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    A Windows Phone 7 Malaria Test!

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    We’ve seen Windows Phone 7 in a completely different domain doing things that it was never meant to do before, but this is an even more astonishing story.

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    Wilson To, a doctoral student in pathology at the University of California, combined his interests in pathology and photography to create a Windows Phone app that can test for malaria. Yes, you read that correctly – a Malaria test on a smartphone.

    Using a Windows Phone 7 device with a mounted $50 micro lens, Wilson’s app – Lifelens – takes high-resolution images of the cells of a drop of blood and quickly analyzes them to confirm whether or not malaria is present.

    Alternative (and cheaper) malaria tests do exist, but the longevity of Lifelens is in the fact that an app – unlike even the cheapest of malaria test kits – is reusable, which means that Lifelens (even with cost of the WP7 device and the micro lens) has lower long-run costs. What’s even more astonishing is that the analysis of the images taken can be extended to include tests for theoretically any blood-borne disorder.

    It’s not surprising that Wilson’s team was a finalist in Imagine Cup 2011 in New York. It’s easy to see how Lifelens was a perfect fit in Imagine Cup, the goal of which is to get young innovators like you to solve the world’s toughest problems.

    Want to solve a tough world problem through the use of technology? Register for next year’s Imagine Cup, which by the way it taking place in Sydney, Australia. If you make it to the finals, the cost of getting there is on Microsoft.

    As for Windows Phone 7 going above and beyond it’s intended usage, what do you think will be the next astonishing WP7 app?

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    Tower Defense Game Engine for Windows Phone 7

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    If you’re still unconvinced by the posts on this blog or resources elsewhere that getting started with Windows Phone 7 game development is not that difficult, then here’s another neat little tool for you – a ready-to-go game engine for the tower defense genre.

     

    ScriptTD is a high-level engine that includes all of the functionality for a typical Tower Defense game. If you want to create just a simple tower defense game, there is not complex programming involved at all. Simply modify the levels by editing the XML files, add your own graphics and swap the audio files.

    If you’re adventurous enough, you can extend ScriptTD to create a more complex and unique tower defense game.

    To get started with ScriptTD, download the latest release or checkout the source code from the CodePlex repository.

    To make it even easier for you to get going, a video tutorial is provided:

    Even simple games are hard to get started with? Nonsense! Download the code, watch the tutorial and get started on your own game!

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    Social gaming in the cloud!

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    Are you a social media geek and a gaming freak? If so, then it’s time you create your own social game in the cloud with Azure.

    To make it easier for you to get started, the Windows Azure team has a treat for you. The Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games includes everything you need to create your own game. The toolkit includes libraries, tools, samples, specific services and code to handle capabilities unique to games. Sample capabilities also include storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing, and more.

    Want to see what you can create with this toolkit? Check out Tankster.

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    Tankster is an HTML5 game that includes reusable service-side code and documentation.  Its features include social interactions such as messaging, wall posts, and comments. Of course no competitive game is complete without a way of storing players’ achievements. So needless to say, Tankster includes player achievements and game stats on a live leaderboard that gamers can show off.

    To learn more about the toolkit, take a look at the following resources:

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    Neat little change on AppHub

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    Remember that irritating little detail about registering on AppHub as a student, where your identity needed to be verified in order for your account to be activated and for that to happen you had to submit an app? Hard to submit an app when you need to test it on your device, which has to be developer unlocked, a step that required an activated account.

    The remedy was simple – submit a dummy app in order to trigger the identity verification process. With the latest changes to the AppHub, that minor step is no longer required! As of the latest AppHub update, your identity is verified in real-time during your registration. No more dummy app submissions.

    If your account was in this dilemma before the update, its status has now been reverted to Step 1 of the registration process. This means that you can go through the registration again along with the new identity verification process.

    Now the marketplace is even more accessible to students like you!

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    Intern Voice: Think outside your work responsibilities by Yen Ho

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    Think outside your work responsibilities

    Hey! My name is Yen and I’m a co-op student at the University of Waterloo currently interning on the Enterprise Marketing team at Microsoft. One of many reasons why I enjoy coming into work every morning is because we have a vibrant and connected co-op community – we all try to support one another in our work and volunteer initiatives, which I think fosters a fun and healthy work environment. I hope to provide some advice and pass on lessons I have learned (observations, mistakes, and all!) throughout my co-op term because as the High School Musical cast would put it “We’re all in this together”.

    Advice #1 – Try something new and conquer fears

    I am one of those students that enjoy doing presentations but oddly enough, public speaking is one of my fears along with probably every other student. Although I took a public speaking course at Waterloo that sparked an interest in completing a minor in Speech Communication, I still get nervous before presentations.

    Luckily enough on my first day, my predecessor encouraged me to join a club she was involved with - Toastmasters at Microsoft - to improve my public speaking and leadership skills and meet other employees across the organization. Needless to say, I debated for a couple of weeks before joining and it’s now a meeting I look forward too! These meetings modeled my public speaking course where the audience provides the presenter with constructive feedback in a tactful manner but this club and its members create an exceptionally supportive environment that makes you want to come back every two weeks. So far, I’ve only presented table topics where I have to present an impromptu speech on a topic chosen by the Table Topics Master (all of which revolved around the Kardashians… but that’s another story), which allowed me to build my confidence in front of my work colleagues. Through listening to other presentations and the feedback provided by the evaluators, you learn at what your audience picks up on while you’re presenting and learn how it’s important to think before you speak.

    My advice is to get yourself out there and learn something new (or refine a skill or two) because you never know what you’ll learn, what new interests you’ll pick up, and who you’ll meet. At first mention, it didn’t seem like a club I would want to join but as with every co-op term, I try to step outside of my comfort zone and do something new. Public speaking isn’t a skill used for presentations in the classroom or for work meetings, but it’s a critical soft skill that is important for us to communicate effectively with different audiences. Toastmasters has introduced me to employees who I don’t interact with on a daily basis and it has allowed me to interact with those who I do see regularly in a different context. I’m looking forward to setting a goal of completing 3 major speeches this year with Toastmasters – and I guess I have to go through with this now as it’s online ;)

    - Yen Ho

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