The Official Microsoft Blog http://blogs.microsoft.com Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:00:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5 Microsoft adds intelligence to industry, Horvitz wins an AI award and Skype celebrates a big milestone – Weekend Reading: April 29 edition http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/29/microsoft-adds-intelligence-industry-horvitz-wins-ai-award-skype-celebrates-big-milestone-weekend-reading-april-29-edition/ Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:00:41 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68524 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 »

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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 and machines, showing how the digital transformation is remaking companies and their factories and bringing the intersection of manufacturing and technology even closer.

The convergence of IT and OT – information technology and operations technology – “is pervasive” and can have an impact on all industries and walks of life, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said Sunday in his keynote address at the fair.

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Raise that tasty beverage in your hand to toast Microsoft researcher Eric Horvitz, whose groundbreaking contributions in artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction won him some impressive recognition this week. Horvitz, a technical fellow and managing director of Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Washington, received the ACM – AAAI Allen Newell Award, honoring his substantial theoretical efforts and persistent focus in using the discoveries in ways that make our lives easier and more productive.

Horvitz has worked on everything from systems that help determine what’s funny or surprising to those that know when to help us remember what we need to do at work. His research has had an “immeasurable” impact on countless projects and commercial products, ranging from systems that help make our commutes easier to ones that seek to prevent hospital readmissions, according to Jeannette M. Wing, the corporate vice president overseeing Microsoft’s core research labs.

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Microsoft has helped more than three times more developers than ever in its history as a company get started building great apps with Xamarin – and that was just in the first two weeks after the Build developers conference last month. The enthusiasm has been tangible since Xamarin, a leading platform for mobile app development, joined Microsoft in March and was added to all editions of Visual Studio at no additional charge.

“If we’re able to deliver all of this for you in just six weeks, imagine what you’ll be able to do in six months with Xamarin and Microsoft,” Nat Friedman, corporate vice president of mobile developer tools, enthused in a blog post.

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It’ll be easier for you to share photos of that tasty snack you’re eating, with the new Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps that rolled out this week.

Facebook and Messenger apps are available now for Windows 10 PCs and tablets, featuring desktop notifications so that you never miss an important message or a friend’s birthday. And Live Tiles lets you quickly see new posts and photos right from your home screen, meaning you don’t have to waste valuable work time clicking anywhere else for your social needs.

The new Instagram app for Windows 10 mobile includes direct messaging, and you can pin the app to your home screen for notifications right there.

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You’ve probably finished your tasty beverage by now, so set it down and reach out to give a high-five to Skype, which is celebrating the huge milestone of one billion mobile downloads this week.

“Wherever you are, from the US and Russia, to the Cocos Islands and Pitcairn (guess how many people use Skype in Pitcairn #SkypeTrivia), you’ve all helped Skype grow from just a few users in Tallinn, Estonia, to hundreds of millions in every corner of the earth,” the Skype Team wrote in a super happy and grateful blog post.

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In apps this week, besides the Facebook and Instagram ones we already told you about, “Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition” debuted Wednesday on Windows 10, bringing the mysterious forest of Nibel and its orphaned guardian spirit, Ori, to PC gamers. Go to Xbox Wire for more information and install “Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition” from the Windows Store.

If you missed the first round of the NFL draft last night, hurry up and install NFL on Windows 10 for free to enjoy the rest. Plus, then you’ll already be set with an ultimate live game day companion for this fall, helping you track your favorite teams and fantasy players, get personalized notifications for big plays, and see in-game highlights from around the league, all on-demand.

And if you’re bummed about your football team’s draft picks, spend the weekend shopping away your sorrows on the Zulily app. It offers daily deals from curated collections of fashion, home, toy and gift items, all at up to 70 percent off retail prices in sales lasting 72 hours.

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook and Tumblr channels, we met the employees, organizations and workplaces of tomorrow. With profound changes in digital connectivity and information technology, companies must adapt to the future of work.

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And now it’s time for this edition of Weekend Reading to say “Auf Wiedersehen” and log off in search of more snacks and beverages. We recommend you do the same, and we’ll look forward to seeing you back for next week’s roundup.

Posted by Susanna Ray
Microsoft News Center Staff

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The future of mobile app development http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/27/the-future-of-mobile-app-development/ Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:29:56 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68461 It is incredible how much has happened since Xamarin joined Microsoft just over a month ago, starting with Scott Guthrie’s Build 2016 announcements that Xamarin is now part of all editions of Visual Studio at no additional charge — from Community to Enterprise — and our plans to open source the Xamarin SDK. It is a dream come true for us to be able to put the power of Xamarin … Read more »

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It is incredible how much has happened since Xamarin joined Microsoft just over a month ago, starting with Scott Guthrie’s Build 2016 announcements that Xamarin is now part of all editions of Visual Studio at no additional charge — from Community to Enterprise — and our plans to open source the Xamarin SDK. It is a dream come true for us to be able to put the power of Xamarin into the hands of all developers.

In just the first two weeks since Build alone, we helped nearly 3.5 times more developers get started building great apps with Xamarin than ever in our history as a company.

Now we are at Xamarin Evolve 2016, the world’s largest cross-platform mobile development conference, in Orlando. This morning we open sourced the Xamarin SDK and launched new ways to make Visual Studio the most complete mobile development environment.  We also launched new ways to build native, cross-platform apps faster than ever using our popular cross-platform UI framework, Xamarin.Forms.

This is our third Evolve conference, but the first time we are showing the comprehensive developer experience that only Microsoft and Xamarin together can deliver.

Open source Xamarin: Ready for you!

We have officially open sourced and contributed to the .NET Foundation the Xamarin SDK for Android, iOS and Mac under the same MIT license used for the Mono project. This includes native API bindings for iOS, Android and Mac, the command-line tools necessary to build for these platforms, and Xamarin.Forms, our popular cross-platform UI framework.

Watching Xamarin co-founder and open source pioneer Miguel de Icaza announce this onstage was a proud moment for all of us. The future of native cross-platform mobile development is now in the hands of every developer. We look forward to seeing your contributions; go to open.xamarin.com to get involved.

Visual Studio: Your complete mobile development environment

Today we launched new ways to connect Visual Studio to your Mac to make it even easier for C# developers to create native iOS apps, and new ways to auto-generate mobile app test scripts in Visual Studio.

Our iOS Simulator remoting lets you simulate and interact with your iOS apps in Visual Studio — even supporting multi-touch interactions on Windows machines with capable touch screens. We also unveiled our iOS USB remoting, which makes it possible to deploy and debug apps from Visual Studio to an iPad or iPhone plugged into your Windows PC.

In addition, our Test Recorder Visual Studio Plugin now brings Test Recorder’s ability to generate test scripts to Visual Studio users. Simply interact with your app on device or in the simulator and Test Recorder automatically generates scripts that can be run on thousands of devices with Xamarin Test Clouds automated app testing.

Xamarin.Forms: Faster and easier mobile app development

We launched Xamarin.Forms a few years ago to help developers build mobile apps faster, maximizing UI code-sharing while still delivering fully native experiences.

Today, we showed three key new features that will be coming to Xamarin.Forms.  Data Pages and Themes make it easy to connect apps to common entities and data sources, and create beautiful, native user interfaces with just a few lines of code. The Forms Previewer makes it easy to iterate on your Xamarin.Forms UI designs by providing real-time previewing of Xamarin.Forms user interfaces composed in XAML.

The new, mobile-optimized development lifecycle

We were able to show today the most streamlined mobile lifecycle available anywhere through our combined product lineup, including integrations between Visual Studio Team Services, HockeyApp and Xamarin Test Cloud. Through our combined mobile lifecycle solution, you now have a complete solution to build great mobile apps at scale, tackling the unique challenges of mobile DevOps.

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We’ve heard great enthusiasm from our customers.  Bryan Hooper, senior director enterprise architecture at Bloomin’ Brands, talked about how they have “paired Xamarin with Microsoft’s Azure technology, and we’re really excited about the new partnership between the two organizations.”   Darrell Thompson, vice president of information system services at Coca-Cola Consolidated, says that “Xamarin and Microsoft have been excellent partners and brought our mobile development to a whole new level.”

Learn more

To dive deeper into the Evolve announcements, visit the Xamarin blog, and watch the Xamarin Evolve 2016 live stream throughout today and tomorrow. Don’t miss the closing session with Steve Wozniak and Miguel de Icaza sharing their perspectives on the future of apps and software development (4:00 p.m. EST).

If we’re able to deliver all of this for you in just six weeks, imagine what you’ll be able to do in six months with Xamarin and Microsoft!

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Satya Nadella: Digital transformation is changing the face of manufacturing http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/25/satya-nadella-digital-transformation-is-changing-the-face-of-manufacturing/ Mon, 25 Apr 2016 08:23:56 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68434 A digital transformation is remaking companies and their factories, bringing the intersection of manufacturing and technology even closer, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Sunday in his keynote address at Hannover Messe 2016, the world’s largest industrial technology fair, in Germany. Enabling that transformation are systems of intelligence that help companies gain insight and take action from big data, optimize their operations and change the very nature of the business models … Read more »

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A digital transformation is remaking companies and their factories, bringing the intersection of manufacturing and technology even closer, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Sunday in his keynote address at Hannover Messe 2016, the world’s largest industrial technology fair, in Germany.

Enabling that transformation are systems of intelligence that help companies gain insight and take action from big data, optimize their operations and change the very nature of the business models around their industrial products, Nadella said.

Read more on what he had to say by visiting Microsoft News Center.

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Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/22/microsoft-grants-help-kids-learn-computer-science-earth-day-is-celebrated-and-influential-engineer-is-honored-weekend-reading-april-22-edition/ Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:00:22 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68389 From a huge effort to help kids realize their potential to a celebration of our dear old planet, this week brought plenty of interesting and inspiring news around Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries as part of YouthSpark, a global initiative to increase access for young people to … Read more »

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From a huge effort to help kids realize their potential to a celebration of our dear old planet, this week brought plenty of interesting and inspiring news around Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries as part of YouthSpark, a global initiative to increase access for young people to learn computer science. In turn, these nonprofit partners — such as Laboratoria, CoderDojo and City Year — will use the power of local schools, businesses and community organizations to empower students to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.

The nonprofits will build upon the work that Microsoft already has underway through programs like Hour of Code with Code.org, BBC micro:bit and TEALS.

Every young person should have an opportunity, a spark, to realize a more promising future,” Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Together with our nonprofit partners, we are excited to take a bold step toward that goal today.”

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Wondering what the next wave of breakthrough technology will be? Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft Technology and Research, calls it an “invisible revolution,” and it’s transforming farming, allowing people from different cultures to communicate, helping people breathe healthier air, preventing disease outbreaks and much more.

“We are on the cusp of creating a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive but is also increasingly invisible,” Shum said.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we joined the invisible revolution to preview the latest, most cutting-edge developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing. The possibilities are endless.

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Computer industry luminaries honored Dave Cutler, a Microsoft senior technical fellow whose impressive body of work spans five decades, as a Computer History Museum Fellow. The 74-year-old has shaped entire eras. He worked to develop the VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation in the late 1970s, had a central role in the development of Windows NT — the basis for all major versions of Windows since 1993 — and helped develop the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system and the hypervisor for Xbox One that allows the console to be more than just for gaming.

“The Fellow awards recognize people who’ve had a tremendous impact on our lives, on our culture, on the way we work, exchange information and live,” said John Hollar, the museum’s president and CEO. “People like Dave Cutler, who probably influences the computing experiences of more than 2 billion people, yet isn’t known in a way he deserves to be, in proportion to the impact he’s had on the world.”

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Microsoft Philanthropies sponsored the annual We Day, supporting exciting events Wednesday in Seattle and earlier this month in Los Angeles. Nearly 30,000 attended the shows, which celebrate young people who are making a difference.

In supporting We Day, Microsoft aims to help young people drive the change they would like to see in their neighborhoods, schools and communities. Our photo gallery captures the highlights, famous faces and young people who were involved in this year’s events.

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In advance of Earth Day on Friday, Microsoft kicked off this week with inspiration and information about the company’s sustainability programs and initiatives, including ways you can take part in the efforts. The  brand new Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft website details how Microsoft’s company-wide carbon fee have financed significant investments in renewable energy to power its data centers, improved building efficiency and reached more than 6 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

Microsoft, which has been a carbon-neutral company since 2012, is continually finding ways to make its products and their lifecycles more earth-friendly. Learn more about how Microsoft is commemorating Earth Day on the Microsoft Green Blog.

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Microsoft is also constantly working to help students achieve more. Some all-new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update are specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students. A “Set Up School PCs” app lets teachers set up a device themselves in mere minutes, and a new “Take a Test” provides simple and secure standardized testing for classrooms or entire schools.

Learning will also get a big boost with Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, a OneNote Class Notebook that now has Learning Management System (LMS) integration and — perhaps most exciting to students — the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” Educators will be able to give it a test run in the summer months and provide feedback and suggestions.

In apps this week, the powerful mobile photo-editing app PicsArt is marking Earth Day by offering a series of green- and outdoorsy-themed photo frame and clip art packages. Several are exclusive to Windows customers. The PicsArt app is free in the Windows Store.

Need a little help juggling projects, priorities and other moving parts in your busy life? The Todoist Windows 10 app can help you stay organized, collaborate with colleagues and even empty your inbox by turning important emails into tasks.

Or for a little fun this weekend, go way beyond retro to prehistoric days in “Age of Cavemen.” In this multiplayer strategy game, you’re the village chief in a dangerous world, and you need to keep your people safe. Build an army, create alliances and destroy your opponents in a wild and wooly free-for-all.

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And that’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you here next week for the latest roundup.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Sparking opportunity for all youth around the globe http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/20/sparking-opportunity-youth-around-globe/ Wed, 20 Apr 2016 07:01:48 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68110 Sometimes all it takes is a spark: that one class, that one teacher, that one project which makes a difference. It can change the lives of young students who may have had little opportunity to excel, or perhaps even to complete high school, to enable them to become successful engineers, entrepreneurs or computer scientists. This is the inspiration behind our global YouthSpark initiative. Last September, Satya Nadella announced a three-year, … Read more »

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Sometimes all it takes is a spark: that one class, that one teacher, that one project which makes a difference. It can change the lives of young students who may have had little opportunity to excel, or perhaps even to complete high school, to enable them to become successful engineers, entrepreneurs or computer scientists. This is the inspiration behind our global YouthSpark initiative.

Last September, Satya Nadella announced a three-year, $75 million YouthSpark investment to help every young person get the opportunity to learn computing skills and computer science.

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Click here to learn more about our partners.

Today we are providing an update by announcing YouthSpark grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries. In turn, our partners will leverage the power and energy of local schools, businesses and community organizations to create new and engaging opportunities for students to explore computer science. These partners will teach students valuable skills to help them prepare for and succeed in jobs that are open today across industries, along with new jobs that will be created. Our partners will build upon the work that Microsoft already has underway, including our commitments to computer science education through programs like Hour of Code with Code.org, BBC micro:bit and TEALS.

Still, much more progress must be made. Despite the need for basic computational thinking skills across all subject areas, in the U.S. less than 25 percent of high schools offer computer science classes. Only 2.5 percent of U.S. high school graduates go on to study computer science in college, and of this small percentage, only 1 in 5 computer science graduates is female. Globally, some countries have made computer science a mandatory subject in secondary schools, but we know firsthand through our own work that far too few schools around the world provide courses in computing. We also recognize that governments play a critical role in continued progress on this important issue. We continue to work with policymakers around the world to support the policy and funding necessary to expand computer science into public education. In the U.S., we’re proud to support Computer Science for All, a national effort created by President Barack Obama to give all American students the opportunity to learn computer science in school.

We know that no single organization or company can close the global computer science education skills gap. That is why we are committed to work in partnership with others. Our efforts have focused on leveraging longstanding community relationships of more than 100 nonprofit partners around the world to create access to computer science, and also to break down barriers and stereotypes that are keeping large populations of youth out of computer science education — even when the opportunities are available.

Later this month, we will bring together some of our local nonprofit partners from around the world during a YouthSpark Summit at the Microsoft campus in Redmond. We’ll learn, discuss, share ideas and develop action plans so that, together with our partners, we can continue to improve and bring better knowledge and expertise to local communities.

Every young person should have an opportunity, a spark, to realize a more promising future. Together with our nonprofit partners, we are excited to take a bold step toward that goal today. Learn more about our nonprofit partners here, and visit YouthSpark.com for more information on our global initiative to make computer science education accessible for all young people. ‪

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Welcome to the invisible revolution http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/18/welcome-to-the-invisible-revolution/ Mon, 18 Apr 2016 13:00:14 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68278 Think of your favorite pieces of technology. These are the things that you use every day for work and play, and pretty much can’t live without. Chances are, at least one of them is a gadget – your phone, maybe, or your gaming console. But if you really think about it, chances also are good that many of your most beloved technologies are no longer made of plastic, metal and glass. … Read more »

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Think of your favorite pieces of technology. These are the things that you use every day for work and play, and pretty much can’t live without.

Chances are, at least one of them is a gadget – your phone, maybe, or your gaming console.

But if you really think about it, chances also are good that many of your most beloved technologies are no longer made of plastic, metal and glass.

Maybe it’s a streaming video service you use to binge watch “Game of Thrones” on or an app that lets you track your steps and calories so you can fit into those jeans you wore back in high school. Maybe it’s a virtual assistant that helps you remember where your meetings are and when you need to take your medicine, or an e-reader that lets you get lost in your favorite book via your phone, tablet or even car speakers.

Perhaps, quietly and without even realizing it, your most beloved technologies have gone from being things you hold to services you rely on, and that exist everywhere and nowhere. Instead of the gadgets themselves, they are tools that you expect to be able to use on any type of gadget: Your phone, your PC, maybe even your TV.

They are part of what Harry Shum, executive vice president in charge of Microsoft’s Technology and Research division, refers to as an “invisible revolution.”

“We are on the cusp of creating a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive but is also increasingly invisible,” Shum said.

Read the full story.

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Computer industry luminaries salute Dave Cutler’s 5-decade long quest for quality http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/15/68236/ Fri, 15 Apr 2016 13:18:28 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68236 Within the technology industry, the cycle of invention is captured in eras, from mainframe and mini, to PC, Internet, mobile and the cloud.  Most within the industry move from wave to wave, hoping to catch each successive one at just the right time. Then there are the wave makers.  The giants on whose shoulders the industry stands. Dave Cutler is a wave maker, with a broad set of shoulders. Cutler, … Read more »

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Within the technology industry, the cycle of invention is captured in eras, from mainframe and mini, to PC, Internet, mobile and the cloud.  Most within the industry move from wave to wave, hoping to catch each successive one at just the right time.

Then there are the wave makers.  The giants on whose shoulders the industry stands. Dave Cutler is a wave maker, with a broad set of shoulders.

Cutler, a Microsoft Senior Technical Fellow whose body of work spans more than four decades, will be honored Saturday evening as a Computer History Museum Fellow, joining other wave makers such as Alan Kay, Vinton Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee in the museum’s Hall of Fellows.

To learn about Cutler’s storied career from computer luminaries including Bill Gates, Gordon Bell, Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie and Nathan Myhrvold, read the feature story.

Steve Clarke
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Cutting-edge workspaces, Internet of Things near-space balloons and using the cloud to help giraffe populations — Weekend Reading: April 15 edition http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/15/cutting-edge-workspaces-internet-things-near-space-balloons-using-cloud-help-giraffe-populations-weekend-reading-april-15-edition/ Fri, 15 Apr 2016 13:00:58 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68191 Spring has officially sprung. Birds are in the trees. Flowers are blooming. We don’t know if it’s the season or what, but Microsoft too is bubbling over with excitement and new stories. Join us for Weekend Reading for an overview of recent happenings. As Microsoft works to empower everyone on the planet to achieve more, the company is making a statement with new, vibrant workspaces for employees. The totally redone … Read more »

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Buildings 16 & 17 on the Microsoft Redmond campus

Buildings 16 & 17 on the Microsoft Redmond campus

Spring has officially sprung. Birds are in the trees. Flowers are blooming. We don’t know if it’s the season or what, but Microsoft too is bubbling over with excitement and new stories. Join us for Weekend Reading for an overview of recent happenings.

As Microsoft works to empower everyone on the planet to achieve more, the company is making a statement with new, vibrant workspaces for employees. The totally redone Buildings 16 and 17 on the Redmond campus are office-free and designed with an unparalleled range of working environments. Employees and even executives collaborate in large, shared rooms called “neighborhoods.” They roam high-ceilinged hallways and stop for impromptu meetings in atriums that capture and perpetuate light.

The buildings have all of the tech company staples: free beverages, ping pong and pool tables, the gourmet café and standing desks. But they also have Xbox game rooms, the company’s first-ever No Tech Lounge and a number of other unexpected delights.

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There are several new updates to the Mail and Calendar apps that originally debuted with Windows 10 in July.

You can now customize the background by adding screenshots, accent and calendar colors and themes. You can also connect multiple email accounts in the Mail app and see them all at once through Linked Inboxes. Windows 10’s digital personal assistant also works well with these apps, so you can use your voice to add events to your calendars, set reminders that show up in the Calendar app and start composing emails through Cortana.

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Matt Long and Mark Nichols worked together at the Azure Center of Excellence, where they helped customers architect solutions for the Microsoft Cloud. Now they have built a balloon that can go to near-space – and take thousands of people along for the ride, virtually, in a demonstration of the Internet of Things in action.

Known as the Pegasus II mission, a compact probe rose to 100,000 feet above the earth. The team was able to remotely control it, gather a ton of data, release it after two hours and document its journey through videos and photos. Back here on Earth, anyone was able to follow along through their website and mobile app.

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Scientists from the Wild Nature Institute are photographing thousands of giraffes to study the reproduction, survival and movements of the population. The institute is using a new image processing service that utilizes machine learning technology deployed on the Microsoft Azure cloud to evaluate the thousands of images.

The Microsoft team trained a software model to use an object detection algorithm to recognize giraffe torsos based on existing annotated giraffe data. The system identified new, difficult-to-predict images and showed its predictions on these images to a human who could quickly verify or correct the results.

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Hulu, the App of the Week, is making it easier to cut the cord and walk away from expensive cable TV bills. Not only does the Hulu app offer unlimited streaming, but now the free trial period has grown from a week to 30 days.

The Hulu app delivers shows from a variety of channels and original Hulu series like “The Mindy Project” starring Mindy Kaling as an OB-GYN in New York City, “The Path” with Aaron Paul delving into the mysterious world of a cult-like movement and “11.22.63,” in which a high school teacher played by James Franco travels back in time to a day before the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook and Instagram channels, we witnessed how electronic artist ATTLAS blends elements of live and studio performance on his Surface. As a member of deadmau5’s mau5hax bu5 tour, together they’re transforming how audiences experience electronic music.

That does it for this Weekend Reading. We hope you enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing you again next week.

Thomas Kohnstamm
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Microsoft announces teacher-inspired updates for Windows, Office, ‘Minecraft’ http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/14/microsoft-announces-teacher-inspired-updates-for-windows-office-minecraft/ Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:00:06 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68125 At Microsoft, we’re all in on education! Our company mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. In education, it’s to empower every student. Today, we’re proud to share the latest on what’s coming for Back-to-School 2016/2017. Introducing Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, OneNote Class Notebook now with Learning Management System (LMS) integration, new experiences for Windows 10 and the dawn of “Minecraft: … Read more »

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At Microsoft, we’re all in on education!

Our company mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. In education, it’s to empower every student. Today, we’re proud to share the latest on what’s coming for Back-to-School 2016/2017.

Introducing Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, OneNote Class Notebook now with Learning Management System (LMS) integration, new experiences for Windows 10 and the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition” – Get ready!

First, we are announcing all new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, features specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students. 

Faster, easier set-up:

Shared devices in the classroom are the norm – in the U.S., nearly 90 percent of schools report using shared devices. We also know that nearly 50 percent of teachers serve as their own tech support in their classroom. Until now, setting these devices up has been complex and getting students productive often takes too long.

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update we are introducing a ”Set Up School PCs” app that allows teachers to set up a device themselves in a simple three-step process – in minutes. We’ve also made significant performance improvements for affordable devices. We expect the average first login to take 26 seconds, with subsequent logins of 6 seconds when the student uses that machine again.

Secure assessments:

Testing is going digital — teachers consistently tell us they want a simple way to set up quizzes or standardized tests digitally. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a new ‘Take a Test’ app – simple and more secure standardized testing for the whole classroom or the whole school, where teachers or IT can lock down the testing environment, or enable simple quizzing.

Education-ready Windows Store:

Nearly 60 percent of teachers purchase and load apps themselves. With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the Windows Store will enable teachers to access thousands of apps, and schools can purchase and deploy them in bulk.

Free upgrade and affordable devices:

More and more, educators are asking us about affordable devices. We have a great portfolio of affordable, durable and innovative Windows 10 devices starting at $199, designed for the demands of education.

So you can see, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a huge range of education-specific features that teachers and students are going to love. Learn even more about these new updates, and more, over on the Windows blog!

education, Windows 10

Second, we are announcing some big improvements to Office 365 Education.

Today we are announcing Microsoft Classroom – a new experience in Office 365 Education. Microsoft Classroom is designed to be the one place students and teachers come to manage their day – from Class Notebooks, assignments and grades to conversations, calendars and to announcements!

We’re piloting this with Omaha Public Schools in Nebraska. Let me just share with you what they had to say . . .

“It simplifies our digital classroom management and frees up our teachers so they can spend more time with students and less time managing administrative access to class materials.” – Rob Dickson, Executive Director, Information Management Services of Omaha Public Schools.

Today we are also announcing Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) – a powerful complement for Microsoft Classroom. SDS connects Microsoft Classroom to a School Information System (SIS), so teacher, student and classes information is automatically populated in Microsoft Classroom and OneNote Class Notebooks. School Data Sync will be included in Office 365 Education.  Think of it as a super simple process that quickly provisions a set of classes and rosters from many School Information Systems already used.

Also being announced: Microsoft Forms – a simple way to quickly assess student progress and get feedback with easy-to-create surveys and quizzes. It’s in public preview starting today for Office 365 Education here.

OneNote Class Notebooks are the heart of our education experience and they just keep getting better and better. We have seen incredible momentum – with millions of student notebooks created just this school year. On top of the millions, we are currently seeing an additional new 10,000 student notebooks created per day!

To hear one educator describe it: “It’s your whole classroom (lesson plans, materials, assignments and student work) in a digital binder with tools for communication and collaboration!”

We’re also announcing Class Notebook assignment and grading integration is now available with more than 25 Learning Management System partners – including leaders like Canvas, Edmodo, Schoology, Brightspace and Moodle. Learn more here.

We’re really excited about all of these improvements for Office 365 Education coming for the new school year! Learn more about all of the updates to Office happening for education – check out the Office blog here.

education, Class Notebook

Finally, we’ve got some great news about “Minecraft: Education Edition! June begins an early access program of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” It will be available for any educator to download and try for free on Windows 10 and OS X El Capitan. 

This program is a great way for educators and administrators who are interested in “Minecraft: Education Edition” to give it a test run in the summer months and give us more feedback and suggestions.

If you are new to “Minecraft” in the classroom, check out education.minecraft.net for resources to help prepare, including lesson plans and a new “Minecraft” mentors program to connect with amazing teachers already using “Minecraft.”

What’s the next step? Upgrade your devices to Windows 10 or OS X El Capitan, and sign up for an Office 365 Education account.

To learn more about “Minecraft: Education Edition” and the upcoming early access program, check out our blog.

education, Minecraft, Minecraft Education Edition

The culture at Microsoft is customer-obsessed and we’ve been hard at work listening to teachers and students. We hope you love what’s coming this summer and we look forward to your continued feedback and hearing about the amazing things happening in your classroom. Let me know what you think on Twitter – @microsoft_edu @tony_prophet #MSFTEDU.

 

The post Microsoft announces teacher-inspired updates for Windows, Office, ‘Minecraft’ appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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Ensuring equal pay for equal work http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/04/11/ensuring-equal-pay-equal-work/ Mon, 11 Apr 2016 17:00:36 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/?p=68050 One of the most important aspects of our evolving culture at Microsoft is our deep commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive workforce. If we want to build products and services for everyone on the planet, we need to represent everyone on the planet. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is indeed a powerful bridge to the markets and people we serve. A year and a half ago, our … Read more »

The post Ensuring equal pay for equal work appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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MS-Execs-2014-11-Hogan-Kathleen-397-2-800x1200One of the most important aspects of our evolving culture at Microsoft is our deep commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive workforce. If we want to build products and services for everyone on the planet, we need to represent everyone on the planet. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is indeed a powerful bridge to the markets and people we serve.

A year and a half ago, our CEO, Satya Nadella, set out three areas of focus for Diversity & Inclusion at Microsoft: recruiting more diverse talent; expanding training to foster a more diverse and inclusive culture; and ensuring equal pay and equal opportunity. At that time, for every $1 earned by men, our female employees in the U.S. earned 99.7 cents at the same job title and level.

With that as a backdrop and in recognition of April 12 as National Equal Pay Day (which originated in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages), I wanted to share our most recent data, not only for women, but also for racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S.:

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Today, for every $1 earned by men, our female employees in the U.S. earn 99.8 cents at the same job title and level. Racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. combined earn $1.004 for every $1 earned by their Caucasian counterparts. Breaking it down even further, African American/black employees are at $1.003; Hispanic/Latino(a) employees are at 99.9 cents; and Asian employees are at $1.006 for every $1 earned by Caucasian employees at the same job title and level, respectively.

These numbers reflect our commitment to equal pay for equal work, and I’m encouraged by these results. We will continue our commitment to equal pay by monitoring this data and publicly disclosing it as part of our annual public diversity and inclusion information and data reporting. We will also continue work to ensure that all of our employees have equal opportunity.

Our announcement today is another step forward along the path of greater diversity and inclusion progress at Microsoft, and in society as a whole. Along with our industry peers, the mission of landing intentional, enduring and impactful diversity and inclusion initiatives is one will we continue to pursue vigilantly.

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