Weekend Reading: March 8th Edition – Get a Glimpse Into the Future of Technology at TechFest 2013


In this edition of Weekend Reading, we have stories from TechFest 2013, new Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps such as Real Soccer 2013 and Next Issue, Office 2013 and more.

From TechFest 2013: Microsoft Research’s FetchClimate helps predict weather patterns and forest fires. One of the stand out projects from TechFest last year was FetchClimate! — a browser-based tool that lets you access and visualize all sorts of climate and atmospheric data from around the world in a Bing Maps interface. It’s an amazing tool for a couple of reasons: it gives you access to actual climate data from sources such as NOAA and the MET at the click of a mouse, and it gives you this really useful and visually engaging interface that helps you drill down into a host of different factors as they relate to weather conditions. It really was an amazing display of how big data could be visualized. This year, Microsoft Researchers Drew Purves and Vassily Lyutsarev went a step further. They developed the prototype for a browser-based probability engine that could use all of that climate data to make predictions about weather patterns, forest fires and other atmospheric conditions. Watch the video below and read this Thursday post on Next at Microsoft to learn more about this exciting MSR project. Also, if you weren’t able to make it to TechFest, you should check out these videos from the event at the TechFest 2013 Video Portal.

Now in the Windows Phone Store: Real Soccer 2013. Real Soccer 2013 is the newest edition of the hit soccer simulation, it’s shaping up to be the best version yet. Download it now. What makes it so great? Well, for starters it’s FREE. But improved artificial intelligence and more than 700 motion-capture animations in this new edition also bring players to life on your phone like never before. Finally, an official FIFPro license means you’ll see names and portraits of over 3,000 top athletes—a first for a Real Soccer title. Future game updates will account for any unexpected roster changes. Below is a screenshot from the game. Also, don’t miss these two posts over on The Windows Phone Blog – seven apps for musicians and songwriters and how to talk to your apps so they will listen.

Real Soccer

Next Issue now available in the Windows Store. If you’re one of those readers who can’t live without the latest edition of such magazines as Time, People, Wired or Fitness, then you have to check out a slick new app in the Windows Store called Next Issue. Instead of having to purchase individual magazine subscriptions, with the Next Issue app for Windows 8 you pay for an unlimited plan which gives you access to their entire catalog, including back issues. You can read more about it over on The Windows Experience Blog. Below is a screenshot of the Next Issue app. Also, don’t miss the Microsoft News Center App of the Week: The Amazing Spider-Man!

Next App

Office 2013 now transferable. You spoke, we heard. Based on customer feedback, we have changed the Office 2013 retail license agreement to allow customers to transfer the software from one computer to another. This means customers can transfer Office 2013 to a different computer if their device fails or they get a new one. Previously, customers could only transfer their Office 2013 software to a new device if their PC failed under warranty. The Office Blog has the whole story.

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day. Everyone in the world – especially our children – should have a chance to experience the moments in literature that make us laugh, cry, sigh or even shiver with a bit of fear. Stories let us experience great and wonderful things, take us to faraway places, and even allow us to travel through time. That’s why Skype is proud to celebrate World Read Aloud Day. We love that our Skype in the classroom initiative creates new opportunities for youth around the world. Just like a great book, Skype in the classroom allows students to engage with new ideas and new ways of thinking, breaking down traditional barriers to communication. That’s why we are now offering all teachers who are members of Skype in the classroom to use Skype Group Video Calling – a feature normally available only to our paid Skype Premium subscribers – completely for free. Read more about it over on The Big Blog, or watch the video below.

Touch Points: Explosion in touch devices has apps on the rise. Windows 8 was designed for work and play, for today and into the future. Since the opening of the Windows Store at the launch of Windows 8, the number of apps available has more than quadrupled. Along with major brands such as CNN, Audible, Hulu Plus and Netflix, the Windows Store now features many top games and other entertainment apps such as Angry Birds Space, Music Maker Jam and Skulls of the Shogun. It is the combination of compelling hardware and compelling, relevant apps that really bring this story to life. Check out this slideshow on the Microsoft News Center to see what we’re talking about. Below is a screenshot of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S sporting the Netflix App for Windows 8.


That’s the latest edition of Weekend Reading for you! See you back here next week!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog

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