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With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
If you have been looking for an opportunity to develop curricula, work books, assessments or simply a walkthrough of a XAML/C# or HTML5/JS application step by step this it! Full source code and instructions are provided in both html and docx formats.
The winners of the 10th annual Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition, the winning Software Design project developed by Ukrainian Team quadSquad allows deaf individuals to communicate verbally using custom-designed sensory gloves and a smartphone application to translate sign language gestures into speech. Games focused on the environment from Thailand team TANG Thai and math education from U.S. team Drexel Dragons won the two Game Design competitions.
The Imagine Cup 2012 competition winners were announced at the Imagine Cup World Festival and Awards Ceremony at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, in front of 106 student teams. The event was the culmination of a five-day celebration of technology, teamwork and innovation.
More than 350 students from 75 countries travelled to Sydney after competing in local and online events, representing the best and brightest selected to compete in the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals. Cash prizes totalling approximately $175,000 (U.S.) were awarded across eight competition categories.
Imagine Cup is more than a competition; it’s a way for young entrepreneurs, innovators and developers to have an opportunity to develop an idea, create a product, set a clear business plan and even take their product to market. All Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finalist teams that competed in Sydney this year are eligible to apply for Imagine Cup Grants, a three-year, $3 million investment by Microsoft to help students turn their ideas into reality. More information on Imagine Cup Grants can be found at http://www.imaginecup.com in the coming weeks. In addition, through the Microsoft BizSpark program, Imagine Cup participants can launch startup businesses in their communities and across the Web. More information on BizSpark can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark.
Software and Game Design Winners at Imagine Cup 2012
Team quadSquad from the Ukraine took top honors in the Software Design Competition with its device, Enable Talk, which uses a pair of gloves equipped with 15 flex sensors and a microcontroller that continuously recognize sign language patterns, which are then transmitted via Bluetooth to a Windows Phone device that uses the Microsoft Speech API and Bing API to translate the signs into audio. With its victory, the team won $25,000 (U.S.).
Team quadSquad was not the only competitor whose project was designed to enhance the quality of life for the disabled. Twenty-three percent of Imagine Cup projects this year were created to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities such as visual and hearing impairments and diseases that limit a human’s physical mobility.
With millions of people around the world suffering from hearing and speech impairments, the team recognized the importance of developing a device that would allow individuals to be able to communicate more easily with others.
In 2004, more than 275 million people globally had moderate to profound hearing impairment, 80 percent of them in low- and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization’s most recent data.
“We were inspired to help our friends who are hearing- and speech-impaired to have the ability to communicate like everyone else,” said Maxim Osika, Team quadSquad. “The Imagine Cup is an amazing experience; we’re thrilled to be here learning from the experts around us.”
Teams competed in two Game Design competitions — Game Design: Xbox/Windows and Game Design: Phone. The winning games addressed social issues including poverty, environment and sustainability, education, and community involvement. In Game Design: Xbox/Windows, TANG Thai, from Thailand, focused on protecting the environment and preventing deforestation. In Game Design: Phone, Drexel Dragons, from the United States, created an engaging game designed to teach math and problem solving in new ways to elementary school students. Each first-place team received $8,000 (U.S.).
The following are the winners in the core Imagine Cup Competitions:
1. Software Design. Students create innovative software, service solutions and real-world applications that unleash the power of technology to benefit their community or, perhaps, the entire planet.
· First Place: quadSquad (Ukraine)
· Second Place: Coccolo (Japan)
· Third Place: wi-GO (Portugal)
2. Game Design. Students select one of two tracks (Phone or Xbox/Windows) to create games that not only are fun but also help to improve the world at the same time.
· First Place: TANG Thai (Thailand)
· Second Place: The Doers (Brazil)
· Third Place: Hotfix (Belgium)
· First Place: Drexel Dragons (United States)
· Second Place: Ecosia (France)
· Third Place: Turtle Games (Hungary)
Winners of Imagine Cup Challenges
In addition to the core Imagine Cup Competitions, students were able to compete in five online Challenges. These Challenges provided opportunities for students to compete for an additional $75,000 (U.S.) cash, as well as other prizes. The following are the Challenge winners:
1. IT Challenge. Students are tested on their knowledge of IT systems and faced with unique scenarios to solve, competing for title of best of the best in the industry.
· First Place: Alexandru Ticlea (Romania)
· Second Place: Sherif Talaat (Egypt)
· Third Place: Joshua Sim (Singapore)
2. Kinect Fun Labs Challenge Sponsored by Microsoft Studios. This challenge brings the Imagine Cup into the living room by asking students to think about entertainment with a social conscience.
· First Place: Team Interlab (Brazil)
· Second Place: Team Whiteboard Pirates (United States)
· Third Place: Team Flexifly (Poland)
3. Windows Azure Challenge. Students leverage the Windows Azure platform features to build Web applications that help solve the world’s toughest problems.
· First Place: Virtual Dreams Azure (Brazil)
· Second Place: Complex (Romania)
· Third Place: The Klein Team (Algeria)
4. Windows Metro Style App Challenge sponsored by Microsoft Windows. With this challenge, Microsoft is inviting students to be at the forefront of creating applications for the new Windows 8 platform.
· First Place: Virtual Dreams Metro (Brazil)
· Second Place: nLife (Ukraine)
· Third Place: TokTok (Korea)
5. Windows Phone Challenge sponsored by Nokia. Students are challenged to create an XAP application that not only will help solve the world toughest problems, but also that people will love having on their Windows Phones.
· First Place: Vivid (Egypt)
· Second Place: The Stack (Poland)
· Third Place: Aaltovation (Finland)
The People Have Spoken: Team D Labs From India Honored at Imagine Cup
The People’s Choice Award sponsored by Bing is the only Imagine Cup award that is determined by the public, and it includes a $10,000 (U.S.) prize. The D Labs created software to help dyslexic children use games to learn more effectively by using Kinect for Xbox 360. Parents can also track their children’s progress by reviewing data captured by the solution, which is stored on Windows Azure.
Recognizing Environmental and Sustainability Projects
In addition to the above awards, Microsoft and Coca-Cola are proud to present the winners of the Health Awareness Award and Environmental Sustainability Award for two projects that tackle the world’s toughest health and environmental issues. The following winning teams will receive $10,000 (U.S.):
· Health Awareness Award winners:
o First Place: Italian Ingenium Team (Italy)
· Environmental Sustainability Award winners:
o First Place: Greenway (Germany)
Imagine Cup 2013 Heads to Russia
As is tradition at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals, Pip Marlow, general manager of Microsoft Australia, participated in the ceremonial flag passing to mark the transition of host country duties. Nikolay Pryanishnikov, general manager of Microsoft Russia, was on hand to accept the flag on behalf of Russia, which will host the 11th annual Imagine Cup in St. Petersburg in July 2013.
Videos and other resources are available at on the Microsoft Imagine Cup Virtual Press Room. Additional photos and videos can be found through the Imagine Cup Flickr page or YouTube site.
We are saddened to say that our UK team didn't make it to the Imagine Cup finals.
@TeamEyeWorks (Faizan Asghar, Northumbria University, Colin Squires, Newcastle College and Riccardo Viglianisi, Northumbria University) alongside their mentor Alamgir Hossain with their project MIRA (Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis system) which will enable the low-cost early detection of eye diseases such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy which are the current leading causes of blindness.
They did an amazing job! Here are some resources to keep up to date with the Imagine Cup Finals.
Search for the hashtag #Imaginecup
Facebook: www.facebook.com/microsoftimaginecup MSP Social Media Team Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imaginecupsocialmediateam
Imagine Cup WW Finals Venue PhotoSynth
Official Blog: www.imaginecup.com/blogs/default.aspx
Imagine Cup Social Media Team Blog http://icsocialmediateam.com/
We are pleased to announce three university level courses are now available on Faculty Connection.
The courses are modular for easy integration into existing curricula; they are application development oriented; each contains instructor guides, PPTs, labs/tutorials and video files that accompany the exercise files.
Designing for Modern UI
· 11 modules that provide lectures and tutorials on how to design for the Windows 8 UI using Metro language.
Application Development for Modern UI
App Development for Modern Devices
For additional resources for Windows 8 Metro Style Design and App development see my previous blog post on Windows 8 development resources
Next week I will be at the Develop Conference, attending some of the 103 sessions, 5 keynotes, and on the Microsoft stand at the Expo. I’m looking forward to networking with the 1500 developers and 450 companies during the event and discussing the opportunity of developing Windows 8 Metro Style games.
On http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh452780.aspx we list options for developing Windows 8 games.
At present there are over 50 games available in the store using the above technologies, here are some good links to get started
· Metro style app using C++, C#, or Visual Basic and XAML. You can use managed code languages like C# and Visual Basic to develop 2D (and lightweight 3D) games. If you have developed in Silverlight for Internet Explorer or Windows Phone 7, this model will feel very familiar.
· Metro style C++ with DirectX. You can develop both 2D and 3D games that effectively use the graphics processing horsepower on a range of Windows desktops and 3D-enabled Windows devices, from high powered gaming rigs to low power slates. It requires a strong working knowledge of Windows programming and native C/C++.
There are a number of online tutorial around Marble Maze which is a DirectX game written in C++. This leads you to the more basic “Hello World” example over here although while the results of that example are “Hello World” in nature.
There’s another, more realistic sample over here with a walk-through to build up a Metro style shooting game. It takes the form of a completed code sample and a walk through of what’s going on in that sample.
It runs to around 40 source files.
The key learning outcome for starting to build games for Metro are as follows as these would make excellent starting points for curricula development for Developing Metro Style Games.
1) Understanding how a Metro style app gets on the screen – i.e. the infrastructure around IFrameworkViewSource and IFrameworkView.
2) Understanding C++/CX which is a bunch of C++ extensions relatively familiar to people like me who’ve come from the C++/CLI world but a bit odd to a regular C++ developer.
3) Understanding some of the technologies used like the Parallel Patterns Library (PPL) which our default templates throw at you.
4) Understanding some of the C++ 11 techniques like lambdas which our default templates also throw at you.
5) Understanding how a Metro style app is meant to work from the point of view of lifecycle management (i.e. suspend/resume/terminate).
6) Understanding the WinRT APIs available and their main usage and purpose.
Steps 5 & 6 are common to any Windows 8 Metro style app developer.
As we are all aware, there are many game engines /frameworks (middleware) available. Some of these are already supporting development for Win 8 metro games whilst others are planning to support it within the coming months. I have listed the ones which are or have short terms plans to support W8 metro apps. I am sure that there will be more to come…
A full games development tool/suite – physics, rendering, scripting, AI etc.
Windows 8 Metro support: coming soon (for GA)
An Open Source, OpenGL implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4 Framework
Windows 8 Metro support: coming soon (‘later this year’)
Dev languages: C#/XNA
SharpDX is an open-source project delivering the full DirectX API under the .Net platform, allowing the development of high performance game, 2D and 3D graphics rendering as well as realtime sound application.
Windows 8 Metro support: Now
Dev languages: C#
The Imagine Cup 2012 worldwide finals have just got underway down under and 72 software design teams from all around the world have gathered in Sydney, Australia to celebrate and compete in the 10th Imagine Cup worldwide finals. Team EyeWorks (Faizan Asghar, Northumbria University, Colin Squires, Newcastle College and Riccardo Viglianisi, Northumbria University) alongside their mentor Alamgir Hossain are flying the flag for the UK with their project MIRA (Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis system) which will enable the low-cost early detection of eye diseases such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy which are the current leading causes of blindness.
It all kicked off at the airport this morning with competitors, mentors, judges and Microsoft staff flying in from all over the world to be greeted by a giant koala, a little treat organised by the Australian interns and MACHs. Here’s our UK team (minus Faizan for some reason) and their mentor Alamgir being greeted at the airport after a 24 hour flight!
So day 1 kicked off with the students and staff having a quick bite to eat at the hotel before heading to the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre where the Imagine Cup worldwide finals are held this year. Here we see a multitude of bright colours, amazing outfits and enthusiasm at another level. To see some more pictures of the Imagine Cup worldwide finals so far take a look at the official Imagine Cup 2012 Facebook page. At the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre students, mentors and staff register and pick up their freebies (in this case an Imagine Cup 2012 rucksack, water bottle, t-shirt and sweatshirt – not bad for a day’s swag), programme (where we see we have an upcoming ‘cultural day’ where students have the option of a Harbour Bridge Climb, Taronga Zoo etc, Karaoke, Group photo as well as the all-exciting presentations and award ceremonies!).
After some team time where teams have broken off to practise their presentations and do some last minute tweaking it’s time for the Opening Ceremony. At the opening ceremony we had some key figures give inspirational and exciting talks about how students are at the forefront of innovation and how these Imagine Cup projects could become the next Microsoft or Facebook, 2 companies started by students. Prominent speakers included Dan’l Lewin (CVP for Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft), Adrian Piccolo (Minister of Education, NSW), Julia Gillard (Australian Prime Minister), Walid Abu-Habda (CVP, DPE Lead, Microsoft), Moorthy Uppaluri (General Manager – Academic Team, Microsoft), Pip Marlow (General Manager Australia, Microsoft) and Jessica Watson (youngest person to sail solo around the world, young Australian of the year and bestselling author).
Following from all of the building excitement of the talks and keynote speeches there were of course giveaways. Four teams were awarded full dev conference passes and ALL worldwide finalists (approximately 375) were given a brand new Nokia Lumia 800 today, courtesy of Nokia.
Now that’s day 1 wrapped up but there’ll be plenty more action from the Imagine Cup worldwide finals over the coming 5 days and if you want to watch the live stream you can do so here.
Social applications (games, sharing, and location-based applications and services) are very quickly becoming the most prominent types of applications. These social applications have the potential to grow from a few users to millions of users in an incredibly short period of time, and as such, they need a robust, scalable, and dependable platform on which to run to meet the growing demands of the users.
If we take the founding principles of Windows Azure (on-demand scalable computing resources, storage, and geographic delivery) and apply them to the needs of social games, we can quickly see how Windows Azure and Social Gaming is a perfect match. Companies like Sneaky Games (the developers of the Facebook fantasy game Fantasy Kingdoms) and Playdom (the makers of Bola Social Soccer, a Facebook, Sonico, and Orkut game with over 5 million users) are already using Windows Azure as their backend platform.
Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games
To make it even easier to develop social games with Windows Azure, there is the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games. The toolkit allows you to quickly get started building new social games with Windows Azure. It includes accelerators, libraries, developer tools, and samples. It also has specific services and code to handle capabilities unique to games, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing, and so forth.
As a starting point, the toolkit also includes the source code for a game called Tankster, created by Grant Skinner and his team at gskinner.com. The game is built with HTML5 and comes complete with reusable service-side code and documentation. It also supports a variety of social interactions including messaging, wall posts, and comments while player achievements and game stats are presented on a live leaderboard so gamers can interact with each other.
Try your skills at a round of Tankster >>
So what’s next?
Download the toolkit >>
Then have a look at the samples and Tankster.
Deep dive into the architecture behind Tankster - Part 1 >> Part 2 >>
If you’ve previously developed a game, see how you can overlay the functionality provided by the toolkit onto your game. If the toolkit doesn’t fit with your game, no worries. Think about your game’s architecture and where you can leverage Windows Azure’s on-demand compute, storage, and geographic delivery services to get your game in the Cloud. Either way, take this opportunity to see how you, too, can leverage the benefits of Windows Azure.
Need access to the Cloud?
Learn how Windows Azure can be used in curricula, support research endeavours, and enable student projects. Institution administrators can explore how to use Windows Azure for infrastructural and application need via Azure for Education Grants.
Microsoft provides grants for educators wanting to use Windows Azure platform in their curricula. These grants are facilitated through Windows Azure academic passes, which provide the following resources for a period of 5 months from the date of redemption: More info
Need access to Windows Azure outside the classroom? Working on a project on cloud computing? Or maybe your master thesis? As a student you can take advantage of the free Windows Azure trial offer and run a Small Windows Azure instance with a 1GB SQL Azure database for 90 days* More info
The Windows Azure Research Engagement project aims to boost scholarly and scientific research by extending computing to the cloud. We provide a cloud computing platform and work with researchers on projects that push the frontiers of client and cloud computing. More info
Microsoft IT Academy provides students with the future ready technology skills they need to be successful in college and a career.
In the past year, I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of UK academics, students and educators who are passionate and excited about the opportunities with Windows 8. Now, we would like to share how to get early access into the Windows Store for your Windows 8 app via the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs (AEL).
What is the App Excellence Lab?
The App Excellence Lab is a 2-hour engagement with a trained Microsoft Services Engineer who will run your app through a series of tests based on a quality checklist to ensure your app is (or will be) in top-notch shape when you submit. You will also get a chance discuss ways to make your app even better and you will get answers to any questions you might have. Of course, the Labs are the singular path for motivated developers to gain early access to the Store, allowing you to receive an account, register your app and get a head start in publishing your app.
Who is it for?
The App Excellence Labs are open to developers who have almost completed their app as well as to developers who are in their early development/ideation cycle who would benefit from a consultation with Windows Engineer. Bottom line is that you will be able to work with a client expert who can rapidly help you accelerate your development.
When and where are the App Excellence Labs held?
The App Excellence Labs are held Monday to Friday at the Microsoft Campus in Thames Valley Park (Reading). We highly recommend you to attend in person, however, if for any reason you are unable to attend in person, we do offer a virtual option for you to join via Live Meeting. Please see the time slots listed below.
Below is the list of current times available for App Excellence Labs sign up.
We hope to see many of you at the App Excellence Labs and your apps in the Store.
Please follow the 4 simple steps to sign up to the App Excellence Labs.
Register and log in to https://win8.msregistration.com
Once you have successfully logged in, please complete the Application Profile Survey. Our Windows 8 consultant will use this information to work with you on your app during before and during the App Excellence Lab.
Under the 'Notes' section of the Application Profile Survey, please enter the following information:
Date/Time of your preferred App Excellence Lab(by choosing two preferred times/dates of the ones listed above)
Choose your preference of In-person or virtualApp Excellence Lab (by stating In Person or Virtual).
Click on 'New Application Profile' once you've completed your profile and stated your preferred date/time & in-person and virtual preference. We will then get in touch with you to confirm your Windows 8 App Excellence Lab.
Note: If for any reason, you do not receive a response or confirmation from us within 3 working days, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your App Excellence Lab details.
Help & Support for the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs Booking & Attendance
Please either call 0845 073 7159 or email email@example.com
Note: If for any reason, you do not receive a response or confirmation from us within 2 working days, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your App Excellence Lab details.
The Windows Phone Camps are events which will show you how to learn and build Windows Phone apps. You can work on your own projects with assistance from our Windows Phone MVPs, network with others and also have the option of attending short tutorial sessions on Windows Phone related topics. If you are new to Windows Phone, this is the ideal event for you as you will have the opportunity to understand the general approach and capabilities of Windows Phone development.
The Windows Phone Camps will cover an introductory design session as well as a range of short tutorial sessions. Short tutorial sessions will include topics such as Introduction to Windows Phone Development, Controls & Control Toolkit, Execution Model, Storing Data, Launchers & Choosers, Accessing Cloud Services, Marketplace & Submission. There will also be informal Mango tutorial sessions on offer covering topics such as Multi-tasking, Debugging & Profiling, Motion API, Advertising SDK and Sockets.
There are a basic set of things you should prepare before attending the camp. This includes bringing your own suitable laptop with the Windows Phone Developer tools installed (these are free) preferably these are the latest version of the tools.
Lastly, please let us know as soon as you can if you cannot make the camp as there will be many developers who are keen to take your spot. Please let us know (via written email) at least 2 days in advance if you are unable to attend the camp or a £20 administration fee will be charged. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you have registered and committed.
The Windows Phone Camp will kick off at 9am and finish at 9pm. Spaces are limited, so register your place in the Windows Phone Camp today!
Click here to register now.
The Windows 8 Camps have been designed to show you how to build a Windows 8 app. You can tailor the day to make it as personally productive and rewarding as possible. You can work on your own projects with assistance from Windows 8 experts, network with others and also have the option of attending short tutorial sessions on Windows 8 related topics.
The Windows 8 Camps will cover an introductory overview session as well as a range of short tutorial sessions. Short tutorial sessions will include topics such as the basics of the OS and interaction with the OS, Metro style UX with examples in Store apps, The Store and the developer opportunity, the high level view of the platform – i.e. WinRT and the choice around implementation technology, and the tooling – the role of Visual Studio and Expression Blend.
In addition, you will learn how you can publish your Windows 8 app into the Windows Store in advance of general release through the Windows 8 App Excellence Labs at this camp.
Wednesday 18th July, Windows Phone DevCamp
Thursday 19th July, Windows 8 DevCamp
Friday 20th July, Windows 8 DevCamp
Saturday 21st July,Windows 8 DevCamp
Monday 23rd July, Windows Phone DevCamp
Tuesday 24th July, Windows 8 DevCamp
Wednesday 25th July, Windows 8 DevCamp
Thursday 26th July, Windows 8 DevCamp
The Windows 8 Camp will kick off at 9am and officially finish at 6pm, or 9pm for the hardcore attendees.
Requirements & Prerequisites for Attendees
IMPORTANT: Bring a suitable laptop with the following downloaded:
1) Windows 8 Release Preview installed and running on your machine - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download?ocid=W_MSC_W8R_DevCenter_MetroDL_EN-US
2) Visual Studio 2012 Express RC installed - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516
Lastly, please let us know as soon as you can if you cannot make the camp as there will be many developers who are keen to take your spot. Please let us know via email (email@example.com) at least 2 days in advance if you are unable to attend the camp or a £20 administration fee will be charged. Please respect the trainers and your fellow delegates by turning up if you have registered and committed.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the Windows 8 Camp
Windows 8 Camps Agenda:
Welcome & Explanation of the Day’s Format
Windows 8 Overview – UX, Store & Opportunity
Hands On Labs
(.NET and HJC)
App Migrating and UX Reviews
Windows 8 App Features 1
Windows 8 App Features 2
For the committed only to continue their labs/migrating.
Click here to register http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/upcoming-events.aspx