In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got news about a new Windows 8 blog, Windows Phone “Mango” and two cool stories about how Microsoft’s pushing the envelope with natural user interface technologies (NUI). Read on!

Building Windows 8 Blog launches. Earlier this week, Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live division, kicked off the launch of the Building Windows 8 Blog. The new blog, Sinofsky writes, “allows us to have a two-way dialog with you about design choices, real-world data and usage, and new opportunities that are part of Windows 8.” Sinofsky goes on to write, “We’re genuinely excited to talk about the development of Windows 8 and to engage thoughtfully with the community of passionate end-users, developers, and information professionals.” So, check it out.

What happens when I publish a Windows Phone ‘Mango’ application update? The opening of the Windows Phone Marketplace for Windows Phone Mango is drawing near. As we get closer, some people are asking us: what happens to their existing applications once they submit an update for Windows Phone ‘Mango?’ How will my update appear across the full scope of all Windows Phone users? Read this Monday post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog to find out the answers.

Places Week v 2 on Next at Microsoft. Earlier this week, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton profiled a number of interesting places here at Microsoft, including the Computer History Museum located in Mountain View, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley. As Clayton notes, he had the fortune to tour the museum, located “a short walk” from Microsoft Research, with one Chuck Thacker, who won the prestigious Turing Award in 2009. The museum features a variety of notable computing machines, including the 153-year-old Babbage Engine, the 50-year-old IBM 350 RAMAC and the Alto from Xerox (the first work station with a built-in mouse for input), just to name a few. Developers – check it out, and remember your roots!

Adding voice recognition to Xbox, Windows Phone and more. On Monday, Geekwire Editor Todd Bishop wrote this feature on how Microsoft is integrating the TellMe speech-recognition technology into a variety of products, including Xbox Live and Windows Phone. The story features an interview with Ilya Bukshteyn, senior director of Microsoft TellMe, as well as a 4-minute video that demonstrates the Kinect for Xbox 360’s next-generation speech interface. Bishop also broke out several excerpts of his interview with Bukshteyn. Don’t miss it!

Monkey see, monkey do! And, wrapping things up here, check out this 8-minute documentary short showing a collaborative project whereby the underlying technology of Kinect was used to bring a stuffed monkey to life.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download. Thanks for stopping by The Official Microsoft Blog.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog