Category Archives: Microsoft

Microsoft Introduced the HoloLens 2



Microsoft introduced the HoloLens 2 at MWC Barcelona. It is an improved version of the original Microsoft HoloLens. Here are some details about the improvements.

Immersion is greatly enhanced by advancements across the board, including the visual display system, making holograms even more vibrant and realistic. Microsoft more than doubled the field of view in HoloLens 2, while maintaining the industry-leading holographic density of 47 pixels per degree of sight. HoloLens 2 contains a new display system that enables Microsoft to achieve these significant advances at low power.

HoloLens 2 enables direct manipulation of holograms with the same instinctual interactions you’d use with physical objects in the real world. In addition to the improvements in the display engine and direct manipulation of holograms, HoloLens 2 contains eye-tracking sensors that make interacting with holograms even more natural.

Comfort is enhanced by a more balanced center of gravity, the use of light carbon-fiber material and a new mechanism for donning the device without readjusting. Microsoft improved the thermal management with new vapor chamber technology and accounted for wide physiological variability in the size and shape of human heads by designing HoloLens 2 to comfortably adjust and fit almost anyone.

The new dial-in system makes it comfortable to wear for hours on end, and you can keep your glasses on because HoloLens 2 adapts to you by sliding right over them. When it’s time to step out of mixed reality, flip the visor up and switch tasks in seconds.

Time-to-value is accelerated by Microsoft mixed reality applications like Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Dynamics 365 Layout and the new Dynamics 365 Guides applications.

Personally, I have a few concerns about HoloLens 2. One is the price. The Verge says it costs $3,500. Another concern is whether or not the HoloLens 2 would scratch the lenses of my glasses. I hope Microsoft tested for that!


Microsoft Commits to Help Affordable Housing in Puget Sound Region



Microsoft announced that is committed to addressing the problem of a lack of affordable housing in the region of Puget Sound, Washington. Microsoft made that area its home in 1979.

But the Puget Sound area’s growth has also created new challenges. In recent years, our region hasn’t built enough housing for the people who live here. Since 2011, jobs in the region have grown 21 percent, while growth in housing construction has lagged at 13 percent. This gap in affordable housing has caused housing prices to surge 96 percent in the past eight years, making the Greater Seattle area the sixth most expensive region in the United States.

Microsoft will invest:

  • $225 million at lower than market rate returns to inject capital to subsidize the preservation and construction of middle-income housing. These investments initially will be made in six cities east of Seattle and Lake Washington: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish.
  • $250 million at market rate returns to support low-income housing across the entire King County region. Microsoft believes that additional capitol at market lending rates can help accelerate the construction of low-income housing across the region.
  • $25 million in philanthropic grants to address homelessness in the greater Seattle region. Microsoft announced the first $10 million of these grants. This will include a $5 million philanthropic grant to the newly announced Home Base program created by the Seattle Marines, the United Way of King County, and the King County Bar Association. The program helps keep people facing eviction in their homes through legal aid, access to flexible funds and case management.
  • Microsoft will also grant $5 million to support a new joint agency on homelessness being formed by the city of Seattle and King County.

Personally, I think this is a wonderful idea! I think that more big companies should follow in Microsoft’s footsteps and enact similar plans in other areas. I’d like to see a world where big companies, who have tons of money, use some of it to actually help people who are struggling.


Microsoft has Acquired GitHub



Microsoft announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform where more than 28 million developers learn, share, and collaborate.

Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock. Subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.

GitHub will retain its developer-first ethos and will operate independently to provide an open platform for all developers in all industries. Developers will be able to use the programming languages, tools and operating systems of their choice for their projects – and will still be able to deploy their code to any operating system, any cloud and any device.

GitHub announced, in a blog post written by CEO and Co-Founder of GitHub, @defunkt, that Microsoft was acquiring GitHub. The post states that Microsoft and GitHub expect the agreement to close by the end of the year.

GitHub says that they will remain focused on the developer. They feel that Microsoft’s vision for the future closely matches their own. Nat Friedman, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Developer Services, will be taking on the role of GitHub’s CEO. GitHub says it has been searching for a new CEO for some time.


Microsoft’s Holiday Ad is Adorable!



Microsoft released an adorable ad called 3D Holiday. It shows a series of cute creatures that need some love, and who receive it from other creatures. The ad features Microsoft’s Paint 3D, and also features Remix 3D.

When we are inclusive and celebrate our differences we can make the world a better place. 3D Holiday tells the story of a young girl who goes on an imaginary adventure through space where she and “Gabe the Yeti” encounter various characters who need a little love and support, culminating in a celebration for all.

The Microsoft website shows all of the characters that were in the ad. There is an image of each one, the character’s name, and a description of the character’s personality. In addition to the video of the holiday ad, there are two videos that are intended to be Paint 3D tutorials that people can learn from.

People can use Paint 3D to create objects from scratch or to modify a creation from the Remix 3D catalog. You can search Remix 3D for items, characters, and more, and use them in your own creations. It is also possible to take Remix 3D items and change the colors and textures, to add stickers, or to turn a 2D picture into a 3D scene.


Microsoft Paint is Here to Stay!



Microsoft released a list of “features that are removed or deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.” The one that seems to be getting the most attention is a little program called Microsoft Paint, which Microsoft was intending to deprecate.

The “Removed” designation means that the product has been removed from the current release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. “Deprecated” means that the product is not in active development and might be removed in future releases.

I haven’t used Microsoft Paint in a really long time (mostly because I switched from PC to Mac several years ago). I was feeling nostalgic about Microsoft Paint after learning that it may be deprecated. Back in the 1990’s I was working on obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Education, and Microsoft Paint helped me achieve that goal.

At the time, the majority of elementary schools lacked computer labs. Some teachers were fortunate enough to have one computer in their classroom. During my experience as a student teacher, I created a lesson plan for the many Kindergarten classes I was working with. It focused on Microsoft Paint.

Each kid got a few seconds of class time to contribute to a collaborative, class-wide, piece of digital art. I gave each kindergartener the choice of adding a shape, drawing a line, or filling in a color on the artwork. The kids seemed to think this was the coolest thing ever, which is understandable.

I remember having to bring a bunch of 3.5” floppy disks to the classrooms so I could save the artwork each class had created and print it out for my professors to see. To my surprise, my professors thought that my Microsoft Paint lesson plan was innovative and exciting. Today, the same lesson plan would be considered uninspiring (and perhaps a bit lazy.)

Good news for those of you who, like me, feel nostalgic about MS Paint. Microsoft says: “MS Paint is here to stay, it will just have a new home soon, in the Windows Store where it will be available for free.”


Microsoft Premiers Xbox One X



Microsoft Corp. has unveiled the world’s most powerful console, Xbox One X (formerly code-named “Project Scorpio”), and its largest and most diverse games lineup in E3 history. Broadcast for the first time in 4K UHD on Mixer, Xbox showcased a record 42 games in its briefing, including 22 with console exclusivity from creators large and small. Coming to all Xbox One markets starting November 7, 2017, Xbox One X will retail for $499, 499 pounds, 499 euros, CA$599 and AU$649.1.

Xbox One X was designed to be the best console to create and play games on, putting the greatest graphic fidelity in the hands of the world’s bets game creators to create true 4K games. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer underscored that every game will play great across the Xbox One family, and Xbox One X also makes your existing library even better, with better textures, smoother frame rates, and faster load times.

Spencer announced that Xbox will expand Xbox One backward-compatibility library of nearly 400 popular Xbox 360 games to include original Xbox classics, starting with fan favorite Crimson Skies. Xbox also revealed that Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Minecraft, Resident Evil 7, Final Fantasy 15, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Rocket League, and dozens of other popular Xbox One games will receive free updates to take full advantage of the power of Xbox One X. A host of these titles will be enhanced to run in true 4K, and many will be available at Xbox One X launch.

With 40 percent more power than any other console, Xbox One X lets you experience immersive true 4K gaming when paired with a 4K display, such as Samsung’s flagship QLED TV. Xbox One X makes your existing library even better with better textures, smoother frame rates and faster load times, even on a 1080p TV.

Xbox One X also offers the ultimate 4K entertainment package with 4K Ultra HD for Blu-ray X and streamed content, HDR support for gaming and video, and Dolby Atmos support. Xbox One X will join the Xbox One family of devices and coexist alongside Xbox One and Xbox One S, and all Xbox One games and accessories are compatible.

Xbox One X Games Showcased at E3:

  • Anthem (Electronic Arts)
  • The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Ashen (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins (Ubisoft – World Premier)
  • Black Desert (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Code Vein (Bandi Namco Entertainment America Inc. – World Premier)
  • Crackdown 3 (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive)
  • Cuphead (Xbox One and Windows Exclusive)
  • The Darwin Project (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Deep Rock Galactic (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Dragon Ball Fighterz (Bandai Namco Entertainment American Inc. – World Premier)
  • Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premier)
  • The Last Night (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Life is Strange: Before the Storm (Square-Enix – World Premier)
  • Metro Exodus (Deep Silver – World Premier)
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of War – (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • Minecraft (Unification, Better Together Update, Super Duper Graphics Pack)
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps – (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premier)
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – (Console Launch Exclusive)
  • Sea of Thieves (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive)
  • State of Decay 2 (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive)
  • Super Lucky’s Tale (Xbox One and Windows 10 Exclusive – World Premier)
  • Tacoma (Console Launch Exclusive)


Microsoft Introduces To-Do



Microsoft has introduced a new, intelligent task management app that makes it easy to plan and manage your day. It is called Microsoft To-Do, and it is now available in Preview.

To-Do comes from the team behind the Wunderlist app, and delivers a smarter, more personal and intuitive way to help people stay organized and get the most out of every day. It is powered by Office 365 integration and an intelligent algorithm.

To-Do helps you to create a list for anything – for work, home projects or just groceries. You can keep track of deadlines by adding reminders, due dates and notes, and personalize it with colorful themes. You can access your lists anywhere with the To-Do apps for iPhone, Android phone, Windows 10 devices and the web.

Every morning, To-Do gives you a clean slate called My Day. You can put in whatever tasks that you want to accomplish that day. Tap a lightbulb icon to access Intelligent Suggestions. The app will show you to-dos from the day before, what’s due, or upcoming, and other helpful suggestions based on To-Do’s algorithm. You can add the ones you want to get done to My Day.