The Fire Hose http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose Covering the news of the day at Microsoft Tue, 30 Aug 2016 20:29:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6 Office 365 users get updates for Outlook, inking and mobile app security, plus a new Office Insider level http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/30/office-365-users-get-updates-for-outlook-inking-and-mobile-app-security-plus-a-new-office-insider-level/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 20:29:33 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286811 Read more »]]> August has brought updates for the inking digital pen, mobile app security, Outlook and more to Office 365, along with a new “Fast” level to the Office Insider program.

The contact cards in Outlook on the web have been updated to provide more information on people mentioned in your mailbox or calendar, along with easier searching, even with misspelled names, and new contact lists.

To learn more about these updates, including details about the Outlook enhancements and Office 365, visit Office Blogs.

Susanna Ray
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Azure users: New HockeyApp Bridge App now available to help explore data http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/30/azure-users-new-hockeyapp-bridge-app-now-available-to-help-explore-data/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 19:01:42 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286796 Read more »]]> The new HockeyApp Bridge App is now available to help you query raw HockeyApp data, gain insights from it and export it to your own data store for warehousing purposes. The tool lets you access HockeyApp data in Application Insights through the Analytics and Continuous Export features.

“HockeyApp is a great tool for instrumenting your mobile and desktop applications. It has powerful facilities for tracking distribution, adoption, crash reporting, feedback, and other data…” writes Application Insights program manager Evgeny Ternovsky.

“Sometimes, however, you need to access, analyze, and visualize your data in ways other than are presently exposed in HockeyApp. This is where the new HockeyApp Bridge application type in Application Insights comes in!”

Learn more at the Microsoft Azure Blog.

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Rio 2016 Summer Games on NBC, using Microsoft Azure, breaks streaming records http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/30/rio-2016-summer-games-on-nbc-using-microsoft-azure-breaks-streaming-records/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 18:45:13 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286772 Read more »]]> Azure, NBC Olympics, streaming

Steven Goulet, Azure Media Services principal program manager, helping NBC Olympics to deliver the Rio Olympics to the U.S.

Like the athletes who competed in the Rio Olympics, Microsoft’s robust team of Azure engineers worked hard to prepare for Rio from the time the Sochi Winter Games came to a close in 2014, when NBC Olympics first selected Azure as the cloud-based live encoding, hosting and streaming platform for the Olympics, writes Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft Cloud + Enterprise corporate vice president.

“With the chapter now closed on Rio 2016, NBC Olympics is reporting that Rio 2016 established ‘a new standard for event coverage,’” Numoto says on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Eric Black, CTO, digital, NBC Sports Group, said, “Rio 2016 shattered streaming records in the sports category, with over 3 billion minutes streamed. More than one-third of those who streamed the Games did so from connected TV devices. Our partnership with Microsoft Azure helped us extend our reach to more people and more devices via cloud streaming than ever before.”

To learn more, read Numoto’s post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Developers: Now you can submit Universal Windows Platform apps to Xbox One customers http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/30/developers-now-you-can-submit-universal-windows-platform-apps-to-xbox-one-customers/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:02:03 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286757 Read more »]]> Dev Center has now given developers the ability to submit apps and games to Xbox One, built using the latest Windows 10 Anniversary Update SDK.

Other new additions include: a gradual package rollout, mandatory updates so customers can have an ideal experience with apps and games and improved reports.

Get all the details on the latest additions to the Dev Center on Building Apps on Windows.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Through fast-track projects, Microsoft Garage interns make an impact on both the public and their mentors http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/30/through-fast-track-projects-microsoft-garage-interns-make-an-impact-on-both-the-public-and-their-mentors/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 14:00:11 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286694 Read more »]]> When students with the Microsoft Garage began their internship in Cambridge, Massachusetts in June, they found a new workspace, a pair of managers and an intern who quickly became a guiding force to these newest members of the team – even though she had only started four months earlier.

Maddy Leger, 20, had already completed a 12-week winter internship as a software developer, but was invited to stick around and lead the next round of projects as a program manager – a decision that paid off.

“I’ve been here a little longer, so I was able to help with a lot of the onboarding stuff and kind of guide people through their first couple of weeks at Microsoft,” says Leger, an incoming junior at Northeastern University. She originally planned to do a four-month stint through the university’s co-op program. But in March, after she visited Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, her managers extended her offer through the end of the summer. She officially transitioned into the PM role in the end of April.

“I think part of being a PM is periodically checking in on the devs and designers and making sure they’re in good spirits and doing well,” Leger says. “As a PM, I learned about the importance of beta programs, how to start one and use it to collect telemetry and data from users, and how to use that data to make informed decisions about the features and the product. I’ve also learned a lot about time management. I am currently studying the legal/privacy/security/accessibility review process and why all of those are really important to Microsoft. I’m also hoping to see three of the products ship at the end of this internship, which would be really, really cool.”

One of them is Project Santorini, a Windows app that provides a new way to go through your old photos using metadata. For instance, you can use the app to swipe through photos either using location or time as one naturally does in a photo album.

Project Santorini screenshots

Project Santorini screenshots

Leger’s experience is the norm in this program, which is all about tangible results. At the end of their 12- or 16-week internship, interns are likely to see products they’ve worked on released to the public. Not a bad way to begin the new school year and answer the question, “How’d you spend your summer?”

The internship program focuses on a symbiotic relationship between students and mentors.

When they begin their internships, the students break off into teams to tackle the project ideas that excite them the most, and over the course of the internship they work closely with the sponsoring business group, which provides mentorship, guidance and domain expertise to the students. In return, the sponsoring teams benefit from the energies of young, passionate engineers who can deliver on experiments in only a few months.

“It was amazing to see how the team took the project from inception, all the way to the product it is now,” says Mike Tholfsen, one of the product group sponsors for Write Ideas, a new inclusive mobile app that will help people with learning differences more easily convey their ideas from conception to outline. “They have been extremely customer focused and collaborative, and they brought many emerging technologies together while at the same time, taking the idea far beyond what we had initially imagined.”

The apps and updates Leger and the other interns work on are released through The Garage, the outlet for Microsoft teams around the world to get experimental apps and projects out to the public.

Before the interns return to school, they are shipping multiple projects as limited “invite-only” releases to get early feedback before the projects are handed to their sponsors to continue the experiment.

Project Santorini, Write Ideas, Hearing AI and two browser add-ins (projects Copenhagen and Oceana) are ready – you can check them out and apply to be an early adopter at the Microsoft Garage.

Maddy Leger, far right, works with other Garage interns in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Maddy Leger, far right, works with other Garage interns in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In this internship, everyone does a little bit of everything. Software engineers are heavily involved in the design decisions, user research and sprint planning. Designers lead a lot of the user research and work on multiple projects, and some of them write code for the projects. The PMs, rather than having one feature that they write a spec for, are part of all the teams and help with everything from feature design to legal reviews.

“For students, I think the program demonstrates in a very tangible way that Microsoft is a place where they can have true impact on people’s lives. We have a motto in the Garage: ‘Doers, not talkers,’ and I think we live that motto – students get a chance to deliver working code to real people,” says Ben Fersenheim, who runs The Garage Internship Program in Cambridge, along with George Matthews. “In a way, the hope is that we can use the program as a way to drive change in our engineering culture that will help us ultimately be more agile and successful as a company. And of course there’s the obvious benefit to recruiting. This is a great way to get students excited about opportunities at Microsoft by giving them a deep introduction to our technology, our products and our people.”

The program includes undergrad and graduate students from more than 20 different universities in the U.S. and Canada. They come from computer science programs, engineering programs, design programs – even fine arts programs. Some students come in with previous internships under their belt, while for some this is their first experience with professional software development.

Leger began her internship as a software engineer, but she had very little experience in that field. Her high school had no computer science or engineering classes, and almost all of her college courses so far have been hardware-based or low-level coding (C, C++). At school she does research in GPU computing at the Computer Architecture lab (NUCAR – ece.neu.edu/groups/nucar).

“I studied a lot for my interview, did all of my interview questions in C++, and started at Microsoft a couple months later working on a project in Javascript, which I had never coded in before!” she says. “I learned a lot really fast, and my managers were really supportive and answered the million questions I asked every day.”

Leger worked with six teams, each composed of six developers, one or two designers and another PM intern to help out with six projects.

“Coming out of this internship, I have a really solid understanding of the entire product lifecycle, from the perspective of all three roles,” she says. “As a software engineer, I learned a new language, created an entire working product from an idea, and learned software engineering principles like code reviews, sprint planning, version control, etc. in 16 weeks. Beyond the software skills, I learned a lot about how to pitch/demo a product, how to use customer research to make informed decisions about features and a whole lot of other soft skills.”

Write Ideas team of interns based in Vancouver, British Columbia. (L-R: Amir Abdou, Reza Jooyandeh, Hailey Mulsselman, Ailsa Leen, Anastasiya Tarnouskaya, Owen Huyn, Stephane Morichere-Matte, Grace Liang, Eva Terriault, Andrew Clements and Claudia Vormbaum)

Write Ideas team of interns based in Vancouver, British Columbia. (L-R: Amir Abdou, Reza Jooyandeh, Hailey Mulsselman, Ailsa Leen, Anastasiya Tarnouskaya, Owen Huyn, Stephane Morichere-Matte, Grace Liang, Eva Terriault, Andrew Clements and Claudia Vormbaum)

In Vancouver, Canada, Stephane Morichère-Matte has been the senior program manager for the Garage Internship Vancouver Program since April 2014. He oversees the program, coordinating with University Recruiting to hire 50 interns a year from Canadian universities and source out projects from Microsoft’s internal business groups to pitch to interns once they’re on site.

“We are training tomorrow’s leaders,” Morichère-Matte says. “There is no roadmap for what the interns are faced with; these are all real problems and they face the same setbacks that real production teams would face. They improve their tech and design skillsets, and we encourage them to embrace the lean startup model and reach out to their customers as soon as possible.”

“The most challenging part of the internship was deciding on our vision and scoping our project to the time that we had,” says Anastasiya Tarnouskaya, a software developer intern based in Vancouver. “We had a lot of ideas for how to make it amazing, but at the end of the day we had to choose a subset of features to implement based on how valuable they would be to the students using our app.”

Four projects have debuted in the Windows Store as a result of Vancouver’s program. Intern-built projects have also won internal awards, as well as being introduced at Microsoft’s Build conference earlier this year in San Francisco.

“Having [CEO] Satya [Nadella] introduce Seeing AI at Build 2016 was a stand-out moment that exemplified how interns can make a real impact,” he says.

Sign up to try Write Ideas, Hearing AI, Project Santorini and more at The Garage.

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Katie Stone Perez is helping indie developers change the game at Xbox http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/30/katie-stone-perez-is-helping-indie-developers-change-the-game-at-xbox/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 13:05:57 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286469 Read more »]]> 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 from the Girls Make Games summer camp competition and will soon publish through ID@Xbox, which “enables qualified game developers of all sizes to unleash their creativity” though Xbox One and Windows 10.

“Just a few years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible for high school students to publish a game like this to Xbox,” marveled Perez.

Perez and ID@Xbox are working to create a truly democratic, equal opportunity platform where age, location and industry connections are no longer hurdles to publishing quality games.

“There are seats at the table for everyone,” she said. “And gaming will only achieve its full potential if it has a true diversity of game content and a diversity of game creators.” For Perez, gaming is the ideal platform to influence youth to fortify these inclusive social norms for the future.

Perez embodies a rare balance of corporate savvy and idealism. She radiates sunny optimism but is just as comfortable delivering cutting business insights or managing teams of engineers.

“We’re starting to see more and more games that speak to different populations, to tell their stories and show their heroes,” she said. “And with so many kids spending their time in this medium, this is where we need to start if we want to create a more inclusive world.”

Read the full story.

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Watch out for hot lava in new ‘Minecraft’ mini game ‘Tumble,’ now available http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/30/watch-out-for-hot-lava-in-new-minecraft-mini-game-tumble-now-available/ Tue, 30 Aug 2016 13:02:49 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286724 Read more »]]> “Minecraft” has launched its newest mini game, “Tumble,” as part of a free game update rolling out to consoles for Xbox One and Xbox 360 and other consoles.

In “Tumble,” the point is to avoid falling into hot lava while making your competitors fall in first. You can use shovels and snowballs to send people to volcanic doom, and up to eight people can play at once — making the action fun and frantic.

“Minecraft” also released a new map pack for its first mini game, “Battle.”

Learn more at Xbox Wire.

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Don’t miss Edward Tufte, pioneer of data visualization, keynoting at Sept. 26-27 Microsoft Data Science Summit http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/29/dont-miss-edward-tufte-pioneer-of-data-visualization-keynoting-at-sept-26-27-microsoft-data-science-summit/ Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:39:53 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286685 Read more »]]> Edward Tufte, a pioneer of data visualization, will deliver a keynote address at the Microsoft Data Science Summit Sept. 26-27 in Atlanta, Georgia. Tufte will speak about the future of data analysis, and how to draw more credible conclusions from your data.

The Microsoft Data Science Summit will also feature a keynote presentation by Joseph Sirosh, Microsoft Data Group corporate vice president, and several presentations by data scientists, machine learning specialists and big data engineers who will give demos, talks and practical tips on using Microsoft tools and open-source software in data science.

To learn more, visit the Cortana Intelligence and Machine Learning Blog.

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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8 game-changing scenarios for companies using Apache Spark on Azure http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/29/8-game-changing-scenarios-for-companies-using-apache-spark-on-azure/ Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:25:59 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286676 Read more »]]> In a post on the SQL Server Blog, eight game-changing scenarios with Apache Spark on Azure are shared that will transform any business. Apache Spark stands out for its ability to process large volumes of data 100 times faster, because data is persisted in-memory. Azure cloud makes Apache Spark easy and cost effective to deploy with no hardware to buy and no software to configure.

One scenario is for streaming data, Internet of Things (IoT) and real-time analytics. “Spark Streaming has the capability to handle this type of workload exceptionally well,” writes Rimma Nehme, Data Group technical assistant. “A user can create an Azure Event Hub (or an Azure IoT Hub) to ingest rapidly arriving data into the cloud; both Event and IoT Hubs can intake millions of events and sensor updates per second that can then be processed in real-time by Spark.”

To learn more, visit the SQL Server Blog.

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Check out the newly redesigned Windows Store http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/2016/08/29/check-out-the-newly-redesigned-windows-store/ Mon, 29 Aug 2016 18:00:43 +0000 http://blogs.microsoft.com/firehose/?p=286658 Read more »]]> With the recent Windows 10 Anniversary Update comes a newly redesigned Windows Store.

Open the app and you’ll find a homepage with featured content and collections, top apps, games like “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and more. Also on the homepage: Today’s deals section.

There are now also different sections within the Store: Home, Apps, Games, Music and Movies & TV. There’s also a top free apps section, where you can download apps such as NetflixDropbox and Adobe Photoshop Express.

Head over to the Windows Blog to find out more about the new Store.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

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