Weekend Reading: April 20th Edition–Master Chief Returns in “Halo 4”, the Latest on Windows 8 & Don’t Miss “The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator”

We’ve got an action-packed edition of Weekend Reading for you today, with stories on the return of Master Chief in “Halo 4”, the latest word on Windows 8, a few tips to help you get the most out of your Nokia Lumia 900 and a wicked cool interactive comic book collaboration called “The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator”.

Master Chief returns with worldwide launch of “Halo 4” on Nov. 6. The countdown has begun for the landmark entertainment event millions of fans worldwide have been anticipating for more than four years. “Halo 4,” the hotly anticipated sequel to the iconic franchise that has shaped entertainment history, will launch worldwide on Nov. 6. Set four years after the events in “Halo 3,” Master Chief returns to confront his destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. Read more about it on the Microsoft News Center.

prod_halo4_hero

Announcing the Windows 8 editions. We have talked about Windows 8 as Windows reimagined, from the chipset to the user experience. This also applies to the editions available – we have worked to make it easier for customers to know what edition will work best for them when they purchase a new Windows 8 PC or upgrade their existing PC. For PCs and tablets powered by x86 processors (both 32 and 64 bit), we will have two editions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Windows RT is the newest member of the Windows family – also known as Windows on ARM or WOA, as we’ve referred to it previously. Check out this Monday post on Blogging Windows, which features a helpful chart designed to help you find the appropriate version of Windows 8, for the rest of the story.

Ten things you didn’t know your Lumia 900 could do. If you are a proud new Lumia owner—or just new to Windows Phone period—then you’ll probably want to check out the fun and handy story Nokia ran on its official blog recently: 10 things you never knew your Lumia could do. It covers everything from saving battery power to finding a good nearby pub. Also, check out this Monday post on the Windows Phone Blog announcing the availability of an updated Bing Translator app, and don’t forget to check out the final results of the Lumia 900 poll on The Official Microsoft Blog. Finally, there’s this April 12 post on the Office Blog that shows how the Office Hub on Windows Phone really shines on the Lumia 900, pictured below.

The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator. OK, this is just plain cool. As reported in Wired UK and elsewhere, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team has collaborated with “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead” director Edgar Wright and Marvel and Lucasfilm illustrator Tommy Lee Edwards to create an HTML5-powered interactive comic book story called The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator. It’s the story of a science-fiction writer with a SERIOUS case of writer’s block. Wired UK reporter Duncan Geere writes, “Visitors to brandongenerator.com will get a seven-minute video that explains the story, and then will be able to explore Brandon’s flat, a little like an adventure game. Clicking on different items will allow you to submit prose, sketches and voice that — once moderated — will appear in a gallery on the web. The best ideas will be used to continue the story from that point.” How can you NOT go to this site?

And now a word from Skype Division President Tony Bates. “As this presentation from the Pew Internet Organization details, regardless of what students choose to do after they are finished with their education, technology inevitably will play a role,” Bates writes in this April 12 post on The Big Blog. “I’ve heard first-hand the stories of the positive benefits for education. Recently, students from an Englewood, NJ school district connected with students in China through a video conferencing session to test their Mandarin skills.” Check it out.

Bing Bar 7.1 rolling out. We’re constantly looking for ways to make Bing Bar more useful. The primary way we do this is based on how you are using the product – which features are used most, which aren’t being used. You’ve told us that you love the clean look, convenience and quick performance of Bing Bar. You also told us that the app buttons we delivered in Bing Bar 7.0 and subsequent releases were valuable and useful. Now, we are excited to release Bing Bar 7.1. This new release, based on your feedback, provides richer access to your social connections, new entertainment options, and updated versions of the most popular Bing Bar apps. Read all about it in this Tuesday post on the Bing Search Blog.

CR Magazine announces 2012 Best Corporate Citizens List. Corporate Responsibility Magazine has announced that Microsoft was named among the Top 3 Best Corporate Citizens for 2012. CR Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens List is known as one of the world’s top corporate responsibility rankings. Read this Wednesday post on the Microsoft Citizenship Blog for the rest of the story.

MSN and FoxSports.com team on exclusive Summer Olympics coverage. The lighting of the Olympic torch in London this summer is 100 days away. To mark the occasion, MSN and FOXSports.com are launching a special section (http://msn.foxsports.com/olympics) devoted to coverage of the London Games. The section will feature articles, current and former Olympian profiles, videos and photo galleries. FOXSports.com award-winning contributors including Jason Whitlock, Mark Kriegel, Jen Floyd Engel, and Bill Reiter will be updating the site from London for the entirety of the Games. Check out this Wednesday post on The MSN Blog for more detail.

Earth Day 2012: A progress report. Three years ago, Microsoft adopted a broad environmental strategy that included commitments both to reduce the impact of our operations and products and to accelerate the use of information technology in addressing serious environmental issues. As part of the strategy we laid out three years ago, Microsoft committed that by 2012 we would reduce carbon emissions at least 30 percent per unit of revenue below our 2007 baseline. We’re pleased to report that we’ve met this goal through a combination of energy efficiency measures and an investment in high-quality externally verified renewable energy and carbon reduction projects. For the rest of the story, read this Monday post on the Software Enabled Earth Blog.

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

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft