The Midweek Download: May 30th Edition–Kinect Gets Accelerated and Herbalife Chooses Windows Azure

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories about the Kinect Accelerator, Herbalife’s decision to host its global distributors’ websites on Windows Azure and the impacts of Windows XP migration.

Kinect for Windows get accelerated in Seattle. The Kinect Accelerator has been getting a lot press in the last few weeks and rightly so as the 11 startups housed at our Westlake, Seattle office are cranking out some impressive work using the Kinect for Windows hardware and SDK. On June 28, the program culminates with the entrepreneurs meeting potential investors. Along the way they have been gathering mentorship on all aspects of operating a startup – everything from how to make that final pitch to how to tweak their code. Check out this Tuesday post on Next at Microsoft for the rest of the story. The video below shows the program in action. Also, don’t miss this Tuesday post on how Ubi-Interactive uses Kinect to make any surface interactive.

Herbalife hosts independent distributors’ custom websites on Windows Azure. Microsoft has announced the Herbalife Ltd. Inc. decision to host its global distributors’ websites on Windows Azure. The nutrition company is now offering its independent distributors the option to create custom retail websites to help them expand their businesses. By building the website platform on Windows Azure, Herbalife substantially reduced its time to market, eliminated the need for significant capital investment and made it possible for the company to react to changing capacity demands in real time. If you want to learn more, head on over to the Microsoft News Center.

New from the Windows 8 App Developer Blog: being productive in the background – background tasks. In this May 24 post, Hari Pulapaka, Program Manager, Windows talks about background tasks and how your app can run code in the background even when it is suspended. He describes two common scenarios with example code that show you how to run your own app code in the background; downloading POP email every 15 minutes with a lock screen capable app and how any app can do work in the background when the device is on AC power. Check it out.

HP’s new commercial PCs solve big IT challenges. In the ever-changing world of corporate IT, new challenges are always arising. From the “consumerization of IT” to managing a growing volume of data, today’s IT professionals must find a way to blend a huge array of new technologies while continually improving the efficiency and security of their organizations. Check out this slide show of new HP devices on the Microsoft News Center for the rest of the story. Below is a screen shot of the HP Compaq Elite 8300 series:


The future of workplaces. In this May 24 piece by Forbes contributor Mark Fidelman entitled “Microsoft’s View of the Future Workplace is Brilliant, Here’s Why,” Fidelman writes about how Microsoft is on the leading edge of a new workplace model “born of the social and mobile age.” Fidelman, who has spent the last two months traveling around the U.S. and Europe visiting Fortune 500 executives and Microsoft Technology Centers, goes on to write that the workplace of the future has to change dramatically if it’s to remain effective, and provides 10 reasons why. Don’t miss it.

Understanding the business impact of Windows XP migration plans. For the last several months, we’ve been talking about the importance of migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7. Much of the discussion has focused on the two year countdown for end of support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. However, we have also pointed out that Windows XP is over a decade old – two generations behind Microsoft’s current product technology – and it will soon be three generations behind. These two aspects are valid points for demonstrating the risks for customers who stay on Windows XP, and we recommend customers also take a look at the compelling business incentives to develop and implement a migration strategy to Windows 7. Read this May 24 post on the Windows For Your Business Blog for the whole story.

Windows Azure Community News Roundup. Finally, don’t miss the latest edition of the Windows Azure Community News Roundup over on the Windows Azure Blog.

Thanks for reading the latest edition of The Midweek Download, and don’t forget to stop by The Official Microsoft Blog again this Friday for another news roundup!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog