Few days back, WSJ reported about Harry Shum, head of technology and research at Microsoft speaking at Think Next 2014 conference in Tel Aviv. Harry Shum said “We are now moving from the personal computer to personal computing.” Microsoft Research now has machine learning and artificial intelligence on top of its list and working on how a person interacts with a computer. Also, Microsoft is now investing heavily on invisible user interface technology in which the intelligent devices will know what you want before you tell them. Microsoft is investing heavily in “invisible user interface” technology, said Yoram Yaakobi, who heads up Microsoft’s research and development center in Israel. Yaakobi said people in the future won’t need to touch, type or speak to their devices — the devices will “know” what we want them to do before we ask. He called it “UI.Next.” “User interface started with the command prompt, ...

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Microsoft revealed Cortana for the first time at BUILD developer conference earlier this week. Bing information platform is the brain behind Cortana and if you want to know how it works to deliver answers to queries in near-realtime, watch this video above. Bing has built a scalable, distributed, and reliable functional reactive computing platform to efficiently evaluate standing queries over the world’s information streams in near-realtime. It is one of the major components of the Bing Information Platform that powers Cortana. There is also a smaller version of the stream processing engine that runs on all Windows Phone 8.1 devices. Bing engineers can easily write standing queries against the world’s information streams using LINQ. The set of functional operators that are supported is a core subset of those offered by Rx (Reactive Framework). Source: Microsoft ...

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Film site “One View With A Room” has a nice series on best films never made.  Among them was the Halo movie which would have been co-produced by Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fame, and directed by Neill Blomkmap best known for District 9.  The script was written by Alex Garland most recently known for the highly successful Dredd 3D film.   What ultimately killed the project was Microsoft’s inexperience in the movie business coupled with a greedy and controlling movie studios Fox and Universal.  Here is an excerpt: In amongst the dusty annals of the best films never made, one blockbuster lies atop the pile. Widely known and anticipated for the last 8 years, the ultimate videogame film/adaptation, and the one film that could never make the final jump to our cinema screens: Halo. So what if one of the biggest videogame franchise had made it to the big screen? ...

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Back in January, Microsoft announced the purchase of home automation startup R2 Studios and they absorbed some of the talent of the startup into their management. R2 Studios had several important home automation patents, and their technology was expected to be integrated into products at Microsoft’s Xbox Division at that time. Earlier this month, lots of information on Microsoft’s upcoming Cortana personal assistant leaked online. First, it was reported that Cortana will be the personal AI agent on Windows Phone devices that will come with Windows Phone Blue. Later, Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet reported that Cortana is more than a Windows Phone app. Cortana will be a shell that will be found on future Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox One operating systems. Cortana will be more than just an app that lets users interact with their phones more naturally using voice commands. Cortana is core to the makeover of the entire “shell” — the core services ...

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Yesterday, we saw a sudden burst of information about Microsoft’s next generation personal assistant codenamed ‘Cortana’. First, there was a report that Microsoft is planning to release it as part of Windows Phone 8.1 and it will take on Apple’s Siri. Later, there were some screenshots of the early prototype of Cortana running on a Windows Phone 8 device. The screenshots revealed that Cortana is more than a speech assistant, it takes lots of contextual data like location, wifi network, weather, calender appointments, etc to assist you. Cortana will be able to learn and adapt over time as it is relying on machine-learning technology and the “Satori” knowledge repository which now powers Bing. Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet reports that Cortana is not just a Windows Phone app, instead it is a shell that will span across Windows PCs, Tablets, Phones and Xbox. She reported the below to explain it. ...

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