Microsoft News Center
Microsoft has a lot going on these days: Windows Phone 7, Kinect, Bing, cloud computing – and that’s just in the past week.
Recognizing that the holidays are right around the corner and people are gearing up for vacation, I’ll keep this edition of Weekend Reading brief. We have a lot to cover though, so let’s get into it.
It is with great concern we are seeing the images from Japan.
The scene of the devastation is quite amazing. It will be a while for all of us to get a full sense of the disaster and its impact.
Our team in Japan was in fact hosting a conversation with 30 NGO representatives from our Community Technology Skills Program partner the National Council of Women who were in the building for a training event. Some of the representatives are from across Japan including some of the worst hit areas of the disaster. This was their annual review of the program. The Japan team has been working hard to supply food, drinks and blankets to all those remaining in the building.
In this episode of “On the Whiteboard,” Editor Pamela Woon goes to Makerhaus and its 10,000-square-feet of fabrication prototyping – a membership workshop that features 3D printing for things such as jewelry, toys and virtually anything you can design with 3D software.
While 3D printing isn’t mainstream – yet – it’s only a matter of time before it is, with the potential to crank out increasingly complex creations as easily as printing a Word document. In fact, customers can buy a 3D printer at Microsoft retail stores this fall and at Staples for $1,299.
Company challenges security researchers to yank powerful techniques out of attackers’ toolboxes, with $100,000 on the line.
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.
Today Microsoft opened the first Microsoft Store outside the continental United States, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Located in the Plaza Las Americas Mall in San Juan, the store is 4,000 square feet and will focus on selling Microsoft products and provide support services for consumers and small businesses.
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.
You’re familiar with Xbox SmartGlass, right? It turns your smartphone, tablet or laptop into the perfect companion for your Xbox, delivering unique second-screen experiences. The Xbox Wire bloggers recently caught up with Xbox Live General Manager Ron Pessner, who leads the engineering team developing the new SmartGlass, to talk about how it unlocks a multitude of activities for Xbox One.
Find out what Pessner had to say about the experiences his team of engineers and interface and design gurus have built based on the great feedback from customers. Pessner discusses what’s coming in terms of performance, games, TV and more. Read all about it.
AT&T will soon add another beautiful Windows Phone 8 device from Nokia to its lineup – the Lumia 925.
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.
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.
Freshly enhanced versions of both Foursquare and YouTube arrived in the Windows Phone Store today, bringing additional Windows Phone 8 features to the two popular apps.
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.
Ever wonder where those familiar chimes and beeps that signal you’ve got a new text message or e-mail waiting on your smartphone come from?
Well, now you can find out. In the first episode of Microsoft’s new film series “On the Whiteboard,” Editor Pamela Woon chats with two-time Oscar winner Randy Thom about the (often underestimated) importance of sound in human-technology interactions.
Two big stories out of Microsoft today:
Over on the Microsoft News Center, we took some time to talk to Jerry Hook and Tamir Melamed, who lead the engineering team laying the subterranean IT structures that will power every pixel of the multiplayer experience in “Halo 4.” Everything fans experience online – stats, screenshots, the simple joy of blasting a friend or stranger to smithereens – depends on the infrastructure they’ve built over the past year and half. That infrastructure is supported by Windows Azure, which provides the team with the affordable scalability they need to keep a game like “Halo 4” running smoothly for fans. Below is a screenshot from “Halo 4,”which takes the multiplayer experience even further with Spartan Ops, a series of episodic videos coupled with missions that will stream to users every week.
Microsoft and Toyota Motor Corp. today announced they have forged a partnership to build a global cloud platform to support telematics in Toyota hybrids and plug-in vehicles, starting in 2012. As the car increasingly becomes the ultimate “mobile device” for consumers, telematics technologies can allow drivers to start their cars remotely, turn on their AC from a cell phone, check systems within the car and much more.
Looks like Microsoft made the nice list this year. The company is working with North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) to help power the annual Santa Tracker using NORAD’s powerful global radars and Microsoft technology, including Bing Maps, Windows Azure, and apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Once upon a time children would have to take their parents’ word that Santa Claus was on his way (but will only stop at their house if they go to sleep already). Now, using a website, a mobile app, or by placing a phone call to NORAD, children can determine Santa Claus’s approximate global position.
Also, the information technology forecast for the next two years calls for increasing cloudiness – cloud computing job opportunities, that is.
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:
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the latest release of Try F#, the Windows Startup Challenge, plus how to design, optimize and submit your Windows Phone apps – tools and tips you’ll want to use.
Eight tips for designing Windows Phone apps. As part of the "App to the future" challenge, we’ve conducted Lightning Design Review sessions for a few weeks, and one thing struck Windows Phone Product Marketing Director JC Cimetiere as he was watching: review after review, he could clearly identify some recurring patterns. So Cimetiere asked Senior Interactive Designer, Lincoln Anderson, who hosts the reviews, to analyze common issues he sees and write down the top eight design tips for Windows Phone. To see what they came up with, head over to the Jan. 18 post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. While you’re there, learn how to make your apps battery-friendly in this Jan. 17 post on Optimizing Battery Consumption of Windows Phone Applications.
Try F#—data console to big and broad data. Yesterday, we announced the latest release of Try F#, a set of resources that makes it easy to learn and program with F# in your browser. It’s available over a wide range of platforms and doesn’t require a download of Microsoft Visual Studio. Try F# quickly reveals the value of the versatile F# programming language. Try F# enables users to learn F# through new tutorials that focus on solving real-world problems, including analytical programming quandaries of the sort that are encountered in finance and data science.