Weekend Reading – James Cameron, Imagine Cup, Messenger, and the World’s Most Influential People

Those of you reading the blog this week can’t fail to have missed our excitement about the U.S. finals for the Imagine Cup.  This is the international student technology competition that we sponsor.  It was a great event – guests included “Avatar” director James Cameron, as well as our own Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer. And they saw some amazing projects all focused on tackling the world’s greatest challenges as defined by the U.N. Millennium Goals. The grand prize winners – Team Mobilife, from the University of California, Davis – put together an application that could help physicians in poor countries use mobile devices to diagnose vascular diseases.

Team Mobilife will now go on to Poland for the world finals in July. We’ll be covering that as well, and we’re looking forward to it!

Talking of smart people, we are thrilled that our very own Jaron Lanier was named in Time magazine’s 2010 Top 100, which reflects their view of the people influencing our collective future.  Jaron works in Microsoft Research, and has recently published a book on social interactions in a networked world.  Congratulations Jaron.

Here are some of the other things you may have missed this week:

Windows Live Messenger:  Our CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking at a meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, announced a preview of the new Windows Live Messenger. You can watch a video demo of some of the new features in Live Messenger, and hear what Steve had to say.

Windows Embedded:  This may not be a piece of software known throughout the world. But it is USED throughout the world, in millions of applications. This week we released to manufacturing Windows Embedded Standard 7, which should lead to a whole new generation of “smart” products, from flat-panel TVs, to inventory management devices, to applications in fields such as retail and hospitality.  For some of the other interesting news on Windows Embedded you can visit their section of the Microsoft News Center.

Windows Home Server:  One of our more interesting – but less well-known – products is Windows Home Server. It’s an amazingly powerful and affordable way to organize all the bits of today’s digital life. We’ve now released a beta of the second generation of Windows Home Server. For the inner geek in you, take a look.

Microsoft Dynamics:  This past weekend we also hosted our Convergence conference in Atlanta, which focuses on our Microsoft Dynamics platform for enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management. At the conference we annouced the debut of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, and discussed business trends and the role of the cloud.  Oh, and the New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton made an appearance. (That’s an American Football team for our readers outside the US).

Office 2010:  Most of us here have been using early versions of Office 2010, and know what the folks at the Boston Globe have learned – it’s a release with some fantastic new features and one that helps you make the most of the web.  Worth a read, and look out for the product when it launches in the next few months.

Have a good weekend.

Posted by Dominic Carr
Director, Microsoft News Center.