To start off the week, here's a quick round up of Microsoft news bits from around the Web:
The Windows 8 team is showing off more of the guts of Windows 8's Explorer feature: The Windows 8 Engineering Team is continuing to trumpet the coming changes in the Windows Explorer component of the coming operating system. In the third post about the Windows Explorer internals on August 29, the Softies explained more about the Explorer file manager application built into Windows 8. (Here's more info on the first of the three blog posts on the Windows 8 Explorer.)
Microsoft is revamping the Explorer to use the Ribbon user interface. As noted in today's post, "(w)hile not primarily a touch interface, the ribbon also provides a much more reliable and usable touch-only interface than pull-down menus and context menus (we'll have lots more to say on the topic of touch, of course ... we definitely know there is a lot of interest but also want to make clear that we know how important keyboard and mouse scenarios are to power-user scenarios of file management)."
Update: Windows watchers Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera first noted the Ribbonized UI for the Windows 8 Explorer back in April 2011.
Update No. 2: Reader @TenHoveR notes that the Explorer Ribbon will be able to be hidden. (Ribbon haters, rejoice!)
The Microsoft social gaming toolkit for Azure has reached 1.0, downloadable status: The Redmondians released "the first stable version" of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games and the Tankster game, as of August 25. The latest update "adds several new features, improves the performance and stability of the server application-programming interfaces, and contains many user interface improvements to the sample game," according to Azure Technical Evangelist Nathan Totten. Microsoft released a test build of the social-gaming toolkit for Azure in July.
Microsoft is phasing out the Windows 7 Logo program for software apps: Microsoft is removing the Windows 7 logo page as of September 15, 2011, according to a new post. The Windows 7 logo program -- aimed at identifying products with Microsoft-designed tests designating products as "Compatible with Windows 7" is on its way out. I'd assume there might be a similar program for Windows 8, waiting in the wings... (Thanks for the heads up, @Windows4Live)
Microsoft is stepping up its private-cloud push: The company is re-igniting its Private Cloud Blog and other related social-networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, forums, etc.). I'm thinking this is all (or largely) in preparation for the launch of a number of new System Center 2012 deliverables. In fact, it seems that the Release Candidate of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 is right around the corner (based on the wording on the Microsoft download center).