Lots of Microsoft news hit the wires this week for developers and tech enthusiasts. Read on to catch the skinny!

Designing “hubs” on Windows Phone 7. In this March 24th post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, blogger Alfred Astort writes about designing Windows Phone apps that use “hubs” or panoramic control – in essence, apps that allow users to pan left and right with a twitch of their thumb from one hub of content to another. Astort first blogged about panoramic control in this March 15th post.

Internet Explorer 9 and energy efficiency. Power consumption is an important consideration in building a modern browser and one objective of Internet Explorer 9 is to responsibly lead the industry in power requirements. The more efficiently a browser uses power the longer the battery will last in a mobile device, the lower the electricity costs, and the smaller the environment impact. While power might seem like a minor concern, with nearly two billion people now using the Internet the worldwide implications of browser power consumption are significant, writes Walter VonKoch, Matthew Robben and Jason Weber of the IE team in this March 28th post on the IEBlog.

Hardcore gamers will LOVE this. Chipmaker NVIDIA recently announced the availability of a high-octane graphics card for gaming enthusiasts – the GeForce GTX 590. Brandon LeBlanc reports in this March 24th post on the Extreme Windows Blog “this graphics card is crazy powerful. And if you put two of them in a PC it’s even crazier powerful. It’s perfect for the uber-geek who builds PCs and wants the most powerful of powerful components.”

Did someone pour molasses into my PC? As blogger Yochay Kiriaty points out in this March 24th post on the Developing for Windows Blog, PCs can run more than 100 services in the background at any one time. If your PC doesn’t have enough horsepower, all those services can slow your computer down significantly, take a toll on power usage and increasing Windows startup time. However, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 provide a new mechanism called Trigger-Started Service (TSS) for making sure services run only when needed. Read Kiriaty’s post to learn more.

New Azure tools coming to mobile platforms. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a new collaboration with Spanish telecom Telefónica to bring Telefónica’s new global developer platform, BlueVia, to Microsoft’s 6 million-strong .NET developer community. Also announced – the release of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone.

Augmented reality – coming soon to a contact lens near you. In this March 29th post on the Next at Microsoft Blog, editor Steve Clayton muses, “Remember in Terminator when Arnold Schwarzenegger pans around and we see data about people overlaid on his vision – the first glimpse of augmented reality perhaps?” Clayton goes on to report about a new technologies out of the University of Washington “that bring the movie predictions of a bionic eye a little closer to reality.” Check it out.

User experience legend Bill Buxton speaks. In this interview on Silverlight TV, user experience guru and Microsoft Researcher Bill Buxton touches on his thoughts about the next version of Surface, UX and the new UX Lightning series at MIX11, which he compares to "speed dating." Buxton has certainly been making the rounds lately – check out this March 17th post on the Seattle Times’ Microsoft Pri0 blog about him. And here’s that SLTV interview:

That’s it for this edition of the Midweek Download – see you back here next Wednesday. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog