New ways to farm, photograph and inject even more personality into live music performances – Weekend Reading Jan. 13

Joshua Lawrence went from being a structural steel draftsman to his dream job of being a commercial photographer. Ros Harvey wants to help farmers “feed the world without wrecking the planet,” and she’s on her way to doing just that with an “internet of oysters.” A Seattle radio station that helps listeners discover new music through videos of live acts that perform at its on-site studio now can integrate artists’ … Read more »

Artificial intelligence takes on machine reading, Christmas carols and eye disease – Weekend Reading: Dec. 30 edition

Artificial intelligence (AI) made incredible strides in 2016, and the growth appears set to accelerate as we enter the New Year. A team of Microsoft researchers has released a dataset of 100,000 questions and answers that other AI researchers can use – for free – in their quest to create systems that can read and answer questions as well as a human. The MS MARCO dataset is based on anonymized … Read more »

Using web search data to detect lung cancer and swinging through the universe with Kinect – Weekend Reading: Nov. 11 edition

While the U.S. election dominated global headlines, there has been lots of other news you may have missed, including Microsoft researchers who detected lung cancer risks through web search logs, and an art exhibit where you can explore the universe from the seat of a swing. So take a moment to look at the world around you – and beyond – this weekend. Although smoking cigarettes is the leading cause … Read more »

Getting everyone in the game at Xbox, helping football coaches with smart mouthguards — Weekend Reading: Sept. 2 edition

A high school football player wears a mouth guard while standing next to a trainer on a football field.

It may have been the final days of August, but Microsoft was buzzing all week with interesting news and noteworthy stories. So before you take off for the summer’s last camping trip or get the kids ready for another school year, check out what happened at Microsoft this week. With football starting up again, i1Biometrics, a software company in Kirkland, Washington, has teamed up with Microsoft Azure to create smart … Read more »

How indie game creators are leveling up creativity at Xbox

Katie Stone Perez sits on a sofa surrounded by mementos in her office on Microsoft's Redmond campus

Katie Stone Perez brims over with excitement when talking about Xbox games. All Xbox games. Today the senior program manager for Microsoft’s independent developer program, ID@Xbox, is particularly enthused about “The Hole Story,” a new game about a budding young archaeologist named Wendy who digs in her backyard and discovers a portal to a strange land. The game, written and prototyped by a group of high school students, was selected … Read more »

New back-to-school tech tools, Xbox at gamescom and turning playtime into profits — Weekend Reading: Aug. 19 edition

Summer ended this week for some North American kids and teachers, but the week also marked the arrival of new technology to help ease those back-to-school blues – and what’s especially nice is it’s free. Office 365 Education, which is free for students and teachers, has a bunch of new features for the coming school year. Microsoft Classroom will help educators manage their administrative tasks so they have more time … Read more »

Microsoft acquires Beam interactive livestreaming service

Today, Team Xbox is proud to announce that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Beam, an innovative and interactive livestreaming service that gives viewers the ability to watch and play along with their favorite game streamers in real-time. Based in Seattle, Beam has evolved game streaming from a passive, watch-and-chat experience into one with real-time participation by the viewer; directly into a streamer’s game play and live broadcast. Bringing … Read more »

We believe gaming should be fun for everyone

Each year, I have the honor and privilege of taking the E3 stage to talk about the future of gaming at Microsoft, and to inspire and excite our amazing fans with the most anticipated games, new hardware and accessories, as well as the new Xbox Live platform features coming to Xbox One and Windows 10. What we reveal on stage is often a year or more in the making, so … Read more »

Microsoft adds intelligence to industry, Horvitz wins an AI award and Skype celebrates a big milestone – Weekend Reading: April 29 edition

Wurst and beer were on the minds – and in the stomachs – of many in the tech world this week, as tens of thousands descended on Hannover, Germany, for the world’s largest industrial technology fair. Grab a tasty snack or beverage yourself as you sit back and enjoy this Weekend Reading overview. At the Hannover Messe, Microsoft and its partners demonstrated intelligent aircraft engines, street lights, buildings, factories, refrigerators … Read more »

Microsoft hiring program opens more doors to people with autism

Kyle Schwaneke came to Microsoft through a unique hiring program for candidates with autism.

Kyle Schwaneke’s bank account was approaching empty. He’d been unemployed for a year and a half, since the indie game studio he’d been working for shut its doors. His parents, looking for ways to help while he job hunted, had paid the remainder of his apartment lease, but he’d reached the end of that, too. “I interviewed at a bunch of companies, but really didn’t have any luck. Sometimes, I … Read more »