June, 2011 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

June, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8


    Steven Sinofsky, President of the Windows Division at Microsoft presented at  the ‘All Things Digital;’ Conference #D9 yesterday. Steven announced  a few details about what we can expect from the next version of the Windows operating system.

    Windows 8 will feature a new UI similar to the tile-based interface of Windows Phone 7 and this will all be touch enabled (see the video below).

    Windows 8 will focus on two types of apps:

    · Classic Windows desktop apps- they will run and look similar to Win 7 today. They will open from the Start screen into familiar Win 7.

    · HTML5/Javascript apps – they will look more like mobile apps and will run in a different experience than classic Windows apps. This includes IE10. This new style of app will be able to access everything new in Windows 8.

    The concept of HTML 5 application is these be like mobile apps and will run in a different experience than classic Windows applications additionally HTML 5 applications will have access to a number of new features in Windows 8 and both type native windows and HTML 5 applications can run side by side.

    Apps using “new Windows” programming are built in HTML and Javascript. Windows 8 will run both those apps and ones written in traditional Windows code. Now, it’s wait and see to the Professional Developer Conference. Also, if you’re interested in building applications for Windows 8, you should keep September 13-16 free and book a flight to California for this: http://www.buildwindows.com/.

    Windows 8 start screen will appear with a a lock screen similar to Windows Phone 7 and be displayed with s a clock, upcoming calendar item and notification and customisation of this screen will be possible.

    Windows 8 UI

    Windows 8 will not require any specific enhancement to hardware in terms of memory, disk space, CPU than Windows 7 and exciting for the UK Academic space is Windows 8 will run on Intel, AMD and ARM based chips.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Academic Search


    The Academic Search beta is a free search engine, developed by Microsoft Research, that helps users quickly find information about academic researchers and their activities. It is also a test-bed for our object-level vertical search research.

    With Academic Search, you can easily find top researchers and their papers, conferences, and journals. You can also find relationships between researchers who co-authored papers. Academic Search will be changing its name with the upcoming release of new and improved features. In the meantime, try Academic Search and explore more than 15 million publications.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UK Office Trainers join round table discussion with Microsoft Learning



    On Monday 13th June 2011, I attended a number of meetings at the University of York, UK, the University had a specific event entitle Office 2010 and Beyond! after the event the University of York IT Academy team hosted a round table event with 17 Microsoft Certified Trainers ‘MCTs’ who specialise in training Microsoft Office technologies. 


    The trainers, many of whom had travelled from all over the UK, joined Andrew Bettany, from the University of York IT Academy and member of the Microsoft Learning Advisory Council, and Wendy Johnson, Senior Product Manager, Office Certification at Microsoft Learning (Redmond, WA) and myself from Microsoft UK.

    The discussion was organised to follow an IT Industry event at the University’s new Ron Cooke Hub building. During the afternoon we showcased what is new and "cool" in the Office/SharePoint arena - each presenter had just 30 minutes each to impress the audience of nearly 100 attendees. 



    Following the public event, 17 MCTs held an informal roundtable discussion with Wendy which provoked lively discussion and provided a range of suggestions and feedback regarding Microsoft Office Specialist certification, training and the value of being an "IW" (information worker) MCT. 

    Andrew Bettany, who organised the event, said "It has been a fantastic day.  Particularly great to see so many MCTs attend the event, readily engaging with each other, sharing ideas, best practice and exploring ways to develop and improve the program and community.  There was a real eagerness to repeat this type of event again."

    The discussions were extremely interesting.  It was clear that the academic sector has seen large growth, year on year, for "MOS" (Microsoft Office Specialist) certification. Collectively the group estimated that the audience had taught 250,000+ learners during their careers.  There were some fascinating insights from MCTs on how they value the status of being an MCT whilst at the same time most preferred to describe themselves as "Certified Office Experts”.

    The Microsoft IT Academy Programme offers educational establishments extensive benefits and the opportunity to deliver Microsoft’s popular I.T. Training and Qualifications to their Students, Staff and wider community.

    Click here to find out which Microsoft qualifications you could deliver.

    Members benefits include:

    • FREE Microsoft eLearning (over 250 courses)
    • FREE Microsoft Software Licenses
    • Massive discounts on Microsoft Certifications and Courseware
    • FREE MSDNAA & TechNet Plus Subscription
    • FREE Microsoft Certified Trainer Membership
    • And much, much more.....
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio Getting Started, Hobbyist? Academic? Researcher?



    The Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3 (Microsoft RDS) is a Windows based environment for academic, hobbyist, and commercial developers to easily create robotics applications across a wide variety of hardware. All previous editions of Microsoft RDS 2008 R2 (Express, Standard and Academic) have been combined into one new version, RDS 2008 R3 and can be downloaded at no charge from MSDNAA or DreamSpark.

    The Microsoft CCR and DSS Toolkit 2008 R2 is no longer available as a standalone product and is now included for no charge with RDS 2008 R3. RDS 2008 R3 includes a lightweight asynchronous services-oriented runtime, a set of visual authoring and simulation tools, as well as templates, tutorials, and sample code to help you get started.

    The key problem with both games and robots has been the cost and complexity of producing the necessary building blocks that faculty can use to create computer science assignments. By partnering with faculty who are domain experts in robotics and teaching, Microsoft External Research has collaborated with many institutions and researchers to advance state-of-the-art curricula, coupling existing practices with compelling, practical, and affordable robotics technology.


    Research Tools and Services

    Hardware Support

    Academic Publications

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    The Power of HTML5



    Disney's New Tron: Legacy Site Comes to Life Using IE9 with HTML5

    After my recent visits to numerous Universities across the UK, I am aware a number of you have been teaching HTML5 for a number of years as part of your curricula. Therefore I thought you may be interested in the following examples of HTML5.

    Check out what Disney Publishing was able to produce using Internet Explorer 9 hardware acceleration and HTML5.

    The website takes Tron fans through an original, interactive adventure, raising the bar for what an interactive, graphic novel can be. IE9 features such as hardware-accelerated HTML5 canvas, audio tags, and fast JavaScript engine were critical in bringing the site they imagined to life.

    There are also numerous other show case sites from BMW, SKY, Wired, Top Gear and many more… the sites are specifically designed and developed for IE9 and HTML5 visit the beauty of the web showcase site to see the power of IE9 and HTML5.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Special Live Event on Channel 9 16/06/2011


    UK Academic community, This evening Microsoft is announcing something very special. which I know a lot of you will like.

    Check out the live stream from MSDN Channel9 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    What is Microsoft Azure



    To help explain Microsoft Azure offering please view the following short overview video below


    Appfabric thumb

    SQL Azure thumb

    For more information on Microsoft Cloud services see http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/cloud/developer/default.aspx?WT.srch=1 

    Check out the following blogs

    Simon May is an IT Professional Evangelist in the UK for Microsoft. His focus in on Microsoft Windows and Microsoft cloud technologies - http://blogs.technet.com/b/simonmay/

    Steve Plank, or "Planky" as he is more usually known, works for Microsoft in the UK's Developer and Platforms group. His focus is on Microsoft's cloud technologies such as office 365 but especially Windows Azure - http://blogs.msdn.com/b/plankytronixx/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Faculty Connection–Registration for Faculty only curricula



    To download software from the Faculty Connection site or to access faculty only material in the Faculty Connection Resource Center a faculty member will need to become verified. What this means is the person will need to submit proof they are a faculty member and not a student.

    There are two options to accomplish this:

    • The first option is to submit any of the following information (to a company called e-academy who works with Microsoft to validate the faculty):
      • A link to the school's web site showing their name listed as a faculty member.
      • A copy of their current faculty ID.
      • A letter from the school that shows they are a current faculty member.
    • The second option involves the use of a Personal Invitation Code. This code is generated and is given to a faculty member to use when they follow the verification process.

    If you try to download software or faculty only material you will see a Get Verified Now! button.


    As you follow the process they will get to a screen that allows you to either enter the Personal Invitation Code or click the Manual Verification link. (See screen shot below.)


    So if your a UK academic and interested in faculty only material contact us via the Faculty Connection Linkedin Group and simply ask for a Personal Invitation Code.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows SDK beta UK Academic Event 21st June 2011



    This morning Microsoft UK are holding a special event for the UK Academic community on the Kinect for Windows SDK! Its been an awesome day so far and.. I will be blogging more about todays event and presentations.

    Kinect SDK Beta Launch Content

    Microsoft has produced over 4 hours of Channel9 Live content that includes developer talks, demos from Code Camp. For those of you whom were unable to attend todays event you can watch the Kinect for Windows SDK launch at channel9.msdn.com/events where you can download all the sessions and slides.24 hours prior to the event hosted a Code Camp with 30+ students, pro devs, hackers and enthusiasts who all built projects on top of Kinect.


    Coding4Fun’s Kinect Project Gallery !


    Coding4Fun Toolkit

    A handy developer API for things like converting a byte array to a bitmap for Windows Forms and WPF or getting the distance of a particular pixel in one line of code. 


    Kinect for Windows SDK VB Samples

    All of the SDK samples have now been ported over to Visual Basic Express


    Kinect cursor

    Brian Peek built an awesome Windows cursor that includes click and click/drag support


    Kinect Paint

    A fun, Metro-esque designed paint with your hands app (Drawing the word “cool” with a “caffeinated” apperance) from Evan Lang and Laurent Bugnion.



    Clint’s awesome Kinect-enabled drivable Lounge chair!


    Kinect for Windows SDK Quickstarts

    Six short and sweet demo heavy videos showing how to use the Kinect for Windows SDK

    Installing and using the Kinect Sensor


    Setting up your Development Environment


    Camera Fundamentals


    Working with Depth Data


    Skeletal Tracking Fundamentals


    Audio Fundamentals


    Quickstart Samples Download


    Other Interesting examples and links


    Kinect Beta Launch Live Event



    Kinect Beta Launch On-Demand Sessions


    Blog Post

    Coding4Fun Kinect Project Gallery


    Blog Post

    Kinect Project Post - Welcome Post


    Blog Post

    Kinect Project Post - Kinect SDK Beta Now Available


    Blog Post

    Kinect Project Post - Light Saber project


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus Business breakfast network event



    On Friday June 17th Miles Deegan and myself  of Microsoft presented at the Daresbury SCI Business Breakfast Networking Event.


    daresburyin The Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus Business breakfast network event is an opportunity to connect with the North’s most dynamic hi-tech entrepreneurs, corporates, universities, support organisations and funding and professional communities.

    Once a month, a group of over 100 such individuals, meets in the Daresbury Innovation Centre to start their Friday with an hour or two of high-value networking.

    The presentation was aimed at Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Services within SME and Microsoft BizSpark programme for start-up companies.


    Microsoft BizSpark

    A program that provides Software, Support and Visibility for Software Startups.


    Fast and easy access to current, full-featured tools and platforms you need to design, develop, test and demonstrate your software application. Here’s a sample list of the software you have access to:

    ASP.NET: a technology for building dynamic web applications

    Expression Studio: tools for designing and building web and Windows client applications and rich media content

    SQL Server: all editions of our database server software

    Visual Studio: a comprehensive suite of development tools designed to help software developers create innovative, next-generation applications

    Windows 7, Vista, XP: the latest and legacy Windows operating systems – for design, dev, test and demo only

    Windows Azure Platform: access to our cloud computing platform

    Windows Server: all editions of our server operating system

    For those familiar with Microsoft Products, BizSpark includes access and licenses to most of the software included in a Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN Subscription.


    A connection to over 2,000 BizSpark Network Partners. These are active members of the global ecosystem: university incubators, hosters, government agencies, investors, consultants, influential bloggers and financial institutions who can provide guidance, mentoring and resources.

    Email support, online training and invitations to local technical events for entrepreneurs working with early adopter technologies, like Windows® 7, Microsoft® Silverlight, Windows® Azure and Microsoft® SQL Server 2008.

    Developer support through managed newsgroups, online library, online concierge, newsletters, conferences, blogs

    Two technical support incidents per start-up


    Start-ups have the opportunity to achieve global visibility to an audience of potential investors, clients, and partners by profiling their company and posting offers and events in the BizSpark online networking hub, BizSpark Connect. Startups may also be highlighted as a featured company and be promoted as BizSpark "Startup of the Day” on Microsoft.com/BizSpark and BizSpark’s social media sites.

    To qualify for the programme you must meet the following criteria:

    Developing Software

    Privately held

    Less than 3 years old

    Making Less than US $1 million in annual revenue

    There is no fee to enroll in Microsoft BizSpark

    If you want to enrol on the programme you can do this most simply through Daresbury SIC who is a network partner.

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