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!
In line with the todays launch of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, I have collected a set of useful resources and links
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Download
Windows 8 Consumer Preview download (web installer or ISO’s), videos, and FAQ’s.
Developer downloads for Metro style apps
Visual Studio 11 Express and the Windows 8 SDK + all the extra tools and SDK’s for Metro style app development.
Design assets for Metro style apps
100+ Photoshop files with common controls, shell components, tiles, icons, animation clips, color wheel references, and more.
Metro style app developer content
Windows Dev Center home
Links to Metro style app, Desktop app, Hardware, and IE development.
Metro style app development home
Links to key resources for designing, developing, and selling Metro style apps.
Product guide for developers
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Developers.
Comprehensive docs, articles, quickstarts, roadmaps, tutorials, checklists, developer agreements, and whitepapers covering all aspects of app design, development, and selling:
· Getting started · Planning apps · Designing UX for apps · Developing apps · Packaging apps · Debugging and testing apps · Selling apps · API reference · Concepts and architecture · Language reference · End-to-end apps
Design principles, UX design patterns, detailed UX guidelines, downloadable design assets, assessing usability.
Selling apps in the Windows Store
Windows Store markets, developer agreements, and checklists to prepare.
Visual Studio Express and the Windows 8 SDK + extra tools and SDK’s for Metro style app development.
Metro style app samples
Over 200 official samples from Microsoft are available in multiple programming languages. You can copy code inline, upload new code, rate, and leave comments.
Developer forums for Metro style apps covering designing, developing, and selling apps.
Blogs for developers
Building Windows 8 blog (B8)
An inside look at how, what, and why different features of Windows 8 are being built. This blog is written by Windows President Steven Sinofsky together with members of the Windows engineering team.
Windows Store blog for developers
All about doing business in the Windows Store. Members of the engineering team who’ve built the Windows Store write posts along with Antoine Leblond, Vice President of Windows Web Services.
Windows 8 app developer blog (D8)
Explores best practices for coding and designing Metro style apps. It is written by the team of developers who are building Windows 8.
Windows Internet Explorer Engineering Team Blog.
Inside Windows Live blog
The engineering being Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, and Windows Live.
Visual Studio Blog
The official source of product insight from the Visual Studio Engineering Team.
The Windows Blog
Consumer and general interest topics.
Social channels for developers
Twitter (Building Windows 8)
Twitter (Windows Dev Center)
Consumer Preview Newsletter
Launching with Consumer Preview
Tips, offers, and news about Windows 8 including resources for developers and businesses.
Desktop app developer/partner content
Desktop app certification requirements
Certification requirements for Windows 8 desktop apps.
Desktop App Certification Kit
The Windows 8 SDK includes the Windows App Certification Kit to test desktop apps and get them ready for certification.
Tips and fixes for common issues with desktop apps for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and software for Windows Server 8 Beta.
Compatibility of desktop apps and devices with Windows 8. Partners can add products and update compatibility status using this template.
Hardware developer/partner content
Hardware Certification Requirements
Windows 8 Hardware Certification Requirements and Policies
Hardware tools and certification kit
Windows Consumer Preview Kits and Tools for hardware development
Driver development documentation
Developing, testing, and deploying drivers
Hardware and driver community resources
Forums, blogs, and newsletters for the hardware and driver developer community.
New Updates - What’s new
AppHub Integration: Linking your DreamSpark Account with a Microsoft Live ID
I’m very excited to inform you that we’ve completed our “AppHub Integration: Linking DreamSpark Account with Live ID”
This will now dramatically improve the experience of those students that were having difficulties with App Hub registration.
With the update to DreamSpark students and educators create a new DreamSpark account that is not a Windows Live ID. However for students who wish to produce application for Xbox or Windows Phone require a Windows Live ID, to create apphub accounts via http://create.msdn.com. We have now enabled the system, to enable educators or students to map their DreamSpark account to new or existing Windows Live ID.
Here is the workflow:
- Student/Educator visits the page https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?ProductId=26 and sees [Map your Live ID] button enabled and [Register on AppHub] button disabled.
- Student/Educator Clicks on [Map your Live ID] button.
- Student/Educator Sign in on DreamSpark site with their Verified account (or get the account verified).
- Student/Educator then logs in using Windows Live ID account.
- Student/Educator is shown the message “Are you sure you want your map your DreamSpark login (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your Windows Live ID (email@example.com) with [Ok] and [Cancel] buttons.
- Student/Educator clicks on [Ok] button a Accounts will be mapped a User automatically signed out from Live ID account à User will be redirected to the page https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?ProductId=26 with [Map your Live ID] button disabled and [Register on AppHub] button enabled.
Team Foundation Server and what’s is the benefits of using TFS within your teaching labs?
So what is Team Foundation Server 2010.
Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 provides the code collaboration functionality for your software development students within a single very integrated product.
These functionality provides
TFS is separated server product designed specifically for engineering teams with developers, testers, architects, project managers, system analyst and all others who is part of software development life cycle.
Team Foundation Server on premise consist of two parts can be deployed in single / many machines
Team Foundation Server 2010 in the cloud – TFS Preview on Azure
I specifically want to discuss the latest preview release of Team Foundation Server which is available on windows Azure cloud as a SaaS service, allowing to quickly adopt TFS with the minimal infrastructure and administration burden. When we discuss the cloud the first questions are over security, compliance and concerns of source code and IPR. A typical comments we see is “I cannot host my source code in Microsoft or codeplex environment since the information we have is valuable to the institution”. This is a misconception that is common when it comes to the “cloud”. Especially there are a private and public cloud options. If you don’t want your source code out of your network firewall you could use a private cloud SAAS, use the following Cloud assessment tool http://www.cloudassessmenttool.com/Assessment.aspx
To date we are working with a number of UK Universities in relation to this preview release, and have a number of invitation codes available for UK Academics. We have these codes available for you to validate and use a implementation of Team Foundation Services in the cloud.
So if your interested in testing this solution please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org from your academic email. The purpose of this preview and invitation codes are to allow you as academics and teaching institutions to
1. Understand the new process and allows you some time to evaluate and become aware of the opportunity of the cloud.
2. It provides a very simply way of proving this new tool to you. So we want to easily demonstrate that TFS Preview offers a solution to many institutions who are looking for a Cloud Hosted TFS or simply even a source code repository for their team working environment.
3. We hope TFS 2010 will be revolution in all aspects such as (Workflow builds, infrastructure, Lab management, Test manager, work items, SharePoint dashboards, project server integration and student performance monitoring).
What are the benefits
Team Foundation Service Preview enables everyone on your team to collaborate more effectively, be more agile, and deliver better quality software.
How to go about using TFS Preview
Connecting to TFS in the Cloud from Visual Studio 2010
Visual Studio 2011 Beta
If your interested in developing for Windows 8 http://dev.windows.com then you will need to use Visual Studio 2011 which includes a full Windows 8 emulator and Windows 8 Metro solution templates.
You can download and install Visual studio 2011from here
There has been a number of improvements with Visual Studio 2011, I will quickly walk you through connecting Visual Studio 2011 to TFS Preview.
The first thing I will do is create new team project.
A browser window open to create new team project.
Join us for the upcoming launch of System Center 2012. Learn about 2012's exciting wave of Microsoft Private Cloud product launches and announcements – starting with the release of System Center 2012. Get the latest insights into the Microsoft Private Cloud and learn what's new in System Center 2012. The Best of MMS 2012 brings you the highlights from MMS 2012 conference in a choice of UK-wide one-day or virtual events.
Understand the Microsoft Private Cloud vision, strategy and roadmap, with deep dive sessions on managing your applications, infrastructure, desktops and devices plus sessions on service delivery and automation – opportunities you won't want to miss.
Experience how System Center 2012 lets you manage your virtual, physical and cloud environments from a single console using common and consistent management experiences that give you full control of your datacentre.
The Best of MMS 2012 is the best possible opportunity to interact with Microsoft, key strategic partners and customers at ONE of THREE events.
The Best of MMS 2012 Agenda
Microsoft's Private Cloud: Built For The Future, Ready Now
What's New in System Center 2012
Infrastructure and Fabric Management
Service Delivery and Automation
Desktop and Device Management
Networking and Close
We look forward to seeing you in May.
8th May 2012, Hilton Deansgate, Manchester
10th May 2012, Thames Valley Park, Reading
17th May 2012, Cardinal Place, London
REGISTER HERE FOR THE SUMMIT 8th May 2012, Hilton Deansgate, Manchester
10th May 2012, Thames Valley Park, Reading
17th May 2012, Cardinal Place, London
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER. Keep up with the latest MMS news, announcements & speakers at #mmsuk
CAN'T MAKE IT IN PERSON? Join us for one of our two virtual events:
22nd March 2012, 10:00-13:00
21st June 2012, 10:00-13:00
Normally, if were installing the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 onto a single machine you do it through the web installer located here:
or via Microsoft Download centre at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=27570
However, if you need to install it on a disconnected machine (VM image) or deploy the SDK to a number of machines within a lab or cluster it’s helpful to have an .iso of the installation media to install from.
Microsoft also provides a download for the .iso as well. You can get it from here http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=226694
Installing the Windows Phone SDK via ISO
Phone SDK consists of many packages/products and all these are installed on User’s machine as part of Phone SDK installation. Some of these packages are Emulator, XNA, Blend, Visual Studio Add-in for VS Ultimate, etc. Each individual package has got it’s own MSI.
When you extract the ISO (let’s say in dvd folder), you will find Setup.exe at the base level (dvd folder). This is a chainer and invokes all the MSIs one-after-another, the same way you mentioned below. Anyone who wants to install through ISO, should double-click Setup.exe and installation will start. It also gives you the option of Silent install same as MSI (option /q) and thus can be used through automation scripts as well.
This is an important folder which contains most of the package MSIs but they should not be invoked separately. The complete installation is dependent on the sequence in which these MSIs are installed.
After Uninstall, only Expression Blend entries are left back and this is known. Blend is a separately installed product and many Universities may therefore have this previously installed, as such we decided not to uninstall Blend in case a licensed version is present on the machine and our uninstall causes any problems with previously installed products.
In short, consider Setup.exe as your master MSI and use it in your scripts, everything should work.
The creation of MSI is primary used for legacy applications that were written prior to msi technology, and may be unreliable as the "snapshot" technique does not take into account existing software dependencies.
Windows does not natively contain the necessary tools for you to create your own MSI files. Instead, you will have to rely on a third party MSI creation tool. There are several good tools available for free. Two of the more popular choices are MAKEMSI (http://dennisbareis.com/makemsi.htm) and WinInstall LE 2003 (http://www.ondemandsoftware.com/freele.asp).
The reason why .MSI files are the preferred installer package for Windows is because of the file format’s capabilities. When you install or uninstall an MSI file on a machine running Windows 7, Windows creates a system restore point. Furthermore, MSI files allow the application to be “self healing”. I’ll talk more about this later on, but basically this means that if part of the application is damaged or removed, then Windows has enough information to replace the damaged or missing parts. Finally, MSI files allow the system to automatically perform a rollback to its previous state if an installation should fail.
With MSI files having so many capabilities, it should come as no surprise that MSI files tend to be a bit complex. MSI files are actually database files with information pertaining to every file and setting that the application installs or modifies. Because of this complexity, most of the MSI file creation utilities require you to do at least some scripting when you create an MSI file.
WinInstall LE requires you to have a machine with a clean Windows installation and network connectivity. The software then takes a snapshot of this machine and saves the configuration image. You would then install the application that you want to create the MSI file for and take another snap shot. WinInstall would then compare the snapshots and use the differences between the two images to create an MSI file and the corresponding installation package.
This method is a little time consuming, but is far less tedious than writing scripts. Another advantage to using this method is that it is possible to install multiple applications on to the clean machine prior to taking the second snap shot. This means that you can create a single MSI file and installation package that deploys multiple applications.
Now that you know how to create an MSI file, there is one last concept that I need to talk about before I show you how to deploy an application thorough the Active Directory.
As you may already know, in an Active Directory environment, group policies are the main component of network security. Group policy objects can be applied either to users or to computers. Deploying applications through the Active Directory is also done through the use of group policies, and therefore applications are deployed either on a per user basis or on a per computer basis.
There are two different ways that you can deploy an application through the Active Directory. You can either publish the application or you can assign the application. You can only publish applications to users, but you can assign applications to either users or to computers. The application is deployed in a different manner depending on which of these methods you use.
Publishing an application doesn’t actually install the application, but rather makes it available to users. For example, suppose that you were to publish the Windows Phone SDK tools. Publishing is a group policy setting, so it would not take effect until the next time that the user logs in. When the user does log in though, they will not initially notice anything different. However, if the user were to open the Control Panel and click on the Add / Remove Programs option, they will find that Microsoft Windows SDK is now on the list. A user can then choose to install Microsoft Windows SDK on their machine.
Assigning an application to a user works differently than publishing an application. Again, assigning an application is a group policy action, so the assignment won’t take effect until the next time that the user logs in. When the user does log in, they will see that the new application has been added to the Start menu and / or to the desktop.
Although a menu option or an icon for the application exists, the software hasn’t actually been installed though. To avoid overwhelming the server containing the installation package, the software is not actually installed until the user attempts to use it for the first time.
This is also where the self healing feature comes in. When ever a user attempts to use the application, Windows always does a quick check to make sure that the application hasn’t been damaged. If files or registry settings are missing, they are automatically replaced.
Assigning an application to a computer works similarly to assigning an application to a user. The main difference is that the assignment is linked to the computer rather than to the user, so it takes effect the next time that the computer is rebooted. Assigning an application to a computer also differs from user assignments in that the deployment process actually installs the application rather than just the application’s icon.
Setting up the actual deployment is simple. The biggest thing that you must remember is that the MSI file and the corresponding package must exist within a network share, and everyone must have read permissions for that share.
To perform the deployment, open the Group Policy Editor. To publish or assign an application to a user, navigate through the group policy console to User Configuration | Software Settings | Software Installation. Now, right click on the Software Installation container and select the New | Package commands from the shortcut menu. Select the appropriate MSI file and click Open. You are now asked whether you want to publish or assign the application. Make your selection and click OK.
The process for assigning an application to a computer is almost identical. The only real difference is that you would use the Software Settings | Software Installation container beneath the Computer Configuration container rather than beneath the User Configuration container.
We want to your feedback on the DreamSpark service within the UK
We know a lot of you use DreamSpark but we’d like to know a little more about its value to you. So we are running in conjunction with c3education to get a more detailed understanding.
We would like to see if it is helping raise attainment levels for educators and students and get general feedback on the programme. We need this so that we have evidence to share with the public and with journalists interested in the story. The ideal situation would be to establish a baseline for the beginning of the programme and to record impact perhaps twice a year, to check whether we are on track.
From today 21st of February 2012,we have a launched two surveys one for students and one for academics.
Below are the links to each of the questionnaires.
DreamSpark – Academics/Educator Survey https://nerp241b2.questionpro.com
DreamSpark –Student Survey https://nerp241b1.questionpro.com c3education who are operating the survey on our behalf will offer an Xbox 360 and a Kinect sensor to one lucky winner who completes the survey by 29th Feb 2012 and gives us their contact details at the end of the survey. You have to be a UK student. The winner will be drawn at random from all completions who fill in their details in the survey.
Your feedback and assistance, in completing these would be greatly appreciated, We will also share top level results through this blog and our Linkedin group.
We are pleased to announce the final results of this year’s PhD Scholarship Programme.
In September 2011, Microsoft Research received 110 PhD applications which were reviewed by 148 internal and external reviewers between October and December 2011. Microsoft Research have now selected 16 applications that will be funded through Microsoft Research Connections starting in the academic year 2012/13.
Four proposals relate to the new Joint Initiative in Informatics with Edinburgh University.
The selected applications are listed below.
Applicants have already been informed of the decision.
Development of an Executable Model Encapsulating Blood Cell Development from Pluripotent Embryonic Stem Cells Supervisor: Berthold Gottgens, University of Cambridge MSR Supervisor: Jasmin Fisher
Incremental and Adaptive Symbolic Execution Supervisor: Cristian Cadar, Imperial College London MSR Supervisor: Miguel Castro
Supporting a 'Sense of Home' in Care Homes: an Exploration of Digital Design with People Living with Dementia Supervisor: Jayne Wallace, Northumbria University MSR Supervisors: Tim Regan, Siân Lindley
Efficient Approximations for Fast Simulations: Application to Building Designs Supervisor: Leo Liberti, Ecole Polytechnique MSR Supervisor: Youssef Hamadi
Virtualization and High-Productivity for Many-Cores Supervisor: Mikel Lujan, University of Manchester MSR Supervisor: Tim Harris
Automated Design of Revenue-Maximizing Ad Auctions Supervisor: Mingyu Guo, University of Liverpool MSR Supervisors: Yoram Bachrach, Peter Key
LumiConSense Supervisor: Oliver Bimber, Johannes Kepler University MSR Supervisors: Shahram Izadi, Otmar Hilliges
Content-based Relevance Estimation on the Web
Supervisor: Oren Kurland, Technion MSR Supervisors: Filip Radlinski, Milad Shokouhi
Developing Novel Computational Methods to Describe and Predict Human Behaviour in Earth System Models
Supervisor: Paul Palmer, University of Edinburgh MSR Supervisor: Drew Purves
Dynamic Modelling of HIV Recognition by the Immune System
Supervisor: Peter Coveney, University College London MSR Supervisor: Neil Dalchau
Systematic Assessment of Uncertainty in Couples Carbon-Nitrogen Cycle Models and their Climate Feedbacks
Supervisor: Sönke Zaehle, MPI for Biogeochemistry MSR Supervisor: Matthew Smith Joint Initiative in Informatics with Edinburgh University
Machine Learning Markets Supervisor: Amos Storkey, University of Edinburgh MSR Supervisors: Peter Key, Thore Graepel
Statistical Language Processing for Programming Language Text Supervisor: Charles Sutton, University of Edinburgh MSR Supervisors: Andy Gordon, Thore Graepel
Machine Learning Methods for Formal Dynamical Systems: a Systems Biology Case Study Supervisor: Jane Hillston/Guido Sanguinetti, University of Edinburgh MSR Supervisors: Luca Cardelli, Andrew Phillips
Holistic Evaluation in LINQ Supervisor: Stratis Viglas, University of Edinburgh MSR Supervisor: Gavin Bierman
The Windows Azure Research Engagement project aims to boost scholarly and scientific research by extending computing to the cloud. We provide a cloud computing platform and work with researchers on projects that push the frontiers of client and cloud computing.
For more details see http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/overview/
Need access to Windows Azure outside the classroom? Working on a project on cloud computing? Or maybe your master thesis? As a student you can take advantage of the free Windows Azure trial offer and run a Small Windows Azure instance with a 1GB SQL Azure database for 90 days*
Get the free trial
*A Windows Live ID and credit card are required for proof of identity. There is no obligation to purchase at the end of the free trial.
Ideal for those with fundamental programming skills, this tutorial provides practical, learn-by-doing exercises for mastering the entire Windows Azure platform.
Microsoft provides grants for educators wanting to use Windows Azure platform in their curricula. These grants are facilitated through Windows Azure academic passes, which provide the following resources for a period of 5 months from the date of redemption:
Grant applications are designated for faculty who are teaching Windows Azure in their curricula as well as faculty preparing to integrate Windows Azure into their curricula. Educator Grant awards are subject to demand and availability.
To apply for an Educator Grant please contact AzureU@Microsoft.com and provide us with:
Windows Azure Educator Grants FAQs
Q: What are the Windows Azure Educator grants?
A: The Windows Azure Education Grants are focused on enabling educators to easily leverage the benefits of the Windows Azure platform for curriculum development and teaching. Through these grants, educators can obtain easy access, with no Credit Card required, to the Windows Azure platform for an extended period of time at no cost for themselves and their students. Access to the Windows Azure platform is made possible through 5 month Windows Azure platform academic passes. Educator Grants may be available up to the number of students within the course, dependent on the volume of requests, pass availability, and the needs of the course.
Q: What resources are available through the Windows Azure platform academic pass?
A: Each 5 month Windows Azure platform academic pass provides the following resources:
Windows Azure 2 small compute instances 3GB of storage 250,000 storage transactions SQL Azure Two 1GB Web Edition database
AppFabric 100,000 Access Control transactions 2 Service Bus connections Data Transfers (per region) 3 GB in 3 GB out 1 Hosted Service
Q: What is the Gifting Letter and who needs to sign this?
A: If you are granted a Windows Azure Educator Grant, we require that you sign a “Gifting Letter” in order to ensure compliance with all applicable government gift and ethics rules, which restrict/prohibit government employees. Your ethics officer, (or designated executive/office responsible for your organization’s gifts/ethics policy), or responsible attorney should review and sign this letter.
Q: How do the Windows Azure platform academic passes get redeemed?
A: Each Windows Azure platform academic pass is redeemable through http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/educators/ If you receive an Educator Grant we will send you a PowerPoint deck which will guide you and your students through the easy process of redeeming these passes.
Q: Why is Microsoft offering this?
A: A large percentage of the academic community has developed curricula materials leveraging the Windows Azure platform for teaching Cloud-centric courses. We are experiencing an increase in demand from the academic community for access to the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure Educator Grants allows us to enable even more members of the academic community to leverage the Windows Azure platform within their courses.
Q: Are Windows Azure Educator Grants available globally?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants are available worldwide.
Q: Is there an available education discount program for the Windows Azure platform?
A: At this time, we do not offer education discount pricing for the Windows Azure platform.
Q: Who can apply for a Windows Azure platform Educator Grant?
A: Educators at accredited academic institutions can apply for the Windows Azure Educator Grants.
Q: How do I apply for a Windows Azure platform Educator Grant?
A: Applying for a Windows Azure platform academic pass is easy. Simply go to http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/education/program/educators/
We will ask you for the following information:
· Your name · Your email contact · Country · Institution/University name · Course name · Course description · Number of students in your course · Number of Windows Azure platform academic passes needed · Date when Windows Azure platform academic passes will be used
Q: What factors will Microsoft consider when determining who will receive a Windows Azure Educator Grant?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants will be awarded based on factors such as purpose of use, number of passes required, and timing requirements for usage of the passes.
Q: I am a student. Can I apply for a pass?
A: Windows Azure Educator Grants are only valid for valid faculty. If your faculty has been awarded a Windows Azure Educator Grant, you will be able to get a pass through him/her for you coursework. If you are interested in learning more about the Windows Azure platform, we encourage you to share these Educator Grants with your faculty or leverage the FREE 90-day trial offer at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/
Q: Does my Windows Azure platform academic pass expire?
A: Yes. The Windows Azure platform academic pass will expire 150 days after it has been activated. You will be receiving email notifications when the expiration date is close, and you will have the opportunity to migrate your data to a paid Windows Azure platform subscription, if you want to continue on using the Windows Azure platform.
Q: What happens to my data application when my pass expires?
A: Shortly prior to the expiration date you will have the opportunity to migrate your data to a paid Windows Azure platform subscription. All of your data will be erased when your pass expires. If you choose to not migrate your Windows Azure account to a paid account, please be sure to back up your data.
Q: Do I have to use a credit card to redeem my pass?
A: No. You do not need to use a credit card to redeem your pass activate your Windows Azure account.