Microsoft launches React Native for Windows

Microsoft today announced a new open-source project for React Native developers who want to target Windows. “React Native for Windows,” as the project is unsurprisingly called, is meant to be a new ‘performance-oriented’ implementation of React for Windows under the MIT License.
Being able to target Windows using React Native, a framework for cross-platform development that came out of Facebook, isn’t new. The framework, which allows developers to write their code in JavaScript and then run it on Android and iOS, already features plugins and extensions for targeting Windows and macOS.
With React Native for Windows, Microsoft is reimplementing React Native and rewriting many components in C++ to get maximum performance. It allows developers to target any Windows 10 device, including PCs, tablets, Xbox, mixed reality devices and more. With Microsoft backing the project, these developers will now be able to provide their users with faster, more fluid apps.
Microsoft the project is


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Windows gets a new terminal

Windows 10 is getting a new terminal for command-line users, Microsoft announced at its Build developer conference today.
The new so-called “Windows Terminal” will launch in mid-June and promises to be a major update of the existing Windows Command Prompt and PowerShell experience. Indeed, it seems like the Terminal will essentially become the default environment for PowerShell, Command Prompt and Windows Subsystem for Linux users going forward.

The new terminal will feature faster GPU-accelerated text rending and “emoji-rich” fonts, because everything these days needs to support emojis, and those will sure help lighten up the command-line user experience. More importantly, though, the Windows Terminal will also support shortcuts, tabs, tear-away windows and theming, as well as extensions. It also will natively support Unicode and East Asian fonts.
The idea here, Microsoft says, is to “elevate the command-line user experience on Windows.”
The first preview of the new Windows Terminal is now available.


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AWS expands cloud infrastructure offerings with new AMD EPYC-powered T3a instances

Amazon is always looking for ways to increase the options it offers developers in AWS, and to that end, today it announced a bunch of new AMD EPYC-powered T3a instances. These were originally announced at the end of last year at re:Invent, AWS’s annual customer conference.
Today’s announcement is about making these chips generally available. They have been designed for a specific type of burstable workload, where you might not always need a sustained amount of compute power.
“These instances deliver burstable, cost-effective performance and are a great fit for workloads that do not need high sustained compute power but experience temporary spikes in usage. You get a generous and assured baseline amount of processing power and the ability to transparently scale up to full core performance when you need more processing power, for as long as necessary,” AWS’s Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post.
These instances are built on the AWS


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Can the law be copyrighted?

UpCodes wants to fix one of the building industry’s biggest headaches by streamlining code compliance. But the Y Combinator-backed startup now faces a copyright lawsuit filed against it by the International Code Council, the nonprofit organization that develops the code used or adopted in building regulations by all 50 states.
The case may have ramifications beyond the building industry, including for compliance technology in other sectors and even individuals who want to reproduce the law. At its core are several important questions: Is it possible to copyright the law or text that carries the weight of law? Because laws and codes are often written by private individuals or groups instead of legislators, what rights do they continue to have over their work? Several relevant cases, including ones involving building codes, have been decided by different circuits in the United States Court of Appeals, which means the UpCodes lawsuit may potentially be


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F5 acquires NGINX for $670M to move into open-source, multi-cloud services

Multi-cloud architecture is a huge trend in enterprise, and today F5 made a big move to bring its own business closer to it. The company, which provides cloud and security application services, announced that it has acquired NGINX, the commercial company behind the popular open-source web server, for $670 million.
We’d actually been hearing murmurs of this acquisition for a while, with a price tag of around $700 million. On top of that, our sources say NGINX was shopping itself around, and other companies that had been looking at it included Citrix. That deal fell apart on price.
NGINX had last raised money nine months ago, a $43 million round led by Goldman Sachs to fuel expansion, and had positioned itself as a strong alternative to F5 in recent years. (It had not disclosed its valuation in that round.) F5 itself, by coincidence, was said to have retained Goldman Sachs in 2016 to


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OpenAI shifts from nonprofit to ‘capped-profit’ to attract capital

OpenAI may not be quite so open going forward. The former nonprofit announced today that it is restructuring as a “capped-profit” company that cuts returns from investments past a certain point. But some worry that this move — or rather the way they made it — may result in making the innovative company no different from the other AI startups out there.
From now on, profits from any investment in the OpenAI LP (limited partnership, not limited profit) will be passed on to an overarching nonprofit company, which will disperse them as it sees fit. Profits in excess of a 100x return, that is.
In simplified terms, if you invested $10 million today, the profit cap will come into play only after that $10 million has generated $1 billion in returns. You can see why some people are concerned that this structure is “limited” in name only.
In a blog post, OpenAI explained


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Glide helps you build mobile apps from a spreadsheet without coding

The founders of Glide, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2019 class, had a notion that building mobile apps in the enterprise was too hard. They decided to simplify the process by starting with a spreadsheet, and automatically turning the contents into a slick mobile app.
David Siegel, CEO and co-founder at Glide, was working with his co-founders Jason Smith, Mark Probst and Antonio Garcia Aprea at Xamerin, a cross-platform mobile development company that Microsoft acquired for $500 million in 2016. There, they witnessed first-hand the difficulty that companies were having building mobile apps. When their two-year stint at Microsoft was over, the four founders decided to build a startup to solve the problem.
“We saw how desperate some of the world’s largest companies were to have a mobile strategy, and also how painful and expensive it is to develop mobile apps. And we haven’t seen significant progress on that 10 years after the


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Coda’s programmable document editor comes out of beta, launches iOS app

Coda, which is coming out of its limited beta today, wants to reinvent how you think about documents and spreadsheets. That’s about as tough a challenge as you can set yourself, given how ingrained tools like Word, Excel and their equivalents from the likes of Google, Zoho and others are. Coda’s secret weapon is that it combines text and spreadsheet functionality into a single document, with the ability to build some basic programming into them and add features from third-party services as a bonus.
In addition to opening up the service to anyone, Coda also today launched its new mobile app for iOS (with Android following at some point in the future).
“It’s the best of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, applications — all brought into one new surface,” Coda founder and CEO (and former head of product for YouTube Shishir Mehrotra told me. “But the phrase we like to use is that Coda


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Workplace messaging platform Slack has confidentially filed to go public

Slack, the provider of workplace communication and collaboration tools, has submitted paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public later this year, the company announced on Monday.
This is its first concrete step toward becoming a publicly listed company, five years after it launched.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Slack has raised more than $1 billion in venture capital investment, including a $427 million funding round in August. The round valued the business at $7.1 billion, cementing its position as one of the most valuable privately held businesses in the U.S.
The company counted 10 million daily active users around the world and 85,000 paying users as of January 2019. According to data provided (via email) by SensorTower, Slack’s new users on mobile increased roughly 21 percent last quarter compared to Q4 2017, while total installs on mobile grew 24 million. The company recorded 8 million installs in 2018, up 21 percent year-over-year.
Slack’s investors


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