• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Installing Visual Studio 2012 and enabling developer licenses for Windows 8 apps



    The  RTM versions of Visual Studio 2012 require developer activation to enable the developer to develop a Windows Store application.

    This activation is via a registered LiveID/Microsoft Account, and simply enrols VS2012 for a 90 day development license.


    I have a had a number of question how do we do this?

    The process you must be undertaken by a local admin on the desktop, you must also have access to Visual Studio and register your LiveID/MicrosoftID against the machines copy of Visual Studio 2012..



    To enable you to undertake the activation on a large scale deployment such as University or college lab environment here are some tips

    We are in the process of producing necessary documentation and white papers but In the meantime the following FAQ is helpful:

    ·         Does the developer license only have to be acquired/renewed in relation to Windows Store app development?
    Yes. To be precise: You need the developer license to install, develop, test and evaluate new style apps BEFORE you submit them to the Window Store. To be able to submit an app to the Windows Store, you'll need to open a separate Windows Store developer account through the developer website.

    ·         Is the license per user or per machine?
    Per User and machine, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh974578.aspx

    ·         It seems that you have to have local administrator privileges to renew the license, is that correct?

    ·         Is the renewal of the license something that could be automated by an administrator via remotely deployed PowerShell scripts?
    YES, see section "Getting a developer license at a command prompt" at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh974578.aspx

    ·         How can I use a DreamSpark account?
    Here is how to associate your DreamSpark account to a Microsoft account and also get a developer license for Windows Phone/Xbox development

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK



    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.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Educator and Student Passes



    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_Online_Banner_blue                                                                               Mobile_Online_Banner_blue

    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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    New Curricula Resources available



    The following is a list of new content that was added.   clip_image001Add this to your RSS feeds in Outlook to stay up-to-date!

    • Designing for Modern UI - 11 modules that provide lectures and tutorials on how to design for the new Windows 8 UI.
    • App Development for Modern UI - covers fundamental concepts of developing a Metro style app using JavaScript and HTML5/CSS3 with Microsoft tools and resources.
    • App Development for Modern Devices - advanced course that covers development systems for phones, tablets, and desktop computers. It focuses on network aware software, interfaces for touch and NUI devices, and graphics programming.



    • Windows Azure and SQL Database – .  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 – the new Azure functionality – is  also included.  Each of the 6 Modules consist of a lecture and a lab,
    • Windows Azure and SQL Database (Instructor Supplement)The Instructor Supplement contains the Lab Solutions and is available for  “faculty only”, i.e. will require Faculty Connection membership to download.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Samsung AITV range and Windows 8




    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


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    If your thinking of installing Windows 8 are your labs machine HyperV capable?


    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.

    An introduction to Hyper-V




    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.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Welcome to the 2013 Imagine Cup season



    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.  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft is bringing back its popular Second Shot offer that gives ITA students a free second chance to pass their certification exam.



    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. 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Mobile Services for building mobile apps



    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.  

    Introducing Windows Azure Mobile Services

    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

    Pricing - FREE

    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

    What’s FREE?

    · 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 

    What do I pay for?

    · Scaling up to dedicated VMs

    · Once Windows Azure Free Trial expires - SQL Database and egress


    For more Pricing information please see the pricing calculator


    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.

    Windows 8 Camps in a Box

    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. 

    Windows Azure Training Kit

    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

    Channel 9 Online Media

    The following popular Channel 9 shows are available with more coming shortly

    ·Announcing Windows Azure Mobile Services by Scott Guthrie




  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    What Makes a Quality Games Programming Graduate?


    Microsoft presents the largest opportunity for game developer students.


    The choice of development languages and tools including  XNA, C++, DirectX, HTML5, JavaScript, .NET, C# VB, and Visual Studio all available for FREE from DreamSpark.

    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!

    ImagineCup clip_image004clip_image006Dare2Be

    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:

    · Skilful

    · 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: mark@aswift.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.

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