Weekend Reading, February 5th

It’s Friday afternoon again, and time to wrap up some of the interesting things that happened this week that you might not have seen.  It is Super Bowl weekend here in the US and so it only seems fair to start with something sports related.

Jordan Brand taps Microsoft technologies:  The Jordan Brand turns 25 this year, and Microsoft technologies are helping with the celebration in partnership with Wirestone.  First up is a social mosaic called Mosaic 23/25.The Mosaic uses Silverlight 3 and Deep Zoom to create a huge mosaic of the man himself, all built from hundreds of individual pictures uploaded by fans.  And Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud operating system helped to make it possible.  There is more to come with Microsoft Surface and Windows 7.   If you are interested in more details on how the technology works, then read the Silverlight team blog and the Windows Azure blog.

Internet Explorer 8 is very popular:  This week NetApplications released their browser market share report and it showed that Internet Explorer 8 is the most popular browser, just less than a year after launch.  Brandon LeBlanc has more details on the benefits of IE8, and on reasons to upgrade from older browsers in his post over on the Windows Blog.

Using technology to help the planet:  BBC Radio covered the European Environment Agency’s Eye on Earth project, a partnership with Microsoft and based on Microsoft technology such as Bing maps, Windows Azure and SQL Azure.  The project aims to combine inputs from citizens with scientific data to provide a better understanding of air and water quality in a given location.  You can listen to the the BBC Radio story with the Eye on Earth project starting at 6:45mins.  

SharePoint Gets Social:  This week seven startups from around the world (all participants in Microsoft’s BizSpark program)  came together at  Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus for SharePoint 2010 SocialFest.  The goal; see how each team could take advantage of some of the new features in SharePoint 2010 to extend their social networking applications.  Each team worked closely with the SharePoint team over 4 days and showed off their work to a panel of judges.  The Brits won, and you can read more, and watch the videos in this Microsoft News Center article or in Techcrunch.

Microsoft Tag:  You may not yet have heard of Microsoft Tag, but the band We the Kings certainly has and is putting it to good use.  Microsoft Tag lets you snap a picture of a “Tag” and get access to more information online about the particular person, product or service.  You don’t need to rememeber a URL or text a short code.  Just take a picture.  We the Kings has teamed up with Microsoft Tag to give away free concert tickets.

Well Done Bill:  Microsoft Research Principal Researcher Bill Buxton has been recognized by Business Week as one of the world’s most influential designers.  Congrats, Bill.  You can read more about Bill and his work on things like Natural User Interface and Microsoft Surface in the News Center article, or this video.

And finally just when we thought we could go home the Bing team announced enhanced cooperation with Facebook on search.  This will give users a more complete search experience with access to some great Bing features, and expands the Bing-Facebook search integration beyond the US so that the more than 400 million people who use Facebook around the world will see the fruits of the partnership 

Have a good weekend

Posted by Dominic Carr
Director, Microsoft News Center.