TWIL: January 15, 2023

This week I decided to catch up on Hanselminutes episodes and they’re all great conversations. I’m also highlighting a set of articles on Microsoft Purview, Azure Cosmos DB and Power BI. Finally, check out a video on how to use Azure OpenAI Service and an awesome demo for VALL-E, a neural codec language model for zero-shot text-to-speech synthesizers. Have fun!



Episode 867: Social Impact using offline forms with ODK’s Yaw Anokwa
In this episode of ACM ByteCast in association with Hanselminues, Scott Hanselman welcomes research scientist, software engineer, and entrepreneur Yaw Anokwa. Yaw is the founder and CEO of ODK, the offline data collection platform that helps fight disease, poverty, and inequity. He holds a PhD in computer science from the University of Washington and likes to keep his bio short and sweet. Yaw describes how he felt the urge to pivot his career into a direction of positive social impact as a graduate student at the University of Washington. A volunteer experience with Partners in Health in Rwanda and a software engineering internship at Google showed him the potential for technology to empower people and change lives—specifically through ODK—which became his chief project and passion. Yaw and Scott discuss ODK’s main differentiator, “powerful offline forms,” as well as user interface affordances made to customize ODK for its users, such as rural farmers in Uganda. He also shares the joy of working on a product that focuses on public good and some principles that have helped him to succeed.

Episode 868: Creating games on Nintendo Switch with FUZE4 and Jon Silvera
In this episode of the podcast, Scott Hanselman sits down with Jon Silvera, the creator of FUZE4, a game-making tool for the Nintendo Switch. Jon shares his passion for game development and explains how FUZE4 makes it possible for anyone to create their own games for the Switch. He discusses the features and capabilities of the tool, and offers some tips and advice for aspiring game creators. Jon also shares his own experiences of creating games with FUZE4, and discusses the potential for the tool to revolutionize the indie game market on the Switch.

Episode 869: Do I stay or do I go? – Tech career advice with Mekka Williams
Mekka Williams is a long-time software engineer who sits down with Scott Hanselman to discuss how long you should stay at a company. Mekka shares her own experiences and offers some advice for people who are trying to decide how long to stay at their current job. She discusses the importance of finding a company that aligns with your values and career goals, and how to know when it’s time to move on to a new opportunity. Tune in to hear Mekka and Scott’s insights on this important topic.

Episode 870: Real-time personal health data with Dot Health’s Huda Idrees
Huda is the Founder and CEO of Dot Health, a real-time personal health data platform. She joins Scott to discuss real-time personal health data and its implications for consumers and the health industry worldwide. Huda explains how real-time data can help individuals track and manage their health more effectively, and how healthcare professionals can also use it to provide more personalized and effective care. She also discusses the potential challenges and risks of health data, such as data privacy and security concerns, and how Dot Health is addressing these issues. 

Episode 871: Growing as an Enginering Manager with Taylor Poindexter
Taylor Poindexter, a software engineer and engineering manager, joins Scott Hanselman in this episode of the podcast to discuss her journey as a manager and her advice for emerging managers. Taylor shares her experiences of growing and learning in her role and discusses the challenges and rewards of managing a team. She offers advice on how to develop leadership skills, manage conflict, and support the growth and development of individual team members. Taylor also shares her thoughts on the importance of inclusion in engineering teams, and how managers can foster a culture of belonging.

Episode 872: Hachyderm’s Kris Nova on running a Mastodon Server
Scott talks with Kris Nova who has been building and scaling Hachyderm, a Mastodon instance that began in her basement and is now moving into the cloud. Nova shares her extensive knowledge on the technical challenges and solutions involved in creating and maintaining Hachyderm, as well as her insights on the importance of building and maintaining a welcoming and inclusive online community.

Episode 873: Dr. Brandeis Marshall’s Data Conscience
In Data Conscience: Algorithmic Siege on our Humanity, computer science and data inclusivity thought leader Dr. Brandeis Hill Marshall delivers a call to action for rebel tech leaders, who acknowledge and are prepared to address the current limitations of software development. In the book, Dr. Brandeis Hill Marshall discusses how the philosophy of “move fast and break things” is, itself, broken, and requires change. Today she talks to Scott about what’s next for data and what we as engineers can do.

Microsoft Purview

Implementing a Data Quality Framework in Purview
Azure Purview is Microsoft’s latest data governance offering with an extensive Data Glossary functionality. In this demo-heavy session, we’ll look at Purview, its functionality as a Data Catalog, and how we can expand it to a Data Quality solution with the help of Databricks.

Microsoft Purview REST API Deep Dive
Learn more about the Microsoft Purview REST API powered by Apache Atlas. Explore the type system, creating custom types, custom lineage, and using the powerful relationship features of Purview to connect disparate assets into a web of insights. Will Johnson, Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft, gives an in-depth tour of Azure Purview’s REST API concepts.

Microsoft Purview collections architectures and best practices
At the core of Microsoft Purview unified data governance solutions, the data map is a platform as a service (PaaS) component that keeps an up-to-date map of assets and their metadata across your data estate. To hydrate the data map, you need to register and scan your data sources. In an organization, there might be thousands of sources of data that are managed and governed by either centralized or decentralized teams. Collections in Microsoft Purview support organizational mapping of metadata. By using collections, you can manage and maintain data sources, scans, and assets in a hierarchy instead of a flat structure.

Microsoft Purview deployment checklist
This article lists prerequisites that help you get started quickly on planning and deployment for your Microsoft Purview (formerly Azure Purview) account. If you are creating a plan to deploy Microsoft Purview, and also want to consider best practices as you develop your deployment strategy, then use our deployment best practices guide to get started.

Connect to and manage Azure Databricks in Microsoft Purview (Preview)
This article outlines how to register Azure Databricks, and how to authenticate and interact with Azure Databricks in Microsoft Purview.

Azure Cosmos DB

Learn Live – Handle events with Azure Functions and Azure Cosmos DB SQL API change feed
Use Azure Functions bindings to integrate a function with Azure Cosmos DB SQL API.

Get Started: Azure Cosmos DB for beginners
New to Azure Cosmos DB and NoSQL databases for app development? Discover the key concepts, use cases, features, tips, and tricks you need to know to start building fast and scalable modern applications with Azure Cosmos DB, Microsoft’s NoSQL cloud database service for developers.

Power BI

Power BI: Streaming dataflows (preview)
Organizations want to work with data as it comes in, not days or weeks later. The vision of Power BI is simple: the distinctions between batch, real-time, and streaming data today will disappear. Users should be able to work with all data as soon as it’s available.

Artificial Intelligence

Use Natural Language & Prompts with AI Models | Azure OpenAI Service
For your next application, leverage large-scale, generative AI models with a deep understanding of language and code, using Azure’s OpenAI service. Interact with models using natural language, prompts, and few-shot learning. Use the Azure OpenAI Studio to experiment and test your models before bringing them into your code to deliver differentiated app experiences, all with Azure’s enterprise-grade security built-in.

VALL-E: Neural Codec Language Models are Zero-Shot Text to Speech Synthesizers
We introduce a language modeling approach for text to speech synthesis (TTS). Specifically, we train a neural codec language model (called VALL-E) using discrete codes derived from an off-the-shelf neural audio codec model, and regard TTS as a conditional language modeling task rather than continuous signal regression as in previous work. During the pre-training stage, we scale up the TTS training data to 60K hours of English speech which is hundreds of times larger than existing systems. VALL-E emerges in-context learning capabilities and can be used to synthesize high-quality personalized speech with only a 3-second enrolled recording of an unseen speaker as an acoustic prompt. Experiment results show that VALL-E significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art zero-shot TTS system in terms of speech naturalness and speaker similarity. In addition, we find VALL-E could preserve the speaker’s emotion and acoustic environment of the acoustic prompt in synthesis.

Have a great week!

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