Does Academia Know What Technology Employers are Looking For?

It started two years ago. I stopped using my laptop or tablet at home, and only used my phone to Google, shop, scroll through Instagram, or check email as I’d wind down at night. Now, I still use my phone, but I mostly rely on Siri to do my Googling for me.

Now, with Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa, the talk-to-tech trend is taking off – it’s easier and faster than finding your phone, unlocking it, opening an App, or tapping any keys.

Now that Amazon allows programmers to connect existing services to Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers the Echo, every-day programmers can build entirely new voice-powered experiences, called Skills, with “just a few lines of code,” for free. Voila! Alexa now opens and uses Apps for us!

Alexa is taking over home appliances, too.  Appliance makers LG, Whirlpool, GE, and Samsung introduced products, like a vacuum, that starts by issuing a command to an Echo. LG’s forthcoming Smart InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerator will connect to Alexa, so users can ask her to pull up recipes on a touchscreen, or order food.

It’s still the early days with voice command services, but what does this mean for education? I think it means Computer Science & Programming education is more important than ever. STEM job growth will surpass all other jobs at 18.7% between 2010 and 2020, leading to 1.1 million computing jobs by 2024.

Does the academic community know what technology employers are looking for? Last week’s post discussed the relevancy of the computer lab in today’s schools – Cengage author Mark Frydenberg shared his Sandbox mission – should more schools get onboard?

Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts

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Microsoft recently announced a preview of Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts. Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts, is an end-to-end consulting program that brings the power of Microsoft’s unique blend of search, social and web data to deliver more intelligent advanced analytics solutions. This exciting new program will enable organizations to improve their predictions by enriching their data with information from anonymized and aggregated Bing search queries, anonymized and aggregated opted-in IE user sessions, and public crawled social media content and web.

Microsoft Announcements from Build 2016

Microsoft held its annual “Build” developer conference this past week in San Francisco. Build 2016 ran from March 30–April 1, and there were quite a few announcements from the event including:

  • Windows 10 Anniversary Update
  • New “Ink Workspace” with Windows Ink apps
  • Office 2016 Add-ins for Office 2016 for Mac
  • New universal apps for Windows 10
  • Cortana is getting smarter
  • HoloLens is shipping to developers

Learn more with articles from WinBeta, The Verge, and Life Hacker.

January 2015 Updates

Windows 10 overview

On January 21, 2015, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) announced the finer details of Windows 10, its latest operating system (or OS). The company also announced the probable date this OS will hit the markets.

On January 21, 2015, Microsoft held a special Windows 10 event to show how Windows 10 will run across PCs (personal computers), phones, tablets, and the Xbox One gaming console.

It’s also been speculated that Microsoft will try to offer Windows 10 as an annual subscription rather than a one-time buy. However, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella refuted the change in business model.

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 has new web browser

In its Windows 10 release, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that Windows 10 will include a new web browser called Spartan. With Windows 10, Spartan will be the default browser. It will feature both a refreshed interface and other improvements that were not included in Internet Explorer (or IE).

The Spartan web browser is equipped with built-in Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant with its contextual searching. So if a person looks up a restaurant on Spartan, Cortana will throw in a map, a menu, and contact details.

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Windows 7 customers get to download Windows 10 for free, but only for a year

The Windows 10 download will be free for customers who are currently running Windows 7 or later versions, including Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. But the download will only last for the first year of its release.

The important thing to note here is that Windows 10 is not a free upgrade for the first year. It’s a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users within the first year of its launch.

The Windows 10 operating system is expected to be launched in late 2015. At the end of the free one-year window, users who wish to continue using Windows 10 have to pay for a subscription.

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