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  Microsoft-Press related Technical Updates [Page: 1 of 145] @ TACKtech Corp.  

01.30.2015 - Scottish Gaelic language support now available for Microsoft Office



View Microsoft-Press related news. *Goireas-taice litreachaidh ri fhaotainn ann an Gàidhlig a-nis airson Microsoft Office Hot on the heels of Burns Night, Microsoft announced earlier this week that Scottish Gaelic is the latest addition to the 95 languages and dialects supported by proofing functionality in Microsoft Office. It means that 60,000 speakers of the … Read more »
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01.27.2015 - Windows 10: The next chapter



View Microsoft-Press related news. Yesterday we announced a number of new and exciting elements in the next phase of Windows 10. With a wide range of experiences as well as two new devices - the Windows experience is now being extended across devices and scenarios - from large screens to no screens at all. … Read more »
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01.22.2015 - The next phase of Windows : Windows 10  



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Earlier today we announced a number of new and exciting elements in the next phase of Windows 10. With a wide range of experiences as well as two new devices - the Windows experience is now being extended across devices and scenarios - from large screens to no screens at all. For a comprehensive recap of today’s news please check out this blog post from our executive vice president, Operating Systems Group – Terry Myerson

The new Windows 10
January 22, 2015

There are a number of new and exciting elements in the next phase of Windows 10
January 22, 2015

The Windows experience is now being extended across devices and scenarios
January 22, 2015

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01.22.2015 - Project based learning for schools comes to life with new BBC Earth natural history film, Enchanted Kingdom



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At BETT today, Microsoft is launching a series of educational aids it has developed in partnership with teaching school Broadclyst Primary in Devon, using BBC Earth Films’ 3D spectacular, Enchanted Kingdom. These introduce ‘project based learning’ into the classroom – a method of teaching that encourages students to improve their engagement in the curriculum by exploring the world around them, developing solutions to challenges in a creative and collaborative learning environment. Broadclyst has developed the lesson plans within the education aids and tested them in a classroom environment. They cover topics from across the curriculum from the humanities to the sciences, and coding. From today, this innovative new project based learning toolkit is now available to schools and educators up and down the country.

Enchanted Kingdom is ‘the most ambitious 3D nature film ever made’
January 21, 2015


Enchanted Kingdom is ‘the most ambitious 3D nature film ever made’, taking audiences on a journey of discovery through the wilds of Africa. Narrated by Idris Elba, star of The Wire, Luther and Oscar-nominated Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the movie brings together cutting edge 3D technology, Hollywood production expertise and the best nature film making to bring to life the incredible wonders, stories and characters of our planet. Enchanted Kingdom, set to be released in cinema and on Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and DVD in the UK later this year, was released in Japan in 2014 and was the third top grossing film of the year.

Jonathan Bishop, Headteacher at Broadclyst, explains: “Our partnership with Microsoft has allowed us to extend the magic of this film to the classroom. The broad range of landscapes, creatures and behaviours covered in the film make it an incredibly rich resource for education.”

“The projects we have developed have captured the imagination of our students. As an example, one of the scenes in the film is set in the ‘frozen spires’ of Mount Kenya. We tasked our students with designing a camera case that could withstand such a frozen environment and encouraged them to use software packages to work together and create a solution. Students use Microsoft cloud-based collaboration tools such as Office 365, Office Mix, OneNote and Skype in the Classroom to debate, discuss, problem solve, and connect with other classrooms. There are eight phases in the film, which takes place in Africa, set in some of the wettest, driest, hottest and coldest environments the world has to offer – the teaching aids cover all of this not only put the onus on the students think more deeply about the world around them but also teach them the value of working collaboratively.”

BBC Earth Films’ 3D spectacular, Enchanted Kingdom will introduce ‘project based learning’ into the classroom
January 21, 2015


Neil Nightingale, Director of Enchanted Kingdom & Creative Director of BBC Earth adds: “When we set out to produce Enchanted Kingdom, our vision was to create the most enchanting nature film ever made and we wanted it to change the way that our audience sees the world. Partnering with Microsoft enables us to take this vision of the film one step further and encourage children to think differently about the world around them and challenge themselves to discover more and problem solve.”

There will be a collection of Enchanted Kingdom lessons on Skype in the Classroom
January 21, 2015


Microsoft is also enabling teachers to connect, collaborate and share Enchanted Kingdom projects on the Microsoft Educator Network. This will host a community of educators all looking to take advantage of new approaches to teaching and learning, using technology to help students develop more relevant skills for the 21st century. Many of the Enchanted Kingdom projects also feature apps from the Windows Store, which can be used to view film images, videos and reference materials. There will also be a collection of Enchanted Kingdom lessons on Skype in the Classroom where educators can post their own Enchanted Kingdom-based learning sessions to connect and collaborate with other schools across the UK and internationally. They’ll also be able to find BBC film makers to join their classrooms as guest speakers through Skype. Microsoft and BBC Earth will host additional supporting content for teachers and schools such as live Q&As with the film makers.

To read more about Enchanted Kingdom please follow this link

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01.13.2015 - Teachers: how ready are you for the computing revolution?



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As primary schools reopen their doors to begin the second term of teaching the new computing curriculum, a survey conducted by Microsoft and CAS has confirmed that 69% of teachers enjoy teaching the subject, which is now compulsory for all pupils from the age of five. However, the results also reveal that there is still some way to go before teachers feel fully confident about delivering computing lessons to classes of tech-savvy youngsters, as 81% have called for more training, development and learning materials.

Today, QuickStart Computing, a new set of resources developed by CAS and jointly funded by Microsoft and the Department for Education become available for the first time. The materials are designed to help teachers get the most of the curriculum, and can be downloaded at www.quickstartcomputing.org. Resources include videos, interactive tools and a teacher’s handbook.

The demand for these resources has been underpinned by data collected from the survey, which investigates pupil and teacher attitudes towards computing in the classroom. The results, released today, also reveal that two thirds of primary and secondary teachers are concerned that their pupils still have a better understanding of computing than they do, and many teachers lack the confidence that they need to deliver the new curriculum. The issue becomes even more clear when combined with results from a second survey, which showed that nearly half (47%) of young people aged 9-16 years claim that their teachers needed more training and 41% admitted to regularly helping their teachers use technology.

The new QuickStart Computing materials
January 20, 2015

The changes made to the curriculum in September 2014 are good news for the UK’s technology industry, and hold the key to helping develop a strong pipeline of talent to fill the growing number of jobs which require knowledge of computer science and coding. The UKCES predicts (Careers of the Future, Nov 2014) there will be 146,000 job openings in IT between 2012 and 2022, with jobs commanding an average salary of £38K. By supporting the development of these new resources, Microsoft hopes to be able to help teachers get more out of the new curriculum, in turn opening the eyes of more young people to the exciting career possibilities available to them.

Microsoft’s UK CEO, Michel Van der Bel remarks: “There is a moment of magic when you see a young person make something totally unique happen on a screen. Something they had imagined and then made real through code. But to get to that moment we need passionate people who have the right skills and knowledge to help give young people the building blocks they need.”

Microsoft provided well over £300,000 for the QuickStart Computing initiative in order to support teachers in creating modern, exciting and engaging lessons that will inspire a new generation of digital stars.

We should be very proud of our teachers, who are engaging so positively with the new computing, and are now inspiring and exciting children about computing in schools up and down the country,” said Simon Peyton Jones, Chairman of CAS. “CAS believes in the value of high quality, continuous professional development for teachers, and the role of working groups like CAS in instilling confidence and sharing ideas and best practice. We are delighted that from today we can share QuickStart Computing with all schools and teachers that need it.”

The QuickStart Computing materials are available for free and we urge teachers to visit the QuickStart Computing website today to see how they can start getting even more out of the new curriculum.

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12.31.2014 - Create your own masterpiece with the Surface Pro 3



View Microsoft-Press related news. Create your own masterpiece with the Surface Pro 3 05-09-2014 Shakespeare James Mylne September 05, 2014 Fancy yourself as the next Leonardo da Vinci but not sure how to get started? With the right tools and a little advice anyone can start creating their own masterpiece. Renowned ballpoint pen artist … Read more »
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12.22.2014 - Spreading Christmas cheer with Virgin Atlantic



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This weekend, flight VS011 from Heathrow to Boston took on a distinctly festive feel as teams from Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic injected a taste of Christmas, enabled via some very cool technology. As well as putting a few smiles on faces, the aim was to show passengers what could be possible on future flights as digital technologies play an ever more important role in delivering a great experience.

So with a little help from Santa, Microsoft and Virgin Atlantic set out to put the magic back into flying. Passengers were greeted with a special gift of a Windows tablet on arrival. Especially for the younger passengers (as well as some of the bigger kids) on the flight, the tablets played an important role in tracking Santa’s journey from the comfort of their seats via the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Track Santa service.

The tablets played an important role in tracking Santa’s journey
December 21, 2014

Passengers were greeted with a special gift of a Windows tablet on arrival
December 21, 2014


Near the coast of Greenland, Santa’s reindeer caught up with the Virgin Atlantic 787 Dreamliner to ‘meet’ passengers on board. Via a series of projections on to the cabin ceiling, passengers watched the sleigh land on the aircraft before then walking down the aisles, delighting children and taking selfie’s with surprised passengers. The passengers were then able to watch Santa prepare his crew for departure before heading off into the night sky.

Through a series of projections on to the cabin ceiling, passengers watched Santa's sleigh land on the plane
December 21, 2014

Some passenegers couldn't believe their eyes when Santa turned up on the plane
December 21, 2014


Debbie Hulme, Head of Customer Experience at Virgin Atlantic commented: “We wanted to offer something extra special for the families flying with us this Christmas and who better to spread the Christmas cheer than Santa himself? We decided to partner with Microsoft as it was the only provider that could offer the breadth of cool technology that Virgin Atlantic passengers expect from us.

Hulme continued: “Microsoft is also providing us with the analytics to look at how passengers interacted with the technology so we can work out what they enjoyed the most. This will enable us to continually improve and innovate. Expect to see more from Virgin Atlantic and Microsoft in 2015.”

Fred Warren, Creative Director, Microsoft Connected Digital Services added: “Through this experience we are looking to explore how the aircraft can be brought to life in different ways via the use of digital technologies to amplify the amazing service that is offered to customers today and how passengers engage after the flight. We were able to give passengers a glimpse of what is possible from more immersive flight experiences.”

To see more and get an idea for this yourself please watch our video below or go to Facebook.


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12.17.2014 - #MSFTCOSO POV: UK leads world in fight against online child sexual abuse material



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U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is leading a global charge to stamp out child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online, dedicating funding, resources and a personal passion to the effort.

Last week in London, the prime minister held the first-ever global summit entitled “#WePROTECT Children Online,” designed to seek coordinated global action, explore technological solutions and create an international network to protect children from online sexual exploitation. The Summit brought together representatives from more than 50 countries, 26 technology companies, 10 non-governmental organizations and a host of law enforcement agencies to pledge their ongoing support.

“[A] global gathering like this is long overdue,” the prime minister said in his keynote address. “We have international summits to stamp out drug dealing, to beat modern-day slavery, and this is another major international crime of our age.”

Concrete, tangible outcomes were demanded, and the U.K. government stepped up to lead and deliver on that mandate in a big way. To assist with the plight of child victims, the U.K. government is putting 50 million pounds, over the course of five years, into a new fund to be managed by UNICEF. The fund will help identify, rescue and aid child victims as they seek to rebuild their lives following unspeakable physical, mental and emotional trauma. In a separate 10 million pound effort, the U.K. government will increase the number of specialist crimefighters within the U.K.’s National Crime Agency, being that law enforcement resources and highly trained personnel have long been in short supply to combat these particularly heinous crimes. The prime minister also announced pending changes to U.K. law that would make it a criminal offense to send a sexual communication to a child.

“If you ask a child to take their clothes off and send you a picture, you are as guilty as if you did that in person,” Cameron said. “Just as it is illegal to produce and possess images of child abuse, now we’re making it illegal for an adult to send a sexual communication to a child. This law will make it clear this is a crime and you will be arrested and prosecuted if you take part in it.”

I had the honor of representing Microsoft at the global summit and delivering an address that summarized the company’s ongoing and longstanding commitment to protecting children — and, indeed, all individuals — as they live out their digital lives. I noted that Microsoft approaches online safety and child online protection with four key areas in mind: technology, self-governance, education and partnerships.

First and foremost, we’re a technology company, and we have a responsibility to seek to create software, devices and services that have safety features, functionality and considerations built in from the outset. In addition, we devise and implement internal online safety policies, standards and procedures that extend beyond pure legal requirements in an effort to self-govern product development and operations. We also have a responsibility to stay abreast of the risks that individuals and families may face online; alert consumers to such developments and educate them about how they can help protect themselves and their families. Perhaps most importantly, we embrace a “multi-stakeholder” model, and partner with others because no one entity or organization can successfully tackle these significant and nuanced issues alone.

I recounted that Microsoft first came to understand the magnitude of the online horror that is child sexual exploitation (sometimes misguidedly referred to as “child pornography”) in 2003, when a lead detective with the Toronto Police Department sent an email to our then-CEO Bill Gates. The detective asked for help from technology to track down purveyors of child sexual abuse material and for assistance with his goal of rescuing child victims. After years of witnessing and experiencing the challenges that child advocates, law enforcement and the technology industry faced in their efforts to stem the online flow of CSAM, Microsoft was privileged to work with the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and Dartmouth College to help address the problem. In 2009, Microsoft and Dartmouth developed PhotoDNA, a technology that aids in finding and removing from the Internet some of the “worst of the worst” of these images. We donated PhotoDNA to NCMEC that same year, and now license it for free to 45 international organizations — all playing a role in helping to rid the Web of this vile imagery.

I also hinted at some upcoming developments with respect to technology, an ongoing technology partnership pilot, research and awareness-raising. More on these in due course.

As I did in my formal remarks at the event, I thank and applaud the U.K. government for shining a bright, global spotlight on a dark and serious issue and for highlighting the gravity of not just online child exploitation, but the need for the online protection of children and our global society at large. We need to continue to work together to find new and inventive ways to bring attention to these issues; to stop the spread of this abhorrent content; to rescue child victims and to prosecute perpetrators.

For more on Microsoft’s work in Online Safety and Child Online Protection, visit our Safety & Security Center; “like” us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter, and look for my “point of view” following the #MSFTCOSO hashtag.

About the Author

Jacqueline Beauchere

Chief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft

Jacqueline F. Beauchere is the Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft. In this role, Ms. Beauchere is responsible for all aspects of Microsoft’s online safety strategy, including cross-company policy creation and implementation, influence over consumer safety features and functionality, and communications to and engagement with a variety of external audiences. She also currently serves as the chair of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Board of directors, and is Microsoft’s representative to the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) board, as well as INHOPE’s Advisory Board. Ms. Beauchere has spent almost 15 years at Microsoft leading various groups and efforts that evangelize the company's commitment to help create a safer, more trusted Internet experience for people of all ages and abilities. Before joining Microsoft in December 1999, Ms. Beauchere was an attorney in private practice in New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C. A second-career lawyer, she spent 12 years as a real-time financial news correspondent and Editor in Charge, most recently with Reuters America Inc. in New York.

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12.17.2014 - Stuck for present ideas this Christmas?



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Microsoft has got a myriad of gifts to suit all members of the family and all budgets this Christmas. Whether you’re looking to splurge with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or save with colourful accessories there’s a Microsoft gift for everyone this year.

Splurge

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (From RRP £639) is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Complete with multiple position kickstand, optional click-in keyboard and beautiful hi-res 12-inch screen, this tablet delivers the power, portability and productivity to take you from your office desk to the comfort of your sofa. Users can install the full Microsoft Office suite to maximise commuting time. While the Surface Pen can be used for portraits of cheeky kids with the art apps.


Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (From RRP £639)
December 17, 2014

Xbox One - This Christmas, Xbox One has the best console and games bundles.

The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle, featuring a massive 1TB harddrive, full game download, a console.
December 17, 2014
ERP: £399.99 exclusively at Game

FIFA 15 Bundle, containing a console, copy of the game, a headset and controller
December 17, 2014
ERP: £349.99

Sunset Overdrive Bundle, featuring the sleek Cirrus White console, wireless controller and Day-One edition in-game content
December 17, 2014
ERP: £349.99

Save

A great range of Windows tablets, phones and accessories for under £100

HP Stream 7” tablet (ERP £99.99)
December 17, 2014
Packed with features such as a two megapixel camera, lightning-fast boot up time, eight hour battery life and enhanced productivity that a Windows tablet brings, which make it the perfect device for multitasking – be it Angry Gran Run or that all important presentation!

Linx 7 Tablet (ERP £89.99)
December 17, 2014
With a two megapixel front and back camera it’s perfect for watching funny YouTube videos, chatting with friends on Facebook or playing Disney’s Frozen Freefall

Nokia Lumia 530 (RRP £76.99)
December 17, 2014
This affordable smartphone will help you take amazing pictures with the five megapixel camera, sync your digital life with OneDrive and share special moments on your favourite social networks. It also comes with Cortana the first truly digital assistant; try asking her some Yuletide phrases such as ‘Do you like Christmas?’, ‘Tell me a Christmas Cracker Joke,’ or ‘Humbug!’ and see what she replies!

Limited Edition Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 (RRP £29.99)
December 17, 2014
Available in three uniquely textured patterns including bandage, geometric and paisley designs, this mouse makes the perfect stocking filler to brighten up a loved-one’s desk this Christmas.

And for the person that has everything? Give a Windows Store card (from £15) or Xbox gift card (from £10) so they can have fun choosing the apps, games, movies, TV shows and music they want this Christmas. (Include Store logo)

Don’t forget…

  • Every member of the family can have their own Microsoft account which means everyone can access the same tablet whilst keeping their own personal settings

  • Each tablet includes one year’s subscription to Office 365 Personal allowing you and your family to save and share important documents like Christmas lists from anywhere, on any device

  • You can save around 2,000,000 photos with the terabyte of storage available on OneDrive

  • Parents can ensure the kids are safe by using the great parental controls in Windows 8 and Xbox

…and have a very merry Christmas!

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12.12.2014 - How many Hours of Code were completed this week?



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The digital revolution is here. In the years to come, everyone is going to need to know how to code. Jobs of the future are going to require a solid understanding of computer science, and none of us can underestimate the importance of even a basic knowledge of coding.

Millions of people of all ages across the world have already joined the revolution. Over 65 million people worldwide in fact. Have you? It’s not too late – visit http://code.org/educate/hoc to get started.

During Computer Science Education Week this week, Microsoft offices all over the UK have been buzzing with activity as hundreds of employees gathered to complete their Hour of Code. In the last five days alone, over 1,000 Microsoft employees in the UK have taken part, and mostly those with non-technical roles.

Trish a Watson, Public Sector Marketing Lead, Microsoft UK , completed her Hour of Code this week. She explains why she got involved, even though her job currently doesn’t require knowledge of computer science:

“Coding is such an important skill for the future, for all of us. I did my Hour of Code this week because I was intrigued and liked the idea of being part of a global initiative. It’s exciting to learn something new, which everyone is talking about and which will help all of us in the future. It’ll make our lives easier, make tech easier to consume and prepare us for how our jobs will evolve in the future.”

In the last five days alone, over 1,000 Microsoft employees in the UK have taken part in the Hour of Code
December 12, 2014


Dani Schuchman, Business Program Manager, Microsoft UK, did the same, and encouraged his team to join in too:

“We are living in a digital world where aspects of IT and Computer Sciences are part of our everyday life – controlling heating in our home, programs we use at work, ordering online and even how we interact with TV shows. I think that Hour of Code is a great initiative to raise awareness of Computer Sciences and showing how much fun this can be. I enjoyed taking time out of my daily routine to learn something new in a fun environment that thousands of others like me were participating in. I think it is important for everyone to get involved because coding is important to all aspects of life and education - sitting alongside reading, writing and arithmetic.”

As part of the coding celebrations this week, Microsoft hosted an Hour of Codathon to drive as many employees as possible to complete their Hour of Code together. Employees were encouraged to capture their coding experience to share with their colleagues and persuade others to get involved by sharing selfies during their Hour of Code. A winner was picked at the end of the week, and Chris Speer, Technical Solutions Specialist, won the competition for his picture, in front of hundreds of first time coders.

“The Hour of Code is a creative and easy way to bring coding to the masses, more specifically to the youngest students and those new to coding,” says Chris. “It was wonderful to feel part of this campaign – the Hour of Code really captures the concept of coding and is a brilliant way to get younger generations feeling more passionate about Computer Science. This is a much better way of teaching coding than the way I learnt – it’s great to see so many companies working hard to make learning to code more engaging and interesting.”

As many people across the world have already discovered this week, coding is a vital skill which we will all need in the future. In the UK, our economy depends on us being able to compete in a digital world and learning these skills with secure our success.

Millions of people of all ages across the world have already joined the revolution
December 12, 2014


Hayley Shaw is Social Media Community Manager at Microsoft and is now an advocate of the wider benefits of learning to code: “I completed the Hour of Code as it is a fantastic opportunity to prove that everyone has the ability to get involved with coding and that it can actually be a lot of fun! I expected it to be really challenging as I haven’t tried coding before but it wasn’t at all. It was fun to work out the different puzzles and was a real achievement to get to the end. It definitely developed my problem-solving and analytical skills which are transferable to my day-to-day role.”

This week, Microsoft also launched Microsoft Imagine to help everyone to continue their coding journey into 2015 and beyond. This new programme easily connects students of all ages and skill levels with the tools and knowledge they need to create, code and develop ideas. This launch marks an exciting new opportunity for students of all skill levels, and we urge you to see what it has to offer.

“Whether it’s a 10-year-old making her first game or a university senior building skills and projects for their first job application, aspiring developers can access age and skill-appropriate courses, competitions and communities that can help turn their ideas into reality and support them on their educational journey,” comments Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist, DX, Microsoft.

To find out more about how Microsoft can help you get to grips with coding, visit http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/youthspark/youthsparkhub/hourofcode/

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12.08.2014 - Can you make one hour last a lifetime?



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This week is Computer Science Education Week, dedicated to inspiring people of all ages across the world to try their hand at coding.

Computer Science Education Week 8-14 December
December 07, 2014

To most, the technology we use every day is always someone else’s responsibility. When it works we take it for granted, and when it doesn’t we hope that someone else can fix it. But for some people, those who speak the right language, the millions of the PCs, tablets, laptops and phones represent not just utility, but opportunity. A chance to make something, to share something or maybe to sell something.

This week we’d love you to take the first step to becoming one of them by joining the Hour of Code at: http://code.org/educate/hoc

The European Kodu Kup final, October 2014
October 14, 2014

Everybody Starts Somewhere is the mantra for Computer Science Education Week, which starts today. The week is dedicated to inspiring people of all ages across the world to try their hand at coding, either starting at the very beginning with an Hour of Code, or honing their existing skills with a range of brand new tools and platforms specifically aimed at helping people to learn independently.

As we head into a week packed with coding activities, including an employee “Hour of Codathon” hosted at Microsoft offices all around the UK, we are also proud to unveil Microsoft Imagine.

This brand new programme will provide the tools and knowledge which budding coders need in order to create, code and develop their ideas. Everyone has the right to access relevant support to help them on their coding journey, no matter where they start. As part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative, this programme is deliberately designed to be accessible for those new to coding, as well as those studying it in school or planning a career in technology.

Here in the UK, these key skills have been given the recognition that they deserve, with computing now a key part of the curriculum for all pupils from the age of 5. The job is not done though. It won’t be done until anyone who wants to knows how to code. If you can manipulate the tools of today then you can create the apps, networks and businesses of tomorrow. This week is our chance to change perceptions and open as many eyes as possible and we invite you to take the plunge.

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12.02.2014 - Antidote to Black Friday frenzy as Microsoft helps bring #GivingTuesday to UK for the first time



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As Black Friday shoppers nurse their bruises and the last of the Cyber Monday shoppers log off, Microsoft is helping bring a welcome antidote to the consumer frenzy with the rollout of charitable programme #GivingTuesday in the UK.

#GivingTuesday directly follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the biggest days of consumer spending in the world, and is a global day of giving aimed at encouraging people, charities and businesses to donate time, money or their voice to help a good cause. Following a hugely successful launch in the US, #GivingTuesday is being brought to the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation with the support of Microsoft.

#GivingTuesday was launched in 2012 by Henry Timms, executive director of charity 92nd Street Y, as a rallying call to donate to charities on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Now in its third year, #GivingTuesday has grown from 2,500 partners to 18,000 corporations, retailers and charitable bodies.

Microsoft became a founding partner of #GivingTuesday in 2012 to raise awareness of the issues youth are facing around the world and to raise funding to empower young people to pursue opportunities in education, employment and entrepreneurship on the YouthSpark on GlobalGiving giving portal. Since then the site has raised over $4.8 million to support more than 130,000 youth.

This year, with the theme “Everyone Starts Somewhere,” Microsoft will match donations on www.globalgiving.org, up to $350,000, to create opportunities for young people around the world through technology skills education.

In the UK, Microsoft is partnering with UK Youth, an organisation that helps children build skills and confidence using technology, to use the #GivingTuesday funds raised to create a digital opportunity fund. The fund will support the development of youth clubs “digital literacy sessions, community outreach to build new partnerships, and even help with the costs of childcare to enable a project to engage with teenage parents,” says UK Youth National Projects Officer Gary Brunskill.

Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, Claire Wright, Managing Director at Connect Reading and Microsoft employees celebrate #GivingTuesday
December 02, 2014


“We’ve got high hopes,” comments Brunskill. “The opportunity to receive matched funds for donations should be as compelling to UK audiences as it is in the states – this project will undoubtedly make a massive difference to young people all across the U.K.”

Learn more and donate, here.

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12.01.2014 - Messi vs Murray, Game of Thrones vs Doctor Who?



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From tragic celebrity losses to controversial sporting moments, 2014 saw Britons use Bing to seek out and learn more about the stories which shaped the world. Each year, we compile our end of year lists – a look at what people are searching for and how they are doing it. This year’s results show that we are now accessing information wherever and whenever we are, from any device as we expect to see instant results and updates on the things we want to know about and subsequently want to find pictures, stories and videos of our favourite moments related to them.

In this post we take a look at the most searched for people, sports stars and TV shows.

People

2014 was a sad year for Brits as we took to the web to learn more about some of our most treasured late stars with Peaches Geldof the most searched for person of the year and Robin Williams and Paul Walker also making the top ten. Others in the top ten include wild popstars Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.

The full top ten is:

1. Peaches Geldof

2. Robin Williams

3. Jennifer Lawrence

4. Paul Walker

5. Justin Bieber

6. Kim Kardashian

7. Miley Cyrus

8. Ariana Grande

9. Katy Perry

10. Beyoncé

Top celebrity searches
November 30, 2014

Sports people

Andy Murray was the most searched for sports star of 2014 with searches increasing around Wimbledon. He was closely followed by one of the stars of this year’s World Cup, Neymar.

The full top ten list includes:

1. Andy Murray

2. Neymar

3. Luis Suarez

4. David Moyes

5. Gareth Bale

6. Rooney

7. Messi

8. Gerrard

9. Rory Mcilroy

10. Floyd Mayweather Jr

Top sports people searches
November 30, 2014

TV Shows

It’s no surprise that the most cpaitvating show of the year, Game of Thrones has made its way to the top spot for 2014 followed by our very own Dr Who. Popular reality TV shows like Big Brother have also made the cut.

The full list includes:

1. Game of Thrones

2. Dr Who

3. Big Brother

4. Coronation Street

5. Strictly Come Dancing

6. Emmerdale

7. Hollyoaks

8. Breaking Bad

9. This Morning

10. Celebrity Big Brother

For more about the top searches for the year, head to http://www.bing.com/trends/uk/

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11.20.2014 - Cortana goes stunt crazy!



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Last night, passers-by on the banks of the Thames were treated to a spectacular stunt from world-renowned trials cyclist, Danny MacAskill, as he successfully completed one of the largest loop-the-loop challenges to ever be set on water. 

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Microsoft
November 19, 2014

With the help of Windows Phone’s truly personal digital assistant, Cortana, Danny rode around a monumental five-metre loop (taller than a double-decker bus!), illuminating the Cortana signature in front of one of London’s most iconic landmarks, the London Eye, in the process. Cortana acted as Danny’s personal assistant throughout his training for the activation, arranging his meetings, setting appointment reminders, playing his favourite music, warning for bad weather and finding maps.


Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana is renowned for her instantaneous, intelligent and customised approach - she knows what you want and how to #makeithappen. With her proactive help, useful advice and instant solutions, Danny was able to fulfil a life-long aspiration seamlessly.


 

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11.12.2014 - The next Richard Branson?



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Touted as the next Richard Branson, Jamal Edwards is one of the UK’s young entrepreneurial stars. Aged 15 he set up SB:TV with just a handycam and YouTube account. Focusing mainly on music and youth culture SB:TV brought to life a part of young British culture not often seen on mainstream TV. Jamal took grassroots creativity from London’s music and lifestyle scenes and delivered this to a global audience via the internet. Fast forward 8 years and Jamal’s channel is now Britain’s leading youth channel with over 5 million views a month. His content is still grounded in the lifestyle of 13-34year olds in cities across the global – from the music they love to the personalities that inspire them. At only 24, Jamal encourages his viewers to be inspired and adopt #Self-belief to achieve their dreams. This thought comes across in many of the videos broadcast on SB:TV.

As a business leader of the future, Jamal Edwards was invited to Future Decoded earlier this week, and had exclusive green room access to some of the world’s most influential thinkers. Speaking from his own experience as an entrepreneur, Jamal speaks with Sir Bob Geldof and Sir Martin Sorrel about the impact of technology and what it takes to make it in business. Here is what they had to say.

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11.07.2014 - One year on from Haiyan:



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Microsoft is excited about the potential global benefits from TV White Space technology. The UK is playing a leading role and Ofcom’s White Spaces pilot is being closely watched around the world and includes participants from the US and Japan. We are pleased that Microsoft Azure has now been added to the list of White Spaces Databases (WSDBs) qualified by Ofcom to operate in the UK. Microsoft is currently leading several pilots including with the University of Strathclyde and Scottish Government, as well as with a local ISP and independent lifeboat on the Isle of Wight. Results from these pilot projects have been impressive and point to a bright future for the technology.

One year ago, the Philippines was hit by super-typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda). It was unofficially recorded as the strongest typhoon ever in terms of wind speed and also the deadliest typhoon on record in the Philippines. It killed over 6,000 people and affected over 11 million; leaving many homeless.

The disasters wiped out communications in the region, greatly slowing local and international response and relief efforts. In one of the worst affected areas, Tacloban City, there was little communication and no mobile phone coverage. This situation was repeated in many parts of Leyte Island with many remaining without power and communications for more than a month.

This communications challenge was in part alleviated by utilising pioneering TV White Space technology. The term, TV White Space spectrum, refers to frequencies in the VHF and UHF television broadcast bands that are either unassigned or unused by existing broadcasters or other licensees and could be used to deliver broadband access, services and applications. TV White Space devices and networks work in much the same way as conventional Wi-Fi, but because the TV signals travel over longer distances and better penetrate walls and other obstacles, they require fewer access points to cover the same area. In the UK, Ofcom is overseeing a number of pilots to look at how the technology can be used to supplement existing mobile 4G and 3G networks.

In the Philippines, Microsoft had already entered into a partnership with a number of Governmental departments to monitor fishing stocks using TV whitespaces technology. However, when disaster struck the technology was able to be rapidly re-deployed to help in the disaster relief efforts in Bohol and in Palo, Leyte: one of the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan. For the first time in history, TV White Space technologies were used in a disaster zone to expand the reach of communications solutions such as satellite links.

When the disaster struck, white space technology was deployed to help in the relief effort
When the disaster struck, white space technology was deployed to help in the relief effort
November 07, 2014


Dondi Mapa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Philippines, says, “Many of the cell towers were on top of buildings, and all the buildings were wiped out by the typhoon. When a disaster causes this level of impact, it becomes very difficult to establish a cellular network in the traditional sense. A TV White Space network typically has four times the range and 16 times the coverage of a comparable higher frequency solution. By using TV White Space technologies, it was possible to share a satellite signal to sites as far as ten kilometers away. Instead of having survivors queueing around the central command centres where the VSATs are located, it becomes possible to establish connectivity centres in the evacuation areas where survivors have received shelter.”

White Spaces technology has been showing its value in other parts of the world too. In Africa, it has been used to provide Internet access in an increasing number of remote communities.


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11.05.2014 - Unlocking cities through sound



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Imagine losing your sight and having to rely on other people to help you get out and about, or being restricted to the same four of five short routes that have taken months to learn. Or imagine being in a foreign country, unable to read the signs and unsure of where you need to go. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to overcome those challenges independently, allowing you to spontaneously and confidently get out to explore the world around you?

After months of in-depth field testing and research, Microsoft, Guide Dogs and Future Cities Catapult have launched the results of the first phase of an exciting project which will revolutionise how people with sight loss, and the sighted, experience the urban landscape, creating a revolutionary new application of 3D sound.

Microsoft, Guide Dogs and Future Cities Catapult have launched the results of the first phase of an exciting project which will revolutionise how people with sight loss, and the sighted, experience the urban landscape
Microsoft, Guide Dogs and Future Cities Catapult have launched the results of the first phase of an exciting project which will revolutionise how people with sight loss, and the sighted, experience the urban landscape
November 04, 2014

The headset creates a personalised 3D-soundscape transmitted through the wearer’s jaw bone
The headset creates a personalised 3D-soundscape transmitted through the wearer’s jaw bone
November 04, 2014

Using a small headset, paired with a Windows Phone, the new application uses cloud based location and navigation data working with a network of information beacons placed in urban locations to create a personalised 3D-soundscape transmitted through the wearer’s jaw bone. The application will help both orientation and navigation and also provides enhanced contextual information such as shops, points of interest and addional journey details to help the user build up an understanding of their surroundings. This information is transmitted through bone-conducting technology, which means that sounds appear to come from outside of the user’s head. For example, if there is a coffee shop on the user’s right, the coffee shop will be read out from their right, allowing them to build up a mental image of their surroundings.

The act of getting around can be a nerve-wracking experience for too many people, especially the blind and partially sighted. With two million people in the UK already living with sight loss and two hundred and eighty five million visually impaired people around the world, this is a growing problem. The ability to travel independently, or not, can significantly affect a person's ability to go to school or work, engage in sport or get to and from social activities.


Kirsty Grice is a person living with sight loss , and has been trialling the new technology. She describes her feelings: “We want to live like normal people, we don’t always want to plan ahead to see if we can get community transport, or a taxi or something, we want to be able to just jump on a bus and go somewhere and have that freedom.”

Kirsty Grice is trialling the new technology
Kirsty Grice is trialling the new technology
November 04, 2014

Kirsty is not alone; this genesis of the project was rooted in personal experiences. Amos Miller is a Microsoft employee and former trustee of Guide Dogs who is visually impaired. He was inspired by becoming a father and wanted to share in and enjoy everyday experiences with his daughter, without having to worry about the challenges of exploring new environments.

by the tracks
by the tracks
November 05, 2014
The headset creates a revolutionary new application of 3D sound.


“Living and researching complex challenges has informed our design process every step of the way,” Amos explains. “We have been able to develop something that has huge potential for society at large, not just those living with sight loss.”

At this stage, the technology is a demonstrator which is being tested on a sample journey from Reading to London encompassing walking routes, bus travel, shopping, and train travel. The long-term ambition for the programme is to bring other organisations and local authorities across the UK on board, so that more people living with sight loss, or anyome living in a city, can benefit from its services.

The long-term ambition for the programme is to bring other organisations and local authorities across the UK on board
The long-term ambition for the programme is to bring other organisations and local authorities across the UK on board
November 04, 2014

Our cities are becoming rich with information and Cities Unlocked is paving the way for the future of personalised products and services. Harnessing the power of this technology to open up more of our world to people with sight loss is just the start of an amazing journey for all of us.

For more information visit the website.

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10.31.2014 - Bing gets freaky this Halloween



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Halloween can be a scary or fun time depending on who you talk to. Traditionally, Halloween or All Hallows Eve is a day to commemorate the dead. It’s now a day for frights, fun and fantastic costumes, making it one of the most anticipated and feared days of the year.

It’s also a time for people to search Bing for everything from paranormal activity to costumes. According to Bing’s top Halloween searches, the most searched for haunted destination in the UK is Enfield, London with the Green Street Poltergeist. If you fancy a ghostly encounter this Halloween, other destinations in the list are the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, and Jamaica Inn in Cornwall.

On a less eerie note, Bing has also revealed the most searched-for celebrity costumes for Halloween. Topping the list in the UK is US wild child popstar, Miley Cyrus. The notorious twerking singer is closely followed by Lady Gaga with her outrageous costumes, Michael ‘Thriller’ Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and teen heartthrob, Justin Bieber. The only Brit to feature in the Top 10 is X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

One of Bing's Halloween homepages
One of Bing's Halloween homepages
October 30, 2014

Bing is getting into the Halloween spirit this year with a fully immersive and interactive homepage dedicated to three famous ghostly tales: the weeping woman La Llorona, legendary ghost ship The Flying Dutchman and future gazing spirit Bloody Mary. Head to www.bing.com today to see the homepage.

Bing celebratets Halloween with a selection of spooky homepages
Bing celebratets Halloween with a selection of spooky homepages
October 30, 2014

Another Halloween homepage from Bing
Another Halloween homepage from Bing
October 30, 2014

Bing's selection of Halloween homepages
Bing's selection of Halloween homepages
October 30, 2014

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10.30.2014 - This month’s latest and greatest apps



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With so many new, informative and fun apps available on a daily basis, it can be hard to pinpoint the best apps for you. To make your life easier, here’s our monthly app update, which includes the latest and greatest apps on Windows Phone as well as new updates to our favourite apps and seasonal fun!

Despicable Me: Minion Rush (FREE)
Despicable Me: Minion Rush (FREE)
October 31, 2014
Gru’s loyal yellow gibberish-speaking Minions are ready for their toughest challenge in Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Play as a Minion and compete with others in hilarious, fast-paced challenges in order to impress your boss, (former?) super-villain Gru! With all the heart and humour of Despicable Me, you’re sure to love this innovative and original game.

British Airways (FREE)
British Airways (FREE)
October 30, 2014
The British Airways app guides you smoothly through each step of your journey with instant access to live information about your next flight. Plus, you can use your phone as a boarding pass on many routes. This app has received new updates, which includes an extra level of flight information detail within the app. It will allow you to put your next flight information and destination photos on your screen as a Live Tile, pin boarding passes as secondary tiles and allows you to manage your flight and check-in via the improved British Airways mobile site.

Dream League Soccer (FREE)
Dream League Soccer (FREE)
October 30, 2014
Football as we know it has changed! Dream League Soccer is YOUR chance to build THE best team on the planet. Recruit new Players, upgrade your Stadium, and train your team as you march towards glory, on your road to Soccer Super Stardom!

Enter Orc Kid  (0.79p)
Enter Orc Kid (0.79p)
October 31, 2014
The Orcs have been pushed to the brink of extinction. In a last desperate bid for bloody revenge the offering has been made to the petty gods for a stone hearted warrior of pure death! Enter OrcKid is a fast paced action title sending you on a warrior’s quest to hack a bloody swathe through the enemies of your Orcish brethren. Featuring a plethora of funny items to unlock and customise your warrior with, a rich combat animation system and intuitive and original touchscreen controls, this game will keep you entertained for hours!

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10.29.2014 - A piece of Surface Pro 3 artwork?



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Last night attendees at the opening of renowned ballpoint artist, James Mylne’s latest exhibition, Something More, were treated to a first look of his new Surface Pro 3 artwork.

Having previously recreated famous portraits from the National Portrait Gallery using the Surface Pro 3, Pen and the Fresh Paint app, Mylne unveiled a new digital portrait of British TV Presenter and model Alexa Chung.

James Mylne creates a portrait of Alexa Chung using the Surface Pro 3
James Mylne creates a portrait of Alexa Chung using the Surface Pro 3
October 28, 2014


If you want to see the new Surface Pro 3 portrait for yourself, along with other original artworks created by the talented James Mylne, head over to 340 Kings Road SW3 5UR. Something More is Mylne’s largest solo exhibition to date and runs until November 2nd.


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