Weekend Reading: July 13th Edition–Microsoft Unveils Kinect PlayFit and Launches the Bing Fund

By | July 13, 2012

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Kinect PlayFit, the new Bing Fund and a final look at the Worldwide Partner Conference.

Burn calories on Kinect, track them With Kinect PlayFit. At last, a high score your doctor will applaud. Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled Kinect PlayFit, a new Kinect fitness dashboard on Xbox LIVE that lets players track calories burned across multiple Kinect games. Available as a free download from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, the app calculates and aggregates the calories players burn so they can track their progress over time, see how they rank against friends, and earn Xbox achievements. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center for more detail. Speaking of Kinect, check out this Wednesday post on the Extreme Windows Blog about tapping into the power of Kinect for Windows. Finally, don’t miss this Thursday post on The Official Microsoft Blog about the Xbox 360 maintaining its position as the no. 1 console in the U.S. for the 18th straight month.


Bing seeks to drive innovation with the Bing Fund. At Microsoft, we have tremendous respect for the talent, ingenuity, and passion of entrepreneurs. Where other people see merely interesting ideas, entrepreneurs see possibilities for making the world work better. Many talented people come up with game-changing ideas, but it takes an entrepreneurial spirit to stare down the words “it can’t be done” and make innovation real. Bing Fund is an angel fund with an incubator program, founded by entrepreneurs, sponsored by Bing, and backed by the experience, expertise, and resources of Microsoft. We want to partner with like-minded entrepreneurs—great talent that is innovating online to solve big problems and create amazing new experiences. You can read more about it over on the Bing Search Blog.

What’s Next: Steve Clayton demos future — and some of the present — at WPC. At the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto, Steve Clayton, editor of the Next at Microsoft blog, hosted demonstrations of new projects and prototypes that were built on Microsoft technology. “At Microsoft, investing in research and development is a way to ensure a future for Microsoft and the breakthrough technology we’re developing,” Clayton said. “Today we brought the stories to life that I’ve been sharing with readers on the Next at Microsoft blog.” You can read more about WPC over on the Microsoft News Center. That’s a screenshot from FetchClimate below. FetchClimate is an intelligent, scalable, Windows Azure-based climate-data-retrieval service, that can be used through a Silverlight Web interface or from inside any .NET program.


Pulse on Citizenship. Earlier this week, we launched a new monthly series from Microsoft’s Citizenship team called “Pulse on Citizenship,” which will appear at 6 a.m. PT on the second Wednesday of every month on Microsoft on the Issues. Pulse on Citizenship will provide insight and commentary on topics and trends in corporate citizenship. Check out the first installment of the new series on “Seeking and setting the standard for corporate responsibility”, and feel free to share your thoughts in the reader comments section.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs makes major investment in Microsoft technologies. With the goal of strengthening its technology investment to transform healthcare, benefits and other services for America’s veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has renewed its commitment to Microsoft, entering into a five-year Enterprise Agreement, which will provide the flexibility to best suit users’ needs and help optimize the department’s technology spend. The comprehensive agreement gives the VA access to all Microsoft’s current and emerging technologies, including Windows 7, Windows Server 2012, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft System Center 2012, Bing Maps, the full suite of Microsoft Visual Studio developer tools, and numerous other products and services, spanning from the desktop to the datacenter and including mobile devices. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center for the rest of the story.

Medical proof of concept illustrates how intelligent systems can streamline patient care. Microsoft’s Windows Embedded team, the Microsoft Innovation Center in Torino, Italy, and Microsoft HealthVault have collaborated with Freescale and Kontron to develop an intelligent system proof of concept that seamlessly connects the Freescale home health hub reference platform, FDA-certified panel PCs, servers and in-home medical devices. The system enables patients to automatically relay medical data from devices to physicians or family members via the cloud, connecting a touch-screen information display in the home, devices such as blood pressure monitors and glucose monitors, and medical data systems located at a hospital or a physician’s office. The Microsoft News Center has the rest of the story.

And we’re off – Microsoft’s carbon fee is under way. After announcing our carbon neutrality commitment in May, Microsoft’s internal carbon fee—the cornerstone of our commitment to neutrality—went into effect last week with the beginning of our 2013 fiscal year. Moving forward, every flight that a Microsoft employee takes will include a carbon fee that will offset the emissions of that flight. Each business group in over 100 countries around the world is including the carbon fee in their budgets for this fiscal year. Head on over to the Software Enabled Earth Blog for more detail.

That’s a wrap for the latest edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for dropping by The Official Microsoft Blog!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog