Weekend Reading: March 9th Edition–Demos Galore from TechFest 2012, More on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, plus Wordament, Windows Phone and Upcoming Xbox 360 Games

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on TechFest 2012, the Windows 8 consumer preview, upcoming Xbox 360 games, the hit Windows Phone game Wordament and more.

TechFest 2012. TechFest, the annual Microsoft Research wow-fest at the Microsoft Conference Center, began earlier this week. The tech extravaganza includes 154 demos and displays of the latest work from Microsoft Research (MSR) labs around the world. TechFest also includes more than 24 lectures on key technology topics. For more information, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center, which features a cool slideshow. Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton covered TechFest with a series of profiles highlighting several of the demos from earlier this week, including the keynote address, FetchClimate, search, Cliplets and a wearable multitouch projector. Don’t miss any of them! Below is a screenshot of a project delivers a new, low-cost technique for instantly polling students in the classroom:

event_pollingstudents_page

Windows 8 consumer preview is ready for business. Last week, Microsoft unveiled the Windows 8 consumer preview. Then, earlier this week at CeBIT, we showed how Windows 8 can help you with your business. For the rest of this story, check out this press release on the Microsoft News Center and this Tuesday post on the Windows for Your Business Blog. Also, don’t miss this Thursday post on getting around in Windows 8 on the Windows Experience Blog.

Xbox 360 No. 1 U.S. Console in February. Xbox 360 continues to hold the number one spot in the U.S., selling more units than any other console for 14 consecutive months. Sustained consumer demand for Xbox 360 and Kinect have helped maintain its top position, even in the seventh year on the market. For more on this story, read this Thursday post on The Official Microsoft Blog. Also, last week in San Francisco, Microsoft showed off a preview of upcoming Xbox 360, Kinect for Xbox 360 and Windows Phone games. Check out this Monday post on Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson for all the details.

Brought together by chickens: Behind the popular game Wordament. Wordament, the hit Windows Phone game developed by two Microsoft employees, was launched this week on a second touchscreen platform—Windows 8. Being selected as one of the first apps to launch as part of Windows 8 Consumer Preview is just the latest in a series of thrills for Wordament’s creators, who have been on a wild and wordy ride since they created the massively popular multiplayer, Boggle-esque game last year. Fore more detail, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center. Also, check out this Q&A with Wordament’s creators on The Windows Phone Blog and these five tips for boosting your Wordament score. Below is a photo of Wordament’s creators, Jason Cahill and John Thornton:

Wordament Creators

Introducing MSN Money & Politics. Earlier this week, MSN Money is launched a new politics section. Visit MSN Money & Politics to find daily political news updates, great election-related features and timely video. Why a section dedicated to money and politics? As election 2012 approaches, we’ve found readers are clamoring to learn more about how campaign proposals could affect their own personal finances. Will income tax rates rise? Will the U.S. budget deficit spark higher interest rates? Read this Tuesday post on The MSN Blog for the whole story.

New Skype certified Webcams from Microsoft. We’re excited to announce that all Microsoft HD webcams and USB Microsoft headsets are now Skype Certified and available in our Skype Shop. Now you have even more great options for connecting with loved ones. Check out this Tuesday post on The Big Blog to get all the information you need on the new cams.

Singer Alex Clare brings the Web to life in new IE ad. In the newest TV ad for Internet Explorer, viewers will see powerful visuals and a message about how the browser brings the beauty of the Web to users. But it is what they will hear that will really strike a nerve: the powerful bass line beat and the soulful lyrics of Alex Clare’s new hit “Too Close.” The song, from Clare’s debut album, “The Lateness of the Hour,” is bringing the British singer to the attention of a new global audience. Check out the video below.

Introducing Bing Search Quality Insights. Earlier this week, we launched a new blog series called “Bing Search Quality Insights.” The series aims to give deeper insight into the algorithms, trends and people behind Bing. This Monday blog post is the first in a series that will take you behind the search box for an up close view into the core of the Bing search engine. Quality improvements in Bing are often subtle but often those little changes are the result of years of research. Don’t miss it.

Cloud computing to create 14 million new jobs by 2015. Spending on public and private IT cloud services will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide from 2011 to 2015, according to a new study by the analyst firm IDC. The research, commissioned by Microsoft, also found that IT innovation created by cloud computing could produce $1.1 trillion a year in new business revenues. To get the rest of this story, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center and this Monday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog