IDG Contributor Network: Going Interstellar With Microsoft Cosmos

At Microsoft’s Build developer conference last week, the company announced Cosmos DB, a new cloud database offering that, if you believe the hype, entirely changed the database game. Before reelecting on what this means for developers and organizations, it’s worth taking a look at what Cosmos is.

Cosmos is a schema-free database service built with the aim of delivering high performance, fault tolerance, automatic indexing of data and truly globally distributed scalability. Cosmos is, at least in part, the evolution of Microsoft’s previous DocumentDB offering. DocumentDB was Redmond’s first foray into the NoSQL world. And while DocumentDB was a NoSQL choice in contrast to Microsoft’s relation offerings, Cosmos DB is multi-modal, offering developers the options to store relational or non-relational data. Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s perennially red-shirted Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group, described Cosmos as, “the first globally distributed, multi-model database service delivering turnkey global horizontal scale out with guaranteed uptime and millisecond latency at the 99th percentile.”

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Microsoft Research shows off its augmented reality glasses

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Because we’re spoiled and don’t appreciate amazing technology unless it’s immediately convenient, some tech pundits are dismissing VR in favor of AR, but the fact is that we’re still years away from easy to use AR glasses. For now, mainstream AR is limited to your smartphone, like most other apps. 

However, a team at Microsoft Research is looking to speed up the progress on wearable AR devices and have introduced a prototype as proof. 

Before Snap can turn its Spectacles wearable camera into a vehicle for its augmented reality app filters, Microsoft’s team presented a pair of glasses on Friday that use near-eye displays to produce holograms to the wearer.  Read more…

More about Virtual Reality, Vr, Wearable Tech, Augmented Reality, and Ar


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Microsoft Research shows off its augmented reality glasses

TwitterFacebook

Because we’re spoiled and don’t appreciate amazing technology unless it’s immediately convenient, some tech pundits are dismissing VR in favor of AR, but the fact is that we’re still years away from easy to use AR glasses. For now, mainstream AR is limited to your smartphone, like most other apps. 

However, a team at Microsoft Research is looking to speed up the progress on wearable AR devices and have introduced a prototype as proof. 

Before Snap can turn its Spectacles wearable camera into a vehicle for its augmented reality app filters, Microsoft’s team presented a pair of glasses on Friday that use near-eye displays to produce holograms to the wearer.  Read more…

More about Virtual Reality, Vr, Wearable Tech, Augmented Reality, and Ar


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Check out the next Microsoft Surface Pro — just don’t call it the 5

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Microsoft is slated to unveil its latest version of the Surface Pro line next Monday during an event in Shanghai — but counter to (some) expectations, the reveal won’t be an upgraded Pro 5 model of the hybrid PC. 

The company will instead debut the Surface Pro, period. (That’s right, no number.) It appears to be more of a refresh to the line than a true successor, echoing leaked reports from those who’ve seen time with the device, who called it the “Surface 4.5.” 

Respected leaker Evan Blass of Venture Beat obtained the first photos that purportedly show the Surface Pro, along with the news of the simplified moniker. The resetting of the Pro’s naming convention, which brings it under the same auspice of Apple’s MacBook Pro line, was teased earlier this month by Microsoft’s Surface devices chief Panos Panay, who said “There’s no such thing as a Pro 5.” He admitted a complete overhaul to the Pro wasn’t in the works, and the new name should give them a little more room for incremental updates. Read more…

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Microsoft posts PowerShell script that spawns pseudo security bulletins

A Microsoft manager this week offered IT administrators a way to replicate — in a fashion — the security bulletins the company discarded last month.

“If you want a report summarizing today’s #MSRC security bulletins, here’s a script that uses the MSRC Portal API,” John Lambert, general manager of the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center, said in a Tuesday message on Twitter.

Lambert’s tweet linked to code depository GitHub, where he posted a PowerShell script that polled data using a new API (application programming interface). Microsoft made the API available in November when it first announced that it planned to axe the security bulletins it had issued since at least 1998.

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How Microsoft plans to reinvent business productivity

Microsoft’s Office applications haven’t changed much over the past 25 years. Indeed, a time-traveller from 1992 who knew how to use Word 5.5 for DOS or Mac System 7 would have to get used only to the tools moving from vertical menus to the horizontal ribbon.  

Yes, Microsoft successfully brought Office back to the Mac after years of neglect. It also used the acquisition of Accompli and Sunrise to quickly get high-quality email and calendar apps onto iOS and Android — those teams are revitalizing the Outlook applications on PC and Mac, and the new To Do service is trying to do the same thing, based on the popular Wunderlist app. Yes, there are some clever new tools in Word and PowerPoint that use machine learning to improve spell checking and automate slide design, and the monthly updates keep adding more features. And, yes, the hidden gem that is OneNote is finally getting significant investment to make the note-taking tool more useful on more platforms.

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Microsoft will bring mixed reality to Xbox One and Project Scorpio in 2018


At the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco today, Microsoft announced a couple of important steps in its push toward mixing the real world with the virtual. First off, the company confirmed mixed reality experiences are coming to the Xbox family in 2018, including the next-gen Project Scorpio. If you’re confused about what “mixed reality” is, you’re not alone. Basically, it’s a term encompassing both virtual reality and augmented reality – really, any experience that mixes the real world with digital information. That means we don’t know if future Xbox experiences are coming in the form of a HoloLens-like transparent headset, or a…

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