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By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft to hold free Azure Quantum Developer Workshop on February 2
by Hamza Jawad
The field of quantum computing has been a focus for several tech giants in recent years, with Intel debuting a cryogenic quantum quantum control chip in December, and Amazon unveiling support for an open-source hybrid quantum computing framework for Amazon Bracket in the same month. Earlier last year, meanwhile, Microsoft researchers solved two 20-year old quantum computing problems.
The tech giant has today announced that it will be holding a free workshop on February 2, namely the Azure Quantum Developer Workshop. For developers, this workshop will provide the opportunity to learn how to effectively contribute to the quantum ecosystem, for which Microsoft's quantum stack is discussed as well.
Microsoft will also be assisted by its industry partners over the course of this event. Each firm's showcase will be of half an hour. Starting off at 8:15 a.m. PST, 1QBit's Co-founder and CEO Andrew Fursman will exhibit demos for the utilization of Azure Quantum in experimentation with quantum computers and classic cloud compute. Moving on, Dr. Brian Neyenhuis from Honeywell Quantum Solutions will discuss his firm's systems' unique components as part of Azure Quantum, and will demonstrate a research collaboration with Microsoft as well.
Then, Sonika Johri and Matthew Keesan from IonQ - the Senior Quantum Applications Researcher and the VP Product Development, respectively - will describe IonQ's system architecture and real-world applications. Finally, the Microsoft showase will be hosted by Azure Quantum Program Manager Daniel Stocker, analysing the availability of Quantum Optimization solvers and factors to consider when opting for a specific solver. A live, moderated Q&A session of 45 minutes will then conclude this workshop.
Those who are interested in availing this opportunity to learn more about quantum solutions and technologies can register for the workshop for free here. It will be held on February 2 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PST.
By Abhay V
A possible new Surface Laptop 3 variant spotted passing through Bluetooth certification
by Abhay Venkatesh
Surface Laptop 3 Details of Microsoft’s rumored successor to the Surface Laptop 3 have been making the rounds on the web for a while now. Benchmarks of what were believed to be the Laptop 4 and the Pro 8 were spotted late last year. However, with the introduction of the Surface Pro 7+ – a refreshed version of the Pro 7 sporting Intel’s 11th-gen chips – aimed completely at businesses, it is possible that the Redmond firm is readying a version of the Laptop 3 as well that is aimed at businesses.
A new Bluetooth SIG certification listing (spotted by WinCentral) provides credence to that theory, as it mentions versions of the Surface Pro 7 and the Laptop 3 listed for certification on January 18. The descriptions in the listing also point to 13.5-inch and 15-inch models. Additionally, the model numbers specified in the certification for the devices coincide with a now deleted tweet from Twitter user cozyplanes. The “1950” model number was the rumored one for the Laptop 4. The certification listing contains models 1952, 1953, 1958, and 1959 – possibly pointing to two variants of the 13.5-inch and 15-inch devices each. The two Pro 7 models might also point to the recently released Wi-Fi-only and LTE versions of the Pro 7+.
Reports from last year suggest that the company is planning on equipping the 13.5-inch versions of the device with AMD processors for the first time, in addition to refreshes to the Intel variants. It is anyone’s guess if these devices will be called the Laptop 3+, or if there are plans to offer the new devices to consumers as well with the Laptop 4 branding.
The advantages of offering the Pro 7+ to businesses without any design and dimension changes include compatibility with older peripherals and accessories, without compromising on performance. However, with Surface Laptop sporting a more traditional form factor, it will be interesting to see what the company’s strategy is with that lineup.
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft announces event centered around Azure SQL and Data Factory for next month
by Hamza Jawad
In May last year, Microsoft launched Learn TV, alongside other updates to its Learn platform. The online program was introduced as a means to offer the technical community an environment to view and discuss first-party content, content from the Product Group Leaders, and more.
Today, Microsoft has announced that a new digital event as part of its Data Exposed series will be hosted on Learn TV next month. This Data Exposed Special will be centered around the usage of Azure SQL and Azure Data Factory. The hosts for this event will be the Azure Data Factory team's Group Product Manager Wee Hyong Tok and Microsoft's SQL Engineering team's Product Manager Anna Hoffman.
Various SQL services that are part of Azure SQL and will be provided information regarding include Azure Virtual Machine, Azure SQL Managed Instance, Azure SQL Database, and Azure SQL Edge. For Azure Data Factory, meanwhile, the re-hosting of SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), and data delivery to Azure SQL would presumably be some of the topics in focus. A deep dive into performance tuning, creation of data architecture, and more will be conducted as well.
Members of the Azure Data Product Group that will be present during this event to interact with the community of attendees include Bob Ward, Buck Woody, Davide Mauri, Julie Koesmarno, Silvano Coriani, Mara-Florina Steiu, Arvind Shyamsundar, Anna Hoffman, Srini Acharya, Drew Skwiers-Koballa, Andreas Wolter, Mark Kromer, Sandy Winarko, Wee Hyong Tok, Ye Xu, Abhishek Narain, Linda Wang, Shirley Wang, and more.
Data Exposed airs live every Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT, and as such, this event will be taking place two weeks later on February 3, 9 a.m. PT/ February 4 9 a.m. SGT. The 'around the clock' nature of the event means that it will continue for the course of the working day, ending at 5 p.m. PT. Interested users can register for the event for free here.
Malwarebytes says it was targeted by SolarWinds hackers too
by Paul Hill
In a blog post, the digital security firm Malwarebytes said that it had been targeted by the nation state actor implicated in the SolarWinds breach late last year that affected the U.S. government, Microsoft, Nvidia, VMware, and others.
According to the computer security firm, it does not use SolarWinds but was attacked via another intrusion vector that leveraged applications that had privileged access to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure. Malwarebytes said that the attacker managed to get access to "a limited subset of internal company emails" but didn't find any evidence that their production systems had been compromised.
Malwarebytes’ incident response group worked with Microsoft’s Detection and Response Team (DART) to find out how the attack happened. Explaining what the teams did, Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski said:
To ensure that none of its products and systems were compromised, it carried out an analysis of the Malwarebytes source code, build and delivery processes and even reverse-engineered its software. This, coupled with the fact that none of its internal systems were compromised, led the company to declare that its software remains safe to use.
To combat these sophisticated attacks, Malwarebytes has called on other security companies to continue sharing information so that responses are effective. It also thanked the security community for working over the holiday period to respond to the hack.
By Abhay V
Edge Dev build 89.0.767.0 is now out with minor autofill improvements and more
by Abhay Venkatesh
It’s a new week, which means it’s time for a new Edge Dev build. Today, Microsoft is releasing build 89.0.767.0 to the Dev channel with a few new features, including the ability to save and autofill birthdays in text fields. The browser will now also detect possible addresses copied to the clipboard and suggest that information as data for forms or fields that require addresses.
The firm says that it has also completed the rollout of vertical tabs for all Dev users, so that feature should be enabled by default. Additionally, the firm recaps the recently added ability to test the Chromium-based Edge browser on HoloLens 2 devices that was rolled out through a Dev channel build.
Here is the complete list of features added with today’s build:
As usual, the firm is also documenting the various fixes made to the browser. Here is the list for the fixes for improved reliability:
And here is what’s fixed for addressing changed behavior:
And lastly, here are all the known issues that the firm is tracking, some of which have been on the list since the last few releases:
As usual, today’s build should be automatically downloaded and installed by the browser in the background. Alternatively, you can head into Settings > About Microsoft Edge to force-check for an update and download it.
Another noteworthy news for Edge Insiders is that the Beta channel builds for macOS now ship with support for Apple Silicon, something that the firm announced late last week. For those keeping a tab on the stable releases, Microsoft is expected to release version 88 for all users sometime this week.