• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Teaching UI and UX want some reference style guides–Metro



    From a design point of view a nice thing about Windows Phone is that it brings with it a whole set of design guidelines which are referred to as “Metro”.

    Microsoft has developed a sets of guides to  how controls are supposed to look and establishes a set of criteria that your applications should meet if they are to be “good looking applications.”

    For further details see the Metro style document, you can find the style guide here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh202915.aspx

    This is well worth a look if you want to publish your programs in the Marketplace, where your potential customers will have certain expectations of how things should look and work.

    Additionally the following interviews are a GREAT virtual guest lecture for teaching UI and UX course attendees on concept and theories of design.

    On type


    On way-finding graphics


    On mobile audio


    On light & space in architecture


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect SDK Beta 2 Release



    Today is a very special day, the Kinect device has turn 1 and we have released beta2 of the Windows SDK for Kinect along with a new web site and branding see http://kinectforwindows.org/

    Microsoft built Kinect to revolutionize the way you play games and how you experience entertainment. But along the way, people started using Kinect in ways we never imagined. From helping children with autism, to helping doctors in the operating room, people are taking Kinect beyond games. And that’s what we call the Kinect Effect. h

    So whether you’re educating students, exploring new research, or redefining what’s possible when humans and computers interact, you can create something amazing with Kinect for Windows. The Kinect for Windows SDK Beta 2 is now available for download 

    Watch the following video from Microsoft Channel 9 where Rob Relyea give a refresher on what the Kinect SDK can do, and what's new for Beta 2. There are a number of under-the-hood improvements including faster and more accurate skeletal tracking, support for x64, and support for multi-core machines and support for Windows 8. Microsoft have also added a new StatusChanged event to know when a Kinect has been connected, disconnected, or doesn't have enough power, as well as new APIs to better manage using multiple Kinects.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Kinect - Happy Birthday! 1 year old on 04/11/2011– See how academic research contributions make a huge success



    Kinect for Xbox 360 has been a smashing success since its November 2010 debut, thanks in part to contributions from Microsoft Research to its audio, skeletal-tracking, and facial-recognition capabilities. And further refinements could mean the best is yet to come. Read the following to learn more about the science behind Kinect - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/about/feature/contributionstokinectforxbox360.aspx

    Over the last few months,Microsoft Research have published a series of feature stories to outline the contributions they have made to the ground breaking Kinect for Xbox 360 product, which Guinness World Records has dubbed the fastest-selling consumer electronic device ever.
    This week, the Kinect team is marking the one-year anniversary of Kinect. Read the following blog for more details and watch the an amazing video detailing their contribution http://blogs.technet.com/b/inside_microsoft_research/archive/2011/11/03/the-research-behind-kinect.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    New curricula material and resources for Windows Phone 7.5

    Windows Phone Programming in C# (Windows Phone Version 7.5)


    Main Text – FREE Ebook Windows Phone Programming in C# by Rob Miles
    The main text is provided as a Word document and PDF file. This contains the entire text, broken into chapters.

    The Demos folder contains a folder for each of the chapters that have demonstration programs.

    Teaching Content
    For each of the chapters there is a folder with the presentations and lab content for that chapter. Each presentation is for that section of the chapter and has a corresponding folder containing the demonstrations for that chapter. The Demonstration slides in the presentation contain step by step instructions for that demonstration in the slide notes. Note that not all the demonstrations have sample projects associated with them, for these demonstrations the program will be created during the presentation.

    The first 9 chapters also have a lab document which contains a set of lab exercises for that chapter. Some of the lab documents also have answer documents.

    The following chapters are covered in this material:

    1. Windows Phone
    2. Introduction to Silverlight
    3. Visual Studio Solution Management
    4. Constructing a Program with Silverlight
    5. Isolated Storage on Windows Phone
    6. Using Databases on Windows Phone
    7. Networking with Windows Phone
    8. XNA on Windows Phone
    9. Creating Windows Phone Applications
    10. Windows Phone Marketplace

    To download this great resource simply visit Microsoft Faculty Connection Resource

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Touch Mouse: From an idea to award-winning paper to amazing product



    Touch Mouse

    For the past few weeks I have been getting to grips with my new Touch Mouse. Microsoft first unveiled the Touch Mouse, a new multi-touch device designed exclusively for Windows 7 that enables users to click, flick, scroll, and swipe at 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.

    The Touch mouse makes it easier and more fun to interact with a PC. Touch Mouse combines the virtues of a traditional mouse with the rich natural language of gesture. The new mouse has already received an accolade, winning ‘Best Peripheral’ at CES from Endgadget,

    So what's special about this mouse - two fingers snap windows into place, three fingers quickly switch tasks, and your thumb can move forwards and backwards through websites, photos and documents.’

    Like many of Microsoft products the Touch Mouse began in 2009 as part of a research project called ‘Mouse 2.0’ conducted by Microsoft Research and Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group. The results of that research were presented in 2009 during the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, garnering a best-paper award.

    Nic Villar

    Lead paper author from MSRC, Nic Villar, is particularly excited about the product release “When I finished my PhD at Lancaster University three years ago and came to work for Microsoft, I didn’t imagine that my research would contribute to a new product for the company so quickly or in such a tangible way. What’s particularly pleasing about this project is the close collaboration between MSR Cambridge and our colleagues in Redmond, which was critical to the successful transition from research to product. Following the initial research insights described in the award-winning ‘Mouse 2.0’ paper, the MSRC Innovation and Development team worked closely with the Hardware product team in Redmond to turn the research prototype into the commercial product that’s being released this year.”

    A huge advantage Microsoft has is nearly every product which Microsoft ships includes some form of technologies from Microsoft Research. So what does this advantage mean, through exploration and cross company collaboration we can advance the state of art computer science.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Welcome to F# 3.0


    A developer preview of F# 3.0 was made available as part of the preview-release of Visual Studio 11 announced at //build/ in Los Angeles.

    F# brings a powerful, succinct, efficient and expressive language, which allows the user to write simple code to solve complex problems. F# is a productivity accelerator it is used by a growing community to solve analytical programming problems in a variety of domains, such as trading, finance, bio-informatics, blog analysis, advertising, and energy markets. To learn more about F#, visit the F# Developer Center.

    With F# 3.0, the team is maintaining and expanding this vision through the addition of F# Information Rich Programming, including F# Type Providers and F# LINQ Queries.

    Check out Don Syme's talk at //build/ here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Price changes Microsoft Azure Storage



    Effective immediately, Microsoft are lowering the price of Windows Azure Storage (from $0.15 to $0.14 per GB per month.)

    Additionally Microsoft are now offering volume discounts, which will give high-volume customers additional savings.

    All Windows Azure Storage customers will automatically receive the reduced storage price effective October 26, 2011. High-volume customers with regular usage are eligible for additional savings through the Storage Core Offer.

    A breakdown of pricing discounts is listed below. Please note, the prices below are price tiers, not graduated prices. For example, if you store 400 TBs using the commitment offer your price will be $0.112 per GB per month for the full amount, not just the amount over 50TBs.

    For prices above 5 Petabytes per month, customers are asked to contact Microsoft Education Account Manager for assistance.

    For additional details on Azure and this offer, please click here.

    Microsoft are thrilled to extend these price discounts following last month’s addition of geo-replication to Windows Azure Storage, which together provide the best value in the industry for cloud storage.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Are you teaching Android or iOS mobile development? Consider porting your apps…



    Many institutions are already teaching existing Mobile Development curricula using iOS or Android, some of you are now considering or starting to develop and implement Windows Phone curricula. For those of you teaching iOS and Android you may be interested in the tools Microsoft has developed for porting iPhone & Android apps to Windows Phone. Microsoft has additionally developed the following resources which are helping support your teaching curricula. Additionally we hope the resources will allow you to easily demonstrate to your students the value of having applications in all the main vendors mobile application Market Places.

    Earlier this month Microsoft announced new guidance based on migration samples and a SQLite to SQL Server Compact database conversion tool. I hope that these new items combined with our previous extensive guides (for Android, iPhone, and Symbian Qt) will accelerate your ramp up time and improve your teaching experience of porting apps from vendor to vendor. Read more at the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

    Again if your teaching gaming development or have an existing application or game that you want to bring to Windows Phone 7.5? Microsoft has developed  a new series of videos where your shown exactly how to migrate these to Windows Phone, step by step. Each video has a corresponding code sample to help get you started.

    1. From XNA to SL XNA
    2. Adding FAS to XNA
    3. Adding FAS to a Typical Silverlight Application
    4. Adding Secondary Tiles NEW!
    5. Adding Background Agents NEW!
    6. Using a Live Camera Feed NEW!
    7. Using Push Notifications with Secondary Tiles and Deep Toast NEW!

    Watch the series and get more information from http://create.msdn.com/en-gb and visit http://create.msdn.com/en-gb/education/gamedevelopment

    For those of you, who are thinking about Windows Phone and mobile curricula we have developed a comprehensive Mobile Development curricula and resources at Microsoft Faculty Connection.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012


    IC    IC2012

    “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.”

    The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. It provides an opportunity for students to use their creativity, passion, and knowledge of technology to help solve global challenges and make a difference in the world. While competing for cash and prizes, students gain real-life experiences, make new friends, and change the world.

    Now in its tenth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real-world problems. 358,000 students representing 183 countries and regions registered for the Imagine Cup 2011 Competition. The Imagine Cup is one way Microsoft encourages the brightest young minds to join together and use technology to take on the toughest problems facing our world today, whether it is combatting diseases, improving education or creating disaster communication systems.


    How is Microsoft UK supporting Imagine Cup 2012?

    This year we have changed our approach to the Imagine Cup competition in the UK.

    Universities have the opportunity to hold local finals for the Software Design competition, to find the best team and project to represent their institution. The winning team of each institution that runs a local final is guaranteed a place in the UK final of the Imagine Cup, judged by a panel of the industry’s brightest and most influential business minds. Teams that do not win their local final can enter online for the chance to win a place in the Imagine Cup UK final.

    Students who do not enter the Software Design competition through their institution are still eligible to submit projects into the Online Competition, judged by Microsoft, for a place in the UK final of the Imagine Cup.

    Institution Competition


    To qualify for the Institution Competition:

    1. The institution must commit to have a minimum of three teams entering the Imagine Cup 2012 Software Design competition. Two or more institutions can choose to run a joint competition, but only one winning team will be guaranteed a place in the UK final.

    2. Each team must have one faculty mentor.

    3. All competitors are bound by the Rules and Regulations of the worldwide Imagine Cup 2012 competition.

    4. The Institution Competition must be clearly promoted as being part of the Imagine Cup.

    5. The Institution must notify Microsoft of their interest in running a local Imagine Cup competition by sending an e-mail to ukfac@microsoft.com no later than 17:00 on Wednesday 30th November 2011.


    The benefits of holding an Institution Competition include:

    · The winning team from the Institution Competition is automatically through to the UK Imagine Cup Software Design final.

    · Employees from Microsoft will be available to sit on the judging panel of the local final.

    · Microsoft will endeavour to identify local technology companies that can offer industry mentors to the student teams.

    · Microsoft will offer prizes to winners and runner-ups of local finals.

    · Microsoft will provide Imagine Cup marketing materials to the Institution

    · Microsoft will highlight the Institution Competition in blogs, on our web site and other channels.

    · Teams from the Institution Competition that do not win their local final can enter the online competition for a place in the Imagine Cup UK final.

    Get your students to register for Imagine Cup 2012.

    Online Competition

    The Online Competition will be for student teams who haven’t entered through their institutions or who have not won their Institution Competition for Software Design. Software Design teams entering through the Online Competition have the option to submit partially complete projects prior to the final deadline for review by, and feedback from, Microsoft.

    All entrants of the Game Design and IT Challenge competitions must also enter online.

    Get your students to register for Imagine Cup 2012.

    Key Dates

    Wednesday 30th November 2011 - 17:00

    Deadline for notifying Microsoft UK of the intention to run a local Institution Competition for the Imagine Cup 2012.

    Sunday 4th March 2012 - 23:59

    Deadline for submission of partially complete projects for review by, and feedback from, Microsoft. Feedback will be provided by Friday 16th March 5:30 pm.

    Tuesday 13th March 2012

    Deadline for preliminary summary of project submission online at www.imaginecup.com.

    Sunday 15th April 2012 - 23:59

    Project submission deadline online (both online entries and institution final winner entries).

    Tuesday 17th April 2012

    Announcement of shortlisted online Software Design entries.

    Thursday 19th April 2012

    Judging of finalists in London with external judging panel.

    Wednesday 25th April 2012

    Live broadcast of Imagine Cup UK final results and feedback.

    July 2012

    Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals in Sydney, Australia.

    For any questions or more information please email ukfac@microsoft.com

    See last year’s Imagine Cup winner Team Hermes from Ireland

    See Team Note-Taker from the USA’s entry here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Some nice tips on Mobile Application Design and layouts


    1012_1a_Mango_Start_Phone_English_Red_061011_jpg         HTC 

    When your developing a mobile application how much time and effort do you spend on application design and user interface?

    Mobile development has been growing since the day Apple introduced iPhone. Mobile browser has never been so robust and to make your application stand out you need to make the additional effort on the User Interface experience and its design. 

    To help you start up your mobile development, here are some useful insights into the design aspect required to create awesome appealing apps.

    Type Face


    On way-finding graphics


    On mobile audio


    On light & space in architecture


    The Windows Phone Experience

    Useful Resources and tips for building windows phone applications

    Using SketchFlow Part 1: Discovering Basic Principles of UX Design for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    Using SketchFlow Part 1: Discovering Basic Principles of UX Design for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    In this lesson you discover the process of conceptualizing an application, such as gaining an understanding of the user’s needs and goals. You also find out how to start your prototype using Expression Blend and the SketchFlow for Windows Phone template.

    Using SketchFlow Part 2: Adding References and Sample Data to your Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango" Project

    Using SketchFlow Part 2: Adding References and Sample Data to your Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango" Project

    In this module you will add sample data, and then edit both the ItemsPanel and the ItemTemplate of a ListBox to create a professional look for your data.

    Using SketchFlow Part 3: Creating a Customized WrapPanel for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    Using SketchFlow Part 3: Creating a Customized WrapPanel for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    In this module, users discover how to custom edit their data templates for their phone app by importing images and adding motion.

    Using SketchFlow Part 4: Customizing Existing Controls to Create the UI for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    Using SketchFlowPart 4: Customizing Existing Controls to Create the UI for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    In this module, viewers discover how to drop in Native Adobe Illustrator artwork and turn it into working controls. They also find out how to edit the button template, take advantage of states, transitions and behaviors.

    Using SketchFlow Part 5: Adding Behaviors to Your ListBoxItems for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    Using SketchFlow Part 5: Adding Behaviors to Your ListBoxItems for Windows Phone Codenamed "Mango"

    In this section, you discover how to use the sample data, along with some behaviors and state changes to replicate selection choices in a ListBox.

    Metro Design Language of Windows Phone 7

    Metro Design Language of Windows Phone 7

    Metro is the name of the new design language created for the Windows Phone 7 interface. When given the chance for a fresh start, the Windows Phone design team drew from many sources of inspiration to determine the guiding principles for the next generation phone interface.

    Windows Phone 7: Starting to Design an Application

    Windows Phone 7: Starting to Design an Application

    Microsoft Expression Blend offers a feature rich environment for designing highly interactive experiences on Windows Phone 7.

    Design Tips and Tricks for Windows Phone 7

    Design Tips and Tricks for Windows Phone 7

    The following list of tips and tricks will help you design and develop Windows Phone 7 applications.

    Layout Tips and Tricks of Windows Phone 7

    Layout Tips and Tricks of Windows Phone 7

    One of the more powerful features that Silverlight offers you is an array of container controls providing a simple way to accomplish the layout of your dynamic applications.

    Taking Advantage of Photoshop Templates

    Taking Advantage of Photoshop Templates

    In this tutorial, you discover how to use Photoshop Windows Phone 7 template files to create pixel-perfect application layouts for your Windows Phone 7 application.

    FXG Import and Workflow

    FXG Import and Workflow

    FXG is an acronym for Flash XML Graphics File, and it describes an XML-based graphics interchange format created by Adobe for the Flash Platform, and is supported by Microsoft Expression Blend.

    Designing for Gestures on Windows Phone 7

    Designing for Gestures on Windows Phone 7

    No longer do smart phones of today depend only on hardware keyboards or the stylus of the past. Windows Phone 7 devices come equipped with a capacitive touch screen that offers a smooth, accurate, multi-touch enabled experience for the user.

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