The Midweek Download: Nov. 28th Edition – Windows Azure Active Directory: 200 Billion Served & Auto Plant Robots Run by Microsoft-based Intelligent System

In this edition of The Midweek Download, Windows Azure Active Directory authentication service hits BIG milestone, how Microsoft technologies help Jeep Wranglers coming off the line, and Windows Phone developer tools keep rolling in.

Windows Azure Active Directory processes 200 billion authentications connecting people, data and devices around the globe. At Microsoft, we have been on a transformative journey to cloud computing and we have been working with customers every step of the way. Millions of customers have embraced the cloud and we are excited to share the news that we’ve reached a major milestone in cloud scale computing. Since the inception of the authentication service on the Windows Azure platform in 2010, we have now processed 200 BILLION authentications for 50 MILLION active user accounts. If that number sounds big, you’re right. Check out the blog post where Windows Azure General Manager Bill Hilf breaks down the remarkable numbers going through Windows Azure Active Directory around the clock, around the globe.

Jeep Wrangler supplier plant driven by Microsoft. With a lineage tracing back more than seven decades, the Jeep Wrangler is one of the most iconic vehicles in the world, and one of the Chrysler Group’s best sellers. Experiencing the back roads with the top down, drivers would never guess the important role Windows Embedded and other Microsoft technologies play in manufacturing one of the world’s coolest modes of travel. Today the production facility in Toledo that produces bodies for the Wrangler is operated by an intelligent system that extends from the back office to the shop floor. Read the rest of the story in the News Center and be sure to watch the video below to for great footage of the factory’s assembly line of robots in action.

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// ]]>Barilla gets a bite of cloud computing from Microsoft Office 365. Barilla Group is a major Italian food company and a worldwide leader in the pasta market, exporting to more than 100 countries from 41 production facilities. With more than 13,000 employees around the world, a need arose for the company to profoundly evolve the way Barilla’s people communicate, collaborate and interact. After analyzing other cloud platforms, Barilla chose Microsoft because it offers better IT interoperation and enterprise expertise across its services and products. It didn’t take long for Barilla to start seeing results. To read more of the story, head over to the Microsoft News Center.

Register now for Windows Phone 8 Jump Start. We are pleased to announce a new Jump Start for developers focused on building apps for Windows Phone 8. The live online course is scheduled for two full days of fast-paced, demo-rich sessions led by Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Andy Wigley, and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Strategist, Rob Tiffany. Andy and Rob are two of the most respected experts in mobile app development, eager to help C#/XAML developers get the most from the Windows Phone 8 platform. Stop by the Windows Phone Developer Blog for more info and registration details.

Windows Phone Toolkit overview. The Toolkit team is proud to announce the release of the Windows Phone 8 version of the Windows Phone Toolkit. For those of you who are new to developing for Windows Phone, the Windows Phone Toolkit is an additional package of controls you can use with the Windows Phone SDK to easily add useful controls to your Windows Phone app. Below is a glimpse of what’s new. For the rest, head over to the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

  • New toolkit download from CodePlex
  • Installation exclusively through NuGet (deprecated .msi download file)
  • Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 toolkits in a single package
  • New controls and features
  • Bug fixes

Supercomputing on demand with Windows Azure. Last week, Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton posted a tweet about Windows Azure being used to analyze 63,524,915,020 pairs of genetic markers for signs of disease. This week, Steve decided it was worthy of some explanation. It originally came from a post on the Microsoft Research Connections blog that details how Azure is being used to crunch huge volumes of data in the quest for clues to help combat bipolar disease, coronary artery disease, hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease), rheumatoid arthritis, and type I and type II diabetes. Read more here and watch the video below to learn about the Factored Spectrally Transformed Linear Mixed Model (FaST-LMM) algorithm developed by Microsoft Research.

Using LucidWorks on Windows Azure. LucidWorks Search on Windows Azure delivers a high-performance search service based on Apache Lucene/Solr open source indexing and search technology. This service enables quick and easy provisioning of Lucene/Solr search functionality on Windows Azure without any need to manage and operate Lucene/Solr servers, and it supports pre-built connectors for various types of enterprise data, structured data, unstructured data and web sites. In June, we shared an overview of the LucidWorks Search service for Windows Azure. This Interoperability@Microsoft post  is the first in a series that will cover a few of the concepts you need to know to get the most out of the LucidWorks search service on Windows Azure. Take a look.

Build 2012: 50 performance tricks to make your HTML5 applications and sites faster. Creating high-performance Web applications is crucial for every Web developer, be it a website that runs on a standards based Web browser or a Windows Store App. Microsoft recently hosted the Build 2012 conference at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA. At this conference, Jatinder Mann, program manager for Internet Explorer, had the opportunity to share the Internet Explorer team’s favorite 50 performance tips to make HTML5 apps and sites faster. If you weren’t able to attend the conference, we recommend you check out this post and video.

Filter your data with Access 2013. As you manage your business in an Access 2013 Web app, the amount of information it holds will naturally grow over time.  The default views and navigation are great for getting started quickly, but eventually, wading through all of that information by scrolling through lists may not be the most efficient setup.  Is there an easier way to create a different view of the data?  Well now there is. In a post from Monday, Doug Taylor of the Access team shows how to create a customized filtered view in just a couple of minutes.

And in case you missed it… Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 is now available & Microsoft hires Jeannette Wing as new vice president, head of Microsoft Research International.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blo