Mike

Microsoft’s Azure-hosted OpenAI language models are now generally available, and it’s surprisingly simple to use them in your code. Modern machine learning and AI research have moved rapidly from the lab to our IDEs, with tools like Azure’s Cognitive Services providing API-based access to pretrained models.

There are many different approaches to delivering AI services, with one of the more promising methods for working with language being a technique called generative pretraining or GPT, which handles large amounts of text.

Mike

Meta's Messenger app is the first third-party widget to be available in the Windows 11 widget board -- but the support for third-party widgets is only for users running the latest Windows 11 preview. The widget system was one of the headline features of Windows 11. However, until now only Microsoft apps and content has featured in the panel, including Bing content, Windows tips, and Game Pass promotions. Microsoft enabled widgets for third-party developers via the WinAppSDK 1.2 released in November.

Meta's Messenger widget is a preview and the widget system isn't entirely stable at the moment, but the arrival of the Messenger widget should be welcomed by Windows 11 users as a first look at what developers could do in the future.

Mike

Microsoft published a beta release of TypeScript 5.0, the company’s strongly typed JavaScript variant, on January 26. The new release aims to modernize decorators for class customization.Decorators, an upcoming ECMAScript feature, allow for customizing classes and their members in a reusable way, Microsoft noted in a blog post announcing the release. Decorators can be used on methods, properties, getters, setters, and auto-accessors. Classes can be decorated for subclassing and registration. While TypeScript previously supported experimental decorators, these were modeled on a much older version of the decorators proposal.Also in TypeScript 5.0, developers now can add a const modifier to a type parameter declaration to cause const-like inferences to be the default. The update also now allows the extends field to take multiple entries, and it makes all enums union enums by creating a unique type for each computed member. This means all enums can be narrowed and have their members referenced as types.

Mike

Microsoft has improved functionality, performance, and diagnostics in the MVVM toolkit portion of the .NET Community Toolkit. The upgrade was released this week.Unveiled January 18, .NET Community Toolkit 8.1 adds dedicated analyzers to the MVVM (model-view-viewmodel) toolkit. Previously, the MVVM toolkit emitted diagnostics for features used incorrectly. Now, it can offer recommendations for improving code. Another analyzer has also been added to help reduce binary size in applications.Performance optimizations are intended to improve the developer user experience, particularly when working on large solutions. The architecture of generators was improved with capabilities such as multi-targeting for the Roslyn 4.3 compiler platform. Diagnostics were moved to diagnostics analyzers to reduce overhead when typing. Incremental providers were also updated to no longer propagate symbols, thus reducing memory use. To improve performance and reduce memory allocations, incremental models and pipelines were overhauled. The updated MVVM toolkit also features new IObservable extensions for the IMessenger interface bridges functionality exposed by messenger APIs.

Mike

Microsoft has announced general availability of its Azure OpenAI Service, an offering related to its $1 billion investment in OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT. That means more businesses can apply to use OpenAI's Azure-hosted and trained large language models.

ChatGPT is coming soon to the Azure OpenAI Service, which is now generally available, as we help customers apply the world’s most advanced AI models to their own business imperatives.

Mike

ASP.NET Core 6 introduced a simplified hosting model that allows us to build lightweight APIs with minimal dependencies. These minimal API projects make it easy to get our application up and running fast, by writing less boilerplate code. ASP.NET Core 7 further improved minimal APIs by adding support for filters.Whenever you work with APIs—including minimal APIs—you will often want to document your endpoints.

Fortunately, ASP.NET Core provides built-in support for the OpenAPI specification, so you can take advantage of OpenAPI and the Swagger UI to generate nice documentation for all of your APIs.The goal of this post is to give you a head start on doing so. To use the code examples provided in this article, you should have Visual Studio 2022 installed in your system.

Mike

Rumors of the job cuts circulated over night, but now the big tech giant has confirmed the move in a memo sent to staff. The cuts come as the company looks to "align our cost structure with our revenue and where we see customer demand," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in the memo sent to Microsoft employees. "We know this is a challenging time for each person impacted. The senior leadership team and I are committed that as we go through this process, we will do so in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible," he added. The figure represents just under five percent of Microsoft's total headcount of over 222,000 staff. Some employees will be told that they'll be losing their jobs today, with the remaining redundancies being made by March. Also: Why job cuts at big tech don't always show the full pictureThe memo points towards "times of significant change," parts of the world being in recession, and the rise of new technologies as some of the reasons for the redundancies. "These decisions are difficult, but necessary. They are especially difficult because they impact people and people's lives -- our colleagues and friends," said Nadella.

Mike

Microsoft is shedding its paid time off vacation policy for an unlimited one where staff don't need to accrue vacations or log paid leave days. Microsoft's chief people officer Kathleen Hogan announced the move in an email to US employees, detailing how it's bringing a more "flexible model" to its vacation policy.

So-called unlimited paid time off policies have become a popular tool to attract and keep talent in tech, finance, and other sectors facing staff shortages. According to The Verge, which viewed the memo, Microsoft is calling its policy "Discretionary Time Off". Also: 'Find something you're passionate about.' Five ways to build a career path that works for youThe new policy kicks off on January 16 and applies to new employees too, who no longer need to accrue vacation time.

Mike

Microsoft has ended the third and final year of Windows 7 Extended Security Updates and is urging customers to migrate to Windows 11 on a new PC or buy Windows 10 if they can't or don't want to. Microsoft has offered SMB and enterprise customers paid-for Windows 7 ESU since ending free security updates for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. It's offered the Windows 7 ESUs to businesses for up to three years and that period came to an end today, January 10 -- the date of the first Patch Tuesday of 2023. The same goes for the less widely adopted Windows 8.1, for which support also ends today. Microsoft is not offering an ESU program for Windows 8.1.

Mike

The Azure SQL Managed Instance option is similar to the Azure Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instance service, but the latter lets organizations continue to use their own infrastructure. The nuances between those two options are described in this Sept. 30, 2020 Microsoft Tech Community post. While the ESU program offers a grace period of sorts for SQL Server 2012 users, its use with on-premises servers comes with licensing requirements. Organizations will need to have Software Assurance coverage, which is an annuity cost. Also, they can only buy ESUs if they have an "Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Subscription Agreement, a Server & Cloud Enrollment and Enrollment for Education Solutions" licensing, according to Microsoft's end-of-support FAQ document.