January, 2014


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Azure Cloud Services: 8 virtual cores with 56 GB of RAM, and 16 virtual cores with 112 GB of RAM.



    We have just announced two new instances for use with Windows Azure Cloud Services.

    These new instances are called A8 and A9,

    A8 -  8 virtual cores with 56 GB of memory

    A9 - 16 virtual cores with 112 GB of memory

    A8 and A9 belong to a new category of instances called compute-intensive instances that provide faster processors and more virtual cores for higher compute power, larger amounts of memory, and a 40 Gbit/s InfiniBand network that includes remote direct memory access (RDMA) technology for maximum efficiency of parallel Message Passing Interface (MPI) applications.

    Compute-intensive instances are optimal for running compute and network-intensive applications such as high-performance cluster applications, applications using modeling, simulation and analysis, and video encoding.

    For more information on using Windows Azure Cloud Services and pricing, please visit the Cloud Services website.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Windows Azure Academic Training Days for Educators and Researchers


    Windows Azure is an open and flexible global cloud platform supporting any language, tool, or framework, and is ideally suited to educators and researchers’ needs across all disciplines.

    In association with Microsoft Research we are please to announce FREE training for academic educators and researchers who would like to learn how to conduct their research on a highly scalable and flexible cloud infrastructure, such as that offered by Windows Azure.

    We are currently offering free, technical, two-day training event, presented by specialized Windows Azure for Research trainers. See the schedule of events

    Windows Azure for Research Training – Oxford 2014 The course hosted by the Oxford eResearch Centre saw 45 participants from 18 Organisations attend St Anne's College.Oxford, UK on the 20–21 January 2014


    45 researchers from 18 universities and research organisations

    These courses are aimed at software research engineers, postdocs, research fellows, faculty members, and PhD students.

    The event  covers everything from Linux virtual machines, IPython, scaling out R and MATLAB calculations, cloud storage, sensor data processing, and, of course, big data processing. To help you apply these new tools and techniques, you will receive a 6-month Azure pass too, so you can further experiment and develop your research applications and we have an extensive set of teaching resources and Educators passes to support Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses at http://www.windowsazure.com/education

    Our next course is at Manchester University on 3-4 April 2014. You can apply via the course web page.

    We’ve released all of the training material as open source, which you can download here. We also have a webinar series with more coming soon, and technical papers that drill down into more detail.

    We’re also excited to be supporting 75 Windows Azure for Research projects around the world so far. Our next deadline for proposals is 15th February 2014 for proposals for 12 months of Windows Azure resources to accelerate your research. So please submit your ideas here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Promote your Windows Phone app to get users’ attention and increase downloads


    Here are a few quick tips for ensuring your app or game gets maximum exposure

    Use Social Networking

    Get a quick list of Twitter and Facebook best practices

    Use the Windows Phone Store Badge

    Point customers directly to your app via the ‘Download from Windows Phone Store’ badge. Incorporate the badges on your website, marketing materials, and advertising assets.

    Get the badge here

    Get your app promoted in the Windows Phone Store

    Make sure your app is ready to merchandise using these tips

    Shorten ad copy to help increase app downloads

    Partner offerings to help promote your apps

    Follow these steps:

    First, add the Microsoft Ad SDK to your app. The Microsoft Ad SDK is already included in Visual Studio, and is the #1 most used Ad Control for Windows Phone. Show banner ads in our key markets, and get high eCPM in many countries. Learn more

    Next, add the AdDuplex SDK to your app. AdDuplex is a cross-promotion network, letting you promote apps for free. For each 10 ads displayed in your app, 8 of your own ads will be displayed in other apps. The remaining 2 ads will be sold to support the service. Learn more

    Then, add the Smaato SDK to your app. Smaato is a mobile advertising network running a global Real-Time Bidding exchange. Get instant access to global quality ad inventory and ad networks with a single SDK. Learn more

    Finally, mix it up with AdRotator. AdRotator enables you to target multiple ad platforms and switch between them in a flexible way, to help maximize your ad revenue. AdRotator can be configured externally to your deployed apps, allowing you to change the flavours on the fly. Learn more

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    ID@Xbox - Independent Developers Publishing Program for Xbox One


    Getting Ready for the next generation

    Bring your games to Xbox One!

    The ID@Xbox program enables qualified game developers of all sizes including educators and students to unleash their creativity by self-publishing digital games on Xbox One, giving studios the tools and support needed to maximize their success.

    Here's the process at a glance:

    The ID@Xbox Process

    About ID@Xbox

    No Cost Development Tools

    ID@Xbox developers get access to two developer kits at no cost, as well as access to all required technical documentation, private forums, free middleware, and more. And there are no fees to submit or update a game on Xbox One.

    Full Platform Access

    Games that come through ID@Xbox have access to the full power of the platform, including: Kinect, Achievements, Gamerscore, Challenges, SmartGlass, Xbox Live, and more. Bottom line: If a game can do it on Xbox One, an ID@Xbox game can do it on Xbox One.

    Great Discovery

    On Xbox One, a game is a game. All games are sold in the same store, and have access to the same great discovery and curation features, from our store Spotlight to Trending, and viral discovery tools such as your friends' activity stream and Upload Studio.

    Robust Community

    From worldwide summit development events to private forums for community support, ID@Xbox is designed to help your connect with your fellow developers to share insights.

    Start Building NOW!

    There is NOTHING stopping you from getting started building your XBOX One game right now if you can build for Windows 8 you can build for Xbox One.

    Here are the two paths available:


    Unity3D will be fully supported for building XBOX One games. You can get get started right now by downloading the FREE version of Unity3D and starting to make your game straight away. Follow these tips for building to Windows 8 http://unity3d.com/pages/windows/porting 

    Learn Unity3D, build your game for Windows 8 and be ready to publish when you get the green light on Xbox One.

    Windows 8 games built using C++

    XBOX One games using C++/DX again you can start building your XBOX One game using C++ / DirectX NOW by creating a Windows 8 Direct3D App project using the template provided in Visual Studio 2012.

    When you are registered and get the SDK/XDK you will get the additional bits to publish and test to the XBOX One.

    To help you along there are also the DirectXTK and  DirectXTex libraries which are open source already prepped to work in the XBOX One.

    So Do you need a dev Kit?

    No you can download Unity just start with FREE or any other Pro version for now
    Start building Now for Windows 8 and just recompile your Windows 8 solution and deploy for the XBOX One when you get the bits
    Waiting for approval to ID@XBOX Don’t wait just start now while you are waiting
    Now don’t forget, unlike the X360 Indie program (XBLIG), the ID@XBOX process is officially curated by Microsoft, there will be an approval process to validate the quality, stability and price of your game before it’s approved to go on to the marketplace so if you understand the Windows 8 requirements these will put you in a good position for XboxOne . 

    If you haven’t signed up yet!


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Be the next generation of Microsoft Application close in 2 days



    Be the next generation of Microsoft

    At Microsoft, we’ve built our business on the same youthful enthusiasm and pioneering spirit that our founders had in 1975. Now, almost 30 years later, we still look for these qualities in our people.

    Our award-winning Software Development & Technical Consulting internships offer a unique opportunity to work for some of the most talented engineering and technology development teams in the world. We have a wide array of positions available and you are lucky enough to choose which of these would be your preference:

    Software Development and Software Development in Test opportunities:

    • Microsoft Studio’s teams (Lift, Lionhead, Rare and Soho Productions) in London, Guildford or Twycross
    • Games Test Organisation team in Reading
    • Online Service Division (BING) in London

    Technical Consultant and Technical Project Manager opportunities:

    • Microsoft Technology Centre in Edinburgh
    • Microsoft Solution Delivery in Reading
    • Online Service Division (BING) in London

    Our Software Development interns will get involved in everything from writing code for developing software products to getting involved in testing. You’ll also draw on your knowledge of programming languages, such as C#, C++, XML, .NET Visual Studio and benefit from a range of technical training.

    In Technical Consulting and Project Management, you will help deliver multiple software solutions, coordinate technical projects and provide consulting to a host of Microsoft’s biggest enterprise customers.

    To get you off to a flying start, you can look forward to a warm welcome and an induction course to help you find your feet. Then you’ll dive into a host of projects giving you valuable insights and real-life experience to take forward into your future career. As well as all of this, there’ll be extra-curricular projects to get involved in, an intern community, mentoring from our Leadership Team and a host of bespoke intern events.

    To find out what our current interns have been up to and involved with since joining us, visit our blog at beyourfuture.net.

    When ready to apply you can do so at microsoft.com/uk/graduates (click apply now and select Software Development and Technical Consulting intern stream). Be quick though, there’s strong demand for places and applications close on 31 January 2014.



  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows v2 Developer Preview Program closes in 2 days


    You only have 2 more days to apply for 1 of the 500 spots in the program available to professional developers and others who want to build amazing experiences using Kinect including artists, students, and other creators who have great ideas to bring to life using the new Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and SDK.

    Selected participants will get a Beta device before we officially launch the new sensor next summer.

    The program fee will be US$399 (or local equivalent) and offers the following benefits:

    • Direct access to the Kinect for Windows engineering team via a private forum and exclusive webcasts
    • Early SDK access (alpha, beta, and any updates along the way to release)
    • Private access to all API and sample documentation
    • A pre-release/alpha sensor
    • A final, released sensor at launch next summer

    Applications must be completed and submitted by January 31, 2014, at 9:00 A.M. (Pacific Time)

    Register here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindowsdev/newdevkit.aspx

    For more details on Kinect for Windows see http://www.kinectforwindows.com

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Open Source Web Application Template - A quick, easy way to bring web content to native Windows apps

    The Web Application Template is a Open Source Visual Studio 2013 template that lets developers create Windows 8.1 apps based on existing web content. Used in the right way, Web Application Template can facilitate the creation of compelling extensions to your web content for Windows users.

    View More details »

    What can you do with Web Application Template?

    Customers expect engaging online experiences on all devices, but that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice time, budget, and brand consistency by creating individual sites for every device. Many organisation have now implemented strategies for Responsive Design to create one site that delivers a consistent brand experience on any device or screen size.

    The Web Application Template is a very powerful tool and you can achieve a great Windows 8 app experience utilising your existing responsive web design.

    Here are some highlights of using the Web Application Template to take your responsive web site to a Windows 8 native app:

    Live Tiles & Push Notifications

    You can configure any RSS feed to update live tiles for your app or easily setup your website to push notifications and update live tiles even when the app isn't running.

    View details »


    You can integrate the share charm so your users can share content just like they would on any other Windows app

    View details »


    You can search Web Application Template-based apps the same way you would in any Windows app - via the search charm. Try it now

    View details »

    Navigation Bars

    You can add navigation bars which help users navigation around your app, just like in any Windows app

    View details »

    CSS Overrides

    You can embed CSS styles which get inserted over the existing styles on your website. This is great for adjusting the style of the site when it is presented as an app

    View details »

    Hide HTML elements

    You can hide name HTML element from your site. Great for removing the top navigation, footers etc which you do not need when the site is presented as an app

    View details »


    You can configure which urls remain inside the app and which ones open in the browser

    View details »

    HTML app

    The config file is just a starting point. The app is a regular HTML Windows app which you can develop further to meet your requirements.

    View details »

    Get Started

    It is very easy to get started with Web Application Template. All you need is a web site and a bit of information on how to configure the json file and you can create your first app.

    View details »


    Download the source code or VSIX installers from the Web Application Template codeplex site.

    Download now

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Using Windows 8 to build Windows 8 apps



    Microsoft Project Siena is a Windows 8 app which allows you to develop more Windows 8 apps, no programming skills required.

    The process starts by placing, moving and resizing assorted objects on your page: images, videos, buttons, lists, checkboxes, whatever they might be.

    You can link your visuals to data sources: RSS feeds, an Excel file, Sharepoint, Azure services and more.

    Next comes the tricky task of making sure the app works as you expect. And this isn't particularly easy, at all. You don't need programming knowledge, but there are lots of options and settings you'll need to learn in order to get everything working properly (as well as entering Excel code for more complex logic).

    Once it's all done then you can use the app yourself, or share it with others. See the details below for more details

    Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is the beta release of a new technology for business experts, business analysts, consultants, and other app imagineers. Now, without any programming, you can create powerful apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes.

    Here are some examples of what people have already been building:

    • Apps to explore media-rich product catalogs and create ensembles that together serve a customer’s needs
    • Apps used on the spot to resolve customer service bottlenecks and logistics exceptions, with the custom intelligence to help the user make local tradeoffs
    • Apps for auditing and inspecting a manufacturing facility through photos, videos, and pen and voice notes, all tied to an asset database
    How Siena works

    Building Siena apps is as easy as editing a document. Place some visuals on a canvas. Hook them up to your data. Customize how your app looks and works. Then, if you need special logic and intelligence, write Excel-like expressions. You can use your app immediately, or share it with colleagues or the world.

    Apps at the speed of imagination

    With Siena, you can conceptualize, validate, and build your app ideas almost as quickly as you can come up with them. And if your needs change tomorrow, updating your app is no problem. Open it. Change it. Share it again, and you’re off to do business.

    Plays well with data

    Siena works well with corporate and web data and media content: SharePoint lists, Excel and Windows Azure tables, RSS feeds, and the gamut of RESTful services.

    Siena apps are IT-friendly

    Siena apps are just HTML5 and JavaScript and are deployed and managed like any other Windows 8 app. In fact, developers can open them up, see what’s there, and, if needed, extend them in their favourite programming tools.

    Try it out

    Install Siena, watch one of the how-to videos, and then build the app that you’ve been imagining—in less than an hour.

    • Conceptualize, validate, and build your app ideas as easily as editing a document
    • Connect to corporate and web data
    • Compose rich interactive visuals to create custom, unique apps
    • Add business logic and intelligence using the power of Excel expressions
    • Use the app yourself, and share it with colleagues or the world

    Learn More

    Tutorials and Samples

    Looking Ahead

    Forums and Help


    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Xbox360 for education announced at BETT2014


      X360Edu White

      There has never been a better time to learn how to program. Modern programming languages, coupled with powerful and widely available development environments, provide an excellent place to work.

      A wide range of operating environments, including mobile devices, cloud computing, robotics, embedded devices, and games, means that you can apply your programming-acquired skills in a huge range of different areas.

      Programming lets you bring your ideas to life, and with the launch of Xbox for Education, Microsoft is trying to making programming more exciting and interesting for students of all ages. With Xbox for Education and Microsoft DreamSpark we’re getting students coding in C# and XNA and we hope to aspire tomorrow’s games developer and help students learn a lot about how games work and even create totally new ones of their own.

      As part of its effort to further increase computational thinking and games development in young people, Microsoft is also introducing a discounted Xbox 360 programme to schools which includes a 3-Year DreamSpark subscription.

      DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com provides the tools to help student’s designs and create applications and games for Microsoft Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8. DreamSpark equips students with professional developer software and resources to explore the world of computing and to develop their passions and skills – at home as well as at school. It also equips and supports teachers through the provision of software and lessons plans.

      The Xbox for Education offer includes a 3-Year DreamSpark Standard subscription for the institution. To take advantage of this offer from Monday 27th January, schools and colleges should visit: www.Xboxforeducation.co.uk

      Xbox for Education and the associated resources available at DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com and Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources http://www.microsoft.com/faculty provides teachers with resources from first principles to advanced techniques.

      These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.

      C# is a popular programming language used by many software developers all over the world. The C# skills that you pick up from the Xbox in Education can also be used as the basis of a career in programming should you find that you really enjoy writing programs. Additionally the design of the C# language is very similar to C, C++, and Java you will find that your skills can be used with them too.

      XNA is a framework which allows games to be written in C#. It provides all the “heavy lifting” concerned with creating a game framework. It drives the display, manages content, and provides an easy to use way of interacting with gamepads and other controllers. It also provides a common platform so that XNA games can run on a variety of different devices, games can also be distributed to Xbox users around the world using the Xbox Live service.

    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Getting started with DirectX and C++ can be daunting, but there are a couple of new resources out that can help you!


      You won’t master DirectX/C++ game development in a day, but if you want some good resources to help you get rolling, there are two great resources you should check out:

      • Introduction to C++/DirectX Game Development on Microsoft Virtual Academy
      • DirectX/C++ Game Project Template and Getting Started Kit
      • Rapid2d C++/DirectX Game Engine

      Introduction to C++/DirectX Game Development on Microsoft Virtual Academy

      Microsoft Virtual Academy offers a variety of live and recorded sessions on a variety of technologies. Tomorrow, Thursday December 5th, 2013. The session will be available on demand after the event, so if you miss the live date, you don’t have to miss out! Mickey Macdonald and Bryan Griffiths will be doing an introduction to C++/DirectX Game development.

      Mickey & Bryan are well equipped to help you learn about building games from the ground up. They’ll cover topics such as game loops, input detection, basic shaders, and state management.

      Mickey is an indie game developer and also a technical evangelist at Microsoft. Bryan is a video game design instructor at triOS college and has also worked on AAA title as well as smaller indie and web based games.

      Watch the session on demand at Microsoft Virtual Academy

      DirectX/C++ Game Project Template and Getting Started Kit

      If you are interested in building a DirectX game for the Windows Store, check out the DirectX game learning template. You will find links to download, information about the template and the Getting Started Guide here.

      The learning template extends the basic DirectX app template and adds additional components such as

      • InputManager: Consolidated input from touch, mouse, keyboard, and Xbox controllers. 
      • Virtual analog controls: A basic virtual controller with tracked-touch analog control and digital buttons. 
      • OverlayManager: Add and manage multiple Direct2D overlays for a Direct3D scene.
      • SoundPlayer: Add rudimentary sound effects and play music as background audio. Updates to Direct3D resource management.

      Rapid2D Game Engine

      Rapid2D is a fast, dynamic editor and game engine targeted specifically at Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.

      Rapid2D takes care of all the complicated stuff such as the rendering pipeline, sound, managing image assets, and converting files to the proper format – all of this is done for you behind the scenes – but still gives you the raw power and control of native C++ code.

      Lets Create..

      The Rapid2D editor is around a year old now, and has seen continued development and huge improvement since its initial release. Recently, the UI of the editor has been completely ripped out and redeveloped, giving it a much more professional look. The various UI components can also be undocked and customised, something which wasn’t possible before.

      Rapid2D sports a sophisticated particle engine (complete with warp effects), one-click physics and custom colliders, and cool stuff like spatial sound. Probably the most attractive feature, though, is the ability to deploy the same game to both Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows RT and Windows Phone at the same time – with only one click. That’s just handy.

      It may seem obvious, but Rapid2D creates projects which are fully compliant with Microsoft’s app submission policies.

      And publish..

      So you’ve made an awesome game, one which will turn heads and be that killer app you’ve always wanted to make. But suddenly, you’re hit with the thing that probably causes more frustration than anything else amongst app developers – it’s time to publish.

      Luckily, if you’ve chosen to develop your game for the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Phone platform, publishing to the store is a really simple and stress-free process.

      First things first, you will need to register for Developer account. Normally this costs $99 USD, but if you are lucky enough to be a DreamSpark or BizSpark member, you get registration completely free of charge.

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