Weekend Reading, January 29

Where I live it is Friday afternoon again and time to think about the weekend.  Given that the five-day weather forecast on MSN again calls for rain and more rain, it seemed some weekend reading might be in order.  I hate the fact I am contributing to the stereotype of Seattle.  It is a beautiful city, but it can be wet. 

We had a busy week.  (Of course it was also a busy week for our friends at that other technology company down the road in Cupertino).  Here are some of the things that happened this week that we didn’t cover on the blog but wished we had:

90 days to beat Google:  My favorite story of the week was the San Jose Mercury News’s article: “Microsoft’s Challenge:  90 Days to Beat Google.”  It’s an up-close story of the team that was behind real-time Twitter search on Bing.  It’s a great piece about a passionate team with a big goal, and the technical challenges they overcame to be first.  And it offers some perspective on the talented people working here.

The people behind Windows 7:  There is an interesting set of stories on the Microsoft News Center, called “Seven Behind Windows 7”.  They are profiles of the people behind some of the new features in Windows 7, such as faster start-up, “Jump Lists,” touch, and some of the new design features.  In a company the size of Microsoft, it’s interesting to find out more about the people who bring the products to life.  There are six stories right now with, obviously, one more to come

Technology in Public Safety:  Public safety officials gathered on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash. this week for the Worldwide Public Safety Symposium.  Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talked about the way that technology can help tackle the core public safety technology trends: Cloud-based solutions, cybersecurity, unified communications, and social media in public safety.  The challenges were made all the more real by the tragedy in Haiti, and part of the discussion focused on lessons from Haiti Also this week, CNET’s Ina Fried wrote two articles (here and here) on the response to Haiti and the role that technology is playing.

Data Privacy:  Yesterday was Data Privacy Day.  This year’s event focused on how all of us need to think about and protect our reputation online.   A Microsoft study surveyed attitudes and behaviors in the US, France, Germany, and the UK and makes for interesting reading.  Perhaps the most telling insight was that 79 percent of U.S. hiring managers and job recruiters surveyed said that they reviewed online information about job applicants. And 70 percent say they have rejected candidates based on what they found.   It’s important that people take the right steps to protect their online reputation and Microsoft has some tips

And maybe you don’t want to know how your financial portfolio is performing,  but if you do, the people at Bing have added a nice new feature you may not know about.  Theo Vachovsky blogs about the new finance features, which make it easy to research stocks from within Bing.

Have a great weekend.

Posted by Dominic Carr
Director, Microsoft News Center. 

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