Microsoft Teams, ‘Minecraft: Education Edition,’ Microsoft PowerApps and Flow – oh, my! It’s Weekend Reading, Nov. 4 edition

We said “hello” this week to some new team members, including Microsoft Teams, “Minecraft: Education Edition” and Microsoft PowerApps and Flow, met Microsoft employees and the people they help through the Microsoft Giving Campaign, and ushered in new era of open source hardware development at cloud speed. BAM!

Microsoft Teams, a chat-based workspace in Office 365, debuted in preview. Most of us work in teams, but we’re not always together in the same place at the same time. That’s why it’s great to have our own chat-based digital workspace with Microsoft Teams, announced this week as part of Office 365. “We believe it is the digital cockpit we’ve been waiting for,” said Andrew Wilson, CIO of Accenture, among the private companies that have been using Microsoft Teams. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add a taste of their own personality with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes. Also now available is the Microsoft Teams Developer Preview for developers to integrate and showcase their offerings on this new, rich collaboration canvas.

Classroom crafting: The full version of “Minecraft: Education Edition” became available for purchase in 11 languages and 50 countries around the world. The full version includes the Classroom Mode companion app, which enables educators to manage world settings, communicate with students, give items and teleport students in the Minecraft world.

Minecraft: Education Edition

Students and teachers can explore and create new worlds in “Minecraft: Education Edition.”

Now being served to serve you: Microsoft PowerApps and Flow. Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, which can help transform business processes without the need for programming skills, are now generally available in 42 languages around the world. Microsoft PowerApps enables you to rapidly build web and mobile business applications without coding, and Microsoft Flow enables you to automate business processes through simple configuration. The services, along with Microsoft Power BI, are designed to work together and make it simple to get started and quickly achieve results. PowerApps and Flow will be included with Dynamics 365 and in the subscriptions of Office 365 Enterprise and Business Premium and Essentials users.

Photo of various different devices, including a tablet and three phones

Microsoft PowerApps and Flow are now generally available in 42 languages.

Microsoft’s Employee Giving Program rocks it again. Every year, Microsoft employees give generously of their time and money to help transform the lives of people like Kiara Blue. Blue was living “paycheck to paycheck” as she struggled to get ahead with a career. She found help through Year Up, a nonprofit supported by individual employees through the Microsoft Employee Giving Program as well as Microsoft Philanthropies. Year Up provides low-income young people a year of professional skills training, internships and other development opportunities, and it’s one of more than 31,000 nonprofits that Microsoft employees have supported since 1983.

Jacky Wright, Microsoft’s Seattle-based vice president of IT Strategic Services, mentored Blue as she worked her way through the program. “The ability for me to be a role model, to move the dial and expose young adults to this world – possibly one that could lead to rich careers that are a way out for people born less fortunate – that is really important to me,” Wright says. Microsoft matches each employee’s donations to nonprofits and contributes $25 for every hour an employee volunteers. The program has brought more than $1 billion to nonprofits’ efforts to help people around the globe and raised a record-setting $125 million last year alone.

Microsoft Giving Campaign 2016, Microsoft Philanthropies, employees

Kiara Blue, left, and Jacky Wright of Microsoft, who was Blue’s mentor in the Year Up program. (Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures

Project Olympus to usher in new era of open source hardware development at cloud speed. Project Olympus, Microsoft’s next generation hyperscale cloud hardware design, and a new model for open source hardware development with the Open Compute Project community, was introduced in collaboration with the Open Compute Project this week at “Zettastructure: The European Digital Infrastructure Summit” in London. “Microsoft is opening the door to a new era of open source hardware development,” says Bill Carter, chief technology officer of the Open Compute Project Foundation.

Microsoft Research Asia released a graph that helps machines conceptualize more like people. A team of scientists from Microsoft Research Asia, Microsoft’s research lab in Beijing, China, announced the public release of the Microsoft Concept Graph, designed to help computers conceptualize in a humanlike fashion. The graph is a massive graph of concepts – more than 5.4 million and growing – that machine-learning algorithms are culling from billions of web pages and years’ worth of anonymized search queries. All of this is important because knowledge graphs, such as this one, are a major component of ongoing efforts in industry and academia to computationally simulate human thinking, which computer scientists argue is a hallmark of true artificial intelligence.

Microsoft Concept Graph, Microsoft Research Asia

From left, Lei Ji, Jun Yan and Dawei Zhang of Microsoft Research Asia were key players in the development of Microsoft Concept Graph. (Photo credit: Microsoft.)

Sausage, cars and Paint 3D. No, it’s not an answer to a “Jeopardy” question, but some of the goodies to check out. Animated feature “Sausage Party,” in which a lone sausage learns the awful truth about what happens when food leaves the grocery store, is in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store now, a week before it’s available on Blu-ray. The “Forza Horizon 3” Alpinestars Car Pack brings seven new cars, including a pair of beloved drifting legends, the 1998 Nissan Silvia K’s and the 1990 Mazda Savanna RX-7. And take a look at the five features you’ll love in Paint 3D, including how easy it is to create in 3D and to bring your ideas to life with 3D Doodle.

Paint 3D

That’s it for Weekend Reading! Join us back here next week, same time, same place. 🙂

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff