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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


"Hit Refresh" by Satya Nadella

Hit Refresh written by Satya Nadella along with Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols, takes us through the highs & lows of Microsoft's third CEO's life & Satya's vision for Microsoft and computing in the future. Having used Microsoft products for nearly two decades & their cloud platform, Azure for about six years now, it was interesting to read about the business & people-side of the organization. This is a thought provoking book full of candid observations, ideas & insights
Excerpts:

Fear of the unknown can send you in a million directions, and sometimes it just dead-ends with inertia. A leader has to have an idea what to do—to innovate in the face of fear and inertia. We need to be willing to lean into uncertainty, to take risks, and to move quickly when we make mistakes, recognizing failure happens along the way to mastery.

When I learn about a shortcoming, it’s a thrilling moment. The person who points it out has given me the gift of insight. It’s about questioning ourselves each day: Where are all the places today that I had a fixed mindset? Where did I have a growth mindset?

Learning or improvement in one skill or mental function can positively influence another one. The effect is transfer learning, and it’s seen not only in human intelligence

Empathy + Shared values + Safety and Reliability = Trust over time

...three leadership principles—for anyone leading others at Microsoft.
The first is to bring clarity to those you work with. 
Second, leaders generate energy, not only on their own teams but across the company.
Third, and finally, they find a way to deliver success, to make things happen.

Like human intelligence, artificial intelligence can be categorized by layer. The bottom layer is simple pattern recognition. The middle layer is perception, sensing more and more complex scenes. It’s estimated that 99 percent of human perception is through speech and vision. Finally, the highest level of intelligence is cognition—deep understanding of human language.

Democratizing AI means enabling every person and every organization to dream about and create amazing AI solutions that serve their specific needs. It’s analogous to the democratization that movable type and the printing press created. It’s estimated that in the 1450s there were only about thirty thousand books in Europe—each one handcrafted by someone working in a monastery. The Gutenberg Bible was the first book produced using movable type technology, and within fifty years the number of books grew to an estimated 12 million, unleashing a renaissance in learning, science, and the arts.

Healthy partnerships—often difficult but always mutually beneficial—are the natural and much-needed product of the culture we’re building

A developer announced that he had found a means for capturing, or taking a screenshot of, a moving image—a big improvement over our existing “snipping” tool, which was capable only of capturing a static image. A small piece of code that makes a big difference to a designer or editor. As in 2012, though, his fix had not yet been integrated into the Windows code. With a growth mindset, yet is an important clarification.

They began by researching the science surrounding dyslexia and decided to go after a problem called visual crowding. Led by one of our software engineers, the team found ways to allow more space in between letters to make words more readable. But they didn’t stop there. They also found ways to create a more immersive reading function with the ability to highlight text and have it read out loud, further increasing reading comprehension. They built a tool to break words into syllables and to highlight the verb and subordinate clause.Today, the functionality that began as a Hackathon project is now built into some of our most important products, including Word, Outlook, and the Edge browser.

Technology can increasingly see, speak, and analyze, but it cannot yet feel. But mixed reality may help machines empathize with humans. several student developers from Australia who participated in our Imagine Cup competition. They built an MR application that helps certain caregivers learn to see the world through the eyes of someone with autism.

It would take a classical computer 1 billion years to break today’s RSA-2048 encryption, but a quantum computer could crack it in about a hundred seconds, or less than two minutes.

Any government demand for users’ sensitive information must be governed by a clear and transparent legal framework that is subject to independent oversight and includes an adversarial process to defend users’ rights.

Millennials in particular—many of them digital natives born since the advent of the Internet—are comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings with a digital companion because the discussions are nonjudgmental and anonymous.

Microsoft’s approach to AI is based on three core principles:
Build intelligence that augments human abilities and experiences
Build trust directly into technology
Technology must be inclusive and respectful to everyone, serving humans across barriers of culture, race, nationality, economic status, age, gender, physical and mental ability, and more.

In software development terms, AI is becoming a third run time—the next system on top of which programmers will build and execute applications. The PC was the first run time for which Microsoft developed applications like the Office suite of tools—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the rest. Today the Web is the second run time.

Collaborative robots (co-bots) should take on dangerous work like mining, thus creating a safety net and safeguards for human workers.

We want not just intelligent machines but intelligible machines; not just artificial intelligence but symbiotic intelligence.

Increasingly algorithms that reason over your previous actions and preferences mediate our human experience—what we read, whom we meet, what we may “like.”

Unfortunately, in many underserved parts of the world, public and private attention is focused on attracting Silicon Valley companies rather than on growing local tech entrepreneurs.

Over the summer I had been recruited to join Microsoft as a twenty-five-year-old evangelist for Windows NT, a 32-bit operating system that was designed to extend the company’s popular consumer program into much more powerful business systems.

In the 1970s, Hyderabad was out of the way, not at all the metropolis of 6.8 million people it is today.

 In the United States, the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act abolished the nation-of-origin quota and made it possible for skilled workers to come to America and contribute. Before that, only about a hundred Indians were allowed to immigrate each year.

Some futurecasters predict that the so-called singularity, the moment when computer intelligence will surpass human intelligence, might occur by the year 2100 (while others claim it will remain simply the stuff of science fiction)

More than half of Microsoft’s revenues are from outside the United States.

The world used to grow at 4 percent per year, but it is now growing at roughly 2 percent.

Microsoft Philanthropies is the world’s largest corporate philanthropy with more than $1 billion in contributions across a wide variety of causes including teaching digital skills like coding and computer science, affordable access to the Internet, and humanitarian assistance.

Shenzhen grew from a town of thirty thousand people to a global financial center of nearly 11 million residents after it was designated as a special economic zone in 1980.

The power loom was invented in 1810 but took thirty-five years to transform the clothing industry because of shortages of trained mechanics.
 - o -

As a former Microsoft MVP invited to the MVP Reconnect Program, I was offered a digital version of this book by the good folks running the Reconnect Program through the BookShout.com website.

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