Celebrating women around the globe, the power of data and March Madness excitement — Weekend Reading: March 11 edition

Inspiring young women to invent great things, bringing data insights to transform businesses and a look at one developer’s focus on accessibility are just a few of the highlights from this week’s news around Microsoft.

On Monday, Microsoft celebrated International Women’s Day through its #MakeWhatsNext campaign aimed at showing young women they can be among the next generation of inventors. The company announced a new program to help female inventors file for U.S. patents; it also offers free resources for girls to learn to code and meet female role models at DigiGirlz events around the world.

The Microsoft Facebook Channel marked International Women’s Day by honoring women inventors of the past and supporting female innovators, ground-breakers and game-changers yet to come.

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CEO Satya Nadella, other top leaders and Microsoft customers shared how data insights are driving business transformation at Thursday’s Data Driven event in New York. Customers who have had the chance to preview SQL Server 2016 are already benefiting from new innovations such as built-in analytics and unique hybrid capabilities — and SQL Server’s real-time in-memory processing capabilities are leading the industry.

Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Data Group, shared more about what SQL Server 2016 can do. “Microsoft is delivering on a vision that no other company can match across data, intelligence and cloud,” he wrote on the Official Microsoft Blog.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, announced plans earlier in the week to extend SQL Server to run on Linux.

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If you’re one of the many people for whom March means one thing — the excitement of college basketball — then there’s a great new app for you. NCAA March Madness Live is now available on Windows 10.

The all-new universal Windows app, which has all the action of the 67 tournament games, is part of Microsoft’s broader partnership with the NCAA to bring the action of March Madness to people running Windows on any device. Get it to keep on top of all the rivalries, upsets and buzzer-beaters, as well as scores, schedules and more.

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The Microsoft JobsBlog featured the work of Chris Schlechty, a developer who is helping modernize SharePoint and is his team’s “accessibility driver” for engineering — which means he’s the expert his colleagues turn to for guidance on how to design features that work well for people with various disabilities.

Schlechty, who has muscular dystrophy and uses an onscreen keyboard and other assistive technology, thinks it’s “fascinating and wonderful” that technology can empower people of all abilities to accomplish what they want to do — and that he’s able to help advance something so important as part of his job.

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A while back, the Office team in India discovered something that many small business owners and individuals needed and went to work creating just that: A suite of free, mobile-only Android apps that can help them better manage their businesses and their lives.

Months of research revealed the need for apps for people who rely solely on their phones. “Thinking mobile-only is new ground for a company of our size,” said Arun Rajappa, group product manager.

The apps — Sprightly, Connections and Kaizala — are being released through the Microsoft Garage.

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More app news brings plenty of entertainment for your weekend. For starters, “edjing” may come in handy if you’re hosting a party or otherwise want to look like a music pro. The updated DJ tool gives you controls for pitch, FX, EQ and sync, and the app has been redesigned to bring other key controls together for easier use.

If you’re looking for fun games, “King of Thieves” has introduced a new character, a unique gem and more in an update to help you dodge traps and steal gold from other players. The castle-conquering “Royal Revolt 2” game also has some cool new updates, and “Fire: Ungh’s Questputs your puzzle-solving skills to the test to help a Neanderthal named Ungh navigate all sorts of wild adventures.

Take a virtual trip to Las Vegas with “Slotomania,” which packs more than 100 themed casino slot machines into one app, or test your tapping skills in “Pop the Lock.”

For “Hunger Games” fans, now’s your chance to own the epic finale, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2,” before it’s even out on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s available with bonus content, or you can pick up the entire series, in the Windows Store.

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And that wraps up this week’s news around Microsoft. Check back each Friday for the latest edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff