Helping build healthy families, teaching digital literacy and empowering educators with technology — Weekend Reading: May 13 edition

 |   Vanessa Ho

Windows is partnering with the nonprofit CARE to help build healthy families in poor communities like Saharsa, India, where the infant mortality rate is among the highest in the country. CARE is working to improve health care for pregnant women, new mothers and babies, with the help of the Windows 10 Upgrade Your World initiative, Office and Microsoft Cloud. Windows PCs and Excel are supporting hundreds of community health care workers, as they use mobile devices and an innovative app to track and deliver timely prenatal, infant and maternal care.

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Also in the news this week was Jeannette M. Wing, Microsoft’s corporate vice president in charge of the company’s basic research laboratories. On Wednesday, Wing appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, where she spoke of the central role of basic research in American innovation. She appeared on behalf of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Committee on New Models for U.S. Science and Technology Policy, which was formed out of concern that America is losing ground to other nations in research and development.

“I hope it is evident that while basic research may have no intended end goal, it is in fact the foundation of American prosperity and progress,” Wing said in written testimony.

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Jeannette M. Wing

Microsoft went from Congress to the classroom to collaborate with Real Madrid defender Marcelo Vieira on a new program that teaches kids digital literacy. Part of a collaboration between the Real Madrid Foundation and Microsoft, the program introduces technology to students at the foundation’s schools, with customized software from Microsoft and educational games like “Minecraft” that make tech fun and engaging.

“My dream is to take this project to all the world’s children, because with technology … the possibilities of any child are endless,” said Vieira.

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Azure continued to be the best place for Software as a Service, with two new investments that further enrich the platform. Microsoft announced the general availability of SQL Database elastic pools, which help developers manage up to thousands of databases as one, while maintaining database isolation. The company also announced a partnership with Akamai for Azure CDN, making Azure CDN a multi-network offering with services from Akamai and Verizon.

Microsoft Azure Log Analytics is also bringing a powerful intelligence solution to “Halo 5: Guardians,” to help its studio, 343 Industries, deliver a great gaming experience. The studio uses Azure Event Hubs for the extensive telemetry of “Halo 5: Guardians” and Azure Log Analytics for a complete view of the substantial data generated by Xbox consoles and the game’s dedicated servers and backend services. With Log Analytics, the studio can search billions of logs and unlock insights with data visualization.

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Educators will want to know about Microsoft’s Office 365 Education Roadmap, a look at the status of updates for subscribers. It’s an accessible way for educators to stay informed of current and future capabilities in technology. Also this week, Microsoft introduced The Innovative Educator, a new digital magazine that highlights technology projects and ideas from the Microsoft Educator community, a global group of educators and school leaders. The magazine is a great resource for learning about inspiring ideas.

In awesome gaming news, Memories of Reach, the latest free content release for Xbox, became available for “Halo 5: Guardians.” Week 2 of ID@Xbox Game Fest, which runs this entire month, is featuring “Smite” and its battling gods in its latest batch of free games through May 17. And “Minecraft” celebrated four years on Xbox consoles with a new birthday skin pack, now free through May 16, for “Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition” and “Minecraft: Xbox One Edition.” The pack features Alex and Steve in some snazzy, mob-themed shirts.

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And finally, this week on the Microsoft Facebook and Instagram channels, we tuned into Big Grams: a collaboration between Big Boi and Phantogram. Using Kinect technology at this year’s Okeechobee Music Festival, together they created larger-than-life personas, interactive backdrops and a completely immersive, visual experience for their fans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sfDVFf0Fj8

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

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