Microsoft officially took the wraps off of its new social network for students on Thursday. The service is called So.cl and was developed by Microsoft Research’s FUSE Labs division. It’s currently in “experimental” stages and is available to students attending the University of Washington, New York University and Syracuse University. So.cl allows users to log-in with their Facebook accounts and offers a similar set of features. In addition to adding status updates, photos and links, users can also join “video parties” to watch movies and chat with a group of friends. “So.cl is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools,” Microsoft said on its So.cl FAQ page. “It is an experimental research project using a minimal set of features which help combine search with the social network for the purpose of learning.” More →
Basic haptic feedback not cutting the mustard for you anymore? How about a shape-shifting phone? If engineers at the University of Washington have their way, it might be a reality. Computer scientists and engineers at the aforementioned institution have developed a flexible prototype called, ‘SqueezeBlock’. The prototype phone has small motors housed within, capable of exerting varying degrees of resistance; depending on the pressure you apply. The applications for such a technology are numerous. Your phone’s “resistance” could be linked to your e-mail, where an inbox filled with unread mail, would give the phone a rigid feel to it. The same could be true for your battery percentage, Twitter feed and so on. The applications might be bordering on the unnecessary, but who are we to come in the way of innovation?
Hit the read link for the full article and a scientific paper for your cerebral pleasure. More →
On Thursday, when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke at the University of Washington, he made several interesting statements about his company and its future with “the cloud.” When asked about Microsoft’s position on cloud based computing and programs Ballmer said, “we’re all in.” The CEO went on to say that 70% of Microsoft employees are working on projects that revolve around the cloud, a number which he predicts will climb to 90% within a year. We’re “betting our company” on the cloud, said Ballmer, “there’s so much unrealized potential.” When asked by a student whether Microsoft was simply being reactionary Ballmer responded: “All companies have their mix of proactive and reactive muscle; I’m keen on increasing hit rate in terms of early and often.” A few products we’re sure have a date with the cloud are an updated version of Microsoft’s popular office suite and a mobile application store to supports its Windows Phone 7 platform. More →