Category Archives: Microsoft

Ninja Moved to Mixer Due to Contract Issues



Tyler Blevins – known as “Ninja” – left Twitch in favor of streaming exclusively on Mixer in August of 2019. At the time, there was much speculation that the reason was because Mixer was paying him a lot more money than Twitch did. It turns out that is simply not so. The reason Ninja switched has to do with contracts.

Business Insider posted a detailed interview with Jessica Blevins, Ninja’s wife and manager. In it, she states: “Money was the last thing on our mind”. Business Insider notes that the value of Ninja’s deal with Mixer is kept heavily under wraps.

One of the main sticking points with Twitch’s newly proposed contract was that it would limit the licensing deals that Jessica and Tyler had worked so hard to attain in the first place.

In other words, the Twitch contract conflicted with some of Ninja’s current sponsors. Jessica Blevins said: “With the wording of how that contract was going, he wouldn’t have been able to grow his brand much outside of gaming.” Microsoft, however, was willing to work with Ninja, without restricting whatever sponsorships Ninja has (or may have in the future).

In addition, Jessica said that the Ninja chatroom on Twitch had become “pretty toxic”. It apparently was bad enough where it was making Ninja unhappy and less interested in streaming.

Twitch should take a lesson from this. I can see where they might lose more big streamers to Mixer, since Mixer’s contract seems to be less restricting than Twitch’s is. It also sounds like Twitch needs to do more to prevent chatrooms from become so toxic that big streamers no longer want stream there.


Microsoft Reveals Group Attempted To Hack Email of a 2020 Campaign



Microsoft revealed that they have recently seen “significant cyber activity” by a threat group that Microsoft is calling Phosphorus. Microsoft believes Phosphorus originates from Iran and is linked to the Iranian government.

In a 30-day period between August and September, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) observed Phosphorus making more than 27,000 attempts to identify consumer email accounts belonging to specific Microsoft customers and then attack 241 of those accounts. The targeted accounts are associated with a U.S. presidential campaign, current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics, and prominent Iranians living outside of Iran.

Microsoft stated that four accounts were compromised as a result of these attempts. The four accounts were not associated with the U.S. presidential campaign or current and former U.S. government officials. Microsoft has notified the customers related to the investigations and threats and has worked as requested with those whose accounts were compromised to secure them.

Microsoft did not say what U.S. presidential campaign was targeted. There are a lot of people currently running a 2020 presidential campaign, so I think it would be incredibly difficult to figure out which one of them was affected by the attempts of Phosphorus.

I would assume that Microsoft would be the most reliable source regarding which presidential campaign may have been affected. Personally, I am very hesitant to trust news articles that reference anonymous “sources” about this sort of thing.

That said, it appears “sources” told Reuters and The New York Times that it was President Trump’s 2020 campaign that was affected. However, The New York Times also reported, that the Trump campaign’s communications director, Tim Murtaugh, said in a statement that “we have no indication that any of our campaign infrastructure was targeted.”


Microsoft Introduces New Outlook on the Web



Microsoft has introduced a new Outlook on the web. In the past 8 months, Microsoft made improvements to the new Outlook based on submitted feedback and suggestions.

Email is the heart of Outlook and where people spend a significant part of their day. We have designed the new mail experience around you and the people that are important to you – You can personalize your experience, have a little fun, do things faster, and keep those people front and center with new updated features.

Features include:

Categories – Now easier to identify, right from your message list. Categories make it easy to tag, find, or organize your messages. Add multiple categories to a message, ad a category as a favorite, or use Search to find it.

Dark Mode – Personalize your inbox with dark mode for those time when your eyes are a little tired. You can “turn on the lights” when you want to read a specific email or when composing one.

Expressions – Microsoft now allows you to add emojis and GIFs to your messages from Outlook.

Favorites – You can favorite a contact, a group, or a category so you have easier access and can see the message count for each. Once you favorite them, they sync to Outlook mobile, too.

Time Management – Microsoft recently announced new features in Outlook to help you save time with intelligent technology. Meeting Insights gives you relevant information so you can quickly prepare for your meeting. Suggested Replies let you quickly pick from a few options and send an email. One suggested option is “schedule a meeting”, which helps you book meetings faster.

The new Outlook experience will start in late July. Your ability to see it appears to depend on whether or not your organization has blocked the opt-in toggle. The Outlook update is clearly designed for business needs.

Those who use email mostly to communicate with friends and family do not need it. Some of these new features for Outlook have already been introduced in Gmail and other services.


Microsoft Revealed Hackers Accessed Email Accounts



Microsoft has confirmed to TechCrunch hat a certain “limited” number of people who use web email services managed by Microsoft (such as @msn.com and @hotmail.com) had their accounts compromised. The breach happened between January 1 and March 28, 2019.

According to an email Microsoft has sent out to affected users, malicious hackers were potentially able to access an affected user’s email address, folder names, the subject lines of emails, and the names of other email address the user communicates with. Microsoft says the hackers were not able to access the content of any emails or attachments or login credentials like passwords.

Microsoft recommends that affected users change their password. No enterprise customers are affected by this breach.

The Verge reported that Microsoft has started notifying some Outlook.com users that a hacker was able to access accounts for months earlier this year.

According to The Verge, the security breach happened weeks after a former security researcher pled guilty to hacking into Microsoft and Nintendo servers. Microsoft’s Windows development servers were breached for a number of weeks in January of 2017, allowing hackers across Europe to access pre-release versions of Windows.

The Verge has an image of the email that Microsoft sent to people who had their email accounts breached. TechCrunch has the full text of the letter in their article. If your email account was affected, then you likely have already received that email.

In general, it is a good idea to change your email passwords from time to time. Most people are tech-savvy enough to spot questionable emails and know that they should not click on any link those sketchy emails contain. That said, there will be people who cannot tell the difference and who get phished.

The best solution to prevent hacking would be for big companies like Microsoft to put more effort into preventing hackers from breaching people’s email accounts.


Microsoft Introduced the HoloLens 2



Microsoft introduced the HoloLens 2 at MWC Barcelona. It is an improved version of the original Microsoft HoloLens. Here are some details about the improvements.

Immersion is greatly enhanced by advancements across the board, including the visual display system, making holograms even more vibrant and realistic. Microsoft more than doubled the field of view in HoloLens 2, while maintaining the industry-leading holographic density of 47 pixels per degree of sight. HoloLens 2 contains a new display system that enables Microsoft to achieve these significant advances at low power.

HoloLens 2 enables direct manipulation of holograms with the same instinctual interactions you’d use with physical objects in the real world. In addition to the improvements in the display engine and direct manipulation of holograms, HoloLens 2 contains eye-tracking sensors that make interacting with holograms even more natural.

Comfort is enhanced by a more balanced center of gravity, the use of light carbon-fiber material and a new mechanism for donning the device without readjusting. Microsoft improved the thermal management with new vapor chamber technology and accounted for wide physiological variability in the size and shape of human heads by designing HoloLens 2 to comfortably adjust and fit almost anyone.

The new dial-in system makes it comfortable to wear for hours on end, and you can keep your glasses on because HoloLens 2 adapts to you by sliding right over them. When it’s time to step out of mixed reality, flip the visor up and switch tasks in seconds.

Time-to-value is accelerated by Microsoft mixed reality applications like Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Dynamics 365 Layout and the new Dynamics 365 Guides applications.

Personally, I have a few concerns about HoloLens 2. One is the price. The Verge says it costs $3,500. Another concern is whether or not the HoloLens 2 would scratch the lenses of my glasses. I hope Microsoft tested for that!


Microsoft Commits to Help Affordable Housing in Puget Sound Region



Microsoft announced that is committed to addressing the problem of a lack of affordable housing in the region of Puget Sound, Washington. Microsoft made that area its home in 1979.

But the Puget Sound area’s growth has also created new challenges. In recent years, our region hasn’t built enough housing for the people who live here. Since 2011, jobs in the region have grown 21 percent, while growth in housing construction has lagged at 13 percent. This gap in affordable housing has caused housing prices to surge 96 percent in the past eight years, making the Greater Seattle area the sixth most expensive region in the United States.

Microsoft will invest:

  • $225 million at lower than market rate returns to inject capital to subsidize the preservation and construction of middle-income housing. These investments initially will be made in six cities east of Seattle and Lake Washington: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish.
  • $250 million at market rate returns to support low-income housing across the entire King County region. Microsoft believes that additional capitol at market lending rates can help accelerate the construction of low-income housing across the region.
  • $25 million in philanthropic grants to address homelessness in the greater Seattle region. Microsoft announced the first $10 million of these grants. This will include a $5 million philanthropic grant to the newly announced Home Base program created by the Seattle Marines, the United Way of King County, and the King County Bar Association. The program helps keep people facing eviction in their homes through legal aid, access to flexible funds and case management.
  • Microsoft will also grant $5 million to support a new joint agency on homelessness being formed by the city of Seattle and King County.

Personally, I think this is a wonderful idea! I think that more big companies should follow in Microsoft’s footsteps and enact similar plans in other areas. I’d like to see a world where big companies, who have tons of money, use some of it to actually help people who are struggling.


Microsoft has Acquired GitHub



Microsoft announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform where more than 28 million developers learn, share, and collaborate.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. Subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.

GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries. Developers will be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects – and will still be able to deploy their code to any operating system, any cloud and any device.

GitHub announced, in a blog post written by CEO and Co-Founder of GitHub, @defunkt, that Microsoft was acquiring GitHub. The post states that Microsoft and GitHub expect the agreement to close by the end of the year.

GitHub says that they will remain focused on the developer. They feel that Microsoft’s vision for the future closely matches their own. Nat Friedman, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Developer Services, will be taking on the role of GitHub’s CEO. GitHub says it has been searching for a new CEO for some time.