Weekend Reading: Nov. 2nd Edition – ‘Halo 4’ Lands in Liechtenstein and News & Reviews on Windows Phone 8

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Halo 4 – from coming to life in Liechtenstein to a sneak peek at Halo 4 Infinity Multiplayer, plus the Windows Phone 8 story continues.

Hello Liechtenstein! ‘Halo 4’ lands on earth in ground-breaking style. Major Nelson shared news of the Europe Halo team Halo 4 launch kick off. They took 70 unsuspecting guests, from super-fans to media, to Liechtenstein this week for an Xbox 360 hosted “Halo 4” event. For one night only, Liechtenstein’s iconic Gutenberg Castle became an imposing military fort while a working mine become a war-torn battleground. Cinematic set builds, hundreds of bespoke props and pyrotechnics combined to bring a series of highly theatrical, ‘Halo 4’-inspired experiences to life for guests in vivid detail and in person. Watch the video below and head over to the Microsoft News Center to learn more about the transformation of Liechtenstein, including more video and a slideshow. 

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‘Halo 4’ multiplayer – powered by Azure. The Halo team rounded up players from the studio to bring you a sneak peek at some of the multiplayer goodness – now powered by Azure, thanks to some very sharp engineers on the 343 Industries team - you will experience come November 6 and streamed the entire thing LIVE on Twitch.tv. Major Nelson and David Ellis popped in to provide commentary, as well as answer some community questions. For a look at Infinity Slayer, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag and Extraction on various maps such as Haven, Complex, Ragnarok, Solace, Meltdown and Adrift, visit the Halo Waypoint blog or check out the video below!

What the are critics saying about Windows Phone 8 Since we launched Windows Phone 8 on Monday, the reviews have been pouring in. If you haven’t had time to keep up, the Windows Phone Blog has shared a few favorites. For even more press reviews, head over to the Microsoft News Center. In the image below, Joe Belfiore’s kids demo one of reviewers’ favorite features: Kid’s Corner.

Joe Belfiore’s kids demo one of reviewers’ favorite features: Kid’s Corner.

Skype, Office and Bing on Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 8 is here. If you read Terry Myerson’s blog post on Monday, or watched our San Francisco launch event (here's the replay), you saw some of the amazing new features, phones, and apps on the way. You also saw how Windows Phone 8 seamlessly connects with so many great Microsoft products and services—from Bing to Xbox. Several Microsoft product blogs have published more details about their role in Windows Phone 8 and the new and improved features you’ll find in our new release. See Skype on Windows Phone 8 in action and check out the rest of this story at the Windows Phone Blog, where we’ll share much more on the Windows Phone 8 story in the weeks to come.

New in the Windows Phone Store: Nike+ Kinect Training app. This week Nike and Microsoft officially launched their eagerly-anticipated Nike+ Kinect Training program. First unveiled at last summer’s E3 gaming convention, it’s one of a growing lineup of fitness titles for the Xbox 360. “This is really not an exercise game; it’s a game-changing, truly personalized fitness program,” Michelle Tatom, one of the title’s producers, told the Microsoft News Center in an interview this week. What you might not know is that there’s also a free Windows Phone companion app. Find out more and how to download the app at the Windows Phone Blog. 

8 ways to search on Windows 8: start and search charm. The Bing team has kicked off a series in which they’ll showcase 8 ways to use Bing on Windows 8. Check the Search Blog on Wednesdays and Thursdays, to see how Microsoft has reimagined search to be fast, fluid and built for touch. To “start” things off, head to the Bing Search Blog for a slick video that shows how search is baked right into Windows 8.

STEM students: There is a path forward. On Tuesday, Brad Smith, executive vice president of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft spoke at the University of Washington’s Distinguished Lecture Series about the significant role Computer Science is playing in shaping the future of our global economy. While the United States faces a growing economic challenge – a substantial and increasing shortage of individuals with the skills needed to fill the new jobs the private sector is creating – supporting the next generation is critical to our nation’s long-term competitiveness and economic growth. For more on the story, go to the Microsoft on the Issues blog.

Starting from blank: Design templates in the new Word. Last month Seth Fox, a Word team program manager introduced the Start screen in the new Word and discussed how templates and built-in content can be used to quickly create great looking documents. On Wednesday, Seth introduced new “starting documents” that are featured on the Start screen. We know that over half of all Word sessions start from a blank document. These documents can end up looking very different but in previous versions of Word, they all started with the same settings. In the new Word, we have made it easier for you to create great looking documents, allowing you to focus on content instead of formatting. Find out how in this post from the Word Blog team.

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