Microsoft News Center
One of the most important decisions any organization can make is selecting the right local service provider. And for those representing a government agency, healthcare provider or school, there’s a handy checklist to make sure you’re on track with that pivotal choice.
As Dan Mannion, director of Microsoft’s Public Sector Cloud Strategy, explains on the Microsoft in Government blog, this decision “can make or break your project.” In the checklist he provides, “six check marks mean you’ve found a good one. Five or fewer means you’re taking a chance.”
Grab the kids for a snowy experience inside a shopping mall – complete with a visit with Santa (and photos, of course), as well as a chance to try out Windows devices, inside Ice Palaces around the country now through Dec. 24.
Windows, in partnership with Taubman Centers, is presenting Ice Palace 2013 at 15 malls, from California to Connecticut, writes Kristina Libby on the Windows Experience Blog.
The following post is from Roger Capriotti, senior director of product marketing, Microsoft.
The redesigned homepage for NORAD Tracks Santa.
Every December, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (“NORAD”) serves the important role of ensuring that Santa’s journey around the world is safe. Since 1955, children of all ages have tracked his route with the help of NORAD’s radar, satellites and jet fighters. This year, Microsoft has lent a hand to make the experience the most magical yet, putting a fresh spin on the time-honored tradition with the launch of the new www.NORADSanta.org. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has worked with NORAD Tracks Santa. Last year, we provided our interactive Bing Maps to give people at home an interactive visual of Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve, which was powered by Windows Azure, as well as apps for Windows and Windows Phone that allowed people a platform to play and learn.
Each week, we bring you a new app recommendation from one of our colleagues. This week’s Staff App Pick comes from Erin Jacobs, a senior marketing manager at Microsoft.
I do a lot of what I call dream building. I am constantly on the hunt for the perfect house, even though I have no plans to move in the near future. This is why I love Zillow and am so excited that Zillow is now available for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8! Zillow helps me dream build when I’m out on the town, running errands or even playing with my kids in the park.
Dec. 3 is #GivingTuesday and as part of our ongoing YouthSpark initiative, we’re calling for support for young people around the world.
Starting at 9 a.m. PT Tuesday, Microsoft will match donations – dollar for dollar - that are made to nonprofit organizations serving the needs of youth at GlobalGiving.org/YouthSpark/Heroes as part of #GivingTuesday. We’re also offering Microsoft Store shoppers a $25 donation gift card with any purchase.
An analyst’s recent report about Microsoft’s Windows Embedded business finds it has both “opportunities and threats” in the “great, burgeoning industry of the Internet of Things,” writes Kevin Dallas, general manager for Windows Embedded, in a blog post.
“The past few weeks have seen multiple major product and program announcements — the release of Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry, closely followed by its availability through volume licensing; Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems’ general availability; and some really exciting changes to our partner program,” he writes.
David and Katharine Lowrie recently became the first spouses to run the length of South America together, but they didn’t do it just to set a record. They did it to raise money for three environmental groups, and they used Skype to help spread the word about their undertaking, raising nearly $10,000 in the process, writes Thomas Kohnstamm on Skype’s Play Blog.
“A lot of the charity work we’ve been doing is through using Skype on the ground,” says Katharine Lowrie in a YouTube video shared above. “It’s been invaluable to connect with family and friends and get them interested in the project.”
Two sisters, who due to time and circumstances had not seen each other in 30 years, were recently able to see and talk to one another for the first time since Jimmy Carter was president of the United States.
Mary Helen and her sister Betty live more than 1,500 miles apart. Finances and health issues kept them from seeing one another, though they occasionally chatted over the phone. Mary Helen had never met her sister’s children, which was one of her dearest wishes in addition to seeing her sister again.
Beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is this deal that lasts until after Christmas: when you buy a new touch PC or tablet running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you’re going to get a promotional $25 Windows Store gift card.
As frustrating as a buggy app is for consumers, it’s equally frustrating for the developers. No one wants unhappy customers, lower ratings or reduced revenue. This is why releasing a beta app is such a valuable step in the development process. Developers often ask us for the best ways to test their apps. There are several testing options available, including a variety of private beta options.
To explain, Bernardo Zamora, a senior business operations manager on the Windows Phone team, put together a great guide that covers the available publishing and testing choices, and goes into the steps involved with each option.
The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2013 R2 is now generally available for download.
According to the Windows for your Business Blog, MDOP is a suite of virtualization, management and security technologies available as a subscription for Software Assurance customers that helps maximize the benefits offered by Windows.
In holiday blockbuster season, there can be a lot of add-on perks, but this has got to be up there as one of the more original mass offerings: United Kingdom fans looking forward to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” will soon be able to download a free 3D printer blueprint of “The Key to Erebor” – a major artifact in the film’s plot.
There aren’t a lot of movies out yet in 4K – which has about four times the resolution of a 1080p high-def screen – but there are some good bargains on 4K TVs, with those displays offering an incredible canvas for your PC for games and photo editing. Among them is the Seiki 50-inch 4K TV, which is going for under $1,000, writes Gavin Gear on the Extreme Windows Blog.
Windows 8.1 is optimized for ultra-high resolution displays, and “having a large 4K display for your PC is essentially like having a 2x2 array of 1920 x 1080 monitors all in one,” he writes. “You can arrange windows however you want,” and there’s so much screen room to roam, you can see a lot of the user interface at the same time.
Attending meetings remotely just got easier with the Cisco WebEx Meetings app for Windows Phone 8 devices.
Editor’s note: The following is a post from Mark Hanson, a staff writer at Microsoft News Center.
There’s an effort underway to rewrite the history books and it’s all being driven by a group of time travelers from the future. Just ask Donald Brinkman, a Program Manager with Microsoft Research who is allegedly acting on behalf of these time travelers to alter history – or at least the way it’s taught in the classrooms – to help tomorrow’s leaders make better choices.
Hack and slash your way through hundreds of quests in the epic “Dungeon Hunter 4,” the latest installment of a long-running and immensely popular role-playing game. And now, not only is it free, but you can also play it on your Windows PC (or tablet) or Windows Phone device.
Here’s a holiday treat: “Gears of War” and “Shoot Many Robots” for Xbox 360 are free to Xbox Live Gold members in December. The free monthly games are part of the “Games with Gold” rewards of being an Xbox Live Gold member.
“Gears of War” (normally $19.99) is available from now through Dec. 15. The game, Xbox Wire reports, puts you right smack into the “deep and harrowing story of humankind’s epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet.”
Landing a new job out of college isn’t easy. Today’s graduates face a highly competitive job market, and fewer than two of five hiring managers find college students or recent grads are prepared for a job in their chosen fields, according to a 2013 study by Harris Interactive and Chegg.
To give students a leg up, schools and universities that use Office 365 ProPlus for faculty and staff can now extend the service to students at no additional cost, the Office team announced in a blog post today. With employers listing Microsoft Office proficiency as one of the top skills they’re looking for in a candidate (according to an IDC study), having the most up-to-date versions of Word, PowerPoint and more is key to most careers. (Even Google’s job postings require competency with Office!)
Each year Bing looks back at the top U.S. searches of the last 12 months, and in their 2013 report, powerful women unquestionably took the prize.
Need some help with your holiday shopping? Our friends at the Windows Phone Store are here to help! They've gathered a collection of Holiday Shopping apps that will help make it easier for you to find the perfect gift. Download your favorites and you’ll be prepared to compete with the swarms of shoppers.
You’re Detective Mode in the gritty style-noir puzzle-adventure game, “9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek.” It’s your task to investigate the mysterious town of Serpent Creek, and stop an evil plot to bring the evil Snake God back to our world.
It all starts with a desperate call from friend and famous reporter, Helen Hunter. She is in the coastal town of Serpent Creek, and needs help immediately.
If you’re shopping for a home, or want to know how much yours is worth, download the new Zillow app for Windows.
The holidays are a great time for businesses to show their customers, partners and employees how much they’re appreciated, and with Skype you don’t have to blow a ton of budget in the process. On Tuesday, Skype’s Workplace Blog listed four ways to easily and inexpensively spread holiday cheer.
One is with video messages, which you can record and send to any of your contacts. During the holidays, consider assembling your team to sing an original seasonal song, recite a funny holiday poem – or just thank people for their contributions to your business.
The holiday shopping frenzy has begun, but there’s no reason to rush out into traffic or crowded malls.
With your Windows PC or tablet in hand and the apps in the Windows Store’s Holiday Shopping Collection, you can easily check off everyone on your list. Find what you’re looking for with Amazon, eBay, Zappos, HSN and more. That’s a screenshot of the Zappos app above.
In July 2012, less than a year after being acquired by Microsoft, the Skype team embarked on a monumental project: developing Skype for Xbox One. Last week, the world began enjoying the fruition of that project, and on Tuesday, the Skype blog chronicled the journey.
“There were three core things we knew we needed to get right: performance, simplicity and Kinect integration,” notes Todd Roshak. “All the while, knowing full well, Skype needed to run seamlessly and efficiently in the background and in tandem to all other apps and services.”