Microsoft updates modern.IE, offers free Windows Virtual Machines

Microsoft updated modern.IE with enhanced tools, almost immediately sold out of USB sticks for Mac users, but is offering free Windows VM downloads. Microsoft also announced the Windows 8 apps for social good winners.

Here's a round-up of Microsoft-related news today.

Microsoft updated modern.IE with "enhanced tools and resources" to help in testing websites in "modern browsers like IE 9 and 10." People want "to access as many testing environments as possible with minimal extra effort," so Microsoft has announced free downloads of new virtual machines for IE10 on Windows 7 and IE8 on Windows XP.

Microsoft also said it was helping Mac folks try Windows 8 by offering a USB stick with a copy of Parallels Desktop 8 and Windows 8. The memory stick was "free" after a $25 donation to your favorite charity, but the company noted there was a "limited supply." The offer went through Swish which just happened to be inaccessible for a long time, despite trying in four different browsers. In the end, it didn't matter anyway since it was sold out within a few hours of being offered!

USB stick with Parallels Desktop 8 and Windows 8 for MAC sold out

Additional modern.IE free tools include a scanner that checks for compatibility problems, even behind a firewall, and suggests fixes. Microsoft wrote, "You can install a local instance of modern.IE to scan your code while keeping your project secure from others (including Microsoft). The scan a Web page URL tool can detect numerous issues, such as if a site has support for Touch functionality. People are "most interested" in learning how to adapt websites to numerous devices, from mobile devices to "big screen IE on XBOX," so now the scanner "has built-in logic to detect when a Web page has been optimized for the common horizontal screen resolutions (or 'breakpoints')."

Webby Winners Gallery + Archive

Also today, the Webby Awards, in collaboration with Internet Explorer 10 and with some help from Area17, launched "the Webby Winners Gallery + Archive, a fantastic interactive gallery and archive that catalogues every Webby nominee and winner since it began in 1997. It's described as a 'virtual time machine of digital history exploring the evolution of design, commerce and culture during the Web's most transformative years'." The 17th Annual Webby Nominees will be announced on April 9.

Windows 8 apps for social good winners

Lastly, Microsoft announced the Windows 8 apps for social good winners. The announcement tells you to head over to the Microsoft Citizenship Blog, but if you want to see the winners as well as the other entries, then it's a third click to the contest page.

The winners are:

People's Choice: YumvY Cooking Companion by Sari Louis

YumvY is "a cooking companion to help you prepare nutritious, healthy meals at home with the goal of addressing the obesity epidemic and related diseases like diabetes." Louis said he entered the contest "to let people know that cooking can be easy and fast...and fun on top of that." He intends to use the $10,000 prize "to include nutritional information to accompany the recipes so people can make more informed choices about what to cook."

$15,000 Windows 8 app winner: Eatfindr by Cameron Preson

Eatfindr is "a simple way to locate healthy restaurants while also allowing you to filter based on dietary requirements such as allergies." Preson will use the $15,000 prize "to build the app into a more social and educational user experience, expand to different platforms, and market to reach more users and gain more reviews."

Windows Phone 8 app winner: Health Center by Lance Seidman

Health Center "lets you look up your medications and find them at a reduced cost." Seidman "plans to use his $15,000 prize to connect the app to a wearable device to provide medication reminders, potential interaction risks, and alerts for when to refill prescriptions."

Congratulations to the winners and to the Mac folks who managed to snag a USB stick with a copy of Parallels Desktop 8 and Windows 8. For everyone else, we can grab a freebie VM download.

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