Weekend Reading: April 25th Edition — Office 365 is free for Brown University students, Microsoft’s energy-saving projects make every day Earth Day


In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about Office 365 being available free to Brown University students, Microsoft programs to develop next-generation datacenter designs to boost energy efficiency and a worldwide hackathon this weekend for university women to encourage them to become technological innovators.

Brown University has selected Microsoft Office 365 for its 8,600 students, and is using the Microsoft Student Advantage benefit to extend the service to students at no additional cost when they use their existing Brown University credentials. Many students have a variety of devices, such as iPhones, iPads, PCs and desktop computers, so Brown needed a solution that would give students the same experience no matter what device they are using. Meanwhile, Finland’s Helsingin Bussiliikenne Oy (Helsinki Bus Transportation Co.) has selected Microsoft Power BI for Office 365 to track traffic data, driver performance and gas usage, among other things, using a data warehouse solution developed with company CGI, and by using Microsoft’s SQL Server, SharePoint, Office and Power Map. The bus company says it has seen as much as a 5 percent savings in fuel costs because of more careful driving and improved maintenance.

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Helsinki Bus Transportation Co. uses big data and analytics to improve fuel economy and driver performance, and to save money.

Earth Day 2014 was a good opportunity to celebrate the environmental efforts that are underway in many parts of Microsoft, and to continue to do more, said Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Strategist. The company has led the way in several areas, including with its Carbon Neutral program, which has a first-of-its-kind internal carbon fee; to developing next-generation datacenter designs that dramatically boost energy efficiency and reduce water needed for cooling by up to 95 percent. Now, Microsoft’s datacenter teams are working to create “radically greater efficiency and sustainability” by piloting an off-the-grid datacenter fueled with waste methane from a sewage treatment plant, and other projects.

The second annual International Women’s Hackathon, which begins Friday and ends April 27, is meant to encourage university women worldwide to become technological innovators and help solve global-scale problems. Rane Johnson-Stempson, principal research director in the Education and Scholarly Communication group with Microsoft Research Connections, is co-organizer of the hackathon. “We know that we are losing women in computer science because they don’t see it as a field in which they can make an impact,” she says. “We want to show young women that if they stay in computer science, they can change the world and make a difference.” Fifty universities in 11 countries will be holding events, expected to attract 2,500 university-level women.

An updated MLB.TV app for Windows is a home run for fans of Major League Baseball. The app includes a Pitch F/X widget that tracks the location of each pitch, a clickable line score for navigating the game stream by inning, a Twitter widget for following social networking commentary during the game and a scoreboard overlay in full-screen mode. Meanwhile, the Indie Game Spotlight is a one-stop shop in the Windows Phone Store that shows off new games from a growing community of independent developers. They include “Dragon’s Blade II,” “Zombie Tsunami” and “Castle Raid 2.” If you want to get some work done, and connect to a remote PC, you can now with the new Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview for Windows Phone. And if you’re working, or playing, too hard and forget to eat, try out the Jimmy John’s app for Windows Phone, a staff app pick from Sara Summers. She swears you’ll never go hungry again.

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The updated MLB.TV app has live game DVR controls to pause, play, rewind and fast forward.

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital wanted to help doctors spend less time looking up patient information on computers and more time at patients’ bedsides, so officials at the California hospital turned to the Internet of Things for a solution. The hospital created an intelligent system using Windows Embedded, Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server and Active Directory Domain Services to reduce the amount of time doctors had to spend finding patient information. “I’ve heard from my peers at other hospitals that their doctors are envious of our new system,” says Adnan Hamid, director of Information Services at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital. “That’s always a good thing to hear.”

Bing became the only major search engine to offer K-12 schools in the U.S. an ad-free search experience for students, after trying it as a pilot project via Bing in the Classroom earlier this year. Any qualified school district or private school now can register for a completely free service that is already being used by more than 4.5 million students, including those in the five largest U.S. school districts.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced you to twin brothers Chad and Carey Hayes.They wrote this summer’s blockbuster, “The Conjuring,” with the help of OneNote. Check out their tips for beginning writers, and tell us your story using #ICreatedThis.

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Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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