May, 2011 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

May, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure - Updated Platform Pricing Calculator



    Microsoft has recently released a new version of it Azure online calculator.

    The Windows Azure Platform Pricing Calculator, provide you with an estimate of costs if you were to use the Windows Azure platform based on your specific inputs.

    You should not view the results of this report as a substitute for engaging with a third party expert to independently evaluate you or your company’s specific computing needs. The analysis report you will receive is for informational purposes only but its a great starting point a looking at the potential costs of cloud services using Microsoft Azure Platform.


    For more details please visit

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 7.1 Mango Announcement



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    Today, along with the release of the new Windows Phone Developer Tools for Mango, we are proud to announce a set of new and updated samples and articles tailored for Windows Phone game developers to get up to speed on Mango changes quickly, all free, and all on App Hub!

    To jump right in, see the new and improved Game Development page on App Hub with a section just for Windows Phone OS 7.1 and the Mango Tools.


    The Game Development Tutorial, launched less than two months ago, has already seen over 50,000 unique visitors, over 175,000 aggregate page views, and close to 7,000 “graduates”.

    Here's a full list of the new and updated samples and articles that we have for you in this release!

    Remember, this content is designed for Windows Phone OS 7.1 and the Windows Phone Developer Tools for Mango. Be sure to download the update to the Tools before trying out this content!


    What's New for Games in Mango
    This high-level article calls out a few of the changes in Windows Phone OS 7.1 and Windows Phone Developer Tools that affect game developers.


    XNA Game Studio or Silverlight - Which is Right for Me? (Updated for Mango)
    This article, which discusses the differences between Silverlight and XNA Game Studio on Windows Phone, has been updated to include information about the new combined Silverlight and XNA architecture in Mango.


    Migration Guide: From the Game Class to Silverlight/XNA
    This article explains why and how to move your Windows Phone game to an architecture that integrates Silverlight with the XNA Framework.


    Visual Basic Support in XNA Game Studio
    Beginning with XNA Game Studio 4.0 Refresh, the XNA Framework expands programming language support to include Visual Basic (VB). This article introduces basic XNA Game Studio programming concepts for Windows Phone in VB.



    Game State Management (Updated for Mango)
    This popular sample, showing how to manage the transitions among menus and gameplay states, has been updated for Mango to handle the new Fast App Switching feature in Mango.


    Paddle Battle
    This new sample shows a very basic game written on top of the new Silverlight/XNA application model.


    Model Viewer Demo
    This new sample showcases a complex application built on top of the Silverlight/XNA application model, leveraging full 3D rendering, Silverlight’s animation engine, and the use of dependency properties to act as the proxy between Silverlight UI and the XNA Framework based rendering system.


    Silverlight/XNA Game Components
    This new sample provides an implementation and demonstration of a GameComponent system for use in games leveraging Silverlight and the XNA Framework.


    Your task is now simply go and  Create Games for Windows Phone!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 (v1.2)


    Microsoft  launched the Windows Azure Toolkit for iOS, as part of TechEd North America 2011, Microsoft have released the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 (v1.2)

    This release includes some important new features, including:

    Support and tooling for the Access Control Service 2.0 (i.e. use identity federation like Live ID, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, and ADFS)

    Support for Apple Push Notification Services (works along with the Windows Azure Toolkit for iOS)

    Support for Windows Azure storage queues (simple enqueue and dequeue operations)

    Updated UI/UX for the management web application

    Code refactoring, simplification, and bug fixes

    Try the toolkit.

    It’s quick, simple, and (I hope!) will impress you.  Download the bits here:

    Available Resources

    Two new videos are available up on Channel 9:


    Getting Started with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7


    Getting Started with ACS and the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7

    Here are some useful blog posts with details:

    NOW AVAILABLE: Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 v1.2

    Bring Your Active Directory in Your Pockets with ACS, OAuth 2.0 and the New Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 1.2 will Integrate with ACS

    Using Windows Azure for Windows Phone 7 Push Notification Support

    The CodePlex Project Resources

    This resource has a lot of useful information for you to review:


    The toolkit includes an awesome File à New Project experience in Visual Studio.  In this release we added some additional flexibility to the New Project Wizard:


    Here you can see that we provide optional support for the Microsoft Push Notification Service and the Apple Push Notification Service (useful for iPhone and iPad applications). 

    Making Windows Azure a great place to support these applications, regardless of the platform.


    Here you can see the ability to specific the Access Control Service 2.0 in the tooling, along with links that help you decide which to choose and how to proceed.

    The net result is a solution that you can literally run and use.  Simply choose the identity provider you want to use, then login.


    Support for Windows Azure queues is also simple and straightforward.


    Finally, we were not particularly pleased with the out-of-the-box ASP.NET theme, so we updated it. Inspired by the Metro Design guidelines for Windows Phone 7, we came up with something nice and fresh.



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    On premise HPC Cluster with the power of the cloud


    Did you know that the minimum requirement for Windows Azure Burst configuration is one on-premise (local) machine with Windows HPC Server installed. This extremely low barrier to entry allows anyone to create a mini-super computer on Azure with powerful HPC scheduling mechanism.


    So if you have CPU intensive jobs that require 100s of Cores the options are now unlimited as you could have 99 on Azure and one HPC on-premise cluster or vice versa.

    As the Diagram above illustrates HPC can be provided from on-premise resources, dedicated HPC Clusters and Window 7 workstations running Microsoft Cluster Of Workstation services.

    One of my colleagues Wen-ming has  just uploaded five easy-to-learn samples with lab instructions to the Faculty Connection resources. Wen-ming has has also produced the following white paper aimed at academic and researchers Windows HPC with Burst to Windows Azure: Application Models and Data Considerations.

    More real-world demos will be available soon, molecular dynamics, DNA sequencingWeather Simulation, Parallel Visualization, Seismic Simulation in Silverlight + World Wide Telescope version.  These new demos will also demonstrate the integration of our developer technologies including Phone 7, Silverlight, Windows Azure Marketplace, .NET parallel extension, with HPC Azure.

    Download Page for Samples and White Paper

    Wen-ming blog:  Details of the samples

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta


    Project Hawaii Releases Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta

    The MRC Engineering team, in collaboration with the newly formed Microsoft Mobile Computing Research Center (MCRC), has released the fourth and final cloud service for Windows Phone 7 development: Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

    This OCR service is the next step in the evolution of
    Project Hawaii, the Microsoft Research project that is exploring how to take full advantage of the cloud to enhance the use of smartphones.

    With Hawaii OCR, you can use your smartphone's camera to take a picture of an object that contains text (in Roman characters), send the image to the cloud, and in return receive a Unicode string of the text. This text string can be used in a number of interesting scenarios, such as translation of street signs or restaurant menus.

    Download the SDK and start building Windows Phone 7 apps today. For more details, read the Aloha: Text from the Cloud blog.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in Microsoft Kinect Devices and the opportunity of the Kinect SDK Beta



    Kinect for Windows SDK Beta

    Coming later this spring, the Kinect for Windows SDK is a programming toolkit that will enable researchers and enthusiasts with easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running Windows 7.

    So if your an interested academic who would like to do more with Microsoft Kinect please Subscribe to the RSS feed to get release announcements, updates, and more.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in Functional programming Try F# in a web browser



    Try F# Browser
    The Microsoft Research Connections (MRC) Computer Science team have announced the release of TryF#, a new tool that enables the Microsoft .NET language F# to be used in an interactive browser-based environment.

    TryF# makes F# accessible to users with Windows and Macs, and will soon work across all operating systems, including Linux. Computer scientists, programmers, and developers can access the online training tool.

    Also, join the TryF# community through Facebook and Twitter.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft announces Windows Azure Toolkits for Mobile Devices including iPhone and Android


    Today, Microsoft announced Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices, consisting of assets for Windows Phone, iOS and a preview of tools for Android.

    Using the toolkits, developers can use the cloud to accelerate the creation of applications on the major mobile platforms.

    Today announcement and the release of the API is a key goal to allowing developers to quickly develop and build apps that work with unique devices across a dozen platforms.

    The toolkits leverage the Microsoft Azure cloud resources to simplify the complexity of supporting multiple devices. As a common back-end, developers can use cloud services to share common requirements like device notifications, authentication, storage and even higher-level services like leaderboards.

    Developers can maximize the performance of each mobile device by writing client code that exploits each platform. As more and more mobile applications rely on back-end services, the Microsoft Azure cloud can become increasingly useful and strategic for developers.

    A huge opportunity of the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices to create applications on the major mobile platforms, specifically:

    Windows Azure Toolkit for iPhone (v1.0). Developers can download the package and quickly get started writing iPhone apps on the Windows Azure platform without having to have intimate knowledge of Microsoft tools, such as Visual Studio. Compiled iPhone code libraries to interact with Windows Azure, a sample iOS application, documentation, and a “Cloud Ready” Windows Azure deployment package are included.

    Links to access the free toolkits are below:


    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone (v1.2). Originally released last month, new developer features available in the next two weeks include integration with the Windows Azure Access Control Service (e.g., a wizard, automatic setup, tooling and code), full support for Windows Azure Storage Queues and an updated user interface for the supporting Web application.

    Links to access the free toolkits are below:  

    Windows Phone 7:

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Android (Prototype Preview). With the forthcoming release this summer, developers will be able to extend the functionality now available for iOS and Windows Phone to the Android platform with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android.


    To simplify the process of setting up services in Windows Azure, we are also releasing a “Cloud Ready” package for the toolkit. This package is designed to allow someone to quickly get started using Windows Azure without having to open and modify the services.

    Screencasts are available for developers seeking additional information: Getting Started with the iOS Toolkit and Deploying the Cloud Ready Package for Devices.  Windows Azure Technical Evangelist Wade Wegner’s blog contains a more detailed technical review of the iOS toolkit.

    By providing toolkits for Windows Phone 7, iOS, and Android, we are making it faster and easier for developers to use Windows Azure to provide services across device platforms

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Students can win prizes and awareness through Windows Phone 7 app development


    I am really excited how students are getting on with the development of application for Windows Phone 7. I was in a meeting today and a Student from Hull University was mentioned Harry Over’s. Harry has currently developed four apps which have been successfully developed and published via the Microsoft Marketplace.

    This evening I have been playing with his version of Destruction Golf BETA which been riding high in the Windows Phone Marketplace for a while now, with over 30,000 downloads for what is an on-going development.

    This really made me think, how many students are actually building apps themselves?

    Were aware that Windows Phone 7 development isn't a common place within the curriculum at present. As a result we have added a host of Windows Phone 7 development academic resources and curricula resources developed by Rob Miles to Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources. This content is simply to help assist UK academics whom wish to adopt the platform within teaching and learning.

    Another really important lesson is ensure you tell your students not to wait until all their game levels are complete before putting the game out into the MarketPlace. It is very easy to release upgrades to an existing program and quite a few developers are producing “episodic” content where they are releasing new versions at regular intervals.

    So if your an academic teaching Windows Phone 7 Development we would love to hear from you and if your academic simply with interested students please let them know about the following competition from Microsoft UK Students.

    The UK Student Windows Phone 7 app development competition is now into its third round. The competition is so easy to enter and it can get your student and your institution instant recognition within the UK Windows Phone 7 Developer community.

    All your students need to do is develop an app, publish it into Windows MarketPlace, email a screenshot of your Windows Phone 7 application together with its name, your publisher name and email address to and you are done. Remeber all students get a FREE marketplace account and Windows Phone 7 Development kit from 

    Round winners get a web cam and a Windows Phone 7 T-Shirt and runners up get a T-Shirt. The overall winner will receive an an HTC 7 Trophy. See the full Terms and Conditions below for further details and you can see Jamie’s Round 1 winning entry below


    Jamie’s entry was My Study Life which is quite self explanatory so if you have a Windows Phone 7 you can download it from MarketPlace. Search by publisher name virblue.

    Additionally Microsoft UK Windows Phone 7 Team are running the incentives programme, and students can use the same app!

    The competition is exclusively for UK Windows Phone developers. The purpose of this programme is simple, get rewarded by building an original and unique Windows Phone 7 application. There is a massive line up of prizes developers can redeem including Xbox360 consoles, LG 22” LCD TVs, Samsung Home Theatre Packages. In addition, by simply earning one point in the rewards programme, developers are automatically entered in the draw for an awesome weekly prize draw including Alienware, Acer & Dell laptops. For more information and conditions then click here.

    For more guidance to help you get started you may want to check out these key resources

    Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools

    Understanding the Windows Phone 7 Development Tools

    Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements

    Terms and conditions below.

    1. ELIGIBILITY: This competition is open to UK students who are 16 years of age or older at the time of entry. Employees of Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotion agencies are not eligible, nor are members of these employees’ families (defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse and life partners).

    2. TO ENTER: To enter, you have to have published a Windows Phone 7 application into Windows MarketPlace. Email a screenshot of your Windows Phone 7 application together with its name, your publisher name and email address to All entries submitted during the 2 weeks of each round of the competition and by midnight on the closing date of each round will be entered into a random draw, overseen by three Microsoft employees. At the end of all 6 rounds the individual round winners will be entered into a separate prize draw. Any number of entries per person is allowed BUT only one entry per application published in MarketPlace will be accepted. Incomplete, damaged, defaced or illegible entries may be deemed invalid at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft reserves the right to disqualify anyone in breach of these Terms and Conditions.

    3. TIMING: The competition timings are as follows (all timing are BST)

    Round 1 Saturday 00:01am April 2nd 2011 until midnight on Friday April 15th 2011

    Round 2 Saturday 00:01am April 16th 2011 until midnight on Friday April 29th 2011

    Round 3 Saturday 00:01am April 30th 2011 until midnight on Friday May 13th 2011

    Round 4 Saturday 00:01am May 14th 2011 until midnight on Friday May 27th 2011

    Round 5 Saturday 00:01am May 28th 2011 until midnight on Friday June 10th 2011

    Round 6 Saturday 00:01am June 11th 2011 until midnight on Friday June 24th 2011

    The closing date of the entire competition is midnight BST June 24th 2011. Completed entries will be entered into the prize draw for the applicable round based on when the email arrives in the Microsoft inbox.

    4. USE OF DATA: Personal data which you provide when you enter this competition will not be used for future Microsoft UK marketing activity.

    5. SELECTION OF WINNER: Three Microsoft employees will perform the random draw and the winner will be notified by email on during the week after each round closes. The winners agree to have their publisher names and application names published via the Microsoft UK Students Facebook page, Microsoft UK Students blog and Microsoft UK Students Twitter.

    6. PRIZE: The winning entrant for each round will receive one Web cam and a Windows Phone 7 t-shirt and one runner up will receive a Windows Phone 7 t-shirt. At the end of all 6 rounds the 6 first prize winners of each round will be entered into a separate prize draw to win a Windows Phone 7 HTC Trophy Device. Prize is as stated and non-transferable. No cash or other alternatives available. Microsoft reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. The prizes will be dispatched within two weeks of the competition’s closing date for each round. Prize may be considered a taxable benefit and the winner will be directly responsible for accounting for any tax liability arising on their prize.

    7. WINNERS LIST: The winner consents to their surname being made publicly available. The winner’s name and application name will be available for a period of 3 weeks after the closing date by emailing

    8. OTHER: No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this competition or these Terms and Conditions. In the unlikely event of a dispute, Microsoft’s decision shall be final. Microsoft reserves the right to amend, modify, cancel or withdraw this competition at any time without notice.

    9. Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party. Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, costs, damage or disappointment of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or arising out of fraud.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Tech.Days 2011


    Microsoft Tech.Days Events Schedule  - Get the latest product information awareness and training for FREE or vist :

    Thursday, 12 May 2011

    Windows Azure Bootcamp (3)

    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free half-day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure

    Windows Azure Bootcamp (4)

    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free half-day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure.

    Deploying and managing a modern desktop

    Desktop technology has marched on: user needs and expectations are changing; the Internet is a different place to 10 years ago and we haven't even mentioned virtualisation!

    Building and deploying applications onto the Windows Azure Platform for cloud computing

    This day is about getting you up to speed on why you should be looking at the Windows Azure Platform, what tools and services it offers and how you can start to explore it to create new solutions, migrate elements of existing solutions or integrate with existing systems.

    The Web

    If you're doing 'web' from HTML to MVC, then this is the place you'll want to be at Tech.Days.

    Tuesday, 24 May 2011

    Transform your Datacentre with Hyper-V and System Center

    Server virtualization is the starting point for building a private cloud. The automation and management of virtual machines allows for the delivery of a range of services - find out how you can use this to drive down costs and increase innovation in your organisation using Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V and System Center. 

    Building and deploying applications onto the Windows Azure Platform for cloud computing (Repeat)

    This day is about getting you up to speed on why you should be looking at the Windows Azure Platform, what tools and services it offers and how you can start to explore it to create new solutions, migrate elements of existing solutions or integrate with existing systems. 

    Windows Phone - 1. State of the Nation

    Build better Windows Phone applications and get them to market as quickly as possible. 

    Wednesday, 25 May 2011

    The public cloud for IT Professionals

    Cloud technology, and the solutions and platforms it enables, are driving a revolution in business and IT, delivering flexibility, cost reduction and higher levels of availability. Find out how you can implement Office 365, Windows Intune and Windows Azure in order to make this revolution happen in your organisation.

    Windows Phone - 2. What lies ahead

    What lies ahead for Windows Phone and Windows Phone developers? Find out what's in store in this fast-changing environment in a day packed with insight and inspiration. We’re very happy to announce that Brandon Watson, Head of Developer Ecosystem for Windows Phone 7 will be keynoting. Come along to get the freshest details on the Mango update as well as deep dives into developing with the Mango SDK.

    Building rich client applications

    Heading towards its 5th release, Silverlight has 65% adoption and key capabilities for business, media applications and casual gaming. During this day, we’ll touch on where Silverlight fits into Microsoft’s client strategy and what’s coming with the next release, and then we’ll quickly zoom in to focus on the patterns, frameworks and tools that you should know in order to build great Silverlight applications today. You can expect lots of code, lots of demos and lots of XAML.

    Thursday, 26 May 2011

    Microsoft Solutions for Your Mission Critical Enterprise

    Take a closer look at the latest Microsoft Application Platform capabilities. This evening session will cover SQL Server 2008 R2 as a mission critical platform, customer perspectives on Business Intelligence, BizTalk 2010, and a look at the next release of SQL, codename Denali.

    Developing with Bing…Extending Your Search Solutions

    Bing is now being incorporated into a diverse range of consumer and business applications. Join us at this afternoon and evening event to find out more, from Microsoft and external partner presenters talking on topics such as the Bing design philosophy, the Bing API and Bing Mobile Map Control. The session will finish with a Bing pub quiz with great prizes, drinks, and a chance to network!

    Connected Development

    Unable to attend Tech.Days 2011 in London? This key event is focused on IT decision makers and heads of development. We are pulling together the highlights of content from both Tech.Days and TechEd (North America). Whether you are developing for Client, Phone, Web or Cloud, this will be a great day of speakers and content to ensure your development is streamlined .

    Friday, 27 May 2011

    Windows Azure Bootcamp (5)

    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free half-day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure.

    Windows Azure Bootcamp (6)

    If you are a developer looking to take advantage of cloud computing, but you haven’t yet taken the plunge, this free half-day of training is the quickest way to get up-to-speed with Microsoft’s offering; Windows Azure.

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