Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
So What is...
Microsoft MSDNAA - http://www.msdnaa.net
Microsoft DreamSpark - http://www.dreamspark.com
During the keynote at MIX 2011, Microsoft Research’s Jonathan Fay showed something very new, he had the universe in his hands, by demonstrating Kinect for Windows with Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope.
Jonathan simply used his hands to control the universe navigating the stars with his hands with out any controllers the following video is absolutely amazing.
The keynote included Several other demos including:-
Jeff Sandquist and Dan Fernandez from Channel 9 demonstrating just how easy it is to make an app that leverages Kinect in Windows.
For more updates and information on the Kinect for Windows SDK, head on over to the Microsoft Research website. You can sign-up to be notified of the release here.
The Kinect for Windows SDK is on track to hit later this spring.
For additional information see Steve Clayton’s blog post here as he was able to see Kinect on the PC in action a few weeks ago at an on-campus event by Microsoft Research called TechFest.
You can visit the MIX Virtual Pressroom for more on the latest from MIX11.
Over the past few days I have had a lot of questions in relation to what is BizSpark?
Well to answer this I thought I should share the following
On Friday, March 25th in Central London, a collaboration between the UK BizSpark Team and the UK ISV Azure ISV incubation Team resulted in BizSparkCamp for Azure, a day focused bringing UK BizSpark companies up to speed on Microsoft Cloud Computing.
The day was designed to offer the following assistance to entrepreneurs within Technology Startups.
· Learn to build new applications in the Microsoft cloud
· Get insights and guidance from other startups who have built their applications on Windows Azure
· Potential Nomination for BizSpark One (an invitation only program) for high potential startups
· Practical “how-to” tips on how to get started in the Microsoft Cloud.
The event consisted of a morning of keynotes and presentations from companies who have already built out applications on Azure.
Mark Taylor, Senior Director of the Developer and Platform Evangelism Group, and Board Member for Microsoft UK, delivered the keynote to the audience. He focused on our Vision for Cloud, and his view of the future.
Sam Rosenbalm flew in from our Redmond Corporate BizSpark Team to talk about BizSpark Connect, and to provide practical support and guidance to the UK BizSpark companies about how to leverage the BizSpark platform on a global basis. http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/Connect.aspx
Mark Quirk and Eric Nelson (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ukisvdev/) then spoke around practical hints and tips to help the startups get BizSpark Azure subscription up and running, and advice on how to get started on building their first application. It’s also worth checking out David Gristwood’s blog around Azure. (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/david_gristwood/)
Finally, four companies presented their Azure applications to the other startups to give them an idea of how Azure has impacted their business. All the presentations were deeply insightful and really provided hard evidence that showcased the value of the Microsoft Cloud platform to their respective businesses.
1) Exceedra – a BizSpark One company focused on Insight Driven Planning – in the Cloud! - in the Retail and Consumer Goods sector. Exceedra were one of the winners of the BizSparkCamp Pitch Contest in 2010, and the presentation focused on what they’ve been able to achieve in just one year since joining the BizSpark Programme.
2) Xylyx - a BizSpark Company focused on micropayments in the Cloud. Xylyx were also one of the winners of the BizSparkCamp Pitch Contest in 2010.
3) mydeo – myDeo has been working with the Emerging Business Team since 2005, so were a great example of a more established company, and why they chose to switch to Azure. They focus on Secure Enterprise Content Delivery for all a company’s media.
4) AllMyPlans – a BizSpark Company focused on keeping all your finance documentation in one place and up to date.
The afternoon consisted of a series of Technical and Business-focused breakout tracks, where Eric Nelson and David Gristwood presented a series of Technical Briefings. Simon Karn from Microsoft and Andrew O’Conner from InishTech presented a session on understanding the Commercials of the Cloud from a Microsoft Perspective.
Exceedra, mydeo and xylyx then followed on to discuss their business models in the cloud, and how it has benefited their businesses.
Some great statements were made. “Azure shortens my sales cycle significantly - it means that I no longer have to sell to IT, I can sell directly to the Business, and close the deal in a significantly shorter timeframe” “Azure has saved thousands of pounds from my bottom line – it makes complete business sense to us”
The day finished with a pitch contest, with five great Judges at the helm and seven startups pitching for the grand prize of £10k worth of services from Kynetix.
Kynetix was the generous donor of a £10k prize for the winner of the pitch contest, to assist the winner in building out their Azure application.
Thanks very much to Kynetix for being such a great partner on the day!
The pitching companies were:
The winner for best pitch was Certivox, and the overall winner of the pitch contest and the £10k prize from Kynetix was Cirrious!
For more information on BizSpark see
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bindik OR http://twitter.com/bizspark
Facebook: BizSpark Facebook Page
Linked In: BizSpark UK
On the 13/04/2011 at the MIX11 developer conference in Las Vegas, three key features of the upcoming Kinect for Windows SDK were revealed: robust skeletal tracking, advanced audio capabilities, and XYZ depth camera. Also announced was the launch of a new website for the SDK, where you can subscribe to a newsfeed and be notified as soon as the SDK is available for download.
Our hope is that this "starter kit" for application developers will make it easier for the academic research and enthusiast communities to create even richer experiences by using Kinect technology. Here are a few details on each of the SDK's ground-breaking NUI features:
Learn more here
Subscribe to alerts and get additional details at: http://research.microsoft.com/kinectsdk
Press release from MIX: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2011/apr11/04-13MIX2PR.mspx
Blog: MIXing it up: the Kinect for Windows SDK
Kinect for Windows Beta SDK Opens Doors for Enthusiasts and Academics
Kinect for Xbox 360, recently recognized by Guinness World Records as the fastest-selling consumer device in 60 days, allows users to enjoy games and entertainment with their whole body and voice no controller required.
Since Kinect launched in November 2010, enthusiasts have been exploring the potential of Kinect in a number of unexpected, nongaming scenarios. Today at MIX, Microsoft detailed some of the features in the Kinect for Windows Beta SDK from Microsoft Research coming in the spring, including the following:
• Robust Skeletal Tracking for high-performance capabilities that track the skeleton image of one or two persons moving within the Kinect field of view
• Advanced Audio Capabilities, including four-element microphone array with sophisticated acoustic noise and echo cancellation for great audio; beam formation to identify the current sound source and integration with the Windows speech recognition API also included
• XYZ depth camera for standard color camera stream access and depth data that indicates the distance of the object from the Kinect camera
Developers can sign up to be notified of the release at http://research.microsoft.com/kinectsdk.
Microsoft’s support for Kinect beyond the Xbox platform will increase opportunities for developers to explore new ideas and deliver innovative Kinect applications and experiences.
New Opportunities and Capabilities for Windows Phone
At Mix11 today Microsoft provided a in-depth look at the development platform for the next version of Windows Phone, arriving on new and existing handsets later this year.
The key message for HE is that developers will soon have updated Windows Phone Developer Tools. Improved tools include a performance profiler and sensor simulation, enabling developers to build more integrated and high-performing applications. The new application platform enables developers to take advantage of the following:
• Application multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast application switching
• Deeper phone integration so apps can, for example, take better advantage of the versatility of Live Tiles
• Access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so developers can build apps that incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences
Developers will be able to take advantage of these new capabilities to create even more creative and engaging Windows Phone apps and games.
The free Windows Phone Developer Tools for the new Windows Phone OS will be available to developers in May. With 38,000 registered developers, more than 13,000 available apps and 1.5 million downloads of the original Windows Phone Developer Tools, developers are the foundation of the fast-growing Windows Phone ecosystem.
Today, Microsoft also provided an early glimpse of app concepts for the next version of Windows Phone OS with new experiences from Skype, Spotify, Layar, Qantas, Amazon Shopping and Kik Messenger and the announcement that Angry Birds will be available.
At Mix, today we there has been some exciting announcements:
Available immediately with the beta of Silverlight 5 is the Blend Preview for Silverlight 5, an early-access preview version that installs side-by-side with Blend 4 and enables you to use Silverlight 5 together with Expression Blend.
This version of Blend does not explicitly add new authoring features, but several features of Silverlight 5 (such as, for example, new typography options) light up in the property inspector
At Mix, they also demo a new service pack for Expression Blend with support for Mango. This service pack will be available later this year.
Finally, in response to popular demand, Expression will present a new set of SketchFlow templates for prototyping Windows Phone applications in Silverlight.
These templates will not enable you to run SketchFlow prototypes on the phone, unfortunately, but they make it a lot easier to prototype phone applications to run in Silverlight:
Expression will provide screen templates with phone chrome on a project screen (switchable from landscape to portrait), and a wide variety of the specific components known from the phone, such as panorama and pivot, as well as mock-ups of many of the pages of the phone chrome.
So if your lucky enough to be attending MIX11, attend the Expression presentation on Thursday (“Creating Windows Phone Applications Using Expression Blend”, 1:30pm)
I have some information here that might be helpful for you or your development staff in regard to getting up to speed on HPC and Azure. I also have some information at the bottom of this email regarding how you can get access to Azure accounts. There are of course a multitude of links you can find all over the internet regarding these topics, but these will give you a general idea of the scope of what you can do with HPC and Azure and how it works:
1. The first thing you’ll need to do is understand the installation of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2:
Getting Started Guide for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2
Designer and Deployment Guide for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2
2. You can watch these videos to learn more about the capabilities of HPC Server and Windows 7 Clients
MSDN Webcast: Taking Scientific Computing Mainstream with Windows Client & Windows HPC Server 2008 R2
MSDN Webcast: Migrating Your HPC Applications to the Windows Platform
Overview of Microsoft Technical Computing and HPC Server 2008 R2
Channel9 - The HPC Show (many more videos here)
3. If you are going to be working with Azure and its latest SDK, you will need to install Visual Studio 2010. Please note that to view the Azure portal, that is just a website and doesn’t require Visual Studio. However, to develop a Cloud application and deploy it, you do need Visual Studio. Once you have Visual Studio installed:
Install the Azure SDK and Tools
4. Watch these Azure Videos
MSDN Webcast: Discover the Windows Azure Services Platform
MSDN Webcast: Windows Azure Boot Camp: Cloud Computing Scenarios
MSDN Webcast: Windows Azure Boot Camp: Worker Roles
MSDN Webcast: Diagnostics and Service Management
5. For lots of other links to whitepapers, articles, tools etc (this is the overwhelming part)
Getting access to Azure
Free Pass Options
For more info on the access check see the following blog http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2011/04/12/windows-azure-announcements-at-mix11.aspx
Azure resource for Academia http://www.azurepilot.com/
Azure Trial Offers
Looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions
TouchStudio allows you to script your phone. TouchStudio is a new programming environment built around a single core idea: the programs are authored and executed on mobile devices. No other computers are needed. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/touchstudio/
TouchStudio - TouchStudioApp
Script your phone! Write code for your phone, on your phone! TouchStudio is radically new software development environment on the Windows Phone, bringing the excitement of the first programmable personal computers to the phone.
TouchStudio is now available on the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Watch the Channel 9 video "TouchStudio - Script Your Phone ON Your Phone!"
What is the idea behind TouchStudio?
The way in which we interact with computing devices is changing: instead of keyboards, advanced touchscreens become more common; mobile devices are often equipped with more sensors, such as location information and acceleration, and are always connected to the cloud.
TouchStudio is a new programming environment and language built around this new reality. Its typed, structured programming language is built around the idea of only using a touchscreen as the input device to author code. It has built-in primitives which make it easy to access the rich sensor data available on a mobile device. In our vision, the state of the program is automatically distributed between mobile clients and the cloud, with automatic synchronization of data and execution between clients and cloud, liberating the programmer from worrying (or even having to know) about the details.
The first beta version of TouchStudio, now available on the Windows Phone 7 marketplace, already realizes a large portion of our vision.
TouchStudio comes with several sample scripts.
Each script consists of actions.
Each action has a structured editor for statements. Execute parameterless actions with the "run" button.
Edit a statement by tapping on it twice.
You edit expressions with a calculator-like editor.
Microsoft announced several updates to the Windows Azure platform today at MIX11 in Las Vegas. These new capabilities will help developers deploy applications faster, accelerate their application performance and enable access to applications through popular identity providers including Microsoft, Facebook and Google.
New Services and Functionality
A myriad of new Windows Azure services and functionality were unveiled today.
Windows Azure Platform Offer Changes
Microsoft also announced several offer changes today, including:
Please read the press release or visit the MIX11 Virtual Press Room to learn more about today's announcements at MIX11. For more information about the Windows Azure AppFabric announcements, read the blog post, "Announcing the Commercial Release of Windows Azure AppFabric Caching and Access Control" on the Windows Azure AppFabric blog.