In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got two new stories on Windows 8, some developer event news and People Week v3 on Next at Microsoft. Don’t miss ‘em!

Two more from Building Windows 8. In this Jan. 20 post on Building Windows 8, the Windows team focuses on how it re-engineered the wireless networking stack in the next version of Windows to optimize it for both mobile broadband and Wi-Fi networks. “We’ve done a ton of work to enable mobile broadband providers to make it easy for you to use 3G and 4G connectivity along with Wi-Fi in Windows 8,” writes Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division. Also, check out this Tuesday post that looks at the details of supporting sensors in Windows 8.

Thinking about developer events. At the beginning of each year, many of us assess how we (and our developer community) might want to invest our respective time and resources for the year ahead, and we’ve devoted some of that energy in the past few months toward thinking about the various developer conferences we host. As part of that reflection, we have decided to merge MIX, our spring web conference for developers and designers, into our next major developer conference, which we will host sometime in the coming year. For the rest of this story, read this Tuesday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

People Week v3 on Next at Microsoft. During last year, we ran two successful “People Weeks” on the Next at Microsoft Blog where we dedicate the entire week to focusing on employees at Microsoft. This time around, People Week v3 is focused on Microsoft Research (MSR). If you want to know more about the people behind MSR, read these profiles on Jennifer Tour Chayes and James Mickens, the “funniest man in Microsoft Research.”

Leading privacy advocates release new tracking protection lists for IE9. Privacy is top of mind for many people this week as we get ready to celebrate Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28. Over the next few days, you will hear quite a bit from Microsoft on this topic since we, as a company, continue to be very committed to ensuring the safety and privacy of our customers. This week two leading privacy advocates – Simon Davies and Alexander Hanff of Privacy International – are releasing three new Tracking Protection Lists for Europe, including one focused on protecting children. For more detail on this story, read this Monday post on the Exploring IE Blog. You can also find more on privacy in this Monday post on the IEBlog.

IE10 Compat Inspector. Compat Inspector is now available for IE10. Use Compat Inspector to quickly identify if Internet Explorer platform changes affect your site. Whether you're preparing for IE10 or still updating for IE9, run Compat Inspector on any page experiencing problems. Then watch for messages explaining potential issues and steps you can take to resolve them. For the rest of this story, read this Jan. 20 post on the IEBlog.

Smart grid implementation rises 25 percent in the past year. The Microsoft/OSIsoft Worldwide Utility Industry Survey 2012, released Tuesday at the DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition, shows a 25 percent increase over last year in the number of utilities companies that have implemented smart-grid technology. The survey also shows that 28 percent of companies surveyed are in the planning phase, but 24 percent still have not started adopting any smart-grid technology. However, 63 percent of participants expect their budgets for these technologies to increase over the next two or three years. For the rest of the story, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

Windows Azure Community News Roundup. Don’t miss the third edition of the weekly roundup of the latest community-driven news, content and conversations about cloud computing and Windows Azure. Check out this Monday post on the Windows Azure Blog for the highlights from last week.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download. Thanks for reading and see you back here for another Microsoft news roundup on Friday.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog