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

October, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Build Scalable Mobile Applications for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.


    Did you know that you can build your next mobile app on Windows Azure?

    The process of building mobile apps is now easier than ever with the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices. With support for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, these toolkits let you easily build apps that use Windows Azure cloud services.


    Cloud services and phone applications are a powerful combination. You can now use the Windows Azure platform as a backend for your next phone application. Windows Azure provides you scalability so you can focus on your application as opposed to the infrastructure.

    The process of building mobile applications using Windows Azure is now easier than ever with the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices. With support for Windows Phone, iOS, and Android, the Windows Azure Toolkit for Devices lets you easily build mobile applications that use Windows Azure cloud services.

    Get started now:

    Step 1: Download the Toolkit

    iOS Toolkit Download the iOS Toolkit

    Android Toolkit Download the Android Toolkit

    WP Toolkit Download the WP Toolkit

    Step 2: Download the SDK

    (Skip this step if you have the SDK)

    Step 3: Get the Windows Azure Free Trial

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Enterprise class Apache Hadoop based distributions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure



    Today Microsoft Announced great plans about Hadoop adoption to deliver enterprise class Apache Hadoop based distributions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure.

    See the official Announcements at:-

    Microsoft will provide simplified download, installation and configuration experience of several Hadoop related technologies i.e.

    The Hadoop based service for Windows Azure will allow any developer or user to submit and run standard Hadoop jobs directly on the Azure cloud with a simple user experience. Therefore you should be able to take any standard Hadoop job and deploy it on our platform, without considering what platform you have developing your Hadoop jobs.

    What is for developers:

    • Enable integration with Microsoft developer tools
    • Investment in making Javascript a first class language for Big Data.
    • Making it possible by writing high performance Map/Reduce jobs using Javascript.
    • This announcement will really benefit the broader Open Source community by enabling them to take their existing skill sets and assets use them on Windows Azure and Windows Server,
    • It is also another example of Microsoft's on-going commitment to providing Interoperability, compatibility and flexibility.

    What is for end users:

    • Hadoop-based applications targeting the Windows Server and Windows Azure platforms
    • The applications will easily work with Microsoft’s existing BI tools like PowerPivot and Power View
    • Providing an ODBC Driver and an Add-in for Excel, each of which will interoperate with Apache Hive, to enable self-service analysis on business information

    Released today: New connectors to enable customers, work effectively with both structured and unstructured data.

    • SQL Server connector for Apache Hadoop lets customers move large volumes of data between Hadoop and SQL Server 2008 R2
    • SQL Server PDW connector for Apache Hadoop moves data between Hadoop and SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW).
    • To enable this we will be delivering an ODBC Driver and an Add-in for Excel, each of which will interoperate with Apache Hive. 


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Touch Mouse: From an idea to award-winning paper to amazing product



    Touch Mouse

    For the past few weeks I have been getting to grips with my new Touch Mouse. Microsoft first unveiled the Touch Mouse, a new multi-touch device designed exclusively for Windows 7 that enables users to click, flick, scroll, and swipe at 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.

    The Touch mouse makes it easier and more fun to interact with a PC. Touch Mouse combines the virtues of a traditional mouse with the rich natural language of gesture. The new mouse has already received an accolade, winning ‘Best Peripheral’ at CES from Endgadget,

    So what's special about this mouse - two fingers snap windows into place, three fingers quickly switch tasks, and your thumb can move forwards and backwards through websites, photos and documents.’

    Like many of Microsoft products the Touch Mouse began in 2009 as part of a research project called ‘Mouse 2.0’ conducted by Microsoft Research and Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group. The results of that research were presented in 2009 during the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, garnering a best-paper award.

    Nic Villar

    Lead paper author from MSRC, Nic Villar, is particularly excited about the product release “When I finished my PhD at Lancaster University three years ago and came to work for Microsoft, I didn’t imagine that my research would contribute to a new product for the company so quickly or in such a tangible way. What’s particularly pleasing about this project is the close collaboration between MSR Cambridge and our colleagues in Redmond, which was critical to the successful transition from research to product. Following the initial research insights described in the award-winning ‘Mouse 2.0’ paper, the MSRC Innovation and Development team worked closely with the Hardware product team in Redmond to turn the research prototype into the commercial product that’s being released this year.”

    A huge advantage Microsoft has is nearly every product which Microsoft ships includes some form of technologies from Microsoft Research. So what does this advantage mean, through exploration and cross company collaboration we can advance the state of art computer science.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    New Curriculum Resources for Windows Phone Development


    The Faculty Connection Resource Center is a multi-language collection including course outlines, textbooks, tests, labs, source code, and other materials developed by Microsoft or contributed by faculty worldwide. Highlighted below are some of the newest resources added this past month:

    Building Applications for Windows Phone 7.5
    Mango Jump StartThis introductory content covers how to create Windows Phone "Mango" solutions, edit program source files, add and manage program resources, and then build and run the solution. Once you are done with the basics, continue on with additional Jump Start sessions that examine Silverlight, building interfaces with Expression, app data storage, using Bing Maps, developing with XNA, and even selling apps. This material is designed for 1st and 2nd year university students.

    Windows Phone 7.5 Tutorials
    The newly released tutorials on .toolbox illustrate how Silverlight and Expression Blend can help you build stellar apps on Windows Phone using the new "Mango" features and capabilities. The .toolbox site is a fun online learning environment, where you will learn basic design concepts and how to apply them, as well as the fundamentals of creating Silverlight applications using the Expression Studio tools.

    Game Development with XNA: Semester 1
    Game Development with XNA: Semester 1 is an exciting CS course in game and simulation development using C# and the XNA framework. Video tutorials and extensive labs enable students to apply foundational programming skills to learn advanced skills. This material is designed for high school or introductory classes.

    What's New in Windows Phone 7.5
    The latest release of Windows Phone has hundreds of improvements and new features. Explore these features plus learn how to get Windows Phone 7.5 on your current phone. If you are teaching your students about mobile applications, consider trying Windows Phone 7 curriculum resources.

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone
    The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone is designed to make it easier to build mobile applications that leverage cloud services. The toolkit includes Visual Studio project templates for Windows Phone and Windows Azure, class libraries optimized for use on the phone, sample applications, and documentation.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone Interoperability



    Got a porting question?

    Interested in Windows Phone but your currently a iPhone, Android or QT developer want to know more about porting your Android, iPhone or Qt apps over to the Windows Phone platform?

    Check out the  great resources, free easy-to-use tools to help you through the process, and even experts monitoring forums to answer porting questions. see http://windowsphone.interoperabilitybridges.com/ 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone codenamed "Mango" Training Course



    Version: 1.1

    Mango offers a lot of new capabilities for developers to create even better, more immersive user experiences on Windows Phone. This course will give you hands-on experience with important developer features in Mango.

    After completing this course, you will be able to:

    · Get more out of the hardware with new APIs for compass, gyro, camera and a virtual motion sensor
    · Take advantage of the new multi-tasking capabilities such as fast app switching, background agents, alerts and reminders
    · Improve integration with the phone by using live tiles, Bing search extras, Bing maps, and the new calendar and contacts APIs

    Happy Windows Phone coding!

    Download Offline Training Kit

    Target Audience

    This training course is designed for developers who are familiar with Windows Phone development. The course focuses on new features in the Mango release. If you are new to Windows Phone, consider our introductory Windows Phone 7 training course to get a familiar with Windows Phone development.

    How-To Index for Windows Phone

    A How-to topic has also been produced this has been developer to allow you to complete a task by presenting a series of procedures, a code example, or both.

    How-to topics are a good place for you to start if you are trying to perform a specific task. For a full list of How-To see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg278408(v=VS.92).aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program


    Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship2012 Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship Program
    Microsoft Research is inviting nominations for its Faculty Fellowship program. The objective is to stimulate and support the research of promising individuals who have the potential to make a profound impact on the state-of-the-art in their research disciplines and to become future thought leaders.

    Don't delay: The nominations and application deadline is October 31, 2011.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Iterative MapReduce on Windows Azure



    Project Daytona: Iterative MapReduce on Windows Azure

    This new platform expands the toolset for scientists in need of large-scale data computation capabilities, making it easier for scientists to use the cloud and access their data. Learn more:

    · Microsoft Research Debuts ‘Daytona’ Azure Analytics Tools

    · Microsoft Research Releases Details About "Daytona" at Faculty Summit

    · Free Tool Kit to Assist Big-Data Scientists

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Partners in Learning Forum 24/11/2011


    · clip_image001

    The 8th Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’

    This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011.


    We have a rich agenda that includes as Keynote speakers, the world renowned Ian Livingstone OBE, Life President of Eidos , Alex Bellos, the author of the popular science book Alex's Adventures in Numberland and Ollie Bray, the National Adviser for Emerging Technologies at Education Scotland

    In addition, delegates will be able to choose from a range of workshops. I would suggest that you sign up as soon as possible as places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

    · Bringing classrooms together with Skype


    In this interactive workshop, Jacqueline Botterill, head of social good for Skype, will explain and demonstrate how over 17,500 educators from over 170 countries are already using the free online community to connect with each other.

    Using the Kinect SDK/Kodu in the classroom

    clip_image005Classroom Teachers Ray Chambers from Lodge Park Technology College & Nicki Maddams from Hartsdown College, give hands-on practical guidance on how to programme and create games in the classroom

    Everyone is a Maths genius, can computer science/technology prove it?

    Dr Chris Imafidon is one of the “World’s foremost scholars on leveraging informatics for learning and exceptional achievement. This workshop will discuss how computer science/technology exposed the myths of natural Intelligence, genes, gender, IQ, age, background, post-code.

    Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything?

    clip_image008Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), looks at the big question: How are we developing and encouraging the next generation of technology innovators in the UK?

    Be a Maker: learn to build gadgets with .NET Gadgeteer

    Dr Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche from Microsoft Research.Do you like computer gadgets? Would you like to learn how to build and program gadgets to your own design? Then this workshop is for you!

    Medicines and innovation – the missing link

    clip_image010Kandarp Thakkar - STEM Ambassador Programme - This workshop will introduce the STEM programme and give some ‘real-life’ case studies of successful use of this programme in delivering high quality university admissions.

    Guerrilla Teaching & Learning

    Daniel Raven-Ellison is a guerrilla educator, co-founder of The Geography Collective and creative director of Mission:Explore. Join this workshop to receive initial training in how to be a guerrilla teacher and learner.

    Who’s afraid of the big bad ‘network’

    clip_image012Dan Roberts from saltash.net community school, presents light-hearted perspective and interactive & engaging discussion which considers the challenges & issues of schools using social networking, how these can be overcome?

    Also, find out who are the recipients of this year’s Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Teacher Awards.The awards will be presented to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to the next Partners in Learning Forum and win a Xbox 360 and Kinect package for their school. These projects will be on display at the event.

    Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Phone a close up from Silicon Valley comes to the UK


    Its been a busy few days at Microsoft, At the weekend I attended The Silicon Valley Comes to the United Kingdom Appathon.

    This was the first ever Silicon Valley Comes to the United Kingdom. SVc2UK for short and twitter hash #SVc2UK and took place at Sheffield Hallam University. The past few day have been enormous amount of fun and I attend the event representing Microsoft as a mentor and a judge. During the event I had a number of Windows Phone devices which were used to show the attendees the recently launched 7.5 Mango upgrade and for them to use devices for the testing of applications using a HTML5 browser or dedicated Windows Phone application.

    If you haven't seen Windows Phone watch the following video, which details the functionality of the device. 

    The overall feedback of the device ‘HTC Surround’ was excellent and one of my favourite tweets was by a fellow mentor and Judge @chrismurray0 from http://www.epigenesys.co.uk/


    The SVc2UK event is the joint work of Ellen Levy's new organization Silicon Valley Connect and Sherry Couto via her association with the Cambridge Judge school of business and NESTA.

    I met some incredible people during the event and would like to thank all the students, mentors and academic’s who held support arrange and attend the event from the Universities in Yorkshire.


    I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have a very high regard for the teams and the amount of effort everyone involved put into the days to make it a great event.

    The winning teams simply now have to go and finish of their apps and make sure they take on the feedback provided and make sure their app is entered before the closing date.


    So get developing and if you want a list of all the resources available to attendees please visit Welcome to the Microsoft resource page for the SVc2UK Appathon on the Microsoft Student Blog

    Best of luck!

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