Weekend Reading: Dec. 13th Edition – Microsoft introduces the Cloud OS Network

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Microsoft’s new Cloud OS Network, Xbox One sales and a gift guide for goodies under 100 bucks to help you get through the holidays.

On Thursday, Microsoft introduced the Cloud OS Network, a worldwide group of more than 25 leading cloud service providers who have embraced our Cloud OS vision and will deliver hosted services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which includes Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. To get the rest of the story, read this post on The Official Microsoft Blog from Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, and watch the video below.

Xbox One sales totaled more than 2 million in first 18 days. Since its Nov. 22 launch, sales have averaged more than 111,111 units a day, a record-setting pace for Xbox. “We continue to be humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response from our fans,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of strategy and marketing, Xbox. “Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers. The Xbox team is continuing to work hard to meet consumer demand, delivering consoles to retailers as fast as possible this holiday season.” To help people find Xbox One, Major Nelson recently shared some tips for consumers this holiday season.

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If you’re feeling the holiday pinch, in terms of time and cash, we’ve got some great gift ideas for under $100. There’s plenty of cool technology options that won’t break the bank, including Microsoft’s Wireless Mouse 3500 Studio Series Artist Edition, Nokia Lumia 925 Windows Phone device and a 12-month Xbox Live Gold Membership. Check out those ideas and more in the slideshow below, and see other ways people are using technology at Made Possible by Microsoft.

Affordable gifts for tech lovers
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Turn heads wherever you go with this phone’s unique metal design and polycarbonate back. With SkyDrive built in, your photos are automatically backed up to protect your holiday memories. $49 with two-year contract at AT&T; $0 up front with two-year contract at T-Mobile (pricing may vary).
Nokia Lumia 925 Windows Phone
December 12, 2013
Turn heads wherever you go with this phone’s unique metal design and polycarbonate back. With SkyDrive built in, your photos are automatically backed up to protect your holiday memories. $49 with two-year contract at AT&T; $0 up front with two-year contract at T-Mobile (pricing may vary).
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New security features were being rolled out this week to give Microsoft account users more visibility and control of their accounts. Last spring, we released two-step verification. Since then, many users said they would like to get more insight into activities on their accounts. “So we added a new view that allows you to see your sign-ins and other account activities,” wrote Eric Doerr, Group Program Manager, Microsoft Account. As you can see in the example below, different types of activity are now visible to you, including “successful and unsuccessful sign-ins, the addition and deletion of security information and more.” If you do see something suspicious, “there’s an easy ‘This wasn’t me’ button that will help you take steps to protect your account.”

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Microsoft joined AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo in calling for reforms in government surveillance. “People won’t use technology they don’t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it,” wrote Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, Legal & Corporate Affairs. While many recent revelations have focused on the U.S. government, he said, “in reality this is a global issue. It requires coordinated steps to ensure the flow of information across borders and avoid conflicts between governments. By definition, the world needs a global discussion.” Microsoft and other industry leaders suggest principles for government reform at a new site, ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com.

It was the week that could change young lives forever, and it involved an “Hour of Code.” Many from Microsoft worldwide participated in the annual “Hour of Code” event, giving an hour – and in many cases, more – of their own time to teach students to code. “Right now, less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science, yet computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average and are among the top paying fields,” wrote Satya Nadella, executive vice president, Cloud and Enterprise, at Microsoft. “Hour of Code” is sponsored by Code.org, the nonprofit organization that Microsoft is a founding member of, which is dedicated to “growing computer science education by making it available in more schools.” If you missed it, check out these Microsoft sites for some quick coding lessons: Kodu Game Lab and TouchDevelop.

From the “breathtaking” category of the week’s events, a preview version of the new Photosynth was released. On the Bing Search Blog, the Photosynth team wrote that the preview version represents “the next phase of our ground-breaking experience that analyzes digital photographs to generate three-dimensional views of real world spaces.” Combined with the recent release of Bing Maps Preview for Windows 8, the team hopes this will be a “step forward toward our goal of creating a digital replica of the planet with an immersive 3D way to traverse and explore the world.” The New York Times headline put it another way: “Updated Microsoft Photosynth Makes HDTV Look Low-Resolution.”

Ceiling of Palau de la Musica Catalania by David on Photosynth

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we made holiday shopping a little easier with six awesome ultrabooks, four great touchscreen laptops and seven amazing tablets.

Holiday Collage

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Hope you get some time to relax and rest up this weekend, in between all the holiday shopping. We’ll see you next week!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff