The Midweek Download: Nov. 9th Edition–Kinect for Windows is Coming Soon, plus Microsoft Researcher Jaron Lanier, Windows 8, IE10 and Silverlight 5

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories about Kinect for Windows, Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, Silverlight 5 and a profile on Microsoft Researcher Jaron Lanier. Check ‘em out!

It’s official: Kinect for Windows is coming soon. The Kinect for Windows team is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Kinect with the launch of a new blog and the beta 2 release of the Kinect for Windows SDK. The updated software development kit that we released includes some great new features, including faster skeletal tracking, better accuracy rate when it comes to skeletal tracking and joint recognition, and the ability to plug and unplug your Kinect without losing work or productivity. Read this Nov. 3rd post by Craig Eisler, general manager of Kinect for Windows, on the new blog for the rest of the story. In related news, don’t forget to participate in the latest poll on The Official Microsoft Blog, which asks, “What is the coolest non-gaming application of the Kinect technology?”

Exploring the ocean in our brains with Jaron Lanier. If you’re psyched about the opportunity to dive into one of the finest minds at Microsoft, then you can’t do much better than Jaron Lanier – a musician, author of a manifesto entitled You Are Not a Gadget and a partner architect at Microsoft Research, where he consulted for years on the project that ultimately became Kinect. Sound interesting? Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center if you want to know more. Below is a photo of Lanier.

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Now on Building Windows 8: More on live tiles. In this Nov. 2nd Building Windows 8 post, Ryan Haveson writes about the development of Metro style live tiles and how the architecture scales to large numbers of tiles while also reducing the overall power consumption and system load. Check it out.

Typing with speed and accuracy in IE10. Typing quickly and accurately is a critical part of the user experience for any piece of software. When using a device without a physical keyboard, providing a great text input experience is even more important. Windows 8 provides several capabilities to make text input great on any device, and spellchecking is one of them. Spellchecking in Windows 8 allows customers to identify misspelled words while they are entering text, have commonly misspelled words fixed automatically, and take corrective action on others. In Windows 8, spellchecking support is available to applications across the entire operating system, including IE10. Of course, spellchecking will also be available as an IE10 browser feature on all supported versions of Windows (including Windows 7). Read this Tuesday post on the IEBlog for the rest of the story.

Ten laps around Silverlight 5. On Tuesday, the Silverlight team launched a new 10-part series focused on the new features coming in Silverlight 5. The series will cover several topics, including an introduction to Silverlight 5, operating system integration and productivity and performance, among others. For more on this story, read this post on the Silverlight Blog.

Now available: October update to Windows Azure training kit. The October release of the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit (WAPTK) is now available as a free download. The Windows Azure Platform Training Kit includes hands-on labs (HOLs), presentations, and samples to help you understand how to build applications that utilize Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and the Windows Azure AppFabric. Download the full training kit including the hands-on labs, demo scripts, and presentations here. Browse through the individual hands-on labs on MSDN here. To find out more about the training kit, read this Nov. 2nd post on the Windows Azure Blog.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog