and monitor apps built in Objective-C, Swift, Java, Xamarin, and React Native for Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Documentation for the new Mobile Center is here.

Visual-Studio-2017-Install3

Samsung also is releasing a preview of Visual Studio Tools for the Tizen operating system, which will allow developers to build apps for Tizen running on Samsung TVs, wearables, mobile, and other IoT devices.

How to reset lost SA password in SQL Express

Overview

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to reset the sa password on a SQL Express instance then you are not alone. I recently inherited a PC from a previous developer that already had SQL Express installed. This normally wouldn’t be a bad thing, except in this case it was not setup in mixed mode and my logged in account had no sysadmin rights on the instance.

In this article I hope to enlighten you as to how to reset the sa password in SQL Express without having any sort of administrator rights to the SQL instance.

You will need to be somewhat comfortable with editing the registry, starting and stopping windows services and working with a command prompt.

Steps to SQL Express sysadmin access

In order to gain sysadmin access to the SQL instance there were a few things that I needed to accomplish. Here is the basic goals I needed to achieve:

  • Change the login method from Windows Authentication to Mixed mode
  • Enable the sa user account
  • Reset the password to the sa user account

Doesn’t seem like that daunting of a list does it? I didn’t think so either.

Change the login method

In order to change the login method I had to change a registry setting. Why, you ask? Because, I say, we don’t have sysadmin rights so we can’t just change the database properties using SSMS.

  • Open the registry editor
  • Navigate to…
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
       \SOFTWARE
          \Microsoft
             \Microsoft SQL Server
                \MSSQL.10.SQLEXPRESS
                   \MSSQLServer
    
  • Change the value of LoginMode from 1 to 2
  • Close the registry editor

One thing to note is I had a few different options under the “Microsoft SQL Server” branch so you may need to take an educated guess if yours is different.

Enable the sa user account and reset its password

I lumped these two into one section because the commands for them are entered at the same place.

  1. Open the Services applet in the Control Panel
  2. Find the “SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS)” entry and open its properties
  3. Stop the service
  4. Enter “-m” into the “Start parameters” field
  5. Start the service
  6. Open a Command Prompt
  7. Enter the command:
    osql -S PC_NAME\SQLEXPRESS -E

    Be sure to change PC_NAME to whatever your PC name is or you will get a big long message saying you messed up.

  8. At the next prompts enter the following commands:
    1> alter login sa enable
    2> go
    1> sp_password NULL,'new_password','sa'
    2> go
    1> quit
  9. Stop the “SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS)” service
  10. Remove the “-m” from the Start parameters field
  11. Start the service

At this point you should be able to login to SSMS using the sa user account and the new password you gave it.

Store and Ads to Deliver $189 Billion to Publishers in 2020

Mobile-App-Forecast-annual-net-to-publisher-revenue-app-monetization

Apps are increasingly becoming the go-to resource for communication, entertainment, shopping, productivity and more. As a result, the time consumers spend in apps has exploded.

Coupled with the growth of the global installed base of smartphones and tablets, this will set the stage for significant revenue growth. This expanding revenue opportunity will not be exclusive to the top apps and categories, but will be more widely spread across the app economy.

In order to fully capitalize on the app economy’s exceptional growth, publishers need to anticipate future market opportunities when planning for a variety of business scenarios, including product launches, performance goals, international expansion and portfolio management.

To help showcase the opportunities for publishers, we’ve published App Annie App Monetization Report: Publishers to Earn $189 Billion from Stores and Ads in 2020. Key insights include:

  • Combined worldwide in-app advertising and net-to-publisher app store revenue is forecast to grow by 270% — from $70 billion in 2015 to $189 billion in 2020.
  • Though games will continue to capture the majority of revenue, advertising will help apps (excluding games) increase their share through 2020.
  • In-app advertising and freemium will continue to dominate other business models and subscriptions will continue to be an increasingly important type of in-app purchase.
  • The Americas, APAC and EMEA will experience significant revenue growth from 2015 to 2020, with China driving APAC’s particularly strong growth.

Download the complete report from this site.

Xamarin Forms Components

Hello guys!

From today on Nuget there are 4 new components for Xamarin Forms created by me.

Happy coding!

Windows switching to differential patching in the Creators Update

failed-update-crop

Major Windows 10 updates, including this summer's Anniversary Update and next year's Creators Update, are distributed as essentially full operating system installs. The downloads are around 4GB, and installing them performs a complete in-place upgrade to Windows.

That is set to change as Microsoft rolls out what it calls its Unified Update Platform (UUP). Major upgrades will be shipped as differential updates, where only the differences between the currently installed version and the newly installed version need to be downloaded. The company estimates that this will result in major version upgrades being around 35 percent smaller.

UUP should also make checking for updates faster, as more of the computational workload to figure out the patches that a system needs will be handled in the cloud rather than on the client.

In making this change, some differences between the Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 PC update process are being eliminated. Currently the desktop platform can generally upgrade from any patch level to the latest version in one shot; on mobile, sometimes multiple updates are required, with two separate download, install, and reboot processes.

End-users on stable builds of Windows won't see this change take effect until after the Creators Update; the client-side infrastructure necessary to support these differential updates will be a part of that release. Insiders, however, who regularly perform major version updates (as every new Insider build is installed as an in-place upgrade) will begin seeing the improvements much sooner. Mobile releases will enable UUP updating starting with today's build 14959, with the technology coming to PC builds a little later in the year, followed by Windows IoT and Windows for HoloLens. Excluded from this is Xbox, which will retain its own update process.

Microsoft takes on Slack with its new Microsoft Teams app

microsoft-teams-feat

Microsoft today announced a major new app at its Office event in New York City. The company’s new service, Microsoft Teams is its own take on the popular team communication tool, Slack. We reported about Microsoft Teams just 2 months ago, and Microsoft is officially launching it in a limited preview for Office 365 users today. Microsoft, however, is calling Teams a group chatting software which will be accessiblefrom the Web, Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.

Firstly, let’s get the basics covered: Microsoft Teams lets you share messages and attachments just like any other chat app out there. You can start a private conversation or a “channel” which is basically a group chat. These channels can be created based on a certain project or by different teams within a company. For example, you can have a channel for the design team in your company. Another important feature of Microsoft Teams is the Fun Picker which allows users to search for GIFs and much more right within the app — sure, it isn’t really productive but it’s definitely an important feature to have in chat apps, especially in 2016.

microsoft-teams-2

However, Microsoft Teams is going to be the ultimate tool for communication in teams who highly rely on Microsoft’s Office 365 services and OneDrive. Unlike Slack, Microsoft Teams integrates with many of Microsoft’s services, including Word, OneDrive, Skype for Business, and more. With Teams, users will be able to create a Word document, or start a Skype for Business meeting, or share a file from OneDrive without having to open those apps separately. Everything simply just works together — at least according to Microsoft, that is.

microsoft-teams-3

Microsoft Teams also does some things you can’t find on Slack. For one, it has threaded conversations which are huge for any team. Threaded Conversations, for those who don’t know, allows users to reply to a message within the conversation in a threaded UI. Of course, you can also “@” someone from your team to mention them in the conversation, but Threaded Conversations are a much better way of talking about a certain topic in a channel.Anotherintegral feature of Microsoft Teams is the ability to start a video chatwithin the app — when you schedule a meeting, you will be able to start a video call on Microsoft Teams which is quite neat.

Microsoft Teams is launching in a limited preview today to Office 365 Business users, and it’ll be available to all Office 365 Business users in January 2017. You can check it out here.

AWS public cloud is twice as big as Microsoft, Google, IBM combined

Amazon-AWS-Leadership

Amazon Web Services is utterly dominating the competition, taking 45 percent of worldwide revenues for public cloud services, according to a new analysis.

Microsoft and Google might be increasing public cloud revenues faster than AWS, but they've also got a long way to go to come close to catching up, a new analysis from Synergy Research Group shows.

The combined revenues from Microsoft, Google, and IBM amount to less than 20 percent of worldwide infrastructure-as-a-service, or IaaS, revenues in Q3 2016, compared with AWS's 45 percent, the research firm reports.

Microsoft is building a quantum computer that may never work

Microsoft-Sadella

Microsoft is working on a quantum computer that uses what are called “non-abelian anyons,” a quasiparticle that physicists aren’t sure even exist. Quantum computers promise to perform calculations at unfathomably faster rathes than today’s computers. Although other companies are using more realistic, proven materials in their work to create the machine, Microsoft is hopeful that its unique approach will pay dividends as the resultant machine should be less susceptible to external interference. The company has nearly 40 people working on the project, as quantum computing is seen as well worth investing in.

“The upside is enormous and there is practically no downside,” Alex Bocharov, a computer scientist at Microsoft Research working on quantum computing, told Scientific American in an article published Sunday. “Microsoft is a very affluent company; it sits on something like US$100 billion in cash. So what else one would you invest in? Bill Gates is also investing in other things—to eradicate malaria and HIV that might require quantum computing at some point.”

BillGates

Non-abeilan anyons are a controversial part of quantum computing, though. The concept was put forward by Alexei Kitaev in 1997 and was met with skepticism. “I laughed when I first read it,” Nick Bonesteel, theoretical physicist at Florida State University, told Nature in 2008.

Whereas normal computers have transistors that switch between “on” and “off” states, the best way to think about quantum machines is that these switches can exist in both states at the same time, allowing for a multitude of possibilities to be represented at once. Where the on/off states in normal computers are known as “bits,” in quantum computing they’re called “qubits.”

This potential allows for artificial intelligence more powerful than ever before. Yuri van Geest, founder of SingularityU, told an audience at Pirate Summit 2016 last month that a maze solving app would take some time to find the right answer with a regular computer, but with a quantum machine, the answer would appear instantaneously. This boost in analytical skills, van Geest explained, could impact the jobs market.

For Bocharov and the team, it’s all about pushing a pioneering new technology. “In the past, the question was always whether something was a problem where a quantum computer would be hypothetically better than a classical computer,” he said. “Now we want to figure out, not just is it doable, but how doable is it?”

Convert Hex Color Code to Brush/SolidColorBrush in XAML App

To set the background color of an object in .NET XAML, you will need to set the Brush object type. To create a Brush object from a hexadecimal color code, use the following.

//input ex: #dcdcdc
public static Windows.UI.Xaml.Media.SolidColorBrush 
        GetColorFromHex(string hexaColor)
{
	return new Windows.UI.Xaml.Media.SolidColorBrush(
		Windows.UI.Color.FromArgb(
			255,
			Convert.ToByte(hexaColor.Substring(1, 2), 16),
			Convert.ToByte(hexaColor.Substring(3, 2), 16),
			Convert.ToByte(hexaColor.Substring(5, 2), 16)
		)
	);
}

Happy coding!

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