Weekend Reading: Oct. 5th Edition – Halo 4 Soundtrack Remix Contest & Microsoft’s Innovative Schools Program

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on schools that are transforming education, more Halo 4, and, in case you missed it, the unveiling of MSN for Windows 8 and news that the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 are headed to AT&T.

Halo 4 soundtrack remix contest. Halo 4 is just around the corner and Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton confesses he’s almost as excited about the soundtrack as the game. With Neil Davidge at the helm of the audio accompaniment to the game, it promises to be epic and will be available on October 22. And now you have the chance to create your own bit of epic by remixing one of three tracks Davidge has laid down. Prize winning remixes will be announced Oct. 29 and some sweet Halo 4 gear will get doled out. Head over to Next at Microsoft for details and watch this video to see artists who have already remixed the soundtrack.

The official Chase Mobile banking app is here. Chase customers rejoice: The bank’s official app for Windows Phone just appeared in the Windows Phone Store. As banking apps go, Chase Mobile is about as comprehensive as they come. It’s practically like having a bank branch in your pocket (minus the candy bowl). Michael Stroh of the Windows Phone Blog shares his favorite feature: The app lets him deposit checks using his phone’s camera, saving a trip to the local branch. Learn more about this slick app at the Windows Phone Blog, or go straight to the Store and download it now.

More than 5 million have visited the Bing It On challenge; 33 percent of Google primary users say they would use Bing more after taking the challenge. With the first of the U.S. presidential debates just completed, the Bing team thought the time was right to update you on the early results from another debate we think is worth caring about – the debate over who provides better Web search results – Bing or Google. A few weeks ago we created the Bing It On Challenge to make it easy for you to compare the Web search results from Bing and Google. Head over to the Bing Search Blog to see the results so far.

Expanding computer science education in high schools. It’s estimated that by 2018, there will be 1.5 million computer science related jobs available in America, but only 29 percent of those jobs will be met by U.S. graduates. At a time when five of the top 10 fastest growing jobs will be in a computer-related field and two of the top three bachelors’ salaries are in computer science and engineering, it’s concerning that only 0.6 percent of the nation’s 1.06 million public high school teachers have “Computer and Information Sciences” as their primary teaching assignment. Wednesday’s post on the Microsoft Citizenship Blog talks about Microsoft’s expansion of the Technology Education And Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program, which was also featured this week in The New York Times.

Microsoft receives Green Power Leadership Award. After being named a top green power purchaser by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year, Microsoft has been honored as one of four organizations nationwide to receive the EPA’s Green Power Partner of the Year award. We received the award late last month at the 2012 Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Washington, D.C., where the EPA handed out its 2012 Green Power Leadership Annual Awards. For more info on the award, go to Microsoft’s Software Enabled Earth blog.

Intro to Power View for Excel 2013. Power View is the new add-in for Excel 2013 that consumes the Data Model. The point of Power View is to make it very easy to create pretty, interactive data presentations that will make your boss go “Wow, how did you do that?” Plus, it also can be used to explore your data visually without worrying about messing anything up and even make reports on your own, without IT help. Check out this post to learn how to use what might become your favorite new Excel add-in.

And just in case you missed the news from earlier this week…

The all new MSN for Windows 8: Built exclusively for Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10. The launch of Windows 8 and IE10 will change the way we use devices and the Internet. It opens up a new class of opportunities for us to re-imagine all of our products and services, including MSN. With more than 480 million visitors per month, MSN is the top site in 27 markets and remains one of the most popular media destinations on the Internet. Check out last Monday’s preview of the new MSN for Windows 8, which shares more screen shots and a cool intro video.

It’s official: The Nokia Lumia 920 & 820 are coming to AT&T. Yesterday, AT&T made an announcement that’s bound to make many of you very, very happy – the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 are officially part of the carrier’s fall lineup. You’re going to be able to get the Lumia 920 in-store in Red, Black and White, and through direct order (i.e., online) in Yellow and Cyan. Read that last line again…Cyan is back! There’s the Lumia 920 below (pre-Cyan). Head over to Ben Rudolph’s Thursday Windows Phone Blog post for the scoop. To the right is a screenshot of the Lumia 820.

Supporting teachers and schools: a global imperative. On Thursday, Microsoft announced the 2012 Microsoft Innovative Mentor and Pathfinder Schools. “These inspiring schools and the educators that lead them are shining examples of what passion, commitment and broad-based community support can do to develop our future engines of economic growth,” said Anthony Salcito, Microsoft vice president of Worldwide Education. Learn more about the Innovative Schools program in Anthony’s Microsoft on the Issues blog post and stop by the Microsoft News Center for a slideshow of some of this year’s selected schools.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for stopping by The Official Microsoft Blog!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog