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

November, 2011


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect for Windows announcements and information



    Since the launch of the dedicated Kinect for Windows site a few weeks ago the Kinect for Windows team have been busy with a awareness campaign for the coming year they have created a dedicated blog at 

    Twitter @KinectWindows!/KinectWindows and Facebook group

    Some of the latest blogs state that a new version of the Kinect device is to launched which includes optimized certain hardware components and firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios and offer greater flexibility and usage within teaching and research.

    The blog states 

    ‘Coupled with the numerous upgrades and improvements our team is making to the Software Development Kit (SDK) and runtime, the new hardware delivers features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been asking for. Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters. “Near Mode” will enable a whole new class of “close up” applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360. This is one of the most requested features from the many developers and companies participating in our Kinect for Windows pilot program and folks commenting on our forums, and we’re pleased to deliver this, and more, at launch.’Craig Eisler General Manager, Kinect for Windows

    Microsoft also has just launched a new initiative, the Kinect Accelerator incubation project run by Microsoft BizSpark. BizSpark helps software startups through access to Microsoft software development tools, connection to key industry players (including investors) and by providing marketing visibility.

    The Kinect Accelerator will give 10 tech-oriented companies using Kinect (on either Windows or Xbox360) an investment of $20,000 each, plus a number of other great perks. Applications are being accepted now through January 25th, 2012.

    I am pleased to say a number of UK Universities are members of the BizSpark Network Partners Programme helping foster and develop entrepreneurs within the UK. If your interested in learning more about Kinect in education or the BizSpark Network Partner process please get in touch.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup information/awareness sessions in London & Edinburgh



    Last week I had a tour of colleges and Universities in the North East of England in relation to raising awareness and interest into the Imagine Cup 2012 competition. From the positive feedback of this event were holding additional regional sessions and the next planned events are in London and Edinburgh. The purpose of these events are to provide you with more information about what the Imagine Cup is as well as giving you the chance to meet like-minded people.

    If your interested in the Imagine Cup why not come along to a sessions where you’ll learn about the Imagine Cup. The Imagine Cup is a chance for College, University students and academics to get together and use Microsoft technology to develop solutions to world problems.

    This years World Wide Final will be held in Sydney, Australia and with the prize of $25,000 not only will you get this reward but the Imagine Cup is a great chance to showcase your students and your institution. So why not take the opportunity and enter. So please register to attend if you’re interested in entering and finding out what sort of projects you could do or what prizes you could win. you may of already registered and simply want to find some team members, a mentor. If you have already decided to enter please simply register online at

    Simply register for free

    Edinburgh 29th November 2011 -

    London 1st December 2011 -

    If you have any suggestions for other locations where we can hold such an event let us know at for more information on Microsoft UK Students see or on Facebook

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    More info on Phone Developer Rewards



    Welcome to the Windows Phone Developer Reward Programme.

    The programme is simple. Successfully publish an unique and original app in the Windows Phone Marketplace and you will be rewarded with one point.

    You can then decide to redeem the point for a 12 month magazine subscription or Gyro Stealth Flyer Remote Control Helicopter (more options available also).

    You can  earn up to 4 points and redeem a PocketCinema Projector, Xbox360 Console or 22 inch LED TV.

    The only catch is that they must successfully publish their apps in the Windows Phone marketplace between now and the end of January 2012.

    This reward programme is free to register and is open for all (including students and academic using the DreamSpark programme).

    You will just need to have to have a AppHub membership.

    So what are you waiting for go develop an app for the Windows Phone marketplace this Christmas season and get rewarded and free presents!!!

    There is no better time to build and publish your Winodws Phone App! So get started today and register now.

    Frequently Asked Questions -

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in Windows phone Development some great community resources



    I recently came across this site 31 Days of Mango, a series of articles which will focus on development for Windows Phone 7.5. This is a continuation of the original series, 31 Days of Windows Phone, which was published in the fall of 2010.

    I will be publishing a detailed tutorial on Windows Phone development each day this month, specifically focusing on the new additions that were introduced with the Mango update.

    For every one of these articles, you will need to use the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 and Visual Studio 2010. You can download both, for free, from the link below:

    Also can  make you aware of the incentives programme. There are great prizes, including Bose earphones, Ferrari drives, BluRay players, Sony camcorders, XBOX consoles, TVs, etc., and I expect lots of students would like these prizes (full list here). In addition to the main incentives programme, we’re also offering hoodies just for students – the closing date for the first draw is this coming Sunday, 27th November.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    MATLAB and R on Windows Azure via Techila


    Techila is a middleware solution for High Performance Computing that enables existing applications to utilize more computing capacity. I believe that the key problem in business and operational computing is the lack of application performance. There are enormous amounts of computing capacity available using Windows Azure cloud service.

    Techila allows applications to utilise all available computing capacity. To try demonstrate this a great example of the benefits of Techila and the Windows Azure with Techila integration is a case study, which Techila did with a leading cancer researcher. The researchers in question had a project, which would have taken 15 years. He had developed his research application in MATLAB. He used the Windows Azure with Techila integration to boost the performance of his application with the combined power of 1200 Windows Azure instances. This allowed him to complete the project in 4,5 days! Being able to do something in 4,5 days, which usually takes 15 years gives a real competitive advantage.

    Techila develop the solution in close co-operation with end-users and system administrators from the very beginning.

    Techila has selected Pharma, Economics/ Financial, and Universities/ Academia as the key markets because of the fact that they are strong on Techila's home market, Finland. But I want to emphasize that unlike many other distributed computing solutions, Techila is a fully horizontal middleware, which can be used in any segment and which can increase the performance of any application: The code can be a MATLAB application, or it can be R (or C/C++, Java, Perl, Python, Fortran,...) They also offer an open API, which can be used to connect any ISV application (3DSMax, SAS, COMSOL, Sungard,...) to the Windows Azure capacity.

    Also please find below a demo of run a 2-day long computation in a couple of minutes using 500 Azure instances using MATLAB:


    Techila with R language can be found here:

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Big Data Solution SQL Server, Apache Hadoop and Windows Azure


    Big Data Solution

    Microsoft’s end-to-end roadmap for Big Data embraces Apache Hadoop™ by distributing enterprise class Hadoop based solutions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure. The roadmap includes Microsoft BI tools such as SQL Server Analysis Services, Reporting Services and even PowerPivot and Excel. This enables you to do BI on all your data, including those in Hadoop.

    Key Benefits
    • Broader access of Hadoop to end users, IT professionals and Developers, through easy installation and configuration and simplified programming with JavaScript.
    • Enterprise ready Hadoop distribution with greater security, performance, ease of management and options for Hybrid IT usage.
    • Breakthrough insights through the use of familiar tools such as Excel, PowerPivot, SQL Server Analysis Services and Reporting Services.


    Technical Considerations

    On the more technical front, we have been working on a simplified download, installation and configuration experience of several Hadoop related technologies, including HDFS, Hive, and Pig, which will help broaden the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise.

    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 it doesn’t matter what platform you are developing your Hadoop jobs on -you will always be able to take a standard Hadoop job and deploy it on our platform, as we strive towards full interoperability with the official Apache Hadoop distribution.

    This is great news as it lowers the barrier for building Hadoop based applications while encouraging rapid prototyping scenarios in the Windows Azure cloud for Big Data.To facilitate all of this, we have also entered into a strategic partnership with Hortonworks that enables us to gain unique experience and expertise to help accelerate the delivery of Microsoft’s Hadoop based distributions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure.

    For developers, we will enable integration with Microsoft developer tools as well as invest in making Javascript a first class language for Big Data. We will do this by making it possible to write high performance Map/Reduce jobs using Javascript.For end users, the Hadoop-based applications targeting the Windows Server and Windows Azure platforms will easily work with Microsoft’s existing BI tools like PowerPivot and recently announced Power View, enabling self-service analysis on business information that was not previously accessible. To enable this we will be delivering an ODBC Driver and an Add-in for Excel, each of which will interoperate with Apache Hive.

    Finally, in line with our commitment to Interoperability and to facilitate the high performance bi-directional movement of enterprise data between Apache Hadoop and Microsoft SQL Server, we have released two Hadoop-based connectors for SQL Server to manufacturing.

    The SQL Server connector for Apache Hadoop lets customers move large volumes of data between Hadoop and SQL Server 2008 R2, while the SQL Server PDW connector for Apache Hadoop moves data between Hadoop and SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW). These new connectors will enable customers to work effectively with both structured and unstructured data.

    For more information see

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    jQuery Mobile Open Source Framework Support for Windows Phone



    jQuery Mobile version 1.0 was announced this week. Microsoft is  pleased to use this exciting occasion to reinforce our commitment to supporting popular open source mobile frameworks.  As many of you aware aware Microsoft recently supported PhoneGap by adding support for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), and now we are moving up the stack to improve support of jQuery Mobile on Windows Phone 7.5.

    jQuery Mobile framework is a Javascript HTML5-based user interface system for mobile device platforms, built on the jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. The Jquery RC3 blog published earlier this week outlines, Windows Phone performance has improved quite dramatically as shown by the two showcase apps:

    • 226% improvement in rendering the form gallery, bringing it down from 5 to 2.2 seconds
    • 20x improvement in rendering the complex 400 item listview, from 60 seconds to 3 seconds

    The jQuery team has additional performance optimization tips for Windows Phone in the change log that saves additional performance time in certain scenarios.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    New Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface Is Available to Pre-order Starting Today


    Many UK Universities are already using Microsoft Surface to conduct some amazing teaching learning and research.


    Samsung and Microsoft announced today that a new, more versatile Microsoft Surface device is now available for pre-order, the near final stop on its journey from lab to marketplace. You can now visit the Samsung website to find a local reseller and place an order for the Samsung SUR40. Shipments are expected to start early next year.

    The Samsung SUR40 was just named a 2011 “Best of What’s New” award winner by Popular Science magazine and is featured in a special awards issue currently on newsstands. Corinne Iozzio, senior associate editor at Popular Science, said the magazine’s editors were impressed with the update to the original Surface, a 2008 “Best of What’s New” winner. 

    The new device is also popular with academics, researchers and developers, a number of UK Universities are already using the Surface 2.0 software developer kit (SDK) which was released at MIX11 in April. The SDK features an input simulator that enables developers to write Surface applications on any Windows 7 PC.The SDK allows developers to write a single application that can adapt to all sorts of types of hardware. This makes for a great investment: they can target Microsoft Surface hardware as well as any Windows 7 touch-enabled PC. This is a flexible platform so developers can create the best user interface for the person actually using the computer.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    DreamSpark Apphub Registration



    DreamSpark has partnered with Windows Phone 7 and the App Hub! Now, you get the same tools professional developers and designers have, and you can sell your mobile applications and make money! Along with all the free applications, we're waiving the $99 registration fee and giving you the first 100 application submissions for free!!

    App Hub is the place to distribute and merchandise your applications for Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE Indie Games.

    To get registered:

    • Go to the App Hub Registration page.
    • When prompted make sure you register as a Student.
    • Complete the App Hub registration process.
    • Use the tools you downloaded to create applications and share your creativity with the world.

    Problem or issues registering?

    Are you having trouble with App Hub registration to submit Windows Phone Apps? Did you get this error?

    We’re sorry, an error has occurred.

    We have detected an error while processing the page you were looking for. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please try again.


    The following guidance has been issued on this issue.

    Please visit
    Click My Accounts
    Click Update Billing Account Information
    Re-Enter password.

    Verify that the information in the site matches what you have enter in App Hub, Also verify your account information at

    If the error persists, try clearing your Cache and using another browser.

    If you have verified all your information and still receive the error, please provide screen shots of your account information so that we can better assess the issue and it email it to App Hub Support <>

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Cloud Computing Curricula Resources



    Microsoft Faculty Connection Cloud Computing with Windows Azure platform curricula resources.

    If your interested in developing curricula resources on cloud computing you need to check out these great resources

    Suggested Resources on Cloud Computing with Windows Azure platform

    Overview of Cloud Computing and the Windows Azure Platform: an Academic Perspective

    Windows Azure Platform Virtual Labs

    If your interested in Windows Azure please use the following 90 day trail offer

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