Design is more important than ever for both devices and applications so its really rewarding to see Windows Phone win another award which Steve Clayton wrote about on his blog here. The Metro Design Language is getting noticed.
If you are writing phone apps or are stuck with a challenge – get in touch via Facebook or hunt down someone at your Uni who is doing a Design course and get the best of both worlds – your dev skills and their design experience.
You can get all the tools from www.DreamSpark.com and registration on APP HUB is free if you are a student plus there is a lot of information to get you started! Go on – start developing (with a designer) and publishing that app of an idea you had last week!
We like to make a personal connection with you all (we try as much as we can) so in that spirit please meet our latest team member. Rather than me waffle on I’ll let Joanna introduce herself in her own words – please say hello if you connect with her online or if you meet her in person.
Hi everyone, my name's Joanna Tong and I have just joined the Academic Team at Microsoft alongside Ben Nunney, who I’m sure you’re very familiar with, and all of the other wonderful people who help to run the Microsoft UK Student, Faculty and Emerging Business programmes.
Like Ben I’ll be working as an Academic Developer Evangelist which means that I'll have the incredible job of evangelising Microsoft technology within the student community, telling you about all the cool stuff we’re doing, the amazing stuff that Microsoft technology enables you to do, and essentially being one of your points of contact should you need any help, advice or just a general bit of chat.
I am really excited to meet new people, and I imagine I will be meeting many of you in the upcoming months in many of the events that we’re holding and helping out at amongst the student community.
I studied at UCL for an MEng degree in Computer Science, meaning I have a pretty intense passion for technology, which I’m sure you share. As a graduate entry into the MACH program at Microsoft I have a lot to learn which is fantastic as I have a great support system in both my team and the company as a whole. This is why if any of you are considering a career or an internship, I’d strongly urge you to apply to Microsoft and see where the journey takes you. If that’s not on your agenda but you still want to do some innovative things with technology, Microsoft caters for that too. There’s DreamSpark for you eager developers and once you’ve gotten into the swing of things there’s the opportunity to get your technology out into the public eye, particularly through the Windows Phone medium, where it is so easy to publish your apps onto the Marketplace.
In my spare time I like to cook (and eat), read up on some financial news and watch a cheesy show or two. If any of you share these sentiments don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @joannatonguk (it might be pretty empty right now but I promise I’ll populate it with needless tweets in next to no time).
I’m really looking forward to meeting so many of you soon and I hope that I can, with the help of my team equip you with the tools and skills to become the developers of the future.
Since this is the UK Student Blog, we;ve asked a few of our new Microsoft Student Partners to write guest posts for us - and first up is Tom Dwyer. Tom is a 19 year-old technology enthusiast with a passion for writing from Manchester. You can follow him on twitter and check out his own writings on Neowin but for now, over to you Tom!
Mango, a tasty fruit found all over the world. Coincidently it shares the same name as Microsoft’s new Windows Phone update – 7.5 Mango.
Mango is the first big update to Windows Phone and the company’s aim appears to be not only to provide a fantastic user experience but to provide a great platform for developers to let their ideas flourish in a way that takes minimal time, knowledge and effort to bring it to life. Alongside the 500 features that Microsoft have implemented into the user experience, they have added a lot of cool new features for developers that should make developing for Windows Phone an easier and more pleasurable experience.
To kick off, live tiles now have the much awaited ability to display notifications. Not only does this save time for the user, it brings a lot more information to the user from a glance – making their experience on the phone more rounded and friendly. However, adding this feature could put an increased load on the battery, draining it rapidly. An app such as a RSS reader would update frequently and with several apps running at any one time, the battery would be lucky to last two hours. Luckily for us Microsoft realised this could be an issue and have thought of a solution to the problem – background agents. The purpose of adding the background agents is simple, they allow for apps to be scheduled over a period of time so that the app can still update, but doesn’t constantly run which ultimately saves a lot of battery life. This idea of background agents ties in with another major feature – multitasking. Going from app to app on a Windows Phone can be tiresome. Going backwards and forwards to get to the app you want wastes time and reduces productivity. Microsoft have listened to its users and built a true multitasking capability into Mango which lets you glide through games, web pages, contacts and anything else that they feel necessary to open at the same time. It’s a feature that other mobile operating systems have had for some time now, however it’s clear Microsoft have spent that extra bit of time in perfecting the feature.
With multitasking in mind, one might think that there may be users that easily and unknowingly overload the processor with actions. Changes in the fundamental architecture mean that developers and users can pull even more power out of the processor than ever before – reducing the chance of overloading the processor, not that it was any easy feat to do so in the first place.
Anyway, we’ve spoken about improvements that have been made in Mango but realistically what do you gain from developing for Windows Phone? Improvements are nice and all but what do developers really enjoy? Having the resources and platform to develop apps that could never have been made previously. This is exactly what Microsoft has provided – 1500 new APIs for developers to dive into. Along with the new APIs, Microsoft has opened up access to the accelerometer, compass and location sensors among others. By opening up access to these sensors and APIs development for Windows Phone can increase and developer creativity, imagination and outright skills can be put to good use in helping users get the best possible experience from their apps. A technology that is quickly gaining ground - augmented reality, can now be properly explored on Windows Phone thanks to Mango and bring what is a brilliant conceptual idea to life. We have already seen AR put to use in the LG Optimus 3D and it’s about time that Windows Phone takes a piece of the action.
While this article only covers a fraction of the new incentives for developers, Microsoft have developed a platform that allows one to productively make an app with the help of a large developer community and a stockpile of resources at hand. With more OEMs coming on board, most recently ZTE, Fujitsu and Nokia, they bring a group of developers with them that can only enhance the Windows Phone platform.
Thanks Tom for the great guest post! If this article has your mouth watering for Mango, check out the Building Applications for Windows Phone Mango Jump Start, live online now!
Going to Uni for the first time (or just need some new technology) then the Windows team here in the UK has put together some pretty good offers – including our very own DreamSpark. so while DreamSpark gives you the development tools , for free, to help you build applications or mess around learning new skills then why not check out the site to get some new hardware to run it all on.
The list includes laptops, through Windows Phones, hard drives, speakers and games consoles. Just being sensible for a moment, don’t forget to check if you are insured. Loads of students seem to think that they’re covered on their parents home insurance, but finding out the hard way that you’re not is never fun. Find out more about the student offers HERE.
Don’t forget you can connect with us on Facebook or follow us on www.twitter.com/msukstudents
As you are aware, the Windows phone Mango OS has been given much attention for quite a few weeks now, more particularly after it got a sneak preview by way of a leak last week.
As if adding to the excitement, a tweet from the staff at the Au KDDI store in Nishi-Kasai in Tokyo has brought new information about the release of the Mango device from Fujitsu. News suggests that the company will be releasing the Fujitsu ISI2T as early as August 25, 2011, (this Thursday).
The device from Fujitsu Toshiba is a touchscreen smartphone sporting the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango and will come in a couple of splashy shades as well as black.
It will have some added significance in the smartphone arena, as it will witness the partnership’s first Windows Phone ever and may be seen as an ideal candidate to take ‘Mango’ out of the box.
The smartphone boasts an exceptionally enormous 13.2-megapixel camera, 32GB of internal storage, and is both waterproof and dust-resistant!
Some more Mango news: Last night, on the 22nd, Microsoft started accepting Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) Apps. Matt Bencke, the GM for Windows Phone apps at Microsoft, announced via Twitter:
So get submitting if you’ve developed any Mango apps!
Hi, I’m Grace Gimson, new to the Academic team, and have completed my first month as an intern here at Microsoft! I’ve got a year of marketing, events and projects to look forward to here but before I talk too much about me, I want to fill you in on what some of the more technical interns have been up to! If you’re considering applying for an internship with Microsoft, or are just interested on what interns get involved with then have a read!
The following interviews were conducted with interns from both the Reading and London offices, and they’re from a variety of departments:
Alex Olivier (Global Technical Support Centre):
Development Support Engineer – Internet
I support our customers on their development projects, focusing on Internet technologies including IIS, ASP.NET, Silverlight, and pretty much anything else that touches the internet.
What have you got involved with so far?
What are you looking forward to?
I am going to be involved with the Intern and MACH blog, I have a WP7 App project in the pipeline, I’ve got a day out with my team soon (Off-roading I think(?)….and lunch, I usually look forward to lunch.
Abbie Holland (STCE – Search Technology Centre):
SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test) – This mostly involves developing internal applications used to test and improve Bing.
What have you been involved with so far?
I’m really looking forward to playing a role in the outreach team for Young Britain Works, the project is a fantastic idea for a great cause, and I’d love to see us pull some successful results from it this year. I’m also looking forward to seeing Bing continue to grow, and of course eagerly trying to convince my boss what a good idea it would be to take me to the US sometime this year!
Bethan Kelly, (EMEA CRM Support Team, Global Technical Support Centre (GTSC):
(Microsoft Dynamics) CRM Support Engineer.
(Hopefully) Milk Round Graduate Team (Involves campus visits to careers fairs and events) and Dynamics Working Week (Meeting the EMEA team face to face).
Simon Frost (UK Messaging Developer Team, Global Technical Support Centre (GTSC):
Developer Support Engineer – I help developers outside Microsoft who are developing applications that work with our messaging technologies to solve their development issues / queries.
“Auditioning” for the highly popular campus milk round 101 positions (Campus tours), developing a departmental Windows Phone 7 App and attempting to learn absolutely everything I can while I am here!
Fav Mohammed (Dynamics AX):
I work in Dynamics AX as a SP (Support Professional) and communicate with partners to solve faults, crashes, bugs and general problems with the product. Dynamics AX is an ERP software (Enterprise Resource Planning) and uses a multitude of different Microsoft products to work.
I have applied for the 101 milk round campus team, sounds really fun! I’ve been a part of the Microsoft cricket team and I couldn’t live without cheesecake Thursdays…I’m hoping to petition for ice cream Fridays or something! Overall I look forward to helping big partners with issues, and to further improve my knowledge through Microsoft exams!
Neil Palmer (Strategy and Planning, Field IT):
Role involves supporting the management of the department by providing stats on how the department is using its time and resources (technically a techie role, but it is quite business-y).
As my role isn’t so technical it will be great to get stuck into some code and learn to use new and exciting technologies such as SQL Azure! Also this is a great opportunity to work on projects with other interns from different business areas. Looking forward to Silverlight development, I’ve never used Silverlight before so it will be great to learn a new skill as well as develop cool software for my department.
All of the interns I’ve spoken to are really enjoying getting stuck in to their roles and having so many new opportunities open to them. Look out for a coming post on what some more interns across the business have been up to, from marketing to business analyst positions!
Ever wanted to get on the inside track with a big technology company? Be a part of some of the stuff that we do? Get access to things before other students, get exclusive training, attend invite-only events, become an ambassador to other students, and gain invalueble experience for your CV in the process?
If any of that sounds like you, then you're in luck! The Microsoft Student Partner programme offers all that and more! But what is it? And how can you apply to be an MSP for the upcoming academic year?
What is a Microsoft Student Partner
We're looking for passionate and tenacious students studying something that's either technical/design focussed or marketing/business focussed to help us become more awesome. We need people who love presenting. We need people who love technology.We need people who aren't afraid of trying new things, meeting new people, and having a lot of fun in the process.
As a Microsoft Student Partner, you'll get access to a brilliant community of likeminded students. You’ll spend some of your time planning campus events, blogging and tweeting your experiences with technology, demonstrating the latest technologies wherever you go, and working with your peers and students on campus, clubs and your department.
You’ll get to work with the latest and greatest cutting edge technology, talk to inspirational and aspirational people within the technology industry and gain exclusive access to events, and resources.
There are three different streams of the programme that you can apply to: Technical, Senior Technical, and Business. Check out this document (http://www.slideshare.net/msukstudents/msp-2012-summary-terms) for more information on what we're looking for, and the differences between the three schemes.
What do you get in return?
First and foremost, being an MSP looks great on your CV. You'll also get some great opportunities to build unique skills and get involved in projects that'll give you a lot to talk about when you're showing off your experience in a job interview!
As with many things in the world of technology, the more you put in the more you'll get out - and the more active MSPs will get things like a full MSDN subscription to download our entire library of software, and much more.
Every MSP will be invited along to our UK MSP summit, too - it'll be happening some time in early 2012 and is a chance to get together with other MSPs for a tonne of great sessions, learning, social, and employability stuff. Just chat to some of last year's MSPs to find out how awesome the 2011 summit was!
How do I apply?
Here's the fun part! We want to hear from you, in your own words, why you you want to be an MSP. To that end, we've made the application process very different - and ultimately more fun - this time around!
Using your computer's webcam (no webcam? get in touch!) and an internet connection, we want you to record or upload to YouTube a short video explaining why you want to be an MSP. It needs to be no longer than three minutes, and we encourage you to be as creative as you can be! This means you can either use YouTube's built in webcam capture tool in-browser, or you can do something else and then upload the video.
When you upload, mark the video as 'unlisted' - that way your friends won't get hold of it before we do - and copy and paste the link to the video into the application form below. Fill out all of the other bits of the form, and drop it in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There you have it! We want you to join us for what looks to be an amazing year! Now, applications will remain open for some time, but we'll announce the first wave of MSPs in early September - so get your application in fast and beat the crowds!
Click here to view the MSP 2012 Terms & Guidance: http://www.slideshare.net/msukstudents/msp-2012-summary-terms
Summer’s flying by, and job application season is fast approaching! Whether you’ll be applying for grad jobs, placements, internships, part time work or just getting your name out there, you’ll need a good CV to help you stand out.
We’ve come across Sahas Katta’s creation…. Check it out here
He’s made a portfolio of himself by entering his resume, skills, location and contact details within a Windows Phone 7 Mock up, it definitely stands out from the crowd!
Or how about designing something a bit more old school like Zef Narkiewicz has here
The opportunities are endless, get creative and let us know if you come up with something special :)
Thanks to Ray Fleming (ex Microsoft UK now out in Australia) for his post and Bilal Mughal's comment on Facebook that reminded me to tell you about free ebooks.
We have 9 free ebooks here available in PDF format. The bonus news is that the Microsoft Press team have now made them available free in two additional formats, DRM-free EPUB and MOBI.
This means you can read them more easily on a wide range of ereaders, notably Kindles and iPads - as well as the Nook, Sony Reader and Kobo eReader. Of course these files can also be read with ereading apps for the various devices on netbooks, laptops, and desktop PCs. The key difference between these formats and the previously-offered PDF and XPS files is that the text is “reflowable,” meaning that it recomposes depending on the width of the screen (or as you resize a Window).
Tip: Choose MOBI format for Kindles, and ePUB for most others
Tip: Choose MOBI format for Kindles, and ePUB for most others
RTM (Release to Manufacture) is the last stage before a product hits the streets. Rather than duplicate content its worth looking at Steve Claytons blog post on the topic with links to several videos to explain more.
We also got a mention on the BBC Technology News which is great for us but its talking to people about it that gets me interested as everyone is really positive about it. I keep meaning to get my phone developer unlocked so I can install betas etc rather than having to wait for the product to be released.
We will try and make sure we come out to more universities this year with our Microsoft Student Partners and other groups we work with to help you understand its capabilities.
Have fun and don’t forget to let us have any comments or feedback, questions through our Facebook page.