The Midweek Download: Dec. 12th Edition – Microsoft Surface Production and Retail Distribution Increased

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Microsoft Surface, Kinect inventor Alex Kipman winning the Inventor of the Year Award from the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation and more.

Microsoft increased production and expands retail distribution for Surface. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced plans to make Microsoft Surface available at additional retailers as soon as mid-December. In addition, the company announced the extension of the Microsoft holiday stores, including the transition of several of the stores into permanent Microsoft retail outlets. “The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see. We’ve increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface,” said Panos Panay, general manager, Microsoft Surface.

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Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation honors Alex Kipman with Inventor of the Year award. Each year, the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation presents its Annual National Inventor of the Year Award to individuals that contribute significantly to the practice of intellectual property. The Award recognizes “Outstanding Achievement in the Fields of Innovation, Creativity, and IP Rights” and fosters the spirit of American innovation and highlights the protection offered to inventors by the patent system. This year, its 39th year, the Foundation honored Alex Kipman of Microsoft for the invention of Kinect, a breakthrough motion sensing input device developed for the Xbox 360 video game system and Windows PCs at a ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Learn more about Kipman in Tuesday’s Q&A on the Microsoft on the Issues blog.

Windows Phone 8 Jump Start training is here. Last week we hosted the Windows Phone 8 Jump Start training, a fast-paced and demo-packed learning ‘experience’ tailored to show developers how to build responsive, appealing and effective applications quickly. If you missed this outstanding event, you’re in luck. All 20 modules are now available online for your on-demand viewing, (or download) on Channel 9. Go to the Dec. 6 edition of the Windows Phone Developer Blog for a full outline of the course that was delivered, with direct links to each module. For those of you who are new to the world of Windows Phone, this is a great way to start developing apps right away.

Designing a simple and secure app package – APPX. When we started working on the new Windows 8 development platform, one of the first questions we had was “how do you package an app into a simple yet secure format?” As discussed in the Delivering reliable and trustworthy apps blog post, many products help developers manage the complexities of installing and updating apps. However, app packaging, installation, and updating continue to frustrate developers and end-users. A main goal for packaging and deploying apps was to eliminate the need for installation scripts altogether, making the process more straightforward. We needed something easy for developers to use; something to support a range of app technologies; something efficient to package, install, and update. The result was the Windows 8 APPX (“.appx”) app package format. Read all about it in this Dec. 4 post on the Windows 8 app developer blog.

Get started with Windows Phone 8 Lenses. From the very beginning, as you’ve no doubt heard us say, Windows Phone has been about delivering outstanding experiences to end users and giving developers contextually relevant mechanisms to expose their offerings, so that apps aren’t hidden deep on the fifth page of a grid of icons never to be used again. Instead, we’ve built in extensibility points throughout our OS so that end users see your apps when they’re relevant, giving you a better opportunity to develop a relationship with your users. One of the ways we’re expanding on this approach in Windows Phone 8 is with the new Lenses feature. In the image below, you can see how a user clicks on the lens button to easily bring up available lenses. For more info and some great resources to get you started, head over to this Dec. 7 post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Outlook.com increases security with support for DMARC and EV certificates. In a previous blog post, we talked about our goal of making Outlook.com the best and most-used personal e-mail service on the planet. That means building a great service with all the features you expect from modern e-mail, but it also means building a service that is known for world-class reliability, industry leading spam protection and rock solid security features. On Monday, we announced two new enhancements to Outlook.com that will help prevent attackers from stealing your account information and protect your account from phishing attacks. You can learn more about these security measures and what they mean for you over on the Outlook Blog.

NikeFuel Station uses Kinect. Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton says this project slipped by him when it was shown back in January at Boxpark in London, but it’s definitely still worth a look. AKQA and onformative used Kinect sensors to enable consumers to immerse themselves in an installation that creates a 3D particle mirror of their body. Watch it in the video below and see another cool video in the Next at Microsoft blog from Monday.

Four from Microsoft Research named IEEE Fellows. In this, the 100th anniversary of what is now known as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow program, four computer scientists from Microsoft Research have joined the annals of illustrious individuals who have attained the grade of IEEE Fellow. Peter Key, Yi Ma, Feng Wu and Geoffrey Zweig of the Class of 2013 represent Microsoft Research’s latest contributions for this prestigious honor, bestowed upon select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting. To read more about the honored researchers, go to this Dec. 7 post on Inside Microsoft Research.

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

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog