Weekend Reading: March 23rd Edition–A New “Hunger Games” Web Experience, Windows Phone Arrives in China, plus Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, Skype & More

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on a “Hunger Games” Web experience, Windows Phone arriving in China, Microsoft making PhotoDNA technology available to law enforcement and more. Read on!

Go inside “The Hunger Games.” Everybody’s talking about it. The Hunger Games. The pages of the bestselling trilogy introduced readers to a captivating set of characters living in a post-apocalyptic world, and on Friday the movie adaptation of the first book brought that world to life. Thanks to a partnership between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team and Lionsgate, fans of The Hunger Games can dive in and experience the world of Panem and its opulent and oppressive Capitol city today. Earlier this week, Lionsgate and Microsoft launched a “game-changing” Web experience that pulls visitors into the world of The Hunger Games from the moment they step off their train in the Capitol city. Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center and this March 20 post on the Exploring IE Blog to get the rest of the scoop. Check out the screenshot below of Panem:

03-20HungerGames_panem_web

Microsoft makes PhotoDNA technology available to law enforcement. The scale of the online child pornography problem and the amount of data associated with these types of investigations is massive. This is why we are proud to announce that we are partnering with NetClean to make our Microsoft PhotoDNA image matching technology available to law enforcement at no cost to help enhance their child sex abuse investigations – empowering them to more efficiently identify and rescue victims and bring abusers to justice. Read this Monday post on Microsoft on the Issues for the whole story, which features a video from Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit.

Windows Phone arrives in China. China, here we come. HTC announced Wednesday that they’ve started selling the first Windows Phone in the country. The HTC Eternity (codename) is an unlocked or “open market” handset with a 4.7-inch screen, front- and rear-facing cameras, and comes stocked with a slew of popular Chinese apps. It’s also the first of many great Windows Phone handsets headed for China from Nokia and other phone makers this year. So stay tuned. Check out this Wednesday post on The Windows Phone Blog for more detail. Our engineering and design teams really sweated the details, working hard to create a version of the software that both showcases the inherent beauty of Chinese characters and excites Chinese customers:

Windows Phone in China

Project Detroit: Reimagining an American classic. Earlier this week, Microsoft officially unveiled codename “Project Detroit,” a concept car created to inspire developers to think about building apps and automotive technologies of the future. Connected-device scenarios featured in the car incorporate Kinect for Xbox 360, Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Bing, Ford Sync and more. To create Project Detroit, a 2012 Ford Mustang with a 1967 fastback body, Microsoft teamed up with Ryan Friedlinghaus, an award-winning automotive designer based in Corona, Calif., and star of the Discovery Channel’s Velocity network reality TV series “Inside West Coast Customs.” Check out this feature story and slideshow on the Microsoft News Center for more detail. CNET and The Verge also covered the story. Check out the screenshot below of a concept car from the project:

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Windows Live Essentials update now available. Earlier this week, we released an update for Windows Live Essentials 2011 in all 48 languages. This minor release includes numerous updates across all of the programs in the Essential package, including Windows Live Messenger, Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Family Safety, Writer, and Mesh. In the coming weeks, customers on Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7 will receive a notification prompting them to upgrade to the new version. Since this release contains critical fixes for the Essentials package, in a few months, the update will become required for all eligible customers. Read this Tuesday post on the Windows Experience Blog for the whole story.

Skype and DonorsChoose.org partner to bring technology to classrooms. Last September, Skype announced its goal of connecting one million classrooms across the globe through Skype in the classroom, a free online community that helps teachers use Skype to enrich educational experiences for students. In pursuit of this goal, we are thrilled to announce a new partnership with DonorsChoose.org, an innovative online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help teachers and students in need. Read this Wednesday post on The Big Blog for the rest of the story.

The full list of keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8. In this Tuesday post, Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton highlights a video on the Windows Experience Blog focused on the best way to easily navigate Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Check it out.

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

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog