• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Introducing DataMarket–Windows Azure MarketPlace



    Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket, which was first announced as Microsoft Project Codename “Dallas”. The Windows Azure MarketPlace changes the way information is exchanged by offering a wide range of content from authoritative commercial and public sources in a single marketplace. This makes it easier to find and purchase the data you need to power your applications and analytics.


    Find and publish applications and building block services for Windows Azure
    Directory available - https://datamarket.azure.com/browse/Applications

    Data Sets

    The data market is simply a resource for discovering, purchasing, & selling data, Data can be hosted in Windows Azure or by the data provider
    All data available within the Data Market is exposed as OData services, present data providers include: Data.gov, Navteq, Greg London, etc.
    Directory & Commerce available today -https://datamarket.azure.com/browse/Data

    So what are the benefits?

    Building an application becomes much simpler. DataMarket provides a single location a marketplace for data where you can search for, explore, try and purchase the data you need to develop an application. It also provides the data to you through a uniform interface, in a standard format (OData—see OData.org for more information). By exposing the data as OData, DataMarket ensures your able to access it on any platform (at a minimum, all you need is an HTTP stack) and from any of the many applications that support OData, including applications such as Microsoft PowerPivot for Excel 2010, which natively supports OData. DataMarket provides a single marketplace for various content providers to make their data available for sale via a number of different offerings (each offering may make a different subset or view of the data available, or make the data available with different terms of use).

    What new UK data is available?

    Were pleased to announce that data.gov.uk Open Data web site is publishing the real-time Met Office Weather forecast data into the Windows Azure Datamarket SQL database so this is now accessible by Users/Developers from  either data.gov.uk or Windows Azure DataMarket for free.

    · What is already implemented is daily + 5 days weather forecast and hourly – next 3 hrs + 5 days forecast
    · We’re adding Met Office 3rd dataset – raw weather Observation data over the next week
    ·  Access dataset via Windows Azure MarketPlace https://datamarket.azure.com/dataset/0f2cba12-e5cf-4c6d-83c9-83114d44387a

    Getting Started with DataMarket

    To get started, you register on DataMarket using a Windows Live ID and log on to the site. From here, you can search through the datasets currently available on the site, viewing the details of each (description, pricing, visualizations, terms of use and so on) to determine which publishers deliver the type of data which best suit your needs. For more details see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/datamarket/ and http://www.windowsazureblog.com/

    Selling Data on DataMarket

    Many popular apps and Web sites generate, store and consume large amounts of valuable data. But typically that data is only leveraged within the app for which it was created. With the introduction of WCF Data Services and OData, we had a simple way for developers to expose their data for broader use, offering a data services platform and making it easier for that data to be used not only within the initially intended application, but within third-party apps.

    With DataMarket, there’s a simple opportunity for UK Universities to not only expose that data to apps they build, but also to generate profit by selling data they’re already required to store and maintain. DataMarket is built on Windows Azure and SQL Azure and allows publishers to create datasets for data that they host in SQL Azure. To learn more about how you can become a DataMarket publisher, check out blogs.msdn.com/b/dallas and http://blogs.msdn.com/datamarket.

    Additionally for the UK Education sector there is a vast amount of open government data available here: http://data.gov.uk/appathon-2011 which can be used by academics and students whom wish to build or develop applications or services.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Enabling your IT Support teams to deploy the right technology to ensure your curricula is appropriate and suitable


    Over the past few weeks we have had a number of interesting meetings with IT Services teams and academic faculties within UK Universities. These discussions have been particular interesting as we have discussed the opportunity of enhancements academics can make to curriculum if they had access to the latest desktop OS and web browsers.

    These discussions were particularly interesting as a number of the IT Services teams highlighted a need for applicants/employees with very specific Microsoft skills sets. For example. experience in virtualisation and cloud computing, as well as product specific skills such as System Centre, Windows 7 and MDOP. 

    Microsoft has a number resources available including IT Pro resources such as TechNet and IT Developer resources such as MSDN. To the specific training and certifications resources Microsoft IT Academy programme as one route for institutions to help their staff and students get recognised certifications and knowledge.

    Another service we discussed was, The Microsoft Virtual Academy, MVA is a online training centre which uses some of the characteristics of game-based learning to motivate learners. It’s free and open to anybody, not just those staff and students in formal education institutions, and it focuses on a range of Microsoft cloud-based technologies. 




    Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is a fully cloud-based learning experience focusing on Microsoft Cloud Technologies. You can access a variety of training content online and become one of the renowned experts in the IT Pro community around the world. MVA provides its users with a virtual university experience: the student can select a track and study the material and then do the self-assessment. By doing so, they will collect points that will promote them to a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Level. Students on MVA can get access to all the information, statistics and advancements of their training career, allowing them to maintain a long-term relationship with Microsoft. Learning through MVA is FREE of charge, and you can study the contents at any time and at your own pace.

    In the UK there are currently

    students registered
    self-assessments passed
    hours of training delivered


    Topics covered include:

    Office 365
    Private Cloud
    Public Cloud
    SQL Azure
    System Center
    Virtual Machine Manager
    Windows Azure
    Windows Phone

    The whole system runs in the Cloud, as it’s built on Windows Azure so is extremely scalable and reliable. So let me know how you get on with these resources.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure for IT Professionals Jump Start: Now available on demand


    Windows Azure Jump Start? Is now available on demand on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). This free, expert-led course will help you understand how to use Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, such as virtual machines and virtual networks to migrate, extend, run, manage, and monitor common workloads in the cloud. Watch it now.

    Join Microsoft for this one day FREE event in central London on the 20th of June.

    Lean how Windows Azure can be used in curricula, support research endeavours, and enable student projects. Institution administrators can explore how to use Windows Azure for infrastructural and application needs.

    8.30 - 9.00 Arrival
    9.00 - 9.10 Welcome to UCL
    9.10 - 10.00 Welcome to Windows Azure - Rob Frazer Microsoft, Cloud CTO
    10.00 - 10.15 Morning Break 
    10.15 -11.00 Windows Azure in Academia - Ashwin Karuhatty Microsoft, Director of Academic Programs
    11.00 - 12.00 Windows Azure PaaS, IaaS, SaaS - Carlos Oliveira http://www.shapingcloud.com and Windows Azure User Group http://ukwaug.net/
    12.00-13.00 Lunch Break (Lunch will not be provided)
    13.00 - 13.50 Windows Azure Pop Up Labs - Steve Plank Microsoft, Azure Technical Evangelist
    13.50 - 14.00 The Windows Azure Prime Challenge
    14.00 -15.00 Windows Azure VM Depot - Steve Lamb, Microsoft Open Technology http://vmdepot.msopentech.com/
    15.00 - 15.15 Afternoon Break
    15.15 - 16.00 Windows Azure in Research - Kenji Takeda, Microsoft Research Connections
    16.15 -16.40 Azure Q and A Panel Microsoft
    16.40 Close

    Register at http://azureineducation.eventbrite.co.uk

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012 UK Results



    On Wednesday 25h April at 16:00 BST, the UK hosted its local Imagine Cup finals webcast at the Microsoft Campus in Reading. The 6 finalists from the Software Design competition who were chosen from a round of preliminary judging were whittled down to the two top teams on 19th April through 5 hours of judging in a sealed room at our Microsoft offices in London Victoria. Through much deliberation over the next few days, we chose one team to represent the UK at the Imagine Cup worldwide finals in Sydney, Australia!

    Imagine Cup Software Design in the UK this year: A few stats



    · We had 991 registrations for the Imagine Cup UK this year

    · 374 of them signed up to the Software Design competition

    · 49 teams were formed for the Software Design competition

    · 26 teams submitted a Round 1 entry

    · 6 teams were selected for the UK final

    · 1 team won and will go to the worldwide finals in Sydney to represent the UK

    The Judges


    The Teams


    Bazinga! From Motherwell College – were inspired to use smartphone technology to inspire students all about Science! “Professor Duffy’s Interactive Labs app” is a complete science Lab on the phone utilising various sensors on the phone to demonstrate the practical side of science in a fun and interactive way.

    Teesside 0x32: From Teesside University was inspired to develop Cloud Doctor – In Ethiopia for example there is 1 doctor to 50,000 patients. Cloud Doctor, as the name implies, harnesses Windows Azure and Cloud technologies combined with Windows Phone and Windows 8 tablets to deliver an on-demand, flexible and intelligent collaboration system – connecting healthcare workers in the developing world with specialists and doctors all over the world who volunteer their time to help patients on the ground.

    Team EyeWorks: From Northumbria University and Newcastle College were inspired to develop MIRA (a Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis platform). MIRA is a cloud based platform that utilises Smartphone technology coupled with a specialist lens attachment developed at Northumbria University to identify early stage sight loss in the developing world.

    WykeWare: From the University of Hull were inspired to develop a smartphone application to assist those people with a risk of falling be it the elderly or people prone to fainting. Their submission embraced cloud technology to match emergencies and responders to identify how to prioritise how best to help.

    Sentient Systems: From the University of Reading were inspired to develop “Sentience” a cost effective software solution designed to run affordable , advanced and customizable robot systems utilising cloud based distribution, plug-in architectures, commodity frameworks and low cost hardware specifically Kinect!

    Team Loading: From The University of Manchester were inspired to develop Project Sky High. Project Sky High is a Windows Phone application combined with a netduino hardware sensor to allow aid workers in the developing world to transform a smartphone into a cost effective portable ultrasound scanner and mobile blood pressure monitor. The patient data will be recorded in the cloud in Windows Azure and accessible by a medical professional.

    The Winners

    In 3rd place and winners of a pocket digital video camcorder each were…


    In 2nd place and winners of a Windows Phone each were…


    In 1st place and winners of a Windows Phone each, a trip to the Microsoft Technology Center in Reading to spend a day with the experts and also the grand prize of a trip to Sydney, Australia to compete in the worldwide finals were…


    A huge congratulation to all teams who competed and this year the decision was made much harder than ever before as the entries this year far surpassed previous years.

    All teams who submitted a Round 2 video entry will be receiving feedback and teams who have won prizes will be hearing from the Academic Team very soon! Congratulations to Team EyeWorks and we will be seeing you in Sydney!

    Watch the Video of the Imagine Cup 2012 UK Live Web Cast relieving the Winners of the UK Imagine Cup entries

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Tips for building stunning Windows 8 application for ARM




    So if your interested in developing application of games for Windows 8 ARM devices the following white paper on ARM Development is an essential read

    Additionally we have produced some best practice guidance for developing applications and games using HTML5/JS C# C++

    For more details on Windows 8 see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TouchDevelop.com Create Apps and Games Anywhere on all devices



    Do you remember this?


    Well now you can do much more… on any device which supports Html5

     So what is Touchdevelop.com


    •Create apps on mobile devices for mobile devices

    •Create and run apps instantly on any HTML5 enabled device (PC, Laptop, Phone, Tablet)

    •Requires HTML5 Web browsers (IE10, Chrome, Safari on iOS)

    •Windows Phone = full access NB. Full access to all sensors, graphics, media, contacts, appointments, web requests, etc…

    •Web browser = limited access Geolocation, Maps, Accelerometer supported in most browsers However No access to local media, contacts, appointments and Limited access to web requests because of browser security (CORS)

    •Create apps purely using touch or click (keyboard is optional)

    •Syncs to the cloud (no need to save to internal or external devices)

    •Create an app once & it’s almost instantly available on all your devices

    •Game board template comes with built in physics (gravity & friction)

    •Built in sprite support (you can set speed, rotation, check for collisions)

    •Publish to Windows 8 or WP7/8 stores

    •Publish to WebApp and Facebook App

    From a teaching and learning pedagogy perspective I recommend the following progression

    Kodu and enter the KoduCup


    TouchDevelop  and enter the Imagine Cup

    C# and (XNA) and enter the Imagine Cup

    C++  and enter the Imagine Cup

    Curricula resources available at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty

    If you want to get Started with Touchdevelop you can follow the following Video Workshops

    Student App Day - Turtle Workshop

    Student App Day - Bubble Popper Workshop

    Student App Day - Monster Slicer Workshop

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Marmalade Developer Day 19th Nov at Birmingham City Uni


    MSMar Logo

    Marmalade and Microsoft along with Birmingham City University are hosting one of the largest Marmalade and Windows Phone 8 porting events in the UK and they would love to see you there! By attending this free one day event you’ll receive the latest information regarding Marmalade 7 and Windows Phone 8.

    Over the last 12 months we have seen the Windows Phone UK market share increase rapidly, more and more consumers are purchasing Windows Phones and Windows tablets and we are seeing amazing success on the Windows ecosystem from game developers with titles such as Mortar Melon reach 750k+ downloads; Guns4Hire & Judge Dredd with 1m+; Royal Revolt with 1m+ in 6 weeks and Lego Hero Factory: Brain Attack with 500k downloads in 4 weeks.

    There will be hands-on advice from Marmalade experts to help you port your existing or new mobile games to the Windows Phone

    If you don't have the necessary hardware to port to Windows Phone we have that covered! We will provide hardware running all the necessary developer tools and will provide access to Marmalade 7.

    This event is for new and existing marmalade developers and students

    10.00 Registration
    10.30 - 10.40 Intro from Uni
    10.40 - 11.00 Welcome from Microsoft/Marmalade
    11.00 - 12.00 Getting started with Marmalade - Jamie Grossman Marmalade
    12.00-13.00 Lunch Break
    13.00-14.00 Using Marmalade walkthrough popup lab tutorial - Jamie Grossman Marmalade
    14.00-15.00 Designing beautiful windows phone games - Lee Stott Microsoft
    15.00 -15.10 Break
    15.10 - 16.00 Microsoft/Nokia developer programmes and Opportunity - Lee Stott Microsoft
    16:00 -20:00 Hackathon/Gameaton with Marmalade for Windows Phone 8
    20:00 - 20.30 Games Showcase
    21:00 Close

    Register Now http://aka.ms/microsoftmarmaladeday

    Free devcies

    Register Now http://aka.ms/microsoftmarmaladeday

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Using the Windows Azure Cloud - Makes all your development dreams possible


    Following on from Sarah Lamb great post at UK MSDN “Imagine a scenario in which you were able to add new levels to a platform game immediately after they have been built. Using a cloud backend makes this all possible, and when you can also track significant quantities of data to keep your game flow smooth and your players engaged, you give your title the best chance it has at being great at player retention.”

    I wanted to ask the following questions…

    How many of you use the cloud today in your gaming experience?

    Take a look at following video

    Now ask yourself the question again? 

    So this is how we see the use of games and apps on modern devices 


    How do you see your consumers using devices, apps, services and infrastructure?

    What does Windows Azure Offer?


    what you can do


    How many of want to use the cloud but not sure where to start?

    Simply go to http://www.windowsazure.com

    Windows Azure 3 month free trial

    • // Quickly build, deploy & manage applications.
    • // Use any operating system, language or tool.
    • // No obligation, totally free.

    your free trial contains

    Or if your a academic or student go to http://www.windowsazure.com/education

    How many are you just really interested in learning more about the cloud?

    One of the key features for mobile app/game developers is Azure Mobile Services https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/mobile/ which supports Windows, iOS, Android and HTML

    What does Azure Mobile Services offer?


    Interested to hear what the thought leaders in the RU Gaming Industry think re: The opportunity of the Cloud?

    See the following summary document EU Cloud Gaming Conference 2013

    simply click on the image to download your PDF copy to keep.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Silicon Valley comes to the UK




    10 LUCKY University Students to win an ALL PAID EXPENSES TRIP TO SILICON VALLEY for creating apps around health, education and environmental data from the Gov’t!

    Silicon Valley comes to the UK (SVc2UK), announces a month long, multi-site competition, dubbed, the SVc2UK Appathon, the competition supports and encourages university students to use government data to "hack" together innovative consumer applications in Healthcare, Education, and the Environment. This competition allows students to unlock the power of government data to make both a positive social impact and enhance its accessibility to peers, parents, and grandparents. This ambitious initiative represents the UK's largest ever mobilisation of students to create apps’. We don't know yet what they will create, but we are hoping for a 'good school's guide’ where you can find out where the good schools are near you, a 'good doctor's guide,’ where you can find a doctor near you, and a 'clean city guide' where you can find the cleanest city near you - or the dirtiest!

    This national ‘coding competition’ helps to address the void that exists in most university curricula, creating a real world opportunity for those developers with the ambition, appetite and aptitude to code and build applications that can have real value to users. With support, not only from their peers, but the wider technology community, and a network of mentors, these students will be able to take control of, and enhance, their own education outside of the classroom and make a difference.

    Continuing the historic success of SVc2UK, approximately 1,500 students from 15 universities across the UK are expected to be drawn “like magnets” to six UK locations including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and London to take part in the Appathons. Full access to the data and details of participating universities and hosts can be found at http://www.svc2uk.com/appathon.

    The SVc2UK Appathons will run during early October and are open to university students across the country. The competition has the full support of Downing Street, which will supply their technical guru’s from data.gov.uk. In addition, pretty much the whole technology industry is lending their support to the effort http://www.svc2uk.com/sponsors. University students who enter the competition have until 23 October to submit their apps to be judged by leading Global entrepreneurial icons including Reid Hoffman, Joi Ito and more (see http://www.svc2uk.com/speakers).

    The winners of the SVc2UK Appathon will attend an awards ceremony in November as part of ‘Silicon Valley comes to the UK’ ( http://www.svc2uk.com) and 9 winners will be invited to take part in a road trip to Silicon Valley followed by the legendary South by Southwest Conference early next year.

    The Appathon will conclude with winning developers, coming to London (UK), for the http://www.svc2uk.com/techcity finale: a show and tell event where the developers will explain and demonstrate their efforts to a selected audience of their peers, politicians, advisers, civil servants, and the press.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows SDK – It’s Here!

    Anticipation for the Kinect or Windows software development kit beta has been high from the UK Academic community.

    The SDK now available for free from Microsoft Research. The SDK includes not only drivers but also APIs, device interfaces, installer documents and resource materials. It’s another exciting milestone for a technology that has captured the imagination of millions, and has become the fastest selling computer electronics device of all time.

    With the release of the SDK today, we’re looking forward to another wave of creativity from academic researchers community in the UK.

    As part of the Channel9 Launch event, Microsoft has been holding a Code Camp where a select group of software developers were challenged to test the limits of their imaginations and show what they could do with audio technology, skeletal tracking system application programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor. Channel 9 is broadcasting live today, highlighting some of these amazing applications as well as providing in depth sessions on how to program on Windows using the SDK.

    The beta SDK is only the beginning! Microsoft’s vision of the natural user interface is that interactions between people and computers will ultimately become invisible, computers will understand gestures, voice commands and respond to facial expressions.

    As Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, said – “As breakthrough technologies like these reach scale, the resulting creativity and invention will open up a whole new world of possibilities for computing.” There is more to come, including a commercial SDK that is geared toward enabling independent software vendors (ISV’s) and businesses to develop commercial applications.

    We look forward to seeing what’s next with Kinect and getting your feedback and input so if your a UK academic we would love to hear from you.

    Those interested in the SDK will find community resources, general information and download links at http://research.microsoft.com/kinectsdk.

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