Cloud Computing Enables Tribune Company to move into the Digital Age

It’s wonderful to learn that media giant Tribune Company is betting on Windows Azure to help bring the company into the digital age by providing targeted content to its online readers and increased opportunities for advertisers.

Since 1847, the American Public has relied on Tribune for its news. Today, the newspaper industry faces declining readership and a tough economy. In order to stay relevant in today’s digital age, Tribune found it crucial to adopt Windows Azure to enable the company to transform from a traditional media company to an interactive and digital media company that embraces innovative technologies such as cloud computing.

Tribune is truly a media giant; it operates 8 newspapers (including LA Times and Chicago Tribune), 23 television stations and 50 websites that receive 6.1 billion page views per month. Managing these properties required that Tribune operate 32 data centers, 4,000 servers, 75,000 feet of raised floor — Windows Azure presents Tribune with an opportunity to cut the 1.5 million in annual costs spent on managing their existing infrastructure and allow for additional growth opportunities.

 

What’s new in Expression Studio v4?

Expression Studio 4 has a wealth of new features to make it easier than ever to create engaging user experiences for the Web, the desktop, mobile devices, & Silverlight. All of the products now support Silverlight 4 and .NET 4 as well as the following specific new features in each of the products.

Expression Blend 4 New Features include:

  • VS2010 compatibility
  • Windows Phone support
  • Deeper Adobe Photoshop import (layer effects)
  • New behaviors & conditional behaviors
  • Enhanced sample data support
  • Listbox path layout for designing with data
  • Pixel Shader effects (including animations)
  • Easier styling and customization
  • Model View View-Model support

Expression Web 4 New Features include

  • SEO Reporting from inside of the application
  • New extensibility model enables creating add-ins with HTML, JS, and CSS
  • New SuperPreview online service beta for browser compatibility testing now supports Macintosh Safari

Expression Encoder 4 Pro New features include

  • Live Smooth Streaming (VC-1 & H.264)
  • New H.264 encoder from MainConcept
  • Enhanced Screen Capture
  • DRM (PlayReady) for Live Content

FREE UPGRADE

Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to users of version of Expression Studio 3 and Expression Web 3. Once version 4 trial versions are available, you can download and install the trial and Expression will find the version 3 license on your hard. Once the version 3 license is found, the version 4 trial will be automatically converted to full product with no expiration. Note that this is true only for customers who have obtained their version 3 products via FPP or ESD.

For customers who have received their version 3 products through Microsoft programs (MSDN, MAPS, Bizspark, Websitespark, etc.), please download the version 4 products from the respective program download sites.

Silverlight Winter Olympics Statistics and Case Studies

Did you Know? A Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics fact sheet.

– Over 25% of the entire population of Norway viewed the Olympics using Silverlight for an average of 111 minutes each viewing!

– Host nation Canada’s CTV saw 4 million visitors consume over 6 PetaBytes, or 7 million hours of video, peaking at over 130,000 concurrent viewers. Viewers watched videos on the site for an average of 111 minutes per visit – unprecedented and great news for broadcasters and advertisers alike. [Read More]

In the United States, NBC built on its experiences using Silverlight for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and NFL Sunday Night Football. For the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, they provided live and on-demand video to an online audience of 16 million viewers, while also delivering a very sophisticated and efficient ad platform to its sponsors, making the best use of planned and spontaneous opportunities for ad insertion. [Read More]

More than 1 in 4 of Norway’s 4.8 million citizens showed their enthusiasm for winter sports by tuning into the 720p, HD, IIS Smooth Streaming experience delivered by Norway’s NRK. Viewers liked what they saw; consuming over a million hours of video in total and an average of 78 minutes each visit. [Read More]

Since broadcast HD TV is relatively new in France, France Télévisions used the opportunity to bring the HD experience to a younger generation who, in many cases, prefer to consume video on a computer. With previous successes using Silverlight and IIS Smooth Streaming to broadcast the Roland Garros Tennis Championships and the Tour de France cycling race, France Télévisions knew it could deliver a multi-platform, high quality live and on-demand video experience for the Olympics. With only two weeks to the event and not a single line of code written, the Silverlight Media Framework allowed FranceTV to deliver the player on schedule, resulting in an amazing average viewing time of 64 minutes. [Read More]

 

The official Silverlight Team Blog

Now Available: Microsoft Desktop Player

Microsoft Desktop Player aggregates content across various Microsoft properties and maps it to your role as a developer, IT Pro and IT Adoption lifecycle. Also if you configure the local settings you get local IT resources like your Developer or IT Evangelist in your area, local user groups, local training resources to get your certification etc.

(In Phase I the local settings are US only)

In addition it streams breaking news from MSDN/TechNet to the desktop player. One additional advantage for site publishers is it can be embedded in their sites to give their readers rich content via the embedded player.

You can check it out at:

Be a Windows Phone 7 “Rockstar”

As you may have heard, Microsoft has announced the availability of a preview of the Windows Phone developer tools. The buzz around Windows Phone 7 Series has been so great that Microsoft wants to encourage students to be amongst the first to get cracking with the platform.

Details of the contest
  • The contest will require students or student teams to build applications written in Silverlight or XNA for Windows Phone 7 Series, using the tools that have been made available.
  • Appealing “look and feel” (like the User Experience of the Windows Phone 7 shell itself),
  • Originality of the application (we’re looking for apps that people may not have seen before),
  • The “consumer appeal” that this app might possess, and/or
  • Leveraging phone specific functionality (like Accelerometer, Location etc.)

The contest is live today and will end on May 24, 2010.

What students can win

Of the applications submitted, there will be three winning teams. Winners will be announced on June 1, 2010 on the Imagine Cup 2010 website.

  • First place winner – Each team member (up to 4 members) of the top overall winning team is invited to Poland. The winning team will be awarded USD8000. And each member of the winning team will be awarded a new Windows Phone.
  • Second place winner – The runner up team will be awarded USD4000. Each member of the winning team will also be awarded a new Windows Phone.
  • Third place winner– The second runner up team will be awarded USD3000. Each member of the winning team will also be awarded a new Windows Phone.
How to get started

Be among the elite first to be recognized as a Windows Phone 7 “Rockstar”!

Channel 9 Live at MIX 10

WHAT: The Channel 9 crew will be broadcasting live, unscripted and 100% interactive from The Commons on Days 1 & 2 of MIX 2010 in Las Vegas.

WHY: Not everyone can make it to MIX10 in person and bump into Bill Buxton or The Gu for a quick chat in the corridor. Channel 9 Live provides those unable to attend with an opportunity to be a part of the MIX experience and converse directly with executives, presenters and technology leaders.

WHO: Joining us on stage will be Scott Guthrie, Joe Belfiore, Bill Buxton, Dean Hachamovich, Charlie Kindel, Albert Shum, Doug Purdy, Erik Meijer and many more.

WHEN: The live stream begins immediately following the keynotes

  • March 15 From 10:30AM PST to 5:30PM
  • March 16 From 10:30AM PST to 5:30PM

WHERE: Same URL as the keynotes: http://live.visitmix.com

Once the keynotes end just keep watching; Channel 9 Live will begin streaming automatically

 

You can view the full schedule of sessions here: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/NicFill/Channel-9-Live-at-MIX10–Who-What-Why-When-and-How/

 

HOW to participate: We’ll be accepting questions and interacting live via Twitter (@ch9live) as well as the Channel 9 Coffee House.

 

Become a Design All-Star!

.toolbox is a free online training program where designers and developers can learn to create Silverlight applications using Expression Studio and to apply basic UX concepts to their solutions.

.toolbox provides YOU with the ability to send designers, developers, partners, customers, and students to a fun integrated environment that takes an individual from a level 100 to 400 understanding of using the design aspects of Silverlight and Expression. .toolbox is a structured curriculum-based program that features two core learning tracks with materials that increase in difficulty to build individuals’ knowledge and understanding. In Design Scenarios, designers and developers learn to create dynamically-rich Silverlight applications using Expression Studio. They learn to add code-free functionality to designs by following step-by-step tutorials that illustrate how to create interactive user experiences. In Design Principles, designers and developers learn fundamental UX concepts (e.g., choosing the right colors) along with tips in how to apply them. Badges are earned and accumulated in both tracks upon successful completion of the evaluation found at the end of each level.

 

Helpful Links

Allison Watson’s Webcast on Cloud Computing Opportunities

Allison Watson | Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group

As head of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft, Allison Watson leads a global team of 5,000 Microsoft employees and is responsible for Microsoft’s worldwide strategy for the more than 640,000 independently owned-and-operated partner companies. These companies resell and provide services on Microsoft technologies for 43 million customers, ranging from the smallest entrepreneurs to the largest global enterprises. Watson leads strategy for and delivers cross-company commitment to Microsoft’s partners of all types, including independent software vendors, value-added resellers, resellers, distributors and systems integrators serving business customers across all geographies and products.


Join Allison Watson, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, as she speaks to members of the Microsoft Partner Network about the opportunities cloud computing offers for Microsoft partners.

Watch the webcast!

 

Also, learn about the benefits of the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and opportunities Microsoft Partners have to capitalize on. Watch the video or Read the blog.

March Architect Innovation Cafe Webcasts

 

March 25, 2010 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

Title: Extending Your Sites Reach with IE8 Add On Features

Abstract Today’s users are getting more sophisticated and they expect more features from the sites and services they use. In this session learn about how to implement low effort, high value add-ons that expand your sites reach and bring value to your customer base .

Link to Register: https://swrt.worktankseattle.com/webcast/4240/preview.aspx

Presenter:
Jim Cirone
Architect Evangelist, Microsoft

Jim Cirone is an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Evangelism team. He joined the DPE team 3 years ago after spending 10 years in Microsoft’s services group architecting and delivering complex solutions. In his current role he is focused on new and emerging web technologies.

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March 26, 2010 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

Title: Windows Azure Design Patterns

Abstract: One of the challenges in adopting a new platform is finding usable design patterns that work for developing effective solutions. The Catch-22 is that design patterns are discovered and not invented. Nevertheless it is important to have some guidance on what design patterns make sense early in the game.

This webcast attacks the problem through a set of application scenario contexts, Azure features and solution examples. It is unique in its approach and the fact that it includes the use of features from all components of the Windows Azure Platform including the Windows Azure OS, Windows Azure AppFabric and SQL Azure. In this webcast you will learn about the components of the Windows Azure Platform that can be used to solve specific business problems.

Link to Register: https://swrt.worktankseattle.com/webcast/4241/preview.aspx

Presenter:
Bill Zack
Architect Evangelist, Microsoft

Bill Zack is an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft. He comes to this role after serving as a Solutions Architect in the Financial Services Unit of Microsoft Consulting Services. His experience includes developing, supporting and evangelizing .NET/SOA based frameworks used to jump-start development projects for financial services companies.

Version 2 of the TechNet Widget and MSDN Widget are live!

Version 2 of the TechNet Widget and MSDN Widget are live! The Widgets pull the latest RSS feeds from TechNet and MSDN and offer selections from videos, webcasts, podcasts, TechNet/MSDN Magazines, and TechNet/MSDN Flash.  This allows website owners and bloggers to obtain the latest technology content immediately and automatically.

  • User can either embed the default Widget OR tailor their own Widget content (i.e. by keywords, form factors and product).
  • Possibility to manage Widget feeds via a self-service admin tool in the Widget.
  • Option to customize the Widget with a logo and custom size requirements, then easily incorporate on a blog page, website, or MySpace page (and more) with the embed code provided.
  • The Widget has built-in social networking capabilities and can be integrated on profile pages/blogs of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon etc.
  • Stream video via RSS feed.
  • Widget supports localization
  • Built using Silverlight.

 

Example placements:

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