Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
New Opportunities and Capabilities for Windows Phone
At Mix11 today Microsoft provided a in-depth look at the development platform for the next version of Windows Phone, arriving on new and existing handsets later this year.
The key message for HE is that developers will soon have updated Windows Phone Developer Tools. Improved tools include a performance profiler and sensor simulation, enabling developers to build more integrated and high-performing applications. The new application platform enables developers to take advantage of the following:
• Application multitasking for background processing, audio and file transfer, and fast application switching
• Deeper phone integration so apps can, for example, take better advantage of the versatility of Live Tiles
• Access to the camera and Motion Sensor library so developers can build apps that incorporate device hardware and build augmented reality experiences
Developers will be able to take advantage of these new capabilities to create even more creative and engaging Windows Phone apps and games.
The free Windows Phone Developer Tools for the new Windows Phone OS will be available to developers in May. With 38,000 registered developers, more than 13,000 available apps and 1.5 million downloads of the original Windows Phone Developer Tools, developers are the foundation of the fast-growing Windows Phone ecosystem.
Today, Microsoft also provided an early glimpse of app concepts for the next version of Windows Phone OS with new experiences from Skype, Spotify, Layar, Qantas, Amazon Shopping and Kik Messenger and the announcement that Angry Birds will be available.
In order to develop Windows Store applications, you need to use Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012. These are available to you in the labs, but there are a few steps you need to take in order to develop Windows Store applications in the labs. These are required because:
a) A Windows Developer license is required in order to develop Windows Store applications. In order to get one of these, you need to be running with Administrator privileges and, student accounts within your labs DO NOT have admin privileges.
b) Windows Store applications cannot be deployed from a network drive and, of course, your Student location/drive in the labs are generally a network drive.
Thanks to Wayne Rippin at Derby University who has developed the following guidance to overcome these restrictions and this blogs describes the steps you need to take.
Before you do anything, you need to acquire a Microsoft Account. Some of you may already have one (it used to be known as a Live ID), but if not, you can easily acquire one from the following location:
You can either use an existing email id or get a new one. You do not need to use your University email ID.
Please Note: All Students receive a FREE Developer account via DreamSpark see http://www.slideshare.net/lee_stott/free-windows-store-access-for-all-students-via-dreamspark for Visual Studio Developer activation a LIVE ID/Microsoft account is the only requirement
The machine will need to be logged into as a local admin to enable/activate visual studio
The following PowerShell commands will remove the necessity of the local user having admin rights
Please create a folder within the local machines and create the following PowerShell commands.
Privilege Guard installed or a rights evaluation tool
Once you have logged in, go to the Windows Desktop and use Windows Explorer to navigate to the ( C:\Tools folder (or the folder your storing these scripts). This folder contains three scripts that perform various actions on Windows Developer licenses.
Right-click on the script called showdev. One of the options you will see is “Run with Privilege Guard”. Select this and a dialog box should be displayed asking you to accept the license terms for a Windows Developer license. Press the button to accept these terms.
If at this stage, the script terminates, just perform the above step again. For some reason, the first time this script is run, it just terminates when the license terms are accepted, rather than continuing.
You should now see a progress box appear and then you will be asked to enter your Microsoft Account ID (LIVEID) and password. If this is accepted, you should then see a dialog box that tells you that you have successfully acquired a Windows Developer license. It will also tell you the date on which the license expires.
You can now start up Visual Studio 2012 and create a Windows Store application.
When you attempt to run a Windows Store application from Visual Studio, it actually deploys the application to the computer it is running on. Unfortunately, Windows Store applications cannot be deployed from a network drive. To solve this problem, you need to change the build target directory for your project so that it builds the application to a local drive:
Now when your project is built, the output files will be placed in C:\temp. When you run your application, it will be deployed successfully.
I had the pleasure of attending a fascinating meeting yesterday, the event had a number of commercial organisations and UK Universities discussing the following challenges which the UK education and employers face.
What was interesting is that the fact that in both academia and employment the most common measures of skills are qualifications.
Qualifications form a major part of employer recruitment strategies, especially screening candidates prior to interview. As a result, the majority of individuals prefer studying towards a qualification and over one half of employers say they would like to support their employees to gain qualifications.
So the debate is should Universities meet employers requirements of providing not only academic qualifications but also professional certification in the form of vendors certifications?
Should Universities provide more life long learning opportunities and tailored courses which meet the demand of employers or specialised around specific employer requirements.
Such as fascinating debate and discussion.. If your interested in the learning more about Microsoft Professional certification look at the following presentation.
WorldWide Telescope SDK Features The powerful tools contained in the WorldWide Telescope (WWT) SDK enable developers to create applications that allow users to import and visualize their data in the WWT Windows Client and share it with others. The WWT SDK can convert flat images of the entire Earth, a section of the Earth, or of any other planetary body, into a format that will render in full 3-D in the WWT.
The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) was featured in the Morrison Planetarium for NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences on September 29. This is the largest all-digital planetarium in the world, Morrison Planetarium’s state-of-the-art projector and software technologies allow the planetarium to produce the most accurate and interactive digital universe simulation. The WWT software displayed imagery from the best ground- and space-based telescopes in the world on the 75-foot wide planetarium screen. Learn how to build a planetarium for use with WWT.
Perhaps your an academic coming a different platform, iOS, Android or you have previously developed and curriculum for game development on an earlier version of DirectX on Windows XP or Windows 7.
As a Student you may simply want to explore whether developing your game for the Windows Store is an attractive proposition for you in terms of developing a real portfolio or even developing an Indie Career or getting some sales to pay for your University fees.
Here are some reasons to invest in the Windows Store:
Giving people the opportunity to acquire workplace skills and experiences, Get the essential technology, design, and business tools that will help your students land the job of their dreams after graduation.
Britain Works will help today and tomorrows students to learn new skills, improve and enhance current skills, get real-world experience through internship programmes, and to start networking.
Whether you're new to technology or a seasoned IT professional, Microsoft can help get you the skills, training and certification needed to compete in today's technology-driven workplace.
Today I’m excited to share with some exciting development news relating to Microsoft Surface and how were helping you support the next generation device – the Samsung SUR40 Microsoft Surface.
Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK releases next week!
At MIX 2011, the Surface Team announced that they would release our SDK this summer. I am happy to share with you that the SDK will be available for public download for free from the Microsoft Download Center on July 12th.
For those of you who haven't seen or heard of Surface SUR40 please watch the following video from the MIX11 Conference
Here are some of the new features which are ideal in the academic teaching learning and research space.
1. The SDK now runs on the latest technologies: WPF 4.0, XNA 4.0, Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit).
2. Multiplatform support the new SDK target both Microsoft Surface Hardware and Windows 7 Touch enabled PCs with a single SDK. The surface team have coined the phrase “Write once - touch anywhere”. That means that the same binary can be used in both types of hardware and for you this means you can get developing for surface using multitouch PCs which will save budgets and mean you can get developing today!
3. The ability to actually query the hardware capabilities of the device.
4. New APIs for you to query the capabilities of the hardware (maximum number of touches recognized by the hardware, whether the hardware can actually distinguish touches caused by fingers versus other touches, tag recognition support, tilt support, etc.)
You can learn more about adapting your application to the environment here.
5. The availability of a Microsoft Surface Input Simulator. For more information on our new Input Simulator, check out the Surface Team blog post.
6. A new look consistent with other Microsoft Products such as Zune and Windows Phone. The style is clean, simple yet elegant.
7. The ability to port a Surface v1 application, check out the Microsoft Surface Migration PowerToy will be available via the Code Gallery on July 12 as well the PowerToy is also open source in case you want to tweak it for your needs.
Introducing the Microsoft Surface Design and Development Center on MSDN The Microsoft Surface Design and Development Center provides access to the Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK, online training, hands on labs, design and interaction guidelines, application certification, documentation, whitepapers, developer forums and other resources. The Design and Development Center focuses on helping people get jumpstarted with developing amazing new vision based touch applications that people can share at the same time.
Microsoft Surface Online Training Resources
The online training is a course that enables people to learn about planning, designing, developing, testing, and deploying Microsoft Surface 2.0 applications for use on the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface and Windows 7 touch PCs. People proceed through the course at their own pace, or jump directly to the topics which they need. Hands on labs provide developers and designers with a guided opportunity to start building applications and get familiarized with the Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK. Design and interaction guidelines, certification, and SDK documentation help outline the best practices for making great touch applications that draw on the power of vision input and object interaction. The developer forums are a place that the Surface development community can share information, get help and support.
For more information on Microsoft Surface see the Microsoft Surface Team Blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/surface/
Interview with Paul Boocock, Computer Games Programming Lecturer at Staffordshire University
1) Why did you make the decision to develop / teach for Windows Phone and Windows 8? It was an easy decision. The tools are free and easily accessible, not to mention easy to use. Developing for these platforms is always popular too, our students have previously enjoyed developing XNA games for PC/XBOX, so moving those modules towards Windows Phone and Windows 8 is the obvious progression. I’m really optimistic for the future of Windows Phone and Windows 8 and I hope developing for the platform at this stage will give students a good opportunity to get applications into the marketplace and for them to prove popular whilst there is a little less competition.
2) What were some of the features you used from Windows Phone and Windows 8 and why? The key reason was the introduction of DirectX on Windows Phone. This gave us an opportunity to create a new Mobile Games Development module, which takes the DirectX skills the students have already learnt by this stage and apply them on a mobile platform by building 3D games on Windows Phone. Also, our Games Development students are taught heavily in C++, so being able to write Native Code on Windows Phone was a big bonus. We also found that students could get applications up and running much faster on these platforms when compared to others, through a combination of the tools and the platform features, many students are especially fond of designing their UI using XAML.
3) What was the experience like of using Windows Phone and Windows 8 and would you recommend it to students and other educators teaching game development? I find Windows Phone development great. It��s extremely easy to pick up and the documentation is second to none. Building a module around it is easy as all the features are now present in the platform, the only issue is the SLAT Processor requirement for the Windows Phone 8 emulator but this is something which we’ve come up with a solution for quite easily. I’d definitely recommend it to other educators and I push my students towards Windows Phone development whenever I get the opportunity.
4) How did you go about persuading senior academic or decision maker re the opportunity of Windows Phone and Windows 8? This was an easy one! There’s a lot of enthusiasm around mobile development and we we’re looking into getting more mobile development in our course, especially in Games Programming. As Windows Phone and Windows 8 gives us the opportunity to continue developing in the programming languages we predominately teach, this was a popular choice for many of the teaching staff.
5) What are doing to help students develop portfolios and CVs are you successfully getting students to submit their game to the Store? I believe the assignments which we set the students give them a really good starting point to getting together an application or game which makes a great item in their portfolio but could be a starting place for creating something worthy of the store. I’m also teaching more about what is required to be an indie developer, especially looking at publishing games and the financials involved. This is a strong interest area of mine, as it’s what I have done previously and still do to some extent. It’s a great opportunity for students to earn some money and to really show off by getting their applications and games published.
Thanks for the interview Paul and looking forward to seeing what your students deliver.
Are you ready to launch your Windows Store app at DEMO Mobile 2013?
If you have a Windows Store app idea, we want you to apply and compete for a chance to launch your app at DEMO Mobile on April 17th, 2013.
It’s easy to enter the challenge
1. Submit app prototype! This can be a video, a slideshare presentation, screenshots, whatever as long as it hits on the judging criteria
2. Get votes! Once your app prototype is approved, tweet the link using #windowschallenge and share it to collect votes (50% of your score will be based on public voting)
First Prize: Top team will receive a free trip to San Francisco to launch at DEMO Mobile on April 17th, 2013.
Second Prize: Top five teams will receive a marketing package to promote and launch the app
Third Prize: All semi-finalists will receive free design and technical support from experts
About the Challenge
This is a joint effort between Microsoft, Startup Weekend and DEMO to accelerate apps from prototype to development to launch.
The entry period ends on January 29, 2013. Please submit a prototype of your app here.
For other related inquiries and questions, go to our support group on Facebook or email us at WindowsChallenge@microsoft.com. More information including the Official Rules can be found here.
Hearing directly from our experts is the best way to get a really good understanding of Visual Studio 2010 and associated tools such as Team Foundation Server.
The Visual Studio team are running a number of in-person events on Application Lifecycle Management capabilities of Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010.