October, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Some nice tips on Mobile Application Design and layouts


    1012_1a_Mango_Start_Phone_English_Red_061011_jpg         HTC 

    When your developing a mobile application how much time and effort do you spend on application design and user interface?

    Mobile development has been growing since the day Apple introduced iPhone. Mobile browser has never been so robust and to make your application stand out you need to make the additional effort on the User Interface experience and its design. 

    To help you start up your mobile development, here are some useful insights into the design aspect required to create awesome appealing apps.

    Type Face


    On way-finding graphics


    On mobile audio


    On light & space in architecture


    The Windows Phone Experience

    Useful Resources and tips for building windows phone applications

    Using SketchFlow Part 1: Discovering Basic Principles of UX Design for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    Using SketchFlow Part 1: Discovering Basic Principles of UX Design for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    In this lesson you discover the process of conceptualizing an application, such as gaining an understanding of the user’s needs and goals. You also find out how to start your prototype using Expression Blend and the SketchFlow for Windows Phone template.

    Using SketchFlow Part 2: Adding References and Sample Data to your Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango" Project

    Using SketchFlow Part 2: Adding References and Sample Data to your Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango" Project

    In this module you will add sample data, and then edit both the ItemsPanel and the ItemTemplate of a ListBox to create a professional look for your data.

    Using SketchFlow Part 3: Creating a Customized WrapPanel for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    Using SketchFlow Part 3: Creating a Customized WrapPanel for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    In this module, users discover how to custom edit their data templates for their phone app by importing images and adding motion.

    Using SketchFlow Part 4: Customizing Existing Controls to Create the UI for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    Using SketchFlowPart 4: Customizing Existing Controls to Create the UI for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    In this module, viewers discover how to drop in Native Adobe Illustrator artwork and turn it into working controls. They also find out how to edit the button template, take advantage of states, transitions and behaviors.

    Using SketchFlow Part 5: Adding Behaviors to Your ListBoxItems for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    Using SketchFlow Part 5: Adding Behaviors to Your ListBoxItems for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    In this section, you discover how to use the sample data, along with some behaviors and state changes to replicate selection choices in a ListBox.

    Metro Design Language of Windows Phone 7

    Metro Design Language of Windows Phone 7

    Metro is the name of the new design language created for the Windows Phone 7 interface. When given the chance for a fresh start, the Windows Phone design team drew from many sources of inspiration to determine the guiding principles for the next generation phone interface.

    Windows Phone 7: Starting to Design an Application

    Windows Phone 7: Starting to Design an Application

    Microsoft Expression Blend offers a feature rich environment for designing highly interactive experiences on Windows Phone 7.

    Design Tips and Tricks for Windows Phone 7

    Design Tips and Tricks for Windows Phone 7

    The following list of tips and tricks will help you design and develop Windows Phone 7 applications.

    Layout Tips and Tricks of Windows Phone 7

    Layout Tips and Tricks of Windows Phone 7

    One of the more powerful features that Silverlight offers you is an array of container controls providing a simple way to accomplish the layout of your dynamic applications.

    Taking Advantage of Photoshop Templates

    Taking Advantage of Photoshop Templates

    In this tutorial, you discover how to use Photoshop Windows Phone 7 template files to create pixel-perfect application layouts for your Windows Phone 7 application.

    FXG Import and Workflow

    FXG Import and Workflow

    FXG is an acronym for Flash XML Graphics File, and it describes an XML-based graphics interchange format created by Adobe for the Flash Platform, and is supported by Microsoft Expression Blend.

    Designing for Gestures on Windows Phone 7

    Designing for Gestures on Windows Phone 7

    No longer do smart phones of today depend only on hardware keyboards or the stylus of the past. Windows Phone 7 devices come equipped with a capacitive touch screen that offers a smooth, accurate, multi-touch enabled experience for the user.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Preview of Windows 8 now available under MSDNAA


    Windows 8Preview Windows 8
    Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, recently unveiled the touch-first user interface of Windows 8, along with a whole host of other new features. Be the first in your department to explore Windows 8 using the New Windows Dev Center. There you will find the Windows Developer Preview guide, code samples, forums, docs, and other resources. To provide Microsoft Windows 8 free to your students, check whether your institution is already a member of MSDN Academic Alliance.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012


    IC    IC2012

    “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.”

    The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. It provides an opportunity for students to use their creativity, passion, and knowledge of technology to help solve global challenges and make a difference in the world. While competing for cash and prizes, students gain real-life experiences, make new friends, and change the world.

    Now in its tenth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real-world problems. 358,000 students representing 183 countries and regions registered for the Imagine Cup 2011 Competition. The Imagine Cup is one way Microsoft encourages the brightest young minds to join together and use technology to take on the toughest problems facing our world today, whether it is combatting diseases, improving education or creating disaster communication systems.


    How is Microsoft UK supporting Imagine Cup 2012?

    This year we have changed our approach to the Imagine Cup competition in the UK.

    Universities have the opportunity to hold local finals for the Software Design competition, to find the best team and project to represent their institution. The winning team of each institution that runs a local final is guaranteed a place in the UK final of the Imagine Cup, judged by a panel of the industry’s brightest and most influential business minds. Teams that do not win their local final can enter online for the chance to win a place in the Imagine Cup UK final.

    Students who do not enter the Software Design competition through their institution are still eligible to submit projects into the Online Competition, judged by Microsoft, for a place in the UK final of the Imagine Cup.

    Institution Competition


    To qualify for the Institution Competition:

    1. The institution must commit to have a minimum of three teams entering the Imagine Cup 2012 Software Design competition. Two or more institutions can choose to run a joint competition, but only one winning team will be guaranteed a place in the UK final.

    2. Each team must have one faculty mentor.

    3. All competitors are bound by the Rules and Regulations of the worldwide Imagine Cup 2012 competition.

    4. The Institution Competition must be clearly promoted as being part of the Imagine Cup.

    5. The Institution must notify Microsoft of their interest in running a local Imagine Cup competition by sending an e-mail to ukfac@microsoft.com no later than 17:00 on Wednesday 30th November 2011.


    The benefits of holding an Institution Competition include:

    · The winning team from the Institution Competition is automatically through to the UK Imagine Cup Software Design final.

    · Employees from Microsoft will be available to sit on the judging panel of the local final.

    · Microsoft will endeavour to identify local technology companies that can offer industry mentors to the student teams.

    · Microsoft will offer prizes to winners and runner-ups of local finals.

    · Microsoft will provide Imagine Cup marketing materials to the Institution

    · Microsoft will highlight the Institution Competition in blogs, on our web site and other channels.

    · Teams from the Institution Competition that do not win their local final can enter the online competition for a place in the Imagine Cup UK final.

    Get your students to register for Imagine Cup 2012.

    Online Competition

    The Online Competition will be for student teams who haven’t entered through their institutions or who have not won their Institution Competition for Software Design. Software Design teams entering through the Online Competition have the option to submit partially complete projects prior to the final deadline for review by, and feedback from, Microsoft.

    All entrants of the Game Design and IT Challenge competitions must also enter online.

    Get your students to register for Imagine Cup 2012.

    Key Dates

    Wednesday 30th November 2011 - 17:00

    Deadline for notifying Microsoft UK of the intention to run a local Institution Competition for the Imagine Cup 2012.

    Sunday 4th March 2012 - 23:59

    Deadline for submission of partially complete projects for review by, and feedback from, Microsoft. Feedback will be provided by Friday 16th March 5:30 pm.

    Tuesday 13th March 2012

    Deadline for preliminary summary of project submission online at www.imaginecup.com.

    Sunday 15th April 2012 - 23:59

    Project submission deadline online (both online entries and institution final winner entries).

    Tuesday 17th April 2012

    Announcement of shortlisted online Software Design entries.

    Thursday 19th April 2012

    Judging of finalists in London with external judging panel.

    Wednesday 25th April 2012

    Live broadcast of Imagine Cup UK final results and feedback.

    July 2012

    Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals in Sydney, Australia.

    For any questions or more information please email ukfac@microsoft.com

    See last year’s Imagine Cup winner Team Hermes from Ireland

    See Team Note-Taker from the USA’s entry here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Are you teaching Android or iOS mobile development? Consider porting your apps…



    Many institutions are already teaching existing Mobile Development curricula using iOS or Android, some of you are now considering or starting to develop and implement Windows Phone curricula. For those of you teaching iOS and Android you may be interested in the tools Microsoft has developed for porting iPhone & Android apps to Windows Phone. Microsoft has additionally developed the following resources which are helping support your teaching curricula. Additionally we hope the resources will allow you to easily demonstrate to your students the value of having applications in all the main vendors mobile application Market Places.

    Earlier this month Microsoft announced new guidance based on migration samples and a SQLite to SQL Server Compact database conversion tool. I hope that these new items combined with our previous extensive guides (for Android, iPhone, and Symbian Qt) will accelerate your ramp up time and improve your teaching experience of porting apps from vendor to vendor. Read more at the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

    Again if your teaching gaming development or have an existing application or game that you want to bring to Windows Phone 7.5? Microsoft has developed  a new series of videos where your shown exactly how to migrate these to Windows Phone, step by step. Each video has a corresponding code sample to help get you started.

    1. From XNA to SL XNA
    2. Adding FAS to XNA
    3. Adding FAS to a Typical Silverlight Application
    4. Adding Secondary Tiles NEW!
    5. Adding Background Agents NEW!
    6. Using a Live Camera Feed NEW!
    7. Using Push Notifications with Secondary Tiles and Deep Toast NEW!

    Watch the series and get more information from http://create.msdn.com/en-gb and visit http://create.msdn.com/en-gb/education/gamedevelopment

    For those of you, who are thinking about Windows Phone and mobile curricula we have developed a comprehensive Mobile Development curricula and resources at Microsoft Faculty Connection.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Project Hawaii: Cloud-Enabled Mobile Computing

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    Project Hawaii: Cloud-Enabled Mobile Computing

    Project Hawaii offers university students the opportunity to explore how the cloud can enhance mobile devices, especially the increasingly ubiquitous smartphone.

    Find samples of student-created applications that range from assisting people who are blind or visually impaired to identify their locations and contact other people to enabling individuals with smart phones to contribute to a variety of science research projects by gathering useful information using the sensors on their phones.

    For more details see http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/hawaii/applications/

    Project Hawaii SDK: Create Mobile Applications—Watch the Video

    Find out how you can create cloud-enabled mobile applications with the tools and services that are included in the Project Hawaii software development kit (SDK). Arjmand Samuel, research program manager from Microsoft Research Connections, talks about what the SDK contains and how it can be used to develop Windows Phone applications.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows SDK Beta and .NET Gadgeteer Makes it to Future of Technology in Eduction FOTE 2011

    clip_image002 Kinect clip_image004

    Kinect for Windows SDK Beta and .NET Gadgeteer Makes it to Future of Technology in Eduction FOTE 2011

    The session discussed Microsoft Kinect within teaching, learning and research. Since its release of Kinect, there has been tremendous enthusiasm and fascination. Kinect is not only a tool to help navigation and interaction, but a tool to help students to get even more engaged in learning.

    Kinect is already making a difference in getting students more excited about their learning environment, and helping students to get engaged…and actually get more excited about studying. We are at an exciting time with the availability of the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK). Kinect and NUI will bring more interactive classroom environments, the development of new learning styles that will help students with and without disabilities to get more engaged with learning, as well as the potential for much more interactive navigation tools, helping to get students involved in the teaching, learning and research.

    The power of Kinect is here it’s now your turn for ideas and exploration, for more details of the event and to watch the presentation see http://fote-conference.com/wordpress/

    The Microsoft stand was represented by a two-way partnership between the Microsoft Research Connections team and the Microsoft Faculty Connection  team and contained demos of Kinect for Windows SDK beta, Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer, and Microsoft Robotics with support from Microsoft Research Connections

    Kinect and Gadgeteer also made an attendance at  the World Maker Faire 2011

    The Maker Fair is an inspiring showcase of creativity and cool technology that celebrates technology enthusiasts of all ages. From September 17 to 18 at the New York Hall of Science, Microsoft was represented by a three-way partnership between the Kinect for Windows SDK beta, Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer, and Microsoft Robotics with support from Microsoft Research Connections. The showpieces were the launch of Robotics Developer Studio 4 beta and a new reference design robot, Eddie, from Parallax, Inc. Which had a number of  Kinect SDK beta demos which included: on-board robot sensing and natural user interface (NUI) robot control, including a roving “party photographer” robot.

    Kinect for Windows SDK Beta

    Interest in the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) beta, released on June 16, 2011, has been strong, and we’re delighted to learn that so many academic developers and researchers are experimenting with natural user interface (NUI) applications and have taken advantage of the SDK to explore the potential of the Kinect sensor.

    In support of our commitment to encourage researchers and enthusiasts in their exploration of the exciting possibilities of the Kinect sensor. The community has provided us with a lot of good feedback, and we hope the latest  release addresses some of the top items you’ve told us about.

    Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer Launched


    Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source platform for building and refining prototype electronic devices quickly and easily.

    It was developed by Nic Villar and James Scott in the Sensors and Devices group at Microsoft Research Cambridge that is managed by Steve Hodges. The Microsoft EMEA Press Centre announced its commercial availability and the hardware is available for pre-order through GHI Electronics. Learn more.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Curriculum on Game Development using XNA



    This exciting and engaging computer science semester course enables students to apply a basic foundation in programming to create games using C# and Microsoft XNA Game Studio.


    Don't forget simply login to DreamSpark.com for your FREE XNA software and developer tools.

    The course guides you through the development of Games using Visual Studio 2010 C# combined with the Microsoft XNA framework which creates the XNA Game Studio – a professional game development environment for PC, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone.

    Students will

    • Address social causes and real-world problems
    • Explore game and simulation development as communication and art
    • Apply knowledge of variables, conditionals, loops, object-oriented programming, recursion, and data structures to game creation.

    The free curriculum package includes

    • Teacher Roadmap
    • Daily lesson plans
    • Demonstration projects
    • 14 video tutorials
    • 22 lab assignments and solutions
    • Student activities
    • Assessment tools with keys and exemplars


    Game Development with XNA: Semester 1 - Teacher Roadmap

    Game Development with XNA: Semester 1 - Part 1 Basics

    Game Development with XNA: Semester 1 - Part 2 Games for All

    Game Development with XNA: Semester 1 - Appendix

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Price changes Microsoft Azure Storage



    Effective immediately, Microsoft are lowering the price of Windows Azure Storage (from $0.15 to $0.14 per GB per month.)

    Additionally Microsoft are now offering volume discounts, which will give high-volume customers additional savings.

    All Windows Azure Storage customers will automatically receive the reduced storage price effective October 26, 2011. High-volume customers with regular usage are eligible for additional savings through the Storage Core Offer.

    A breakdown of pricing discounts is listed below. Please note, the prices below are price tiers, not graduated prices. For example, if you store 400 TBs using the commitment offer your price will be $0.112 per GB per month for the full amount, not just the amount over 50TBs.

    For prices above 5 Petabytes per month, customers are asked to contact Microsoft Education Account Manager for assistance.

    For additional details on Azure and this offer, please click here.

    Microsoft are thrilled to extend these price discounts following last month’s addition of geo-replication to Windows Azure Storage, which together provide the best value in the industry for cloud storage.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Welcome to F# 3.0


    A developer preview of F# 3.0 was made available as part of the preview-release of Visual Studio 11 announced at //build/ in Los Angeles.

    F# brings a powerful, succinct, efficient and expressive language, which allows the user to write simple code to solve complex problems. F# is a productivity accelerator it is used by a growing community to solve analytical programming problems in a variety of domains, such as trading, finance, bio-informatics, blog analysis, advertising, and energy markets. To learn more about F#, visit the F# Developer Center.

    With F# 3.0, the team is maintaining and expanding this vision through the addition of F# Information Rich Programming, including F# Type Providers and F# LINQ Queries.

    Check out Don Syme's talk at //build/ here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    2012 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program



    Microsoft Research are presently seeking applications from EMEA for the 2012 Faculty Fellowship Program which is targeted at early career faculty members whom are nominated by their institution.

    Announcing the 2012 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program

    Microsoft Research is inviting nominations for its Faculty Fellowship program, starting on September 30, 2011. This program recognizes and supports exceptional early-career faculty engaged in innovative computing research. The objective is to stimulate and support the research of promising individuals who have the potential to make a profound impact on the state-of-the-art in their research disciplines and to become future thought leaders.  Each fellowship award includes a cash gift that is appropriate for the region and is intended to help fund research activities for up to two years.

    The winners of the 2012 faculty fellowship awards will be announced at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in July 2012. Note that only one (1) application will be accepted per research institution (e.g. one from Harvard University all departments included).  The potential Fellows for the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship program must be nominated by their research institution, and their nominations must be confirmed by a letter from the head of the institution (e.g., office of the Dean, Chancellor, Pro-Vice Chancellor, President, and so on). Direct applications from new faculty members are not accepted.

    Nominations open: September 30, 2011.

    Nominations and application deadline: October 31, 2011.

    Nominations are to be submitted online at: https://cmt.research.microsoft.com/MSRFacultyFellowship/

    For further information, please visit http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/collaboration/awards/msrff.aspx for eligibility criteria and instructions.


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