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Microsoft Publishes Law Enforcement Requests Report; Info of Windows Server Blue Leaks

Update: Microsoft has released its first “Law Enforcement Requests Report,” which the company says will apparently be released every six months from now on–revealing, that in 2012, the company received 75,378 law enforcement requests (including Skype).

2012 Microsoft Law Enforcement Requests Report

Microsoft said the requests would have affected about 137,424 customer accounts or other identifiers. Microsoft added the number of requests impacted less than two one-hundredths of one percent of all of the accounts that are recorded by the company.

Adding, it said that 18% of the requests (again, excluding Skype) resulted in the disclosure of no information being given to law enforcement authorities, “either because Microsoft rejected the request or because no customer information was found.”

Microsoft did disclose what it called “non content information” for 79.8 percent of the law enforcement requests in 2012. Actual content disclosures were given to authorities for 1,558 requests, which comprised 2.1 percent of the total law enforcement requests.

Check the full report at the Microsoft’s Transparency site.

FUSE Labs, a home of Kodu game announced a new version of the games along with the Imagine Cup Kodu Challenge.

For those new, “Kodu is a complete 3D game development environment designed to let kids create their own 3D games. Kodu is built around a custom visual programming language that makes it easy for everyone to learn how to program.”

Imagine Cup Kodu Challenge, giving a chance for game developers ages 9 to 18 to compete in a world wide competition.

Highlights of the features in this release:

  • “Touch is now supported as an input method. You can also build games that use touch to control your characters.
  • We have a bunch of new characters all focused on making water games. Heading the list is Octo. Like a real octopus he can squirt ink and camouflage himself.
  • Programmable control for some of the world settings: you can now change the sky color and lighting effects via programming. The transitions can either be instant or you can have them happen over time. Whatever works best for your game.
  • Programmable control of some character settings: you can change a character’s size or max speed on the fly now. Like the world settings you can control how quickly this change happens,” informs Microsoft.

You can get the new Kodu here.

We already knew, Microsoft is working on the “Windows Blue” operating system for Windows Client and Windows Phone. Now, according to a report, there’s also going to be a Windows Server Blue release.

Stephen Chapman of MSFTkitchen in a blog post mentions that a former Senior User Experience Lead for Windows Server on his resume mentions–“he has been since August 2012 working on “design and user experience delivery of Windows Server and System Center Datacenter Management Portals for Windows Blue”.”

Also, refrence to another Microsoft employee who has been working on the Workflow Manager Azure Service mentions on his resume he work on shipping MSDTC (Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator) features in Windows 8 and Windows Blue.

That’s not all, Chapman also found (via) a video clip of a TechFest 2013 employee-only session, briefly demostrating next version of FreshPaint app, which is expected to be available for Windows Blue and Windows Phone Blue.

Windows Blue and Windows Server Blue are supposedly will be optimized to run on smaller screen sizes and coming late this summer. While, Windows Phone Blue is expected early 2014.

Update 03/22: A leak video of Microsoft’s TechFest 2013 sessions shows a Microsoft Research prototype of Bing for Windows Phone, with enhancements to the built-in voice recognition including speed and accuracy improvements, “even when background noise threatens to drown out the speaker.”

The video also demonstrates a new “streaming mode” that can be enabled to allow Windows Phone users to search while they speak. “The live mode that displays terms while a person is still talking as they speak, instead of transcribing the entire passage once a user finishes their sentence.” In particular the instant transcription is a feature that would be right at home in note-taking apps like Google Keep for instance.

Microsoft has also unveiled TechEd 2013 backpack–for both TechEd Europe and TechEd North America.

The bag is a TSA-friendly, “upcycled” attendee bag created by Oregon-based LOOPTWORKS will conserve a whopping 33.6 gallons of water EACH and avoid 70% of carbon emissions.

In the picture below features a TechEd North America logo, Microsoft says, additional sponsor logos will be added to the final version:

teched 2013 tsa friendly backpack

Update 03/22: If your one of those using Socl, Microsoft now lets users share any Socl post to other social networking services such as Pinterest and Tumblr.

All you need to do is “click “share” at the bottom of a post you’d like to share”…That’s it!.

Check the screenshot below:

Share Micorosoft Socl contens to Pinterest and Tumblr

Microsoft on its Windows Experience blog todya discuss What is a “Microsoft Account” and how you can use your Microsoft account to unlock the full awesomeness of Windows 8.

Basically, Microsoft Account is a identity service, that provides single-sign-in across Microsoft serivces including letting users check their billing services for Xbox Live, Zune, and Windows Store.

That’s not all–having a Microsoft Account, now lets you sign-in to your Windows 8 PC, as well as obtain free online storage, experience mobile entertainment, download apps from the Windows Store, utilize free music streaming, and the ability to connect devices and accounts seamlessly.

“When you sign-in Windows 8 witha Microsoft Account, your settings go with you–you can sign in on up to five different PCs–see your Start screen, settings, lock screen, move stuff around as well as install Windows Store apps.

You can also get 7GB of free online storage via SkyDrive.

A Microsoft Account also allows for a universal address book as well as free streaming songs via Xbox Music.

Finally, using a Microsoft account associated with your Xbox LIVE gamertag to sign in to your PC–lets you launch the Games app to see what your gamer friends are up to, compare achievements, and see alerts when your friends invite you to play. The app also lets you discover and download new games of every genre,” Microsoft added.

Microsoft Account sign-in Screen

Update 03/24: During recent TechFest 2013, Microsoft Research demonstarted some cool projects–one such project was of automating various tasks inside the Excel spreadsheet.

Normally, we would manually type in the categories for each entry on the spreadsheet. However, this project automate the task via machine learning.

In the video below, Lucas Bordeaux, MSR shows a typical Excel expense spreadsheet and then types in a category inside one of the entries, “food”. The Excel embedded software created by MSR then scans through the spreadsheet and figures out which of the other items in the expense report can also be put into the “food” category.

Another example in the video shows how the embedded program can be used to label election results if the spreadsheet doesn’t have complete labels for all of the candidates in the election but selecting the entire spreadsheet and then selecting an “auto complete” button which fills in the blanks.

In the next video below, “Project Analyze,” shows off Microsoft’s efforts in machine learning and natural language to create a way for Excel users to simply type in commands in the spreadsheet in order to accomplish various jobs.

For example, an owner of a business might look at a Excel document and want to quickly complete a pay column. Instead of simply typing in the numbers, Project Analyze allows the business owner to simply type in the command, “Add the base pay and the OT (overtime) pay.” The natural language programming, combined with the machine learning features, automates those tasks and puts the results in the Excel spreadsheet.

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