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!
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.
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.
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
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
· 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
· Scaling up to dedicated VMs
· Once Windows Azure Free Trial expires - SQL Database and egress
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.
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.
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
The following popular Channel 9 shows are available with more coming shortly
·Announcing Windows Azure Mobile Services by Scott Guthrie
Microsoft presents the largest opportunity for game developer students.
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!
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:
· 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: email@example.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.
New curriculum resources for teaching Cloud Computing topics using Windows Azure are now available on Faculty Connection.
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 so the new Azure functionality is also included.
· Windows Azure and SQL Database
· Windows Azure and SQL Database (Instructor Supplement)
The content can be used in class as part of a Cloud Computing course, as a course on Windows Azure, or for self-paced independent learning.
This material is an intermediate level and the prerequisites are a beginner level of C# Programming Skills, the ability to use basic features of Visual Studio and a conceptual understanding of Relational Databases.
The Lab Environment requires a minimum VS 2010 or VS 2012 Express for Web, 4 GB RAM, and Internet access.
The audience for this material is students who have completed an Introduction to Programming course and have basic programming skills. No previous knowledge of Cloud Computing is required. The first module starts from the basics and builds the knowledge required for more advanced topics.
The following 6 modules are included in this content:
· Module 1: Overview of Cloud Computing
· Module 2: Windows Azure Fundamentals
· Module 3: Windows Azure Storage
· Module 4: Windows Azure SQL Database – The Fundamentals
· Module 5: More about Windows Azure SQL Database
· Module 6: Virtual Machines and Web Sites
Each module consists of a lecture and a lab. The lab exercises are designed for 2 hour sessions for a student who has completed an introductory course on programming, preferably using C#.
The Instructor Supplement contains the Lab Solutions and is available for “faculty only”, i.e. will require Faculty Connection membership to download.
These curriculum materials augment our Cloud Computing resources and are designed to support the Windows Azure Academic Passes program.
Hadoop On Azure allows a user to run Hadoop on Microsoft Windows Azure as a service.
As your aware from my previous blog this service is currently in private CTP with limited capacity, and by invitation only.
However my colleague WenMing has added some more capacity today, So if your an academic or researcher doing big data you may attempt to sign up this free service at https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/Survey/Survey.aspx?SurveyID=13697 Please allow one week for us to approve your invitation.
If your interested in what the service is and its capabilities, please take a look at the following learning resources on WindowsAzure.com that Wenming has authored. Wenming would also love to get your feedback on addition content you are interested in for learning about Hadoop.
BigData Hadoop Learning Resources
Hadoop on Windows Azure Tutorials
Introduction to Hadoop on Windows Azure
Running Hadoop Jobs on Windows Azure and Analyzing the Data with the Excel Hive Add-In
Hadoop on Windows Azure - Working With Data
Analyzing Twitter Movie Data with Hive (additional source at: https://github.com/wenming/BigDataSamples/tree/master/twittersample)
Simple Recommendation Engine using Apache Mahout
Additional Learning Resources
Wenming has also given talks at Microsoft TechEd discussing the use scenarios for big data and Hadoop. (samples at https://github.com/wenming/BigDataSamples) TEchED: Learn Big Data Application Development on Windows Azure
There was some very interesting news this week for the hundreds of UK Gaming course and thousands of UK gaming students from the Unite 12 conference in Amsterdam.
An announcement was made by Unity CEO that the Unity games engine is to support Microsoft's Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, after an update to version 4 of the multiplatform tool.
The news emerged during the opening keynote of the Unite 12 Unity user conference this week in Amsterdam where David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies. Stated “Our mission at Unity has always been to provide solutions for developers to effortlessly bring their work to as many different platforms as possible,The Unity community has been asking for access to Windows Phones and have been eagerly anticipating the release of Windows 8. We’re happy to announce that we will support both.”
The number of high quality Unity-authored games for the PC, Xbox, and mobile devices already created is staggering and we’re looking forward to seeing these products appear in the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Marketplace. So if your an existing Unity developer or academic teaching Unity this is great news to allow your students to develop and make available apps on a multitude of OS’s. No date has been confirmed for the update, but Unity 4 Pre Order are now open via http://unity3d.com/
Another interesting announcement was also made for existing Unity and Visual Studio Users by Syntax Tree with a product called UnityVS.
Simply put UnityVS is a Visual Studio plugin for programmers using Unity. It lets you write and debug your scripts inside Visual Studio. for more details see http://unityvs.com/
At http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh452780.aspx we list options for developing Windows 8 games.
The Microsoft Student Partner Programme recognises top young minds from around the world that are passionate about technology. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop real-world skills to help you succeed in your future career, to help others learn about the technology of today and tomorrow, and to connect with other like-minded students, all whilst having a ton of fun along the way. The program is our way of encouraging students who are interested in building a closer relationship with Microsoft, and those who are simply hooked on technology, or talking about it to others to develop their skills further.
CLICK HERE TO APPLY!
So what exactly is a Microsoft Student Partner? As a team we are responsible for helping students and start-ups design, create and publish great quality apps for Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone. An MSP’s role is to help us achieve this by:
So we are looking for students who:
We do want to encourage discussion and debate about technology and hence your experiences and opinions are extremely valuable. If you want to share your passion and develop industry-leading skills, we want to hear from you.
What will you get in return?
As part of your role as an MSP you will receive the following
How do we select MSPs?
The application process will open in August 2012 and we’ll review applications in September. Subsequent selection will take place until the end of December 2012.
To consider applying for the MSP Program, you must be:
What are we looking for?
All MSPs should have the following basic qualities:
What’s the fine print?
How to apply?
Applications for the 2012-2013 Academic Year are now open. To apply for the Microsoft UK MSP programme, please refer to the competencies required and the responsibilities above.
Complete the application form by clicking here.
·You will need to provide contact details from an academic member of your department or the professional who you have worked with in the technology industry
For all questions regarding the Microsoft UK program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Windows 8 Code Weekend - 8-9th September – London
A dev4good event in collaboration with TheGivingLab.org and Givey.co.uk this year to bring together talented thinkers, designers and coders from around the UK to work on some real-world issues faced by UK charities.
The technology theme for the event is Windows 8, but no prior knowledge of Windows 8 app development is required. The goals for the weekend are simple. We want to learn how to create Windows 8 apps that could change the way people live their lives.
So if you are a software developer (on any platform), designer, academic, computing student, or are just interested in help out then we need you. It’s going to be a real challenge and sleep will be optional. Are you up for it? If you are, the event registration page is here.
Remember, this is a not-for-profit event being run by volunteers, so you won’t be paid for the work you do. You will, however, get to meet and work with some of the smartest developers and designers in the UK all while doing some real good for society.
How the cloud can help
There are 2 ways your Application can get data
Push and Pull – Maybe Both
Example of a Notification
Downloads and Setup - Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices
Windows Phone - http://bit.ly/watwp7
Android - https://github.com/WindowsAzure-Toolkits/wa-toolkit-android
iOS - https://github.com/WindowsAzure-Toolkits/wa-toolkit-ios
Windows 8 - http://bit.ly/Lcthn1
The Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games is a set of guidance, samples, and tools that helps developers quickly get started building a casual or social game on Windows Azure. https://github.com/WindowsAzure-Toolkits/wa-toolkit-games
Keeping data off the local device and in the cloud
Project Templates, Samples and Libraries Source Code http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Project%20Templates%2c%20Samples%20and%20Libraries%20Source%20Code&referringTitle=Documentation#
Creating a New Windows 8 Cloud Application http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Creating%20a%20New%20Windows%208%20Cloud%20Application&referringTitle=Documentation#
Running the Windows 8 Cloud Application http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Running%20the%20Windows%208%20Cloud%20Application&referringTitle=Documentation#
Using the Windows 8 Cloud Application Services Application http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Using%20the%20Windows%208%20Cloud%20Application%20Services%20Application&referringTitle=Documentation#
Sample Metro App using Windows Azure Service Bus http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Sample%20Metro%20App%20using%20Windows%20Azure%20Service%20Bus#
Push Notification Worker Sample http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Push%20Notification%20Worker%20Sample&referringTitle=Documentation#
Margie's Travel http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Margie%e2%80%99s%20Travel#
ACS Windows Metro Sample http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=ACS%20Windows%20Metro%20Sample&referringTitle=Documentation#
How to Deploy Your Services to Windows Azure http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Appendix%20I%3a%20How%20to%20Deploy%20Your%20Services%20to%20Windows%20Azure%3f#
How to Obtain Namespace and Management Keys http://watwindows8.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Appendix%20II%3a%20How%20to%20Obtain%20Namespace%20and%20Management%20Keys%3f#
More information and details on Windows 8 Tile Notification Types http://bit.ly/A8GuVg
More information and details on Windows 8 Toast Notification Types http://bit.ly/MDHfJ4
More information and details on Windows 8 Badge Notification Types http://bit.ly/LTf4GP
More information and details on Windows 8Geolocation http://bit.ly/rFiLhN
More information and details on Windows 8 Notifications http://bit.ly/NSi8D6
MSDN Developers Portal - http://bit.ly/QNgt58
Windows 8 Developers - http://bit.ly/JH5jOQ
Try these NuGet Packages
Try Windows Azure in Education 150 day Academic Pass and 90 day Student Pass
If you have done any reading about Windows 8, one thing all the press is focusing on is Windows 8 offers and unprecedented opportunity to monetize your developer skills.
Combining the broad reach of Windows which already exists, a new developer platform in the form of Windows Store Apps, best-in-class developer tools Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server, a reimagined user experience with Windows Store, Metro Style Apps, support for new chipsets Intel and RTM, and a built-in Store with industry-leading business terms, with initial revenue share of 70% revenue for you 30 % for Microsoft and 100% in app purchase revenue to you.
Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity, ever! So lets look at some of the reasons for developers to consider writing applications for the Windows Store.
There is more than 1.25 billion Windows users globally. The market potential for your selling your application is enormous. Clearly, the market for Windows-based applications far outnumbers anything else. Thinking about academia specifically, potential employers will be wanting to recruit students with the skills, experience and portfolio of existing Windows 8 apps to build their latest software releases.
2. The Scale of the Windows Opportunity
Simply put the Windows Store offers a marketplace for your application with a global reach of 200+ markets, 100+ languages, even distribution to enterprise customers. A generous revenue sharing model is in place. Imagine that you keep 70-80% of the revenue share from your application.
3. So what are we doing to help
4. So What type of App should I be building?
5. The Windows Store Ensures Visibility Strong support for search, category browsing, ranking lists, editorial content. The Windows Store features latest, most popular, and fast rising apps.
6. Enterprise Support Don’t limit yourself to consumer apps. Perhaps you have an idea for an Enterprise application. Luckily, the Windows Store will have rich support for deployment and management scenarios. Compliance and security is built in. There is support for direct control over the deployment of Metro style apps.
7. How you make money Your applications can be time-based and feature-based trials, paid apps, including in-app purchases. In-app purchases can help you customize the transaction flow with the customer. Sales analytics can also help you increase your reach.
8. Free Apps - Many choose to offer free applications + an ad model I personally think it makes the most sense to get your application out there as a trial. We have learned from the Windows Phone marketplace that trial versions get 70 times more downloads than paid versions. 10% of those convert to the paid version, typically within a few hours.
1. The Windows Dev Center
2. The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites
· Windows 8 app developer blog: Get coding and design best practices and tips, and updates on events and offers for developers.
· Windows Store for developers blog: Get all the latest news on doing business in the Windows Store.