May 12th News Thursday: The Appleton Compassion Project on Azure and More Server and Tools News…

The Appleton Compassion Project on Windows Azure Teaches the Art of Compassion to Local Students

Last Week, Microsoft announced that Appleton-based Skyline Technologies has adopted the Windows Azure platform to build a viewer on the Trout Museum of Art’s website to enable artwork from the Appleton Compassion Project to be easily viewed by museum and virtual visitors.  With this virtual art exhibit, visitors can search for art by student name, grade, school, teacher or art teacher, as well as provide a manageable way look at selected pieces from the larger exhibit.

The Appleton Compassion project, a partnership between the Trout Museum of Art, the Appleton, WI Area School District and the Appleton Education Foundation, asked 10,436 Appleton Area School District K-12 art students to draw or paint their idea of compassion on a 6-inch-by-6-inch art panel, along with a written statement about their work. The artwork is now completed and more than 10,000 art panels from Appleton students will be installed in The Trout Museum of Art and on view from May 1–June 30, 2011 and viewable as a virtual exhibit on the museum’s website. Additional tiles will also be on exhibit at Lawrence University’s Jason Downer Commons May 1-June 6, 2011.

The inspiration behind the project came from Richard Davidson, PhD, a University of Wisconsin-Madison brain researcher who has found that those who practice compassion have measurably healthier brains. Davidson’s research also shows that compassion can be learned, and should be practiced, as a skill. “A little more joy might be within everyone’s reach,” says Davidson. 

 Read the original announcement on the Windows Azure Blog.

Conquer Your Calendar: Use PowerPivot To Analyze Your Time

Today we are very excited to release a free tool utilizing PowerPivot for Excel, Calendar Analytics. Calendar Analytics is a time management application that pulls information from Exchange and visualizes that data in a very easy to use Excel dashboard. We released this application in honor of Administrative Professionals' Day, but this was not geared exclusively to high level executives and their administrative assistants. This new BI tool was developed as part of a continuing effort to show individuals and organizations that business intelligence can be utilized by everyone; not just CIOs and top level executives. Watch this very special episode of BI TV and learn how the Calendar Analytics idea came about as well as an overview of the application. Then download the application and tell us what you think!  Watch the video and download the application here.

Get the Data, Get the Edge

Data is the key to business intelligence. You need data to analyze in order to make informed decisions, but having access to all the data you need hasn't always been easy. That's where Azure Marketplace comes in. Moe Khosravy explains the basic principles of the data marketplace, including how any business-big or small-can easily obtain the data necessary for a competitive edge in your business and utilize the tools your team already uses to gain instant insights. Watch the video to learn more.

Taking Control of Your Company’s Social Media

This week's BI TV episode features Loic Le Meur of Seesmic. Seesmic is a social media management company that helps businesses track and improve their social media presence. Loic shares his social media business philosophy with Bruno Aziza, including tips on maximizing your company's presence online and why sheer numbers of friends, fans and followers might be deceptive.  Watch the video here.

Microsoft rated “Visionary” in Gartner Magic Quadrant

Gartner positions Microsoft in the “Visionary” Quadrant in the 2011 Magic Quadrant for Integrated Software Quality Suites.

For more information, including the full report, please visit here.