Creators make their marks in art, apps, gaming and the grid – Weekend Reading: April 14 edition

Creativity fuels the world, inspiring inventive teachers, budding DJs and visionary manufactures who harness clean power through household appliances. Stoke your imagination with a dose of Weekend Reading.

To feed the innovator in everyone, the Windows 10 Creators Update is rolling out to Windows 10 customers everywhere.

With this free update, artists can sample the new Paint 3D app, turning 2D images into vibrant 3D visuals. Gaming fans become game broadcasters with the release of built-in Beam game streaming. And aspiring DJs can scratch, scrub and loop inside their music library via creativity apps now available for Surface Dial.

In Texas, teacher Jason Holt has a playful plan to bring true technology integration into the classroom. His students are learning by creating video games. As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Holt built a game-design course for juniors and seniors with prerequisites like C# and Java programming.

In many other classrooms, teachers and students are creating custom quizzes, surveys and questionnaires with Microsoft Forms – which gained new features this week.

Jason Holt

Teacher Jason Holt

The flag has dropped on a new, six-year partnership between Porsche and Microsoft’s Turn 10 Studios. The collaboration includes open registration for Porsche’s esports sponsorship debut in Forza Racing Championship Season 3: The Porsche Cup – the most inclusive racing esports program and home to the largest online racing community in gaming.

Gamers are also welcoming the arrival of Minecraft Marketplace, which gives “Minecraft” creators another way to make a living from the game. New games in Xbox are enticing players with a never-ending masked ball plus explorations of beautiful worlds with “Yooka-Laylee.”

And the gaming industry is getting a glimpse of Project Scorpio – code name for the next version of Xbox – through a technical preview on Digital Foundry.

Say aloha to planet-saving technology – cloud-connected water heaters in Hawaii. These 499 devices, which form a giant battery on the western shore of Oahu, offer a visionary blueprint to wean the world off fossil fuels, stabilize power grids and harness more renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

“Hawaii is presenting a postcard to the future,” says Paul Steffes, CEO, president and chairman of Steffes Corporation, the company that built the units, which are linked to the Internet of Things.

Illustration by Perfect PlanIt, Inc. 

Illustration by Perfect PlanIt, Inc.

Container technologies are leading today’s cloud transformation. They let organizations more easily build, deploy and move applications to and from the cloud. This week, Microsoft signed an agreement to acquire Deis, a company at the forefront of the container evolution.

Many companies, meanwhile, are creating hybrid cloud strategies to boost business growth and digital transformation. A new Microsoft report, State of Hybrid Cloud 2017, reveals the numbers inside this hybrid cloud adoption.

Rhea Guntalilib lost her eyesight while studying to become a nurse. The cause was a form of lupus, an autoimmune disease. She decided to shift from medical care to programming. And she learned those skills at the Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired (ATRIEV), a nonprofit in the Philippines that provides computer education for the blind.

“For people with special needs like me, the digital world is an avenue for us to be able to lead a fulfilling life,” says Guntalilib, 28. “Despite being unable to see, programming allows me to do – and create – many things independently. The possibilities are endless.”

Rhea Guntalilib

Rhea Guntalilib

Tax day is looming. If you’re not quite ready to file, we’re here to salvage your weekend. Just download the TurboTax app for free from the Windows Store. The app’s autofill feature eliminates any need to enter data manually, making tax prep easier and more accurate.

For your last-minute tax questions, use TurboTax SmartLook to connect live, via one-way video, to credentialed CPAs or Enrolled Agents.

Once that task is complete, enjoy your weekend downtime by checking out the Netflix drama, “The Get Down.” All of season 1 and part season 2 are available for streaming. The music-driven show is set in 1977 New York, a city pulsing with creativity and edge, energized by the emergence of hip-hop. Keep up with many other trending items in the Windows Store.

And what’s a weekend without some beats? Head to Microsoft Groove to stream “L.A. Divine,” the latest album from the indie band Cold War Kids.

Check back next Friday for another edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Bill Briggs
Microsoft News Center Staff