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!
The Kinect for Windows team announced our Fall Roadmap today on our blog.
It includes an SDK update that we will release on October 8th.
In addition to making Kinect for Windows hardware available in seven new markets this autumn, we will be releasing an update to the Kinect for Windows runtime and software development kit (SDK) on October 8.
So what is included in the update
This release has numerous new features that deliver additional power to Kinect for Windows developers and business customers. We will share the full details when it’s released on October 8, but in the meantime here are a few highlights:
· Enable businesses to do more with Kinect for Windows We are committed to opening up even more opportunities for the creation of new end user experiences. We’ll be adding features such as expanded sensor data access—including colour camera settings and extended depth data—to continue to inspire innovative uses of the Kinect for Windows technology in new and different places.
· Improve developer efficiency We continue to invest in making our platform easier and more powerful for developers. That’s why we’ll be releasing more tools and samples in October, such as a new sample that demonstrates a “best in class” UI based on the Kinect for Windows Human Interface Guidelines.
· Extend our Windows tools and operating system support We want to make it easy for our customers to be able to build and deploy on a variety of Windows platforms. Our October update will include support for Windows 8 desktop applications, Microsoft .NET 4.5, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2012.
So let me know what exciting projects your working on using the Microsoft Kinect for windows SDK.
Windows Azure Educator Grants are a great way for you and your students to get access to Azure for the duration of your class. These passes are available for faculty teaching Azure.
Azure in Education Passes
· 5 month passes for PAAS: Any educator may apply online requesting access, and sharing the course name he/she is teaching, and how many students/passes they are requesting.
· NEW 5 Month passes teach with IAAS: Premium services will be enabled, to include 3 core = 2 small VMs (Windows or Linux VMs.), 10 Free Website/ Media Services(TBC)..
· NEW 12 month passes for Educators. Any educator applying for a grant, will receive an educator pass that is 12-months long and renewable, as part of their class request.
· Imagine Cup Passes – Competitors will be offered passes
For additional questions or special requests email AzureU@microsoft.com
The following is a list of new content that was added. Add this to your RSS feeds in Outlook to stay up-to-date!
So what will OEM Windows 8 machine be like?
Samsung held an event yesterday to announce a trio of Windows 8 PCs - ATIV Tab, ATIV Smart PC and ATIV Smart PC Pro – and a Windows 8 Phone. So if you are interested in what Windows 8 OEM Find out more about the Samsung ATIV range
What about other vendors?
For other vendors offering you can check out the Microsoft News Center Gallery of OEM's offerings. There will be more to come, over the next few weeks as we approach the GA of Windows 8 26th October 2012
So what about apps?
If your interested in building or learning more about Windows 8 application development then you need to visit this new Microsoft UK Site which contains all the necessary information
Whether you are a software developer, an IT administrator, many of us need to run multiple operating systems. Windows 8 uses Hyper-V, the machine virtualization technology that has been part of the last 2 releases of Windows Server.
In brief, Hyper-V lets you run more than one 32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating system at the same time on the same computer. Instead of working directly with the computer’s hardware, the operating systems run inside of a virtual machine (VM).
Hyper-V enables developers to easily maintain multiple test environments and provides a simple mechanism to quickly switch between these environments without incurring additional hardware costs.
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Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system that has Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). SLAT is a feature present in the current generation of 64-bit processors by Intel & AMD. You’ll also need a 64-bit version of Windows 8, and at least 4GB of RAM. Hyper-V does support creation of both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems in the VMs.
Hyper-V’s dynamic memory allows memory needed by the VM to be allocated and de-allocated dynamically (you specify a minimum and maximum) and share unused memory between VMs. You can run 3 or 4 VMs on a machine that has 4GB of RAM but you will need more RAM for 5 or more VMs. On the other end of the spectrum, you can also create large VMs with 32 processors and 512GB RAM.
In conclusion, by bringing Hyper-V from Windows Server to Windows Client, allows you to provide a robust virtualization technology designed for the scalability, security, reliability, and performance needs of most data centers. With Hyper-V, developers and IT professionals can now build a more efficient and cost-effective environment for using and testing across multiple machines.
So how do I know if my machine support SLAT (second level address translation).
1. Windows 8 HyperV requires support for SLAT (second level address translation).
2. So if your thinking of installing Windows 8 in your institutions computer labs you should check your machine BIOS as this feature can be enabled/disabled.
3. To do this Download CoreInfo from the Windows Sysinternals website, here.
4. Open a command window with admin rights and type coreinfo –v, if an asterix is displayed next to EPT row then your Intel processor supports SLAT.
Today the ImagineCup team launches new competitions and framework for 2013, taking our first steps towards St. Petersburg, Russia, where all of our efforts will culminate in our Worldwide Finals in July, 2013.
This year, we have three big competitions and challenges.
· World Citizenship: Make an app that could change someone’s life. Pick your cause: the environment, education, health, you name it. Use technology as an agent of change.
· Games: Put a smile on the face of the world. Make the next great game and see people playing it all around you on console, PC, phone, slate – wherever people play games.
· Innovation: Reinvent social networks. Transform online shopping. Experience music in a new way. Do something amazing with GPS. It’s time to take that crazy idea of yours and ship it!
· The Windows 8 App Challenge will test a team’s ability to design and build a Windows Store app that takes advantage of Windows 8 features and design principles to deliver an exceptional experience on the platform.
· The Windows Phone Challenge is seeking the best apps that feature startling functionality and device-focused utility, combined with a delightful Windows Phone user experience.
· The Windows Azure Challenge is about getting your team started on the “next big thing” by leveraging Azure platform features to build a great web application.
The biggest prizes in the history of the ImagineCup to go with them.
For each competition, we'll award:
· First Place: $50,000 (USD)
· Second Place: $10,000 (USD)
· Third Place: $5,000 (USD)
And each challenge:
· First Place: $10,000 (USD)
· Second Place: $5,000 (USD)
· Third Place: $3,000 (USD)
Plus every finalist team and their mentor will also get a free trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, to compete in the Worldwide Finals!
To keep upto date join the ImagineCup mailing list and subscribe to the ImagineCup blog to be the first to get all the news.
This year, we want to give students all kinds of ways to create, learn, compete, and win. So please point them at our page on ImagineCup Facebook page, and follow the ImagineCup team on Twitter.
Great news for Microsoft IT Academy ‘ITA’ Institutions
For a limited time, Microsoft is bringing back its popular Second Shot offer that gives your students a free second chance to pass their certification exams. Microsoft has reinvented the IT industry’s most respected professional certification program to validate a deeper set of skills on the newest technologies. The new MCSE and MCSD certifications validate the ability to deploy, design, and optimize technologies for critical IT roles. Now ITA students can sign up for that certification exam with confidence know that if they don’t’ pass it the first time, they get a second chance at success.
So when is this available?
Second Shot offer that gives ITA students a free second chance to pass their IT pro or developer certification exams. For ITA, the offer is valid August 28, 2012 to June 30, 2013.
Starting August 28th, ITA educators can order vouchers by going to the ITA member site Second Shot landing page (log in required) and following instructions for the Prometric ordering tool.
Welcome to the Windows Azure Mobile Services public preview. Windows Azure Mobile Services is a turnkey backend solution to accelerate your connected client app development for common application scenarios such as structured storage, user authentication and push notifications all within minutes. I wanted to share some key information and resources for mobile services so that you can start to include it in your curriculum and academic activities for the coming year.
The Windows Azure Mobile Services preview aims to make it incredibly for developers to create turnkey backend cloud service for Windows 8 applications in minutes. If there is nothing else you do please spend 10 minutes watching the Introduction to Windows Azure Mobile Services by Scott Guthrie
To summarize you can use Windows Azure Mobile Services to:
· Create a simple and secure backend service to handle common tasks and free yourself to focus on the front end that your users value.
· Incorporate structured storage, user authentication and push notification scenarios into your app in minutes.
· This first public preview is designed specifically for Windows 8. Future updates will include support for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
More information is also available on Scotts blog Announcing Windows Azure Mobile Services
One of the key things that we’ve consistently heard from developers and you about using Windows Azure with mobile applications is the need for a low cost and simple offer. The simplest way to describe the pricing for Windows Azure Mobile Services at preview is that it is the same as Windows Azure Websites during preview.
Sign up for the free trial or add Mobile Services preview to your existing subscription
· Run up to 10 Mobile Services for free in a multitenant environment
· Free with valid Windows Azure Free Trial
o 1GB SQL Database
o Unlimited ingress
o 165MB/day egress
· Scaling up to dedicated VMs
· Once Windows Azure Free Trial expires - SQL Database and egress
Today academics and students developer can get started with the Mobile Services preview from WindowsAzure.com via Windows Azure for Educators trials which has been updated to include dedicated pages for mobile developers to highlight Mobile Services and link out to tutorials and resources that will help developers get started. The tutorials and resources are provided that support the three key Windows 8 + Windows Azure application scenarios Data, Auth and Push Notifications. In addition to this the pricing calculator has also been updated for mobile services.
The Windows 8 Camp In a Box resource that includes presentations, hands-on-labs and samples that is used by both the Windows 8 Developer community.
Check out the Windows Azure developer Windows Azure Training Kit.
· Presentation: New Building Connected Windows 8 Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services with accompanying demo scripts
· Hands On Lab : New Getting Started with Windows Azure Mobile Services
The following popular Channel 9 shows are available with more coming shortly
·Announcing Windows Azure Mobile Services by Scott Guthrie
Microsoft presents the largest opportunity for game developer students.
Our developer resource guidance available from http://dev.windows.com and http://create.msdn.com with FREE app store accounts for students to publish applications and games to the marketplace.
Our array of platforms Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and a huge users base across the Ecosystems.
I am glad to introduce the following Guest blogger - Mark Hope, Mark works for games industry specialist recruiter – Aardvark Swift. He sources graduates for UK games studios and is also responsible for organising the nationwide Search for a Star programming competition
Our clients (primarily Game Studios) look for a range of different skills /experiences from graduates when they leave University. However when they are looking to hire talented staff to make the next AAA Console or Mobile Games some things don’t change……
Studios look for courses with a solid programming and Maths base: Whether this is a traditional Computer Science course or a modern Computer Games Programming course. The traditional language required by studios is C++, so we recommend as many projects and modules using this programming language be completed.
Any experience of professional programming is seen as invaluable, if students have an industry placement it is fantastic, however as these are few and far between we suggest graduates are as active as possible in extra curricular competitions and development. Taking part and being successful in competitions like Search for a Star, Microsoft Imagine Cup, Game Jams or Dare to be Digital shows that graduates are passionate about the industry and students get to showcase their skills. Go on, get involved!
Any personal and team games development that lead to a release platforms such as Windows Phone, Windows 8 or Xbox shows skills that industry look for. So if students have titles on App Store / Xbox Live Marketplace it shows graduates are:
· Can finish a game
· Can show polish
· Don’t have buggy code
The relative success of the game is not as important, however if it is successful it also shows creativity of the student / team.
An excellent online and free resource for building an online portfolio is the website www.carbonmade.com. We always recommend an online portfolio as the best method of showcasing your games and projects. Make sure you show your best work and make it as easy as possible for Studios to access it.
We recommend each project on your online portfolio should include:
· An overview (what did you contribute?) especially in the case of team projects
· Images of the project in action
· A Video run through (show as much as you can – Menus, Levels, High score tables etc)
· Downloadable content or links (studios like to see your code)
A quality CV is essential. Your CV is one of the most important recruitment tools you have, so spending time getting it right is well worth the effort. It will be initially assessed in a matter of seconds, and if the potential employer doesn’t see what they are looking for almost instantaneously, your details will rapidly hit the “unsuccessful” pile.
Make sure your CV includes:
· Overview Section (a mini intro – cover letters will be separated)
· Skills Section – Outlying any programming languages, tools etc you have used (we find tables are good way to keep organised and neat here)
· The Education section is the most important section of the CV (unless you have games industry experience) Make sure you highlight your course and the marks you have gained, focus on programming and maths modules. A levels are also well thought of, so highlight grades (key advice throughout, hiding marks doesn’t fool anyone!) Make sure GCSE’s are brief and not listed in full.
· Work Experience – This should be after education unless you have games industry experience or internships. Make sure you highlight core communication skills gained from other work experience (team work, time management etc) If you do have Games Industry experience, go to town! Give as much details about the skills you have gained and projects you worked on etc.
· Hobbies and Interest – This section can show your passion for game genre’s and can be tailored to applications. It is also important that you have a life outside of games, so don’t miss these other hobbies and interests out.
Aim for 2 pages but no more than 3 if possible. For more detailed information about CV and Demo Advice take a look at: http://www.aswift.com/html/graduates/index.jsp
A huge thanks to Mark and if you would like to get in contact, with Mark to know more about our services or if you have any questions about the games industry you can contact him via Email: email@example.com Tel 01709 834 777
Aardvark Swift delivers the following information to students as part of our “Get in the Game” careers talk where they discuss:
· The results from our Annual Studio Skills Survey (where we ask studios what they look for in graduates).
· Helpful advice about what makes a good CV and Portfolio etc.
· Promote upcoming events and competitions that students can enter to improve their experience
· Answer questions relaying our industry knowledge.
· So keep an eye out for Microsoft Graduate Careers and Aardvark Swifts visits to your university.
New curriculum resources for teaching Cloud Computing topics using Windows Azure are now available on Faculty Connection.
This new modular course provides information about Cloud Computing in general and Windows Azure and Windows Azure SQL Database in particular. The tutorials cover how to develop for the Windows Azure environment and how to use SQL Database as the back-end RDBMS. Creating Virtual Machines and using Web Sites so the new Azure functionality is also included.
· Windows Azure and SQL Database
· Windows Azure and SQL Database (Instructor Supplement)
The content can be used in class as part of a Cloud Computing course, as a course on Windows Azure, or for self-paced independent learning.
This material is an intermediate level and the prerequisites are a beginner level of C# Programming Skills, the ability to use basic features of Visual Studio and a conceptual understanding of Relational Databases.
The Lab Environment requires a minimum VS 2010 or VS 2012 Express for Web, 4 GB RAM, and Internet access.
The audience for this material is students who have completed an Introduction to Programming course and have basic programming skills. No previous knowledge of Cloud Computing is required. The first module starts from the basics and builds the knowledge required for more advanced topics.
The following 6 modules are included in this content:
· Module 1: Overview of Cloud Computing
· Module 2: Windows Azure Fundamentals
· Module 3: Windows Azure Storage
· Module 4: Windows Azure SQL Database – The Fundamentals
· Module 5: More about Windows Azure SQL Database
· Module 6: Virtual Machines and Web Sites
Each module consists of a lecture and a lab. The lab exercises are designed for 2 hour sessions for a student who has completed an introductory course on programming, preferably using C#.
The Instructor Supplement contains the Lab Solutions and is available for “faculty only”, i.e. will require Faculty Connection membership to download.
These curriculum materials augment our Cloud Computing resources and are designed to support the Windows Azure Academic Passes program.