October, 2012

  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Three things game and Monogame Windows 8 fun

    • 2 Comments

    MonogameLogo100x100 Win8_logo Hull_Logo

    Registration for the October incarnation of Three Thing Game are now open at the University of Hull.  The week long event It starts on Monday 22nd of October with the "Amazing Thing Auction" with real fake money. Then on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th The students face the infamous 24 hour overnighter, this time with added Mono Game and Windows 8 fun.

    The team from Mono Games and Microsoft will be on hand to help you port your game to Windows 8. The University of Hull we will have some Windows 8 systems set up for testing. There are some great prizes up for grabs and win even bigger, by getting your game into the Windows 8 Store before anyone else via a FREE Windows 8 store accounts via Microsoft DreamSpark.

    Today MonoGame announced 3.0 BETA available for download.

    What is MonoGame?

    MonoGame is an Open Source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework. The goal of Monogame is to allow XNA developers on Xbox 360, Windows & Windows Phone to port their games to the iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux and Windows 8 Store apps. 

    We have over a 100 first, second and third year students attending and University of Hull, lecture Rob Miles will be running a special XNA sampler in the week before the competition where students will get to grips with  "skeleton code and get a understanding of Microsoft XNA” 

    Hull Students can find the registration form here. Simply compete it and return it to Rob Miles, with your registration fee.

    Watch out for an update during the weekend of the 27th/28th and announcement of the winners and their games on the 28th.

    .

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Lifelong learning and Professional Certifications

    • 1 Comments

     Lifelong-Learning

    I had the pleasure of attending a fascinating meeting yesterday, the event had a number of commercial organisations and UK Universities discussing the following challenges which the UK education and employers face.

    • The pace of both social and technological change means that education, including higher education, can no longer be confined to the early years of life.
    • The demand from employers to re-skill or develop their existing work force. For example an increasing number of universities are providing continuing professional development (CPD) to business … currently around £250m out of a £23bn market opportunity as stated by a recent DfES report.
    • It was fascinating to hear how the traditionally HEIs have ‘supply driven’ not ‘demand led’ approach which really presented a huge opportunity for continuous professional development and its truly an era of lifelong learning.

    What was interesting is that the fact that in both academia and employment the most common measures of skills are qualifications.

    • For individuals they provide portability in the labour market,
    • For employers they provide valuable signals when recruiting new workers
    • They motivate employees to complete their training.

    Qualifications form a major part of employer recruitment strategies, especially screening candidates prior to interview. As a result, the majority of individuals prefer studying towards a qualification and over one half of employers say they would like to support their employees to gain qualifications.

    So the debate is should Universities meet employers requirements of providing not only academic qualifications but also professional certification in the form of vendors certifications?

    Should Universities provide more life long learning opportunities and tailored courses which meet the demand of employers or specialised around specific employer requirements.

    Such as fascinating debate and discussion.. If your interested in the learning more about Microsoft Professional certification look at the following presentation.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Azure Mobile Services: New support for iOS apps, Facebook/Twitter/Google identity, Emails, SMS, Blobs, Service Bus and more

    • 0 Comments

    WinAzure_rgb

    Windows Azure  makes it incredibly easy to connect your client and mobile applications to a scalable cloud backend.

    New features include:

    • iOS support – enabling you to connect iPhone and iPad apps to Mobile Services
    • Facebook, Twitter, and Google authentication support with Mobile Services
    • Blob, Table, Queue, and Service Bus support from within your Mobile Service
    • Sending emails from your Mobile Service (in partnership with SendGrid)
    • Sending SMS messages from your Mobile Service (in partnership with Twilio)

     

    iOS Support

    This initial support for connecting iOS based devices (including iPhones and iPads) to Windows Azure Mobile Services.  Native iOS libraries to enable this under an open source (Apache 2.0) license on GitHub.  We’re excited to get your feedback on this new library through our forum and GitHub issues list, and we welcome contributions to the SDK.

    To create a new iOS app or connect an existing iOS app to your Mobile Service, simply select the “iOS” tab within the Quick Start view of a Mobile Service within the Windows Azure Portal – and then follow either the “Create a new iOS app” or “Connect to an existing iOS app” link below it:

    Mobile_Web

    Clicking either of these links will expand and display step-by-step instructions for how to build an iOS application that connects with your Mobile Service:

    image

    Read this getting started tutorial to walkthrough how you can build (in less than 5 minutes) a simple iOS “Todo List” app that stores data in Windows Azure.  Then follow the below tutorials to explore how to use the iOS client libraries to store data and authenticate users.

    Facebook, Twitter, and Google Authentication Support

    The preview of Mobile Services supported the ability to authenticate users of mobile apps using Microsoft Accounts (formerly called Windows Live ID accounts).  This week we are adding the ability to also authenticate users using Facebook, Twitter, and Google credentials.  These are now supported with both Windows 8 apps as well as iOS apps (and a single app can support multiple forms of identity simultaneously. Therefore offering far more choice to you app user.)

    The below tutorials walkthrough how to register your Mobile Service with an identity provider:

    The tutorials above walkthrough how to obtain a client ID and a secret key from the identity provider. You can then click on the “Identity” tab of your Mobile Service (within the Windows Azure Portal) and save these values to enable server-side authentication with your Mobile Service. You can then write code within your client or mobile app to authenticate your users to the Mobile Service.

    For example, below is the code you would write to have them login to the Mobile Service using their Facebook credentials:

    Windows Store App (using C#):

    var user = await App.MobileService

    .LoginAsync(MobileServiceAuthenticationProvider.Facebook);

    iOS app (using Objective C):

    UINavigationController *controller =

    [self.todoService.client

    loginViewControllerWithProvider:@"facebook"

    completion:^(MSUser *user, NSError *error) {

    //...

    }];

    Learn more about authenticating Mobile Services using Microsoft Account, Facebook, Twitter, and Google from these tutorials:

    Using Windows Azure Blob, Tables and ServiceBus with your Mobile Services

    Mobile Services provide a simple but powerful way to add server logic using server scripts. These scripts are associated with the individual CRUD operations on your mobile service’s tables. Server scripts are great for data validation, custom authorization logic (e.g. does this user participate in this game session), augmenting CRUD operations, sending push notifications, and other similar scenarios.  

    Server scripts are written in JavaScript and are executed in a secure server-side scripting environment built using Node.js.  You can edit these scripts and save them on the server directly within the Windows Azure Portal:

    image

    You now have the ability to work with other Windows Azure services from your Mobile Service server scripts.  This is supported using the existing “azure” module within the Windows Azure SDK for Node.js.  For example, the below code could be used in a Mobile Service script to obtain a reference to a Windows Azure Table (after which you could query it or insert data into it):

    var azure = require('azure');

    var tableService = azure.createTableService("<< account name >>",

    "<< access key >>");

    Follow the tutorials on the Windows Azure Node.js dev center to learn more about working with Blob, Tables, Queues and Service Bus using the azure module.

    Sending emails from your Mobile Service

    We have also added the ability to easily send emails from your Mobile Service, building on our partnership with SendGrid. Whether you want to add a welcome email upon successful user registration, or make your app alert you of certain usage activities, you can do this now by sending email from Mobile Services server scripts.

    To get started, sign up for SendGrid account at http://sendgrid.com . Windows Azure customers receive a special offer of 25,000 free emails per month from SendGrid. To sign-up for this offer, or get more information, please visit http://www.sendgrid.com/azure.html .

    One you signed up, you can add the following script to your Mobile Service server scripts to send email via SendGrid service:

    var sendgrid = new SendGrid('<< account name >>', '<< password >>');

    sendgrid.send({

    to: '<< enter email address here >>',

    from: '<< enter from address here >>',

    subject: 'New to-do item',

    text: 'A new to-do was added: ' + item.text

    }, function (success, message) {

    if (!success) {

    console.error(message);

    }

    });

    Follow the Send email from Mobile Services with SendGrid tutorial to learn more.

    Sending SMS messages from your Mobile Service

    SMS is a key communication medium for mobile apps - it comes in handy if you want your app to send users a confirmation code during registration, allow your users to invite their friends to install your app or reach out to mobile users without a smartphone.

    Using Mobile Service server scripts and Twilio’s REST API, you can now easily send SMS messages to your app.  To get started, sign up for Twilio account. Windows Azure customers receive 1000 free text messages when using Twilio and Windows Azure together.

    Once signed up, you can add the following to your Mobile Service server scripts to send SMS messages:

    var httpRequest = require('request');

    var account_sid = "<< account SID >>";

    var auth_token = "<< auth token >>";

    // Create the request body

    var body = "From=" + from + "&To=" + to + "&Body=" + message;

    // Make the HTTP request to Twilio

    httpRequest.post({

    url: "https://" + account_sid + ":" + auth_token +

    "@api.twilio.com/2010-04-01/Accounts/" + account_sid + "/SMS/Messages.json",

    headers: { 'content-type': 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded' },

    body: body

    }, function (err, resp, body) {

    console.log(body);

    });

     

    The above features are all now live in production and are available to use immediately.

    Access to Azure for FREE for students and educators

    If you don’t already have a Windows Azure account, you can sign-up for a FREE academic educators pass at http://www.windowsazure.com/education and start using Mobile Services today.

    Curriculum Resources for Windows Azure

    See http://www.microsoft.com/faculty for teaching materials for Windows Azure

    Development Resources

    Development Resources Visit the Windows Azure Mobile Developer Center to learn more about how to build apps with Mobile Services.

    For details as new features become available soon http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/community/blog/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Want to know what it’s like to be an Imagine Cup Entrant?

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    clip_image001

    The Quest, is a new six-part web series following a real-life Imagine Cup team, FlashFood, as the students made their way to Sydney, Australia, for the 2012 Worldwide Finals.

    Microsoft sent a camera crew to their campus in Arizona, on the plane to Sydney, and on the ground during finals to document this experience from the inside.

    The Imagine Cup team will be releasing new episodes every week through mid-November. Buckle up so make sure you follow their journey and get ready for your journey.

    See Facebook and on YouTube.

     

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013 – Is your institution entering teams

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     Logo_IC2013

    Microsoft’s Imagine Cup is the world’s most prestigious student technology competition, bringing together student innovators from all over the world. If you have a great idea for a new app, bring it to life through Imagine Cup. With Microsoft resources and support, you can make a great app and win travel and cash prizes!

    This year, Imagine Cup opens the door wide with three big competitions

    Games

    Innovation

    World Citizenship

    The biggest prizes in the history of Imagine Cup.

    1st Prize: $50,000

    2nd Prize: $10,000

    3rd Prize: $5,000

    And we’ll fly the UK finalist team to St. Petersburg, Russia, in July of 2013 for the thrilling showdown at Worldwide Finals.

     

    For more details see http://www.imaginecup.com

     

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Surface Windows RT device Now available to pre order

    • 4 Comments

     

    Pre Order your Surface with Windows RT

     

    Surface with Windows RT    SurfaceRt Surface_Win_RT_side

     

     

    Who says that pretty can’t be practical?

    It’s time for a tablet that’s more than meets the eye. Powerful processing and beautiful design unite on Surface. Whether you’re working hard or hardly working, Surface’s integrated Kickstand and revolutionary Touch Cover let you work, play, and connect with others like never before. Plug into external displays like projectors and HDTV, and share your world1. Pre-loaded with Windows RT, Microsoft Office 2013 RT2, Xbox apps, and other essentials.

    Price

    64 GB with Black Touch Cover £559.00 incl. VAT

    32 GB with Black Touch Cover £479.00 incl. VAT

    32 GB without Black Touch Cover  £399.00 incl. VAT

    Your order will ship by October 26 and arrive by October 30.

    For more details and to order see http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msuk/en_GB/pdp/productID.257929400?WT.mc_id=FY13WinHH

    Check out the Surface Your tube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/surface 

    Follow Surface on Twitter @surface

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Learning to build a HTML5 Windows 8 game in 15 lessons

    • 2 Comments

    So you want to build a game for Windows 8?

    Well we want to make it as easy as possible for you to do so. That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to compile all the resources you could use to develop a short course for your school, college or University students using Scirra Construct 2 and HTML5.

    Example Course Schedule

    Class No.

    Tasks to undertake

    Topic to be discussed

    1

    ·Read

    Developing Games for Windows 8

    • What is expected
    • Build your first Windows 8 Application
    • Build your first game using a tutorial
    • The Windows 8 Store App Design Solution

    2

    Homework:

    Start your Portfolio:

    · Start your design portfolio

    Build a game:

    · Create a Powerpoint based Storyboard for your game

    · Build a simple game using a Construct2 tutorial and post it to a hosting site

    · Beginner's guide to Construct 2

    · http://www.scirra.com/arcade

    · Modify the game using art, sounds you discovered online

    Create online presence

    · Create a Blog (documenting your learning experience, and application creation, ideas reasons why your doing this)

    · Generate a “professional” Facebook Page for your App

    · Generate a LinkedIn account (to promote your employability)

    · Create a YouTube Channel (for demonstrating your game/app)

    Design Processes, you are required to meet with your assigned teams and discuss the following:

    · Review what you should put in a blog with respect to game design

    · What is a design portfolio?

    · What are the available tools to make a video

    · Review simple games

    Read:

    · User Experience Design Fundamentals

    3

    Before class make sure to read:

    o The Windows 8 Store App Design Solution

    o User Experience Design Fundamentals

    o Applying User Experience Process to Windows 8 Store  Applications

    Turn in:

    • Links to your :
    • Blog, YouTube Station, Professional Facebook and LinkedIn
    • Game on Arcade

    At the end of class session turn in:

    · Turn in your Facebook baseline report

    · Turn in your baseline Blog analytics

    · Quiz

    Discuss Design Principles in first three reading modules

    Game Design for Slats:

    · Snap

    · Fill

    · Full

    Adding another level to your game:

    Review of Treasure Map example

    4

    · Read:
    Introduction To Windows 8 Store App Design Principle: Do More with Less

    Turn In

    • Add a level to your the beginner game
    • Create a Platformer game using the tutorial at: http://aka.ms/csudh495platformer2
    • Design thoughts on your blog, Link only, about how you will use a platformer for a Holiday theme game
    • Video on how to you created the beginning game
    • Facebook postings

    In Class:

    · Turn in Documentation

    · Quiz

    Discussion about doing more with less, demonstration of design and implementation

    Student demos of design considerations

    In class lab:

    · Students will gather design documentation from other students and then begin to break down the scenario implementation

    · Introduction of HTML5/JavaScript code for Windows 8

    5

    Read:

    Making a great app

    Turn In:

    • Using the Platformer you created using the tutorial at http://aka.ms/csudh495platformer2, modify the game to a theme and upload it to the Arcade, turn in the link
    • Post your design thoughts on your design issues and implementation
    • Video on why people should play your game
    • Facebook postings

    In Class:

    • At the end of class turn in scenario experiments
    • Quiz

    · Discuss and experiment with scenarios

    · Students will demonstrate and discuss their “platformer” games

    · Feedback on games

    6

    Read:

     

    Turn In:

    • Add a level to your game
    • Develop a marketing plan for your game
    • Post upgrade to the Scirra.Com arcade
    • Demonstrate how you will implement this game in Windows 8 using drawings, scenarios etc.

    In Class:

    • Check-in Modified lab component to Team Foundation Services
    • Quiz

    · Discuss Windows 8 Store App Design Principle and Pride in Craftsmanship

    · Discuss Game design using HTML5/JavaScript Hello World App

    · Quality software and how to create quality software

    · Team Foundation Services

    In Class Lab:

    · Check-out lab component, modify and check-in modified component

    7

    Read:

    Turn In:

    · Modifications to assigned HTML5/JavaScript code

    · Addition of Scoring and simulated Leaderboard to your Themed game

    · Marketing plan for your Game

    · YouTube Video about your game

    In Class:

    • Quiz

    · Discuss what it means to be Authentically Digital

    · Examine MS Project report of status of the HTML5/JavaScript Hello World App

    · Discuss Agile Design

    · Selected Students Demo their Holiday game

    · Review of selected YouTube Videos

    8

    Read:

     

    Turn In:

    • Report on Blog Traffic and YouTube Video

    In Class:

    · Quiz

    · Discuss what a contract is and how to implement in it your code

    · Selected students will demo their Holiday game

    · Discuss “Promise” and “Then”

    · Discuss Scrum approach to design

    9

    Watch:

    Turn In:

    · Update your “Hello World” Game to incorporate the Search Charm

    · Update your “Hello World” Project to Incorporate Settings Charm

    · Expand use of “Promise” and “Then”

    In Class:

    • Code Profiling Lab Outcome
    • Quiz

    · Discuss Live Tiles and Notifications

    · Selected students will demo their “Hello World” Use of Charms and how they implemented their code

    · Code Profiling

    · UML and Game Design

    10

    Read:

    Turn In:

    • Update to Themed Project to include Live Tiles and Notification
    • Update to “Hello World” Project to demo use of dynamic CSS

    In Class:

    • Quiz

    · Discuss Snap, Fill and Full Screens in Windows 8

    · Selected Students demonstrates Promise and Then

    · Designing for the Windows 8 Phone

    · Selected Students demonstrate their Holiday Themed Projects

    11

    Read:

    Turn In:

    • Addition of Windows 8 Snap and Fill solution for your Holiday Game
    • Addition of Dynamic CSS to “Hello World” project to handle Snap, Fill and Full

    In Class:

    • Results from the WACK test

    · Discuss the Submission Process

    · Students run WACK test on their Projects

    · Students are assisted in determining how to fix their WACK test failures

    12

    Get Windows Store account for FREE via DreamSpark

     

    Turn In:

    • Design Portfolio for online evaluation by other students
    • Submit game to Windows Store evaluation
    • Begin Design process for a game based on seasons

    In Class:

    • Submit Hello World consuming the WinRT Project

    · Review of design process

    · WinRT and what it is

    · Selected Students will demonstrate their submitting games

    In Class Lab:

    · Students will consume an existing C# based WinRT project in their Hello World Project

    13

    Read:

    · Introduction to C++

    Turn In:

    • Design Portfolio improvements from Online Evaluations
    • Implement Seasonal Game Design

    In Class:

    • Submit simple C++ Hello World app

    · Demonstration of how to create and write a C++

    · Students will explore and implement a simple Module and then consume it in their “Hello World” program

    14

    Read:

    · Creating an online leaderboards 

    Turn In:

    • Addition of WinRT to your Seasonal Game

    In Class:

    • Quiz

    · Discussion of Leaderboards and how to implement them using existing tools

    · Selected students will demonstrate their games

    · Class Evaluations

    15

    Review:

    • Blog Analytics
    • Facebook Analytics
    • YouTube Analytics
    • Design Portfolio (online material only)

    · All students will play the other student’s games and give feedback

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Which Windows 8 PC is Right for You?

    • 1 Comments

    Microsoft OEM (for "original equipment manufacturer") hardware partners are about to unleash a wave of new Windows 8 devices in all shapes and sizes. For consumers and businesses, that breadth offers you the chance to find just the right PC no matter what your needs.

    DellXPS SonyViao AsusVivoTab

    With the launch of Windows 8 rapidly approaching, a new wave of tablets, convertibles, hybrids, notebooks, Ultrabooks, and all-in-one PCs are set to hit the shelves later this month here is a quick run down of what Windows 8 devices will be available in the UK.

    Windows 8, breadth of technology bounty boils down to one thing for students and educators: choice.

    On Oct 26th Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8 and our OEM Partners will be releasing a number of new devices from small and slim tablets to big and beautiful all-in-ones, the new capabilities in Windows 8 have opened the door for a huge array of new and reimagined devices.

     

    So what types of devices will there be?

    The tablet

    For anyone on the go and far from a desk, tablet PCs provide a comfortable, versatile, and convenient computing experience. Support for multitouch is already giving Windows 8-based tablets a big boost. While consumers are looking for the convenience and flexibility of tablets such as the ASUS Vivo Tab RT, major OEMs are also designing tablet PCs with specific features to suit enterprise scenarios for example, the Dell's Latitude 10 tablet, which features fingerprint capabilities and a smart card reader for heightened security requirements.

    Convertibles and hybrids

    Touch is a convenient way to interact with a PC, and there are also times when people want the speed of a keyboard and the precision of a mouse. With new convertible PCs such as the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro and hybrids such as the HP Envy X2, users don't need to make an either/or decision. Both feature a traditional clamshell laptop design plus a touch screen that separates from the keyboard and transforms into a tablet.

    All-in-ones

    All-in-ones such as the Acer Aspire 7600U feature large, touch-sensitive displays that can either detach from the desktop station or rotate to lie flat.The Sony VAIO L Series that feature the X-Reality proceeding engine found inside BRAVIA TVs. Select models offer latest-generation "glasses-free" 3-D technology, turning your office PC into cutting-edge entertainment device.

    Notebooks and Ultrabooks

    For anyone who needs to combine portability with power to compose and create using traditional keyboard and mouse input, today's notebooks and super-slim Ultrabook computers still offer a premium PC experience. Those who want a big display for movies or design work may want a full-size notebook such as the Toshiba Satellite U845W, with its true HD wide screen that is perfect for getting a great view of the action. Ultrabook form factor, such as the sleek new HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 or the razor-thin ASUS Zenbook PRIME UX21A Touch.

    Want to learn more?

    Do you want to learn more about all these new PCs? Check out the  Microsoft OEM newsroom highlights the latest hardware innovations, product news, reviews, events and other press materials for Microsoft products across a variety of devices.See http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/presskits/oem/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone 8 hardware unveiled

    • 1 Comments

     

    Windows Phone

    Recently our device maker partners held events where they showcased their amazing Windows Phone 8 hardware for the first time. In case you missed the events, check them out below, or see the full line-up on windowsphone.com.

    ativs_main  HTCHomepageHerolumia820_main lumia920_main

    Nokia Event

    HTC Event

    Samsung event

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Build apps that Windows Phone users will love

    • 0 Comments

    Windows Phone

    Windows Phone offers a compelling approach to bringing distinctive apps to its customers, offering an experience not found on other platforms. Similarly, the Windows Phone developer platform is designed to help you build apps that extend the experience throughout the phone in easily discoverable ways. Check out this podcast on designing great Windows Phone apps using our design team's philosophy of "fierce reduction" – making the most out of animation, pivots and other key Windows Phone visual elements.


    For even further guidance on how to build outstanding apps for Windows Phone – check out our favourites below.

    Windows Phone UX Guidelines

    Windows Phone Design Resources

    Design Day Event

    Windows Phone UX Style Design

    Designing Apps

    App Design Best Practices

    Prototyping in Blend

    Windows Phone Design Assets

    PSD Templates

    PNG Grid (Useful in Blend)

    SDK (contains Blend and icons)

    Windows Phone Tool Kit (contains extra controls for prototyping)

    Faculty and Student Resources

    FREE Windows Phone developer kit and store accounts from DreamSpark and teaching resources and curriculum from Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone Developer Support

    Did you know you can visit our forums and connect with the community of Windows Phone developers to ask questions and get answers? For the top issues and answers being discussed, check out the following:

    Register and manage account

    Submitting and publishing apps

    Payouts and reporting

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