September, 2012

  

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Server 2012 within teaching, learning and research

    • 4 Comments

    server2012

    Well this week marked another important milestone for Microsoft with the release of Windows Server 2012, on Tuesday 4th of September, Microsoft made the official announcement of Windows Server 2012 you watch all the content at http://www.windows-server-launch.com

    What’s new in Server 2012

    Microsoft has positioned this as a very cloud-friendly OS. So its more important then ever to start ensuring your teaching cloud fundamentals to your students to help with this we have dedicated curriculum at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty

    Here are some of the new features.

    • New file system — Included in Windows Server 2012 is ReFS, a new file system designed to survive failures that would bring down or corrupt the previous NTFS file system (which is still available). Combined with improvements in cluster management and failover, this is a capability that will play across the entire user spectrum.
    • Deploy and manage at scale Windows Server 2012  is designed to make it easy to deploy multiple copies of the OS on geographically distributed systems. Obviously this is a good feature for cloud platform, but is of use to almost any enterprise IT group. Improvements in application development and deployment promise the ability to deploy any Windows Server 2012 application to any location(s) from a centralized deployment server.
    • Vastly improved Hyper-V, virtual networking, and associated tools Windows Server 2012 has many improvements to Hyper-V, including features to improve HA/DR provisioning, enhanced virtual networking, and improvements to the size of individual VMs. Microsoft’s new management solution, Systems Center 2012, offers deep integration with Hyper-V for advanced management.
    • Heavy emphasis on multi-tenancy A fundamental for deploying clouds, either as an internal private cloud or as a service provider offering shared cloud services, the ability to securely and efficiently handle multiple tenants on the cloud is a fundamental requirement. Windows Server 2012 has multiple features to enhance this capability, most of which will also be potentially useful for traditional enterprise IT environments as well. Security across the entire OS is integrated with these enhancements as well.
    • Client and remote office functions Improved management of client devices to allow centralized control of data and enhanced audit and compliance. Improvements in Branch Cache remote file services will allow tighter and more efficient management of data served to remote offices.

    So, what are the press and analyst saying about Windows Server 2012?

    Windows Server 2012 offers a major step in function capabilities aligned with several major strategic trends for both Microsoft and the rest of the industry.

    The team at Forrester posted a blog titled, “Microsoft Announces Windows Server 2012,” Here are just a few quotes.

    On the release of Windows Server 2012 as a whole:

    “Make no mistake, this is a really major restructuring of the OS, and a major step in function capabilities aligned with several major strategic trends for both Microsoft and the rest of the industry. While Microsoft’s high level message is centered on the cloud, and on the Windows Server 2012 features that make it a productive platform upon which both enterprises and service providers can build a cost-effective cloud, its features will be immensely valuable to a wide range of businesses.”

    There is no doubt that this is the most significant jump in OS capabilities since Microsoft first introduced Windows as a server OS.”

    Forrester Says Evaluate Windows Server 2012 NOW:

    “But, and this is critical, you must begin to evaluate and pilot it even if you are still completing your rollout of Windows Server 2008, as many Forrester clients still are. My guess is that WS2012 is the future of Windows OS, and will probably serve as the core of Microsoft’s strategy for the next decade. I doubt their ability to produce a radical upgrade to this in the next four or five years, and even the next version of the OS is likely to look like WS2012. This implies that you need to understand how this new OS will change and enable your strategic IT road map, particularly since the new OS has features and capabilities that, if properly exploited by you (or by your competitors), could generate real competitive differentiation such as the ability to deploy applications more rapidly, manage them more efficiently, etc.”

    What does this mean For IT Students and curricula?

    Firstly if your teaching infrastructure, administration, storage, cloud or virtualisation its critical, that you begin to evaluate and become familiar with Windows Server 2012. As academics you have a number of ways of doing this.

    1. Download a trial version from http://www.windows-server-launch.com

    2. Download and install a full version for FREE for teaching, learning and research in your labs and computer clusters from DreamSpark Premiumhttp://www.dreamspark.com 

    3. Point your students at www.dreamspark.com and get them to install windows server 2012 and get familiar. For further details and FAQ click here

    The key thing is that understand how this new OS will change and enable your strategic curricula roadmap, particularly since the new OS has features and capabilities that, could generate real competitive differentiation for your student employability giving them experience of skills such as the ability to deploy applications more rapidly, manage them more efficiently have experience of the Windows Azure IaaS, PaaS and SaaS options and virtualisation using HyperV.

    Recommendations

    1. You should evaluate this new release.

    2. Make use of FREE training resources for your IT Services and support teams at https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/

    3. Attend one of our FREE IT Camps to get deeper understanding of Windows Server 2012 http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/it-camps.aspx

    4. Make use of the curricula and teaching resources at http://www.microsoft.com/faculty

    5. Consider running older OS and software stacks within a VM, particularly given the improvements to the overall Hyper-V environment.

    6. If your contemplating a major new cloud or virtualization project or initiative, Windows Server 2012 should be the platform of choice, simply because of the FREE licensing options for teaching, learning and research as part of DreamSpark premium.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Server 2012 Certification and Training

    • 3 Comments

    Windows Server 2012 Training & Certification Now Available to all Microsoft IT Academy members

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    if your interested in IT Academy please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/itacademy/

     

    1) Certifications and official Microsoft training and certifications are now available for Windows Server 2012, Windows 8, Private Cloud, Windows Store Application

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    In addition to this we now have new structure for Microsoft Technical Certifications

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    With a dedicated number of suitable examinations for the FE/HE education market which adds added value to the student experience and curriculum content aligning your courses with employees requirements.

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    2) Windows Server Certification and examination tracks

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    3) Microsoft Second Shot promotion is active so students (and lecturers) get a FREE retake if they do not pass first time for more info click here

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    4) Courseware available for Windows Server 2012 is now available to all Microsoft IT Academy members   

    Module 1: Managing a Windows Server 2012 Infrastructure

    •What's New in Server Manager

    •Introducing IP Address Management

    •PowerShell and Server Core Enhancements

    •What’s New in Active Directory

    •Introducing Dynamic Access Control

    Module 2: Network, Storage, and Service Access in Windows Server 2012

    •Storage Enhancements

    •What's New in Remote Access

    •New and Improved Networking Technologies

    •Availability Enhancements

    Module 3: Server Virtualization in Windows Server 2012

    •Storage Enhancements

    •What’s New in Networking

    •Introducing Hyper-V Replica

    •What’s New in Live Migration

    •What’s New in Guest Clustering and VM Monitoring

    More Info:

    First Look Clinic Syllabus

    Hands On Lab Syllabus

    5) Microsoft IT Academy now  includes a number of enhanced resources including new online digital content and resources for more information click here

     

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    Click Here for the FREE E-Book on Windows Server 2012

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Installing Visual Studio 2012 and enabling developer licenses for Windows 8 apps

    • 3 Comments

     

    The  RTM versions of Visual Studio 2012 require developer activation to enable the developer to develop a Windows Store application.

    This activation is via a registered LiveID/Microsoft Account, and simply enrols VS2012 for a 90 day development license.

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    I have a had a number of question how do we do this?

    The process you must be undertaken by a local admin on the desktop, you must also have access to Visual Studio and register your LiveID/MicrosoftID against the machines copy of Visual Studio 2012..

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    To enable you to undertake the activation on a large scale deployment such as University or college lab environment here are some tips


    We are in the process of producing necessary documentation and white papers but In the meantime the following FAQ is helpful:

    ·         Does the developer license only have to be acquired/renewed in relation to Windows Store app development?
    Yes. To be precise: You need the developer license to install, develop, test and evaluate new style apps BEFORE you submit them to the Window Store. To be able to submit an app to the Windows Store, you'll need to open a separate Windows Store developer account through the developer website.

    ·         Is the license per user or per machine?
    Per User and machine, see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh974578.aspx

    ·         It seems that you have to have local administrator privileges to renew the license, is that correct?
    YES

    ·         Is the renewal of the license something that could be automated by an administrator via remotely deployed PowerShell scripts?
    YES, see section "Getting a developer license at a command prompt" at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh974578.aspx

    ·         How can I use a DreamSpark account?
    Here is how to associate your DreamSpark account to a Microsoft account and also get a developer license for Windows Phone/Xbox development
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2012/02/29/dreamspark-and-apphub-account-creation-simplified.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows Azure Educator and Student Passes

    • 2 Comments

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    Windows Azure Educator Grants are a great way for you and your students to get access to Azure for the duration of your class. These passes are available for faculty teaching Azure.

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    Azure in Education Passes

    · 5 month passes for PAAS: Any educator may apply online requesting access, and sharing the course name he/she is teaching, and how many students/passes they are requesting.  

    · NEW 5 Month passes teach with IAAS: Premium services will be enabled, to include 3 core = 2 small VMs (Windows or Linux VMs.), 10 Free Website/  Media Services(TBC)..

    · NEW 12 month passes for Educators.  Any educator applying for a grant, will receive an educator pass that is 12-months long and renewable, as part of their class request.

    · Imagine Cup Passes – Competitors will be offered passes

    For additional questions or special requests email AzureU@microsoft.com

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event 12th Sept

    • 2 Comments

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    This week sees the launch of Visual Studio 2012.  On the 12th of Sept we launch Visual Studio 2012 with Jason Zander CVP who will be presenting the keynote.

    This is where the development of apps really starts!  Visual Studio 2012 is the most significant Tools product we have ever launched and has been 18 months in the making. 

    Visual Studio 2012 is key to enabling Agile software development.

    Tim Anderson has been recently been undertaking interviews for The Register and The Guardian.  If you’re not familiar with his work then you can see the first review he has written here: Visual Studio 2012: 50 Shades of Grey by Microsoft

    The launch of Visual Studio 2012 on the 12th of September will be streamed on line:  http://www.visualstudiolaunch.com/vs2012vle/Home

    Visual Studio 2012 Roadshow

    During the first week of Oct the UK Visual Studio team will be travelling the country bringing the launch experience to Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Reading.  Further details about the Roadshow can be found here:   Visual Studio 2012 Launch Roadshow

    Download Visual Studio Now

    Visual Studio 2012 can be downloaded for free from Microsoft DreamSpark

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Well what are you doing this weekend? I may be breaking a record..

    • 1 Comments

    Guinness

    Windows 8 Game Apps - World Record attempt for the Largest GameJam in a single location

    Friday, Sept 14th to Sunday, Sept 16th

    University of Bedfordshire, Luton

    For the past few weeks we have been working closely with a specialised gaming institution called Train2Game to ensure that their students are firstly aware and secondly up to speed on developing beautiful stunning and awesome games on Windows 8.

    So this weekend Microsoft will be supporting Train2Game. Guinness World Record Attempt GameJam.

    Yes… we have taken over the University of Bedfordshire in Luton for the weekend. The University IT Team have successfully upgraded to Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 via DreamSpark premium.

    The IT team have built a custom image and have successfully deployed this to the current PC estate for use throughout the event.

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    All the PC’s located in the computer labs and study spaces are now Windows 8 and the event images compromises of Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Ultimate RTM and various design and graphics packages and tools necessary to build amazing games.

    The event will  start on Friday and last for the next 48 hours we have over 330 game development students, these students will work in teams developing Windows 8 Game Apps using only C++ and DirectX.  A unknown theme will be announced at the keynote by Scott Henson of MS Studios and officials from Guinness World Records will be present throughout the event adjudicating the proceedings.  The existing World Record is held by Singapore at 301 game developers so we will all hopefully be successful record breakers on Sunday.

    In preparing for the Game Jam the 330+ students have, for the past six weeks, been developing Windows 8 games to practise their skills.  These 330+ students can also now take advantage of these skills and build and deploy games for FREE to the Windows Store using their DreamSpark subscriptions which provide them free developer accounts for the Windows Store and Windows Phone MarketPlace.

    The experience and our involvement will help encourage them continue developing games in C++ and DirectX for Windows 8 and  Windows Phone 8.  Give the students some real practical example of working within teams and provide them with evidence and portfolios of real apps, with user ratings and feedbacks which they can then use to demonstrate skills to potential employers.

    We are also working with Train2Game in building a Windows 8/Phone 8 Game Development module for their 9,000 students to take as an option on their Degree/Masters courses.

    Happy coding! Oh yes, I will be playing some of the games developed on Sunday. So expect more details after I have recovered from sleep deprivation.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Xamarin now supports Azure Services

    • 1 Comments
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    Xamarin is partnering with Windows Azure Mobile Services to expand the Mobile Services SDK to iOS and Android platforms. Xamarin products empower more than 175,000 developers to write native apps for iOS and Android—all in C#.

    Mobile Services and Xamarin share a common goal: freeing developers to focus on what really matters.  Mobile Services reduces the friction of configuring a scalable and secure backend and lets mobile app developers focus on delivering a fantastic user experience.  Xamarin allows mobile app developers to make the most of C#, and enables mobile developers to support more devices with less code.

    For tutorials and more information on how to get started, please visit the Xamarin blog and developer center.

    http://blog.xamarin.com/2012/09/20/xamarin-partners-with-microsoft-to-support-azure-mobile-services-on-android-and-ios/

    The announcement on the Azure team blog:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/09/20/announcing-open-sourcing-of-windows-azure-mobile-services-sdk-on-github-and-partnership-with-xamarin.aspx

    We're pretty excited about this one, as it means that C# developers can use the same code to access Azure services from iOS, Android, or Windows.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    So how do CS students make a beautiful looking Windows 8 application?

    • 1 Comments

     

    The simple answer is they can use this index to quickly find the user experience (UX) guidelines that can help you create a great Windows 8 style app.

    Click to download the guidelines This PDF file.

    Windows 8 design style

    Windows 8 UI style apps are the focal point of the user experience on Windows 8, and great apps share an important set of traits that provide a consistent, elegant, and compelling user experience.

    Touch interaction

    Metro style app touch interactions

    Use touch interactions that keep the user in control and confident, and leverage the screen or device edge so people can confidently find commands. See Touch interaction design.

    Snapping and scaling

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    These features help you create great experiences for every form factor and every viewing option your users have.

    • Flexible layouts: Design for different form factors and let users manipulate the content to fit their needs and preferences. Think of landscape view first so that your app will run on all form factors, but remember that some screens rotate, so optimize the layout of your content for a taller-than-wide view that retains functionality. See Guidelines for layouts.
    • Snapped and fill views: Design for your users' multi-tasking needs. Users want to use your app while they chat, surf the web, watch a movie, or whatever, so make your snapped view useful and maintain context when going between snapped and unsnapped views. See Guidelines for snapped and fill views.
    • Scaling to screens:  Design an app UI that looks great on devices of various sizes—from a small tablet screen, to a medium laptop screen, and all the way up to a large desktop or all-in-one screen. See Guidelines for scaling to screens.
    • Scaling to pixel density: Make sure the images in your app look great when scaled. Windows scales your app to ensure consistent physical sizing regardless of the pixel density of the device. See Guidelines for scaling to pixel density.
    • Resizing: Make sure your app looks great when Windows needs to resize it. Windows automatically resizes your app when the user changes the view state or calls up the soft keyboard. See Guidelines for resizing.
    Contracts, charms, and capabilities

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    Contracts are the glue that binds Metro style apps together and to the system UI. Two apps that have implemented the same contract can work together to complete a broad or complex scenario. Some contracts are represented by charms. See a complete list of app contracts.

    Capabilities identify the device features your app uses.

    Tiles and notifications

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    A tile is the front door into an app. Sitting on the Start screen, it is an extension of the app and can provide much more personal and engaging information than a traditional icon. Invest in designing a great tile to draw people into your app.

    Provide fresh content through live tiles and notifications to let people feel connected to your app. Make sure you help your users connect with the people and devices that they care about.

    Controls

    Design your app's UI to showcase the content. Minimize distraction and help people get immersed in the content by leaving only the most relevant elements on screen. Following these guidelines will help you provide a consistent, elegant, and compelling user experience.

    Commands

    Navigation

    Transient UI

    Images

    Text and input

    Roaming to the cloud

    Multiple devices running Windows 8: laptop, tablet, desktop monitor

    Create a continuous experience across devices by roaming data and settings that lets people pick up a task right where they left off and that preserves the UX they care most about, regardless of the device they're using.

    • Roaming: Make it easy for users to use your app everywhere, from their kitchen family PC to their work PC to their personal tablet, by maintaining settings and states with roaming. Additional guidance on roaming can be found in Managing app data and Guidelines for roaming app data.
    • Settings: Consolidate all of your app's settings on one UI surface, and let users configure your app via common mechanism they are already familiar with. See Guidelines for app settings.
    • Single sign-on:  Ensure that users can sign in with their Microsoft account and enjoy a consistent experience on any Windows 8 device they use. See Guidelines for single sign-on and connected accounts.
    Fundamentals

    Every app should always have a solid foundation in order to reach as many people as possible.

    • Splash screen:  Use the splash screen to smooth the transition between when people launch your app and when it's ready for use. The splash screen should subtly reinforce your brand with your users, not distract them or advertise to them. See Guidelines for splash screens.
    • Suspend and resume app state:  Users will switch your app on and off the screen, and Windows will terminate it in the background when it is unused. You should save and resume the app state when possible to maintain context. See Guidelines for app suspend and resume.
    • Auto-launching and "Open With": Launch the default app for a file type or protocol from your app. See Guidelines for file types and protocols.
    • Globalization, localization, and app resources: Windows is used worldwide, so you need to design your app so that resources, such as strings and images, are separated from their code, to help make localization easy. See Guidelines for globalizing your app and Guidelines for app resources.
    • Accessibility: Make your app available to all users regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or preferences. If you use the built-in UI controls, you get accessibility for free. When you need to create custom controls, see Plan for accessibility.
    • App help: Provide help or troubleshooting tips to your users. See Guidelines for app help.
    • Store categories: Learn how to create great apps for specific Windows Store categories, like games or entertainment. See Category guidance.

    Resources

    Teaching Curricula see http://www.microsoft.com/faculty

    Windows 8 resources for UK Developers  see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/windows8

    Windows 8 resources for Gaming Developer see http://www.ubelly.com/gaming

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    GameSalad announces support for Windows 8

    • 1 Comments

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    GameSalad are another game creation company who has confirmed support for Windows 8 App Store publishing via GameSalad Creator Pro.

    Once GameSalad Creator for Windows 8 is released, you will find a new "Windows 8" publishing target integrated directly into the web publishing flow, allowing you to quickly and easily publish any previously developed game or application to the Windows 8 Store.

     

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    GameSalad and Microsoft will be hosting a joint webinar for any developer (basic or pro users) interested in Windows 8 Store publishing on Friday, September 28th at 1:00PM CST. Please register here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/452117663  - Introduction to the Windows Store.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 are you ready?

    • 1 Comments

    AreyouReady

    On Friday 26th October Windows 8 students and all consumers will have the opportunity to purchase Windows 8 and new Windows 8 PC’s. So the statement of ‘Post PC era’ may be killed overnight by a wide array of amazing new devices. If you are teaching development, gaming or architecture Windows 8 has a number of major changes.

    So if your building an app for Windows 8 – or porting your existing app across – then make sure you get up to speed and attend one of our FREE camps and events.

    Here’s a short ‘trailer’ on why you should be part of the Windows 8 journey…

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