August, 2012 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

August, 2012


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Samsung AITV range and Windows 8




    So what will OEM Windows 8 machine be like?

    Samsung held an event yesterday to announce a trio of Windows 8 PCs - ATIV Tab, ATIV Smart PC and ATIV Smart PC Pro – and a Windows 8 Phone. So if you are interested in what Windows 8 OEM Find out more about the Samsung ATIV range

    What about other vendors?

    For other vendors offering you can check out the Microsoft News Center Gallery of OEM's offerings. There will be more to come, over the next few weeks as we approach the GA of Windows 8 26th October 2012

    So what about apps?

    If your interested in building or learning more about Windows 8 application development then you need to visit this new Microsoft UK Site which contains all the necessary information


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    If your thinking of installing Windows 8 are your labs machine HyperV capable?


    Whether you are a software developer, an IT administrator, many of us need to run multiple operating systems. Windows 8 uses Hyper-V, the machine virtualization technology that has been part of the last 2 releases of Windows Server.

    In brief, Hyper-V lets you run more than one 32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating system at the same time on the same computer. Instead of working directly with the computer’s hardware, the operating systems run inside of a virtual machine (VM).

    Hyper-V enables developers to easily maintain multiple test environments and provides a simple mechanism to quickly switch between these environments without incurring additional hardware costs.

    An introduction to Hyper-V




    Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system that has Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). SLAT is a feature present in the current generation of 64-bit processors by Intel & AMD. You’ll also need a 64-bit version of Windows 8, and at least 4GB of RAM. Hyper-V does support creation of both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems in the VMs.

    Hyper-V’s dynamic memory allows memory needed by the VM to be allocated and de-allocated dynamically (you specify a minimum and maximum) and share unused memory between VMs. You can run 3 or 4 VMs on a machine that has 4GB of RAM but you will need more RAM for 5 or more VMs. On the other end of the spectrum, you can also create large VMs with 32 processors and 512GB RAM.

    In conclusion, by bringing Hyper-V from Windows Server to Windows Client, allows you to provide a robust virtualization technology designed for the scalability, security, reliability, and performance needs of most data centers. With Hyper-V, developers and IT professionals can now build a more efficient and cost-effective environment for using and testing across multiple machines.

    So how do I know if my machine support SLAT (second level address translation). 

    1. Windows 8 HyperV requires support for SLAT (second level address translation). 

    2. So if your thinking of installing Windows 8 in your institutions computer labs you should check your machine BIOS as this feature can be enabled/disabled.

    3. To do this Download CoreInfo from the Windows Sysinternals website, here.

    4. Open a command window with admin rights and type coreinfo –v, if an asterix is displayed next to EPT row then your Intel processor supports SLAT.


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Welcome to the 2013 Imagine Cup season



    Today the ImagineCup team launches new competitions and framework for 2013, taking our first steps towards St. Petersburg, Russia, where all of our efforts will culminate in our Worldwide Finals in July, 2013.

    This year, we have three big competitions and challenges.


    · World Citizenship: Make an app that could change someone’s life. Pick your cause: the environment, education, health, you name it. Use technology as an agent of change.

    · Games: Put a smile on the face of the world. Make the next great game and see people playing it all around you on console, PC, phone, slate – wherever people play games.

    · Innovation: Reinvent social networks. Transform online shopping. Experience music in a new way. Do something amazing with GPS. It’s time to take that crazy idea of yours and ship it!


    · The Windows 8 App Challenge will test a team’s ability to design and build a Windows Store app that takes advantage of Windows 8 features and design principles to deliver an exceptional experience on the platform.

    · The Windows Phone Challenge is seeking the best apps that feature startling functionality and device-focused utility, combined with a delightful Windows Phone user experience.

    · The Windows Azure Challenge is about getting your team started on the “next big thing” by leveraging Azure platform features to build a great web application.


    The biggest prizes in the history of the ImagineCup to go with them.

    For each competition, we'll award:

    · First Place: $50,000 (USD)

    · Second Place: $10,000 (USD)

    · Third Place: $5,000 (USD)

    And each challenge:

    · First Place: $10,000 (USD)

    · Second Place: $5,000 (USD)

    · Third Place: $3,000 (USD)

    Plus every finalist team and their mentor will also get a free trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, to compete in the Worldwide Finals!

    To keep upto date join the ImagineCup mailing list and subscribe to the ImagineCup blog to be the first to get all the news. 

    This year, we want to give students all kinds of ways to create, learn, compete, and win.  So please point them at our page on ImagineCup Facebook page, and follow the ImagineCup team on Twitter.  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft is bringing back its popular Second Shot offer that gives ITA students a free second chance to pass their certification exam.



    Great news for Microsoft IT Academy ‘ITA’ Institutions



    For a limited time, Microsoft is bringing back its popular Second Shot offer that gives your students a free second chance to pass their certification exams. Microsoft has reinvented the IT industry’s most respected professional certification program to validate a deeper set of skills on the newest technologies. The new MCSE and MCSD certifications validate the ability to deploy, design, and optimize technologies for critical IT roles. Now ITA students can sign up for that certification exam with confidence know that if they don’t’ pass it the first time, they get a second chance at success.


    So when is this available?

    Second Shot offer that gives ITA students a free second chance to pass their IT pro or developer certification exams.  For ITA, the offer is valid August 28, 2012 to June 30, 2013.  

    Starting August 28th, ITA educators can order vouchers by going to the ITA member site Second Shot landing page (log in required) and following instructions for the Prometric ordering tool. 

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Mobile Services for building mobile apps



    Welcome to the  Windows Azure Mobile Services public preview. Windows Azure Mobile Services is a turnkey backend solution to accelerate your connected client app development for common application scenarios such as structured storage, user authentication and push notifications all within minutes.  I wanted to share some key information and resources for mobile services so that you can start to include it in your curriculum and academic activities for the coming year.  

    Introducing Windows Azure Mobile Services

    The Windows Azure Mobile Services preview aims to make it incredibly for developers to create turnkey backend cloud service for Windows 8 applications in minutes.  If there is nothing else you do please spend 10 minutes watching the Introduction to Windows Azure Mobile Services by Scott Guthrie


    To summarize you can use Windows Azure Mobile Services to:

    · Create a simple and secure backend service to handle common tasks and free yourself to focus on the front end that your users value.

    · Incorporate structured storage, user authentication and push notification scenarios into your app in minutes.

    · This first public preview is designed specifically for Windows 8.  Future updates will include support for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

    More information is also available on Scotts blog Announcing Windows Azure Mobile Services

    Pricing - FREE

    One of the key things that we’ve consistently heard from developers and you about using Windows Azure with mobile applications is the need for a low cost and simple offer.  The simplest way to describe the pricing for Windows Azure Mobile Services at preview is that it is the same as Windows Azure Websites during preview.

    Sign up for the free trial or add Mobile Services preview to your existing subscription

    What’s FREE?

    · Run up to 10 Mobile Services for free in a multitenant environment

    · Free with valid Windows Azure Free Trial

    o 1GB SQL Database

    o Unlimited ingress

    o 165MB/day egress 

    What do I pay for?

    · Scaling up to dedicated VMs

    · Once Windows Azure Free Trial expires - SQL Database and egress


    For more Pricing information please see the pricing calculator

    Today academics and students developer can get started with the Mobile Services preview from via Windows Azure for Educators trials which has been updated to include dedicated pages for mobile developers to highlight Mobile Services and link out to tutorials and resources that will help developers get started.  The tutorials and resources are provided that support the three key Windows 8 + Windows Azure application scenarios Data, Auth and Push Notifications.  In addition to this the pricing calculator has also been updated for mobile services.

    Windows 8 Camps in a Box

    The Windows 8 Camp In a Box resource that includes presentations, hands-on-labs and samples that is used by both the Windows 8 Developer community. 

    Windows Azure Training Kit

    Check out the  Windows Azure developer Windows Azure Training Kit

    · Presentation: New Building Connected Windows 8 Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services with accompanying demo scripts

    · Hands On Lab : New Getting Started with Windows Azure Mobile Services

    Channel 9 Online Media

    The following popular Channel 9 shows are available with more coming shortly

    ·Announcing Windows Azure Mobile Services by Scott Guthrie




  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    What Makes a Quality Games Programming Graduate?


    Microsoft presents the largest opportunity for game developer students.


    The choice of development languages and tools including  XNA, C++, DirectX, HTML5, JavaScript, .NET, C# VB, and Visual Studio all available for FREE from DreamSpark.

    Our developer resource guidance available from and with FREE app store accounts for students to publish applications and games to the marketplace.

    Our array of platforms Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and a huge users base across the Ecosystems.

    I am glad to introduce the following Guest blogger - Mark Hope, Mark works for games industry specialist recruiter – Aardvark Swift. He sources graduates for UK games studios and is also responsible for organising the nationwide Search for a Star programming competition

    Our clients (primarily Game Studios) look for a range of different skills /experiences from graduates when they leave University. However when they are looking to hire talented staff to make the next AAA Console or Mobile Games some things don’t change……

    Studios look for courses with a solid programming and Maths base: Whether this is a traditional Computer Science course or a modern Computer Games Programming course. The traditional language required by studios is C++, so we recommend as many projects and modules using this programming language be completed.

    Any experience of professional programming is seen as invaluable, if students have an industry placement it is fantastic, however as these are few and far between we suggest graduates are as active as possible in extra curricular competitions and development. Taking part and being successful in competitions like Search for a Star, Microsoft Imagine Cup, Game Jams or Dare to be Digital shows that graduates are passionate about the industry and students get to showcase their skills. Go on, get involved!

    ImagineCup clip_image004clip_image006Dare2Be

    Any personal and team games development that lead to a release platforms such as Windows Phone, Windows 8  or Xbox shows skills that industry look for. So if students have titles on App Store / Xbox Live Marketplace it shows graduates are:

    · Skilful

    · Can finish a game

    · Can show polish

    · Don’t have buggy code

    The relative success of the game is not as important, however if it is successful it also shows creativity of the student / team.




    An excellent online and free resource for building an online portfolio is the website We always recommend an online portfolio as the best method of showcasing your games and projects. Make sure you show your best work and make it as easy as possible for Studios to access it.

    We recommend each project on your online portfolio should include:

    · An overview (what did you contribute?) especially in the case of team projects

    · Images of the project in action

    · A Video run through (show as much as you can – Menus, Levels, High score tables etc)

    · Downloadable content or links (studios like to see your code)


    A quality CV is essential. Your CV is one of the most important recruitment tools you have, so spending time getting it right is well worth the effort. It will be initially assessed in a matter of seconds, and if the potential employer doesn’t see what they are looking for almost instantaneously, your details will rapidly hit the “unsuccessful” pile.

    Make sure your CV includes:

    · Overview Section (a mini intro – cover letters will be separated)

    · Skills Section – Outlying any programming languages, tools etc you have used (we find tables are good way to keep organised and neat here)

    · The Education section is the most important section of the CV (unless you have games industry experience) Make sure you highlight your course and the marks you have gained, focus on programming and maths modules. A levels are also well thought of, so highlight grades (key advice throughout, hiding marks doesn’t fool anyone!) Make sure GCSE’s are brief and not listed in full.

    · Work Experience – This should be after education unless you have games industry experience or internships. Make sure you highlight core communication skills gained from other work experience (team work, time management etc) If you do have Games Industry experience, go to town! Give as much details about the skills you have gained and projects you worked on etc.

    · Hobbies and Interest – This section can show your passion for game genre’s and can be tailored to applications. It is also important that you have a life outside of games, so don’t miss these other hobbies and interests out.

    Aim for 2 pages but no more than 3 if possible. For more detailed information about CV and Demo Advice take a look at:

    A huge thanks to Mark and if you would like to get in contact, with Mark to know more about our services or if you have any questions about the games industry you can contact him via  Email: Tel 01709 834 777

    Aardvark Swift delivers the following information to students as part of our “Get in the Game” careers talk where they discuss:

    · The results from our Annual Studio Skills Survey (where we ask studios what they look for in graduates).

    · Helpful advice about what makes a good CV and Portfolio etc.

    · Promote upcoming events and competitions that students can enter to improve their experience

    · Answer questions relaying our industry knowledge.

    · So keep an eye out for Microsoft Graduate Careers and Aardvark Swifts visits to your university.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Curriculum Pack Update



    New  curriculum resources for teaching Cloud Computing topics using Windows Azure are now available on Faculty Connection.

    This new modular course provides information about Cloud Computing in general and Windows Azure and Windows Azure SQL Database in particular.  The tutorials cover how to develop for the Windows Azure environment and how to use SQL Database as the back-end RDBMS.  Creating Virtual Machines and using Web Sites so the new Azure functionality is  also included.

    · Windows Azure and SQL Database

    · Windows Azure and SQL Database (Instructor Supplement)

    The content can be used in class as part of a Cloud Computing course, as a course on Windows Azure, or for self-paced independent learning

    This material is an intermediate level and the prerequisites are a beginner level of C# Programming Skills, the ability to use basic features of Visual Studio and a conceptual understanding of Relational Databases. 

    The Lab Environment requires  a minimum VS 2010 or VS 2012 Express for Web, 4 GB RAM, and Internet access.

    The audience for this material is students who have completed an Introduction to Programming course and have basic programming skills.  No previous knowledge of Cloud Computing is required.  The first module starts from the basics and builds the knowledge required for more advanced topics.

    The following 6 modules are included in this content:

    · Module 1: Overview of Cloud Computing

    · Module 2: Windows Azure Fundamentals

    · Module 3: Windows Azure Storage

    · Module 4: Windows Azure SQL Database – The Fundamentals

    · Module 5: More about Windows Azure SQL Database

    · Module 6: Virtual Machines and Web Sites

    Each module consists of a lecture and a lab.  The lab exercises are designed for 2 hour sessions for a student who has completed an introductory course on programming, preferably using C#.

    The Instructor Supplement contains the Lab Solutions and is available for  “faculty only”, i.e. will require Faculty Connection membership to download.

    These curriculum materials augment our Cloud Computing resources and are designed to support the  Windows Azure Academic Passes program.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Hadoop On Azure – Signup for CTP



    Hadoop On Azure allows a user to run Hadoop on Microsoft Windows Azure as a service. 

    As your aware from my previous blog this service is currently in private CTP with limited capacity, and by invitation only. 

    However my colleague WenMing has added some more capacity today, So if your an academic or researcher doing big data you may attempt to sign up this free service at  Please allow one week for us to approve your invitation.

    If your interested in what the service is and its capabilities, please take a look at the following learning resources on that Wenming has authored. Wenming would also love to get your feedback on addition content you are interested in for learning about Hadoop.

    BigData Hadoop Learning Resources

    Hadoop on Windows Azure Tutorials

    Introduction to Hadoop on Windows Azure

    Running Hadoop Jobs on Windows Azure and Analyzing the Data with the Excel Hive Add-In

    Hadoop on Windows Azure - Working With Data

    Analyzing Twitter Movie Data with Hive   (additional source at:

    Simple Recommendation Engine using Apache Mahout

    Additional Learning Resources

    Wenming has also given talks at Microsoft TechEd discussing the use scenarios for big data and Hadoop.  (samples at TEchEDLearn Big Data Application Development on Windows Azure

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Some Interesting news for Institutions using Visual Studio and Unity




    There was some very interesting news this week for the hundreds of UK Gaming course and thousands of UK gaming students from the Unite 12 conference in Amsterdam.

    An announcement was made by Unity CEO that the Unity games engine is to support Microsoft's Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, after an update to version 4 of the multiplatform tool.

    The news emerged during the opening keynote of the Unite 12 Unity user conference this week in Amsterdam where David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies. Stated “Our mission at Unity has always been to provide solutions for developers to effortlessly bring their work to as many different platforms as possible,The Unity community has been asking for access to Windows Phones and have been eagerly anticipating the release of Windows 8. We’re happy to announce that we will support both.”

    The number of high quality Unity-authored games for the PC, Xbox, and mobile devices already created is staggering and we’re looking forward to seeing these products appear in the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Marketplace. So if your an existing Unity developer or academic teaching Unity this is great news to allow your students to develop and make available apps on a multitude of OS’s. No date has  been confirmed for the update, but Unity 4 Pre Order are now open via 



    Another interesting announcement was also made for existing Unity and Visual Studio Users by Syntax Tree with a product called UnityVS.


    Simply put UnityVS is a Visual Studio plugin for programmers using Unity. It lets you write and debug your scripts inside Visual Studio. for more details see

    Microsoft Resources

    At we list options for developing Windows 8 games.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Were looking for Microsoft Student Partners

    Applications are now open!

    The Microsoft Student Partner Programme recognises top young minds from around the world that are passionate about technology. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop real-world skills to help you succeed in your future career, to help others learn about the technology of today and tomorrow, and to connect with other like-minded students, all whilst having a ton of fun along the way. The program is our way of encouraging students who are interested in building a closer relationship with Microsoft, and those who are simply hooked on technology, or talking about it to others to develop their skills further.


    So what exactly is a Microsoft Student Partner?

    As a team we are responsible for helping students and start-ups design, create and publish great quality apps for Windows 8, Windows Azure and Windows Phone. An MSP’s role is to help us achieve this by:

    • creating great quality apps
    • writing great content we can use to showcase student talent
    • co-delivering content with us at events

    So we are looking for students who:

    • are experienced software developers
    • are passionate about developer technology and for Microsoft
    • are able to prove this passion
    • you have written a .NET/HTML5/JavaScript application
    • are at a UK university and over 18
    • have the support of a faculty member
    • are able to articulate technology to a crowd

    We do want to encourage discussion and debate about technology and hence your experiences and opinions are extremely valuable. If you want to share your passion and develop industry-leading skills, we want to hear from you.

    What will you get in return?

    As part of your role as an MSP you will receive the following

    • an MSDN subscription
    • monthly Lync calls with the UK Academic team
    • technical education sessions organised on-line
    • the ability to showcase your skills to a wider audience though Microsoft promoting your apps and skills to the wider student and developer community
    • increased visibility in your university (dependant on you driving this with your faculty contact)

    How do we select MSPs?

    The application process will open in August 2012 and we’ll review applications in September. Subsequent selection will take place until the end of December 2012.


    To consider applying for the MSP Program, you must be:

    • Over 18 years of age.
    • Studying a full-time course at an officially recognised university in the UK.
    • Have the support of a Faculty Member or a Professional within the technology industry.
    • Everyone needs to have published at least one app in a Microsoft MarketPlace or Store (Windows Phone, Windows 8, Azure application)
    • If you have an app in the design stage you can become an MSP on probation for 3 months until your app gets published

    What are we looking for?

    All MSPs should have the following basic qualities:

    • Passionate about technology and what it can do
    • Someone who loves to learn
    • Be part of an active and vibrant network


    • Demonstrates a high degree of responsibility, honesty, and integrity
    • Good rapport with faculty and students studying other disciplines
    • Willing to share knowledge & eager to educate and inspire others
    • High level of social activity, both online & offline
    • Willingness to support and organise university events and involve the local community

    What’s the fine print?

    • The time commitment is somewhat variable and depends on you and the activity but it might be somewhere between 1-3 hours/week.
    • Students must be enrolled fulltime in an accredited academic institution within the UK.
    • In order for new people to be accepted onto the programme we expect prospective MSPs to provide some evidence that you have the desire, capacity and willingness to share your passion for technology.
    • If we find it is not meeting your needs then MSPs are free to leave the programme at any time
    • Microsoft retains the right to exclude people from the programme at any time.
    • Your details will not be used for any other marketing purpose.

    How to apply?

    Applications for the 2012-2013 Academic Year are now open. To apply for the Microsoft UK MSP programme, please refer to the competencies required and the responsibilities above.

    Complete the application form by clicking here.

    ·You will need to provide contact details from an academic member of your department or the professional who you have worked with in the technology industry

    Contact Us

    For all questions regarding the Microsoft UK program, please email

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