Tag Archives: Instagram

Instagram app for Windows 10 expands to PC and tablets

We’re excited to share that the Instagram app for Windows 10 is expanding beyond its current mobile availability and is optimized for tablets and PCs today. The app is free to download from the Windows Store.

Instagram for Windows 10 tablets

We welcomed the Instagram app for Windows 10 mobile back in April, and you can now use the app right from your Windows 10 tablet or PC with Windows-only experiences such as Live Tiles, which let you see new photos and notifications right from your home screen.

Instagram for Windows 10 PC

Here are some of the features you can use in Instagram for Windows 10:

  • Post and edit photos* – Instagram makes sharing moments with everyone in your world easy, speedy, and fun.
  • Stories – Stories from people you follow will appear in a row at the top of Feed.
  • Instagram Live Tile – Find out what your friends and family are up to at a glance.
  • Rich, native notifications – We’ll send you the notifications you want to see so that you don’t miss important updates.
  • Instagram Direct – Instagram Direct lets you exchange threaded messages with one or more people, and share posts you see in Feed as a message.
  • Full featured Search, Explore, Profile, and Feed.

Download the Instagram app for Windows 10 for free today. Head over to the Instagram Blog to learn more about today’s exciting news!

*Posting and editing photos only available for tablets and PCs with touch screens and backward facing cameras.

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps coming to Windows 10

Today, we are excited to share that the official Facebook app and Messenger app for Windows 10 PCs and Tablets, and the official Instagram app for Windows 10 mobile are rolling out and will be available later today in the Windows Store.

Designed to run quickly and easily within Windows 10 and have the most up-to-date features, Facebook built Windows-only experiences into all three of these apps such as Live Tiles, which lets you quickly see new posts, messages and photos right from your home screen.

Facebook

Facebook for Windows 10

Facebook for Windows 10

Facebook for Windows 10

Keeping up with friends is faster than ever with the new Facebook app for Windows 10, the best way to experience Facebook on Windows. With Live Tiles, you can easily find out what your friends and family are up to at a glance. And now, reading and sharing articles from News Feed is quick and easy with an in-app browser. Other features include Reactions, stickers in comments, notifications so that you don’t miss important updates, and a right-hand column that shows birthday, event reminders and trending topics.

Messenger

Messenger for Windows 10

Messenger for Windows 10

Along with many of your favorite features of Facebook’s Messenger — like photo sharing, stickers, group conversations and GIFs — Messenger for Windows 10 PCs has desktop notifications so you never miss an important message. And when you pin the app to your Start menu you’ll get notified of new messages with Live Tiles.

Instagram

Instagram for Windows 10

Instagram for Windows 10

The team over at Instagram is rolling out Instagram for Windows 10 mobile with all of the community’s favorite features — including Direct Messaging, updated Search and Explore, Videos and Account Switching. Instagram also supports Live Tiles, so if you pin the app to your home screen you’ll get notifications from Instagram right on your start screen.

We’re thrilled to have this collection of apps available from Facebook for Windows 10 users coming to the Windows Store to download for free today and we’re excited to share that more great experiences from Facebook will be coming to Windows 10 mobile soon – stay tuned. Learn more about today’s news by heading to Facebook’s Newsroom and the Instagram Blog.

*The new Facebook app will replace the existing Windows desktop Facebook app once fully rolled out in the store in the coming hours. For those on Windows 10 mobile, the new Facebook app is coming soon. The new Instagram app will replace the current Instagram (beta) app on Windows 10 mobile.

Future of Work, advancing AI on GitHub and Bing’s predictions for upcoming primaries and caucuses — Weekend Reading: Jan. 29 edition

This installment of Weekend Reading leads off with a new website that focuses on workplace culture, a research toolkit tied to artificial intelligence and Bing’s Election 2016 experience.

The Future of Work explores how the role of an organization’s leader may be changing, but is more important than ever. In order to create organizations that can adapt to change, leaders need to actively shape an open workplace culture that fosters collaboration and builds trust. On this site, PopTech and Microsoft Office Envisioning speak to experts on the future of work.

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By releasing its Computational Network Toolkit on GitHub, Microsoft is making the tools that its own researchers use to speed up advances in artificial intelligence available to a broader group of developers. Next at Microsoft tells you all about CNTK.

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On Feb. 1, the Iowa caucus marks the beginning of the next phase in the 2016 election. Bing’s Election 2016 experience includes the Bing Political Index (BPI), which shows where each candidate stands on the key issues, while predictions will appear alongside live results. Bing Predicts also calls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to emerge as the big winners of the upcoming primaries and caucuses.

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of Hack for Her

Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of Hack for Her

Hack for Her, which Microsoft hosted Jan. 12, is bringing together corporations, universities and other organizations to form a community that demonstrates a new approach to strengthen the value proposition of products from a female perspective.

“Building products for everyone starts with gender-inclusive design,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of Hack for Her. “The biggest emerging market today isn’t China or India; it’s women, who have $18 trillion of spending power.” Read more about it on The Official Microsoft Blog.

We saw the debut of “Rise of the Tomb Raider” on Windows 10, a new Microsoft Garage app called News Pro and the Power BI Windows 10 universal app.  The latest Red Stripe Deals also rolled out Thursday, and on Wednesday our App of the Week was TripAdvisor, which gives travelers using Windows 10 devices a valuable tool in planning vacations. Mulder and Scully fans can also shop in the Windows Store for the return of “The X-Files.”

This week on the Microsoft Instagram channel, we followed the players of Real Madrid as they prepare for the fútbol season ahead. For these athletes, a winning season comes from passion, purpose and preparation.

That’s it for this edition. See you next Friday for another Weekend Reading.

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Expanding access to prenatal care in Africa, connecting cars in Vegas and making Windows 10 and Xbox history – Weekend Reading, Jan. 8 edition

Welcome to the first edition of Weekend Reading in 2016! From Africa to Vegas, Microsoft was busy making all kinds of news this week. Let’s take a look.

Wubwub. Wubwub. Wubwub.

The moment an expectant mother first hears her unborn child’s heartbeat is immense, but many pregnant women in Africa never experience that joy, due to a lack of access to ultrasounds and prenatal care. To help them, a group of African developers have created WinSenga, an affordable, smartphone-based ultrasound that helps doctors and midwives more easily monitor fetal health. Part of a Microsoft Imagine Cup competition project, WinSenga also helps mothers hear the comforting sounds of their baby’s heartbeat.

“It’s not just a great way to track the health of the pregnancy and raise awareness if there are problems. It brings peace of mind for the mothers. Mothers always want to hear their baby’s heartbeat,” said Joshua Okello, co-founder and team leader for Cipher256, the Ugandan-based company that created WinSenga.

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On the other side of the world, Microsoft showcased new, innovative technologies at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It demonstrated mobility solutions for connected cars, as part of new partnerships with big automakers and automotive technology companies announced at the show.

Volvo Cars, Nissan, Harman and IAV are now using Microsoft technology to enhance their connected car strategies. They join Toyota, Ford and other companies already working with Microsoft to bring their cars into a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

“In the near future, the car will be connected to the Internet, as well as to other cars, your mobile phone and your home computer,” writes Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of Business Development. “The car becomes a companion and an assistant to your digital life. And so our strategy is to be the ultimate platform for all intelligent cars.”

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Browsing the Web with Microsoft Edge and Fierce XL

CES was also the place for a bounty of Windows 10 news. ALCATEL ONETOUCH introduced Fierce XL, its first-ever Windows 10 phone, which has a 5.5-inch HD display, Cortana, Microsoft Edge and other Windows 10 goodies. Samsung revealed the sleek Galaxy TabPro S, a 2-in-1 tablet built for Windows 10. And Dell showed off an expanded portfolio of its Latitude commercial PCs, which feature Windows 10 Pro.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga has many modes.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga has many modes.

Ahead of CES, Lenovo announced its new ThinkPad X1 Yoga, a 2.8-pound, 0.66-inch-thick powerhouse. HP unveiled the HP EliteBook Folio, a new commercial-grade PC built in collaboration with Microsoft and Skype for Business. And Acer introduced the Liquid Jade Primo, a new Windows 10 phone, and updated its Aspire V Nitro “Black Edition” notebook with the latest Intel RealSense short range camera.

In other Windows 10 news, Microsoft announced that more than 200 million devices are now running Windows 10. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows and Devices Marketing, said the operating system is having the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows. “We continue to be excited – and humbled – by the incredible response to Windows 10,” Mehdi wrote.

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Xbox also had good news to share, with record numbers of Xbox gaming over the holidays. More gamers used Xbox Live on Dec. 28 than on any other day in Xbox history, and Christmas week saw an increase in Xbox One and Xbox 360 gaming hours over the same time period in 2014. Xbox One also announced two new bundles to help usher in the New Year: the Xbox One “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” Bundle and the Xbox One 500GB Name Your Game Bundle.

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Bing was hard at work again with its predictions, this time calling for New England to repeat its win as pro football champions and “Spotlight” to win the Golden Globe for best dramatic movie. If you follow football and entertainment awards, Bing Predicts is your guide.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visits the Microsoft Social Innovation Hub at the National Council for Women in Cairo.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella visits the Microsoft Social Innovation Hub at the National Council for Women in Cairo.

Finally, on the Microsoft Instagram channel this week, we followed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as he visited the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt to learn how students, teachers and entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of technology to make an impact in the Middle East.

The trip was the latest in Nadella’s journeys around the world, from Kenya to Chile, where he’s met people using technology to make a difference. Nadella shared some of their stories and wrote that he’s looking forward to “continuing to learn and see first-hand how digital technology is empowering people to make things and make things happen.”

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

Computers that get what we’re saying, new innovations for business and real-time insight for Giving Tuesday – Weekend Reading: Dec. 4 edition

Microsoft news spanned the globe this week and encompassed a variety of technologies that enrich innovation, productivity and generosity. Lots of good stuff. Let’s take a look.

Once the lore of science fiction, technology that understands human speech now includes apps that translate conversation as it happens and a virtual assistant who can give you numbers to call for pizza.

Those breakthroughs and a peek at future voice recognition are the subject of a fascinating read this week. Writer Allison Linn spent time with Microsoft researchers to see how data availability, computing power and machine learning are making computers so smart that they may one day understand what you’re saying as well as any human can.

“When machine learning works at its best, you really don’t see the effort. It’s just so natural. You see the result,” said Harry Shum, executive vice president in charge of Microsoft’s Technology and Research group.

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Microsoft researchers also offered up this week 16 predictions for 2016, ranging in topics from AI to data science to cryptography. For Chris Bishop, managing director of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, the United Kingdom, next year’s key technology breakthrough will be “the emergence of new silicon architectures that are turned to intensive workloads of machine learning.”

For Doug Burger, director of Hardware, Devices and Experiences, Microsoft Research NExT, the big tech advance of 2016 will be “successful and large-scale inclusion of specialized compute acceleration in the cloud.”

Meanwhile in Barcelona, Microsoft hosted Convergence EMEA, the company’s annual Europe-based conference for business and IT leaders. The four-day event unveiled innovations to help businesses transform, including new communications capabilities in Office 365 and Skype for Business.

Microsoft also announced Power BI integration with Cortana and a “new era of intelligent customer engagement” with the worldwide availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016.

“As organizations strive to keep up with the pace of change, they are looking to technology to drive digital transformation,” wrote Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela. “Our message this week is simple – Microsoft is here to help.”

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Microsoft amped up Giving Tuesday, with a real-time look at the outpouring of generosity during the worldwide movement. The company worked with 92nd Street Y (92Y), the nonprofit cultural and community center that created Giving Tuesday, and Blackbaud, which processed most of the day’s donations, to turn vast amounts of data into a real-time dashboard tracking the day’s momentum.

“Having Microsoft come in gives the day a richness and a depth that we wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Asha Curran, director of 92Y’s Center for Innovation and Social Impact.

The visual dashboard allowed the team to build on insight in real time, instead of waiting to evaluate their efforts after the event, said John Doyle, director of product marketing at Microsoft.

Also this week, the Microsoft HoloLens team announced that it’s partnering with Autodesk Fusion 360 on a solution to change the way industrial designers, mechanical engineers and other product developers work together.

“With HoloLens we can remove many of the barriers that exist today; accelerating product iteration, providing more intuitive cross-team communication and setting new standards in collaboration,” wrote Ben Sugden, studio manager of Microsoft HoloLens.

If you don’t feel like time is always on your side, check out the new FindTime app from the Microsoft Garage. The Outlook add-in helps you schedule meetings faster with people outside your company, so you can be more productive and spend less time doing the tedious job of figuring out when everyone’s available.

“We think scheduling a time can be more collaborative – and with FindTime, it feels almost magical,” said Vivek Garg, a developer for Microsoft’s Team SIX and tech lead who helped create FindTime.

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The end of the year is indeed nigh, which means it’s time for a little hindsight. On Wednesday, Bing featured the top searched stories and celebrities of 2015, out of the billions of searches on Bing this year. The perspective gave us a unique look at the moments that shaped us the year, from the U.S. Women’s FIFA World Cup victory to Caitlyn Jenner’s iconic “Vanity Fair” cover.

Finally this week, on the Microsoft Instagram channel, we watched Microsoft employees from around the country spread holiday cheer in New York City. Joined by a local children’s choir, they shared a message of peace and harmony with a neighbor down the street.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

Education Underground Workshop, ‘Future Visions’ and Connect(); – Weekend Reading: Nov. 20 edition

Welcome back to another installment of Weekend Reading! We had a big week on several fronts, such as education, research and innovations for developers.

Microsoft hosted a group of educators, students and industry leaders on Monday through the Education Underground Workshop, which highlighted the company’s commitment to make learning more engaging and accessible, while empowering every student on the planet to achieve more. The event at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, campus followed an earlier unveiling of a new “Minecraft” coding tutorial by Microsoft and Code.org. Microsoft also announced a new partnership with edX to create more courses for school leaders and provide greater access to Microsoft’s current resources for principals, superintendents and other school leaders. Read the full story by Vanessa Ho.

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On Tuesday, Microsoft released an anthology inspired by the work Microsoft researchers are doing. “Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft,” is available to anyone as a free download. Check out the story behind the making of the book.

“The idea was to bring authors in to expose them to what some people might think is science fiction. In a way, you could say the world of Microsoft Research turns science fiction into science fact,” says Steve Clayton, chief storyteller at Microsoft. “We didn’t show them a piece of technology and ask them to please write about that. We showed them technology and introduced them to a group of people, and then asked them, what did it spark in your mind as ideas, where did it inspire you to think the technology may go?”

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Microsoft took a high-profile step at last year’s Connect(); virtual event for developers by unveiling plans to open source .NET on Linux and Mac and introducing the free Visual Studio Community for targeting any device and any operating system. At this year’s Connect();, the company is reinforcing its commitment by adding innovation to tools that existing customers will love, making powerful tools more open and flexible, and providing new ways for more devs to access Microsoft tools. Read Thomas Kohnstamm’s feature story about it. Also check out this story by Suzanne Choney about people who found success by using these collaborative tools.

Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president, Microsoft Data Group

Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president, Microsoft Data Group

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Coca-Cola partnered with Microsoft to create an original experience inspired by How-Old.net. Coke fans are invited to upload a photo that includes a glass contour Coke bottle, or simply the bottle itself, to How-Old.net to unlock a surprise.

“We’re onto something that is relatively unique,” says Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Data Group, which includes the team of engineers who built the Machine Learning and Big Data capabilities that are the heart of Cortana Analytics Suite. Developers on his team were the ones who came up with How-Old.net. Sirosh’s team also worked on the challenge issued by Coca-Cola to take the How-Old.net app one step further by recognizing specific objects, such as a contoured glass Coca-Cola bottle, in pictures users upload.

Find out more through the full story behind this collaboration between Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

Satya for slideshow

On Tuesday, at the Microsoft Government Cloud Forum in Washington, D.C., Microsoft announced plans to enhance its protection of customer data with the new Cyber Defense Operations Center, and the new Microsoft Enterprise Cybersecurity Group. The state-of-the-art Cyber Defense Operations Center brings together security response experts from across the company to help protect, detect and respond to threats in real time, writes Bret Arsenault, Microsoft chief information security officer. To find out more, read his post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

This week on the Microsoft Instagram channel, we checked in with Estella Pyfrom. Last year, she was featured in Microsoft’s Super Bowl ad with her Brilliant Bus, which brings internet and digital education to schools and community centers. As a CNN Hero, Pyfrom has brought technology to more than 60,000 children in underserved neighborhoods.

That’s it for this edition! See you next week for another Weekend Reading.

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Your Lumia Instagramer of the Month: Mark Vella

Today we announce the winner of our latest Lumia Instagramer of the month. Were you one of the five hopeful winners? Did you cast a vote? Let’s find out who won.

With five very talented Lumia photographers for you to choose from, picking just one was no easy feat. But you did, and the winner is:

Mark Vella – AKA @Mark_Oranje

Photo of Mark Vella

Let’s find out more about the man behind the Lumia.

Which Lumia do you have and what do you like most about it?

I currently own the Lumia 920.

For me, the most important factor when deciding on a phone is the hardware design. I love the curved glass, the shape, even the two little screws located on the bottom of the device. Three years on from its initial release and it’s still a great-looking phone.

The Windows phone operating system compliments the exterior nicely with its square Live Tiles and has redefined my expectations when it comes to software.

What are your top tips for taking Instagram photos on your Lumia?

In my opinion, there are three main things to consider: timing, composition, and editing.

Lighting is vital when taking a photo, whether there’s plenty or little of it; you need to find the right balance. The same scene can look completely different at various times of the day.

Sunset in particular can give some nice light to a scene, which is why people refer to it as the “Golden Hour“. That doesn’t mean you should always use the sunset to light your photos, some cloud formations can enhance a photo greatly.

Once you’ve found yourself at the right place and the right time you need to consider composition. For example, is something obstructing the subject, would the shot look better from a slightly different angle, or how would this look if that shadow fell slightly to the left? You must “arrange” all the items in the picture.

Editing is important to give a photo a little more polish before you upload it for the world to see.

Experiment with your photos. Trying new effects can lead to unexpectedly good results. Didn’t like one of your photos? Don’t discount it, try editing it in a different way, you may soon love it.

Which Lumia Instagramers do you recommend everyone should follow?

Selecting only a few isn’t easy, as there are so many good Lumia photographers out there. Based on color, composition, lighting, and generally having a good eye for a photograph, I’d recommend the following:

Let’s check out some of Mark’s favorite photographs, captured with his Lumia 920.

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Instagram Photo

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Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Congratulations to Mark Vella (@Mark_Oranje) on winning this edition of Lumia Instagramer of the month, and thanks for taking such wonderful photos using his Lumia.

Has this contest inspired you to get creative with your Lumia? Follow Mark’s advice, take some photos, and upload them to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #Lumia – we’re looking forward to seeing your photos.

 

Celebrating women in tech, new Windows 10 devices and Microsoft’s giving effort — Weekend Reading, Oct. 16 edition

From the world’s largest gathering of women in tech to a huge Microsoft effort to help countless people in need, there was no shortage of inspiring news this week. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

More than 800 Microsoft employees headed to the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, which began Wednesday in Houston. Marie Margishvili and Moriah Baxevane-Connell were excited to return after landing their jobs at Microsoft through previous Grace Hopper conferences; software engineers Joan Chao and Lauren Bissett, who work on Microsoft HoloLens, were looking forward to attending for their first time.

Margishvili went for the first time in 2014 and says it was “just amazing to see so many confident and talented women who were so full of initiative and willing to go out of their way to find new opportunities … The conference is very empowering. It sounds very cliché, but I realized there that I could do anything I wanted.”

WR_Grace Hopper

It’s been just over a week since Microsoft unveiled a new era of Windows 10 devices, including Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, new Lumia phones and more. This past week brought announcements about even more great options. On Sunday, Acer showcased a range of new Windows 10 devices in Taipei. On Monday, we got our first look at Toshiba’s dynaPad tablet as it was unveiled in Japan. On Tuesday, LG Electronics unveiled some innovative Windows 10 devices in Seoul.

Learn more about the wide variety of new Windows 10 devices on Windows blogs.WR_LG

A British startup has turned a relic of a difficult time into new hope for sustainable farming, an experiment its founders hope can be replicated in places around the world where food is desperately needed. Growing Underground is using abandoned World War II air raid tunnel in London as a subterranean farm.

“It’s incredible to take a place that was built for a time of destruction, and turn it into a place of creation,” said co-founder Richard Ballard. The startup’s story offered an inspiring possibility just in time for World Food Day.

WR_Growing Underground

A team of seven Microsoft employees are leading a company-wide effort to raise money for thousands of nonprofits — and they’ve found plenty of inspiration along the way. These “loaned professionals” served dinner to more than 150 hospitalized kids and their families, sorted medical supplies to be shipped overseas, spent time at a youth shelter and visited many other nonprofits that are helping people who need it.

“These ‘loaned professionals’ from across the company bring a special set of expertise and skills that helps us enhance and scale Microsoft’s Employee Giving Campaign,” says Lori Forte Harnick, Microsoft’s general manager of Citizenship and Public Affairs. “Our goal is to encourage employees to get involved and actively support the causes they care about, and there’s no better way to do that than by gathering insights and spreading the word through their friends and colleagues.”

Microsoft’s “loaned professionals” work to sort medical supplies that will be shipped to overseas hospitals and clinics that need them. (Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

Microsoft’s “loaned professionals” work to sort medical supplies that will be shipped to overseas hospitals and clinics that need them. (Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures)

Whether you love math or hate it, being good at it can definitely help you go places. Just ask Zuzana Kukelova, once the math whiz of her grade school, who’s just received the 2015 Cor Baayen Award. The honor is given to a promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics.

Kukelova is a post-doc researcher specializing in computer vision at Microsoft’s research lab in Cambridge, U.K. The Cor Baayen announcement specifically cited her ability to bridge the gap “between highly abstract mathematical results, such as algebraic geometry, and engineering applications.”

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Among the cool ideas that flow regularly from the Microsoft Garage comes Twist, a fun app that lets you and your friends engage in conversations with photos. It’s named for the unexpected juxtapositions that can happen when you use a split screen for these ongoing chats. You start a photo conversation with an image that fills half the screen and wait in anticipation to see how your friends will complete the other half. It becomes a storytelling device that keeps the conversation going instead of just capturing fleeting moments.

If you’re looking for the latest and greatest in apps, we’ve got plenty to choose from. Music lovers may appreciate knowing they can hear all their favorite streaming music and live digital radio stations through iHeartRadio, now available within the Groove music app on Windows 10. Good news for racing fans, too : The official NASCAR app is now available for Windows 10.

Another app you might find useful shows you who’s at your door — even when you’re not home. The Ring Video Doorbell app is available in the Windows Store.

We’ve also rounded up some gaming fun, including the retro brick-breaking adventure of “Briquid Mini,” the Vegas-style action of “Slots Pro,” a throwback version of a popular game in “Doodle God: 8-bit Mania” and the mind-bending challenge of five different puzzle games in “Pic Star.”

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This week on the Microsoft Instagram account, we met Christian Fazio along what’s known as The Loneliest Road in America in northern Nevada. He helped carry the American flag as part of Team Red, White and Blue’s Old Glory Relay in support of U.S. veterans. Follow along as the flag makes its way from San Francisco to Washington D.C.

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And that wraps up our look back at the week’s highlights from around Microsoft and beyond. See you here next week for our next edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

A week to soar: Innovation on display at Worldwide Partner Conference, parties planned for Windows 10 release and Special Olympics athletes on the move – Weekend Reading: July 17 edition

It was a high-flying week at Microsoft, and if you blinked, you missed it. That’s why we’re here, to give you a recap of some of the week’s most important (and fun) goings-on, so let’s get to it:

The Worldwide Partner Conference got down to business. New technology innovations were showcased, including Project GigJam and the Cortana Analytics Suite, demonstrating Microsoft’s ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes, build the intelligent cloud and create more personal computing. Attendees got a peek at how one of Microsoft’s partners, Autodesk, will use HoloLens to fundamentally change how design professionals create, communicate, visualize and work. With many partners transitioning their businesses to the cloud, Microsoft is also making investments to make those transitions more seamless.

Satya Nadella at WPC 2015

Get ready to party with the launch of Windows 10. On July 29, when Windows 10 is released, festivities around the world are planned, with thousands of retailers participating, including all Microsoft store locations. Microsoft will also begin a year-long initiative, “Upgrade Your World,” to celebrate the people and organizations making a difference around the world. Microsoft will partner with 10 global and 100 national nonprofits as part of the initiative. The global nonprofits include CARE, Code.org, Keep a Child Alive, Malala Fund, Pencils of Promise, Save the Children, Special Olympics, The Global Poverty Project and The Nature Conservancy.

Windows 10

It’s time to shine for the stars of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, which start July 25 in Los Angeles. This week we met two outstanding athletes: 21-year-old Daniel Wolff of Great Britain, who will run the 4×100-meter relay; and 23-year-old Xing Le of China, who will compete in rhythmic gymnastics. Microsoft is sponsoring both the summer games and the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria. Last fall, the company announced a three-year, multi-million dollar partnership with Special Olympics to modernize the nonprofit’s technology and elevate it to the cloud.

Changing the face of coding, even as you read this. Women in U.S. colleges and universities earn only 18 percent of computer science degrees. That’s why Microsoft YouthSpark supports Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization that aims to close the gender gap in technology in the United States. Microsoft sponsors and helps implement the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, happening this year in 60 locations across the country and reaching 1,200 girls who are learning computer science skills, and everything from robotics to mobile development to HTML coding.

Girls Who Code, Changing the Face of Coding

Microsoft’s PhotoDNA technology, a free service that helps identify and remove online child sexual abuse photos, is now available in the cloud. It’s a major advance that gives companies like Flipboard a powerful way to help protect young victims while helping make the Internet safer for everyone. PhotoDNA has already helped detect millions of illegal photos on the Internet, with more than 70 companies and organizations – like Facebook and Twitter – already using it. But the previous, on-premise version required time, money and technical expertise to get up and running and keep up-to-date. The new PhotoDNA Cloud Service takes away those hurdles for smaller companies and other organizations that want to give users the freedom to upload content while ensuring the integrity of their platforms.

U.S. Air Force chooses Office 365, and Microsoft acquires FieldOne. The U.S. Air Force, in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), is awarding more than 100,000 seats of a Department of Defense-dedicated version of Office 365 to Microsoft, Dell and General Dynamics. The agreement, expected to help the Air Force and DLA reduce costs significantly over the next three years, is one of the largest commercial cloud contracts in DoD history. Meanwhile, Thursday it was announced that Microsoft has reached an agreement to acquire FieldOne Systems LLC, a world-class provider of field service management solutions that allow organizations to better manage and deliver service to their customers in the field.

government, Office 365, U.S. Air Force

Are you air-borne yet? No? Strap into an anti-gravity vehicle and race to glory in the futuristic and free game, “Fast Side of the Moon.” You can play alone, or compete with up to 20 other racers in multiplayer mode. Zoom to exotic planets and take on challenging courses. You’ll find “Fast Side of the Moon” in the Windows Phone Store.

"Fast Side of the Moon" game, Windows PhoneThis week on our journey to find people who #DoMore, we met Neal Sales-Griffin, who runs the Starter School in Chicago. In just nine months, Neal gives students the power of coding – turning them from consumers of technology to creators of technology.

#DoMore, Instagram

Thanks for joining us for Weekend Reading. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here next Friday!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

Challenge for Change winners inspire, apps keep your devices in sync and Kinect powers a symphony — Weekend Reading, May 29 edition

Young people who just might change the world, apps to help you achieve more and a first-of-its-kind musical performance were just a few of this week’s highlights. Before you settle into a relaxing weekend, take a look back at the news and find some great reasons to feel inspired.

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Ten teens and young adults with cool ideas to do good in the world won Microsoft’s YouthSpark Challenge for Change contest. Winner Abhishek Paudel is now even more dedicated to bringing health care to remote areas of Nepal after the April earthquake destroyed his family’s entire village, and Dana Berejka, who learned about the sad toll of malaria when a little girl she was corresponding with in Rwanda died from it, plans to help protect others from the disease.

Paudel, Berejka and the other eight winners each get $2,500 to kick-start their projects, a Windows Phone and an incredible trip to Nicaragua to do hands-on volunteer work. If you want to be inspired — and possibly feel like an underachiever — you can read more about these ambitious young people and their big ideas to change the world.

Of course you, too, can do more in the world with a couple of cool new apps coming to Windows 10 that let you move seamlessly among all of your devices regardless of which operating system you’re using. The Phone Companion app on Windows 10 PCs will help you set up a Windows phone, Android Phone or iPhone to make sure your photos, music, documents and other important stuff are there wherever you are.

The second app is good news for Android and iPhone users: You’ll soon be able to access Cortana, letting you take advantage of all the great perks of having Microsoft’s super-smart digital personal assistant bring some order to your busy life.

Android tab

And more good news comes from the company’s “cross-platform services strategy to bring an array of Microsoft services to every person on every device,” writes Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Original Equipment Manufacturer Division: Microsoft apps and services will now be available on even more Android tablets. Agreements with 20 new device partners, including LG, Sony and Haier, mean a total of 31 partners will soon offer Android tablets pre-installed with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype.

Symphony

And speaking of new partners, what happens when you pair a gifted symphony maestro with Kinect? The result was a 20-minute performance that captivated audience members who were lucky enough to attend the one-of-a kind event. Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot used the motion-sensing technology to control a set of reed horns, chimes and a grand piano to play “Above, Below and In Between,” by Seattle-based kinetic sculptor Trimpin. Learn more about the two-year effort in this video.

Morlot says the idea of conducting with Kinect took him out of his comfort zone. “I’ve been old-fashioned in a way, studying music. The element of bringing technology to it is foreign to me,” he says. “That’s what attracted me to it.”

busline

Another novel idea is giving kids in southwest Detroit a safe, reliable way to get to tech classes, reading programs and sports camps. The Detroit Bus Company’s efforts are featured in a series about how entrepreneurs are reshaping a post-bankruptcy Detroit. Learn more about the bus line’s creator, Andy Didorosi, and others who break boundaries and #DoMore on Microsoft’s Instagram page.

photo caption

Ever need to write a quick caption for a photo? Soon, a computer could be doing it for you. Microsoft researchers are developing technology that can automatically identify the subjects in a picture, interpret what’s happening and write an accurate caption explaining it. Beyond being a useful tool, it shows big promise for Microsoft’s work in the artificial intelligence arena.

Rhonna designs

Looking for a little flair for your photos instead? You can add some style with Rhonna Designs, our app of the week. Or for some weekend adventure, dive in and save humanity in “Overkill 3” — new for Windows — or battle villains in “Monster GO!” Too much pressure? Popping balloons as you navigate a twisty maze in “Bloons TD 5” might be the way to go.

And from this edition of Weekend Reading, that’s a wrap! Time for you to find your own ways to change the world — or at least enjoy your Saturday and Sunday.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff