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    Next Generation User Experiences event on June 28 in Brussels – free registration


    You’re designing or building applications and want to fast forward to get ready for the next generation of user experiences? Join us on June 28 in Brussels Business Faculty for a free event!

    Technology is becoming more natural and intuitive. Touch, face- and voice-recognition, movement sensors – all are part of an emerging field of computing often called natural user interface, or NUI. Interacting with technology in these humanistic ways is no longer limited to high-tech secret agents and Star Trek.

    During this event, you’ll get inspired by Microsoft’s vision and strategy for natural user interfaces – see what today’s and tomorrow’s technologies can bring! In addition, you’ll learn from the UX experts what it takes to build applications that feel effortless in their use and that are optimized for emerging technologies. Finally, we have invited a number of companies that will showcase their next-generation user experiences and will demonstrate what is possible already today!

    And what’s more, you can get some hands-on touch experience with a series of Windows 7 Slate devices or enjoy our exciting Xbox Kinect experiences!

    Special: prize draw of Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

    There will be a very nice prize draw: it’s your chance to win one of the Microsoft Arc Touch mouse. Your presence is your chance to win!

    Cease this opportunity to take your applications to the next level, and make them more natural! Register today for this event and meet-up with other UX professionals. It’s free and you’ll get an exclusive T-shirt!


    Natural User Interfaces
    Get inspired by Microsoft’s vision and strategy for user experiences and what today’s and tomorrow’s technologies can bring for you.

    Presented by: Luc Van de Velde (Director of Microsoft Developer & Platform Group Belux)

    UX Design Patterns for Multi-touch applications


    What is that makes your applications intuitive and make them feel effortless in their use? Come and learn a few tips and tricks from the UX experts.

    Presented by: Sigrid Vandenweghe (Human Interface Group)

    Application Showcases

    Experience some compelling examples of next-generation user experiences, built on the Microsoft platform.

    Presented by: Microsoft Partners


    Agenda and practical's

    Date: Tuesday June 28th 2011


    13h00 – 13h30 Welcome
    13h30 – 14h15 Keynote: Natural User Interfaces
    14h15 – 15h00 UX Design Patterns for Multi-Touch Applications
    15h00 – 15h30 Break & Device showcases
    15h30 – 16h30 Application showcases
    16h30 – 18h00 Closing reception and prize draw

    Brussels Business Faculty
    St. Lendriksborre 6 Font Saint Landry
    1120 Brussels (Neder-Over-Heembeek)

    >> Register and join us!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Plans announced to release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows SDK this Spring


    I know this is something lots of you have been waiting for: the announcement around an official Kinect for Windows SDK. And now the news is out: as Luc Van de Velde blogs, Microsoft has announced there will be a non-commercial Kinect for Windows SDK coming this Spring, with the commercial version to be released later.

    Read on, cross-posted from Luc’s blog:

    imageI’m a huge fan of NUI (Natural User Interface) so I’m delighted Microsoft announced today it will release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows SDK from Microsoft Research later this spring. The intent of releasing a “starter kit” for application developers is to make it easier for academics and enthusiast communities to create even richer experiences using Kinect technology.

    Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, and Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business announced the plans today.
    “Microsoft’s investments in natural user interfaces are vital to our long-term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us,” said Mundie. “The fruits of these research investments are manifesting across many of our products, Kinect for Xbox 360 among them. As breakthrough technologies like these reach scale,” said Mundie, “the resulting creativity and invention will open up a whole new world of possibilities for computing.”

    The starter kit will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to deep Kinect system capabilities such as audio, system APIs, and direct control of the sensor.  Microsoft will deliver a commercial version of the SDK later.

    Microsoft has deep investments in R&D in natural user interfaces (NUI). NUI is part of the company’s long term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us. The fruits of those investments manifesting across many of Microsoft’s products, including Kinect for Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Surface 2.0, Bing for Mobile and Office 2010 Mini Translator.

    The possibilities are endless. Natural and intuitive technologies such as Kinect can be more than just a great platform for gaming and entertainment. They open up enormous opportunities across a wide variety of scenarios, including addressing societal issues in areas such as healthcare and education.

    If you want to read more about research project that use NUI the Situated Interaction research project is a beautiful example of how NUI will get included more and more into everyday tasks and collaboration. Some great video’s in  Dan Bohus & Eric Horvitz papers and videos. “

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip (link) – Convergence of the three screens


    Microsoft NEXT ( is one of my favorite blogs to discover amazing inspiration about technology today and in the future. Steve Clayton (@stevecla) delivers content that should not be missed in your RSS reader.
    This time, again he has done it: in the article “Connecting the dots: Microsoft E3 announcements”, Steve analyses how Microsoft is converging user interfaces based on the “Metro” design language first used in the Windows Phone 7 user interface. In the near future, we will see this design language evolving and unifying Windows 8, Xbox Live and Windows Phone 7.

    Very much worth a read!

    (check out the section A world of Metro - user interface unification)

    Quick tip posts are short, useful posts pointing to content and tricks that might otherwise go lost in a typical 140 chars message on Twitterverse.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Innov@MIC–”The” Innovation day @ The Microsoft Innovation Center–June 23


    Here’s an interesting event my colleagues are setting up at the Microsoft Innovation Center in Mons. A full day of Innovation, technology and entrepreneurship: registration is now open.


    Save the date – June 23 2011.

    The Microsoft Innovation Center organizes the Innov@MIC Day, 1 full day of 14-minutes conferences dedicated to technology, innovation & entrepreneurship. Join us on June 23 @ the Microsoft Innovation center for this free event! We promise you, you ll get inspired by more than 20 speakers, all trendsetters, futurist or expert illustrated by Demos or Case study.

    Exceptional keynote speakers will kick off and wrap up the program,


    Youth trends

    Tom Palmaerts

    Trendswatcher, Trendswolves

    Finding your Innovation catapult

    Braden Kelley

    Innovation expert



    Subject : surprise!

    Robot Nao

    Robot, Aldebaran Robotics

    All attendees can enjoy the evening awards program celebrating the Boostcamp#3 and fostering the region’s most significant economic cluster. It’s a free event.


    Microsoft Innovation center (MAP)
    1 bvd Initialis
    B-7000 Mons

    Add Innov@MIC to your agenda: Outlook *.ics file

    Do not hesitate to contact for any further question.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip [link]: Expression Encoder 4 SP1 released


    Expression Encoder team has released a service pack to Expression Encoder 4 Pro.
    One feature that stands out is the support for NVIDIA CUDA-accelerated GPUs. This accelerates the encoding process and increases the number of live streams your PC can handle and allows you to get more streams into your broadcast.
    There is a series of other new features mentioned on the team’s blog site of which we note:

    • Screen capture as a live source
    • Live templates
    • Support fort Windows Phone 7 presets
    • Live Push/Pull
    • Improved de-interlacing options
    • DRM content keys

    Direct link to official team blog post: Expression Encoder 4 SP1 released!



    Quick tip’ posts are short, useful posts pointing to content and tricks that might otherwise go lost in a typical 140 chars message on Twitterverse.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Microsoft Webcafe on November 23rd in Leuven–register and join us!


    The next Microsoft Webcafe is taking place at the M-Museum in Leuven, on November 23rd.
    Join us for another informal event with partner, Microsoft and Web community presentations.

    What is it and what to expect?

    Webcafes are informal, after the hours tech meetups for industry updates, cases, networking and exploring something different. We invite a few partner cases to present short cases or projects, sharing learning’s with attendees. The events are free, open to everyone with an open mind, and there is always lots of networking. Check out the pics from past events on our Facebook page to get an idea.

    Topics on the agenda:

    • Microsoft and Nokia, just get to it! - Koen Speelmeijer from Gadget Review
    • Is my website a web application? - François Remy @FremyCompany
    • Nivario Circus – Websockets in HTML5 - Sven Huijbrechts @toSvenson
    • WebMatrix 2.0 Preview: HTML5, extensibility, web apps - Katrien De Graeve (@katriendg)

    What’s in a café?
    This is Belgium after all, a café without beer does not exist… So chances are you’ll get to do some tasting in between the more serious stuff.

    Practical details

    Date: Wednesday November 23rd 2011
    Timing: 18:00 to 22:00
    Registration: MS Webcafe page
    Location: M-Museum
    Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28
    3000 Leuven


  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip (link): Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 available


    The newly released Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 is designed to make it easier for you to build mobile applications that leverage cloud services running in Windows Azure. The toolkit includes Visual Studio project templates for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure, class libraries optimized for use on the phone, sample applications, and documentation.

    My colleague Bart Vande Ghinste writes about what what’s included in the Toolkit as well as 3 easy steps to get started.

    >> Go to the original article:


    Note: You might be interested that Wade Wegner, one of the driving forces behind the toolkit will be doing a Windows Azure Platform session during TechDays 2011 on April 26th in Antwerp. For now, check out his blog post Getting Started with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Marketer of the year nomination at MS Belux: NUI and how Kinect brings high-tech magic to consumers (vote for us!)


    My colleague David Merzel,  has been nominated as the Marketer of the Year 2011. This is a yearly award by Trends/Tendances. David and his team were responsible for the launch of Xbox Kinect controller in Belgium last year and developed a special marketing approach.
    I was listening to David yesterday as he explained the reasoning behind his marketing strategy, the Close Contact Marketing. He has a black belt in karate and the marketing approach is based on that sport, with six rules of close contact, going from yellow to black belt.

    What’s also interesting is that this is the first time a software company is nominated for this award. It’s another sign of what many call the Consumerization of IT.

    clip_image003  clip_image002

    While I do hope you vote for him Smile, it makes me reflect on how technology, more specifically Natural User Interfaces, is bringing the magic of technology into our everyday lives. That’s the job of technology companies in a sense: removing barriers to adopting technology. Also reminded me of a Twitter comment by @netlash I saw a few days ago:

    “We only call it technology when we were born before it was invented.”

    The term Magic in conjunction with Kinect is not new: Magical Team award in Silicon Valley was received by the team earlier this year. So yes, Kinect is a good example of how technology which behind the scenes is pretty complex, is now entering our everyday lives in a very user friendly way. Have you Kinected?

    Recommended resources:

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip (link): Microsoft opens European Cloud and Interoperability Center & second Microsoft Innovation Center in Brussels


    Earlier this week, Microsoft opened a new Microsoft Cloud and Interoperability Center in Brussels. Here’s a short overview and a link to the full post of Luc Van de Velde below.

    clip_image002 On March 22th the first Microsoft Cloud and Interoperability Center (CIC) was inaugurated in Brussels. The goal of the Center is to promotes cloud computing innovation in Europe by showcasing the latest technologies and solutions in areas such as education, health and e-government as well as advanced research projects.
    The Cloud and Interoperability Center is part of the existing Microsoft Executive Briefing Center and also includes the Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) for Cloud Solutions, being developed in partnership with the Brussels Regional Government. The MIC in Brussels is the second facility of its kind that Microsoft has established in Belgium, following the successful MIC in Mons, which was opened in 2009.

    Read full article and find link to speeches at

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service General Availability



    Microsoft just announced the general availability of our Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) support! With this release Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Network move out of Preview and are now ready to use for your production apps.

    With Azure Virtual Machines you can deploy and run durable VMs in the cloud, provisioned from prebuilt templates or alternatively upload your own custom-built VMs.  All this in a matter of seconds!  Azure Virtual Network allows you to securely bridge between your on-premises infrastructure and your infrastructure in the cloud. This gives you the flexibility to run your workloads where you want, but manage them all in the same way.

    Whether you want to securely extend your on-premises network to Windows Azure or you want to create a virtual private network with persistent private IPs..

    Let’s look in more detail into what we have announced today:

    • For memory intensive scenarios, we are now introducing two high-memory compute instances: 4 core x 28GB RAM and 8 core x 56GB RAM. With these VM sizes you can run even larger workloads on Windows Azure, for example SharePoint Server or SQL Server workloads.
    • We have added several new VM image templates to the Image Gallery, such as SQL Server 2012, BizTalk Server 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013 images. These images also come with hourly billing, so you don’t have to pay for an upfront license.
    • We have updated the SLA for Virtual Machines and Virtual Network.  For VMs that have 2 or more instances deployed in the same availability set, we have a 99.95% SLA for external connectivity.  For Virtual Network, we guarantee a 99.9% Virtual Network Gateway availability.
    • As of this announcement, Virtual Machines and Virtual Network are now supported by Microsoft Support staff, so you can confidently run your production apps on Azure.


    On top of all these great features, we’re also announcing significant pricing reductions to our Windows Azure PaaS and IaaS VM pricing. You can expect to see from 20% (Virtual Machines) to 33% (Cloud Services) price reductions! These new prices are effective as of June 1.  And as of today, we’re also adding 50 hours of free memory-intensive-instance hours to our member offers and 90-day trials.

    For a more detailed description of the announcement, you can check out Scott Guthrie’s blog post.

    If you don’t already have a Windows Azure account, you can sign-up for a free trial and start using all of the above features today.  Did you know that you already have a lot of free Azure resources as part of your MSDN, MPN or BizSpark membership? 

    If you want to learn more about our Windows Azure IaaS capabilities, don’t forget to listen in on our dedicated IaaS webcast on April 30. If you want to experience this great technology hands-on, join us for our Azure IT Camp on May 6.

    Also don’t forget there is a virtual conference runnning next Tuesday April 23rd:

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Join the Belgian Experts and Microsoft Corp Product team for 12 hours of SQL Server 2012


    12hofsqlJoin us for the 12 hours of SQL Server 2012, the next release of the Microsoft Cloud-Ready Information Platform that is scheduled to be released in the first half of 2012. During the 12 hours of SQL Server 2012 we'll offer you 12 webcasts over 12 hours starting 12:12 CET on February 24th (too bad February 12th is a Sunday).

    Together with our 12 speakers, both local and international, we'll walk you through the all new innovations we're bringing to the platform, or as we call them "The Fantastic 12 of SQL Server 2012". Our speakers will dive into all the new things around Business Intelligence, Tier-1 Performance & Reliability, the Manageability enhancements and of course the Cloud readiness and integration of SQL Server 2012 and SQL Azure.

    Make sure to Register Today and explore the next release of SQL Server 2012 together with us.


    Timing Title
    12:12-13:12 Partially Contained Databases
    13:12-14:12 An introduction to Data Quality Services (DQS)
    14:12-15:12 Power View from the Data Visualisation Perspective
    15:12-16:12 Building your first Analysis Services Tabular BI Semantic model with SQL Server 2012
    16:12-17:12 What's new in Integration Services 2012?
    17:12-18:12 Manageability Enhancements of SQL Server 2012
    18:12-19:12 Building the Perfect BI Semantic Tabular models for Power View
    19:12-20:12 SQL Server 2012 and Big Data
    20:12-21:12 Extending your data to the cloud
    21:12-22:12 Database Schema Management & Deployment using SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT)
    22:12-23:12 Inside SQL Azure: Self Governing, Self-Healing, Massively Scalable Database Service in the Cloud
    23:12-00:12 Performance and High-Availability at Scale with SQL Server 2012
  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Updated Windows Azure SDK & Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK Available


    Leveraging an announcement from the Windows Azure team with news on Windows Azure SDK (Tools for Visual Studio 2010), Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK and another update to the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit.

    Please find the highlights below or read the official Windows Azure Blog post.

    We are simplifying the development experience on Windows Azure with three updates—a new version of the Windows Azure SDK, a new Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK, and an updated Windows Azure Platform Training Kit. Whether you are already using Windows Azure or looking for the right moment to get started, these updates make it easier than ever to build applications on Windows Azure.


    • Windows Azure SDK (November 2011)—Multiple updates to the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 that simplify development, deployment, and management on Windows Azure. The full Windows Azure SDK can be downloaded via the Web Platform installer here.
    • Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK— Works in conjunction with the Windows Azure SDK and includes modules and features to author high performance computing (HPC) applications that use large amounts of compute resources in parallel to complete work. The SDK is available here for download.
    • Windows Azure Platform Training Kit—Includes hands-on labs, demos, and presentations to help you learn how to build applications that use Windows Azure. Compatible with the new Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010. The training kit can be downloaded here.

    You can start building your application on it in 3 simple and easy to do steps:

    1. Download the Tools:

    Get Visual Studio Express and the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio to start building and debugging applications for the Windows Azure Platform at
    If you have already Visual Studio installed you can download the tools directly from

    2. Setup an Account:

    Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure, SQL Azure and Windows Azure AppFabric. You can learn more about the accounts at or you can sign up directly and get the trial

    3. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

    First learn how to create a simple ASP.NET application in Visual Studio for Windows Azure and deploy it on Windows Azure at

    When all steps are executed successfully you should have running your first application on the Windows Azure Platform.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    TechDays 2011: developer session recordings and content online


    If you missed TechDays 2011, there is no way to bring you back the whole experience. That’s the bad news, the good news however is that we go a long way and bring you a recorded video of each of the sessions so you can learn from the best. From now on, you can browse all the sessions, view them online or download to your favorite media player and download the slides.
    With top speakers like Scott Hanselman, Jeff Prosise, Ingo Rammer, Vittorio Bertocci, Glenn Block, Christian Weyer, Hadi Hariri, …. and so many more. The event welcomed over 40 different speakers!

    Check out our photos of the event and a short video compilation below. You can also view the testimonials video from attendees here.

    TechDays 2011 Compilation Video

    How is the content structured?

    On the TechDays website you can find the video recordings split up by Developer/IT-Professional and then further by track.

    Next to the tracks you can also browse scenarios:

    • Application Lifecycle Management – sessions from the ALM deep dive and the normal conference around Visual Studio ALM.
    • Cloud – this scenario delivers you sessions that go from a general overview of the Windows Azure platform, updates in Windows Azure 1.3, to SaaS, SQL Azure, on- and off-premise and AppFabric.

    Browsing the content on Channel 9

    Channel 9  TechDays 2011
    (note: Channel 9 contains all developer sessions, for IT-Professional content you can find it on TechNet Edge)

    All session videos lead you to a Channel 9 TechDays 2011 Event page. Channel 9 also has a landing page for the whole event, which allows you to browse and do free-text search.
    You can also take advantage of commenting on the video and in this way have a conversation with other viewers or even get feedback from some of the speakers.

    Happy learning!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Learn more about the Microsoft Platform Ready program


    If you’re not yet familiar with the Microsoft Platform Ready (MPR) program; MPR provides free technical, marketing, and certification support for companies and individuals that are developing software applications on the Windows Platform. Whether you’re building simple add-ons, rich client applications, complex client and server solutions or planning for the future with cloud services, Microsoft Platform Ready is set out to help you bring your application to the market faster.

    My colleague Nick Trogh, ISV Developer Evangelist in our team has all the details and advantages of why you should consider joining this program.

    >> Read the full story on Nick’s blog.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    This is why these 3 young Belgians need your Imagine Cup Vote!


    imagine-cup-2012The Microsoft Imagine Cup brings together students from all over the world and asks them to use their creativity and passion for technology to help solve the world’s toughest problems. Back in May you could read that 2 of our Belgian teams made it to the finals in Sydney.

    One of the teams “Make a Sign” created this amazing project that uses Kinect in combination with Azure to recognize sign language used by deaf people and learn people how to use it. Earlier this week the 3 students from HEPL in Liege met with minister-president Rudy Demotte of the Walloon region.
    Press: On RTL TV news. In La Derniere Heure. In Le VIF.

    So before you read/watch any further do this:  go to the People’s Choice Award site and vote – and then ask your friends, family and network to vote too. Then read the rest of this post and you’ll know why you did the right thing Smile.

    Congratulations to:

    Julien Rousselle

    Antoine Trippaers

    Nicolas Bertrand

    This is where you can find the full project video:

    Imagine Cup 2012 - Make A Sign (Project Presentation)
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