The Force is with us big-time this week: We’ve got stories about Skype Translator debuting in Mandarin and Italian, Build 2015 making a first-ever road tour worldwide, and all six Star Wars films being available digitally for the first time on Xbox Video.
Skype Translator adds two more languages, Mandarin and Italian, joining Spanish and English in the preview program. Adding Mandarin Chinese is quite a feat; it’s a “very challenging language to learn, even for Skype Translator,” noted Yasmin Khan in a Skype blog post. “With approximately 10,000 characters and multiple tones, this is one of the most difficult languages for a native English speaker to master, along with Arabic, Japanese and Korean.” Microsoft researchers and scientists in Beijing, China, worked very closely with their U.S.-based colleagues to build the recognition, language and translation models for Mandarin.
Build is doing a road trip! Build 2015, the developers’ conference April 29-May 1 in San Francisco, is sold out, but if you want to see some of Microsoft’s latest technologies and hear Build speakers in person, you’re in luck: Build is going on the road. The Build Tour, from May 18 through June 15, will come to 10 cities around the world: London, New York, Atlanta, Austin, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Mexico City, Singapore, Auckland and Sydney.
Pay it forward by helping teach computer science to high schools students. High schools around the country are in desperate need of your computer science smarts if you’re an engineer, software developer or programmer. An easy way to connect your talent and skills is through Microsoft’s volunteer TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) program. More than 475 TEALS volunteers across the nation now are team-teaching Computer Science 101 and AP Computer Science with classroom teachers in more than 130 schools. Applications are being accepted through May 1. TEALS founder Kevin Wang shares appreciative comments from TEALS students at a recent event.
All six Star Wars films are available, starting today, for the first time on Digital HD and on Xbox. Also newly available is the Netflix original series “Marvel’s Daredevil.” For Star Wars, exclusives are being offered for Xbox customers who purchase the saga on Xbox Video, including R2-D2 as an Xbox Live avatar and the action-packed Star Wars Pinball Pack for the free-to-play game “Pinball FX 2” for Xbox One or Xbox 360. In “Marvel’s Daredevil,” join Matt Murdock – blinded as a young boy but imbued with extraordinary senses – as he fights injustice by day as a lawyer, and by night as the Super Hero Daredevil. It’s Marvel’s first original series on Netflix, and is the first of four series to come.
Office 365 introduced Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection, a robust email filtering service that protects against specific types of advanced threats, including unknown malware and viruses. The system extends the protection already available in Office 365’s Exchange Online Protection. Also in Office news this week: Office Online and Dropbox expanded their ongoing partnership with integration between Dropbox on the Web and Office Online. Now you can browse, open and edit files in Dropbox online with Office Online. You can also create new files in Office Online and save directly to your Dropbox.
Our app of the week is the new Shazam, which makes exploring, buying and sharing music even easier for Windows Phone users. You can now preview favorite Shazams with Xbox Music Playbox and add your favorite songs from Shazam’s Charts to the My Shazam section. Meanwhile, if you’re just starting your taxes (*looks at self*), get some help from Mint, MSN Money and other apps, including TaxCaster, which lets you quickly calculate your estimated tax refund. If, after your tax prep, you’re not in the mood to cook for real, you can still have some fun with the game, “Toca Kitchen 2,” with some crazy new food combinations to try out. Or just let it go, and play the updated “Frozen Free Fall,” with 45 new birthday levels, three new game modes and dazzling dresses.
This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we traveled to Brazil, where we met Rodrigo Rodrigues, a man of many passions. Follow us on Instagram to see his story.
That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. May the Force be with you for a great weekend, and we’ll see you next Friday!
Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff