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Four students from Arizona State University were named the Imagine Cup U.S. winners in the Software Design category on Monday and will go on to the Imagine Cup 2011 worldwide finals in New York City this coming summer, competing against student teams from more than 70 countries and regions around the world.
The students - Michael Astrauskas, David Hayden, Shashank Srinivas and Qian Yan – won with a project that enables low-vision students to take notes in class with the assistance of a custom-designed, portable camera, a touch-screen Tablet PC and Microsoft OneNote.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Microsoft Surface, Kinect inventor Alex Kipman winning the Inventor of the Year Award from the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation and more.
Microsoft increased production and expands retail distribution for Surface. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced plans to make Microsoft Surface available at additional retailers as soon as mid-December. In addition, the company announced the extension of the Microsoft holiday stores, including the transition of several of the stores into permanent Microsoft retail outlets. “The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see. We’ve increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface,” said Panos Panay, general manager, Microsoft Surface.
The holidays are officially in full swing, and today the Windows Experience Blog is featuring five festive apps to get you in the spirit of the season and help you make the most of your celebrations with family and friends. Make sure to also check out the Window’s Store’s special holiday offers to save on select apps, subscriptions and services.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, The Official Microsoft Blog
Microsoft announced a bevy of developer-related news this week around Internet Explorer 9, HTML5, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure.
Developers – start your engines! Microsoft announced on March 1st the launch of Dev Unplugged, a contest that challenges web developers to push the limits of a modern browser without the use of plug-ins. “We believe that HTML5 and related technologies, in conjunction with faster and faster browsers, finally give developers the tools they need to create experiences that are as vivid, interactive and compelling as anything you have seen in native applications,” writes Exploring IR blogger Carter Rabasa. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley covered the story in her daily All About Microsoft column.
Earlier today, President Barack Obama appointed General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt as chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
The council’s goal is to serve as a catalyst for ideas and action to improve U.S. economic vitality. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer praised Immelt’s appointment as chairman to the council:
At an event in San Francisco earlier today, Microsoft fully took the wraps off of Windows Phone 8 after a brief peek back in June to showcase some of the new platform enhancements.
As part of the announcement, Microsoft revealed new features, including Kid’s Corner and Rooms, along with details and pricing for a range of beautiful new smartphones from Nokia, Samsung and HTC, each with their own differentiated designs, colors and features. Windows Phone 8 devices will go on sale in November at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S., as well as at carriers and retailers around the world. That's a screenshot of the Kid's Corner to the right.
“We set out to create the most personal smartphone there is, focused on keeping you closer to the people and things that matter most,” said Terry Myerson, corporate vice president of the Windows Phone Division. “It’s also the best phone for Windows, helping you stay connected across devices. And finally, of course, there’s the hardware. We have a killer lineup of new phones featuring big bright screens, awesome audio capabilities and great cameras from HTC, Nokia and Samsung.”
Today is the kickoff of American Education Week with the purpose of shining a spotlight on the importance that every student has a basic right to receive an excellent public education and highlighting the need for everyone to get involved in improving the education system in the United States. To help celebrate, we are in Raleigh, North Carolina announcing a new partnership with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to bring IT training to every high school student in the state.
With the national unemployment rate at 9.6%, and 16.6% for recent college grads, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that 77% of American jobs will require technology skills in the next decade, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure high school seniors graduate college and career ready and equipped with 21st century skills to be able to compete in a tech-savvy workforce.
Microsoft made big news this week when it showed off a glimpse of the Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK). Also new this past week – how to kick that pesky Windows XP habit and a cool behind-the-scenes story on the Kinect’s audio capabilities.
The power and potential of Kinect. Later this spring, Microsoft will release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) from Microsoft Research to encourage the freedom to dream and create amazing experiences with natural user interfaces (NUI). We believe the combined creativity of Microsoft and the academic research and enthusiast communities will lead to new experiences that will transform our relationship with computers. At MIX11, an annual developer conference hosted by Microsoft, the power and potential of Kinect was center stage.
Being productive at work with Windows 7. In this April 25th post on the Windows Experience Blog, blogger Brandon LeBlanc gives readers five videos that demo some of the features in Windows 7 designed to make you more productive at work. Check them out.
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.
Hopefully, the news regarding the launch of Internet Explorer 9 hasn’t satisfied your thirst for technology stories coming out of Microsoft this week, because plenty of other stuff happened at the company.
Without further ado, here is the latest edition of the Midweek Download:
New content series for Windows Phone developers. The Windows Phone Developer Blog has launched a new series of posts for Web developers targeting the Windows Phone 7 platform. In the first installment, blogger Jorge Peraza, a program manager on the Windows Phone Browser Team, writes about managing the Windows Phone browser viewport.
On Dec. 7, Halo 4 won two awards at the Spike TV Video Game Awards – Best Graphics and Best Xbox 360 Game. And on Sunday, Halo 4 won three more at the Inside Gaming Awards, including the top prize – Game of the Year – as well as Best Competitive Multiplayer and Best Sound Design.
Given the big weekend news, we thought now might be a good time to resurface a Nov. 5 Microsoft News Center feature story profiling a few members of the engineering team at 343 Industries, the driving force behind the fourth installment in the hit Halo franchise.
It happens early and often in every “Halo” game: the ‘30 seconds of fun.’
That phrase refers to the heart-thumping period when players risk pixelated life and limb to take on teeming hordes of enemies. The ‘30 seconds of fun’ mantra began with Bungie, the game studio that created the first five games of the “Halo” franchise.
But “Halo” has always delivered a rich story alongside the action; the game’s universe has spawned comic books and New York Times bestselling novels. “Halo” takes the Goldilocks approach to gaming: it doesn’t exhaust you with long storytelling animations nor numb you with nonstop battles. It finds a middle ground: It’s just right.
At the Social Innovation Summit today, Microsoft announced the winners of the second annual Microsoft Imagine Cup Grants program, a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program that provides students with funding and support to help transform their projects into social enterprises or nonprofits that will address a specific social issue. The Imagine Cup Grants program is part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, which aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth during the next three years. Check out this feature story on the Microsoft News Center and this post on the Microsoft Corporate Citizenship Blog. Below is a photo of Team Cipher256 of Uganda, (left to right) David Musinguzi, Aaron Tushabe, Joshua Okello, Josiah Kavuma and Joseph Kaizzi. The team received an honorable mention prize for WinSenga, a mobile application that aids midwives as they assist expectant mothers.
This week for the Midweek Download, we’ve got news about a Silverlight 5 beta that will be unveiled at MIX 2011, a few bits and pieces on progress in Windows Phone and a great speech from Bing chief Qi Lu.
Silverlight 5 beta in the MIX. The Silverlight team announced via a blog post on Monday that it will introduce a beta version of Silverlight 5 – complete with demos – at the MIX show in Las Vegas. MIX runs from April 12 to April 14. The team also fleshed out its thoughts on the future of both Silverlight and HTML5. Check it out.
One year in: A few numbers for Windows Phone developers. It was around this time at MIX 2010 that Microsoft unveiled the application platform and tools developers would use to create compelling Windows Phone 7 apps.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerSenior Manager, Corporate Blogs
Microsoft is a big place with lots of technology stories to tell.
In a new weekly series dubbed the Midweek Download, this blog will focus on the news coming out of Microsoft’s technology groups, as well as those stories that might not garner the attention of the media and the technology press.
Look for the new series every Wednesday. Fans of the Official Microsoft Blog’s Weekend Reading series will doubtless find the format familiar.
Are you ready for your first download?
Two stories out of Microsoft today:
First: Are olives drenched in hot sauce the breakfast of champions? They are if you’re gaming champ Alex Hebert-Ruiz, a onetime top-10 ranked Halo player and one of the world’s most gifted gamers. Alex now works at Microsoft, where she advocates for Xbox LIVE Arcade games when she's not playing Halo 4. Read this Microsoft News Center profile of Alex to learn more about how her infectious enthusiasm for games and game culture carried her to her latest adventure at Microsoft. That's Alex to the left.
Also, Microsoft has announced the first major update to Visual Studio 2012. The upgrade delivers improved Windows and SharePoint application development, agile team support and continuous quality enablement, all designed to help developers jumpstart productivity and drive down risk.
The big news out of Microsoft today is the launch of Xbox Music, a new all-in-one music service, specially designed to let users listen to music in exactly the way they want, begins rolling out to millions of people around the world Oct. 16 on the Xbox 360, then to the masses with Windows 8 on Oct. 26.
The all-in-one music service combines the best aspects of free-streaming radio, music subscription services and music purchasing options, all in one elegant package, says Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business Marketing and Strategy. Watch the video below to find out more.
It’s a busy, busy day here at Microsoft!
First, today we mark the tenth anniversary of the launch of Xbox LIVE, defined at the time as "the first comprehensive, online game arena fully dedicated to fast-action broadband gaming experiences." Since then Xbox LIVE has evolved to become Microsoft’s premier entertainment service for the TV, phone, PC and tablet. Initially available to U.S. and Canadian Xbox players, the service is now available in 41 countries and territories around the world. The 10-year journey has been long, but Xbox continually updated Xbox LIVE to add new gaming and entertainment experiences and services to the console for its members. Below, at the Xbox 360: Zero Hour launch event in November 2005, thousands of gamers from around the world witnessed the dawning of the next generation of gaming. Xbox LIVE membership would grow from about 2 million to today's 40 million members.
Earlier this morning, we released our annual Citizenship Report, which provides an overview of our citizenship work over the past fiscal year, from July 2011 to June 2012. This is the third year in a row that we have released the Citizenship Report at the same time as our annual financial report. Together, these two milestones give our shareholders, customers, employees and many community partners a full view of Microsoft’s financial and non-financial performance across all business operations. Read more about it over on Microsoft on the Issues.
Also this morning, it was announced that the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (EPHEC), a university college renowned for its business curriculum is adopting Microsoft Office 365 for education.