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    Become a Microsoft Student Partner! Become a Rock Star!

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    Passionate about technology? Love learning about new tools? Want to build a relationship with Microsoft and take the first step into the IT industry? Sounds like you need to consider becoming a Microsoft Student Partner!

    Microsoft Student Partners, or MSPs, are students who are enthusiastic about the latest and greatest tools and technologies and are passionate about sharing their excitement with their peers. If you’re familiar with the MVP program, then think of MSPs as MVPs of academia. If you’re not familiar with the MVP program, then simply think of them as campus rock stars!

    MSPs must posses a range of abilities ranging from excellent time management to superb organizational skills. Communication skills are considered especially important to ensure that MSPs can host successful campus events and spread their knowledge and excitement to their peers. They should have a good relationship with their faculty and must have the backing of at least one faculty member who would be willing to support their initiatives. Additionally, students who are selected for the position of an MSP must sociable, friendly and approachable individuals who like to meet new people.

    The MSP program is rewarding not only through engagement and support but also through perks and benefits. These include:

    • Exposure and recognition on campus with faculty and students.
    • An MSDN Subscription granting access to tens of thousands of dollars worth of Microsoft software.
    • Access to numerous benefits including reference materials, training, and privileged information about future job opportunities.
    • Direct interaction with Microsoft professionals and their partners.
    • A letter of recognition for the participation in the program.
    • Additional swag and opportunities exclusive to MSPs only.

    Microsoft Canada is continuously looking for students to participate in the MSP program. If you think you have what it takes to take the privileged status of an MSP on your campus, grab and fill out the MSP application. Be sure to email it to me as soon as possible! Summer may be in full gear, but don’t delay, as we select only one top-notch student from each university/college to represent their campus.

    If you have any questions, be sure to ask me, a former MSP. Smile

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    Windows 8 sneak peek

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    In case you haven’t seen it yet, the first Windows 8 teaser has been released:

    Although more details are yet to be revealed, one thing is for sure: Metro is taking over!

    The fast, sleek and gorgeous Metro UI will now be found on Microsoft’s three major platforms including Windows, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360.

    Stay tuned for more! Smile

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    Intern Voice: Hello World and Windows Phone 7 by Judy Lin

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    Hello everyone! My name’s Judy and I am—or was—a self-confessed BlackBerry addict.

    I'm a student at Wilfrid Laurier University and doing my co-op term at Microsoft on the Developer Platform Evangelism team and it’s been very rewarding and cool in a plethora of ways. One of our product managers just gave me a Samsung Focus with WP7 to own for the duration of my term (!). This was going to be my baby, but it also meant adios to my beloved BlackBerry Bold 9700. Au revoir to BBM. Sayonara to my dear, abused button keys.

    My BlackBerry has been at the gut of many frustrations and distractions in lectures, and using the WP7 so far has been like a welcome breath of fresh air. Why, do you ask?

    1) Interface: With live tiles, navigation has never been this beautiful and friendly to me!

    2) Phone design: Wide screen + dedicated camera start-up button x thin, light design = phone-photography win.

    3) Integration: Upload everything and anything, share and post, quick and easy to Facebook, email, skydrive, etc.

    Once upon a time, my ‘BB’ used to be a lifeline, and how quickly that attachment faded within days of the switch. In comparison, it feels crammed, the interface is uninspiring, and the size of the screen and the capabilities cannot even compare. Letting go has never been easier.

    Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh in judging my once-loved phone like an ex-boyfriend. Perhaps I'm just excited to be with something new and innovative that eases so smoothly into my life (hello, Facebook/contact-list integration?). Perhaps I’ve finally found a phone that ties together all my social interactions and connections without tying up my time. Only time can tell (re: future blog posts). J

    – Judy Lin

    Follow @godevmental and me @judy_lin, and tell me about your own transition stories or your love/hate relationship stories with your phones, because—let’s be real (T9Word, shattered screens…)—we’ve all been there.

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    What’s In the Cloud: Lead from Fersh

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    Yesterday, I posted my first of several interviews with Canadian developers who are working with Windows Azure on the Canadian Developer Connection. I thought I would share the interview with you as well since it was with a digital media start-up company run by students out of the Ryerson Digital Media Zone in Toronto, Ontario. Check out their story, be inspired, and think how you can take your application or your app idea and go global without having to learn new platforms and more importantly, without requiring money to invest up front.

    If you’re a student start-up just getting started or you just have an idea that you’d like to develop further, I’d love to hear from you and see how I can help! I had the pleasure of having several discussions with the members of Fersh (the below was just one of them) about technologies, business models, etc. Feel free to send me an email or find me on Twitter at any time. Let’s connect and see what’s possible.

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    Lead is a worldwide leaderboard platform which developers can integrate into their games to engage its users. Lead provides
    a consistent reliable service and a growing ecosystem of products for developers regardless of the platform on which they develop. Lead is developed by Fersh, a student digital multimedia start-up operating out of the Ryerson Digital Media Zone in Toronto, Ontario. Fersh’s portfolio includes a number of award-winning mobile games, applications and developer resources. Fersh offers a range of products and services including consulting and customized software solutions across several platforms.

    I had a chance to sit down with one of Lead’s developers and Ryerson’s Microsoft Student Partner (MSP), Kowsheek Mahmood (@aredkid) to find out how he and his team built Lead using Windows Azure.

    Jonathan: Kowsheek, when you and the team were designing Lead, what was the rationale behind your decision to develop for the Cloud, and more specifically, to use Windows Azure?

    Kowsheek: Being a start-up company with constrained funding, it was not feasible for us to have multiple dedicated servers for Lead. Furthermore, since we wanted Lead to provide a consistent experience across geographical locations, a distributed solution was the right fit.
    At Fersh we use Microsoft technologies to develop our applications which range from games to mobile and web applications. We chose Windows Azure because we could use our existing knowledge of the technologies involved and leverage them well. Also, Windows Azure provided for high availability and a flexible utility-style service, that fulfilled our requirements and was affordable.

    Jonathan: What Windows Azure services are you using? How are you using them?

    Kowsheek: We are using Windows Azure Compute Web Role instances to host the frontend site, as well as our simple but really powerful API with developers will integrate in their games. SQL Azure hosts our databases in which we store the leaderboard data for each game using the API. We are also using Blob Storage and the Content Delivery Network (CDN) for static content, distributed to different geographic regions.

    Jonathan: During development, did you run into anything that was not obvious and required you to do some research? What were your findings? Hopefully, other developers will be able to use your findings to solve similar issues.

    Kowsheek: While working with the ASP.NET Membership service, initially it wasn't clear how the database on SQL Azure would have to be built. A quick Bing search showed that there is a tool similar to the regular tool called "aspnet_regsqlazure" that builds the database. You can find out more in this support article. Once we downloaded the proper files and ran them against the database, all was well.

    Jonathan: Lastly, what were some of the lessons you and your team learned as part of ramping up to use Windows Azure or actually developing for Windows Azure?

    Kowsheek: Initially, dedicated servers seemed feasible but after taking into consideration things like scalability and reliability, the hosting solutions seemed to fall short, so it always serves well to consider all the requirements and available options from the get-go.

    That’s it for today’s interview with Kowsheek Mahmood of Fersh about their application Lead. Lead is currently in Alpha release but has already been integrated into several games, such as the popular Windows Phone 7 game Sudoku3D (Facebook, Twitter). If you’re a game developer, Lead is definitely something to check out. Perhaps you could even participate in testing Lead.

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    Microsoft’s FUSE Labs

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    If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to check out Microsoft’s FUSE Labs (http://fuse.microsoft.com/). FUSE (Future Social Experiences) produces some pretty neat projects that deal with social, real-time and media-rich experiences.

    Among their notable projects is Docs for Facebook, a tool that allows you to share Microsoft Office documents with your friends on Facebook. Think of it as SkyDrive with full Facebook integration. you can upload, create, view, edit and then share documents with your friends or even the world. As with SkyDrive, document editing is collaborative, which means that you and your friends can edit at the same time. If you have Microsoft Office installed, you can edit directly from your desktop instead of the browser.

    my%20docs

    Bing Twitter Maps is another cool project that allows you to see tweets directly from Bing maps. That is, the tweets that you see and post are in the context of a map and carry a story along with the place. If you are, for example, searching for a specific place or object on the map, you will be able to see real-time tweets in that specific area. All the standard options that you would expect including searching, filtering and embedding are all there. Be sure to check this project out and if you have a comment or a suggestion be sure to voice it.

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    FUSE even attacked the problem of solving classic crosswords. Team Crossword allows you to solve crossword puzzles with your friends. Simply start a session and invite your friends, or wait for random strangers to join you as well. Smile You can even jump into an existing session and play with others around the world. Whatever you do, you now don’t need to ask anyone what the nine-letter movie title that start with “i” is.

    Lili Cheng, General Manager of FUSE Labs, gives an insight into some of the other projects and how and why they are cool and unique.

    Be sure to head over to http://fuse.microsoft.com/ and check out all of their projects.

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