Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Microsoft tweaks IE11-Edge interoperability in Windows 10

Microsoft tweaks IE11-Edge interoperability in Windows 10

Will drop the pausing ‘interstitial’ page that now pops up when users switch between the two browsers

Microsoft yesterday said it will introduce changes in this summer’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update to simplify switching from Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) to Edge, and back.

The changes will be aimed at enterprises, the only customer group Microsoft recommends running IE11 in the new operating system.

“We recognize that some enterprise customers have line-of-business applications built specifically for older web technologies, which require Internet Explorer 11,” the company said in a Thursday post.

Previously, Microsoft included “Enterprise Mode” in Windows 10, a feature that lets an IT staff limit IE11’s operation to specific legacy websites or web apps.

Starting with the Anniversary Update — Microsoft’s name for the one major upgrade it will deliver for 10 this year — the “interstitial” page, one that pops up between running Edge and IE11 when Enterprise Mode kicks in, will vanish.

Currently, a switch from Edge to IE11 opens a page that states, “This website needs Internet Explorer 11” before IE11 fires up. With the Anniversary Update, the interstitial will no longer appear: IE11 will simply open atop Edge when the user steers to a site or app on the Enterprise Mode whitelist.

The same no-interstitial-page behavior will take place when a worker running IE11 types in an URL that is not on the list: Edge will open without a pause.

Microsoft will also introduce a new group policy for IE11 that will limit the browser’s use to only those sites on the whitelist, barring users from running IE11 for the bulk of their browsing. “Enabling this setting automatically opens all sites that are not included in the Enterprise Mode Site List in Microsoft Edge,” Microsoft said.

IE and Edge have a rapidly-shrinking share of the browser market, but the former will remain important to businesses with older apps and customized internal sites, which unless rewritten will require the older browser. Together, IE and Edge were run by 41.3% of the world’s users in April, a new low that dropped Microsoft into second place behind Google’s Chrome browser.

For all its emphasis on Edge, Microsoft has seen the new browser struggle to retain users.

Windows 10’s Anniversary Update does not yet have a definitive launch date, but most expect it to ship this summer, perhaps on or near the July 29 one-year date of the OS’s debut.

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Exam 70-398 Planning for and Managing Devices in the Enterprise

Published: November 24, 2015
Languages: English
Audiences: IT professionals
Technology: Windows 10
Credit toward certification: Specialist

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

If you have other questions or feedback about Microsoft Certification exams or about the certification program, registration, or promotions, please contact your Regional Service Center.

Design for cloud/hybrid identity (15–20%)
Plan for Azure Active Directory (AD) identities
Design Azure AD identities; Active Directory integration; Azure Multi-Factor Authentication; user self-service from the Azure Access Panel; Azure AD reporting; company branding; design Azure AD Premium features, such as Cloud App discovery, group-based application access, self-service group management, advanced security reporting, and password reset with write-back
Design for Active Directory synchronization with Azure AD Connect
Design single sign-on, Active Directory Integration scenarios, and Active Directory synchronization tools; plan for Azure AD Synchronization Services; design for Connect Health

Design for device access and protection (15–20%)
Plan for device enrollment
Design device inventory, mobile device management authority, device management prerequisites, and device enrollment profiles
Plan for the Company Portal
Customize the Company Portal and company terms and conditions; design configuration policies, compliance policies, conditional access policies, Exchange ActiveSync policies, and policy conflicts
Plan protection for data on devices
Design for protection of data in email and SharePoint when accessing them from mobile devices, design for protection of data of applications by using encryption, design for full and selective wipes

Design for data access and protection (15–20%)
Plan shared resources
Design for file and disk encryption and BitLocker encryption; design for the Network Unlock feature; configure BitLocker policies; design for the Encrypting File System (EFS) recovery agent; manage EFS and BitLocker certificates, including backup and restore
Plan advanced audit policies
Design for auditing using Group Policy and AuditPol.exe, create expression-based audit policies, design for removable device audit policies
Plan for file and folder access
Design for Windows Server Dynamic Access Control, Web Application Proxy, and Azure Rights Management service (RMS)

Design for remote access (15–20%)
Plan for remote connectivity
Design remote authentication, configure Remote Desktop settings, design VPN connections and authentication, enable VPN reconnect, configure broadband tethering
Plan for mobility options
Design for offline file policies, power policies, Windows to Go, sync options, and Wi-Fi direct

Plan for apps (15–20%)
Manage RemoteApp
Design RemoteApp and Desktop Connections settings, configure Group Policy Objects (GPOs) for signed packages, subscribe to the Azure RemoteApp and Desktop Connections feeds, export and import Azure RemoteApp configurations, support iOS and Android, configure Remote Desktop Web Access for Azure RemoteApp distribution
Plan app support and compatibility
Design for desktop app compatibility using Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), including shims and compatibility database; design desktop application co-existence using Hyper-V, Azure RemoteApp, and App-V; install and configure User Experience Virtualization (UE-V); plan for desktop apps using Microsoft Intune

Plan updates and recovery (15–20%)
Plan for system recovery
Design for the recovery drive, system restore, refresh or recycle, driver rollback, and restore points
Plan file recovery
Design for previous versions of files and folders, design File History, recover files from OneDrive
Plan device updates
Design update settings and Windows Update policies, manage update history, roll back updates, design for Windows Store apps updates

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Exam MB2-702 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Deployment

Published: January 29, 2014
Languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Japanese, Spanish
Audiences: IT professionals
Technology: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
Credit toward certification: MCP, Microsoft Specialist

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on the exam. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

If you have other questions or feedback about Microsoft Certification exams or about the certification program, registration, or promotions, please contact your Regional Service Center.

Plan the Microsoft Dynamics CRM installation (15-20%)
Identify the offerings and supporting components for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Describe Microsoft Dynamics CRM offerings and editions; identify the roles of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server; explain the role of supporting technologies, including Active Directory, Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS), Internet Information Services (IIS), Microsoft SQL Server, SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange, and the Secure Token Service; explain the rights required to install Microsoft Dynamics CRMs
Identify infrastructure requirements, and identify hardware and software requirements
Describe the hardware and software requirements for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, identify the requirements for supporting technologies, plan the number and location of server roles and groups, identify Microsoft Dynamics CRM website requirements
Plan the implementation
Plan a single and multiple-server deployment, identify the Microsoft Dynamics CRM licensing model and license types, explain product key types and access mode types, plan multiple organizations, plan how to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Install and deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server (15-20%)
Install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server
Install required components that are missing, add and remove sample data, identify specific accounts for Microsoft Dynamics CRM services, perform system checks, perform a command line installation, troubleshoot issues that prevent successful installation, register the installation, register for Windows Updates, verify components that are installed during setup
Deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
Describe the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Service, identify tasks that you must perform that are not required for an on-premises installation, differentiate between administrative and security roles, provision users, manage storage, deploy a single server and multiple servers
Deploy a Microsoft Dynamics CRM website
Use host headers, use Using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) bindings, explain Internet Explorer security zones

Configure Microsoft Dynamics CRM (10-15%)
Install Microsoft Dynamics CRM Reporting Extensions
Identify when Reporting Extensions are required, explain the installation requirements for Reporting Extensions, differentiate between SQL-based reports and Fetch-based reports, describe the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Report Authoring Extension, explain when to install language packs
Configure an Internet-facing deployment (IFD)
Identify IFD and website requirements, identify required certificates, install and configure ADFS as the Secure Token Service, configure claims-based authentication
Plan and configure high-availability options
Verify hardware requirements for high availability; install Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server on multiple computers; explain how to install Microsoft Dynamics CRM in a Network Load Balancing (NLB) cluster; explain clustering SQL Server; describe high-availability solutions; explain high-availability options for supporting components including SQL Server, Microsoft Dynamics CRM email router; Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange Server

Configure and manage email (10-15%)
Configure email and message processing
Explain the advantages and disadvantages of email processing options, configure email processing, track email; configure correlation, configure users with the appropriate messaging options, configure email address approval, test and troubleshoot email configuration
Install and configure the Microsoft Dynamics CRM email router
Identify supported email systems and Windows operating systems, install the email router on multiple computers, create incoming and outgoing email profiles, deploy Inbox rules and forwarding rules, track token and smart matching options, set up and monitor an individual mailbox and a forward mailbox, set the synchronization method, install the Email Integration Service role, migrate email router settings
Configure server-side synchronization
Describe the features of and identify supported configurations, enable Server-Side Synchronization, create email server profiles, implement the Exchange and POP3-SMTP profile, configure authentication for email server profiles add mailboxes to an email server profile

Install and deploy the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client for Outlook (10-15%)
Identify software and hardware requirements for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client for Outlook
Identify supported operating systems, including 32-bit, 64-bit, and Outlook versions; identify supported Internet browser versions
Install Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client for Outlook
Identify deployment methods, install from a command line, install from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web application, identify upgrade options
Configure the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client for Outlook
Use the Configuration Wizard for on-premises or hosted organizations; work online and offline; configure multiple organizations; configure user email settings; work offline; use and modify data filters

Upgrade a Microsoft Dynamics CRM edition and redeploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM (10-15%)
Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
Describe types of upgrades and upgrade paths, processes, and supported upgrade editions; explain base and table merges, including defer a table merge, perform a table merge, and determine the entities that are not merged; plan for failure, backup, and recovery; establish and validate test and production environments; upgrade the Microsoft Dynamics CRM email router; upgrade Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook
Redeploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM by using Deployment Manager
Describe the redeployment process; explain Active Directory considerations; add and delete administrators; manage existing organizations, including changing, disabling, importing, and updating an organization; create and delete an organization; change an organization’s details; manage servers; update web addresses
Update Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Define update rollup packages, explain which update rollup package is released for each component, configure Microsoft Update, verify which update rollups are installed

Manage and troubleshoot a Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment (10-15%)
Manage service accounts and system jobs
Describe service accounts and types, verify installed services, describe account types to use for each service, monitor and change service accounts, review and delete system jobs, describe system job types, limit the number of asynchronous jobs, delete records
Plan for disaster recovery
Create a disaster recovery plan; back up recommended components; recover Microsoft Dynamics CRM servers, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server; recover Microsoft Dynamics CRM email router and failed domain controllers
Monitor and troubleshoot Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Verify Microsoft SQL Server database file locations; monitor database size, row, and page compression; use Windows Event Logs; create custom views in Event Viewer; use performance counters; run diagnostics; configure tracing; install the Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) and run a scan; implement VSS Writer Service for Microsoft Dynamics CRM; discuss the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace
Manage data encryption
Explain data encryption activation status, change the data encryption key, import a database that has encrypted fields, manage data encryption privileges


You are designing a table with a Customer Name field that must not be stored.
The table must derive its contents from the Name field on the Customer table. The Customer Name field must then be used in a C/AL function.
How should you create the Customer Name field and then access it using C/AL code?

A. Create the Customer Name as a FlowFilter field. In the code, use the CALCSUMS function to evaluate the value of Customer Name.
B. Create the Customer Name as a Normal text field. In the code, use the EVALUATE function to evaluate the value of Customer Name.
C. Create the Customer Name as a FlowField with a Method set to Lookup. In the code, use the CALCFIELDS function to evaluate the value of the Customer Name.
D. Create the Customer Name as a FlowFilter field. In the code, use the EVALUATE function to evaluate the value of Customer Name.


You create a Seminar Registration Line table.
You need to ensure that the Line Discount Amount is always calculated correctly.
You need to add the following code segment to the table:
“Line Discount Amount”:= ROUND(“Line Discount %” * Item. “Seminar Price” * 0.01,GLSetup. “Amount Rounding Precision”);
On which trigger should you add the code segment?

A. OnModify
B. Line Discount Amount – OnValidate
C. Quantity – OnValidate
D. Line Discount % – OnValidate


What is a function trigger?

A. A system flag (trigger) that is raised whenever a built-in function in Microsoft Dynamics NAV is run
B. A set of C/AL statements run when called by other C/AL code
C. A system flag (trigger) to indicate to Microsoft Dynamics NAV that a function has run successfully
D. A system indicator that is set when a new record is inserted into a table


You create a new page in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
You notice a table 2000000039 printer.
Which type of table is it?

A. System table
B. Special table
C. Virtual table
D. Temporary table



You need to create a master table representing entities with whom business is conducted.
Which posting group must you include in the table?

A. The Gen. Bus. Posting Group
B. The Gen. Prod. Posting Group
C. The VAT Prod. Posting Group
D. The VAT Bus. Posting Group


Explanation: Specifies the general business posting group codes for customers and vendors for posting purposes.

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Microsoft pushes Windows 10 upgrade using tactic it once called ‘a mistake’

Maker of ‘GWX Control Panel’ tool reports that Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs receiving upgrade as pre-selected ‘Optional’ item in Windows Update

Microsoft has begun to deliver the Windows 10 upgrade to eligible Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs through Windows Update, making good on an October announcement.

A company spokeswoman confirmed that the Windows 10 upgrade is reaching customers’ systems.

More than three months ago, Terry Myerson, the executive who leads the operating system and devices group, said that the Windows 10 upgrade would be pushed to users via Windows Update, the primary maintenance service for its OSes.

At the time, Myerson said that the upgrade would first appear under the “Optional” section in Windows Update, then later transit to “Recommended.” The difference is more than labeling: In Windows Update, “Optional” is supposed to be just that; customers must explicitly check the box for an item for it to automatically download and install. “Recommended” items, on the other hand, will be retrieved and installed unless the user has changed the default settings of Windows Update.

In the past, Microsoft has issued updates and upgrades in that two-step process under which bits first appeared under Optional, then after a month or more — a span Microsoft used to digest diagnostic data from affected PCs to ensure things worked as expected — the same update shifted to Recommended, and reached the majority of users.

It’s unclear whether Microsoft is following the plan it laid out in October: While several prominent bloggers who focus on Microsoft — including Paul Thurrott and ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley — said that the Windows 10 upgrade had been deployed as Recommended in Windows Update, there was no explicit evidence that that had, in fact, begun.

But the Windows 10 upgrade has appeared under Windows Update’s Optional list, according to Josh Mayfield, the creator of GWX Control Panel. The free utility made Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 (hence “GWX”) upgrade reservation app go away, purged the system of upgrade files, and blocked the automatic upgrade.

Mayfield maintains a multiple-PC pool of test machines to monitor how Microsoft promotes Windows 10. Yesterday, he confirmed that the upgrade showed up under Optional on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs.

“As we saw over the summer, it’s listed as an ‘Optional’ update but automatically selected to install, unlike other updates in that category,” said Mayfield in an email reply to questions Tuesday.

Mayfield was referring to events that began in mid-September at the latest, when users noticed “Upgrade to Windows 10 Home” or “Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro,” in Windows Update. Those items appeared in the Optional section of Windows Update’s listing of available patches and fixes. Normally, updates pegged as Optional will not download to a PC — whether automatically or in a manual check — until the user has ticked a box.

But according to users’ reports at the time, Windows Update itself checked the “Upgrade to Windows 10” optional update as eligible for download and installation. Users with Windows Update set to automatically retrieve and install updates — the norm, and the setting recommended by Microsoft — or who did not examine the optional update list, were then served with the Windows 10 upgrade, whether they wanted it or not.

Microsoft quickly issued a statement saying that the checking of the upgrade’s Optional item “was a mistake.”

Mayfield contended that Microsoft has done the same this week by automatically checking the Windows 10 upgrade box. Under those conditions, it mattered not a whit whether the upgrade was listed under Recommended or Optional: The result would be the same. For the vast majority of users, the upgrade would download — if it wasn’t already on the PC, having been pre-loaded under a long-running campaign to place the bits on customers’ devices — and the installation process would begin.

Microsoft has said that users could decline the Windows 10 upgrade once installation began, but has declined to say whether the upgrade starts in all cases, detail how the user authorization process is to play out, and whether — after a customer declines the upgrade — it presents itself again later.

The company has been little help when asked to clarify exactly what began this week for the Windows 10 upgrade on Windows 7 and 8.1 devices.

“We are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10,” Microsoft said in a statement forwarded by the firm’s spokeswoman. “We updated the upgrade experience today to help our customers, who previously reserved their upgrade, schedule[d] a time for their upgrade to take place.”

In a follow-up email, the spokeswoman did not directly answer questions Computerworld posed, including whether the Windows 10 upgrade was being placed in Recommended, Optional or both. “This is rolling out in a phased approach which is why you are seeing different reports,” she said.

Mayfield noted that as far as he can tell, Microsoft has honored the registry settings it had earlier said would block the appearance of the Windows 10 upgrade on PCs powered by Windows 7 and 8.1. Those registry tweaks — made by crafting a Group Policy that could be distributed to large numbers of machines — were spelled out in a support document revised last month.

That means Mayfield’s GWX Control Panel will stymie attempts to place the Windows 10 upgrade in Windows Update, as the tool was designed to do. Previously, Mayfield had warned that might not be the case if Microsoft again changed the rules, an increasingly common practice for the company, which, for example, repeatedly issued a Windows 10 reservation app to users who had managed to uninstall it.

“If GWX Control Panel reports ‘No’ for ‘Are Windows 10 Upgrades allowed?’, then the Windows 10 upgrade doesn’t even appear as an option in the Windows Update control panel,” Mayfield reported. Those who download and install GWX Control Panel can block the Windows 10 upgrade from appearing by clicking “Disable Get Windows 10 app,” and then clicking “Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft said that it would expand Windows 10 upgrade distribution to include all systems running Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro — even domain-joined Windows 10 Pro machines in businesses — that receive their security patches directly from Windows Update. It was also unclear today whether Microsoft is serving the upgrade to domain-joined PCs, which were originally exempt from the push, or only to consumers and commercial systems not connected to a network in which administrators use Active Directory to set access rights.

GWX Control Panel can be downloaded from Mayfield’s website free of charge, although he accepts donations from appreciative users.

Microsoft is placing the Windows 10 upgrade on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs, but pre-selects the download, even though it’s listed as an ‘Optional” update/upgrade. That’s contrary to how Windows Update’s Optional items usually work, and was called a “mistake” by Microsoft when it did the same last year.

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Microsoft will cut some Azure compute prices

The cloud pricing race to the bottom continues

Good news for businesses using Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform: their infrastructure bills may be shrinking come February.

Microsoft announced that it will be permanently reducing the prices for its Dv2 compute instances by up to 17 percent next month, depending on the type of instance and what it’s being used for. Users will see the greatest savings if they’re running higher performance Linux instances — up to 17 percent lower prices than they’ve been paying previously. Windows instance discounts top out at a 13 percent reduction compared to current prices.

Right now, the exact details of the discount are a little bit vague, but Microsoft says that it will publish full pricing details in February when they go into effect. Dv2 instances are designed for applications that require more compute power and temporary disk performance than Microsoft’s A series instances.

They’re the successor to Azure’s D-series VMs, and come with processors that are 35 percent faster than their predecessors. Greater speed also corresponds to a higher price, but these discounts will make Dv2-series instances more price competitive with their predecessors. That’s good news for price-conscious users, who may be more inclined to reach for the higher-performance instances now that they’ll be cheaper.

The price changes come after Amazon earlier this week introduced scheduled compute instances, which let users pick out a particular time for their workloads to run on a regular basis, and get discounts based on when they decide to use the system. It’s a system that’s designed to help businesses that need computing power for routine tasks at non-peak times get a discount.

Microsoft’s announcement builds on the company’s longstanding history of reducing prices for Azure in keeping with Amazon’s price cuts in order to remain competitive. Odds are we’ll see several more of these cuts in the coming year as the companies continue to duel to try and pick up new users and get existing users to expand their usage of the cloud.

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Five ways your startup is screwed

The founders of failed startups share lessons learned along the way — and signs of impending doom they wish they’d spotted sooner

Building a startup is risky business. For every Facebook, Google, or Uber, there are hundreds of once-brilliant-seeming companies that entered the tech landscape with great fanfare — only to fizzle out and fade away a matter of months later.

We tend to hear about these failures far less frequently than the successes — that’s a shame, because there are important lessons to be learned from those who tried and fell flat on their faces. Lucky for us, a venture capital database company called CB Insights took it upon itself to track and compile the many postmortem emails, blog posts, and interviews startup founders have shared over the past couple of years. Boy, do those missives contain fascinating insights.

I sifted through all the tear-shedding, blame-shifting, and self-flogging to find some of the more telling themes from these sorrowful tales (setting aside the obvious stuff like running out of money or building a product that people flat-out rejected). You might recognize one of these signs from a startup you know today. Or, given that IT projects are often like microstartups within an organization, you might learn a lesson or two about how not to steer your project straight into the ground.

Failure sign No. 1: You don’t have a strong and consistent focus

Knowing what a business is all about means everything — especially in the critical early months when a startup is working to find its footing. If you see a startup without a strong focus — or with a focus that keeps changing or expanding — it might be time to start worrying. It’s a lesson numerous founders have learned the hard way.

“We were trying to do everything for everybody,” writes Yash Kotak, founder of the failed startup Lumos. “We were making switches that could automate your lights, fans, ACs, and water heaters. We would have tried to automate your TV, fridge, oven, and car as well, had it been feasible to do so.”

The issue, Kotak says, isn’t that it’s inherently bad to pursue multiple angles; it’s that you can spread your resources only so thin before they get tight — and that’s when something is bound to snap. Sound familiar?

“As a startup, you are constrained in resources,” he reflects. “So it is always better to identify and solve one problem very well instead of solving n problems in a so-so way.”

Thor Fridriksson had similar struggles at his now-defunct startup, Pumodo. As he recalls it, he and his cohorts got “tangled in the hype machine” and made the same mistake of being mediocre at a bunch of things instead of being exceptionally great at one.

“Our business plan was changing every week,” Fridriksson writes. “We went from focusing only on football to becoming [an] app for all sports.”

Pumodo’s mantra, according to Fridriksson, was “think bigger” — a plan that also didn’t pan out for Jeanette Cajide, founder of folded mobile app Blurtt (yes, Blurtt).

“Ideas are a dime a dozen; the difference is in the execution,” Cajide notes. She should know: Her startup went through four different business models before finally calling it quits.

That brings us to our next sign that something might be amiss…

Failure sign No. 2: Your vision’s been twisted out of your control

Blurtt started out as a place where you could pay two bucks to create a custom physical postcard from your phone and have it sent to someone in the mail. A year later, it shifted its model to being a free service supported by ads on the back of each printed postcard.

A year after that, the company pivoted again and became a “mobile platform of micro-gifting and greeting cards” — whatever that means. Soon thereafter, it tossed that idea aside and tried to convince people to download its app for creating digital “blurtts,” which were basically images with text-based captions stamped on top. (Where have we seen that before?)

“In the end, the passion and magic was lost,” Cajide says. “Remember why you started this in the first place and never lose sight of it, because once it becomes something you are not happy doing, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Speaking of which, remember Secret? It was an anonymous message-sharing tool that was all the rage among Silicon Valley insiders for a few minutes in 2014. It was also a startup with serious money under its belt: a valuation of more than $100 million at its peak.

But all that cash couldn’t keep the train a-chuggin’: After struggling to deal with complaints of bullying and baseless rumormongering (gee, who woulda thunk on an anonymous message-sharing app?) — and simultaneously facing a troubling trend of declining use — the company shut down and returned its money to investors after a mere 16 months on the market.

Secret went through several evolutions along the way, shifting its design and philosophy to try to address complaints and keep everyone happy. In the end, its co-founder, David Byttow, said the startup was no longer the entity he had set out to build.

“Secret does not represent the vision I had when starting the company,” he wrote, “so I believe [shutting down is] the right decision for myself, our investors, and our team.”

A loss of original vision was also blamed for the collapse of ProtoExchange, an outsourcing marketplace for hardware engineering, as well as for the downfall of Digital Royalty, a social media strategy startup that underwent “sizable shifts” in the months leading up to its shutdown.

“Some of these shifts were in our control and some were not,” its founder, Amy Jo, eulogized. “In order to honor our core values, which have been the epicenter of our culture, we have decided to hang up our crown.”

Pour one out for our crownless homies.

Failure sign No. 3: You aren’t ready for success

Some startups have stellar ideas but lack the resources or know-how to execute them. And — you guessed it — that dangerously spicy combination doesn’t exactly create a foundation for long-term success.

Ask Martin Erlić, whose startup UDesign went from promising new concept to kaput old company in the span of a single year.

The idea sounds solid: UDesign was an app that’d make it simple to create your own pattern and use it on a custom piece of clothing. Neato, right? But instead of hiring experienced programmers, Erlić and his partners in crime decided to “wing it” and do the dirty work themselves.

“What ended up happening was that we spent everything we could have spent on polishing the product … on marketing instead,” he explains. “We thought we could trick people now and make up for it later. Wrong.”

Flash without function — an age-old tale. It’s one Attila Szigeti, founder of startup flop, also knows well.

“We only had a crude prototype but no amazing product, and we couldn’t attract [a] considerable number of users,” he recalls.

Some startups don’t even get that far. Jeremy Bell’s former company, Wattage, was supposed to make it easy for anyone to come up with an idea for an electronic device — dragging and dropping components like buttons, sensors, speakers, and displays into an online creation tool — then have the gadget manufactured and delivered in a matter of days.

Yet again, it was a cool concept without the legs to hold it up.

“When I looked at the various prototypes we’d created, the quality simply wasn’t there yet,” Bell admits. “We were heavily using laser cutting as our means of fabrication, and while it allowed us to produce something close to our vision, it wasn’t good enough. What we really needed was a hybrid of laser cutting and 3D printing, but unfortunately, 3D printing is still far too slow and expensive to be realistic.”

As it turns out, not being realistic is a pretty big hurdle to overcome.

Failure sign No. 4: You’ve built your business on a legal landmine

Play with fire, and you’re bound to get burned. It may sound obvious, but man — an awful lot of startups have disintegrated in heat-generated meltdowns.

The most prominent examples revolve around rights-related woes. Take Grooveshark, a music discovery startup that managed to last an impressive 10 years before its legal oversights caught up with it.

“Despite [having the] best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes,” the company conceded in an unsigned shutdown memo. “We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. That was wrong.”

Grooveshark’s settlement agreement with record companies forced it not only to shut down the service and wipe all the company’s servers clean, but also to turn over everything it owned — the website itself along with all apps, patents, and copyrights — to the rights-owners it had wronged.

Things weren’t quite so dire for Exfm, another music discovery service. But while the company didn’t get clobbered in the same way as Grooveshark, legal issues definitely played a key role in its decision to go dark.

“The technical challenges are compounded by the litigious nature of the music industry, which means every time we have any meaningful growth, it’s coupled with the immediate attention of the record labels in the form of takedowns and legal emails,” the company’s founders stated in an email to subscribers.

Once-trendy “social streaming” startup suffered a similar fate — and even noted that it should have paid closer attention to the troubles its predecessors had faced.

“Ultimately, I didn’t heed the lessons of so many failed music startups,” founder Billy Chasen says. “It’s an incredibly expensive venture to pursue and a hard industry to work with. We spent more than a quarter of our cash on lawyers, royalties, and services related to supporting music.”

Failure sign No. 5: Your product depends on someone else’s service

Call it the “single point of failure” fragility: If your business relies on someone else’s service to exist, you’re pretty much asking for trouble.

We’ve seen sob stories from several startups that hitched their wagons to Twitter only to have the virtual rugs pulled out from under them with little to no warning. The most recent high-profile example is Twitpic: The once-vital image sharing service clashed with Twitter’s growing ambitions and found itself immersed in a battle it couldn’t win. According to the company’s bye-bye missive:

Twitter contacted our legal [department] demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008 and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.

Other founders found themselves facing an about-face with Facebook, like Lookery — a marketing company whose currency revolved around social network data.

“We exposed ourselves to a huge single point of failure,” co-founder Scott Rafer muses. “Predictably and reasonably, Facebook acted in their own interest rather than ours.”

Rafer says his startup “could have and should have” used its resources to establish some level of independence instead of investing further in Facebook’s platform — a similar sentiment to the one expressed by PostRocket, a company that set out to help customers reach more fans in Zuckerberg’s virtual backyard.

“We should and could have done much better in bringing you a reliable product that expanded as quickly as the landscape of Facebook marketing changed,” co-founder Tim Chae confesses. While informing customers of his company’s demise, Chae actually suggested they turn to Facebook’s then-new analytics service as an alternative, saying the product “blows any other service out the water” — a perfect summary of the danger associated with trying to fill a hole in an existing service.

Even if a startup doesn’t get shut out entirely, trying to keep up with a fickle step-parent’s evolving requirements can take significant resources — which is especially challenging when funding is limited. Social media marketing firm Argyle Social cited that factor in its failure, as did song sharing service This Is My Jam.

The single point of failure can even come from a detail as seemingly innocuous as search: A startup called Tutorspree put all its consumer-attracting eggs in the basket of search engine optimization — and when the tides one day turned, it found itself lost at sea without a life preserver in sight.

“We were single channel-dependent, and that channel shifted on us radically and suddenly,” co-founder Aaron Harris explains. “There is a chance that a single channel can grow a company very quickly to a very large size, but the risks involved in that single channel are large and grow in tandem with the company.”

You don’t have to be a scrappy startup to sense the danger in that arrangement.


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Apple surpasses Microsoft….in vulnerabilities

Wipe that smug look off your face, Apple owners, Microsoft products are a lot safer

For years, Apple users taunted Windows users for all of the malware and security vulnerabilities that plagued the various Windows operating systems. Well, things have changed a bit. Mac OS and iOS now have more vulnerabilities than Windows.

The tabulation comes by way of CVE Details (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures), which draws on security vulnerabilities reported to the National Vulnerabilities Database, which is run by the U.S. government.

Apple led the way in 2015, with a total of 384 vulnerabilities for Mac OS X, closely followed by iOS with 375. Adobe held the next four spots, with three going to AIR (with AIR, the AIR SDK and AIR SDK and compiler) at 246 each, followed by Internet Explorer at 231. Google Chrome was next with 187 vulnerabilities, followed by Firefox at 178, which just shows that despite decades on the market, browsers are still a mess.

The highest-ranking Microsoft operating system was, in fact, Windows Server 2012 at 155 vulnerabilities. Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 had 147, 146 and 151, respectively. After that it was a mix of Acrobat, Linux and other products.

Now, you may note the three Windows desktop operating systems combined come out to 444, except that if you ever look at the patches Microsoft issues, they are common across all of the operating systems. That’s why there’s only a tiny difference between the three versions.

Vista also made the list, with 135 vulnerabilities, putting it fairly close to its newer versions. So there is overlap. The same applies to the three Adobe AIR entries. Not sure why they split them out but the fact that all three had the exact same vulnerabilities means they were common to all three versions.

It does not help that the Mac OS X platforms are not broken out while Windows versions are. That’s probably because there are so many versions of Mac OS X out there.

Steam Analytics lists 10 different versions of Mac OS X, each with tiny percentages of market share. And in fairness, while iOS has a lot of vulnerabilities, none of them are as nasty as the ones found on Android, like the malvertising that could destroy your phone or the Stagefright 2.0 virus.

Which is the silver lining for the Mac and its poor showing. It’s important remember that it’s not purely the number of vulnerabilities that matter but the severity of them. The vulnerabilities list is just the total number reported, not how bad they are. A bunch of minor stack overflows is nothing compared to malware that completely takes over your system.

But the Apple faithful can no longer make claims to being bulletproof.

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2015: Microsoft’s biggest year ever?

Windows 10, new devices and a new outlook made for an exciting year

With major product announcements and a number of big bets on the future, 2015 is in the running to be one of Microsoft’s most important years on record.

Topping it was the launch of Windows 10. First previewed a year earlier, 2015 was the year we finally got to see the new operating system in full. Microsoft unveiled key features, including its virtual assistant Cortana reaching beyond Windows Phone and onto the desktop, and its new Edge Web browser.

Windows 10 also brought a new Windows Universal App Platform that lets developers build one app that works across Windows 10 Phones, tablets and computers. It’s part of Microsoft’s play to try and raise the number of apps available for Windows 10 tablets and smartphones by tempting developers with a build once, deploy everywhere strategy.

Since it launched in July, Windows 10 has seen massive adoption. Not everybody likes everything about it and Microsoft has made its share of missteps, like keeping details about what personal information was sent from the OS to its servers under wraps until well after users raised privacy concerns about it. But overall, it has been very positively received.
surface book

One of the most unexpected moves of the year was Microsoft’s entry into the laptop computer business with the Surface Book. For years, Microsoft has relied on partners like HP, Dell and Toshiba to produce laptops — and they aren’t out of the picture — but with its own machine it’s attempting a bit of Apple’s successful business model, directly selling the computer it thinks customers want.

The machine has a powerful keyboard with some serious computing power that has a detachable touchscreen, which can serve as a tablet. Early reviews are favorable, and the device is definitely cool. But its premium price and somewhat awkward design don’t lead one to believe that it’s a slam-dunk for widespread consumer adoption beyond Microsoft’s die-hard fanbase.

In the smartphone space, the year was one of contraction. Microsoft laid off thousands of people from its phone hardware division and saw its market share decline from 2.7 percent to 2.2 percent, according to IDC estimates.

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft’s flagship Windows 10 smartphone. It’s a snazzy piece of hardware, but still hurt by the mobile operating system’s lack of apps.

During the year, it released the Lumia 950 and 950 XL flagship phones that were supposed to help drive Windows smartphones back towards relevance. Reviews for the phones are good and it packs some cool, whiz-bang features, like the ability to use iris recognition to unlock the device, but the biggest drawback is a familiar one for Windows smartphones: The small selection of apps.

But Microsoft hasn’t given up on building smartphones yet.

One new technology, Continuum, lets users connect their phone to a keyboard, mouse and monitor for use like a PC. It’s awesome, but requires application support that isn’t really existent in Windows 10’s third-party ecosystem yet. Microsoft is betting that the Windows Universal App Platform will prove popular enough among developers to shore up its lack of apps, but that hasn’t happened yet.

There’s a lot more excitement building over another hardware project: HoloLens.

When it was unveiled in January, Microsoft showed off something that largely wasn’t even rumored: A headset crammed with technology that let users overlay digital objects on the physical world around them. It’s futuristic stuff, and while the HoloLens doesn’t quite offer wide-angle augmented reality, it’s still a massively cool piece of kit.

One of the most exciting things about it is that the developer tools handle much of the heavy lifting for accessing the device’s hardware capabilities. Voice recognition, spatial mapping and gesture recognition are easily handled by the HoloLens developer tools, so that app makers can focus on building their software. It bodes well for the future of the device, which will be made available for purchase to select developers early next year.

But new software and new devices were only one part of the strategy Microsoft pushed this year. The company also began working with its competitors in ways that it never would have before. Satya Nadella talked on stage with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at Dreamforce, and other high-level Microsoft executives have appeared at major events hosted by the likes of VMware,

The company also went on a major acquisition spree, snapping up a mountain of other companies, including teams behind apps like Wunderlist and Sunrise Calendar.

And there was the one that got away. The rumored deal between Microsoft and Salesforce reportedly didn’t happen because Microsoft declined to pony up as much money as Salesforce was looking for.

Acquisitions are a pretty dry business, but these deals show a Microsoft that’s hungry to augment its capabilities with the help of outside companies that have proven solutions.

Looking ahead to 2016 is when we get to see if all of the big bets Microsoft set up this year pay off. Analysts expect that this coming year will see a bunch of enterprises upgrade to Windows 10. Microsoft is also gearing up to more aggressively push consumers to upgrade, which in turn may incentivize developers to build applications for the new OS.

But the Windows Store could go the way of the Mac App Store rather than the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. The concerns that system administrators have about Windows 10’s mandatory cumulative updates might stunt adoption. The HoloLens might turn out to be a futuristic flop. Clearly, Microsoft has an intended outcome for all of those moves, but the company’s big bets don’t always work out as intended.

And 2016 is also when Microsoft’s new strategies of going cross-platform and collaborating with other tech companies will stop being new again. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise some observers if Nadella showed up alongside Tim Cook at an Apple press event — a vast departure from the Microsoft of 2012, but not from the company’s past year. Stay tuned, folks; Microsoft is in for one heck of a ride.

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2015 technology industry graveyard

2015 technology industry graveyard

Cisco, Microsoft, Google and others bury outdated technologies to move ahead with new ones.

The Technology Industry Graveyard is pretty darn full in 2015, and we’re not even including the near-dead such as RadioShack and Microsoft’s IE browser. Pay your respects here…

The self-described “World’s Music Library” is no more after shutting down in April in the wake of serious legal pressure by music companies whose songs GrooveShark allowed to be shared but had never licensed. Apple and Google had each kicked GrooveShark out of their app stores years ago due to complaints from music labels. Much more sadly than the 9-year-old company’s demise, however, was the death of co-founder Josh Greenberg in July at the age of just 28.

Typo iPhone keyboard
Not even the glamor of being co-founded by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest could help Typo Innovations save its iPhone keyboard, which BlackBerry said infringed on its patents. So instead, Typo bailed on the iPhone model and settled for selling ones for devices with screens 7.9-inches or larger (like iPads).

Amazon Fire Phone
With a product name like Fire, you’re just asking for colorful headlines if it bombs. And indeed, Amazon has stopped making its Fire Phone about a year after introducing it and media outlets were quick to highlight the company “extinguishing” it or remarking on the phone being “burnt out.” Amazon has had some success on the hardware front, namely with its Kindle line, but the Fire just didn’t distinguish itself and was going for free with a carrier contract by the end.

Interop New York
Interop Las Vegas carries on as one of the network industry’s top trade shows next May, but little sibling Interop New York is no more this year. The Fall show, traditionally held at the Javits Center since 2005, was always smaller and was discontinued for 2015 despite lively marketing material last year touting “More Than 30 Interop New York Exhibitors and Sponsors to Make Announcements in Anticipation of the Event.”

Google ditched so many things in 2015 that we devoted an entire slideshow to Google’s Graveyard. So to choose just one representative item here, we remember Google Talk, which had a good run, starting up in 2005. But it’s never good when Google pulls out the term “deprecated” as it did in February in reference to this chat service’s Windows App. Google said it was pulling the plug on GTalk in part to focus on Google Hangouts in a world where people have plenty of other ways to chat online. However, Google Talk does live on via third-party apps.

Cisco Invicta storage products
Cisco has a good touch when it comes to acquisitions, but its $415 mlllion WHIPTAIL buyout from 2013 didn’t work out. The company in July revealed it had pulled the plug on its Invicta flash storage appliances acquired via that deal. It’s not unthinkable though that Cisco could go after another storage company, especially in light of the Dell-EMC union.

The once-popular file hosting system, begun in 2002, couldn’t withstand the onslaught of competition from all sides, including Google and Dropbox. Back in 2009, the Switzerland-based operation ran one of the Internet’s 20 most visited websites, according to Wikipedia. It shut down on March 31, and users’ leftover files went away with it.

Windows RT devices
This locked-down Microsoft OS for tablets and convertible laptops fared about as well as Windows 8, after being introduced as a prototype in 2011 at the big CES event in Las Vegas. Microsoft’s software for the 32-bit ARM architecture was intended to enable devices to exploit that architecture’s power efficiency, but overall, the offering proved to be a funky fit with existing Windows software. Production of RT devices stopped earlier in 2015 as Microsoft focuses on Win10 and more professional-focused Surface devices.

OpenStack vendor Nebula
As Network World’s Brandon Butler wrote in April, Nebula became one of the first casualties of the open source OpenStack cloud computing movement when it shuttered its doors. The company, whose founder was CIO for IT at NASA before starting Nebula in 2011, suggested in its farewell letter that it was a bit ahead of its time, unable to convert its $38 million in funding and hardware/software appliances into a sustainable business.

Facebook bought this social news and information feed aggregator in 2009, two years after the smaller business started, and then killed it off in April. People have moved on to other means of gathering and discovering info online, so FriendFeed died from lack of use. It did inspire the very singular website, Is FriendFeed Dead Yet, however, so its legacy lives on.

Apple Aperture
Apple put the final nails in its Aperture photo editing app in 2015, ending the professional-quality post-production app’s 10-year run at Version 3.6. In its place, Apple introduced its Photos app for users of both its OS X Mac and iOS devices.

One of the co-founders of anonymous sharing app shared this in April: The company was shutting down and returning whatever part of its $35 million in funding was left. The company’s reality was just not going to meet up with his vision for it, said co-founder David Byttow. The company faced criticism that it, like other anonymous apps such as Yik Yak, allowed for cyberbullying.

Amazon Wallet
Amazon started the year by announcing its Wallet app, the company’s 6-month-old attempt to get into mobile payments, was a bust. The app, which had been in beta, allowed users to store their gift/loyalty/rewards cards, but not debit or credit cards as they can with Apple and Google mobile payment services.

Circa News app
Expired apps could easily fill an entire tech graveyard, so we won’t document all of their deaths here. But among them not making it through 2015 was Circa, which reportedly garnered some $4 million in venture funding since starting in 2012 but didn’t get enough takers for its app-y brand of journalism.


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70-354 Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI (beta)

Exam 70-354

Published: October 5, 2015
Languages: English
Audiences: Developers
Technology Windows 10
Credit toward certification: MCP, MCSD

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Do you have feedback about the relevance of the skills measured on this exam? Please send Microsoft your comments. All feedback will be reviewed and incorporated as appropriate while still maintaining the validity and reliability of the certification process. Note that Microsoft will not respond directly to your feedback. We appreciate your input in ensuring the quality of the Microsoft Certification program.

If you have concerns about specific questions on this exam, please submit an exam challenge.

Create the design specification for a mobile line-of-business (LOB) app
Specify the app development and business requirements
Specify the tools and technologies that will be required during the development of the app, specify the method of source control that will be used during the development of the app, specify the quality attributes of the app that must be achieved, specify cross-cutting concerns that exist within the project space (related apps and data ecosystems), specify the deployment scenarios for the release of the app, specify the code maintenance requirements (post-release) for the app, specify the globalization and localization requirements for the app
Specify the architecture of the app based on environment, infrastructure, business, and usage criteria
Specify the layers of the app, specify the data sources for the app, specify the external services that the app will access, specify the cross-cutting concerns within the app, specify the components of the app
Design the app in association with user-experience (UX) criteria
Design and evaluate the app with respect to Windows 10 design principles (keep it simple, think universal, design as one, make it personal, create delight); design and evaluate the app with respect to personality and branding, including composition, typography, color, and motion; design and evaluate the app with respect to UX patterns and platforms, including user interface (UI) controls, navigation, commanding, and presentation; design and evaluate the app with respect to cross-platform support, including app and platform types
Develop quality and testing requirements Evaluate where cross-cutting concerns exist for the given app, and ensure that the design encompasses appropriate cross-cutting opportunities (or explain why not)
Establish performance requirements, establish security requirements, establish concurrency requirements, establish globalization and localization requirements, establish testing requirements, establish use cases

Implement application lifecycle management processes

Implement version control
Implement version control using Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC), implement version control using Git
Implement team collaboration
Work with a development team to complete app development sprints, implement storyboarding, implement code reviews, implement (peer review) feedback, implement backlog management, implement automated team builds
Implement automated testing and progress tracking
Implement automated tests, implement exploratory tests, track progress against milestones

Develop an LOB app that supports windowing, adaptive layout, and in-app navigation
Create a layout for use within an app UI
Select the appropriate XAML control based on the UI requirement, including control categories: basic, text, scenario, and presentation; implement a XAML control within a layout; create a fixed layout; create an adaptive layout
Develop the code required to implement data binding within the app UI
Implement data binding; implement data templates
Develop code to support scaling and windowing
Develop code to support various screen sizes and resolutions, including window size, screen dpi, and window shape; develop code to support changing window size, including adaptive layout and content flow; use emulators to evaluate windowing implementations
Implement styles and themes
Implement a style as a resource for the app, implement a theme for an app, implement resource templates, implement resource dictionaries
Implement UI animations, transitions, and transformations
Implement animations within an app; implement transitions and transformations within an app
Create reusable controls and components
Create custom controls, create Windows runtime components
Implement app navigation patterns
Implement on-page navigation; implement panning, implement semantic zoom; single-page navigation (Frame.Navigate); implement an appropriate navigation structure; implement system-level navigation
Implement globalization and localization of presented UI content
Implement app resources, localize text resources, localize graphical resources

Develop an LOB app that supports user input and user interactions
Develop code to implement traditional input devices
Support touch input (for example, custom gestures); support mouse input (for example, specialized handling of the input device events, such as mouse wheel); support keyboard and virtual keyboard input; (for example, specialized handling of the input device events, such as keyup and keydown)
Develop code to implement speech and voice commands
Support speech synthesis; support speech recognition; support Cortana integration; support voice commands, including control of apps and devices
Develop code to implement natural user interface input (user input)
Implement support for touch gestures, implement support for digital pen input (inking), implement support for gaze tracking, implement support for facial expressions recognition
Develop code to implement command bars, flyouts, and dialogs
Implement standard app or command bars; implement command buttons; implement context menus; implement content dialogs; implement pickers, including file and contact
Implement localization of user input

Test and deploy an LOB app
Implement general diagnostics and testing code
Perform testing versus defined use cases, perform testing for cross-platform support, perform end-user testing
Implement profiling
Memory profiling, performance profiling, Windows Performance Toolkit
Integrate monetization techniques
Implementing in-app purchases and freemium models, implementing the Advertising SDK, implementing free trials
Prepare package for publication
Preparing the app manifest, packaging the app, completing the submission process

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