Microsoft News Center
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we have stories from TechFest 2013, new Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps such as Real Soccer 2013 and Next Issue, Office 2013 and more.
From TechFest 2013: Microsoft Research’s FetchClimate helps predict weather patterns and forest fires. One of the stand out projects from TechFest last year was FetchClimate! — a browser-based tool that lets you access and visualize all sorts of climate and atmospheric data from around the world in a Bing Maps interface. It’s an amazing tool for a couple of reasons: it gives you access to actual climate data from sources such as NOAA and the MET at the click of a mouse, and it gives you this really useful and visually engaging interface that helps you drill down into a host of different factors as they relate to weather conditions. It really was an amazing display of how big data could be visualized. This year, Microsoft Researchers Drew Purves and Vassily Lyutsarev went a step further. They developed the prototype for a browser-based probability engine that could use all of that climate data to make predictions about weather patterns, forest fires and other atmospheric conditions. Watch the video below and read this Thursday post on Next at Microsoft to learn more about this exciting MSR project. Also, if you weren’t able to make it to TechFest, you should check out these videos from the event at the TechFest 2013 Video Portal.
Working on group projects has never been easier.
Starting today, college students in the U.S. can get three months of Office 365 University and 20 GB of SkyDrive storage for free. Now, you and your classmates can create and edit full Office documents from just about anywhere and access and store them on SkyDrive.
Check out the video below starring Aubrey Plaza, one of the stars from NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”, as she walks her fellow students through how easy it is to get your class projects done using Office 365 University and SkyDrive (even if you’re working from a unicorn stable):
Boy, they never stop trying to improve over on the Bing team.
Today, Microsoft released a new version of Bing Desktop, which includes some cool new features:
· Keep Tabs on Your Facebook Friends: Now Bing Desktop lets you check your news feed and friends’ photos without launching a browser.
The Lync 2013 app for Windows Phone is here!
As someone who is always on the go and can’t always be tied to my desk, I use the Lync 2013 for Windows Phone pretty much every day. The app brings the power of the Lync desktop app to your mobile device – including voice and video over wireless, instant messaging, conferencing and calling features – and all from a sleek, easy-to-use interface.
Here are some of the new app’s key features:
· View colleagues’ availability in real time and select the best way to communicate – initiating an instant message (IM), e-mail, voice or video call.
· Connect to Lync Meetings with a single touch, without requiring long numeric passcodes or conference numbers.
Since last summer, more than 60 million customers have signed up for Outlook.com, Microsoft’s new modern email service. And when we say “modern”, we mean “modern”.
Outlook.com helps solve two of the biggest problems email services have faced since people started communicating electronically in massive numbers years ago – outdated contacts lists and attachment space limits.
Space… The final frontier… These are the voyages of five cool Windows 8 apps that let space fanatics explore strange new worlds, seek out new life forms and new… well, you get the idea.
Windows Experience Blog writer Amy D has a fantastic roundup of five out of this world apps focused on exploring the cosmos – Star Chart, NASA Be a Martian, The Final Frontier, Planet Story and Angry Birds Space. Above is a screenshot from the Star Chart app.
It was easy to add compelling new indie games to the Next Big Thing Collection in the Windows Phone Store for March, because this month has a bumper crop of awesome titles from some of our most popular developers.
You can build your own country, find the common element among four pictures (not nearly as easy as it sounds), or even conquer big, bad enemies with your tennis serve. Get ready for some serious March mayhem with these top new indie games for Windows Phone. Above is a screenshot from No Gravity ($1.99), where you’re one of the lone survivors of a deadly plague who must now must find and destroy the enemy responsible for unleashing it.
Just about anyone with a smartphone today can shoot video and share it across multiple social networks. But what if you could go to the big game with your buddies or a concert with your friends and create a single video that showcases the same event from multiple points of view?
Now you can. Microsoft and social video editing startup Vyclone today released a new Web editor that allows users to edit and share crowd sourced video to the Web using just a browser and HTML5. Watch the video below to get a behind-the-scenes look at the new web editor.
Experience epic battles in a quest to conquer the galaxy in Galactic Reign, a game of tactics and strategy for Windows 8 and Windows Phone and the latest App of the Week featured on the Microsoft News Center.
Assemble a fleet of starships and take command, and then choose a species to man the ships and customize them with weapons such as torpedoes and lasers. Expand your fleet with vital resources harvested from nearby planets while battling other admirals for control of three key planets in the system and ultimate domination of the galaxy.
Great to visit @yammer and @motherlondon today, fantastic innovation in @techcityuk that we can all be proud of A twitter.com/BritishMonarch…
— TheBritishMonarchy (@BritishMonarchy) March 13, 2013
Great to visit @yammer and @motherlondon today, fantastic innovation in @techcityuk that we can all be proud of A twitter.com/BritishMonarch…
We had a special visitor at Yammer’s London office earlier this morning: His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, stopped by while on a visit to Tech City, a technology hub located in East London.
Twitter for Windows 8 is now available in the Windows Store!
Twitter for Windows 8 brings you all the design, features and functionality of Twitter combined with the fast and fluid technology of Windows 8:
· The Discover (#) icon shows you new topics from people in your network and other information like Trends and Who to Follow suggestions.
· The Share charm makes it easier to tweet links, pictures and opinions to your followers from anywhere in Windows 8.
· Create the ultimate screen with Snap view on Windows 8. Drag Twitter into the narrow side of the screen and slide in another favorite app. You can stream a live video while you watch the conversation about it unfold on Twitter. Then use the Share charm to join the discussion.
If you’re an avid skier, then we’ve got the app for you – Winter Ski & Ride for Windows Phone. You’ll find it in the Nokia Collection in the Windows Phone Store.
The app has some really cool features for anyone who enjoys the rush of barreling down the side of a mountain at high speed:
· Ski analytics (speed, duration, vertical drop)
· "Zoomable" resort maps for thousands of resorts
The Verge’s Tom Warren published a story that does a great job of capturing our thinking on the future of search in general and Bing in particular.
Warren’s piece is a strong reflection of the Online Services Division’s strategy to enrich and differentiate Microsoft devices and services using the expertise built over the past several years in constructing the Bing search box.
The story focuses on Bing’s deep integration with so much of what we do here at Microsoft, and quotes Qi Lu, president of the Online Services Division, who spoke about the future role of Bing, among other topics, at TechForum last week.
Xbox 360 sold 302,000 units in February, marking its 26th consecutive month as the number-one selling console in the U.S., according to data released today by The NPD Group.
February highlights from The NPD Group include:
· Holding 41 percent share of current-generation console sales, maintaining the number-one console spot in the U.S.
· Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform in February (hardware, software and accessories) was the most for any console in the U.S.
· During the month of February, Xbox 360 held five of the top 10 console game titles including: “Crysis 3,” “Aliens: Colonial Marines,” “Dead Space 3,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” and “NBA 2K13.”
This spring, Xbox 360 continues to bring new offerings to consumers. Available for a limited time, the new Spring Value Bundle includes a 250GB Xbox 360, wireless controller, wired headset, “Darksiders II” and “Batman: Arkham City” for $299.
Well, it’s been one heck of a busy week here at Microsoft! This week, Windows Phone 8 won the smartphone category in PCMag.com’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards, the Xbox 360 kept the top console spot in the U.S., the Duke of York visited the Yammer office in London and the Twitter app for Windows 8 was released. Phew! Read more about it below.
And the winner is… PCMag.com’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards are in and Windows Phone 8 won in the smartphone category! “According to our survey respondents, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 clearly bests Apple and Android. In 2012, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 shared the Readers' Choice Award for mobile phone platforms with Apple's iOS. This year, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 stands alone at the top, relegating Apple's iOS to Honorable Mention,” PCMag.com writer Ben Gottesman reports. You can get the full story over on PCMag.com.
Keep better track of favorite bands using Buzz app for Windows Phone. Do concert and album announcements tend to get lost in the noise of Facebook, Farmville, and family? Do you usually find out local shows from reviews the next day. If that’s the case, you can stay more up to date on the music scene with Buzz, a recently-enabled feature of Windows Phone 8 that rolls up info from social media and Bing to provide a snapshot of what your favorite bands are up to. Where available, you’ll find it in the Music+Videos Hub when you tap on an artist. Read this post on The Windows Phone Blog to get the entire story. Below is a trio of screenshots from the Buzz app.
Life at Microsoft isn’t just about coming up with the next big technological innovation or writing software code.
Case in point: Next week, more than 400 Microsoft employees, customers and partners from around the world will travel to New Orleans for the annual Microsoft Dynamics Convergence conference. On March 18, before the convention networking begins, more than 400 customers, partners and Microsoft employees attending Convergence are teaming up with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, Hike for KaTREEna and St. Paul’s Homecoming Center to frame two new Habitat houses.
The Kinect for Windows team unveiled Kinect for Windows SDK 1.7 at the Engadget Expand event this past weekend.
The latest iteration is the result of thousands of hours of work since the release of the Kinect for Windows SDK v. 1 and comes with a host of cool new capabilities.
The long wait for hordes of “Gears of War” fans is over. “Gears of War: Judgment” is here! The latest installment of the award-winning franchise hit stores at just after midnight.
Developed exclusively for Xbox 360, “Gears of War: Judgment” immerses fans in the most riveting and challenging “Gears” game yet, with explosive new multiplayer modes and an epic-scale campaign that takes you back to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day – the defining event of the “Gears of War” universe.
Set years prior to the events of the previous “Gears of War” trilogy, “Judgment” follows Kilo Squad, a team of battle-hardened warriors comprised of the fearless Damon Baird, Augustus “The Cole Train” Cole and new characters Sofia Hendrick and Garron Paduk, as they attempt to save the besieged city of Halvo Bay from a terrifying new enemy.
“Judgment” introduces several firsts for the franchise, including a dynamic “Smart Spawn System” that changes enemy types, timing and locations with each encounter, as well as a “Mission Declassification” system that lets players experience more challenging scenarios by uncovering critical information during the course of the campaign.
Selection Sunday for the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament is done.
Now, it’s time to for you to make your selections! If you’re as big a college hoops fan as I am, then you’ll want all the help you can get filling out those brackets.
Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh has highlighted a few slam dunk apps from the Windows Phone Store’s March Madness Collection to help you stay up to fill out your brackets and stay up to date on which teams advance and which ones go home.
The following is a feature story from Microsoft News Center Editorial Staff about a new Windows Phone app contest where the public votes one lucky app into a TV ad and gets a chance to win new Windows Phones for themselves in the process.
It’s part March Madness, part American Idol; part showcase and part showdown.
The Windows Phone Next App Star contest enters its first round of head-to-head competition today, pitting Windows Phone apps from developers around the world against each other for a chance to see their app on TV.
Like March Madness, the contest happens during the third month of the year, and its first round involves 64 contestants. Like American Idol, popular vote decides the winner. In this case, ballots can be cast via the contest web site starting today. Customers from every country that Microsoft does business with may vote.
The winner of each head-to-head match gets a prize and moves on to the next round, and the top app at the end of the contest will get featured in a prime-time television ad in the U.S.
Redbox fans will be glad to hear that the Redbox Instant by Verizon app is now available on Xbox LIVE.
Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson reports, “Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers in the U.S. can sign up for Redbox Instant by Verizon and start enjoying Hollywood’s newest releases, in addition to a movie-lovers collection of popular classics available for unlimited streaming. Redbox Instant by Verizon also offers the ability to purchase and rent new releases and stream them directly into your living room through Xbox 360 without needing a subscription.”
First we brought you “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
Now, “The Dark Knight Rises” is available in the Windows Phone Store for anyone brave enough to try and save Gotham City from certain destruction.
As Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh reports, the story picks up eight years after the events of “The Dark Knight,” with billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne donning the black cape and cowl after a long absence. Waiting for him are the mysterious Selina Kyle, and Bane, a lethal adversary on a crusade to tear apart Batman’s legacy piece by piece.
Computerworld has recognized Microsoft Research for breakthroughs made in combating two deadly diseases that affect millions throughout the world: pneumonia and HIV infection.
Working in collaboration with the University of Oxford, our research strives to make pneumonia vaccine more effective.
Two of our research efforts have been named 2013 IDG's Computerworld Honors Program Laureates. The Computerworld Honors program, founded in 1988, recognizes organizations and individuals who have used information technology to promote positive social, economic and educational change.
The Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team has one of the fiercest fan bases and home court advantages in the NBA thanks to star players such as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. On game nights, more than 18,000 fans descend upon Chesapeake Energy Arena to support their hometown team.
That’s pretty impressive considering the team only started playing in 2008. How did they do it? Well, having the likes of Durant and Westbrook helps, but the franchise also focused hard on building a great fan experience at the arena.
To help with the customer relationship management effort, the Thunder selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 over Salesforce.com because of its flexibility, ease of use, integration capabilities and lower total cost of ownership.
Can’t get enough music from the Grunge Era? Is Motown more your style? Or maybe you want to close your eyes, sit back on the couch with a glass of wine and enjoy a little smooth jazz.
Whatever your musical tastes, the Pandora for Windows Phone app has you covered. It’s a music lover’s dream and the Microsoft News Center’s latest App of the Week.
Search for the name of one of your favorite artists, songs or classical composers and Pandora will create a custom "station" that plays similar music. You’ll hear many of your favorite tunes and discover previously undiscovered selections by artists that may be new to you.