The Midweek Download: Feb. 13th Edition – The Latest On Big Data Week, Tips for App and Web Developers & More

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on big data – what it is, how to use it and who’s leading the way, how to build your Windows 8 app to reach a market of 4.5 billion people, and designing your Web sites for mobile phones.

The big bang: how the big data explosion is changing the world. In the battle of the buzzwords, “big data” is about to render “guestimation” obsolete. This is big. “Big data absolutely has the potential to change the way governments, organizations, and academic institutions conduct business and make discoveries, and its likely to change how everyone lives their day-to-day lives,” said Susan Hauser, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group. This first story in series for Microsoft News Center’s Big Data Week takes a look at the growing power of data to transform how we live, think and do business. For more on this story, take a look at Monday’s feature story on the News Center. For data on big data, check out this infographic based on a recent study.

Up next: The Weather Channel forecasts the business value of big data. Weather is money. It can be a fickle profit maker or shaker. Weather can propel an upstart skydiving outfit in Argentina, while freezing up national economies in Asia. And the more precisely businesses, nations and people can understand, predict and plan for weather, the more money they can make. So it’s no wonder organizations big and small, across industries and continents, seek the very best weather information to help create their own fortunes. Yesterday, Microsoft News Center shared this Q&A with Bryson Koehler, chief information officer at The Weather Company (The Weather Channel’s parent company). Koehler talks about what big data means to TWC, and how the so-called “data deluge” has become his company’s strategic differentiator. Read about other customers who are setting themselves apart using Microsoft big data solutions in Caching in: How some organizations are using big data to change the way they do business. Pictured here, The Weather Company Chief Information Officer Bryson Koehler.

Preparing your Windows Store app for a world market. Do you want to make your new app accessible for a worldwide market and potentially increase the number of customers for it? Windows 8 makes it easier than ever to write an app that can be tailored for different languages and cultures. In this Feb. 6 post on the Windows 8 app developer blog, Ray Shuman, programming writer for Windows Content Services shows you how to design a new world-ready app with little to no code modification. Sara Thomas described the market opportunities available to you in her post about the Multilingual App Toolkit. Shuman says he hopes her mention of “a potential reach of over 4.5 billion people,” and the possibility to sell apps “in more than 200 markets” entices you to read on.

modern.IE – New tools for mobile Web developers. On Jan. 31, Microsoft launched modern.IE, a free set of tools and resources to help web developers ensure that their sites work beautifully across versions of Internet Explorer as well as other modern browsers. Our goal is to help Web developers spend less time testing and more time innovating. You can read an overview about what’s available on Exploring IE, or a more detailed walkthrough on the IEBlog. While the tools are intended for Web developers targeting screens of all sizes, this post highlights some of the resources at modern.IE that are particularly useful for mobile Web developers who are targeting modern browsers on smartphones, such as Internet Explorer 10 on Windows Phone 8. If you’re a mobile Web developer, don’t miss this Feb. 7 post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Answering your top questions: Windows To Go. Over the past few months, we have discussed Windows To Go features, its ability to help mobile workers be more productive, and the importance of certified drives to overall functionality. “As I talk with companies, both large and small, who are evaluating Windows To Go in their own ecosystems, I’ve heard common questions regarding compatibility, support and usage scenarios of the product,” says Craig Ashley of the Windows team. As more customers consider Windows To Go, Ashley thought it would be a great time to address some of these common questions, and provide a few Tips ‘n Tricks to help in evaluating Windows To Go for your organizations. For the rest of the story, head on over to the Feb. 7 post of the Windows for your Business blog.

Happy Birthday XML! Jean Paoli, president, Microsoft Open Technologies and co-creator of XML 1.0 @ W3C (pictured) says he would have never dreamt, 15 years ago, that we would be so successful in our dream of exchanging information freely between different platforms and now across devices and clouds. For Paoli, this has been the beginning of the Openness revolution. Paoli says he truly believes that that the strength of XML is its inherent unique capability of representing homogenously documents and data: those scenarios and capabilities will be even more important for the next 15 years. Vive XML and to its bright future! Watch a special video message from Jean Paoli on Sunday’s post on the Interoperability @ Microsoft blog.

Announcing the Windows Azure Area on Channel 9 & new Windows Azure video series. On Feb. 6, we launched a new landing page on Channel 9 for developers to find videos, event recordings, and shows about Windows Azure. This page brings together a variety of existing videos such as screencasts and recordings of events like BUILD and AzureConf with a variety of brand new content. To help you learn about Windows Azure we have created several new introductory video series. Check out the Feb. 6 Windows Azure blog post for a list of some of the newest Windows Azure series available on Channel 9.

Innovators wanted. “I WANT YOU”…. Anyone who grew up in the United States is familiar with the famous World War II recruiting poster of Uncle Sam exhorting young Americans to enlist in the armed forces. Well, Uncle Sam is calling again, not for men and women under arms, but for recent graduates, top researchers, and great innovators—in short, for creative young people who want to be agents of change in the digital world. On February 5, the White House announced round 2 of the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program, a unique effort that brings incredibly talented go-getters from the private sector to work for 6 to 12 months with top government innovators to solve challenges of national importance. For more on this story, head over to the Feb. 8 post on the Microsoft Research Connections Blog.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog