August, 2012 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

August, 2012


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Changes in Microsoft Apphub to Windows Phone Dev Center


    DreamSpark Windows Phone

    This week, the Windows Phone Team launched the new Windows Phone Dev Center. Student still get free access as before via DreamSpark but the experience is slightly different. Here is a summary of the key changes you should familiarize yourself with:

    · App Hub remains only as a landing page, the App Hub has split in two: Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Games Indie Games Portal. This is what you see when you get to


    · Windows Phone Dev Center has rebranded Windows Live ID as Microsoft Account, from a technical perspective though it is still a Windows Live ID. Xbox Live still call it Windows Live ID.

    · As with App Hub today, in order to get free access to Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Live Indie Games Portal, students need to have a verified DreamSpark account. So nothing new here. We have updated the Windows Phone App Hub page on DreamSpark
    (  and created a new page for Xbox Indie Games Development ( with instructions to download tools and get access to the two.


    · We have architected the experience to ensure that students needs to verify their student status only once, regardless of whether they start from Windows Phone Dev Center, Xbox Live Indie Game Portal or DreamSpark as follows:

    o When a student starts the registration process on the Windows Phone Dev Center or Xbox Live Indie Game Portal and gets to the Payment process page, they select ‘’I am a student’’ to get free access. At that point the two stores check against AVE database to see if the Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID exists as verified. If yes, they get in for free, if not they get directed to DreamSpark to verify. So if the student had already verified on DreamSpark or (any of the two stores when trying to register on the other), she will get in automatically.

    o On DreamSpark, when students create a new DreamSpark account to get access to Windows Phone Dev Center or Xbox Indie Game Portal from the respective pages, we basically ask that they create a Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID first and make that WILD the student’s DreamSpark account (since students on DreamSpark can create account with any email type). In this way they are guaranteed to get in automatically into the two stores. If they already have a DreamSpark account, we map it to their Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID, for the same purpose.

    Please therefore direct all your students to DreamSpark as a starting point for creating a Apphub Developer account.

    · Students that had Windows Live ID mapped to a verified DreamSpark account, and got free access to the App Hub in the past,  can continue to use the same Windows Live ID to access both new app stores. All their apps and games are still there. Only change is that Windows Phone Dev Center now calls it Microsoft Account as per below.

    · The student has account type has disappeared, now it is ‘’individual/students’’. Students get the free access when they select ‘’I am a student’ The experience has been designed this way so that when students graduate they do not need to create a new account or migrate their apps. All they need to do is select a different payment option, pay and continue to avail of the same account and keep their existing apps. 

    · DreamSpark account and hence the free access to the app stores is valid for 12 months. Once the 12 months have passed, students will be asked to verify their student status again. They can do that by selecting ‘I am a student’’ when they reach the payment option in the registration process of both Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Indie Games Portal. They will be directed to DreamSpark to verify.

    If you have any questions please contact

    Customer service email:

    All EMEA Service Center details:

    For further information on Microsoft DreamSpark, please visit our website:

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Openness Research and BigData



    Despite common misconceptions Microsoft now has extensive interoperability with open source technologies for example you can run a php application on Azure, get support from us to run RedHat, SUSE or CentOs on Hyper-V and manage all your applications from System Center 2012.


    So how are academics using these resources and services

    Prof. Baesen's  from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (a.k.a. KU Leuven) in Belgium published yesterday a paper called "Beyond the hype: cloud computing in analytics". looking at Machine Learning. KU Leuven has set up a benchmarking experiment using Machine Learning techniques used in analytics, the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform and the middleware of Techila Technologies. The results were compared with those obtained in a non-parallelized setup. The results show that significant analysis speed-ups can be gained when performing computational tasks in cloud.

    Researchers have amazing opportunity now with Microsoft and Openness additionally were extending this approach to the world of big data with Hadoop.


    As you know from my previous posts Hadoop uses map reduce, the key to the power and scability of Hadoop is that it applies these map reduce concept on large clusters of servers by getting each node to run the functions locally, thus taking the code to the data to minimise IO and network traffic using its own file system – HDFS. 

    Big Data

    As your all aware there are lots of toolsets for Hadoop, many of these are built on Hive which presents HDFS as a data warehouse that you can run SQL against and the PIG (latin) language where you load data and work with your functions.

    Whats New!

    Microsoft are developing in conjunction with developer Horton Works the following functionality:

    • an ODBC driver to connect to Hive
    • an addin in Excel to query the Hive
    • the ability to run Hadoop as a service on Windows Server
    • the ability run Hadoop on Azure and this create clusters and when you need them and use Azures massive connectivity to the internet to pull data in there rather than choke bandwidth to your own data centre.
    • F# programming for Hadoop.

    At the time of writing there these tools are still in development and there is only “by invitation” admission to Hadoop on Azure. If your interested in this please do get in touch. simply email

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UK Launch of Windows Server 2012


    Windows Server 2012 technical launch event  25th September 2012

    To go along with this event the UK Technet team are running a competition

    imageWe have 29 HP ProLiant MicroServer’s to give away in association with Servers Plus at the launch event as part of a prize draw that will be announced when we make the event registration page available (Terms & Conditions available here)

    You will be able to learn more about the features and capabilities and connect with experts and peers. You’ll also be able to collect points along the way for the chance to win some amazing prizes. You don’t want to miss it. Visit this site to save the date for the launch event.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Milestones


    August the 1st marked a important day for academic institutions wishing to use/teach Windows 8 in the next academic session.

    Windows 8 reached Release to Manufacturing, Windows 8 is now being issued to all PC OEM and manufacturing partners.

    More details

    • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions and DreamSpark Premium for institutional administrators
    • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
    • August 16th: Education institutions with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
    • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
    • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
    • August 25th - 31st: Students will be able to download these via DreamSpark Premium institutional ELMS stores
    • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers and Academic License Resellers.

    So over the next few days/weeks you will see the availability of exciting new models of PCs loaded with Windows 8 and online availability of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012.

    More details

    Developers can visit the Windows Dev Center to get access to all the tools and resources they need to design, build, and sell apps in the Windows Store. While all apps during the preview phases were free, at RTM developers can begin charging for apps, so those with access to RTM bits will begin to see paid apps appear in the Windows Store.

    Also, Windows Server 2012 has been released to manufacturing.

    On September 4.  That’s when Windows Server 2012 will be generally available for evaluation and download by all customers around the world.  On that day we will also host an online launch event where our executives, engineers, customers and partners will share more about how Windows Server 2012 can help organizations of all sizes realize the benefits of what we call the Cloud OS.  You will be able to learn more about the features and capabilities and connect with experts and peers.  You’ll also be able to collect points along the way for the chance to win some amazing prizes. You don’t want to miss it.  Visit this site to save the date for the launch event.

    More details

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 RTM


    I am getting a lot of requests from the academic community for what support we are providing them for adopting the new Windows Server 2012? Another question is in regards to the alignment of training?  and how can this be aligned into curricula? with the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Release to Manufacturing ‘RTM’

    I have talked a lot about Windows Resources in the past few blogs including our full curricula resources at

    In specific to Windows Server 2012 we have two specific certification paths MCSA/MCSE and we now have all the course materials available  for your courses this academic year. 

    The Windows Server 2012 MCSA now becomes the core starting point for a student’s career in IT, providing a platform for multiple paths including Server & Desktop Infrastructure, Private Cloud etc.

    Here are some key pointers:

    NEW MCT Prep-Kits

    · MCT One Note Trainer Pack and 45 min video on

    · Activate your FREE MCT membership through IT Academy now!

    MCT Download Centre

    · MCT Prep versions of Windows Server 2012 Microsoft Official Curricula available

    Additional Materials

    · WS2012 JumpStart Videos here

    · Free MS Press Book, Introducing Windows Server 2012 here

    · Information on the new MCSA exams for Windows Server 2012, inc. upgrade paths here

    We have also just launched the new service yesterday which now includes Windows Server 2012 content. 

    This includes new features like:

    - Digital and Printed content (digital discounts)

    - Collaboration features for note taking and annotations across classes

    - E-reading software supported by multiple platforms and browsers

    - Includes Windows 8 App at W8 launch

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    XNA developers and Windows 8





    A large number of the UK’s Universities and colleges have been using XNA since 2004 within gaming course curricula on Windows, XBox and Windows Phone. We have a huge set of Free curricula resources for  XNA  game development at

    XNA over the last 7 years has provide a number of students and indie game developers with an impressive content pipeline, game assets, load functionality, animation, math, sound and user input tracking via gamepad, mouse, keyboard and touch with game logic organized in a straightforward game loop architecture, more recently we have also added curricula for XNA and Kinect.

    Within education XNA has been a huge driver for a number of students and developers who wanted to learn how to create games. XNA along with Visual Studio made it as easy as File –> New –> XNA Game Studio Project and you were off developing.

    Since Windows 8 is built on the strong foundation of Windows 7, any app built for Windows will run in the Windows 8 desktop environment. This includes apps based on XNA, Win32, .NET, WPF, Silverlight, etc. 

    Windows 8 also introduces a new type of app called a Metro Style App for developers that wish to make their app available in the Windows 8 Store, for free or for sale. Using Visual Studio 2012, you have a language choice of C++, XAML with C#, VB or C++, or HTML5/JS to create a Metro Style App.

    Using the XNA Framework is not a choice for building a Metro Style App. Official Microsoft guidance on game development is documented here.

    Windows 8 allows you too build highly immersive games using HTML5/JS, XAML/C#, XAML/VB or C++ and DirectX.

    However a number of you have already stressed too me, that you and your students have been developing with XNA and have an existing code base, or would like to import existing XNA games too Windows 8 your only option it would seem is running as a desktop app.

    This is where MonoGame comes in…


    MonoGame is an Open Source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. The goal is to allow XNA developers on Windows & Windows Phone to port their games to the iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux with both PlayStation Suite and Windows 8 support currently under development.

    NOTE : This project is not linked with Microsoft or any of it subsidiaries. It is a non-profit, open source project. MonoGame is licensed under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL)

    MonoGame provides a cross platform XNA Framework implementation for XNA developers who want to take their code to non-Microsoft platforms as well as the ability, to target Windows 8.

    MonoGame for Windows 8  you can take your XNA code and with a recompile and some additional features too simply create a Metro Style App for example Armed within the Windows Store uses MonoGame. I have too stress MonoGame is still under development and so any use of it should come with a note of advice to stay on top of that effort.

    In order to provide a complete implementation of XNA on Windows 8, MonoGame leverages SharpDX , an open-source project delivering the full DirectX API for managed code (.NET) and Windows 8 (WinRT). SharpDX is an open-source project, free of charge available under the following MIT License.

    Theoretically by moving your code over into a new Visual Studio Project Solution along with MonoGame, you should de able too recompile a Windows 8 Metro Style game so if your a XNA Developer give it a try and let me know the results.
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