Could a Windows 8 app take you to Russia?


    ImagineCupRussiaThis year’s Imagine Cup finals are in Russia, and there are lots of ways a Windows 8 app could get you to the finals.

    You are going to see a lot of Windows 8 events and resources over the next few months as we approach the release of Windows 8 RTM. What’s really cool for students is the fact that if you build a Windows 8 app, not only can you publish it to the store which presents a huge opportunity in itself, you can also double down and enter that app in the Imagine Cup. You can enter any Imagine Cup category and potentially be flown to Russia for the World Wide Finals next July.

    How can a Windows 8 app qualify for Imagine Cup?

    • Build a game and enter it in the Games Competition
    • Build an app you think has great business potential and enter it in the Innovation Competition
    • Build an app you think can help others and enter it in the World Citizenship Competition
    • Complete a quiz on Windows 8, and build a cool Windows 8 app and enter the Windows 8 App Challenge

    Not sure how to build a Windows 8 app?

    There are lots of great resources to get you started at dev.windows.com

    In particular I recommend the Getting Started with Windows Store apps which has getting started guides for all flavours of Windows Store apps.

    How do you enter Imagine Cup?

    Your first step is just to register at www.imaginecup.com. You can enter the challenge as an individual, and you can enter the Games, Innovation, and WorldCitizenship competitions in teams of 1-4 students and you are also allowed a mentor for your team. Dream it. Build it. Live it!

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    Some useful keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8


    Many of us don’t have touchscreen devices (yet) so here’s a few good keyboard shortcuts.

    Even though I do have a touchscreen laptop, I still use keyboard shortcuts. Just like CTRL+C and CTRL+V come to you without thinking, a few of these shortcuts are sure to make their way into your collection after you install Windows 8 and start coding apps. If you haven’t downloaded Windows 8 RTM yet. Check out our blog post with instructions on how students can download Windows 8 for free!

    Moving between Metro and Desktop

    <Windows> Brings up the Metro start screen. You can start typing to search for an app, just like the Win7 start menu.
    <Windows> + <B> Go to the Desktop from the Metro Start Screen
    <Windows> + <D> Brings you to Windows desktop from the Metro Screen


    <Windows> + < . > snap right
    <Windows> + <Shift> + < . > snap left

    Switching between applications

    <Windows> + <Tab> Opens the Metro application switcher menu, switches between applications.
    <Windows> + <J> Switches focus between snapped Metro applications.
    <ALT> + <F4> Close an application
    <Windows> + <R> To bring up the run window from the desktop, so you can type in an application name to run

    Semantic Zoom

    <CTRL> + <+> Zoom in
    <CTRL> + <-> Zoom out

    or hold down <CTRL> and use Mouse Wheel to zoom in and out

    Displaying App & Charms Bar

    <Windows> + <C> Brings up the Charms menu, where you can search, share, and change settings.
    <Windows> + <Z> Opens the App Bar for the current Metro application.

    All the other shortcuts I could find!

    <Windows> + E – Launch Windows Explorer with Computer view displayed.

    <Windows> + F – Brings up the Metro File search screen.

    <Windows> + H – Opens the Metro Share panel.

    <Windows> + I – Opens the Settings panel, where you can change settings for the current app, change volume, wireless networks, shut down, or adjust the brightness.

    <Windows> + K – Opens the Devices panel (for connecting to a projector or some other device)

    <Windows> + L – Lock PC and return to Lock screen.

    <Windows> + M – Minimize all Windows on the desktop

    <Windows> + O – Locks device orientation.

    <Windows> + P – Choose between available displays.

    <Windows> + Q – Brings up the Metro App Search screen.

    <Windows> + R – Switch to the (classic) Windows desktop and display the Run box.

    <Windows> + U – Switch to the (classic) Windows desktop and launch the Ease of Access Center.

    <Windows> + V – Cycles through toasts.

    <Windows> + W – Brings up the Metro Settings search screen.

    <Windows> + X – Launch Start Menu.

    <Windows> + Y – Temporarily peek at the desktop.

    <Windows> + Page Up / Down – Moves tiles to the left / right.

    <Windows> + , (comma) – Aero Peek at the desktop.

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    Hurry up and grab your name on Outlook.com


    Microsoft launched a completely new email service few weeks ago called Outlook.com

    Microsoft launched a completely new email service few weeks ago with limited ads, unlimited storage and built in Skype. It’s called Outlook.com, and it’s simple and clean.

    Does this look like your email address: thomas91@domain.com ? Have you been trying for years to get a good username for your email?  This is your chance! You might even get your firstname@outlook.com or your lastname@outlook.com, but you’d better move fast!

    Outlook.com has features like integrated SkyDrive where you can view and edit your documents and Image gallery from one place. Social media is integrated with Outlook so you can add contacts from your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype (coming soon.) You can interact and chat with friends from one place. My favorite feature is the newsletter and coupons handling: you can set options like “delete all my coupons and newsletter after 3 days”, or even “keep the latest email and delete the rest.” If you think about it, that’s a nice option, normally the older offers and newsletters are outdated when you receive a new one. By enabling this feature you keep your email clean. Check out this video showing the new outlook.com built from scratch.


    I’m on it . Try it out.

    - Outlook.com

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    Atari goes HTML5 and we can help you do the same!


    Not only can you now play HTML5 Atari games you can build your own! We’ve got code and workshops to help!

    centipedeSmallOkay I am going to admit to my age for a moment. I remember bugging my dad to buy me Pong. Pong was released in 1972 and Atari released and inspired many generations of gamers and game developers. There was a time you needed an Atari 2600 to play these games, but today with help from Grant Skinner (a Canuck who has infiltrated the upper echelons of the Microsoft development world) we are launching Atari Arcade! Pong, Asteroids, Centipede all done with HTML5 on Internet Explorer 10 (multi-player too so bring it on! my twitter handle is hockeygeekgirl, word of warning I used to rock at Centipede!)

    Now here’s the really cool part! Not only can you procrastinate by playing video games there is an Atari software development kit as well! Yup, I can’t wait to start playing with this! Just go the Developer behind the scenes section of the site and you will find all sorts of great JavaScript libraries and tutorials for building HTML5 games you can even leverage touch! ( Did I mention you can build Windows 8 games with HTML5 as well, just sayin’)

    Of course, it’s one thing to tell yourself, yeah that would be cool I’ll do it sometime. The best way to find time for it is to give yourself a little jumpstart, something to get you rolling. Well we’ve got that too! We’ll be doing CreateJS Workshops across Canada so you can learn how to build Atari games! Sign up here! There’s more details about the CreateJS workshops and the cool stuff Atari and Grant have teamed up to accomplish here and meanwhile to whet your appetite here’s a little behind the scenes video of how this all came to happen with some neat insights into Atari.


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    Imagine Cup 2013 is here – Canada let’s get coding!


    The categories in Imagine Cup are more flexible than ever! Taking a project course? Building a game? Got a good business idea? Your code could take you to world finals in St. Petersburg Russia!

    They just announced the rules and competitions for Imagine Cup 2013 and this is the year to enter! We’re still sorting out what we are doing in Canada in terms of a local final (we’re doing our best to make sure there is a Canadian team at the worlds again). Whatever happens at the Canadian level the categories for entering are all driven by the world wide Imagine Cup rules and competitions that were announced today. So you can start planning your entry today. I’m really excited about some of the new categories! Let me give you a quick overview.

    Don’t forget we’ll be providing resources and having events to help you get coding on Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Azure, all skills you can use to enter Imagine Cup 2013!


    I have travelled across Canada and seen so many amazing games built by Canadian students. But last year you could only enter the games category if your game followed the Imagine Cup theme “Change the World”, there were also multiple game categories with different rules. This year it is simple, build an awesome game! Windows 8? Windows Phone? Xbox Indie Games? Kinect? You’ll be judged on whether your game is fun, innovative, the execution, and its business viability.


    Facebook and Microsoft, just two companies that were created by students, yet none of them would have qualified for the Imagine Cup because they weren’t tied to the theme of changing the world. Well with the innovation category we’re looking to see what amazing things you can do with Microsoft technology: Windows 8? Windows Phone? Azure? .NET? Kinect? Xbox Indie Games? You’ll be judged on innovation, impact, and execution. So that idea you’ve had in your head, that project you were planning for senior year? This is the year to enter it in Imagine Cup!

    World Citizenship

    This is similar to the Software Design category of years past. We’ve been blown away year after year by the ideas students have come up with and developed to help others using Microsoft technologies and we want that to continue! So the Citizenship category asks you what can you do to make the world a better place through technology. Entries are judged based on Impact, feasibility, and execution. Use Windows 8, Windows Phone, ASP.NET, Azure, you decide!

    The Challenges…

    Challenges are usually a slightly different sort of competition, but they can still get you to world finals in Russia! If you don’t have time to build a full project with a team, this might be the best way for you to compete.

    Windows 8 Challenge

    Pass the quiz on Windows 8 knowledge, build a Windows 8 app. Apps will be judged based on Topic definition and business viability, Windows Experience and User Design Experience, Windows 8 platform Originality and Innovation. The top 3 entries worldwide will fly to the world finals to show the world what they’ve accomplished!

    Windows Azure Challenge

    Pass the quiz on Windows Azure knowledge, build a cloud based app, and you could find yourself in St. Petersburg! Apps will be judged on Originality and Innovation, Windows Azure Platform Functionality and Solution Detailed Design, and User Experience. The top 3 entries worldwide will attend the world finals.

    Windows Phone Challenge

    Pass the quiz on Windows Phone knowledge, build a Windows phone app. Apps will be judged based on Innovation and feasibility, Solution design architecture and functionality, and utility and delight. The top 3 entries worldwide will fly to the world finals.

    Could you enter?

    Are you a student at least 16 years of age? Undergraduate or graduate student it doesn’t matter. You can have a team of up to 4 students and one faculty member. Find out more at the Imagine Cup website, this is the year to enter Imagine Cup! Find out more then Dream it! Build it! Live it!

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