Weekend Reading: May 9th Edition—Microsoft Office Mix reinvents PowerPoint presentations

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the new Microsoft Office Mix, the latest in cybersecurity reports and several ways Skype can help make Mother’s Day more memorable.

Office Mix, a cloud-based service that helps create and share interactive lessons using PowerPoint, became available Thursday as a free preview. You can also add videos and exercises from websites like the CK-12 Foundation and Khan Academy. Read more about it on Next at Microsoft, Inside Microsoft Research, Microsoft in Education and the Office Blogs. Also in the Office world, New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority will be deploying 22,000 seats of Microsoft Office 365 for cloud-based email and productivity. On the other side of the country, the San Bernardino County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department will also implement Microsoft Office 365 so it can better respond to citizen needs, investigate crimes and carry out administrative tasks.


Microsoft’s latest cybersecurity report, released Wednesday, shows a 70 percent decline in the number of severe vulnerabilities that were exploited in Microsoft products between 2010 and 2013. One explanation for the dramatic drop: Microsoft’s newer software and its security measures may have helped make life more difficult for would-be attackers. Updated white papers on software supply chain security and critical infrastructure protection are also available.


We saw several ways Skype can make this Mother’s Day extra special when you’re far away from your mom. There’s also a handy infographic that could give you more ideas on creative ways to put a smile on your mama’s face.


The latest edition of “On the Whiteboard” brings technology to the playroom through a LEGO robotics competition. In “Build for Good,” a handful of companies answered a challenge from LEGO to create a robot that solves a problem or improves daily life. Microsoft’s project focused on the Xbox game “Zoo Tycoon,” and incorporated three robots, five Windows Phones and a Surface tablet with custom Windows Runtime apps

In San Francisco, Microsoft showed leadership in giving back to the community. Microsoft is supporting a new initiative called SF Gives, through a partnership with the Tipping Point Community, which is taking on poverty by investing in nonprofit organizations that have the greatest impact in education, employment and housing. Earlier in the week, Microsoft sponsored the Silicon Valley Gives online fundraising effort, which included more than 650 registered nonprofits.

Apps and games for Windows Phone, tablets and PCs gave us comedy relief, brain teasers and adorable animals. Staff app picks The Onion tickled our funnybone, while YumvY raised everyone’s kitchen game. Installing “Wordament Snap Attack” from the Windows Phone Store and the Windows Store guaranteed a workout for your noggin, while “Kinectimals Unleashed” (found in the Windows Phone Store and the Windows Store) stimulates the fuzzy creature center of the brain. For more practical applications, get your tech fix with the App of the Week, CNET and book your next trip on Alaska Airlines. We also saw upgrades in Internet Explorer 11 on Windows Phone 8.1.


This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we profiled Andrew KimAs an art student, he was given an assignment to redesign a Popsicle. Instead, he rebranded Microsoft. The project went viral and led him to a job as a designer on the Xbox team. Tell us your story using #ICreatedThis.


Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Hope you have a great Mother’s Day weekend! See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff