Tag Archives: featured1

A first look at the new MSN

For nearly two decades, MSN has been a place where millions of us go every day to discover and connect with what’s important in our lives. Whether it’s a great article that sparks us to think differently or following our favorite sports team, MSN has always aspired to keep us in the know.

At the same time, how we explore, discover and interact with our favorite content has changed in profound ways. It’s become increasingly hard to keep up with all of the information swirling around the Internet, let alone do something meaningful with information once we’ve found it.

Looking at this landscape, we have rebuilt MSN from the ground up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. The new MSN brings together the world’s best media sources along with data and services to enable users to do more in News, Sports, Money, Travel, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, and more. It focuses on the primary digital daily habits in people’s lives and helps them complete tasks across all of their devices. Information and personalized settings are roamed through the cloud to keep users in the know wherever they are.

People around the globe can try out the new Web experience today at preview.msn.com. We’re excited to talk about the details here for the first time.

Introducing the new MSN

New MSN 2

At the top of the MSN homepage, users have quick access to what we call the Services Stripe. This allows easy access to personal services to stay on top of what’s happening in your life. With a quick hover, you can easily check your email, browse your OneDrive, or even access your OneNote notebooks. We’ve also integrated popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Office 365 and Skype.

Additionally, the new MSN presents actionable information together with content and personal productivity tools like shopping lists, a savings calculator, a symptom checker, a 3D body explorer, and more.

A clean, fresh design makes it easy to find and enjoy content that interests you. You can reorder categories and interests to reflect your tastes.

New MSN 3

One of our goals was to make it simple to personalize what you want to see regardless of which device you use. In the coming months, we will release a suite of MSN apps across iOS and Android to complement our corresponding Windows and Windows Phone apps. You only need to set your favorites once, and your preferences will be connected across MSN, Cortana, Bing and other Microsoft experiences. Whether it is your watchlist of stocks in MSN Money, your favorite sports teams in MSN Sports, or your recipe collections in MSN Food & Drink, those things will always be with you at your PC at work, on your iPad in the living room, or on your Android phone when you are on the go.

Comprehensive & best-in-class 

Throughout all of the categories in the new MSN, including News, Sports, Money, Travel, Food & Drink, and Health & Fitness, it is a key tenet of MSN that every experience provide a global, comprehensive perspective from thousands of worldwide, authoritative sources.

We’ve partnered with the world’s best to deliver on this goal:

  • In the US, some of our premier partners include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, AOL (including TechCrunch and Huffington Post) and Condé Nast (including Vanity Fair, Epicurious, Bon Appétit).
  • Worldwide, we’re excited to include The Yomiuri Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun in Japan; Sky News, The Guardian and the Telegraph in the UK, NDTV and Hindustan Times in India, Le Figaro and Le Monde in France, and many more.

Every MSN experience includes features to make users more productive and efficient in what they’re trying to achieve.  For example, in MSN News, you can set up topics to follow the news you care about. You can track “Game of Thrones” or “Ukraine” or “Obamacare” and MSN will keep you on top of relevant news – creating a newspaper whose sections are personalized for you.

New MSN 4

When you’re searching for recipes in MSN Food & Drink and find one that you want to prepare, you can convert the ingredients for that recipe into a shopping list that roams to your phone in just one click.

New MSN 5

These are just two examples – a brief taste of what’s coming with the new MSN.  To try out the whole experience for yourself, head over to preview.msn.com.

Weekend Reading: Sept. 5th Edition — New devices unveiled at IFA and Xbox One coming to 29 new markets

It may be time to put away those flip flops and linen whites, but there’s no post-Labor Day blues for Weekend Reading. We’ve got a September that’s already full of sizzle. Check it out.

It’s been an exciting week in Berlin at IFA, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics trade shows, where Microsoft announced additions to the Lumia line of devices, including the ultimate Skype and selfie phones, while Yezz also announced devices with Windows Phone 8.1. And there were tablets, tablets and more tablets, writes Nick Parker, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, original equipment manufacturer division. For more on the latest in devices and PC gaming announcements at IFA, check out Parker’s post.

That slight snap in the air means only one thing: football! After nailing most of the matches during the biggest global soccer event this summer, Bing Predicts is ready to call NFL games, which means virtual assistant Cortana is the secret weapon that could elevate you to pro pigskin oracle.

FH_Bing-Predicts-NFL

Also in the category of awesome, Xbox One is coming to 29 new markets this month, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, announced Tuesday. The new markets include: Chile, Colombia, Japan, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and Russia, with Argentina in the works.

Want to know more about the people behind Bing? Check out this profile of Bing Data and Analytics Program Manager Kevin White and find out why red wine and data science make the perfect pairing.

WR_Kevin White

In other news this week, the Willis Independent School District in Texas announced it has chosen ASUS Transformer Book T100 tablets – equipped with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 – over Chromebooks for its students citing “flexibility, portability and security.” Here here!

Never enough football? The NFL Now app, which boasts a personalized video stream of your favorite teams, players and coaches, as well as breaking news, interviews and feature stories, is now available in the Windows Phone Store and the Windows Store. More mid-century than mid-field? Check out “Time Mysteries 3: The Final Enigma” for Windows and Windows Phone, which brings the timeless story of Esther Ambrose and her family to a stunning conclusion. And because there is life after Labor Day, download the GroupMe app for Windows Phone to connect with friends and coworkers and get the next round of party planning going. Finally, your Windows Phone does more than help you manage your calendar, it can also help you keep track of your medical records and doctor visits with the Microsoft Health Vault.

WR_FH_NFL-Now_combo-640x360

Here’s hoping there’s still a little sizzle left in your summer. See you back here for more hot news next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

Brand new Windows 8.1 devices innovate and impress at IFA 2014

This is an exciting week in Berlin with IFA, one of the largest consumer electronics trade shows in the world. We always look forward to seeing new technology innovation from the industry and supporting our partners as they announce new Windows devices coming to market for holiday.

One area we have seen incredible momentum over the last year is with new Windows Phones both from Microsoft and our OEM partners. At Mobile World Congress, Joe Belfiore and I had the pleasure of introducing nine new Windows Phone partners to the ecosystem, to help continue growing and scaling Windows Phone globally. Since then, we’ve announced 13 new Windows Phone partners from key markets including India, China, the U.S., Europe, APAC, Russia and Latin America. Here in the U.S., we just saw the new HTC One (M8) for Windows, while in India, we are seeing new phones from Micromax and Xolo and in Vietnam, there is the new Q-Smart. In Europe, Prestigio announced new Windows Phones and just at IFA, ARCHOS, Kazam and Yezz announced devices with Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft also announced additions to the Lumia line of devices.

At Computex in June, I talked about our expanding ecosystem of partners, how they are helping us deliver a broad range of Windows devices across more price points and in new markets, and how we continue to invest and drive growth with our partners through innovation in our business model, software and services platforms. I’d like to highlight just a few of the coolest new Windows devices seen during IFA.

There is incredible innovation and creativity from our partners in the 2-in-1 category, and we are seeing a range of new devices to meet customer needs, whether it’s low-cost, versatility, mobility, productivity or all of these combined. The 2-in-1 is a great no-compromise solution and our OEM partners are delivering even more revolutionary features in each new device like the new Acer Aspire R13. For those that loved last year’s Aspire R7, Acer has taken this device to the next level with the hinges now on the side of the device, giving it a futuristic look and feel. HP is also continuing to innovate and improve on some of their most impressive designs. Just an hour ago, they announced two new additions to the HP ENVY x2 line of Windows PCs and they introduced the Pavilion x2. These thin and light detachable PCs are perfect for anyone that needs both a laptop and tablet but the convenience of just one device. And the 2-in-1 category is not just for fun, it’s about business too. Just a few hours ago, Lenovo announced the next generation of the business-ready ThinkPad Helix. This convertible device is now thinner, lighter and has improved battery life over the previous models. You will never have to worry if your laptop will make it through your next meeting at work, let alone worry if it will last the whole day.

More of our partners around the world are introducing new Windows tablets in a range of sizes, from 5 inches to 10 inches and larger. I had the chance to unveil a 7-inch device from Toshiba during Computex and Wednesday at IFA, they officially announced it as the Encore Mini. The beautiful little device offers the best of Windows and Office 365 Personal in an ergonomically designed, affordable, mobile package. If you have ever worried about breaking a phone or tablet, then you will be impressed by Panasonic’s announcement today bringing the ToughPad FZ-E1 to Europe. This rugged 5-inch tablet with Windows Embedded 8.1 can withstand the harshest environments, from being submerged in water to freezing temperatures to being dropped on concrete. It also has a 14-hour battery.

When it comes to value, many of our partners are shipping the $0 Windows SKU on smartphones and tablets that are less than 9 inches. There is incredible value in these devices, many of which include Office 365, OneDrive and Bing services to enhance the experience. For example, the newly announced Toshiba Satellite CL10-B Cloudbook offers the freedom to save and access files in the cloud, using one travel-friendly laptop that is coming this holiday at an incredibly affordable price. The brand new ASUS EeeBook X205 shown off yesterday will fit within any student’s budget as they head back to school. This affordable 11.6-inch laptop is priced at just $199.

For PC gaming, there are some special things that gamers want to see in a device and our partners are delivering. A great example is the new Acer Aspire V Nitro that was announced at Gamescon last month. While it is not your traditional gaming rig, the cutting-edge, slim design comes with Full HD IPS display, four built-in speakers with 8W output total and Dolby Digital Plus Home Theatre Dialog Enhancement technology. The Black Edition V Nitro series laptops have a special “Turbo Mode” that can be manually activated when heavy use requires added ventilation and enables 19 percent faster fan speed, and 11 percent lower CPU/GPU temperatures. Last week, Dell announced the all-new Alienware Area-51 with the Triad chassis industrial design engineered to provide superb thermal efficiency, amazing ergonomics, ease of access for upgrades and looks as powerful as it performs. Just announced at IFA is the new Lenovo ERAZER X310, which has 2TB of storage, though not all gaming needs that much power. For a family that is just looking for a computer to share and play all the great apps available on Windows, the latest in the Lenovo portable All-in-One line, the Horizon 2s and 2e, are a great solution. The slim 2s is 10 pounds lighter and perfect to take into the family room for a quick game or just to watch a movie.

It’s great to see the progress we’ve made in these areas with our partners, in just three months since Computex. There are more than 6,624 Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 certified products and our new local partners in the China Technology Ecosystem will bring more than 86 Windows tablets to market by holiday. Through a new strategic alliance with Gome Electrical Appliances, a major retailer in China, we have also launched a strategic platform to sell Windows tablets in the region.

The innovation on Windows devices certainly doesn’t stop here! We continue to work closely with our partners and are excited about the range of devices they are bringing to market for holiday.

Weekend Reading: Aug. 29th Edition – Surface Pro 3 now in 28 markets and Royal Caribbean provides 40,000 crew members with Windows tablets

This week, we’ve got stories on Surface Pro 3’s increased availability worldwide, Royal Caribbean Cruises going more high-tech by giving its crew Windows 8.1 tablets, and Bing in the Classroom’s lesson plans are back for a second school year.

Surface Pro 3 is now available in 25 additional markets around the world, bringing the total to 28 markets, including the United States, Canada and Japan. The 25 new markets are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The Surface Pro 3 Docking Station is available for pre-order, and will be generally available starting Sept. 12.

SurfacePro3Primary_Page

Windows 8.1 tablets are headed into the hands of Royal Caribbean’s 40,000 crew members, with those on the line’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, to be the first to get the 8-inch tablets built by HEXA for the cruise line. The tablets will include services such as Bing, Skype, Office 365 and OneDrive, and will provide a vital lifeline for ship staff to stay in touch with family members. Guests aboard the Quantum of the Seas will also be able to play games with friends around the world using Xbox One consoles, available for the first time on Royal Caribbean’s ships through Xbox Live and the ship’s unprecedented connectivity.

Royal Caribbean gives its crew members 40,000 Windows 8.1 tablets

As kids head back to school, Bing in the Classroom will be there, too. Since last fall, the program has published nearly 800 lessons plans that are paired with Bing’s stunning home page photos. When used with Bing in the Classroom’s ad-free search offering, the lesson plans enable students to practice critical thinking and search skills in an ad-free, safer and more private online environment.

A Siberian tiger takes a swim at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium (© Hans Kuczka/Aurora Photos)

A Siberian tiger takes a swim at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium (© Hans Kuczka/Aurora Photos)

Just in time for football season, “Madden NFL 15” was released, along with a special bundle for Xbox One. For $399, you can get both the game and the Xbox One console, including wireless controller and a chat headset, with the bundle available at Microsoft retail stores and other select U.S. retailers. You also won’t want to miss the special events at Microsoft retail stores tied to the release of “Madden NFL 15,” as well as to “Destiny,” Bungie’s much-anticipated first-person shooter that will be out Sept. 9. Hands-on gameplay, prizes and free food are all part of the in-store celebrations.

Madden NFL 15, Weekend Reading

The Kinect sensor for Xbox One will become available as a standalone purchase starting Oct. 7. It will cost $149.99, and also come with “Dance Central Spotlight,” from developer Harmonix. The Kinect experience includes voice and gesture controls, biometric sign-in, instant personalization, instant scanning of QR codes and enhanced features only available with Kinect in games such as “Kinect Sports Rivals,” “Dead Rising 3,” “Project Spark” and more.

Kinect sensor, Xbox One, Weekend Reading

New Azure SQL Database service tiers with reduced pricing were announced for the database-as-a-service that gives customers greater price performance and business continuity for cloud apps.There also will be a new performance level, hourly billing and an enhanced service-level agreement of 99.99 percent availability. As of November, customers will see savings of up to 50 percent on previously published prices for Premium and Standard tiers.

Did you spot Spotify in the Windows Phone Store? The free app lets you choose from millions of music tracks. You can browse, listen and create playlists, and you can save and share music, as well as follow others. The revamped NFL Fantasy Football apps for Windows and Windows Phone is our App of the Week, letting you join and create leagues in just minutes, and track live scoring on the go of your fantasy matchup and favorite players, with in-game video highlights available as soon as they happen on the field. You don’t want to miss the limited-time FREE Disney Games sale for Windows Phones, with six games available, including “Disney Solitaire” and “Toy Story: Smash It!” There’s also the Indie Game Spotlight in the Windows Phone Store for games like “Skelly Rider,” “Manuganu 2,” “Timberman by Digital Melody” and more than 30 others. The Share to Speech app turns articles into speech or MP3 files by sharing a Web page or pasting its link. It can also convert Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents, along with many other text files, into speech. When you install Share to Speech from the Windows Store ($4.99), it also comes with the version for Windows Phone.

Spotify for Windows Phone

Spotify app for Windows Phone.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we offered the ultimate back-to-school prize package. For a chance to win, tweet an #8WordEssay about this photo. Join us on our page to learn more on how to enter.

Microsoft Facbook page, 8-word essay, Weekend Reading

Hope you don’t have to labor too much – or at all – this weekend. Thanks for joining us for this edition of Weekend Reading, and we’ll see you next week!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

 

Bing lesson plans can help students with critical thinking skills, Web research

A Siberian tiger takes a swim at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium (© Hans Kuczka/Aurora Photos)

A Siberian tiger takes a swim at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium (© Hans Kuczka/Aurora Photos)

As Alice Keeler looked at her batch of upcoming Bing home pages, the former high school math teacher found the image of the Siberian tiger swimming through the waters of a Belgian zoo very striking. But that wasn’t all.

She started brainstorming possibilities for how to use the image to create a lesson plan; the choices of content were many and wide-ranging (and, for example, could have included having students read William Blake’s poem “The Tyger“). Such lessons, available for free every day through the Bing in the Classroom program, are paired with Bing’s home page image of the day. Keeler is one of four teachers who work on the lesson plans, which are tailored to three different age groups (elementary, middle and high school).

Bing has published nearly 800 of them since the fall of 2013. As teachers and students head back to school, these short lesson plans give them another tool they can use to increase digital literacy and Web research skills.

“We get great feedback from teachers, particularly about the use of the lessons to drive real creativity,” says Matt Wallaert, a behavioral scientist at Bing who created Bing in the Classroom, which also provides free Surface tablets and ad-free Web searches to schools. “It’s easy for search to become about take the question, copy it into the search engine, copy back the answer. And that’s not genuine. Search should be about real things you want to know in the world, and real ways of finding bits of information that can help you learn about them.”

Anyone can get to the lesson plans through the Bing home page. In the lower right corner of the home page image, you click on the “Info” tab and on the results page, you’ll see the image, a short description of the image and underneath, a link to the lesson plans.

Bing home page lesson plan link

Bing home page lesson plan link

“People really like the idea as an important way to explore questions that aren’t being presented in standardized testing,” says Wallaert, who is often on the road and presenting research on digital literacy. “It’s a form of project based learning, and students learn how to present to the class and synthesize information.”

When paired with Bing in the Classroom’s ad-free search offering, the lesson plans allow students practice these critical thinking and search skills in an ad-free, safer, more private online environment. And for schools short on devices, Bing Rewards allows community members to help earn free Surface tablets, just by searching the Web.

The lesson plans all follow the same template, presented through a PowerPoint deck. They start with a critical thinking question designed so that students can’t answer it by simply plugging it into a search box. Then the plans suggest five follow-up questions that online research that can help answer the main question.

A slide from Keeler’s high school lesson plan for the Siberian tiger

A slide from Keeler’s high school lesson plan for the Siberian tiger

For the Siberian tiger image, which published July 29, Keeler started with the question, “Does having tiger parks breed captive tigers as a source of tiger-bone medicine decrease poaching of wild tigers?”

This question can be a launching point from which high school students can find out how many Siberian tigers are in the wild and in captivity, why they’re endangered and what poachers are after.

“I like this one because it is an opportunity to highlight the plight of an endangered species,” says the Central California-based Keeler, a mother of five who taught high school math for 14 years.

Through her blog, Teacher Tech, Keeler encourages other teachers to try out the lesson plans.

Wallaert says the emphasis on multi-part questions can help students work as a team as they gather different pieces of information from multiple sources and searches.

“That’s something only a human can do to get a real answer,” Wallaert says.

There’s also a blank template teachers can use to create their own questions.

“I try to think about questions that would encourage kids to use the Internet and develop skills they might not naturally think about on their own,” says Nell Bang-Jensen, an artist who teaches at numerous theaters and schools around Philadelphia and is developing curriculum for the Philadelphia Young Playwrights. She’s in charge of the K-4 lesson plans for Bing. “We’re giving them solid resources, websites they know they can go to. Some questions, they would have to look at a map, or watch a video, so they’re learning to interpret information presented in different ways.”

Bang-Jensen says the lessons can “lead to larger conversations.” She adds, “Using questions as a way of understanding the world is important.”

For example, with the image below, of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, Bang-Jensen realized the average third-grader may have heard of the famous bard, but might have no context on his life. With her lesson plan, they can check out his basic biography, but also watch clips and find out why people talk differently in his plays.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London, England (© Alain Schroeder/age fotostock)

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, England (© Alain Schroeder/age fotostock)

For Christy Fennewald, who was contracted for a limited span of lesson plans that tied into Microsoft’s first-ever sponsorship of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the same image inspired a lesson plan that focused on Shakespearean sonnets. She also included a search for words he created and the chance for them to make up their own poems.

For the teachers who create the plans, the lessons help continue their education, too.

“I was a history teacher, so images that point to the deeper story are what I like to pull out,” says Ja’Dell Davis, who works in New York City’s Youth Services Department at the Educational Alliance as the assistant director for Higher Education Initiatives. She handles the middle school lesson plans. “It may be a beautiful image, but it could also be fraught with uncomfortable aspects.”

For instance, when she receives images of landscapes and cities, she researches the story behind the picture, its history and the people who live there or who settled it.

Keeler remembers an image featuring Danyang County in South Korea that was particularly challenging.

“I was expecting a major historical event associated with, but I found nothing. It took a while to find they had a unique folklore tale. So then I wanted to make it a broader question about how folklore develops. That’s not something you can go do a simple search for. You have to look up folklore, find different examples and draw conclusions based on evidence.”

“It’s a fun challenge to see what lessons come in every week,” says Bang-Jensen. “It feels like a puzzle, but it’s also engaging and worthwhile.”

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Weekend Reading: Aug. 22nd Edition – Microsoft and TracFone partner on a pilot project and the HTC One (M8) comes to Windows

As summer winds down, Weekend Reading delivers stories on a project that helps diabetes patients, a profile on the chief technical officer of Microsoft’s Cloud and Services organization, the debut of the HTC One (M8) for Windows smartphone and Steve Ballmer stepping down from the Microsoft Board of Directors.

A new pilot project, in conjunction with Health Choice Network, will provide Windows Phone devices to diabetes patients to help them better manage their care. Microsoft and pre-paid wireless leader TracFone announced Thursday a better way for underserved and high-risk populations to access and keep up with their care, on the go.

Microsoft and TracFone collaboration on pilot project

Microsoft and TracFone collaboration on pilot project

A profile on Dave Campbell, Chief Technical Officer of Microsoft’s Cloud and Services, uncovers why he’s disruptive. And by that, we mean how one of the company’s elite corps of Technical Fellows can be considered transformative, tearing something down to create something new and better.

Dave Campbell

Dave Campbell

Tuesday, we saw the debut of the HTC One (M8) for Windows. It’s the first device to ship in the U.S. with the Windows Phone 8.1 Update, will be available exclusively through Verizon Wireless online and in stores. It comes loaded with features such as Cortana, Live Folders and Action Center. It’s made from a single block of aluminum, and has a 5-inch Super LCD3 1080p HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

HTC One (M8) for Windows

HTC One (M8) for Windows

Steve Ballmer steps down as Microsoft board member. Effective Aug. 19, 2014, Steve Ballmer has stepped down from the Microsoft Board of Directors. Read Ballmer’s letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Nadella’s response.

A profile on teenager Alejandra Tristan, who has a rare genetic disorder that made it impossible to use a mouse or computer, revealed how Windows 8 has helped transform her life. Tristan suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which makes her joints fragile and loose. With its customizable design, enhanced accessibility features and touchscreen, Windows 8 has helped Tristan reclaim her studies, her friends and her voice. She writes research papers by gently touching the on-screen keyboard and dictates notes using speech recognition software. When she works on vocabulary words, she uses digital notecards.

Bing Maps crossed a major milestone: more than 100 cities are now available for viewing from a street level perspective and in 3D, including Atlanta, Las Vegas and Omaha. These could come in handy if you’re planning to visit any of these places and want to preview the sights to get oriented. You can see Streetside imagery in both Bing Maps and the Bing Maps Preview app exclusively on Windows 8.1. With this release, Streetside has more than 100 cities. In 3D, more than 125 cities are available through the Bing Maps Preview app.

Las Vegas new on Bing Maps Streetside and 3D

Las Vegas new on Bing Maps Streetside and 3D

Apps and games ranged from working out with the Seattle Seahawks champion quarterback to working on creatures that have invaded a mad professor’s brain. Athlete Fit with Russell Wilson for Xbox Fitness is now available exclusively on Xbox One now and free with Xbox Live Gold memberships. The App of the Week is also on Xbox One: MTV. The weekly Red Stripe Deals included sales of Windows and Windows Phone apps and games – slashed in price by at least 50 percent, and sometimes free. AccuWeather has launched a new version of its Weather for Life app for Windows Phone, which has MinuteCast, a minute-by-minute precipitation forecast for your exact street address or GPS location. And then there’s “Tentacles: Enter the Mind” from the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store, that plunges you into what Blogging Windows describes as “the crazy story of Dr. Phluff and his tentacled mascot, Lemmy. In the game, they embark on a journey inside the mad Professor to take out the creatures that have overtaken Phluff, progressing through the many layers of his mind from Super Ego to Paranoia.”

Athlete Fit with Russell Wilson for Xbox Fitness

Athlete Fit with Russell Wilson for Xbox Fitness

The Lotus F1 Teamuses Microsoft Dynamics AX under the hood to manage the design, manufacturing and testing of the 20,000-plus parts on each of its cars.

Photo credit: Steve Wiens

Photo credit: Steve Wiens

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we challenged fans to tweet an #8WordEssay about this photo, for a chance to win a Surface Pro 3 prize package. Join us on our page for more info on how to win.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we challenged fans to tweet an #8WordEssay about this photo, for a chance to win a Surface Pro 3 prize package

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we challenged fans to tweet an #8WordEssay about this photo, for a chance to win a Surface Pro 3 prize package

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Hope you’re enjoying summer’s last hurrah! See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Introducing the HTC One (M8) for Windows

Starting Tuesday, the HTC One (M8) for Windows, the first device to ship in the U.S. with the Windows Phone 8.1 Update, will be available exclusively through Verizon Wireless online and in stores.

It comes loaded with features such as Cortana, Live Folders and Action Center. It also has a bevy of HTC features, including the HTC BlinkFeed app, which is integrated into the Live Tile layout and provides quick access to curated news from social networks.

The HTC One (M8) for Windows is made from a single block of aluminum, which translates to no gaps in its construction as the brushed metal frame wraps around the entire body of the phone. It has a 5-inch Super LCD3 1080p HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

But it’s also got a lot going for it on the inside. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.3GHz processor, it’s got 32GB of storage with expandable storage with up to 128GB with a MicroSD card, and if that’s not enough, there’s another 15GB of storage online with OneDrive for free.

To find out more about the HTC One (M8) for Windows, read the HTC press release and head over to Blogging Windows.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Quiet riot: Dave Campbell and the art of humble disruption

Disruptive. According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, it’s the adjective form of disrupt, which means to break apart or throw into disorder. But in the tech industry, it’s become the buzz word for transformation, tearing something down in order to create something new and better. 

Spend time talking with Dave Campbell, Chief Technical Officer of Microsoft’s Cloud and Services organization and one of the company’s elite corps of Technical Fellows and you understand why. “People have to recognize that there’s a need for disruption,” said Campbell. “There comes a time when you have to make a shift and take a run at the new world.”

Campbell’s approach to work reminds me of a moment in the film “Apollo 13,” when several NASA technicians need to quickly design a carbon dioxide absorber to save the lives of three astronauts trapped in a damaged capsule. One technician turns to everyone assembled in the room and declares, “We’ve got to find a way to make this [a square canister] fit into the hole for this [a round canister] using nothing but that [the contents of mismatched pieces spread across a table].”

It’s kind of a fitting analogy for the disruption that Campbell’s accomplished in his career, including 20 years at Microsoft. “Dave thinks sideways,” said Dean Hachamovitch, Chief Data Strategist at Microsoft. “Whereas the rest of us look at a problem the same way, he always manages to find another angle.”

That’s why when Bill Gates stepped down as CEO at Microsoft, he anointed 22 Technical Fellows, including Campbell. While a huge honor, Campbell jokingly dismisses it as coming from some process in a smoke-filled room. “Dave is all about the business, the customer and the outcome,” said Ted Kummert, who as former chief of the SQL Server team used to be Campbell’s manager and now remains a good friend.”

Read the full profile at microsoft.com/stories.

Weekend Reading: Aug. 15th Edition — Xbox ignites gamescom, Satya Nadella names Hackathon winner, gets ice bath

We soared this week with big news for gamers, the naming of Hackathon and Microsoft Ventures winners, and the announcement of a high-flying partnership with a major airline. Read on!

It was wall-to-wall Xbox at gamescom 2014, Europe’s biggest video games expo. The platform showcased its stellar portfolio of exclusive games, while inviting the next generation of gamers to play with a family of bundles featuring some of the hottest games of the year like “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Sunset Overdrive,” and “FIFA 15.”

The Eye Gaze team beat out 3,000 other projects to be crowned the first ever //oneweek Hackathon grand prize winner. They got an audience with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and momentum for their effort to use Surface 3, Kinect and other Microsoft technologies to give independence to people with disabilities. The Eye Gaze team set their sights on helping Steve Gleason, a former pro football player who is living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Ice Bucket Challenge

And if the Hackathon wasn’t exciting enough, Microsoft technology was also showcased this week in an announcement that Saudi Airlines is using Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Power BI for Office 365, Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 to improve the way it does business. Said Muhammad Albakri, Saudi Airlines’ executive vice president of finance: “For us, the new BI solution is like turning on the headlights of a car on a curvy, dark road.”

Speaking of business, Microsoft Ventures named 10 companies to participate in its first Accelerator, a partnership with American Family Insurance that aims to give start-ups a leg-up by providing them the mentorship, tools and connections necessary to grow and succeed. The companies will focus on home innovation using the Internet of Things.

In other news, the Microsoft Devices Group unveiled the Nokia 130, an ultra-affordable mobile phone designed to introduce millions of people to new digital experiences. The phone, which will be available in select markets — including China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam — has a built-in video and music player, 1.8-inch color display and up to 36 days of standby battery life.

In Apps this week, keep track of your friends using Swarm, the latest installment from the folks who brought you Foursquare. Or, to connect virtually, try GroupMe. Because it’s that time of year, again (already), the Windows Store has a back-to-school collection of apps including online education tool Khan Academy; MathBoard, number fun for school-age children; and Bamboo Paper, which turns your Windows 8 tablet into a paper notebook so you can write, sketch and doodle to your heart’s content. For the older set, there’s Varsity Quad to help you prep for— and ace — those exams. Also, just in time for fall, the redesigned NFL Fantasy Football app for Windows Phone. If you’re more game-show than “game-day,” check out “Jeopardy!” for Windows PCs and tablets.

jeopardy

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we challenged fans to tweet an #8WordEssay about this photo, for a chance to win a Dell Venue 8 Pro prize pack. Join us on our page for more info on how to win.

CMG_8WordEssay

From Snaps, Mount Everest pierces the cloud ceiling in this shot by National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez, taken from the summit of Kala Pattar, Nepal using a Lumia 1520. New heights indeed.

everest

Wishing you some high-flying fun this weekend. See you back here, next Friday.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff