Weekend Reading: Aug. 5th Edition–Three Cool Windows Phone Stories, plus Xbox Live’s Unicorn Ninja, Hotmail and Microsoft Research

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got three cool Windows Phone stories, plus the dress of the future and a little something we like to call the Xbox Live Unicorn Ninja.

Look who’s talking: speech in Mango. In this Wednesday post on the Windows Phone Blog, readers are introduced to Voice-to-text, a new hands-free messaging feature coming this fall to the next version of the Windows Phone mobile platform, codenamed “Mango.” Voice-to-text works for both text and instant messages, and it’s handy even when you’re not driving since it can slash the time you spend typing—a good thing at times even considering the fantastic keyboard on Windows Phone. Check it out.

Lifelens: testing for malaria on Windows Phone. One of the projects in the U.S. Imagine Cup Finals that impressed Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton immensely was a project focused on malaria diagnosis using a smartphone. Using a Windows Phone with a $50 micro lens mounted over the camera, an Imagine Cup team built software that captures high-resolution images of cells in a drop of blood and then analyzes them to detect to existence of malaria. Read this Tuesday post on the Next at Microsoft Blog for more detail on this innovative technology.

MSN PostBox Now Live on Windows Phone. MSN photo and video sharing site Postbox is now available on Windows Phone 7. What’s MSN Postbox? Postbox is a curated photo-sharing site (part of the MSN.com family) that goes beyond your immediate circle of friends by connecting you with a wider community in your town and beyond. Share your life by contributing photos, videos and messages through a richly designed, curated destination page. For more detail, read this Tuesday post on the MSN Blog.

Dressing for the future. Microsoft and fashion aren’t often mentioned in the same breath – until now. In the heart of Microsoft Research is a dress that’s turning heads without ever being worn on a catwalk. “The Printing Dress,” a project created by Microsoft Research’s Asta Roseway and Xbox’s Sheridan Martin Small, is one of the first pieces of fashion technology to emerge from the company. The women and their dress won Best Concept and Best in Show at the 15th annual International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) in San Francisco this June. For the rest of this story, which includes a short video, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center. Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton wrote this Wednesday piece on the project too – so check it out.

Meet Xbox Live’s “Unicorn Ninja.” At Microsoft, a small, tight-knit team works long hours – often sorting through downright offensive content – to help ensure that the company’s booming Xbox Live service is safe, non-offensive and fun for all. Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center to meet a member of that team – Boris Erickson, Xbox Live Enforcement Unicorn Ninja. And yes, that is his real job title.

Ninety percent less spam on Hotmail. In Microsoft’s war on spam, we’re making real progress. We’ve cut spam in Hotmail inboxes by 90 percent from its peak. We’ve played a key role in reducing spam on the Internet by 15 percent from its peak. And we’ve made it harder for spammers to use Hotmail to send spam – reducing “outbound spam” from Hotmail by 75 percent. To learn more on how this was done and an update on the latest and greatest features and innovations that we’ve brought to bear against the spammers, check out this Wednesday post on the Inside Windows Live Blog.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Drop by The Official Microsoft Blog again next week for more Microsoft news. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog