Microsoft’s innovations help speed up customer adoption of cloud computing — Weekend Reading: Oct. 24th Edition

Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Reading, where you’ll get stories on getting the cloud up and running faster, the release of Kinect SDK 2.0 and a new adapter kit, and the expansion of the Microsoft Garage to making cross-platform consumer apps.

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In a post Monday on The Official Microsoft Blog, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise group, announced several innovations to help accelerate customer adoption of cloud computing. Customers will be able to run the most demanding workloads on the largest virtual machines available in the public cloud with new G-series virtual machines, along with Premium Storage. Powered by Dell, the Microsoft Cloud Platform System is the next step in hybrid cloud, and is the result of lessons learned in running Azure to datacenters. Also, the new Azure Marketplace is “an easy way for startups and ISVs to connect with enterprises and Azure customers everywhere so their innovative solutions can be deployed in just a few clicks.” Guthrie shared that new partners include Docker, CoreOS and Cloudera. Watch the Microsoft Cloud Briefing on demand.

Kinect democratized motion sensing in 2010 and that journey continues. Windows SDK 2.0 is now available for the Kinect v2 sensors, and developers can commercially deploy Kinect apps in the Windows Store for the first time. There’s also a $49.99 adapter kit that makes it possible to take the Kinect for Xbox One you already own and attach it to Windows PCs and tablets. With the adapter, all Kinect v2 sensors — Kinect for Windows v2 and Kinect for Xbox One — work the same way. Users also benefit by being able to use apps like 3D Builder and YAKiT to turn their ideas into reality.

Xuedong Huang, distinguished engineer at Microsoft, helped develop a voice-recognition app for Android smartwatches. (Photo credit: Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures)

The Microsoft Garage expands to include the exploration and creation of cross-platform consumer apps. The Garage started out in 2009 in Office Labs with “a simple vision of giving people at Microsoft an opportunity to embrace their inner innovator and explore grassroots projects, mostly as side projects,” says Jeff Ramos, manager of The Garage. It grew over the next five years into a global community of more than 10,000 hackers, coders and makers. Now, it’s the home base for Microsoft’s evolving culture, where experimentation is encouraged, failure is an option, apps are platform agnostic, and getting them to customers quickly for review is key to learning what will work and what won’t.

Bing Pulse CNN

Through CNN, you’ll see more of Bing and Internet Explorer in coverage of upcoming elections. Bing Pulse will now be included as part of CNN’s broadcast coverage, beginning with the 2014 U.S. elections. Viewers can now give real-time feedback on political events happening before Election Day. Together with Internet Explorer, CNN debuts a new broadcast companion website, My CNN Magic Wall. Microsoft has also helped upgrade CNN’s actual Magic Wall, the on-air interactive display used to present election night results and other news data. It will show off a new look and features, which include expanded data resources and more dynamic graphics.

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Games and apps made big news on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and on Windows Phone, PCs and tablets. Before the next step in the Halo journey continues with the Nov. 11 release of “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” and “Halo: Nightfall,” fans can join the HaloFest celebration with special sneak peeks, interviews and exclusive gameplay on Xbox Live, and Twitch. The Microsoft Garage project “Voice Commander” is now available for Xbox One, as is ESL Gaming. Meanwhile, “The Voice” jumps from the small screen to Xbox 360.

Over on Windows Phone, chats are more fun with the App of the Week, Skype Qik video messaging. And also worth a look: the latest Red Stripe Deals, hit music albums for under $2 using the Microsoft Music Deals app and building and training your team with “Dream League Soccer.”


This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we gave a whole new meaning to the acronym ETA. Tell us how you own your #5to9.

Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

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