Tag Archives: carbon fee

Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition

From a huge effort to help kids realize their potential to a celebration of our dear old planet, this week brought plenty of interesting and inspiring news around Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries as part of YouthSpark, a global initiative to increase access for young people to learn computer science. In turn, these nonprofit partners — such as Laboratoria, CoderDojo and City Year — will use the power of local schools, businesses and community organizations to empower students to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.

The nonprofits will build upon the work that Microsoft already has underway through programs like Hour of Code with Code.org, BBC micro:bit and TEALS.

Every young person should have an opportunity, a spark, to realize a more promising future,” Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Together with our nonprofit partners, we are excited to take a bold step toward that goal today.”

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Wondering what the next wave of breakthrough technology will be? Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft Technology and Research, calls it an “invisible revolution,” and it’s transforming farming, allowing people from different cultures to communicate, helping people breathe healthier air, preventing disease outbreaks and much more.

“We are on the cusp of creating a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive but is also increasingly invisible,” Shum said.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we joined the invisible revolution to preview the latest, most cutting-edge developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing. The possibilities are endless.

Invisible revolution GIF

Computer industry luminaries honored Dave Cutler, a Microsoft senior technical fellow whose impressive body of work spans five decades, as a Computer History Museum Fellow. The 74-year-old has shaped entire eras. He worked to develop the VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation in the late 1970s, had a central role in the development of Windows NT — the basis for all major versions of Windows since 1993 — and helped develop the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system and the hypervisor for Xbox One that allows the console to be more than just for gaming.

“The Fellow awards recognize people who’ve had a tremendous impact on our lives, on our culture, on the way we work, exchange information and live,” said John Hollar, the museum’s president and CEO. “People like Dave Cutler, who probably influences the computing experiences of more than 2 billion people, yet isn’t known in a way he deserves to be, in proportion to the impact he’s had on the world.”

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Microsoft Philanthropies sponsored the annual We Day, supporting exciting events Wednesday in Seattle and earlier this month in Los Angeles. Nearly 30,000 attended the shows, which celebrate young people who are making a difference.

In supporting We Day, Microsoft aims to help young people drive the change they would like to see in their neighborhoods, schools and communities. Our photo gallery captures the highlights, famous faces and young people who were involved in this year’s events.

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In advance of Earth Day on Friday, Microsoft kicked off this week with inspiration and information about the company’s sustainability programs and initiatives, including ways you can take part in the efforts. The  brand new Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft website details how Microsoft’s company-wide carbon fee have financed significant investments in renewable energy to power its data centers, improved building efficiency and reached more than 6 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

Microsoft, which has been a carbon-neutral company since 2012, is continually finding ways to make its products and their lifecycles more earth-friendly. Learn more about how Microsoft is commemorating Earth Day on the Microsoft Green Blog.

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Microsoft is also constantly working to help students achieve more. Some all-new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update are specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students. A “Set Up School PCs” app lets teachers set up a device themselves in mere minutes, and a new “Take a Test” provides simple and secure standardized testing for classrooms or entire schools.

Learning will also get a big boost with Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, a OneNote Class Notebook that now has Learning Management System (LMS) integration and — perhaps most exciting to students — the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” Educators will be able to give it a test run in the summer months and provide feedback and suggestions.

In apps this week, the powerful mobile photo-editing app PicsArt is marking Earth Day by offering a series of green- and outdoorsy-themed photo frame and clip art packages. Several are exclusive to Windows customers. The PicsArt app is free in the Windows Store.

Need a little help juggling projects, priorities and other moving parts in your busy life? The Todoist Windows 10 app can help you stay organized, collaborate with colleagues and even empty your inbox by turning important emails into tasks.

Or for a little fun this weekend, go way beyond retro to prehistoric days in “Age of Cavemen.” In this multiplayer strategy game, you’re the village chief in a dangerous world, and you need to keep your people safe. Build an army, create alliances and destroy your opponents in a wild and wooly free-for-all.

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And that’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you here next week for the latest roundup.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

The post Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft’s carbon fee, US Imagine Cup Finals and Detroit revitalization – Weekend Reading: April 17 Edition

Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Reading. We kick it off with stories about developments as a result of Microsoft’s three-year-old carbon fee, exciting ideas from the U.S. Imagine Cup finalists and Detroit entrepreneurs who are revitalizing the city.

Microsoft is improving environments and creating healthier lives through an internal carbon fee the company established three years ago that holds all its business groups financially responsible for the cost of reducing and compensating for their carbon emissions. The money collected through this fee has purchased more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of green power, reduced company emissions by 7.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, saved more than $10 million per year and reached more than 3.2 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

The Huebotics team created a challenging puzzle game.

The Huebotics team created a challenging puzzle game.

U.S. Imagine Cup finalists bring bright ideas to next week’s competition in San Francisco, such as an app that matches students with tutors, a system to enhance virtual reality and a brain-teasing game. The annual technology competition gives students a chance to learn from Microsoft business, technical and design experts as they work to turn their creative ideas into reality. Winners from the U.S. event April 22-24 will move on to the Imagine Cup World Semifinals, where they’ll vie for a spot at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle this July.

Detroit Bikes master builder Henry Ford II. (Photo by Ami Vitale.)

Detroit Bikes master builder Henry Ford II. (Photo by Ami Vitale.)

Then there was this story about Detroit entrepreneurs like Detroit Bikes, who are helping revitalize the city. Once the automotive center of the world, Detroit emerged from bankruptcy last year and is on the long road of tackling its blight, crime and poverty. A key part of its recovery is a lively entrepreneurial scene that’s revitalizing downtown Detroit with tech startups, investors, artisans, foodies, shop owners and transplants. Among them are Zak Pashak, the founder and president of Detroit Bikes, who moved to Detroit from Calgary with a mission to renew manufacturing in the city. With the work of master builder Henry Ford II, he’s making tools to help people get around and contributing to the revival of a once great American city.

Computer science “was a lot more creative than I originally thought it would be,” says Harika Dabbara, one of the graduates of last summer’s Girls Who Code program on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Abby Huang.)

Computer science “was a lot more creative than I originally thought it would be,” says Harika Dabbara, one of the graduates of last summer’s Girls Who Code program on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Abby Huang.)

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program will return to Microsoft’s campus. Harika Dabbara attended last summer’s Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, a free, seven-week computer science education program offered to rising junior and senior girls in cities around the U.S. Dabbara was among the 20 girls in the Seattle area who attended the program on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. Microsoft YouthSpark will host the program again this summer on campus and also in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Boston. The goal of the nonprofit Girls Who Code organization is to close technology’s gender gap – which is considerable. Microsoft is one of the tech companies that sponsor, host and implement the program, which this year is expanding nationwide from 19 programs reaching 375 girls, to 60 programs reaching 1,200.


Microsoft announced Tuesday the acquisition of Datazen Software, an industry leader in mobile business intelligence and data visualization on Windows, iOS and Android devices. Datazen is optimized for SQL Server Analysis Services and the overall Microsoft platform, enabling rich, interactive data visualization and KPIs on all major mobile platforms: Windows, iOS and Android. SQL Server Enterprise Edition customers with version 2008 or later and Software Assurance can now download the Datazen Server software for free. As a result, millions of people around the world are now be able to visualize and interact with data on their mobile devices, using the native mobile apps available at no charge at the respective app stores.

The latest addition to the Halo universe arrived in a big way with “Halo: Spartan Strike,” which launched on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iPhone, iPad and Steam. We also got a new batch of Red Stripe Deals, updates to apps and games, the App of the Week, “My Talking Tom” and “Car Racing 3D High on Fuel.”


And, this week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met Devin Sinha. By day, he works as a Microsoft engineer in Seattle, and by night he is the lead singer and guitarist in an indie band.

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff