‘Inside the Music,’ an Army vet at Microsoft gets White House props and Windows 10 is now on 300 million active devices – Weekend Reading: May 6 edition

This week at Microsoft, music is among our muses, an Army vet and self-described “computer nerd” at Microsoft is honored at the White House, and Windows 10 is now running on 300 million active devices around the world. Let’s get it started:

New music, new sounds. Over the years, Microsoft has partnered with alternative nonprofit radio station KEXP through the company’s nonprofit software and grant program. And now a special installation, “Inside the Music,” which runs through May 8 at the Seattle Center, is the latest manifestation of their innovative relationship. Inside the Music uses Kinect sensors to read visitors’ interactions within a netted area, “creating an intuitive and eternally changing musical exhibit,” writes Emily Alhadeff. “It’s like musical acupuncture, with each pressure point eliciting a new reaction from a body of sound.”

YouTube Video

Army vet-turned-Microsoft employee Ryen Macababbad was honored at the White House on Thursday by Michelle Obama for the “passion” she brings to her profession. The event marked the fifth anniversary of the Joining Forces Initiative, which works with the public and private sectors to ensure that service members, veterans and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives. Microsoft has supported Joining Forces since it was founded, and was among the companies honored on Thursday for its efforts to hire and provide career training for military service members. As a sergeant in the Army, Macababbad enrolled in the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord when she decided to leave the military after six years of service and two overseas deployments. MSSA helped her rekindle the “computer nerd” she’d been growing up, and find a new path for her life. She’s now a program manager for Azure Active Directory.

YouTube Video

Windows 10 is running on 300 million active devices around the world as Microsoft nears the one-year anniversary of the product’s availability. “We’re pleased to see Windows 10 become one of the largest online services in less than a year,” wrote Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, in a blog post. The free upgrade offer ends on July 29. After that date, you’ll be able to continue to get Windows 10 on a new device, or purchase a full version of Windows 10 Home for $119.

YouTube Video

Speaking of “active,” renowned mountain climber Melissa Arnot is using the Microsoft Band to train for the Fifty Peaks Challenge, with the goal of completing climbs to 50 U.S. high points in 50 days. “I have used a number of fitness tracking wearables and I was skeptical this would feel any different, but immediately I knew it was,” Arnot wrote in a guest post on the Microsoft Devices Blog. “The band is small and wears nicely against my wrist, letting me do what I am out there to do – run, sprint, bike – without further thought. I have found myself acutely more aware of my heart rate zones, as the ‘always on’ pulse display shows my rate anytime.”

Microsoft Band
Melissa Arnot, foreground, and her Fifty Peaks Challenge partner Maddie Miller.

On the other side of the pond, Simon Peyton Jones, a principal researcher with Microsoft Research’s Cambridge lab in the U.K., has been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, a prestigious honor that recognizes excellence in science. Peyton Jones is known for his pioneering work on functional programming languages and his inspirational approach to computer science education for the next generation. He is perhaps most widely recognized as the key contributor to the design of the now-standard functional programming language Haskell, and as the lead designer of the widely used Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC).

Microsoft Research
Simon Peyton Jones

Sharing what’s new with SharePoint. On Wednesday at the Future of SharePoint event in San Francisco, Microsoft unveiled a new cloud-first, mobile-first vision and roadmap for SharePoint, along with innovations that empower people, teams and organizations to intelligently discover, share and collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device, including smartphones. Also announced was the general availability of SharePoint Server 2016, which includes new hybrid capabilities that enable on-premises customers to tap into the innovation Microsoft is delivering in Office 365.

SharePoint, cloud, mobile
SharePoint gets a new cloud-first, mobile-first roadmap.

Revving it up on Windows 10. “Forza Motorsport 6: Apex (Beta)” is our App of the Week, now available in the Windows Store, and bringing Forza’s power, performance and wheel-to-wheel action to DirectX 12-enabled Windows 10 PCs. Meanwhile, Vine is now available for Windows 10 PCs and tablets, giving you the entertaining moments, stories and personalities available on Vine’s mobile apps. Be sure to check out the PBS Video app for Windows 10 (phone, PC or tablet); it makes watching “Downton Abbey” and “Mercy Street” easier than ever, with access to thousands of hours of free PBS content. Cortana integration means you can launch the app with your voice and say things like, “What’s playing on PBS Video?” You can save videos to a personalized Watchlist and pick up where you left off when watching on different devices.

Windows 10, games, Forza Motorsport 6 Apex

This week on the Microsoft Facebook and Instagram channels, we met biomedical researcher Alexis Kaushansky, who’s fighting infectious diseases with the help of Microsoft technology. Using all the tools at her disposal, Alexis combines technology, science and even politics to end the spread of infectious disease.


That’s one wonderful, busy week. Get some rest this weekend, and we’ll see you back here next Friday for another edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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