• Helping the LGBT Community Access the Internet

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Mary L. Gray

    For many of us, the Internet offers limitless opportunities for enhancing our lives. We can catch up on news, shop for whatever our hearts desire, connect with our friends. The world at our fingertips—and in our pockets.

    For some, though, the Internet provides more than pleasurable diversion. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, the web can offer information of critical importance to their very existence, information sometime unavailable elsewhere. For many in the LGBT community, online access has become the ultimate lifeline.

    That message is beginning to gain attention, thanks in part to Microsoft researcher Mary L. Gray (@maryLgray). This summer, Gray and Jessie Daniels, a professor at the City University of New York, published a paper called Vision for Inclusion: An LGBT Broadband Future that argues for the steps that must be taken to ensure that online resources remain available for a segment of the population that dearly needs them.

  • The Woman Who Put the Vim in Xim

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Sarah Needham

    Yesterday in this space, you learned about the engineering behind Xim, a free app from Microsoft Research that brings fun, interactive photo sharing to users of Windows Phones, Android phones, or iPhones.

    Developing a new app requires a mixture of skill sets, from those focused on the plumbing and interfaces, to others who work “higher up the stack,” focusing on how actual users can extract the most value in the shortest time.

    Sarah Needham works higher up the stack. In her first year as a user-experience designer with FUSE Labs, she designed the Xim user interface, which offers an inviting experience based on plenty of research into how users interact with the app.

  • Share Your Photos, Not Your Phone

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Xim logo

    How easy is it to share these days? Pretty darned easy, as users of any mobile phone can attest. Take a photo, and a couple of clicks later, your shot is posted to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, to name a few options.

    It can’t get much faster than that, can it?

    For certain scenarios, perhaps it can, says Steve Ickman, from FUSE Labs, who came up with the idea for Xim.

  • OSDI ’14 Highlight: Preserving Trust in the Cloud

    Posted by Rob Knies

    OSDI 2014 logo

    The advent of the era of cloud computing is disrupting the IT industry, but one issue continues to impede a headlong rush to the cloud: trust.

    That’s the contention of Andrew Baumann, (@1andrewb) a Microsoft researcher whose paper Shielding applications from an untrusted cloud with Haven, written with colleagues Marcus Peinado and Galen Hunt (@igalenhunt), has been named a best paper of the 11th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 2014), being held in Broomfield, Colo., from Oct 6 to 8.

  • Interview with 2014 Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award Winner Gordon Bell

    Posted by Rob Knies

    Gordon Bell

    The IEEE Computer Society Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award is one of the industry's most prestigious honors. Friday, September 19th, the IEEE Computer Society announced the presentation of the 2014 award to Microsoft Researcher Emeritus Gordon Bell, for "his exceptional contributions in designing and bringing several computer systems to market that changed the world of high-performance computing and of computing in general, the two most important of these being the PDP-6 and the VAX-11/780."

    Among the many achievements in his distinguished career, he has been vice president of research and development at Digital Equipment Corporation, founder of Encore Computer, a co-founder of Ardent Computer, and professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University. Bell has been an advisor and investor to more than 100 high tech start-up companies and a founding trustee of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

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