• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect Gestures toolkit and library



    Microsoft David Catuhe’s work is too brilliant not to shared so if your interested in Kinect SDK Development then you need to check out David’s Gestures and toolkit library for Kinect at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/eternalcoding/archive/2011/07/04/gestures-and-tools-for-kinect.aspx

    David has also produced the following codeplex project http://kinecttoolkit.codeplex.com/

    Details of the library:

    1. Gestures

    · SwipeGestureDetector class will allow you to detect simple gestures (such as swipe to left or swipe to right)

    · TemplateGestureDetector will allow you to detect gestures using templates:

    The class can record templates and save them in a file used by a learning machine. With this learning machine, the system try to detect one of the recorded template in the current list of positions.

    You can see on the UI the list of used templates:


    2. Postures

    PostureDetector allows you to detect simple postures such as:

    · Hand over head

    · Hello

    · Hands joined

    3. Skeleton stability

    BarycenterHelper class can detect for you if a skeleton is stable (not moving). With this tool, you can detect wrong gestures produced by a moving skeleton

    4. Debug and replay

    · To help you debug, the library includes a record/replay of skeletons frames. With this tool, developing with Kinect is much less sportJ

    · The library can also paint current saved positions for gestures detection


    For further details and full code samples see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/eternalcoding/archive/2011/07/04/gestures-and-tools-for-kinect.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Foundation of Digital Games Conference





    Last week I attended the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games which was hosted in the beautiful city of Bordeaux. FDG is a focal point for academic efforts in all areas of research and education involving games, game technologies, gameplay and game design.

    WP_000177 WP_000146 WP_000143

    The goal of the conference is the advancement of the study of digital games, including new game technologies, capabilities, designs, applications, educational uses, and modes of play.

    FDG 2011 was an interesting event and well attended by academics, commercial gaming vendors along with a number of staff from Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelists teams from the US and a group from Microsoft Game Studios.

    As part of the event the entire US and UK team developed, created and presented the final keynote presentation entitled ‘Kinect in the Classroom’.


    clip_image005 clip_image006 clip_image007

    The presentation featured a history and the evolution of gaming consoles, controller and then closed with details on the Kinect device hardware configuration and a drill down on the newly released Kinect SDK. The presentation also included information on Microsoft Game Studio’s Edison Project which includes Kinect Fun Labs and the Kinect Share community which were launched recently on to the Xbox community.


    Integrating Imagine Cup into current and proposed Curricula

    Andrew Parsons, Microsoft US ADE team and Captain of the Imagine Cup Game Design Competition chaired an interesting panel session on the value of leveraging Imagine Cup within the academic curriculum.

    The panel included Tara Walker Microsoft US ADE, Professor Frank Lee from Drexel University, Ian Parberry from the University of Texas and Frederic Pedro, a former Imagine Cup game competitor and now CEO of his own game company, Pohlm Studio and mentor of this years French Imagine Cup winning team.


    Each of the panel members recounted their success in integrating Imagine Cup into the academic curriculum. If your interested in learning more about the imagine cup please visit http://www.imaginecup.com

    Andrew presented a showcase of this years entries and the video of entries including the following video on the order of this years competitors For information on this years Imagine Cup Game Design entries see the entry video below and visit Andrews blog for the latest information on the Games Design Competition and an analysis of this years competitors.

    So if your interested in entering next years Imagine Cup and making students aware of the competition then these are the key dates for the Games Design competition are as follows more information will be posted on http://www.imaginecup.com




    Round 1 – Storyboard/Summary Submission

    July 13, 2011

    February 14, 2012

    Round 2 - Game Submission

    February 16, 2012

    March 13, 2012

    Round 3 - Worldwide Finals Qualifying

    April 3, 2012

    May 1, 2012

    Round 4 - Worldwide Finals

    July 2012

    July  2012


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    University of Oxford Department of Computer Science Industry day




    On the 1st of June 2011 Geoff Hughes attended the University of Oxford Industry Showcase 2011. The day included three keynote speeches on research projects, plus micro-slots where researchers had two-minutes to pitch their research to the audience in quick succession. It coincided with the renaming of Oxford University Computing Laboratory ( Comlab ) to The department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.

    For more information on the department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford visit. http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/

    As part of the industry day, teams of 2nd year computer science students presented their 2nd year group projects using a wide range of technologies from Robots to Windows Phone7 to Microsoft Surface!  Congratulations to “Team 1” who won a cash prize for their “TowerTunes” application developed for Microsoft Surface.

    The challenge:

    “Write an application for the Surface that will encourage people to make music together in a group - either by mixing samples, tapping on a simulated keyboard or drumskin, or whatever interface can be devised”

    “Team1" Bogdan-Alexandru Panait (Music and sound) Chris Hydon (Source control, game model) Daniel Nichol (Graphics programming) Ian Jones (Enemy AI and choreography, game model) Kris Joanidis (Graphics modelling)

    Congratulations to all the teams as well as the teaching and administration teams at the University of Oxford for such an inspiring and enjoyable day  Peter Jeavons, Suzanna Marsh, Leanne Carveth, Sharon Lloyd


    Below is a slideshow of pictures from the day.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone Mango Beta - Update Guide for Windows Phone 7



    The Beta version of the new Mango (7.1) update for Windows Phone 7 has been made available to all registered developers which will also allow you to push the update to your WP7 device.

    For those of you wanting to get the Mango BETA update on your academic teaching and learning phones, please read the following post, the intention of this post is to ensure that you are in a position of being able to discuss the opportunity and enhancement of Mango within your teaching curricula.

    I must stress this is a Beta release and as such there will be NO upgrade path to future releases of Mango. Therefore please ensure that this isn’t your primary device as you  will need to restore your phone to a supported state before being able to install the final versions of the product.

    So what the process of installing the BETA

    Backup phone

    1. Back up your phone. You want to make sure that you can quickly get it back to a supported state ASAP should it run into difficulties or require to update the device to the final version.

    Ensure you phone is backed up prior to running the update simply use backup/restore app provided on xda-developers.com

    NB: When you do this restore, you will loose any of the changes you’ve made to your phone, this will include app installations, music added, game scores, photos, videos etc.

    After your restore you will need to reinstall all previous installed apps from the MarketPlace you will NOT be charged for them again, but you may wish to note down the apps you have installed.

    Install the Beta2 SDK

    If you have previously installed the Beta1 SDK then you need to now go to your “Control Panel” > “Programs and Features” and uninstall that SDK.

    Visit the download page for the SDK and download and read the release notes.

    NB: Please ensure you read the T&Cs and notes.

    Download and run the vm_web2.exe link

    You will now have the  Beta2 development tools for  WP7 app and the Emulator, this is excellent for your curricula notes and assessments.

    Invitation from Microsoft via email

    So if your already a  Microsoft Registered developer via Microsoft DreamSpark you will have received an email from Microsoft Connect  inviting you to download the update. If your NOT a registered developer then simply register via DreamSpark this will then give you access to the tools to get your phone updated.

    Installing the tools

    You will also need to update Zune along with other supporting utilities and the all important update instructions.

    NB: Please ensure you read update instructions

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UK Orange Customers - Windows Phone Free App A Day




    Good news Windows Phone lovers, Orange UK are offering all Orange Windows Phone customers a free app every day during July. To download your free app, navigate to “Orange Selects” within the Marketplace on your phone.

    The app at the top of the list is the free app of the day, and will change each day. Enjoy!

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 Update




    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 is available for download

    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 is now available for download. This service pack updates the HPC Pack 2008 R2 products listed in the 'System Requirements' section. It provides improved reliability as well as an enhanced feature set including:

    • Enhanced Windows Azure integration - you can now add Azure VM Roles to your cluster, you can Remote Desktop to your Azure nodes, and you can run MPI jobs on Azure nodes.
    • Use a new 'resource pool' job scheduling policy that ensures resources are available to multiple groups of users.
    • Access job scheduling services through a REST interface or through an IIS-hosted web portal.
    • Assigning different submission and activation filters to jobs based on job templates.
    • Over-subscribe or under-subscribe the number of cores on cluster nodes.

    Download HPC Pack 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 

    In the "Download HPC Pack 2008 R2 Service Pack 2" section you will three files:

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x64.zip (123.0 MB)

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x64 :
    Download this .zip file to obtain the updater for use on your head nodes, compute nodes, broker nodes, and x64-based clients and workstation nodes. It also contains the Web Components (REST and Web Portal), Azure VM, and KSP ('soft card') installers necessary to use those features.

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x86.zip (121.0 MB)

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x86 :
    This .zip file contains the updated for use on 32-bit clients and workstation nodes. It also contains the KSP ('soft card') installer for 32-bit clients.

    SP2 Media Integration Package.zip (570.0 MB)

    SP2 Media Integration Package:
    For customers who will be doing multiple new cluster installations (setting up brand new head nodes, not just updating existing clusters) you can use this package to update your original ('RTM') installation media to have SP2 integrated from the beginning. (Instead of installing from your RTM DVD, then applying SP1, then applying SP2.) Please refer to the instructions on the HPC team blog for more information.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UCL Algorithmic Trading Competition and F# opportunities in education


    My colleague Geoff Hughes recently represented Microsoft DPE Academic team at the UCL Algorithmic Trading competition, which took place in London on 28th June. Over 100 attendees comprising of city firms, researchers and computer science students attended.



    Algorithmic Trading –Global Opportunities for Research

    12.45- 13.00 Registration and coffee

    13.00-13.20 Keynote Address
    Markets, Networks and Auctions
    Microsoft Research - Peter Key

    13.20 -13.40 Algorithmic Trading – Current trends and future directions
    UCL - Prof Philip Treleaven

    13.40-14.00 Automated Trading – The technology is the business
    Barclays Capital - Chris Donnan

    14.00-14.20 Competition launch and introduction of the prizes:

    14.20-14.40 High Frequency Trading FX
    Citi - Dr John Loizides

    15.10-15.30 A Taste of F# - Functional Programming Meets Information- Rich World Microsoft – Don Syme

    15.30-15.50 The Application of Automated Trading at Knight
    Knight Capital - Kee-Meng Tan

    15.50-16.10 Real-time risk management means tick-by-tick
    LMAX – Martin Thompson

    16.10-16.30 UCL’s Algorithmic Trading System Platform
    UCL - Michal Galas

    16.30-16.40 Wrap Up
    Microsoft - Azam Husain

    Don Syme and Peter Key from MSR both presented at the event, this is very exciting and interesting as on my recent visits a number of academics are interested in now teaching F# as the first language to new UG Students. Therefore Dom’s presentation may be of great interest to you all.

    · Dom Syme Slides attached http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dsyme/archive/2011/06/28/slides-for-today-s-talk-at-ucl-algorithmic-trading-day.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Faculty Connection Newsletter


    Academic are you aware we have a dedicated monthly Faculty Connection Newsletter, this newsletter is sent directly to your inbox on a monthly basis and contains the latest information from the Faculty Connection Site http://www.microsoft.com/faculty you can simply Sign up for other newsletters  via the Microsoft Profile Centre.

    Faculty Connection Newsletter

    Faculty Connection Newsletter
    June 2011

    Welcome to the June edition of the Microsoft® Faculty Connection newsletter. This resource provides information about new curriculum resources and other useful educational content for use in the classroom. If this newsletter was forwarded to you by a colleague, please feel free to subscribe today to receive future editions directly.


    Kinect for Windows SDK

    Kinect for Windows SDK Now Available
    Microsoft announced the availability of a beta version of the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) from Microsoft Research. The SDK is designed to enable a growing community of academic researchers and enthusiasts to use Kinect technology to build compelling applications that include depth sensing, human motion tracking, and voice recognition on PCs. The SDK can be downloaded at no cost for the development of non-commercial applications.

    Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals
    Imagine Cup 2011Students from around the world were invited to New York City, USA from July 8-13, 2011 to channel their creative energy, their technical skills, and most of all, their personal passion to take part in an urgent mission. With the 2011 Theme as their inspiration, students used the power of technology and their own brilliance to present solutions to some of the world's toughest problems. Teams were formed in a total of 183 countries and regions.

    Cloud Futures Workshop 2011
    The Cloud Futures Workshop took place on June 2-3, 2011. There were about 140 people who attended in person and 80 who joined online for the simulcast version. For those not able to attend, the videos and presentations from each of the sessions are available on the Cloud Futures site. We hope to see you there next year.


    The Faculty Connection Resource Center is the place to find these and other classroom-ready teaching materials:

    Designing for Windows Phone
    Explore seven lessons on how to design for Windows Phone, from building assets and interactivity to creating layout controls in Expression Blend.

    Expanding Your Skills: Creating a Dynamic Web Template
    This teaching and learning module for Expression Web 4 shows how to create Dynamic Web Templates from which to create other pages. The instructions are useful for teachers who want to create template websites for students to use in communicating their learning and presenting assignments. The module includes a 3-4 day lesson plan, tutorial, student projects suggestions, and rubric.

    Microsoft Biology Foundation Training
    The Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF) is a language-neutral bioinformatics toolkit, built as an extension to the Microsoft .NET Framework, and initially aimed at the area of Genomics research. This material includes slides and seven hands-on labs to help you get started with MBF. You can also view the MBF tutorial introduction presentation from the Microsoft Research eScience Workshop 2010. Visit Microsoft Biology Foundation to install, download, learn more about MBF, and to find sample tools and applications built on it. MBF is part of the Microsoft Biology Initiative.

    My PC Series
    The My PC Series is a completely free and fun, hands-on, jargon-free curriculum of computer classes developed by Microsoft for adult learners. This new curriculum centers on Windows® 7 and Windows Live™ Essentials. It is based on extensive audience and instructional research about how less tech-savvy consumers want to learn new computer skills. The content is designed for adults and has been tested with more than 500,000 students.


    Microsoft ResearchFind recent news from a Microsoft Research site near you.

    Turning the 'Big Data' Problem into Opportunity
    Data sets that are too large to manipulate with conventional systems are often described as a problem. But researchers are recasting them as an opportunity for researchers to validate the shift to cloud computing.

    Interactive Visualization: The Future of Data Analysis?
    Demos shown at D.C. TechFair 2011 explore four visualization techniques that can assist people in analyzing vast data stores in intuitive ways. From sketching to simplified NetCharts, data can be streamlined and manipulated to improve exploration and analysis of complicated data sets.

    Beyond CAPTCHA: Researching New Ways to Stop Web Troublemakers
    Microsoft Research is developing new methods to stop Internet attackers, such as identifying attacker-created email accounts to help reduce spam and other malicious activities on the Internet.



    The Faculty Connection Resource Center contains recommended Curriculum Resources, Reference Materials, Software, and Supplemental Resources:


    View the Faculty Connection Resource Kit page for curriculum materials on areas such as Cloud Computing and Operating Systems. These kits contain lecture materials, PowerPoint presentations, videos, white papers, labs, and more that can be used for classroom presentations.

    Find Higher Ed and Teacher resource kits to help you engage your students.


    Find additional faculty and student resources:


    These are the top downloads by faculty and teachers from the Faculty Connection Resource Center:

    1. Web Development With .NET

    2. Windows Phone Programming in C#

    3. ASP.NET for Programmers

    4. Key Benefits of Microsoft Visual Studio Team System

    5. Introduction to Programming Through Game Development Using Microsoft XNA Game Studio

    6. Course Syllabus - Introduction to Embedded Systems using Windows Embedded CE - 2nd Edition

    7. Learn Programming with XNA

    8. A Lap Around Microsoft Expression Blend®

    9. Comparing the Linux and Windows Kernels -- CRK Unit OS-B

    10. Windows Operating System Internals Curriculum Resource Kit (CRK)


    If you have any questions or would like to know more about Microsoft Faculty Connection, please send us an email at fchelp@microsoft.com.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Surface in education



    As many of you are aware, the new Microsoft Surface was unveiled at CES 2011.

    Microsoft Surface 2.0 also has a dedicated web site. There you’ll learn about the Surface experience and get a look at the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface.

    It seems that lots of people are really interested in Microsoft Surface. For example the last two institutions I have visited both had some great ideas and interesting research project they wanted to develop on the Microsoft Surface 2.0. As the surface device is a PC you can run application developed in Silverlight, XNA, standard windows based apps or web app for some spectacular application development and ideas take a look at Dr David Brown, from Microsoft Technology Centre blog which contains information on his awesome Surface Virtual Universe application and surface physics engine work.

    For those of you who haven't see the new Surface 2.0 device please watch the following video

    More information will be coming over the next few months in terms of offical release dates of the Surface 2.0 devices and the offical SDK for Surface, so check back with http://www.Surface.com and the Surface blog to stay up to date with the latest news.

    However If your interested in getting started on application development for Surface 2 then the best option for Surface until v2 is officially available is to start with the “Surface Toolkit for Windows Touch Beta”.

    Overview at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee957352.aspx 

    Download at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=801907a7-b2dd-4e63-9ff3-8a2e63932a74

    You can also follow Surface information and announcements via Twitter and Facebook

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Has your institution considered becoming a Microsoft IT Academy? IT Academy offers Over 300 courses and over £40,000 of Value to Education



    About the Microsoft IT Academy:

    Microsoft responds to IT Education, Training, and Employment demands. IT Academy offers Over 300 courses and over £40,000 of Value to Education

    The Microsoft IT Academy program is exclusively available to accredited academic institutions and CASA-eligible organizations to provide an affordable learning solution and toolkit from Microsoft to benefit schools. One subscription per campus will cover everyone students, faculty and staff; this is a great way to save on training.

    You can provide your customers with official Microsoft educational resources on the latest Microsoft technologies. Courses are available to students and faculty working toward proficiency with everyday business applications as well as to those pursuing advanced IT training. Membership can help to accelerate course development with a comprehensive package of courseware, e-learning programs, course management tools, and more. Schools also realize significant discounts on exams and courseware as part of the IT Academy program.

    IT Academy members in the UK also receive a free Live Meeting training session and on-boarding support to ensure usage of their IT Academy benefits are maximized. This on-boarding is provided by our appointed Microsoft UK Academic Engagement Provider.

    Please contact our Microsoft Academy Service Partner Consultant or  Click Here for Details of the Microsoft Academy Program

    IT Academy Benefit Highlights:

    • Reduced costs for technology training through an extensive portfolio of benefits for students, and for faculty and staff professional development. E-learning provided to just four students or teachers saves schools the equivalent of their annual membership fee.

    • Save faculty time with a “ready to go” solution for technology education.

    • E-learning - over 300 courses available, as well as a course management tool allowing instructors to administer courses and monitor students’ progress.

    • Link academic learning to real-world skills to prepare students with the IT skills needed for the workforce.

    • Access for teachers to get direct link and form communities with Microsoft’s network of more than 15,000 certified instructors teaching on Microsoft technologies around the globe.

    • E-Reference Library – members receive three complimentary faculty subscriptions to a digital, fully searchable online database of more than 600 technology titles published by Microsoft Press. Faculty members can save time finding that specific technical reference they need for teaching and research. Plus 60% discounts are available for additional faculty and for student subscriptions.

    • Workforce credentials – Certifications available in IT Academy help prepare students for the work world ahead and are globally recognized, workforce credentials, recognized by Microsoft customers and partners worldwide.

    • Flexibility to incorporate IT Academy content to existing curriculum pathways and learning solutions.

    IT Academy Facts:

    • Microsoft IT Academy is one of the fastest growing industry-academic partner programs- growing from 6,000 member institutes to 9,000 during 2010

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides students, faculty and staff with access to hundreds of official Microsoft e-learning courses for one low membership price

    • Microsoft IT Academy contributes to workforce development initiatives on campus and student employability objectives

    • Microsoft IT Academy helps connect student learning with workforce skills

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides flexibility for inclusion in credit, degree-granting programs and certificates as well as non-credit programs

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides schools, faculty and students with exclusive exam and textbook discounts

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides learning resources for campus community members to better understand and leverage the technology stack and range of software solutions in your Campus or School Agreement

    • Microsoft IT Academy provides opportunity to differentiate the institution as a leader

    • Microsoft IT Academy allows Institutions  to brand programs and the institution with the Microsoft IT Academy logo

    • Microsoft IT Academy membership gets Institutions and key contact information listed in the academy locator tool on the Microsoft public website

    For more information on the Microsoft IT Academy program benefits, please visit www.microsoftitacademy.com

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