August, 2011

  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

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

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    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

    MSDNAA

    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

    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 http://www.dreamspark.com

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    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
    Kodu
    Small Basic

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

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    August Update from Microsoft Research & Faculty Connection

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    Understanding the Immune Response to HIV

    HIV infection may not be the death sentence it once was, but it remains an undeniably serious condition that requires aggressive, life-long treatment and entails the ever-present threat of severe immunological impairment. Consequently, medical researchers continue to investigate the mechanisms by which HIV infection evades detection by the body’s normal immune responses. In the August 3, 2011, issue of Nature, investigators from the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard; Imperial College London; the National Cancer Institute; and Microsoft Research have shed light on the interactions of HIV and the immune system’s natural killer (NK) cells. The paper is the first to show that NK cells play a direct role in fighting HIV. This knowledge opens a new path of research into ways to beat the virus.

    MSRearch

    Graduate Women's Scholarship Program

    The Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship is a one-year scholarship program for outstanding women graduate students and is designed to help increase the number of women pursuing a PhD. This program supports women in the second year of their graduate studies. Women who are interested in this scholarship must apply during their first year of graduate studies. Scholarships are granted by Microsoft Research at the discretion of Microsoft. Microsoft began accepting applications on Tuesday, August 16, 2011. To be considered, all applications must be submitted by Thursday, October 6, 2011, 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time.

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    Kinect for Windows SDK Beta Refresh Available

    Interest in the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) beta, released on June 16, 2011, has been strong, and we’re delighted to learn that so many developers and innovators who are experimenting with natural user interface (NUI) applications have taken advantage of the SDK to explore the potential of the Kinect sensor. In support of our commitment to encourage researchers and enthusiasts in their exploration of the exciting possibilities of the Kinect sensor, we have now released a refreshed version of the SDK. The community has provided us with a lot of good feedback, and this release addresses some of the top items you’ve told us about.

    MSRearch

    Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship Program for 2012

    The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship Program for 2012 started accepting applications on Tuesday, August 16, 2011. This program recognizes the best and the brightest Ph.D. students in the United States and Canada. Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time PhD program in an accredited university in the United States or Canada, with a research focus in computer science, mathematics, or electrical engineering. All applications must be submitted through the office of the department chair. To be considered, all applications must be submitted by Thursday, October 6, 2011, 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time.

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    Cloud Infrastructure Soars in Europe

    It was barely a year ago that European scientific and industry leaders came together to develop, test, and deploy a high-quality, interoperable cloud platform for industry and research. The result was VENUS-C (Virtual multidisciplinary EnviroNments USing Cloud infrastructures). Jointly sponsored by the European Commission and a consortium of 14 partners, among them Microsoft Research, VENUS-C was conceived to meet the needs of seven different research and commercial areas: bioinformatics, systems biology, drug discovery, civil engineering, civil protection, civil emergencies, and marine biodiversity. VENUS-C has since developed into a functional, operational platform, and is now being used for 15 new pilot projects, which received seed funds after an open call that elicited 60 proposals from throughout Europe.

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    Faculty Summit 2011

    As you may already know, Microsoft Research Connections hosted our twelfth Faculty Summit in July, providing a forum for lively debate of the development, application, and funding of technologies in the environmental, medical, and educational spheres over a long period of time. Presentations and streaming video of keynotes, talks, panels, workshops, and demonstrations are now available on-demand—find links to them on the agenda page.

    Upcoming Events

    September 8–9 Microsoft Biology Foundation Workshop 2011, Phoenix, AZ

    September 27  Microsoft Research 20-Year Anniversary, Redmond, WA, United States

    October 20—21 Microsoft Biology Foundation Workshop 2011, San Diego, CA

    October 23—25 eScience Workshop: Transforming Scholarly Communication, Cambridge, MA

    November 9–12 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Portland, OR, United States

    December 4–8 2011 eScience in Action Workshop, Stockholm, Sweden

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect SDK Beta Refresh is now available

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    Kinect

    Kinect for Windows SDK Beta Refresh

    Today we released Beta refresh of Kinect SDK Beta the update contains the following features

    · Updated RSS feed with release announcement is now live: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/kinectsdk/kdkrss.xml

    · Blog post: http://bit.ly/KinectSDKBeta1RefreshBlogPost

    · Details of fixes:  http://bit.ly/KinectSDKBeta1RefreshDetails

    · Web content updated:  http://research.microsoft.com/KinectSDK

    The updated doc links are also all live at http://bit.ly/KinectSDKDocs

    Updated FAQ - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/kinectsdk/faq.aspx

    Update Promo on home page, now says “Explore the project gallery” and links to http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/kinect/

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Do your kids have access to the right software

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    DreamsparkIT_Academy

    Today the news in filled with impact of the global funding crisis, the US debit Crisis and issues more closer to home with the Euro in Greece, Ireland and Spain. With the global impact of the economy the workforce and opportunities for students is changing.

    In todays economy more than 50% of today’s jobs require some technology skills, workforce experts predict this will increase to 77% in the next decade. Today’s reality: jobs in every industry, and at every level, require basic proficiency with computers and other digital technologies. The question I have as a parent and a advisor is are the skills and tools being taught in school necessary and appropriate?

    I have blogged before about Microsoft DreamSpark and Microsoft IT Academy programs, these programs help students increase their technical skills to better compete in the global economy. However one thing which I haven't stressed is that Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all school students worldwide. For a number of years, Microsoft has offered university students worldwide access to the latest professional-level developer and designer tools for FREE. There has been millions downloads already and the package has been a valuable tool for college and University students.

    However the goal of DreamSpark is to empower students to pursue their academic and professional goals, so they are 100% ready to take their place as the next generation of business leaders. This program eases some pressure from the individual student their parents, teachers and administrators who are balancing the need for students to gain tech skills with diminishing resources.

    School administrators will need to register their schools to help verify their school as an accredited institution so their students can get access to all the software for FREE. The first step to get verified is to have a Microsoft LiveID and then simply sign in and verify at the DreamSpark website https://www.dreamspark.com for more information on the program see https://www.dreamspark.com/FAQ/Default.aspx?i=gen# for how to sign up and resources:

    We all know that todays students hold the key to long-term economic stability. Microsoft DreamSpark and access software means students will learn the skills required of a demanding workplace, which triggers greater creativity, opportunity and greater success.

    So please use these resources so that students can learn and succeed through technology.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    How do you make your notes - OneNote Mobile

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    OneNote Mobile is now available on the iPhone.

    It’s official – the OneNote iPhone app is here, so you can say goodbye to scribbled notes and crumpled papers. Whether you use an iPhone, Windows Phone 7, or Office Web Apps, OneNote is the perfect way to capture ideas and stay on top of your notes, no matter where the inspiration may strike.
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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect SDK BETA refresh interview with Rob Relyea

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    The Microsoft Windows SDK Beta 1 Refresh has now been live for over 24 hours.

    Microsoft Channel 9 had a chance to talk to Rob Relyea, Principal Program Manager Lead on the Kinect for Windows SDK.

    Watch the video below to understand the changes in the Beta 1 Refresh.

    If you're on Twitter, make sure to follow the KinectSDKTeam to ensure your update with the latest information on the Windows SDK.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Your chance to win a Windows Phone

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    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: http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2011/07/29/mango-device-love-for-wpappitup-prototypes.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

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

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    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:
    http://bit.ly/Mango-Jump

    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

    Dare to be Digital Winners announced

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    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

    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

    Microsoft’s Cloud– Dublin Datacentre

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    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.

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