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

October, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Touch Mouse: From an idea to award-winning paper to amazing product



    Touch Mouse

    For the past few weeks I have been getting to grips with my new Touch Mouse. Microsoft first unveiled the Touch Mouse, a new multi-touch device designed exclusively for Windows 7 that enables users to click, flick, scroll, and swipe at 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.

    The Touch mouse makes it easier and more fun to interact with a PC. Touch Mouse combines the virtues of a traditional mouse with the rich natural language of gesture. The new mouse has already received an accolade, winning ‘Best Peripheral’ at CES from Endgadget,

    So what's special about this mouse - two fingers snap windows into place, three fingers quickly switch tasks, and your thumb can move forwards and backwards through websites, photos and documents.’

    Like many of Microsoft products the Touch Mouse began in 2009 as part of a research project called ‘Mouse 2.0’ conducted by Microsoft Research and Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group. The results of that research were presented in 2009 during the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, garnering a best-paper award.

    Nic Villar

    Lead paper author from MSRC, Nic Villar, is particularly excited about the product release “When I finished my PhD at Lancaster University three years ago and came to work for Microsoft, I didn’t imagine that my research would contribute to a new product for the company so quickly or in such a tangible way. What’s particularly pleasing about this project is the close collaboration between MSR Cambridge and our colleagues in Redmond, which was critical to the successful transition from research to product. Following the initial research insights described in the award-winning ‘Mouse 2.0’ paper, the MSRC Innovation and Development team worked closely with the Hardware product team in Redmond to turn the research prototype into the commercial product that’s being released this year.”

    A huge advantage Microsoft has is nearly every product which Microsoft ships includes some form of technologies from Microsoft Research. So what does this advantage mean, through exploration and cross company collaboration we can advance the state of art computer science.

  • 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    Build Scalable Mobile Applications for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.


    Did you know that you can build your next mobile app on Windows Azure?

    The process of building mobile apps is now easier than ever with the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices. With support for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, these toolkits let you easily build apps that use Windows Azure cloud services.


    Cloud services and phone applications are a powerful combination. You can now use the Windows Azure platform as a backend for your next phone application. Windows Azure provides you scalability so you can focus on your application as opposed to the infrastructure.

    The process of building mobile applications using Windows Azure is now easier than ever with the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices. With support for Windows Phone, iOS, and Android, the Windows Azure Toolkit for Devices lets you easily build mobile applications that use Windows Azure cloud services.

    Get started now:

    Step 1: Download the Toolkit

    iOS Toolkit Download the iOS Toolkit

    Android Toolkit Download the Android Toolkit

    WP Toolkit Download the WP Toolkit

    Step 2: Download the SDK

    (Skip this step if you have the SDK)

    Step 3: Get the Windows Azure Free Trial

  • 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

    Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program


    Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship2012 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program
    Microsoft Research is inviting nominations for its Faculty Fellowship program. 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.

    Don't delay: The nominations and application deadline is October 31, 2011.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    New Curriculum Resources for Windows Phone Development


    The Faculty Connection Resource Center is a multi-language collection including course outlines, textbooks, tests, labs, source code, and other materials developed by Microsoft or contributed by faculty worldwide. Highlighted below are some of the newest resources added this past month:

    Building Applications for Windows Phone 7.5
    Mango Jump StartThis introductory content covers how to create Windows Phone "Mango" solutions, edit program source files, add and manage program resources, and then build and run the solution. Once you are done with the basics, continue on with additional Jump Start sessions that examine Silverlight, building interfaces with Expression, app data storage, using Bing Maps, developing with XNA, and even selling apps. This material is designed for 1st and 2nd year university students.

    Windows Phone 7.5 Tutorials
    The newly released tutorials on .toolbox illustrate how Silverlight and Expression Blend can help you build stellar apps on Windows Phone using the new "Mango" features and capabilities. The .toolbox site is a fun online learning environment, where you will learn basic design concepts and how to apply them, as well as the fundamentals of creating Silverlight applications using the Expression Studio tools.

    Game Development with XNA: Semester 1
    Game Development with XNA: Semester 1 is an exciting CS course in game and simulation development using C# and the XNA framework. Video tutorials and extensive labs enable students to apply foundational programming skills to learn advanced skills. This material is designed for high school or introductory classes.

    What's New in Windows Phone 7.5
    The latest release of Windows Phone has hundreds of improvements and new features. Explore these features plus learn how to get Windows Phone 7.5 on your current phone. If you are teaching your students about mobile applications, consider trying Windows Phone 7 curriculum resources.

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

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