In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Forbes-honored Microsoft Researcher Vipul Goyal, a new Windows Phone app design challenge and news on Internet Explorer 10.

Heady recognition for young researcher. For a man of 29, Vipul Goyal (pictured right), a researcher at Microsoft Research India, already possesses a gaudy list of academic and professional achievements. He has  a Ph.D. from UCLA. As a student there, he won a Microsoft Research graduate fellowship. His cryptographic research has been widely published at top conferences, and his work has attracted the attention of popular science publications. And, on Dec. 17, Goyal was named to the Science and Healthcare section of Forbes magazine’s annual 30 Under 30 list, which features exceptional young people who are reinventing the world. Read about Goyal’s reaction in yesterday’s blog post on Inside Microsoft Research.

Windows Phone ‘App to the Future’ design challenge. Although the Windows Phone Developer Blog is primarily a destination for developers, we all know that design is important. So on Dec. 13, the Windows Phone developer team made a call for designer talent. For the second year, they joined Core77 and its design community to organize the “App to the Future” challenge. Whether you are a developer with great design skills or a professional designer, this is for you. If you are “just” a developer without the great design skills, keep reading. Learn more about the challenge, plus get some great design tips and resources, in the Dec. 13 edition of the Windows Phone Developer blog.

App certification holiday schedule: Open for business. With the holidays rapidly approaching, Windows Phone Marketplace Senior Director of Business Operations Todd Brix wants to assure you that the Windows Phone Store will be open for business during the holiday timeframe. Since the launch of Windows Phone 8 in late October, we are experiencing a sustained 40 percent increase in Windows Phone app submissions. To meet this increase in app submission volume and maintain our certification processing turnaround times for developers, we will have our full staff on-hand throughout the holiday period. For details and submission guidelines, head over to this Dec. 12 post on the Windows Phone Developer blog.

Sharing from your app. In Windows 8, sharing is a ubiquitous experience and a natural user expectation. Users often come across content in your app that they’re excited to share with friends or use in another app. As a developer you can meet this user expectation by using the Share contract which provides a lightweight, contextual and easy model for accomplishing app-to-app sharing. You may be familiar with the app Food with Friends, introduced in the post on creating apps that stand out from the crowd. In this post, we talk more about how an app can be a great share source using Food with Friends as an example. Check out this Dec. 12 Windows 8 App Developer Blog post for a breakdown of what’s involved in building a great share source experience.

Registration open for 2013 Security Development Conference: Calling all IT security professionals. Registration is now open for the second Security Development Conference, taking place in San Francisco May 14–15, 2013. The conference theme this year is “Proven Practices, Reduced Risk,” and event keynotes will include Edna M. Conway, chief security strategist, Cisco Systems Inc.; Brad Arkin, senior director of Security, Adobe products and services; and Scott Charney, corporate vice president, Trustworthy Computing for Microsoft. For event details, including early registration discount info, take a look at this press release on Microsoft News Center.

Ten reasons why Internet Explorer 10 is best for business. The Web browser is not only important at home or in school. For business, the browser is a key tool for accessing line of business apps, connecting with customers and partners, modernizing employee desktops, and enabling employees the flexibility to work from anywhere. Choosing the right browser is critical for organizations and a choice that has far-reaching impact on organizational security, productivity and application development costs. On Dec. 13, the IE team shared the findings of a study from Forrester Consulting that reveals business priorities that reaffirm Internet Explorer’s choice as a great browser for business. Read the full story on the Dec. 13 issue of the Exploring IE blog. The image below from Strangeloop illustrates one reason to choose IE10: performance.

Microsoft's Garage + Startup Weekend = 3 days to launch a startup. For three days recently, 70 Microsoft employees gathered in The Garage for Startup Weekend, an innovation event that challenged them to think intrapreneurially and take an idea from inception all the way to product launch in just 54 hours. Sound overly ambitious? Maybe, but it’s what StartupWeekend.org does around the world on a regular basis, which is why Microsoft partnered with the Seattle-based non-profit company to help facilitate the event on Microsoft’s main campus. Participants ran the gamut—from engineers to designers to biz dev experts—and so did the ideas they pitched on Day 1. Get a glimpse of the event in the video below and read all about it in this Dec. 14 Next at Microsoft post.

Creating buzz for computer science. Here’s a sobering fact: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2018 there will be 1.4 million open technology jobs in the United States and, at the current rate of students graduating with degrees in computer science, we will fill only 61 percent of those openings. These predictions are all the more dispiriting when you realize that the latest advances in improving healthcare, protecting the environment and upgrading manufacturing have come from technological innovations. Rane Johnson-Stempson of Microsoft Research, who authored this Dec. 14 Microsoft on the Issues post, says, “I believe that no other field offers as much opportunity for students and society as computer science does.” In the image below, Johnson-Stempson helps high-school students understand rapid prototyping with .NET Gadgeteer from Microsoft Research.

Breaking news: HTML 5.0 and Canvas 2D specification’s definition is complete! Monday marked an important milestone for Web development, as the W3C announced the publication of the Candidate Recommendation (CR) version of the HTML 5.0 and Canvas 2D specifications. This means that the specifications are feature complete: no new features will be added to the final HTML 5.0 or the Canvas2D Recommendations. A small number of features are marked “at risk,” but developers and businesses can now rely on all others being in the final HTML 5.0 and Canvas 2D Recommendations for implementation and planning purposes. For the rest of the story, head over to Monday’s post on the Interoperability @ Microsoft blog.

PowerPoint 2013: Shining a spotlight on video and audio. You want to say something, but your bullet points and graphics aren’t quite cutting it? Sometimes the best way to make your point is with video or audio clips. PowerPoint 2013 has a bunch of improvements that make video and audio easier to include in your presentation. In this blog post, the PowerPoint team discusses how we’ve brought multimedia to the PowerPoint Web App, as well as how we’ve made multimedia better in PowerPoint 2013. You asked for it, and we delivered. We’re happy to tell you that the PowerPoint Web App now supports multimedia playback! See it in action below and see how to do it in this Dec. 14 PowerPoint Blog post.

And in case you missed it … Slideshow: For small companies, Windows 8 can boost productivity, mobility, security.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog