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

August, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Your chance to win a Windows Phone



    Windows Phone Mango Completion

    There are 30 more Mango developer phones up for grabs for great student prototypes. Here’s what to do if you want one (and be honest, you want one):

    1. Make sure you’re registered for DreamSpark

    2. Download and install Expression Studio Ultimate and the new Mango Windows Phone Developer Tools (available free as a member of DreamSpark)

    3. Get the free Sketchflow Template for Windows Phone and create a Sketchflow mock-up of your app

    4. Post the Sketchflow mock-up somewhere online and tweet out the link using the hash tag #WPAppItUp

    5. We will review all prototypes and will contact the developers who submit the best ones and send them a special Mango developer device

    More details at the blog:

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Building Applications for Windows Phone Mango Jump Start Online Training Course 23 – 24th August 2011



    That's right, Microsoft MVPs Rob Miles from the University of Hull and Andy Wigley are back! Microsoft Learning hosted a Windows Phone 7 Jump Start (plus an update course) last year and it was a huge success.

    What’s a “Jump Start” Course?

    Training specifically designed for experienced developers and technologists whose jobs demand they know how to best leverage new, emerging Microsoft technologies. These advanced courses assume a certain level of expertise and domain knowledge, so they move quickly and cover topics in a fashion that enables teams to effectively map new skills to real-world situations

    This two-day live virtual class, Building Applications for Windows Phone Mango Jump Start, is specially tailored for developers looking to build cool applications and games for the new Windows Phone Mango Platform so if your thinking of having Windows Phone development in your curricula this is a course you need to be sure to attend.

    Dates: August 23-24, 2011
    Time: 8:00am – 4:00pm PST
    Duration: 8 hours/day, including hour lunch break
    Registration Link:

    Mango is an important leap forward in Microsoft’s overall mobile strategy and the developer community has taken notice. Now is the time to embrace the “tile-and-app” UI and reap the rewards Mango provides your development team and user community.

    Here's an overview of what Rob and Andy will cover:

    Day OneAugust 23, 2011 |  4pm – 1 am BST | Live online training

    • Building Windows Phone Apps with Visual Studio 2010
    • Silverlight on Windows Phone – Introduction
    • Silverlight on Windows Phone – Advanced
    • Using Expression to Build Windows Phone Interfaces
    • Windows Phone Fast Application Switching
    • Windows Phone Multi-tasking & Background Tasks
    • Using Windows Phone Resources (Bing Maps, Camera, etc.)

    Day Two August 24, 2011 | 4pm – 1 am BST | Live online training

    • Application Data Storage on Windows Phone
    • Using Networks with Windows Phone
    • Windows Azure and Windows Phone
    • Notifications on Windows Phone
    • XNA for Windows Phone
    • Selling a Windows Phone Application


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Python Tools for Visual Studio



    An integrated environment for developing Python in Visual Studio 2010

    - Support for CPython & IronPython (and Pypy and Jython)

    - World-class intellisense, Browsing, Find All refs, Refactor, …

    - Integrated REPL, including support for MSR’s Sho and the IPython REPL

    - Advanced local & remote Debugging, including Attach scenarios

    - Profiling with A/B comparison

    - Support for HPC clusters, MPI programming model & cluster Debugging

    - Interactive parallel computing via IPython

    - And it’s Free & Open Source!


    Resources for Python Tools for VS2010

    Python Tools for  Visual Studio 2010 - Core editing experience with Python Tools for Visual Studio

    Python Tools for Visual Studio 2010 - Profiling with Python Tools for Visual Studio

    Download -

    To install, please see:  Installing Python Tools Visual Studio

    Who’s using Python


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Update on Dare to be Digital Windows Phone teams


    Dare to be Digital is a video games development competition for extremely talented students at Universities and Colleges of Art. Teams of 5 students assemble at Abertay University for 9 weeks during June to August to develop a prototype video game.

    Not only do the winners receive funding for the game, they also get to attend the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted “Ones to Watch Award”.

    You may remember that last year one of the nominees for the One to Watch BAFTA Award was Windows Phone 7 game Mush – which came about from the Dare to be Digital competition.

    Follow the progress of two the Windows Phone entries, check them out below Team Tea and Techno and Team Rebel Donut we wish them both the best of luck!

    Find out more from the team developing this game on their YouTube channel and Facebook Page.

    Find out more from the team developing this game on their YouTube channel and Facebook Page.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Dare to be Digital Winners announced


    Dare winning teams 2011

    The next generation of computer games stars was unveiled in Dundee last night Sunday 14 August as the three winning teams from Dare to be Digital were announced. Applications from over 70 universities worldwide were whittled down to just 15 teams to compete in Dare to be Digital 2011. Hosted and run by the University of Abertay Dundee, Dare to be Digital brings in games industry professionals to hand-pick and mentor the teams. Many competitors go on to receive job offers from these world-leading companies.

    Were please to announce that Digital Knights, Evolved Ape and Swallowtail will now compete for the exclusive BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award – which only the Dare to be Digital winners are eligible to compete for. The BAFTA winner will be unveiled in a glittering ceremony in London early in 2012.

    The final of Dare the ProtoPlay festival saw record-breaking numbers of visitors with over 9,000 people playing and enjoying games, three times the number who visited the festival in Edinburgh last year.

    Digital Knights team leader Roman Graebsch said: “We never, ever thought we’d be here. The team got together for the fun of it, so it’s just amazing to be nominated for a BAFTA. It’s just such a great feeling to see people enjoying what you’ve created.”

    Digital Knights - Dare 2011 winners
    Digital Knights

    Digital Knights are Agne Gediminskaite, Roman Graebsch, Josep B Martinez and Petr Papez from the IT University of Copenhagen and Amr Din from Abertay University. Their game Joust! is a fun Kinect title where you jump up and down, and use your arm as a lance to joust.

    Evolved Ape team leader Malath Abbas said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic and really proud of the final product and the whole team. All the hard, hard work has paid off, and personally it’s made me realise I have the ability as an artist and as a leader to deliver.”

    Evolved Ape - Dare 2011 winners
    Evolved Ape

    Evolved Ape are Stuart Brown, Joe Hurst, Daniel Scholes and Mat Stevenson from the University of Central Lancashire and Malath Abbas from Liverpool Screen School. Their game Dreamweaver for the PC is a puzzle-platformer which quickly develops into a nightmare – where your friendly animal companion starts to attack you…


    Swallowtail team leader Sophia George said: “We’re so happy to win – the team worked incredibly hard. I came into industry because I wanted to see more women working in games – and in turn creating more games for women. It is such an incredible privilege to win.”

    Swallowtail - Dare 2011 winners

    Swallowtail are Rosie Ball, Kristian Francis and Sophia George from the Norwich University College of the Arts and Mark Bamford and Callum Goold from Abertay University. Their iPad game Tick Tock Toys needs you to clear a toy box to help your clockwork robot reach its goal.

    Judges Comments

    Noirin Carmody, awards judge and Commercial Director at Revolution Software, said: “I am very encouraged by the number of young women involved in the making of games, which undoubtedly will help to create games that appeal to a wider audience.”

    Kieran Connell, awards judge and Development Lead at Microsoft Studios, said: “I’ve been incredibly impressed with the technical achievements of all the teams this year, but particularly those that have managed to get to grips with Kinect – creating natural and enjoyable game mechanics with such a new piece of hardware in such a short space of time is phenomenal.”

    Richard Leinfellner, awards judge and Chief Executive of Babel Media, said: “Once again the quality of entries was very high – and this year the diversity of devices used by the teams was striking. Dare to be Digital is really starting to reflect the wide range of audiences that today’s developers can reach through games.”

    Dr Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Dare to be Digital is a life-changing opportunity for aspiring young computer game developers. “The standard of games gets better and better every year, and it’s been a real joy to see thousands of people enjoy playing the games in Dundee this weekend. It is a real vote of confidence in the Dundee industry and in the game developers of the future.” He added: “To have to build a brand new game in just nine weeks is a massive challenge, and every single competitor deserves to be immensely proud of what they have achieved. They arrived at Abertay University nine short weeks ago as promising students – they leave us as very promising young professionals. We will watch their careers with great interest.”

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Introduction and Welcome to Building Windows 8


    Building Windows 8

    The team working on Windows 8, the next operating system for Windows desktops, laptops and slates, have launched a new blog dedicated to the Building of Windows 8 which is an inside look from the Windows engineering team.

    In the first post, Steven Sinofsky, Windows President, states:

    “Windows 8 reimagines Windows for a new generation of computing devices, and will be the very best operating system for hundreds of millions of PCs, new and old, used by well over a billion people globally.

    “Today we want to begin an open dialog with those of you who will be trying out the pre-release version over the coming months. We intend to post regularly throughout the development of Windows 8, and to focus on the engineering of the product. Welcome to “Building Windows 8,” or as we call it, “B8.””

    The new blog is a must read for anyone interested in the development of an OS

    Add ‘Building Windows8′ to your RSS reader now

    Check out the full blog at

    Follow in Twitter!/BuildWindows8


    And don’t forget to watch the video stream from the Build event Sept 13th – 16th 2011 you will be able to watch keynotes live and the sessions the following day.

    Microsoft will be announcing the developer strategy for Windows 8 at the BUILD Windows conference. BUILD is a new event that shows modern hardware and software developers how to take advantage of the future of Windows. Learn how to work with the all new touch-centric user experience to create fast, fluid, and dynamic applications that leverage the power and flexibility of the core of Windows, used by more than a billion people around the world.  

    BUILD will be the first place to take a dive deep into the future of Windows.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Dynamics® Academic Alliance



    What is the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance?

    The Microsoft Dynamics® Academic Alliance is a program for member universities and colleges who wish to enhance the learning experience by integrating Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software in the curriculum.

    Why is the Alliance important?

    Education is often more meaningful when it is made practical. Hands-on learning with software enables students to apply business concepts and processes to real-world scenarios using business tools they are likely to encounter during their career. Students at member colleges and universities have a competitive advantage in the job market after college because they are not only well-educated and highly motivated, but already experienced in using business tools. They also may have taken advantage of opportunities to network with peers and meet business people and Microsoft partners through their affiliation with the alliance. As a result, they receive special insight into internship, career, or business opportunities
    after graduation.

    How does the alliance work?

    Member institutions receive free software, support, and resources from Microsoft. Peer educators within the alliance share ideas for curricula. Events provide opportunities for deepening knowledge and relationships. Microsoft Dynamics partners may participate as guest speakers in the classroom or as expert advisors in a laboratory or seminar setting.

    Why should my Institution become a Alliance member?

    Member universities demonstrate leadership, relevance, and innovation by incorporating Microsoft Dynamics into their curricula, and they can benefit from the loyalty of graduates who were well-prepared for internship, career, and business opportunities. Participating partners have an edge in recruiting highly qualified graduates and mentoring them to become loyal, productive employees who make critical contributions in serving customers and driving business growth.

    Give context to concepts with Microsoft Dynamics software

    Stand apart as leaders and innovators in business and technology education, and attract talented faculty and students as well as business connections. Membership in the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance distinguishes forward-thinking schools and faculty, which are able to put students in a stronger position to find rewarding employment. Augment students’ understanding of the business world with relevant, realistic, hands-on learning experiences that enhance the effectiveness of your technology and business courses. The alliance provides free Microsoft Dynamics software, encourages connections with local Microsoft Dynamics partners, facilitates the exchange of ideas and experience among peers and Microsoft business technologists, and offers online resources with insight into business and technology trends.

    Valuable, Relevant education

    • Practical insight into business processes, challenges, and solutions through the use of software used in thousands of midsize businesses around the world.
    • Holistic business and process modelling, incorporating cross-functional business activities.
    • Professional growth through exposure to and incorporation of some of the latest ideas and practices from Microsoft and its technology partners.

    Business enablement and insight

    • Broad exposure to business issues and technology solutions for your students.
    • Downloadable, effective materials shared by alliance members.
    • Realistic, context-rich business modelling using data sets provided by Microsoft.
    • Innovative education leadership with contemporary, progressive technology and business curricula.
    • Close connections to the real business world.

    Connected community

    • Synergies among business, technical, and environmental benefits.
    • Idea exchange among peers at special alliance events and with the alliance member network.
    • Vast ecosystem of Microsoft Dynamics partners and technology experts for advice, speaking, and mentoring.

    Resources for Alliance member institutions and faculty

    • Certificate of completion for students passing Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance courses
    • Members-only email signature
    • Web buttons for your institution website to lead to your program information page
    • Best practices guide
    • Copy usage guidelines with ready-to-print descriptions of your alliance membership
    • Datasheets communicating the value of the alliance to your institution
    • Networking, educational, and advisory opportunities
    • Curriculum aids from Microsoft and education peers
    • Newsletter with the latest information about the program and more

    Useful Resources

    For more see

    Read success stories

    Faculty Connection Resources for Dynamics

    Linkedin Group


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    F# through Game Development and XNA

    Thinking of changing how you teach programming then look no further..


    A great way of introducing students to programming is by doing task which they will enjoy how about game development? Learning to program games for ages is exciting and also interesting, so if your thinking of changing the way you teach your Under Graduates programming or looking for a nice language to introduce students to the Visual Studio IDE what could be better than an interesting way to learn programming than this combination?

    Giuseppe Maggiore has just written to me about his new F# e-book, FRIENDLY F# through Game Development and XNA, where you learn F# through game development with XNA.

    I have just finished coauthoring the first version of a digital-only book about F# applied to gaming and simulations, which has been my topic of research and (very extensive) teaching during the last half decade; in fact, the book gathers the various samples I have used for teaching functional programming to my students.

    The main subject of the book is the F# language and its various constructs, but every single chapter is focused on game-related problem. Each one of the first 5 chapters describes a problem, shows and discusses its solution and then discusses in depth the F# constructs used.

    The 5 problems included in the book are:

    • a bouncing ball
    • the Saturn V rocket
    • an asteroid field
    • a large asteroid field optimized with quad trees
    • a police starship that must fight off a pirate ship attacking a cargo freighter

    In the last two chapters we use XNA to build a 2D and 3D renderer for two of the samples we have seen. The book shows the basics of the SpriteBatch class, the Model class, input management and audio with this powerful framework.

    So from a teaching perspective the book  covers the most important aspects of XNA in a simple and succinct way.

    The samples are all stored at:

    So if your thinking of adapting your curricula F# and game development may be ideal.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft’s Cloud– Dublin Datacentre


    Microsoft Datacentre team has made the following video tour of our Datacentres available for all to see.

    In a few weeks time I will be visiting the Dublin Datacentre with representatives from JaNET and number of UK Institutions.  The visit will include a tour of the Datacentre which is one of the worlds largest and modern at 330,000 ft2

    So that's..

    0.56 x the area of the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza
    5.1 x the area of a FIFA sanctioned football pitch

    All under one roof and hosting the services which support UK academic institutions including Bing, Live@Edu , Office365, Sharepoint Hosted , SkyDrive, Windows Live, Exchange Hosted , Windows Azure and SQL Azure.

    So if your interested in Microsoft Datacentre strategy and the understanding the scale of the operation please watch the following video and visit the MS Datacentres Blog for further details.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Its that time of year when IT Departments are rolling out software updates, how are you fixed for software?


    So its that time of the year when IT Departments around UK institutions are rolling out software across the various PC clusters and teaching labs the question I have is,  do you have the most appropriate software available?

    Many UK Institutions have MSDN Academic Alliance


    So if you do have MSDNAA make sure your using the subscription effectively.  MSDNAA is great facility for providing software to all your labs and clusters. MSDNAA offers your department, school or faculty with Microsoft professional level software and also an amazing value add for your students as MSDNAA allows them to install operating systems such as Windows 7 and development tools Visual Studio Ultimate onto their personal PC’s.

    For all students and specifically Primary and Secondary school we have Microsoft DreamSpark so please make sure you sign up your school for DreamSpark.


    DreamSpark offers so much software and for FREE to all students undertaking studies.

    The image below only shows some of what is available for full details see



    We have also updated Microsoft Faculty Connection resources with lots of FREE curriculum resources.

    For example
    XNA for game development
    Expression Studio for web design courses
    Small Basic

    Microsoft offers lots of FREE resources so please do take advantage.

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