The goal of this site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance team have opened for registration the Summer 2013 Microsoft Dynamics AX Curriculum Training Conference.
What is Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance?
Interested in Microsoft Dynamics within your curriculum then register for the following event
Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance will offer free training related to the new Microsoft Dynamics AX curriculum being offered to DynAA members. When taught in its entirety, the curriculum prepares students to take the Microsoft Dynamics AX Financials and the Microsoft Dynamics AX Trade and Logistics certification exams. The modules within the curriculum can also be used individually to enhance existing curriculum. Instructor Guides will be provided.
Please register here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5819469189
When: August 19-21, 2013 Where: Microsoft Campus-Munich, Germany Konrad-Zuse-Str. 1 85716 Unterschleißheim, Germany Learn how to use this curriculum in your classroom either to enhance your current curriculum or to prepare your students for certification.
The training class and all materials needed for the training, including computers, will be provided by DynAA at no charge. Meals will be provided during the training at no charge. Travel to Munich, Germany, as well as hotel expenses are at the cost of the attendee. Those attending from a Public Sector institution will be required to provide a signed Pre-Approval letter. Please contact Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance, Senior Program Manager, Jane Birkegaard Thomsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Today is an exciting day for Microsoft, Windows Azure, today marked the general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure Services. This new service now makes it possible for all customers to move applications into the cloud. The announcement today are not only about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), it’s about Infrastructure Services and Platform Services and hybrid scenarios. The cloud should be an enabler for innovation, and an extension of your organisation’s IT fabric. for more details of today announcement see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2013/04/16/the-power-of-and.aspx
Dramatically reduce your wait time to provision IT resources by rolling out apps and infrastructure in minutes. Bring your Windows or Linux-based application to the cloud as-is. Scale up or scale down as needed for a wide range of app hosting scenarios and pay only for what you use.
Extend and Synch. Connect Hybrid Infrastructure Services with a Single Identity
Build hybrid services that take advantage of what you already have while enabling new innovation in the cloud. Bring your existing identities to apps running in Virtual Machines by simply connecting to your on-premises Active Directory. Running Office 365? Simply run Active Directory Federation services in Virtual Machines to sync with on-premises identities for single sign on.
Spin up a test lab within minutes. Connect to your existing infrastructure if required. When you’re done, tear it down, bring your app back in house to run it using your on-premises infrastructure, or keep it in the cloud. The choice is yours.
Spin up SharePoint farms in minutes without major capital investments. Integrate full trust code to run rich apps and business logic, and provide internet facing collaboration sites on SharePoint that scale with your business needs.
Start small, go big. Whether you are building a lab to prototype your newest app with SQL Server or extending data marts into the cloud, Windows Azure Virtual Machines is a solid foundation you can count on. With full SQL Server compatibility you get capabilities like full-text search, or transparent data encryption for greater security.
This is a great infographic from http://www.dotnetsolutions.co.uk/
Teaching/Learning and Research Opportunity
If your interested in testing or teaching Azure Cloud services see http://www.windowsazure.com/education
Tech.Days online is back and this time it’s bigger and better than ever before.
So if your interested in learning about Microsoft latest technology and tools and hearing from experts then you need to book out the the 24th, 25th and 26th April for three, free days of interactive learning; online and direct from your browser.
Learn all about the latest Microsoft Technologies and with even more exciting topics, discussion and interactivity.
Learn online from the comfort of your own desk Register once and dip in and out of the sessions you want to attend Half an hour, bite size sessions on the topics you most want to hear about Dedicated sessions for IT Professionals and Developers Ask the experts questions throughout the three days 50 free MVA points for anyone that attends Plus the opportunity to win loads of cool prizes!
Interested? Register for this event for FREE
For a chance to win a HTC Windows Phone 8, all you need to do is follow @TechNetUK and tweet the following: Tech.Days Online is back!! http://aka.ms/k35pwq RT & follow @TechNetUK for a chance to win a Windows Phone 8 #UKTechDays2013
By registering for Tech.Days Online 2013, you will also be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a Sony VAIO laptop (Terms and Conditions apply)
Day One, Wednesday 24th April
Dedicated to developers and testers, learn more about Visual Studio 2012 ‘the tool for developing for Windows 8’.
Day Two, Thursday 25th April
The first of two days solely devoted to IT Professionals, based on the topics that our IT Pro community have voted they want to hear more about.
09.30 Introduction to Tech.Days Online Day 2 09.35 The Windows 8 Gadget Show 10.00 Guest Interview 10.10 VDI Killed the Desktop Star 10.40 Guest Interview 10.50 Coffee Break 11.00 Enabling DirectAccess - Snowmore Disruptions 11.30 Interview with MS IT 11.40 Phone a friend or ask a Licensing Specialist part 1 12.10 Coffee Break 12.20 Ready, Steady, Click - Windows 8 Deployment Live 12.50 Coffee Break 13.00 Windows Server 2012 - Real Life Example 13.10 Hyper-V Replication - Resistance is Futile 13.40 Windows Server for Megalomaniacs who want to manage! 14.10 Coffee Break 14.20 Guest Interview 14.30 Coffee Break 14.40 PowerShell Suits - Beyond the Fundamentals 15.10 Phone a friend or ask a Licensing Specialist part 2 15.40 Windows Server Scale - Having it LARGE! 16.10 Adbreak 16.20 Guest Interview 16.40 Q&A 16.50 Wrap Up
Day Three, Friday 26th April
The final day of Tech.Days Online is solely dedicated to IT Professionals. The agenda has been built by our IT Pro community, based on the topics they most wanted to hear about.
09.30 Introduction to Tech.Days Online Day 3 09.35 Intro to the Cloud OS - Taking the Marketing BS out of the OS 10.00 Coffee Break 10.10 Appy Monitoring with System Center 2012 10.40 Lionbridge cloud running on SC2012 / WS2012 10.50 Coffee Break 11.00 Orchestrate Everything without a Conductor! 11.30 Coffee Break 11.40 The Basics of Windows Azure Networks - The Birth of Skynet 12.10 Coffee Break 12.20 Rise of the Virtual Machines in Windows Azure 12.50 Coffee Break 13.00 The Plankernator - Interview 13.10 Pop up a Pop Up Lab in Windows Azure 13.40 Build a Cyberdyne System Center Lab on Windows Azure 14.10 Coffee Break 14.20 Postman Pat on a Cloudy Day - Exchange on Server 2012 14.40 Relate - Why SQL Server and Windows Server 2012 don't need counselling 15.10 Coffee Break 15.40 SharePoint 2013 - Being more Social 16.10 Coffee Break 16.20 Guest Interview 16.50 Q&A 17.00 Wrap Up
This year we had over 3,000 entries for the UK Imagine Cup Final.
We had 4 Regional Finals, Each of the regional finals were used narrow down the entries to leave the top 3 winners from each region to attend this years UK Final. The UK finals, took place on April 8th at the University College London. The finals planned to host 12 teams to battle it out to be the UK winner and represent the UK at the World Wide Finals which will be hosted in Russia.
The four regional finals took place at
1. North East (Sunderland Software City, NEBYTES, Black Marble)
2. South (Setsquared, OpenMic, Opposable Games, Exeter IGNITE, Exeter University Guild)
3. London (UCL)
4. Midlands (Birmingham City University)
Projects and Teams
On April 8th, 10 teams competed in the UK finals.
Below is a breakdown of all the teams split into the regions they qualified from. We would like to say a huge thank you to all the teams that came, we were excited to have them compete and we were really impressed with the quality this year.
Region: North East
Praxis (Games) - Praxis were from the University of Teesside, and created their "Lost in Darkness" game. Team member, Richard Lawrence explains the premise of the game, "We take you back to the 1950’s. You play a woman who is lost in a haunted and eerie mansion in search of her long lost father. You navigate your way around trying to find out the truth of your fathers absence, with only have a lantern to help you guide your way around… But the question is, will you find him before you get lost in the darkness forever?” Other team member Steven Jackson stated "Once we had chosen the horror theme, we wanted to move away from the convention of shooting and zombie games and instead were interested in the prospect of exploration and playing about with the user’s senses, we really wanted to scare anyone who played." A few of the judges even ended up jumping whilst playing the game!
Osseus (World Citizenship) – Osseus are a virtual physiotherapy application used to aid patients in their recovery and treatment. They had an innovative solution using the Kinect to track the patient’s movements. This would store the information in a database – the key here being that they could move this into the cloud and process this data for more information to help the patient!
Osseus created a great programme that made exercising at home fun, easy and cheap, and even the judges were having fun trying it out and getting involved!
One of our Judges Andy McCartney trying out Osseus’s Technology!
Eye of Moscow (Games) - There seemed to be horror in the air at our UK finals. Eye of Moscow, like Praxis, developed a horror game based on a true Russian story, but this time were trying to aim it at the 14-17 age range. They wanted people of a younger age (with horror games usually rated 18+) to have a great experience whilst also getting scared! The team described a haunting story set in Chernobyl, of a doctor who has turned crazy due to a leak of poisonous substance in an underground hospital. He believes his family are still alive and goes in search of them, but will he discover the truth of their whereabouts and uncover the story?! With creaky doors and disturbing hallucinations of ‘grudge-like’ young girls, even the judges were engrossed by the teams story and were all scared by the end of it!
Squi-Delta (Games) – A team of two from Birmingham came together to create an addictive PC game (hoping to get it on windows phone eventually), that rooted for a lost squids search for his home!
With the innovative and shall we say ‘interesting’ choice of lead character, everyone playing the game was cheering for ‘squi-delta’ to find his way back, dodging grusome sharks and mines, but not before he stopped to pick up some goodies on the way!
11th Hour (Innovation) – “What’s our aim of today? To get to Russia!”
11th Hour were a team from Exeter University who developed a ticket-selling app. The app connects unsold tickets for a wide variety of events to consumers – from ballet lessons to music festivals. The focus is on last-minute events: if a company has not sold out their class or venue within a week or so of their event, they would use the app to advertise their tickets at a discounted rate, in order to ensure the capacity was filled. Companies pay a base rate to be included on the site, which is then raised if they wish to appear in a more prominent position on the app. Users are encouraged to sign up to the site, where they will receive ticket alerts 15 minutes before the general release.
Ticklo (World Citizenship) –Ticklo built an education app for students, teachers and parents. Unlike similar apps, Ticklo produced a fun and easy way to learn and engage young kids at school without leaving anyone behind. The app allows teachers to set assignments for their classes- currently with a focus on mathematics - which students can access at school and at home using Azure technology. The app tracks each student’s progress, including how long it has taking pupils to answer each question, which the teacher can use to build lesson plans and highlights subject areas that require further attention. The app is also intelligent – if students are answering lots of questions wrong, it will pick up on this and reduce the difficulty of the questions. It is designed with students in mind, and in the hope that one day we can get everyone to the same level, no matter how long it takes!
SoundSYNK (Innovation) – SoundSYNK have developed an app which connects devices together with the same content. They set the scene by describing a music festival: when the band finishes playing, festival-goers retreat to their tents together where one person would play music from their phone to maintain the atmosphere. However, the volume is often not high enough for large groups to appreciate. SoundSYNK uses Bluetooth technology to link together an unlimited number of mobile phones and stream the same song in perfect timing, effectively creating a symphony of speakers. This can also be used in the corporate world, where meeting leaders will be able to distribute certain documents, such as PowerPoint presentations, out to the attendees so everyone is able to personally view it.
Oxi-Way (Innovation) – “This has been an amazing experience. Today I feel especially nervous and excited. I’m really looking forward to see the other competitors” - Riham
Oxiway are a team from Oxford University, who have created a swapping and trading site for students... Think Ebay but better! It’s free to use when you log in with your university email address, and allows members to buy, sell and swap items as required. Local retailers are also able to join the site, with students being able to reserve products online and collect them in store, preventing the need for online payments. The Oxiway team attended both the Oxford and Imperial University careers fairs, where they received 600 sign-ups In 3 days.
Networked Vehicles (Innovation)- This team of 3, used Microsoft Gadgeteer to create a service fit in vehicles that allowed drivers to find out more about their driving and other drivers on the road.
They also were testing out the concept of projecting key information onto a drivers windscreen and side mirrors!
VirtUlearn (Innovation)- Like Ticklo, this London-based team, sought to create an Education app that helped out teachers in the classroom, create a more virtual and fun environment for their students.
Incorporating Kinect technology and Touch screens, it was aiming to try and take the mundane classroom lessons we have into a new era of learning!
We were lucky enough to have some great judges with us on the day
Andy McCartney- UK Breadth Technical Evangelism Manager
Phil Cross- Audience Marketing Manager
Anand Krishnan- UK Senior Director DPE
Natasha Joseph – UK Imagine Cup Organiser
Jennifer Ritzinger – We were so lucky to have had Jennifer come all the way from Corp and help us with the judging.
She couldn't conceal her passion for the competition, stating that "It is very authentic and genuine for us. It is part of our blood". This, she states, is why Microsoft have continued to invest in the competition every year.
Calum Cawley- We were privileged to have Calum Cawley join us, who was one of the winners of the Imagine Cup back in 2010. It was great to get his insight into the process of the Imagine cup, his experience of the finals and winning, his ‘key learning's’, and what is next for him now!
Alistair Shepherd- We tried to pull off a stunt at the UK finals, and were lucky enough to have Alistair who with his partner Sam Mead, owns a start-up called Saberr who specialise in Intelligent recruitment, and help people try and form the ‘Perfect Teams’. We asked all the student teams to fill out their specially designed questionnaire, and using this information with their algorithm, that Alistair would be able to predict:
A) who will be the Top 3 teams
B) Which team would Win!
Let’s just say somehow he managed to get this 100% correct!!
The UK TOP 3
3rd Place: Games Competition Winner- Praxis
2nd Place: World Citizenship Competition Winner: Ticklo
And drum roll… the overall winners are….!!!!
1st Place: Innovation Competition Winner - SoundSYNK
We wish the guys at SoundSYNK the very best of luck at the World Wide Finals in Russia and have no doubt that they will do us proud!
I would like to thank all of those who helped out in any of the processes that led to the success that was the Imagine Cup Finals in the UK, it really couldn’t have been a better day without them!
University College London for being such a great host
- Dean Mohamedally
- Stephen Marchant
- Karen Brooks & Team
- Tracy Costello
- Andrew Westgarth & Team
- Andrew Wilson & Team
- Jennifer Ritzinger
- Anand Krishnan
- Andy McCartney
- Phil Cross
- Natasha Joseph
On Saturday 23rd March, 12 of the Windows Games Ambassadors battled the snowy conditions to attend weekend long session aimed at helping them understand the opportunity of Unity and Windows 8.
The weekend was simply focused on Windows 8 and Unity3d exposure. The Windows Games Ambassadors are group of 17 students who have been recruited from across the UK’s Games Design, Games Programming and Games Technology University courses.
The goal of the weekend was simply to provide the ambassadors with a understanding of the opportunity of Unity and Windows 8. One of the key goals of the programme is to ensure that empower ambassadors to engage with student building AWESOME GAMES and portfolios using UNITY and other 3rd Party Frameworks either as part of their course or vocationally in their free time.
The weekend was an intense mix of presentations, coding and learning about the Unity beta + 3rd party plug-ins and assets used to develop Windows 8 games.
The weekend was structured as a learning exercise with the team broken down into coding pairs, each pair had mixed ability and skills and its a important learning exercise of working in a small agile development team.
The focus of the exercise was to:
1. Help the Windows Games Ambassadors understand the complexity of building a game with Unity and taking it Windows 8
2. To provide a focus on students developing a portfolio of Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps.
3. To provide the Windows Games Ambassadors with sufficient knowledge to discuss the pro and cons of using 3rd party frameworks
Modern Jago was our host location, Jago is one of Microsoft’s central London locations used for various developer and community outreach activity . The Day started with a overview of the Windows Games Ambassadors survey results, The survey had been completed by hundreds of students from across UK over the past few weeks.
The Survey results presented a number of interesting finding which can be seen below.
Each of the Ambassadors than had to present on their progress to date looking at the following areas..
1. Engagement, i.e. what clubs or societies had been formed how they were using social media and blogs to engage with students on and off campus.
2. Games and Apps Overview, an overview of their own apps and games, and those which fellow students had built or were being built
3. What events or hackathon/gameathon have been undertaken or planned to be undertaken
Unity3D and Windows 8
We then got to grips with Unity and Windows 8 development, we provide a short overview of the products and tools to ensure the Windows Games Ambassadors had the ability to understand current process for supporting Windows 8 with Unity projects. We covered building the pipeline and support of Windows 8 features such as live tiles, share charm etc. using both custom built unity plug-in (using VS2012) and also a 3rd party Unity plug-in
We presented an overview of Windows 8 and Unity3d including plug-ins to add share and live tiles to Unity3d developed games and made these a mandorty outcome of any apps developed during the weekend.
The day was made up of formal presentation, scrum meeting and Informal discussions. The teams got to mingle over lunch, helping building the team as the members cover the length of breadth of the UK. In the picture members from Hull University, University of West of Scotland, Westminster University, University of Portsmouth and Birmingham City University
Team Based Working
The Ambassador were matched in pair of mixed skills and abilities i.e. 1st year with 2nd year and from different institutions this was the first time they have ever worked together.
Two teams enjoy the informal spaces at Jago – Hull Uni team, Josh and John with University of West Scotland, Michael and Westminster University Tom working in pairs.
Over the entire weekend the teams worked as buddies, generally splitting the role of designer and developer
At the end of the second day, the teams who felt in a position to show a working game with Windows 8 features including as Live tiles, share etc. had to pitch their concept and game.
Team 1. Birmingham City University & Greenwich University
Team 2 Derby University
Team 3 Staffordshire University & Portsmouth University
Team 4 University of West of Scotland and Westminster University
Team 5 University of Hull
The Winning Team
1st Place Team 3 Staffordshire University & Portsmouth University - GRIDLOCKED
2nd Place Team 5 University of Hull – BASS
For more details of the Windows Games Ambassadors and their activities please see http://www.windowsgamesambassadors.co.uk
On the 26th of March we held an event to help raise awareness of the opportunity of Windows 8 and Windows Phone within academic gaming courses.
The intention of the event was to..
1. Introduce the latest technology released by Microsoft
2. Present the curricula resources available for academics
3. Provide an overview and guidance on 3rd party frameworks available to be used within the teaching, learning of games.
During the day the speakers highlighted changes users should expect from games developed for Windows Phone and Windows 8, the new cool features available and the new integrated services in the OS and partner frameworks.
Additionally attendees had the chance to hear from academics already using these frameworks within their curricula and gain an understanding of how these and Windows 8 are ideal for teaching game development to students
Please find the presentation from the day below.
The Opportunity of Windows - Lee Stott Microsoft
Getting to Grips with Frameworks Seminar 1 TouchDevelop David Renton, Reid Kerr College
What is Touch Develop Video
Getting to Grips with Frameworks Seminar 2 UNITY & Windows 8, Lee Stott Microsoft
Getting to Grips with Frameworks Seminar 3 Scirra Construct2, Andrew Wilson, Birmingham City University
Getting to grips with Frameworks Seminar 4 MonoGame and XNA, Rob Miles, University of Hull
Getting to grips with Frameworks Seminar 5 GameMaker, Jacob Habgood, Sheffield Hallam University
Getting to grips with Frameworks Seminar 6 C++/DX, David Fletcher Rapid2D.com
Overview of Microsoft IT Academy Craig Bewley Prodigy Learning
Overview of available resources. Lee Stott Microsoft
Location of event:
Kingston University Penrhyn Road John Galsworthy Building Penrhyn Road Kingston upon Thames Surrey KT1 2EE
Date Friday 17th May - Saturday 18th 4.30 pm
With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Store’s you have a choice of control schemes, a variety of devices tablets, notebooks, all in ones to a stunning array of phones from manufactures such as Nokia, HTC and Samsung.
With Windows 8 features such as live tiles, snapped view, sharing charms and more you’re application comes alive. Your beautiful apps are delivered through the Windows Store available in over 200 markets, as an app developers can make money the way you want.
We want to show you how Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are the perfect platform for you to build your next app or even start your first venture as an App developer. Hear from AppCampus accelerator program managed by Aalto University in Espoo, Finland. This is an 18 million euro joint investment between Microsoft and Nokia to foster mobile application development on Windows Phone.
We want new student start-ups to succeed so come along and hear how were fostering the creation of innovative mobile applications for the Windows 8 and Windows Phone ecosystem, and in addition, to create a new generation of self-sustaining mobile start-ups.
Through this one day event we will have keynote speakers from Microsoft and Nokia. Hear first-hand how to receive awards varying from $20.000, $50.000 to $70.000.
Register Here http://kingstonmicrosoftapps.eventbrite.co.uk/
Friday 17th May 2013
9.00 – 10.00 Building Awesome Windows 8 Apps - Mike Taulty Microsoft 10.00 – 11.00 Student to Start-up Oxiway, Oxford University, Microsoft BizSpark company. 11.00 – 11.15 Break 11.15 – 13.00 Nokia Appcampus Mobile Application Accelerator 13.00 – 14:00 Lunch 14:00 – 15:00 Developing Awesome Windows Phone Apps - Andy Wigley, Microsoft 15:00 – 16:00 Designing Beautiful Windows Applications - Andrew Spooner, Microsoft 16:00 – 16:15 Break 16:15 – 17:15 Developing Windows Apps using ZipApp - Martin Beeby, Microsoft 20:00 – 23:59 Windows Hackathon
Saturday 18th May
24.00 – 9.30 Windows Hackathon 9.30 – 11:00 Apps Judging 11:00 – 12:00 Awards for best app 12:00 – 12:30 Close
Register Here http://kingstonmicrosoftapps.eventbrite.co.uk/
Are you a student with great ideas on the future of cyber security policy?
Have you conducted research on how to measure the security impact of policies around the world?
If so, read on for how you can win $5,000 cash for your research in this essay contest. Here is how: www.microsoft.com/gssdcontest.
This kit includes all the basic functionalities to get a game published to Windows Store.
Introducing The Game Starter Kit for Windows 8 with Windows Azure backend.
One of the key challenges for student game developers is simply where to start. The purpose of the Game Starter Kit is simply to provide an easy and effective way and it only takes the developer about 10 minutes to set up everything and get it running.
You can download the kit, and read how to set it up here: http://digitalerr0r.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/html5-game-starterkit-for-windows-8-with-leaderboard-in-windows-azure/
The good thing about this kit is that it includes all the basic functionalities to get a game published to Windows Store.
It is very easy to modify this and create more advanced and fun games.
Making of Lumilight
In addition to this, the author/creator of the Starter Kit Petri Wilhelmsen has released a new simple game for Windows 8 called Lumilight.
You can learn more about “The Making of Lumilight” guide,http://digitalerr0r.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/the-making-of-lumilight-a-game-for-windows-8/
Here a quick guide to the best resources for Windows Phone 8
Design & Developer Resources
Windows Phone Design Guidelines and Tutorials http://aka.ms/wp8devdesign
Windows Phone Developer Resources http://aka.ms/wp8devdoc
Design Boot Camp
Windows Phone Design Bootcamp covers the philosophy, inspiration and visuals that are Windows Phone Design Language. Starting with the basic terminology of design, this boot camp will take you from its early origins to the Design Principles each screen in Windows Phone was measured against. From there, we will show you the design process that guided its creation. Lastly, we will discuss the larger Microsoft Design ecosystem including Windows 8.
Samples and Tutorials
General Web Resources
Windows Phone Developer Portal http://dev.windowsphone.com
Windows Phone Developer Blog http://wpdev.ms/developerblog
Windows Phone Channel 9 Video Resources http://wpdev.ms/insidewp
Windows Phone Development Twitter http:/twitter.com/wpdev
Absolute Beginners Guide http://wpdev.ms/beginvids
Jump Start Video Training Resources and Content http://aka.ms/wp8js
Windows Phone 8 Training Kit, virtual labs and resources http://aka.ms/wp8hol