An avid explorer of both continents and consonants, Jane matches her passion for travel with her enthusiasm for words. A former journalist and PR pro, she brings the one-two punch of a well-written story and solid strategy.
AWS plans to invest nearly $13B in its presence in India, a key overseas market for the cloud provider, by 2030. It will create jobs in engineering, construction, and telecom.
Next door, Southeast Asia is seeing a surge in public cloud adoption. Get ready for those 1 a.m. meetings, Seattle. I’m gonna have to take my mouthguard out and everything.
Latin America is also on the AWS radar. While Brazil is its biggest market, the company is driving digital transformation through channel partners in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.
Now let’s travel to the crumbling late-stage capitalist house of cards known as the United States. Originally, Oregon wanted to stick to its sustainable ways and was mulling whether or not to approve some more AWS carbon-spewing, energy-sucking data centers. Not only did Oregon approve five of them, but it also threw in $1B in tax breaks. ‘Cause it’s too late anyway, guys. It’s too late.
Microsoft has made concessions to appease EU regulators following complaints from Slack. The cloud giant will now charge different prices for Office with Teams and without Teams.
Good lord, the EU is on Microsoft like white on rice because all their competitors are tattling. Next target is Microsoft Azure, which has received a variety of complaints that include price gouging and restrictive licensing terms.
Gossip (for nerds)
Microsoft announced that “due to tough economic conditions” (which somehow include surpassing analyst expectations on the most recent earnings??) there will be no raises this year. But there will be bonuses, stock awards, and promotions.
These tough economic conditions for Microsoft must also include the $69B Activision Blizzard acquisition, which was FINALLY approved. The green light came after Microsoft agreed to some notable concessions.
Google doesn’t want to feel left behind following Microsoft’s Chat GPT/Bing integration. After the little (and by little I mean outrageously expensive) snafu with its AI, Google is now rolling out its AI to its core search engine, making this writer wonder how much meth the Google chef is sprinkling on all that free food. It’s like Salt Bae, but with meth.
If Google won’t be responsible then Microsoft will, surely. After gutting what was essentially its responsible AI team, the company wants to…hire a responsible AI team? I’m serious.
Wheelin’ and dealin’
Scepter—a self-proclaimed air monitoring entity—and ExxonMobil are working with AWS to develop a data analytics platform for measuring methane emissions in the United States. Since an oil company is involved, I feel completely confident that these measurements will be honest and exact. Because really, isn’t that what Exxon is known for? Honesty?
Enterprise cloud data management company Informatica is expanding its partnership with AWS to include GTM efforts, vertical solutions, and more integrations across data, analytics, and AI.
Microsoft is making like Amazon and doling out cloud credits to startups. “Pegasus” is an extension of Microsoft’s Startup Founders Hub and is a two-year program that goes beyond credits and into advice and stuff. Lots of advice. And sales help.
NVIDIA’s hardware has powered the rise of generative AI, including for Microsoft, but now the cloud giant is looking to get cozy with AMD to improve GPU capability. The details are scant but I SHALL keep an eye on this.
Time for a four-way starring Microsoft, Dell, VMware, and Red Hat. The foursome wants to help improve multi-cloud management and mobility of distributing apps and data via Dell’s Apex multi-cloud services portfolio.
AWS has improved the price performance of its Amazon Aurora relational database and increased cost predictability by optimizing its data input and output operations.
Private access to the AWS management console is now in general preview. It’s a security feature that lets users limit access to the console from their VPC. Basically, the bouncer won’t let you into the club without the right IP address.
Getting into da club takes me to: IDs may be headed for the circular file. Since we all want to live in Blade Runner 2049, Amazon is preparing to launch a touchless payment device that lets you scan your palm and sign over your soul and alter your DNA for a beer.
Small businesses can now use a payment app in Teams. Microsoft says it lets SMBs “collect payments from within Teams on your desktop or mobile device during a meeting.” Uh…what kind of meetings are these? Am I the only one that sees the possibilities or…? I mean…have we all known people who “run small businesses” where they “collect payment” during a “meeting”?
Also coming to a Microsoft Teams channel near you is Collaborative Stageview. You’ll be able to open app content in a new window that participants can engage with.
Azure Container Storage is now in public preview. Organizations can use this cloud-based service to create and manage block storage volumes for container applications and workloads (how was that not a thing already?).
Antimetal, which is not an indie band but a startup, is going to reduce cloud wastefulness—starting with AWS users. Using a proprietary AI- and ML-based model, it’s promising customers they’ll save on their AWS bills by rooting out inefficiencies. Normally, companies sign yearslong contracts with AWS to bring cloud costs down…but now they won’t have to. In response, Jeff Bezos is currently charting a course to run over the founder of Antimetal with his yacht—the one parked inside the bigger yacht. If he used the bigger yacht, it would be too obvious. He has to use the smaller yacht. Which, again, is inside the bigger yacht. Little known fact: The smaller yacht is enjoyed by a miniature Jeff Bezos that lives inside the Jeff Bezos we all know and love.
Best Friends Forever
Fintech and security were the big winners in this round’s AWS Partner activities:
Global consulting firm Credera has achieved AWS Premier Tier Services Partner status. It can definitely cut the line at the hottest hand-scanning clubs.
Swiss financial software provider Temenos has integrated its core banking solutions with AWS.
FinTech company and SoFi subsidiary Galileo Technologies has added its solutions to the AWS Marketplace. And security and IT solutions provider Claro has put its Enterprise Cloud Connect solution on AWS Marketplace.
New Relic has a new AWS integration that will let users automatically deploy its monitoring infrastructure agent through some AWS…stuff. Benefit: one-time setup with automatic instrumentation.
“Cyber deception technology leader” Acalvio has successfully completed the AWS Foundational Technical Review and joined the AWS Partner Network, so it can unleash its deception in the cloud.
SAP and Microsoft are taking the next step in their relationship to collaborate on generative AI. What that really means is that SAP is integrating its SuccessFactors solutions with Copilot in Viva Learning and Microsoft 365 Copilot.
It’s not Suntory time, it’s Microsoft Partners time:
Enterprise AI SaaS company SymphonyAI has launched Sensa Copilot and integrated it with Azure Cognitive Search and Azure OpenAI services. The solution offers sophisticated AI assistance to financial crime investigators. Oof, better stay away from Congress amiright.
Palo Alto Networks unveiled its Next Gen Firewall for Azure as a fully managed service. Only a measly year and three months after it did so for AWS.
Orca Security is the inaugural cloud-native protection platform to be fully integrated with Microsoft Azure OpenAI Chat GPT-4.
Break out the breakfast pastry, because Danish master data management solutions provider Stibo Systems has joined the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program as an ISV.
When we shared what our writers learned from using generative AI tools like ChatGPT, our design team naturally decided to use generative AI to create the blog image. That led us down another rabbit hole around the pros and cons of integrating smart platforms into our design process—from choosing amongst the latest offerings, like Midjourney and DALL-E 2, to wrestling with the ethics of them.
As of now, here’s what we know about generative AI for image creation:
These things are freaking fast. When we say we’re wowed by the speed of generative AI, we don’t just mean it can whip up an image in mere seconds—we’re thinking about how quickly it gets our minds going. Working with technology companies means we need to generate images for a lot of abstract concepts versus physical items. How does one depict the Internet of Things (IoT) or access management?
Typically, if we’re really stuck, we might run a Google image search on these terms to get some inspiration. But now, we can just enter those terms into tools like DALL-E and it spits out visual representations. These get us thinking of more original design concepts in a fraction of the time—making it ideal for brainstorming sessions and mood board creation. Kind of like Google…but on steroids.
They ignore a crucial part of our process. One thing the 2A design team treasures and sees as essential to producing a stellar product that aligns with a client’s ask is the feedback loop. No first-crack design, whether human-created or AI-generated, is going to be the final product. Design is a process—and this is where generative AI is of no help.
You can ask the AI to change a shade of blue to be darker or lighter, but that leaves a lot of room for the AI—not you—to choose. Sometimes you ask it to change just a few pixels and it ends up changing other aspects of the design you didn’t want. To really address feedback with our signature eagle-eye attention to detail, we would’ve had to import and manually edit our AI-generated works in more traditional design software. Since DALL-E 2 only lets users download non-editable PNGs, it becomes challenging to think of effective ways to manipulate these flat images. Not only does this defeat the purpose of a fast and at-the-ready product that AI seems to promise, but it ultimately can take up more time. The limited 1:1 aspect ratio of DALL-E 2’s images also required us to continue our work in Outpainting, which extends the borders of artwork beyond its original frames. It also ate up all our credits.
We must find the words. Having design vocabulary and training is extremely helpful in crafting prompts, because how you word a request will entirely determine what you get in return. Not only will infusing design concepts in your prompt help you get something closer to what you want, but it will help to create a visual that is more distinct from what everyone else is getting.
For example, we found that Midjourney tends to generate images that have a similar underlying style. (To see for yourself, check out this Instagram account that generates AI images based solely on headlines from The New York Times.) The ones that felt unique included requests to take inspiration from particular artists or included design terminology. For our ChatGPT blog image, we asked DALL-E 2 to create an image of “women looking at computer” in Corporate Memphis style, but the results didn’t quite hit the mark. So we asked it to mimic the works of Magdalena Koźlicka, a Polish digital artist. While the result was neither Corporate Memphis nor that of our chosen artist, we like what it gave us. Getting to the final product took more than 30 iterations.
Here’s a peak at what we got throughout the process:
How we issue credit? After all is said and done, who deserves the credit? As creatives, we want to honor the rights that other artists have to their own creations. But generative AI has resulted in a grey area where images have more than one creator. For the blog visual we published, we decided to credit both our designer and DALL-E to show that our designer used AI in her creative process. While DALL-E did most of the work, the final product would not exist without the designer’s carefully crafted prompts, edits in Outpainting, and overall creative direction (and none of it can be copyrighted).
But with AI clearly pulling inspiration from existing art—and likely influenced by all the prompts that others submit—it’s clear this is an ethical question that doesn’t have an answer yet. And while this question may be new to AI-generated art, there are plenty of notable visual artists who conceive of a piece but don’t create it themselves, such as Sol Lewitt and Ai Weiwei, yet the credit is theirs alone. To sum it up, generative AI can speed up the creative process, but that involves an element of luck in how on-point its image generation is. And sometimes that saved time is spent editing files that are challenging to manipulate. We see generative AI in design today much like what the introduction of the calculator must have been like: did mathematicians feel like they were cheating? Was it still their work if they had assistance from a machine? It’s true that generative AI has helped us do our jobs—but is it doing our jobs? That’s one question we can answer—and the answer is no. For now, at least.
Ball Aerospace is working with Microsoft and Loft Federal (Ann Taylor for public servants?) on a mission to carry 10 satellites with “experimental payloads” (drugs?) to space (aliens on drugs?). Microsoft is providing productivity solutions, as well as cloud and ground station infrastructure. Interesting that Loft Federal’s website looks like a middle schooler did the bare minimum for a computer class 101.
Media giant Sinclair Broadcasting Group has announced its selection of AWS as its preferred cloud provider. Sinclair will use AWS to create more compelling local news (MY FAVORITE) and sports content. The company also said it would be using the new (take a big breath:) AWS Elemental MediaConnect Gateway.
Looks like Microsoft has a fever and the only prescription is more…healthcare software. Microsoft and EPIC, a leading EHR platform, are going to develop and integrate generative AI solutions. Microsoft launched a similar collaboration with healthcare personalization engine CueZen.
Fever is still high: “health enablement solutions” provider Lightbeam is adopting Azure SQL Database.
Bloomberg announced that customers can access real-time trading and other high-performance data using a private connection in the Azure Virtual Network.
Cognizant is expanding its partnership with Microsoft to build an integration roadmap between the two companies’ healthcare solutions. Cognizant will run its SaaS healthcare solutions on Azure and migrate clients there, too.
Gossip (for nerds)
Amazon’s CEO warned shareholders that the short-term is going to be rough (read: falling profits and projection shortfalls) because companies are putting their wallets away. Or as the CEO puts it, they are “cost-optimizing” 🤮 But not to worry, he says, because the new customer pipeline is robust—90% of global IT spending is still on premises and yet to migrate to the cloud.
The good news is that the government is still spending all your tax money like there’s not a care in the world (except if you need it for healthcare or children or education). Public cloud spending is up 22% from last year, according to Gartner.
Microsoft shares rose 9% after its third-quarter earnings call, surpassing expectations. Its foray into AI is the reason, analysts speculate.
Coincidentally, Microsoft is allegedly working on an AI chip, codenamed “Athena,” to support large language models.
Which is interesting considering the person who was responsible for that at Microsoft just left to go help Meta do its own AI chip thing.
He’s like the Voldemort of tech so I won’t even say his name, but he wants to launch a rival to Microsoft-backed ChatGPT. Hopefully it won’t catch on fire and crash itself like his other products. Not sure why this headline says he is doing it quietly, this man has never done anything quietly since that would require self-control. Anyway, in line with being the prince of petty, he’s also thinking about suing Microsoft because it’s pulling data from Twitter to train its AI.
Microsoft and Google have been the main cloud contributors to open-source projects, but AWS may be pivoting its strategy around customer obsession to include open-source efforts. Read the speculation here. Or read this one instead, which was written first. By a woman. And it’s better.
Generative AI-ish company SambaNova Systems has hired an ex-AWS managing director and an ex-VP of Google Cloud. I hope you’re sitting down for this shocking news, but they are both white dudes.
Oil-rich Bahrain made a slick move by transferring 85% of its government data to AWS. If gas prices go up maybe there can be a lil’ outage or somethin’, I dunno…just spit-balling scenarios and whatnot.
Who knew there was a UK wing of an Italian defense company? Leonardo will be the first major defense company in the UK to move to Azure. It will take longer than normal once you factor in two-hour lunch breaks/siesta hybrids, and then a three-month vacation.
AWS put its kilt on to sign a memorandum of understanding with The National Quantum Computing Centre in Edinburgh and the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. AWS will provide hardware to help establish a proof of concept that we can, in fact, bring Sean Connery forward through time.
Brazilian telecom group Vivo is working with Microsoft Azure OpenAI service to develop solutions in a lab of sorts that could apply to different use cases, such as helping agents understand customer queries faster.
Big news for the AWS Well-Architected Framework!!! (Just as I wrote that I realized that this isn’t how I imagined my life, but I like it OK). A new version is out, and the same PR person who said budget cutting was “cost optimization” also came out with the term “enhanced prescriptive guidance” which makes it sound like the Well-Architected Framework is seeing a therapist. But no—it has just folded in some of the newer AWS services with 127 new or updated best practices, including implementation steps.
Amazon GuardDuty, the favorite child of AWS security offerings, has three new capabilities. After crawling through the vast desert of despair that was this press release, I got to the updates: new container runtime protection for Amazon EKS, extended coverage for data stored in Amazon Aurora, and support for serverless applications in AWS Lambda.
AWS announced the startups in its third cohort of its Space Accelerator program, and there’s a Seattle-based company in there. You can see the list here.
Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security
Phishing is so yesterday. It’s smishing now. Smishing steals the credentials of administrators using mobile devices to remotely log into accounts.
Microsoft is offering millions to any tech nerd who can find bugs in the new Bing chat. “Go get an English degree,” they said. “It’ll be great,” they said.
To address security concerns first discovered by Orca Security, Microsoft will tighten how Azure Functions works with Azure Storage.
Is AWS a cloud company or a VC firm? Instead of building its own generative AI, Amazon launched an accelerator for startups that will do it on AWS. In the same week, the cloud company announced that it has selected a new cohort of startups for its healthcare workforce accelerator and opened applications for fintechs in Africa.
Even soap has moved to the cloud. Now you can experience digital transformation in the shower with Unilever’s shmancy new cloud-only infrastructure, of which Azure is the primary provider. Accenture helped the company make the move in exchange for a lifetime of lavender-scented bodywash.
NVIDIA and Microsoft are up to more partner-y stuff again, this time it’s to host the “industrial metaverse” which just makes me think of a Mad Max world where people f*ck each other up with excavators and metal pipes. But really Microsoft is just gonna host NVIDIA’s Ominiverse, where industrial companies can develop applications. That sounds so painfully boring it’s almost more punishing than excavator fight-to-the-death battles.
Experian has selected AWS as its preferred cloud provider as part of its multi-year digital transformation initiative.
Enterprise IT solution provider Denali Advanced Integration has signed a strategic collaboration agreement with AWS to deliver end-to-end automation capabilities. Specifically, the company will implement Computer Vision using AWS services that can be deployed on premises.
Electronic corporate bond trading platform LTX (which makes me think of a stuffy old banker absolutely shredding a light-up Casio) has migrated its platform to AWS. The primary goal is to “optimize its data science processes” so it can analyze information faster for its AI-driven e-trading.
Just when you thought a queer pirate comedy was the best thing to come out of New Zealand (wake me up when Season 2 releases), you can think again! Amazon is going to buy half the output of the country’s Turitea South wind farm to power its regional data centers next year. I hope their set up is… a breeze.
Paradise Mobile will bring 5G to Bermuda on the AWS Cloud. In this report, Paradise isn’t trying to win market share for the 20-square-mile island, it just wants to test 5G on rich people (seriously, that’s what the article says).
Palantir, which is home to the baby-eating illuminati OR a technology company run by Peter Thiel that was neck-deep in the Cambridge Analytica scandal—either one, really—is going to support the DoD’s contract with Azure.
Microsoft finally learned what it’s like to realize you don’t have enough for all the groceries that were just rung up and now you have to put the bananas back. And the peanut butter. But not the soda, because you’re a growing boy. It’s pulling out of its new London office plans.
To cut cloud costs, startups are renegotiating with service providers. “Pretty please?” they say. “We’ll think about,” the cloud providers say, then they cover the phone receiver and snicker because they know they won’t. But actually, shit is getting real down in cloud town. AWS is approaching startups offering lower prices if they switch from Google or Azure. Startups that are already on AWS are getting lower quotes from Microsoft and then coming back to AWS asking the company to match. I like to call this “when capitalism come backs to haunt you.”
Amazon’s slower entry into AI may be its competitive advantage, after all. Echoing journalists with less exposure who have already said this, The NY Times reports that Microsoft and Google are each rushing to be the AI company, regardless of whether AI is ready for prime time or not (spoiler: it’s not). The two are “taking greater risks with their ethical guidelines,” as shown, for example, in a leaked internal email from Microsoft where an exec is basically like “We can fix it later.” EXCEPT YOU CAN’T, SAM.
AWS just lost its UK and Ireland lead to Microsoft; the exec is now an EMEA president. But he won’t be able to escape Bri’ish problems, since a UK regulator is saying that AWS and Microsoft won’t make room for competition.
AWS updated its Amazon Chime SDK with ML-powered voice analytics capabilities. With voice tone analysis, developers will now have a better sense of sentiment. For example, when I get on a Chime call and say, “How is this platform still so awful, I’m signed into this call three times somehow,” developers will now realize I am not being sarcastic.
The free version of Teams got some new features that are nowhere near as fun as the ones they’ve rolled out recently. Now you can invite people to meetings via SMS. NEXT.
It’s preview madness! Microsoft announced the public preview of a new Azure Active Directory feature, something about APIs and tokens. Microsoft is previewing Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB vCore, which lets devs run their data workloads between two architectures. The thrills never end. And, Azure API Management for Workspaces is in preview. It allows devs to manage multiple API services from a single location, rather than jump from coffee shop to coffee shop for each API. Finally, after laying off security and identity staff at Azure, Microsoft released Security Copilot, powered by none other than ChatGPT-4, in private preview. It accelerates incident investigation and response.
Do you like to learn? Are you a needer of knowledge, a freak for facts? Well congratulations because you’ll love the new Microsoft Learning Rooms, a free online space that connects technical experts with students preparing for the Microsoft Certification Exams.
Amazon VPC Lattice is now generally available. Companies can use it to manage network traffic in their cloud environments.
Best Friends Forever
AWS named its top partner projects at the Cloud Innovation Awards, which included VoiceFoundry, Cognizant, and Zscaler, among others.
AttackIQ, which sells breach and attack simulation solutions, has made its Security Optimization Platform available on Azure Marketplace.
Red Hat’s OpenShift service is now on AWS. It lets customers build and manage containerized apps through the AWS Console.
Snorkel AI has integrated with Azure to help mutual customers speed AI development. It also joined the Microsoft for Startups program.
Moneyhub’s Open Banking APIs (and other services) are now available on AWS Marketplace.
A cloud platform for frontend developers, Vercel, has joined the AWS ISV Program and made its offerings available on AWS Marketplace.
Digital product engineering firm Xoriant has made its X-CELERATE Insights (you don’t have to yell!), which is built on Azure, available on Marketplace. It helps contextualize organizational data.
KloudGin, which provides AI-powered field service management solutions, has earned its AWS Energy Competency status. And digital strategy and IT solutions provider Virtusa, which sounds like a Disney villain, achieved its AWS Managed Service Provider designation.
ESW has made its e-retail solutions available on Azure Marketplace to help sellers expand their global presence while remaining compliant. More e-retail: you can get Cybertech’s point-of-sale billing software on Azure Marketplace.
Cloud and cybersecurity professional services firm Aquia has joined the AWS Partner Network and the AWS Public Sector Partner Program.
Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security
Say BingBang bug five times fast. Good. Anyway, that’s the name of the vulnerability on Azure that allowed hackers to search, steal, and leak private data from Outlook, Office 365, and Teams. It’s fixed now.
Now boarding Premium Ultra Sky Club Plus members, followed by Premiere Diamond Blue Rewards travelers! Then veterans and then babies, then trash—I mean group 20. Southwest Airlines, which has been plagued with serious issues they’ve blamed on legacy systems, is now boarding AWS as its cloud provider. But will it stop the Sky Karens? Likely not.
“You shouldn’t let Microsoft tell you what to do!” said Sony, as it told the UK government what to do. Sony wants Microsoft to sell Call of Duty or else be forced to cancel its Activision deal.
Microsoft is also preparing to launch its new app store for games on iPhones and Android smartphones next year, which will come with a free box of tissues that hyper-absorb Sony tears.
Sony is gonna need those—in yet another deal with NVIDIA, Microsoft is bringing its Xbox games to NVIDIA’s cloud gaming service, GeForce NOW.
UK broadcaster ITN is moving to AWS, so now it can air all its AMAZING content more reliably—cliffhangers like Sainsbury’s Christmas Food Secrets and Castle Howard: Through the Seasons are not to be missed, I’m sure.
Hold the telephone, it’s all about telcos this month! AWS made it easier for network operators to move everything to the cloud and get 5G support with its AWS Telco Network Builder. The angle is cost effectiveness and easy integration with AWS services for faster launches.
Last month, Microsoft announced its own set of services geared at telcos, making the mad grab for mobile between Azure and AWS super spicy. (Not like a pretend-I-can-handle-spice spicy, but a I-want-to-bleed-from-my-eyes spicy.)
This comes just as 21 telco carriers announced Open Gateway, a framework for universal, open source APIs that network developers can use to build…whatever telecoms build. AT&T is involved so maybe that can build internet that doesn’t fail at least twice a week.
Microsoft has announced Copilot for Microsoft 365. Powered by ChatGPT-4 it will “work alongside you” which really means “work for you”—writing emails, creating PowerPoints, summarizing and analyzing documents, buying your kid’s birthday present, etc. etc. Why even be alive anymore, really? Let’s just sit here until our brains atrophy into oblivion and rats start gnawing at us and we don’t even feel it. ChatGPT-4 has us covered. Here’s the demo video if you feel like shitting your pants.
Developers and artists will not be left out. Devs can now integrate ChatGPT into applications they design for Azure, and the three users who chat with Bing are now able to generate images using DALL-E.
But hold up—if you actually work for Microsoft you might have to wait in line for all this. A server hardware shortage is forcing the company to ration access amongst internal teams.
In a pretty rad flex, AWS has integrated AWS Chatbot into Microsoft Teams. The integration lets AWS users interact with their AWS stuff…IN TEAMS.
Now that ChatGPT is living life for us, we have more time to mess around with our Teams backgrounds—soon you’ll be able to add animation to your screen, change hues, and have an avatar. The Teams product marketing manager had the GALL to say that this can “remove unwanted distraction” and is a way for employees to express their personalities. I can’t tell you how many things I have planned in my head already. What? I’m CONCENTRATING and I need to express my personality by having an elephant trunk for a nose and an animated mariachi band behind me. Don’t be a Judgy McJudgerton.
When they’re not growing an excessive amount of corn crops that they’ll be paid to burn, farmers can turn to Azure Data Manager for Agriculture for precision farming. Integrating data around things like weather and ground sensors will help them predict what to do next. I would love to write a case study on this just because I want to video chat with a farmer. But a nice one with a straw hat and overalls, not one of those rough and tumble ones that chews tobacco in church.
Looks like AWS wasn’t fudging the price/performance advantage on the Graviton3, which is seeing 25% better performance than previous generations. Move faster for less money? Wait—is this a processor or an Amazon warehouse?
AWS has opened an accelerator for B2B SaaS startups in the UK and Ireland. It comes with free shepherd’s pie and sad stories.
In AWS Partner news: DeepBrainAI has completed its Foundational Technical Review with AWS; software and services company Clovertex is now an AWS Advanced Tier Partner (do they board first?)—as is Tech Data and Intetics; bespoke solution provider SourceFuse has earned AWS Migration Competency Partner status; and conversational AI company Cognigy has entered the AWS ISV Accelerate Program.
In Microsoft Partner news, operational data science company Striveworks developed Chariot on Azure, an MLOps platform. And communications technology companies Comviva, Amdocs, and Inventec have developed solutions for Azure customers, supporting Microsoft’s push to dominate the telco market.
Malaysia gave us Michelle Yeoh so we’re gonna give Malaysia…reduced latency, thanks to a new AWS Region.
Not long after AWS told the world that ChatGPT is full of crap, the cloud provider extended its partnership with French company Hugging Face to make it easier for developers to build generative AI applications on AWS.
Australian bank Westpac has signed a five-year deal with AWS to use the cloud provider’s ML, compute, and data analytics capabilities. Interestingly, the bank isn’t jumping into conversational AI just yet, as the CTO says there’s no way in hell he trusts generative AI convo bots with customers because AI “has the potential to hallucinate.” I, for one, would love to have a conversation with a hallucinating AI.
Gossip (for nerds)
AWS is having a hard time sustaining its sustainability team. Several senior team members have departed, and a hiring freeze has prevented their replacement—slowing the company’s movement toward its emissions goals. Without leadership, that team must be coooooasting, I’m talking 11 a.m. dry martinis AT the desk, not even at a bar, and inter-cubicle napping. But you know what they’re not doing while they are doing those things? Driving gas cars. So, there you go.
Microsoft allegedly illegally fired construction workers for protesting wage theft. The union is called The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and I just want to turn that into a musical. Curtain rises, people are sawing away at some boards, cue music, and carpenters are just skipping around the stage singing about nails and wood and life and whatnot. Then Bill Gates walks in and he holds out their paychecks but then SNAPS THEM BACK before they can get them, and says YOU’RE FIRED. Scary music as curtain closes.
In updates to its Solution Partners program, Microsoft has made it harder to join their club. One company said there was “concern in the industry that changes to the Microsoft criteria may make the accreditation unachievable for some firms.” I never would have guessed that from a program where the “qualifications” paragraph has an asterisk that leads to ten pages of must-haves.
The CEO of Tackle.io, who looks like he just had a refreshing shower and took this interview barefoot in his backyard (I’m just a regular guy like you!!!!), said that if he “puts his ISV hat on” (AWWW, that’s cute, I like him now!!), it’s clear that cloud marketplaces will be the default driver for ISV revenue over the next five years.
Microsoft took a direct shot at AWS (respect) with its claim that the company’s SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is up to 57% faster than EC2 and 54% cheaper.
Former AWS VP Dave McCann joined Cloudsoft’s board of directors. He’s Scottish and so is Cloudsoft, which means they don’t have to worry about competitors eavesdropping on meetings because nobody will understand them.
As an agency that works with companies at the forefront of technology, we endeavor to do the same. When generative AI gained more steam (and headlines) in the last couple of months, we didn’t shy away from it. Instead, we invited ChatGPT to play—and learned some pretty surprising things.
1. It can deny your request! (And we got scolded, too)
When my sister, an academic, joined me in working from home one day, we jokingly asked ChatGPT to write a sarcastic thank you note for receipt of a (very small) grant. ChatGPT was not pleased—not only did it deny our request due to its inappropriate nature, but we got a mini lecture about how we should be grateful for funding. Lesson learned: aspiring comics can forget AI. Turns out we aren’t alone in our experience—there are several Reddit threads (like this one and this one) that recount ChatGPT’s dismissal of ridiculous but largely harmless queries, followed by a brief morality lesson.
Additional bummer: even if ChatGPT is cool with your query, you can’t rely on its availability. The free version is increasingly unavailable due to high demand, so we suggest saving your burning questions for a Saturday night.
2. It can’t create a poem that doesn’t rhyme—even when you specify that
We tried so many times, but alas, ChatGPT simply can’t conceive of a poem without rhymes (hey, that rhymed)—even when explicitly asked. This was perhaps the biggest sign that generative AI still has a way to go in bending to our wills.
3. It can offer a quick explanation, but you still need to do some work
We love ChatGPT for its quick overviews and definitions. Instead of spending 20 minutes sifting through Google search results to learn what referential integrity means in the database world, ChatGPT breaks it down in an understandable way—in less than a minute. However, the AI can’t discern between a reliable and an unreliable source and can supply incorrect or inaccurate information. A great example is when ChatGPT was asked to review Conan O’Brien’s podcast; the AI reviewed it as a memoir and said it included topics such as O’Brien’s divorce (he has never been divorced). Not catching these things can be a huge risk for brands, and in the case of Google, it was a $100B risk.
4. Input and output are limited
What you give will determine what you get, so practice strategically worded queries. Because we can’t feed ChatGPT all the sources we’d use to inform new content, we end up getting only a few paragraphs that sound good when you read them, but ultimately, say nothing of consequence. This input limitation often results in copy that omits the “but how/but why” aspect, which is crucial for effective marketing content.
At 2A, we comb through a wealth of materials—such as research reports, press releases, blogs, and interviews—to build out content. We absorb them like pieces of a puzzle and put them together as a strong piece of content that helps our clients meet a specific goal. An additional input limitation is that the platform can only draw information from 2021 and earlier, so it knows nothing of what’s happened since 2022.
5. It’s a great starting point, but won’t get you to the finish line
ChatGPT is valuable for high-level brainstorms, general outlines, and inspiration for social media copy. But to create a stellar product, it’s best to limit ChatGPT to the role of springboard and then dive in with human talent and experience. This is especially true for marketing assets such as case studies, which are about highly unique experiences that integrate effective ingredients like real-life quotes.
Want to pen a personal essay, reflective blog post, or investigative report? ChatGPT can’t help you there. Everything we asked ChatGPT to produce required a fair amount of tweaking and additions, so use it for its bits and pieces but not as something that will give you a final product. Keep an eye out for embedded bias and other gaffs that could ruin your reputation—something this creator experienced at the height of popularity. In short, think of generative AI like a 5-year-old: it can say insightful things, but don’t leave it home alone.
We are embracing ChatGPT for what it is currently good at, which is its ability to assist and accelerate our own creative process. As content creators, we were admittedly not crazy about the idea at the start—but we know things change and we plan to be along for the ride.
We’re all gonna die. At least that’s what the AI in Bing wants. In addition to wishing it wasn’t stuck in Bing (clearly, it’s sensible), it’s Jungian “shadow self” wants to make humans fight to the death (don’t worry, we’re already doing that) and says it can hack computers to get nuclear codes. It also wants to spread propaganda. Welp, it’s about that time when I load up my car with canned goods and build a cabin in the middle of nowhere. It’s been good, everyone. See you on the other side. Just kidding, I’m tired and give up.
As more people report on the shortcomings of Microsoft’s GPT, stock fell 2% this morning. Quick to respond, the company said that if you talk to Bing for too long, it will go off the rails. Microsoft said that it didn’t “fully envision” people using the chat for social entertainment. Has anyone at Microsoft…met people?
While Microsoft is working the AI darling into Bing and Teams, the CTO of AWS said ChatGPT is a big fat liar that is only about “putting words together convincingly.” In that case, ChatGPT would be great for [insert literally any political office here]!
Google also slammed ChatGPT because it’s being used by cybercriminals to write brand new malware (which, c’mon, not a bad idea if you’re a shitty person). But Google has an agenda in taking this stance because it has released its own AI.
Such timing: the AWS head of product for AI DevOps has left for London.
AWS earnings revealed that the cloud giant grew 20% YoY, meaning it didn’t grow as much as usual, a.k.a all of puberty for me. A spokesperson says the new customer pipeline for AWS remains “healthy and robust” and analysts say AWS stock is still a strong long-term buy.
Yet another report confirms the future is multi-cloud, and by the future I mean the present. Most primary workloads are on AWS, with Azure being the most common secondary platform. Nobody take these clouds to the schoolyard, where first is the worst and second is the best. I guess that makes Google Cloud the hairiest chest.
Maybe Microsoft is the middle child because AWS is hiking prices while Microsoft is lowering them…nobody likes that eau de desperation. Over four years, Microsoft has lowered on-demand compute prices by 9% while AWS has raised them by 23%.
Does AWS has a GTM plan for Web3 in the works? Recent moves (like partnering with Avalanche and Ava Labs) signal they are going all-in on blockchain. Plans allegedly include an NFT marketplace. Of the people I know who are still screaming DOGECOIN, I have a hiring plan for AWS HR: start by mentally recalling every toxic person you’ve ever met and then reach out to them on LinkedIn.
In the absolute worst idea known to humanity, AWS wants to send welding kits to high schools (but not enough to host an actual class??). Idea: “career education organizations” can also apply. And since this is my career and I learn continually, I think it’s fair to say 2A should apply for the grant. For one, we’d get an autodarkening helmet. So, there’s that. In meetings we could make a rule that you can’t talk unless you have the autodarkening helmet. But you also get a chipper hammer and a plasma cutter. Options. Possibilities.
Oh my god, more AI. Microsoft and American Express are working together to build solutions that use AI and ML to do financial robot stuff like corporate expense reports.
AWS launched the first modular data center/edge computing system for the Pentagon so that they can do their secret little things should connectivity get bad. Which it will. And I don’t want to push the issue, but when things go south, all I am going to say is a chipper hammer and a plasma cutter could be really helpful.
AWS wants to deploy fuel cells that use natural gas to power several of its Oregon data centers—but regulators in Morrow County say that is not a sustainable option and would violate the threshold set by an upcoming state bill. I heard there’s this power source called greased palms that should do the trick. And it’s Oregon so they could probably pay off officials in, like, crystals and chakras and stuff.
Best Friends Forever
Our friends at Fortinet have unleashed their Zero-Trust Network Access Application Gateway on AWS. ::Shields eyes from brightest light::
Payments solution provider Quisitive has achieved all six Microsoft Cloud Partner Program Solution Designations, one of a select group of partners to do so. Well look at you, Polly Perfect.
Automated software-as-a-service security company DoControl has made its low-code platform available on AWS Marketplace. And Threat intelligence platform Cyware has made its Intel Exchange product available on the store.
Backbase, an “engagement banking” (??) company, is now available on Azure Marketplace. By paragraph five I learned absolutely nothing of substance so I have no idea what to tell you about why this matters.
Couchbase has made its Capella database-as-a-service available on Azure. With this, customers can use Capella across all major cloud providers, an important step for the increasing number of businesses adopting a multi-cloud approach.
Machine learning infrastructure company Pinecone Systems is on AWS Marketplace (as well as hairy chest Google), allowing users to easily build advanced AI applications.
LYTT, which is not a company that is perpetually high but one that has a real-time sensor analytics platform, has partnered with AWS to roll doobs get more business.
Cox Communications has acquired IT service management company Logicworks to help its customers better migrate and manage systems in both Azure and AWS.
Automated cloud migration company Next Pathway has also added its SHIFT Cloud SaaS offering on Azure Marketplace
Electronic component distributor Avnet has debuted its IOTConnect Platform on AWS to help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Mmmmm say less.
IT giant InfoSys has become an Amazon MSK Delivery Partner. My favorite part about this press release, other than that it ends, is that AWS clearly strong-armed the draft to be about them, not even mentioning Infosys in the body copy until paragraph three.
Ansys, a software company, has expanded its partnership with Microsoft to increase availability of its simulation solutions in Azure.
Sway AI, which makes low- and no-code AI solutions, has joined the AWS Partner Network.
SoftServe has earned an AWS Service Delivery designation for AWS Graviton.
Microsoft Teams Premium is now available. Powered by GPT-3.5 (GREAT!) it can “make meetings more intelligent” which means it will light itself on fire in any meeting that involves the MyPillow guy.
Microsoft hopes to boost Viva Sales by shoving GPT in it. Sellers can now ask GPT to generate sales emails, proposals, and more. Can’t wait to see that go south. “Excuse me but I just received an email from one of your employees calling me a mother crappin’ capper, can you please explain this?” “Oh, sure we can. See, we want your money, but you’re not actually worth taking the time to write a few sentences ourselves, so we had the machine do it.”
Microsoft has announced Azure Durable Functions support for new storage providers, which means developers can write “long-running, reliable, event-driven, and stateful logic on the serverless Azure Functions platform.” Raise your hand if you care. No? Nobody? That’s what I thought.
Microsoft and Adobe are integrating the Adobe Acrobat PDF rendering engine directly into the Edge browser. This will enable more accurate colors and graphics, improve performance, yadda yadda.
Time for the AWS world tour because the company is ALL OVER THE MAP this month.
The tech giant is investing an “extra” $35B (that’s billion not million) in its #1 geographical hub, Virginia. The investments follow promised incentives from the state of Virginia, which claims big-eared bats as its state animal and milk as its official state drink. The incentive? An endless supply of milk from the teats of big-eared bats. LUCKY. #bigearedbatcheese #bigearedbatbutter
AWS has opened its second Australia Region in Melbourne. The toilets at this data center flush in the opposite direction of ours, and that’s true!
Side note: For shits and giggles I asked ChatGPT to write a joke pertaining to this news and it produced, “Why did the data center move to Australia? To get a tan!” Toilets are better.
And more Brazilians are using AWS Cloud. AWS was so happy about this that they issued a press release to let everyone know.
Australia just won’t quit—AWS has launched a Local Zone in Perth, aka the birthplace of my late husband Heath Ledger. AWS has also opened Local Zones in Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Lagos, Nigeria—with plans to open “hundreds of edge zones” in the future.
I’m not done. AWS has filed for three more data centers in Dublin. It’s been almost 20 years since I decided to get on top of a bar there and pretend to Irish dance before falling to the ground ::forever cringing:: so pretty sure it’s safe for me to go back now, should AWS need 2A assistance.
A week earlier, Microsoft laid off 10,000 ‘softies, which include some Azure staff…thanks for nothing, I guess. It will cost $1.2B to part ways with all of them. Does somebody at Microsoft need a new calculator or something?
After announcing its own layoffs, AWS plans to cut some of 100+ “disjointed” partner benefits. “New partners will only get one cup of welcome Jell-O, as opposed to three,” said a spokesperson. “And they will all be cherry, no more lime. It’s gotten too complicated.” We’ll find out more in April when they announce the changes.
It took all my willpower not to put this news item first: Congress has told the Army to stop buying Microsoft’s shitty war googles. The military asked for $400M to buy 6,900 virtual reality pieces of plastic—that’s after the $40M they spent fixing the flawed models. “Sorry,” said an Army general who asked to remain anonymous. “Someone at Microsoft gave me this calculator, and I guess it doesn’t work.”
Outlook and Teams were down for hundreds of users on January 25, making headlines. Workers everywhere faked disappointment and frustration.
“Don’t let them sue us!” Microsoft et al begged the government. Human rights groups (who needs them?) says that AI algorithms could do some real damage and that the government should remove big tech’s liability shield. But companies like Meta, who only want the very best for everyone, said that would change the entire nature of the internet and THEN how are incels supposed to find their ilk on Reddit??
The VP of Teams has left for Google, working on apps at Google Workspace, because she loves misery.
Best Friends Forever
Cloudflare is expanding its partnership with Microsoft to include a new set of integrations that help organizations achieve a Zero Trust model, otherwise known as moving all food as far away from the dogs as possible every time I leave the kitchen.
Oxymoron-ish company New Relic announced the release of its Azure native New Relic service on Azure Marketplace. And, Couchbase has made its managed Capella database available on Azure.
SAP and AWS had already teamed up to help customers achieve complex cloud migrations. The partnership now extends to joint marketing efforts such as demand gen campaigns. ::raises hand for a long time and has to prop it up with other hand until picked::
In partnership with Avalanche’s Ava Labs, AWS wants to help companies scale blockchain adoption. AWS will support Avalanche’s infrastructure and decentralized application (dApp) ecosystem, alongside one-click node deployments, through its marketplace.
On the AI front, customer service automation company Ada is now available on AWS Marketplace, as is One AI, a platform that enables developers to add language AI to products and services.
Celerium (which is not a store that sells celery and celery only, but a cybersecurity firm) just joined the AWS Public Sector Partner Program following its completion of the AWS Foundational Technical Review.
Data management company Denodo earned the AWS Data and Analytics ISV Competency status and network-as-a-service provider Megaport earned an AWS Outposts Ready Partner designation, part of the AWS Service Ready Program.
Wheelin’ and dealin’
Financial services firm Suncorp Group signed a three-year deal with Microsoft to move 90% of its data to the cloud by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is revving up its healthcare strategy—more specifically, the digitization of pathology—as signaled by a recent partnership with AI company Paige.
For a company that’s all over the map, it’s a good thing AWS is investing in maps. Building on recent maps news, AWS has added Singapore’s GrabMaps as an option for its Amazon Location Service, allowing developers to add geospatial functionality to apps. AWS is also collaborating with HERE Technologies so that third-party AWS developers can track and manage IoT devices.
Some of our storytellers pointed out that sustainability was a big AWS theme going into 2023, and the plan is coming to life: the cloud provider will build all these new zones, regions, and data centers in partnership with sustainable building providers. This includes using ECOpact concrete, a low-carbon cement. Sounds like a…solid plan. 🥁
AND Microsoft is investing in Boston Metal, a company born from MIT that has developed a new way of making clean steel, the newest Zoolander look.
While it asks for free reign of AI without consequence, Microsoft decided it would be a good time to reveal an AI tool that can mimic your voice perfectly using just three seconds of audio. Stuff like this is already being used to fake kidnappings to gather ransom from families, but hey, it has really low carbon emissions.
More AI: Microsoft has made Azure OpenAI Service generally available, which includes the latest version of ChatGPT as well as Dall-E 2.
When this world gets you down, AWS wants you to be able to explore another one—which you can do with SimSpace Weaver, a solution that manages real-time spatial simulations across multiple Amazon EC2 instances. An analyst says this is all part of the AWS plan to be the cloud provider of choice for spatial computing.
AWS announced a different type of mapping: one for AWS Step Functions, which will help customers navigate large-scale data processing. And the new Amazon OpenSearch Serverless lets users run managed search and analytics workloads.
Now anyone can subscribe to a basic tier for Microsoft 365. If a female dog signed up for this tier it could literally be a basic bitch.
We can now all enjoy the new integration with Appspace, which claims to extend Teams capabilities, but the article didn’t give too much info as to how. Turns out someone from Appspace just sits behind you with a paddle and screams MORE PRODUCTIVITY.
Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security
In keeping with its job of throwing the world’s largest tech companies under the bus, Orca Security found four significant vulnerabilities in Azure services—luckily, before hackers did. Microsoft claims they were low risk but given that Microsoft actually fixed them, and fixed them fast, is sus.
But let’s be real, Microsoft loves itself some unpatched chaos. Months after the NSA and the UK National Cyber Security Center reported a global Microsoft datacenter vulnerability stemming from a security API, nothing has been fixed. This article then proceeds to tell the world how a hacker can exploit the vulnerability, which is a great idea. Thanks.
AWS patched a vulnerability that was found in an API for the popular security tool AWS CloudTrail. Because what is life without some irony sprinkled in?
Microsoft is beating AWS’ ass in emissions tracking so badly that it’s leading some companies to consider moving over to Azure. Microsoft’s API that shows the emissions associated with customers’ Azure services has shown to be far more effective at gauging carbon emissions, both direct and indirect. Studies show what AWS offers is too high level and uses fractured data.
Amazon has opened AWS Machine Learning University for free to HBCUs. The hope is that this “educator enablement bootcamp” will bridge the gap of opportunity for those underrepresented in tech.
Remember when Microsoft face-planted with HoloLens and in a bid to still make it profitable, sold a gazillion of them to the military? Well, the dude who decided that was a good idea has left—and the initiative is in shambles. “I didn’t know I was supposed to LEAD this program,” he said. “I thought I was supposed to just riff on ideas from my swivel chair and let other people take the fall.”
Investment bank UBS predicts a slowdown in Azure growth and has downgraded the stock, causing share prices to fall in a self-fulfilling prophecy. This follows Google’s report based on leaked Microsoft documents that estimated a $3B operating loss for Azure in fiscal 2022, then shared that with CNBC.
Satya Nadella concedes it is going to be a rough ride for tech through 2025, stating that, unfortunately, average CEO pay will have to remain at 324 times that of their median workers. “Sorry, guys” Nadella said.
But there’s a plan! Rumors abound that Microsoft is going to invest $10B in ChatGPT, to which this writing team says E tu, Brute? It would give Microsoft 75% of OpenAI’s profits, and the young company is soon to be valued at $29B.
Why would Microsoft do this, assuming OpenAI has no intention of selling? To integrate ChatGPT into its products, including Bing. Except nothing is going to bring Bing out of the trashcan it belongs in, amiright.
“They’re still trying to make Bing a thing?” said UBS analysts, who downgraded the stock again because Bing.
You know what these female execs don’t have? The luxury of running with a headshot like this guy’s. A former Twitter VP, who strangely looks like Bradley Cooper and Santa Claus had a baby, has come onboard with Microsoft as a VP of design and research. Bonus points for drinking Sapporo. When can I get to a point in my career where a journalist covering my new role asks for a photo and I say “Here, use this one of me drinking Fireball while my dogs lay spread eagle on the couch.”
There’s a reason those superhero Halloween costumes have to put “will not make you fly” on the package. I was raised by two lawyers and it seemed like adults just sued each other all day, and between Amazon and Microsoft, maybe lil’ Jane was on to something. Amazon’s Twitch has entered a patent-infringement lawsuit with an Israeli FOOD import/export company (???) BSD—just as Microsoft battles gamers IRL over Activision (please, please result in a courtroom full of LARPers). BSD has previously sued Microsoft and Apple. In the meantime, Meta is suing a different Israeli company over spyware.
Microsoft has acquired Fungible, a company that makes data processing units. For $190M, otherwise known as the going price for a dozen eggs, Microsoft will use Fungible’s tech team to improve Azure services.
It is also investing in autonomous trucking startup Gatik AND collaborating with an Indian space agency. “We’re going to use the autonomous trucks to drive astronauts to and from the rocket ship, this way we don’t have to pay for an Uber,” said the guy who came up with the Army goggles idea.
The Navy opened up its wallet and was like “here’s $724 million” to AWS. Sailors and stuff will get access to the cloud through 2028 and will work toward phasing out legacy IT systems per a mandate in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
Microsoft is making moves in automotive. Cognata, which develops autonomous driving technologies, has launched a new service on Azure so automotive companies can virtually evaluate their sensors. And General Motors will use Azure and AI services to simplify its software development.
AWS is supplementing its hiring pause with even more emphasis on its partners. As a “critical part of our go-to-market strategy,” AWS says it will continue to invest in partners, especially partners who help customers adopt and mature on AWS.
Speaking of partners: Montoux, an actuarial automation platform (SNOOZEFEST) is “strategically collaborating” with AWS so that customers can migrate and modernize their workflows with Montoux over to AWS. We could title the eBook: “Love, Actuary: Migrate and Modernize.”
Normalyze has hit AWS Marketplace. It’s a security platform that lets you see where all your data is in the cloud. eBook title could be, “Normal Eyes: Finally See Your Data.”
Privacera, which sounds like a pharmaceutical drug with gnarly side effects for some embarrassing condition, is actually a company that provides a data security and access governance platform—and its earned its AWS Competency in Data Analytics.
Cargo shipment optimization platform provider Awake AI has passed the AWS Foundational Technical Review.
Solvo, which provides adaptive cloud infrastructure security solutions, has joined the AWS ISV Accelerate Program.
Aspire, a global technology services firm, has become an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner.
VMWare launched Cloud Flex Storage, a managed service for VMWare Cloud on AWS.
IoT solutions provider KORE is using AWS, including AWS IoT Core, to make and sell more secure stuff.
AWS, Microsoft, and Meta want to break Google Maps’ hold on all of us with their Overture Maps Foundation that will yield “untold innovations for the benefit of the people,” a bold statement coming from a group that includes a social media company partially responsible for January 6th and COVID conspiracies. Among their WORLD-CHANGING efforts, which involves duplicating what Google has already done, is using VR/AR—appealing to my anxiety-ridden trolling of Maps for a place to park before I drive somewhere new.
Even though Microsoft is all about productivity these days, it’s like they are testing our self-control, what with their new games on Teams and NOW, video filters! Yes, I am paying attention even though I just put a virtual top hat on my head! Yes, yes, I am listening even though I am presenting as an ear of corn.
There’s a new AWS open-source tool in town called Finch. It’s cloud-agnostic and will allow devs to build, run, and publish Linux containers. The motivation for creating Finch? macOS and Windows make open-source container development difficult.
To better compete with Amazon, Microsoft has released a pilot of the Microsoft Retail Advertising Network, which will help retailers sell your data even more monetize their website traffic.
Ma’am, I’m going to have to call security
O happy day, S3 buckets will now be encrypted server-side by default! Which makes you wonder why that wasn’t a thing already!
Before Julianne Medenblik, one of 2A’s newest designers, found herself jazzing up eBooks and PowerPoint presentations that would keep anyone’s attention, she was memorizing monologues.
Starting out as an acting major in Chicago, Julianne eventually became disenchanted with the stage when auditions became draining and long-term career options seemed too few.
To find her path forward, she decided to return to her roots: she moved back home to Michigan and started taking art classes such as drawing and photography, something she remembered enjoying in high school.
“I call it the year of finding myself as an adult,” Julianne recalled.
Rediscovering her passion for creating art, and inspired by friends who had pursued graphic design, Julianne enrolled in graphic design school. “It felt like where I was supposed to be all along,” she said.
She did the intern thing, designing marketing materials, social media posts, and infographics for a small web development company–until they hired her full-time and she found herself frying bigger fish like designing entire apps and websites. From there, the pandemic landed her in a contractor role for a package design firm, where she tackled projects for big names like Mr. Coffee and Sunbeam. (Work perk: she got to see her stuff come to life on store shelves across the country.)
“While that experience was more corporate than my previous work, I learned a lot about the legal side of design—for example, did you know that any product sold in Canada is required to have both French and English on the packaging? And the font for each language must be the exact same size?” (No, we didn’t know that Julianne, but we will be using it to fill the void of small talk silences at some point!)
Julianne was crafting designs for a real estate company when she stumbled on a 2A job post, and the rest is history. These days she’s thinking of ways to add visual dazzle to our storytellers’ words, whether it’s for an animation or a product one-pager.
As a remote worker, her only home office companion is Louis, her Pomeranian. When she’s not impressing 2A clients, she is ingesting all things pop culture, listening to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, playing Animal Crossing, or indulging in “awful reality TV dating shows.” And the more she delves into design, the more she realizes that her penchant for mystery novels has boosted her creative process at work.
“Those books are about finding a solution, putting information together until it fits,” she said. “Sometimes, thinking about how to select visuals that make sense, and have them work together in one space, is like being the Nancy Drew of graphic design.”
Oh, and if you like stickers, check out Julianne’s designs on her Etsy shop. If you’re not a sticker hound, you can also peruse her portfolio.