The goal of this site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
With only Four weeks to go! TechEd Europe in Amsterdam! Will you be there to get up to speed on Microsoft latest technologies and tool sets? http://europe.msteched.com/
Follow all the latest discussion on Twitter #TEE12
TechEd Europe on Facebook
Reserve Your In-Person Experience At TechEd Europe 2012
With TechEd North America selling out, consider joining thousands of your global peers at TechEd Europe 2012 in Amsterdam, NL from June 26-29th. Use the extra time to plan your travel, organize your agenda, study for exams, arrange connections with others from around the globe, and optimize your in-person attendance at one of Microsoft’s premier technology events. Register now.
Learn All About Running Applications with SQL Server's Data Platform at TechEd Europe
Dive into the 40+ learning opportunities from the Database & Business Intelligence track and see how to get the most from your SQL Server as well as analyze the data using the Microsoft BI platform. Hear from Brent Ozar as he boils it all down to speed in his session Building the Fastest Microsoft SQL Servers. Enjoy the return of BI Power Hour, an entertaining session by Matthew Roche and Riccardo Muti. Explore performance with Denny Cherry in Optimizing Microsoft SQL Server Performance in a Virtual Environment. Spend 75 minutes on the Hadoop stack with Gert Drapers as he speaks on Big Data, Big Deal? And be able to answer, “Who accessed your sensitive tables in the last week?" or "What has your administrator changed in the past month?" after hearing Il-Sung Lee talk about Auditing in Microsoft SQL Server 2012.
Last week Geoff and I attended a number of University graduation showcase events across the country, firstly thank you for the invites and its great to see the outcomes of students projects and the use of Microsoft Technology. A number of students and academics also asked me some interesting questions in relation to the development of Windows 8 and specifically how to include some aspects of Windows 8 Metro into the curriculum. One of the easiest ways of implementing Windows 8 into your teaching is to simply add in a small work item of converting an existing app to Metro as a learning exercise, this may also be great a MSc or MPhil project for an existing application or service.
There are a lot of useful resources out there on porting existing applications to Metro apps, a successfully ported app will of course run beautifully on Windows 8 and this may be a great way of introducing/exposing students to the Metro UI and design principles:
Porting a website
Porting a Windows Phone app
Hope the above give you some food for thought of how you may start thinking about the opportunities of Windows 8 and the Metro UI.
.NET Gadgeteer can be used in schools to help students make gadgets and learn C# programming along the way. These lesson plans give teachers all the material needed to run 8 1-hour sessions using .NET Gadgeteer. You will also need the hardware, details of which are given at http://netmf.com/gadgeteer.
The material consists of 8 sessions relating to 3 projects:
The aim of each session is:
Touchdevelop is an ideal teaching tools for schools, touch develop allows you to program a Windows Phone directly. You do not need a separate PC. Scripts can perform various tasks similar to regular apps. Any TouchDevelop user can install, run, edit, and publish scripts. You can share your scripts with other people by publishing them to the TouchDevelop script bazaar, or by submitting them as an app to the Windows Phone Marketplace.
How its being used for Education
Ninety eighth-grade students at Mill Creek Middle School in Kent, Washington, learned how to write smartphone programs with TouchDevelop, a Microsoft Research programming environment that enables users to create and test programs on Windows Phone. Most of the students had no prior experience with programming, but after tinkering with TouchDevelop for an hour, students came up with a variety of innovative and fun programs that they proudly demonstrated to their peers.http://research.microsoft.com/apps/video/default.aspx?id=157112&s=0&e=150
Teach TouchDevelop Resources
Resources and Book on TouchDevelopment
In recent months Cloud has become a hot topic. But what is it? What are the implications for business and how do you train or up-skill staff to deal with it? If you want to know what Cloud is and is not, City & Guilds is providing the opportunity to meet and listen to key players in the world of Cloud. Major Vendors from the industry will provide an insight in how to handle Cloud, while leading Industry Certification partners will show what they are offering in terms of learning and assessment.
People do not have to be technically minded to be affected by Cloud, but many presume it is complicated and requires major change to infrastructure. The City & Guilds ICT Conference will help you decide if they are right and provide the opportunity to find support for other areas of ICT learning.
What's the event about?
Knowledge and practical actions to show what City & Guilds and its Vendor partners have to help centres, employers and learners get to grips with Cloud and other aspects of learning ICT for users and professionals.
Who should attend?
ICT/Business Management Tutors, Curriculum Leaders, Heads of Department for ICT and Business, whether in an FE College or Private Training Provider. Also businesses that are trying to understand what Cloud is all about and to find centres that can help in this and other areas of ICT training...
Location - Microsoft Offices, Reading
Date - 26 June 2012
Event Code - MST260612RD
To book simply click here using the event references above. If you have any queries, please contact Sue Bridge, Customer Support Events Coordinator on 01924 206777 or email: email@example.com
I had a interesting discussion this morning with a business school looking at introducing Mobile App development one of the key things within their assessment is the proof of prototypes and wireframes we got onto discussing the opportunity and advantages of using Microsoft Expression, SketchFlow.
SketchFlow addresses three pain points in software sketching and prototyping:
It makes it easier to experiment with ideas for dynamic user interaction. It facilitates communication of design ideas and intent between designers and other stakeholders. It makes it easier to gather, evaluate and use stakeholder feedback on design ideas.
The mission of the Expression team is to help designers to create great user experiences. We believe that this mission needs to begin with the early exploration phases of design. SketchFlow,
SketchFlow is a set of tools for Expression Blend to create sketches and prototypes of interactive content and applications, giving Blend a new role in pre-production and design phases of the development process.
SketchFlow is informal and quick, enabling you to sketch out plentiful ideas for dynamic interactions in a cost effective manner. SketchFlow also supports the evolution of your rough sketches into living and breathing prototypes that can be as real as you need them to be.
SketchFlow is part of Expression Blend so FREE from www.dreamspark.com
Throughout the software industry, we historically have not spent much effort on the earlier stages of design. This lack of upfront investment in design often leads to increased cost due to a need for expensive rework at a later stage and to products that may not satisfy our customers.
Great design for software needs a great design process, and ways to make the exploration, communication and evaluation of interaction and design fast and effective are an important part of great process.
Sketching, and, at a slightly later stage of the design process, prototyping, are wonderful techniques to explore a multitude of ideas quickly, without excessive investment and emotional attachment. Software interaction is highly dynamic, and over the last years we have consistently have pushed more in the direction of rich, dynamic visuals and interaction methods. Expectations have risen greatly. However, it is far from easy to create meaningful design studies and sketches of dynamic interactivity entirely with traditional tools. There are many reasons for that, including the fact that most design tools have been created as production tools, focused on the creation of final production assets, where precision, quality and finish matter. Another reason is that most tools still treat UI as something that is just a small derivation from an otherwise static comp.
SketchFlow provides a way to showcase your prototype to others using the SketchFlow Player. The SketchFlow Player allows you to explore the prototype from the first moment on, even while it consists of nothing but a few rough sketches. The player lets you navigate your prototype, run animations that illustrate how your prototype might work, or switch into different states of your UI, all without wiring up actual UI elements. This lowers the cost of evaluating ideas in early stages before much expense has been incurred.
But showing a prototype to others is only part of the review process, so the SketchFlow Player provides tools to collect feedback from reviewers. Reviewers can provide feedback either as text, like the comments in the Feedback tab in the screenshot below, or as ink, like the red arrow in the screenshot below. Then you can incorporate this feedback into the prototype using the Feedback panel in Expression Blend, allowing you to iterate on your design using suggestions from your team.
Tutorials on Sketchflow http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/school/tutorials.aspx
For more information, watch a video on Sketchflow
We are pleased to announce that we have released version 1.5 of the Kinect for Windows runtime and SDK.
Additionally, Kinect for Windows hardware is now available in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. Starting next month, Kinect for Windows hardware will be available in 15 additional countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. When this wave of expansion is complete, Kinect for Windows will be available in 31 countries around the world.
Go to our Kinect for Windows website to find a reseller in your region.
We have added more capabilities to help developers build amazing applications, including:
We have continued to expand and improve our skeletal tracking capabilities in this release:
Seated Skeletal Tracking is now available. This tracks a 10-joint head/shoulders/arms skeleton, ignoring the leg and hip joints. It is not restricted to seated positions; it also tracks head/shoulders/arms when a person is standing. This makes it possible to create applications that are optimized for seated scenarios (such as office work with productivity software or interacting with 3D data) or standing scenarios in which the lower body isn’t visible to the sensor (such as interacting with a kiosk or when navigating through MRI data in an operating room).
We have made performance and data quality enhancements, which improve the experience of all Kinect for Windows applications using the RGB camera or needing RGB and depth data to be mapped together (“green screen” applications are a common example):
New capabilities to enable avatar animation scenarios, which makes it easier for developers to build applications that control a 3D avatar, such as Kinect Sports.
A video introduction to v1.5 is live on Channel 9
The Kinect for windows website has been significantly updated, including new and updated developer resources:
Updated docs which are now 100% on MSDN
Human Interface Guidelines which helps developers get started with NUI interaction design
Video how-to’s for an easy introduction to the SDK capabilities
Download the SDK here
Thank you all for your interest, enthusiasm, questions, and feedback – your contributions are a key part of making the product great.
Developed by the team behind KODO, an elegant and simple visual programming language, So.cl is now open for registrations. So.cl offers a unique take on search and social networking and is designed to give students the ability to network with their peers and both share information and collaborate more easily online.
More importantly, So.cl is designed to offer a secure environment for students to discover new topics of interest and share this with their classmates and beyond. A global classroom or study group is potentially now only a click away!
Users log in to the network with their Facebook or Windows Live accounts, and are then presented with a range of topic areas that they can learn more about and share with their friends and wider network. Search being a focal point of the service also makes it easy to find new content based around the topics they are currently studying or passionate about and add these to their So.cl profile page. Furthermore, the addition of a So.cl "bookmarklet" makes sharing additional content that users discover online to their So.cl network a simple and streamlined process.
The ability to add and curate video parties and collaborate around this content with friends is a also a particularly compelling and interesting feature and look forward to seeing how this is embraced within the community.
Ultimately, with research now primarily being carried out online So.cl offers learners an interesting aggregation tool to collect and share the resources they discover on Facebook and Wikipedia etc to fellow learners and likeminded connections on the site. We will be watching the service closely and will be sharing additional content on the blog over the coming weeks.
In the meantime, you can learn more about So.cl over at http://www.so.cl/
Microsoft Press have a number of FREE Ebooks now available covering topics from SQL Server 2012, Office 2010 and Windows Phone, there is something here for everyone.
Many of our free ebooks are offered in three formats - PDF, Mobi (Kindle) and epub. Hope you find them useful!
Announcing the UK Windows Azure conference.
If you building or considering building applications for the cloud, then the 22nd June is a date for the diary. It’s a big day for Windows Azure as the first full day, multi-track conference supported by Microsoft and London Windows Azure User Group, featuring content for .NET, PHP, Java and node.js developers as well as device support in Windows 8, iOS, Windows Phone and Android. Tickets are free until 20th May, register for the conference here: http://azureconference2012.eventbrite.com/
Scott Guthrie speaking at UK Windows Azure conference 22nd June
They keynote speaker for the conference on 22nd in London will be Scott Guthrie, the Microsoft corporate vice president in charge of the development platform for Windows Azure. See more at http://azureconference2012.eventbrite.com/
Microsoft Cloud Day: Windows Azure, Windows 8, Devices and Open Source innovations
Follow the UK Azure usergroup @ukwaug on twitter for event info and surprise announcements... If you can't make TechEd in Amsterdam then come to Pre-TechEd in London!
If your building or considering building applications for the cloud, then this will be a great place to spend a day. And until 20th May, the tickets are free! After the 20th they will charged at £25 per person.
Tea and coffee will be provided throughout the day. And we'll have a selection of stands, some offering free software licenses and giveaway ebooks to every delegate.
The conference opens at 8 AM in the morning for registration, tea and coffee. Talks will begin promptly at 9 AM, with a major keynote address. Then in the afternoon there will be 4 tracks, with some great speakers covering a lot of ground, from core conecepts though to support for different languages and frameworks through to building client apps backed by the cloud... along with real world expertise:
For now, here's the outline agenda. We have some great announcements to come and will share more very soon.
The conference will take place in the Vue Cinema, Fulham Broadway, London with access to restaurants, bars and all amenities.