The Midweek Download: March 14th Edition–More on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, an Inside Look at Beamatron, plus Microsoft Research, IE10 & Windows Phone

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the Windows 8 consumer preview, Microsoft Research, Internet Explorer 10, Windows Phone and Windows Azure. Don’t miss any of them!

Web browsing in Windows 8 Consumer Preview with IE10. “We have considerably improved the underlying browsing engine with performance, standards, and features as we have previously blogged about. IE10 designed for a Metro style experience is a new and improved way of browsing, where you can truly focus on the information you want to browse rather than the task of browsing – a fully immersive experience. At the same time it provides all of the safety and controls you are used to – tabs, keyboard shortcuts, InPrivate browsing, and more,” writes Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division in this Tuesday post on Building Windows 8. And be sure to check out this March 6 post focused on going behind the scenes building Windows 8.

Beamatron: Kinect enabled augmented reality concept. Beamatron is an example of the trend we’re exploring that blends the physical world with the virtual world. It’s augmented reality concept that combines a projector and Kinect sensor on a pan tilt moving head – of the kind you may find in a nightclub. The setup utilizes KinectFusion to build a 3D model of a space and enables projected graphics to react in physically appropriate ways. For example a virtual car can be driven around the floor of the room bumping into actual obstacles and running over real ramps. Read this Tuesday post on Next at Microsoft, which features the 2-minute video below, for the entire story.

Enhanced memory protections in IE10. Internet Explorer 10 introduces significant improvements in memory protections to help make vulnerabilities harder to exploit, helping to keep users safe on the sometimes-hostile Web. These improvements will increase the difficulty and development cost of exploits, making life harder for the bad guys. Read this Tuesday post on the IEBlog for more detail. Also, check out this March 2 post on Web platform features in the Windows 8 consumer preview.

Now available: Updated release of Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 makes it easy for developers to create Windows Metro Style applications that can harness the power of Windows Azure. On Monday, we released v1.2.0 on Codeplex and you can download the self-extracting package from here. This version of the toolkit is a refresh that includes required updates for Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Read this post on the Windows Azure Blog for the whole story. Also, don’t miss the latest edition of the Windows Azure Community News Roundup.

Optimizing Windows Phone apps for lower cost devices. The guidance for optimizing for lower cost Windows Phones is largely the same as for optimizing for today’s generation of devices. Apps that follow performance best practices today will run well across all devices without much effort. Apps that perform adequately today may perform noticeably slower on lower-cost devices. To ensure your app performs well on lower cost devices as well as today’s devices, consider the following principles outlined in this March 7 post on The Windows Phone Developer Blog. And just in case you missed it, check out this March 5 post on Windows 8 and the Windows Phone SDK.

Two from Inside Microsoft Research. The past few weeks have been pretty exciting for Microsoft Research, what with TechFest 2012 and TechForum 2012. If you’re one of those people who can’t get enough of demos of the newest technologies in development here at Microsoft, then you should check out this post on interacting with computing systems without touching (including a really cool project called Kinect in the Dark) and this post on teaching computers to better pronounce words from multiple languages. Check out the video below on touchless interaction in surgery:

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Intelligent systems in retail on display at RetailTech Japan. In the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo, tourists and commuters pour through the world’s busiest train station and spill out onto skyscraper-lined streets that pulsate with vivid neon and electronic signs — making New York’s Times Square look sedate in comparison. A short train ride away, RetailTech Japan, Japan’s biggest retail trade show, offered a similarly dazzling display this week as thousands of visitors converged on the Tokyo Big Sight International Exhibition Center to view the latest technology solutions for the retail industry, including intelligent systems offered by Microsoft and a range of partners. Check out this feature story and slide show on the Microsoft News Center for more detail.

Microsoft recognizes outstanding contributions by suppliers. Microsoft announced on Monday the recipients of the 2011 Microsoft Preferred Supplier Program (MPSP) Excellence Awards. The MPSP Excellence Awards recognize superior performance, exemplary service and innovation by suppliers that are members of the MPSP, previously referred to as the Microsoft Vendor Program. The purpose of the Microsoft Preferred Supplier Program is to build long-term relationships with a select group of strategic vendors that create long-term value for Microsoft. Read this press release to find out who the winners are.

Life Care Centers of America chooses Microsoft for Business Intelligence. Life Care Centers of America has announced the successful deployment of a Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) solution in more than 200 skilled nursing facilities nationwide. The long-term care operator selected Microsoft BI to gain deeper insights into its key performance indicators for managers and executives across the organization. In the process of BI deployment, Life Care has experienced a noticeable difference in its operations by providing accurate and timely data. Read this press release for the rest of the story.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,