Microsoft’s carbon fee, US Imagine Cup Finals and Detroit revitalization – Weekend Reading: April 17 Edition

 |   Athima Chansanchai

Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Reading. We kick it off with stories about developments as a result of Microsoft’s three-year-old carbon fee, exciting ideas from the U.S. Imagine Cup finalists and Detroit entrepreneurs who are revitalizing the city.

Microsoft is improving environments and creating healthier lives through an internal carbon fee the company established three years ago that holds all its business groups financially responsible for the cost of reducing and compensating for their carbon emissions. The money collected through this fee has purchased more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of green power, reduced company emissions by 7.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, saved more than $10 million per year and reached more than 3.2 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

The Huebotics team created a challenging puzzle game.
The Huebotics team created a challenging puzzle game.

U.S. Imagine Cup finalists bring bright ideas to next week’s competition in San Francisco, such as an app that matches students with tutors, a system to enhance virtual reality and a brain-teasing game. The annual technology competition gives students a chance to learn from Microsoft business, technical and design experts as they work to turn their creative ideas into reality. Winners from the U.S. event April 22-24 will move on to the Imagine Cup World Semifinals, where they’ll vie for a spot at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle this July.

Detroit Bikes master builder Henry Ford II. (Photo by Ami Vitale.)
Detroit Bikes master builder Henry Ford II. (Photo by Ami Vitale.)

Then there was this story about Detroit entrepreneurs like Detroit Bikes, who are helping revitalize the city. Once the automotive center of the world, Detroit emerged from bankruptcy last year and is on the long road of tackling its blight, crime and poverty. A key part of its recovery is a lively entrepreneurial scene that’s revitalizing downtown Detroit with tech startups, investors, artisans, foodies, shop owners and transplants. Among them are Zak Pashak, the founder and president of Detroit Bikes, who moved to Detroit from Calgary with a mission to renew manufacturing in the city. With the work of master builder Henry Ford II, he’s making tools to help people get around and contributing to the revival of a once great American city.

Computer science “was a lot more creative than I originally thought it would be,” says Harika Dabbara, one of the graduates of last summer’s Girls Who Code program on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Abby Huang.)
Computer science “was a lot more creative than I originally thought it would be,” says Harika Dabbara, one of the graduates of last summer’s Girls Who Code program on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Abby Huang.)

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program will return to Microsoft’s campus. Harika Dabbara attended last summer’s Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, a free, seven-week computer science education program offered to rising junior and senior girls in cities around the U.S. Dabbara was among the 20 girls in the Seattle area who attended the program on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. Microsoft YouthSpark will host the program again this summer on campus and also in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Boston. The goal of the nonprofit Girls Who Code organization is to close technology’s gender gap – which is considerable. Microsoft is one of the tech companies that sponsor, host and implement the program, which this year is expanding nationwide from 19 programs reaching 375 girls, to 60 programs reaching 1,200.

FH_Datazen

Microsoft announced Tuesday the acquisition of Datazen Software, an industry leader in mobile business intelligence and data visualization on Windows, iOS and Android devices. Datazen is optimized for SQL Server Analysis Services and the overall Microsoft platform, enabling rich, interactive data visualization and KPIs on all major mobile platforms: Windows, iOS and Android. SQL Server Enterprise Edition customers with version 2008 or later and Software Assurance can now download the Datazen Server software for free. As a result, millions of people around the world are now be able to visualize and interact with data on their mobile devices, using the native mobile apps available at no charge at the respective app stores.

YouTube Video

The latest addition to the Halo universe arrived in a big way with “Halo: Spartan Strike,” which launched on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iPhone, iPad and Steam. We also got a new batch of Red Stripe Deals, updates to apps and games, the App of the Week, “My Talking Tom” and “Car Racing 3D High on Fuel.”

devin2

And, this week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met Devin Sinha. By day, he works as a Microsoft engineer in Seattle, and by night he is the lead singer and guitarist in an indie band.

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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