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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    HoloLens Share your ideas



    We are inviting developers to suggest ideas for apps they want to see on HoloLens. Microsoft will develop the community’s favorite idea into an open source sample. The campaign runs in three parts:

    •      Idea Submission. December 1st-January 11th. Anyone can visit to suggest ideas and vote on ideas they like.

    •      Voting. In January, we will select the three best ideas and put them up for a vote on Twitter.

    •      Building. The app with the most votes will be built by a team from HoloLens Experience Studios over six weeks and we will open source the code.

    What is the goal of Share Your Idea?

    We’re doing this to help inform developers what is possible with Microsoft HoloLens, and help them learn how to develop for it. We want to share our knowledge with the community, and understand what information and support they will need when they start developing their own ideas. During the idea submission phase, we’ll be blogging about which ideas best take advantage of the differentiated capabilities of HoloLens, and how to build them.

    Once the winning idea is identified, an experienced HoloLens development team comprised of designers, artists, and developers will build out the application and share the process with the community through weekly build reviews, Q&A sessions, and more. We aim to prepare developers to build applications for HoloLens, and give them confidence and the foundation to succeed.

    You can see the ideas folks have submitted here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Unity Game Developer Contest 2016 1st Prize $25,000




    Taking your game to Windows is a cinch, and Microsoft has published some handy guidelines to walk you through the process. Once you’re done, publish to Windows Store, and you’ll connect with an audience of over 110 million. Plus, who knows, you could win up to $25,000. Lovely!

    1st prize $25,000

    2nd prize $10,000

    3rd prize $5,000

    Honourable mentions - 1 Unity Pro license

    The deadlines

    We recommend publishing your game to Windows Store by January 27th, 2016

    For entering your published game in the contest: February 10th, 2016


    If you have not published to the Windows Store before, please allow for several weeks before the January 27, 2016 deadline to submit your game.

    Judging Criteria

    Quality of submission (50%)

    How polished, detailed and visually appealing is your game? How well do you use special effects, audio and physics to develop immersive gameplay? How intuitive is your user experience? Is the game stable and does it follow best practices for app development?

    Creativity and originality (30%)

    Is your design based on a new, unique and differentiated idea? Did you create something that pushes the boundaries of imagination?

    Technical excellence (20%)

    Is your game so fast, fluid and optimized that others will appreciate your craftsmanship skills? Did you leverage Windows platform features such as contracts, touch, game hubs, live tiles, notifications, sensors or speech as applicable, to create engaging interactions? Does your game target multiple devices?

    Enter now


    Getting Started with Windows 10 and Unity3d

    · Unity is now at 5.3 

    o Release notes

    · WebGL Updates in Unity 5.3

    · Unity 5.2.3.p3 released

    Windows 10 Unity asset for Azure, Social and cloud services

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    ID@Xbox and the Opportunity of Windows 10 and Xbox One



    Want to know more about the Xbox One and Windows 10 game development

    Well I have the perfect thing watch this short interview with  Chris Charla from Microsoft's ID@Xbox program he discussed the top questions we get from developers about the independent development on Xbox One and Windows 10.

    So if you have questions like

    What is ID@Xbox and how does it work?
    What is Windows 10 and the Universal App Platform?
    Why be a part of ID@Xbox on Windows 10?
    What's the process & how do i sign up?
    What types of games are we looking for? All types!  
    What excites Chris most about the program?
    GDC 2016?

    Then this a must watch..

    ID@Xbox enables qualified game developers to unleash their creativity by self-publishing digital games on Xbox One and Windows 10 with Xbox Live. Find out more or sign-up at

    You can keep you to date on game development on Windows 10 at and watch more from Level UP at

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Hello Cloud Challenge $1000 Challenge for Students over the Christmas Vacation




    This competition is for students ages 16 Plus By checking here, I certify that I am above the age of 16 Register Now! >

    Online Contest

    The Power of Azure

    Master cloud computing with Microsoft Azure and you could win $1,000!

    Cloud computing is changing the technology industry. When you start looking for your first job, will you have the cloud on your résumé? You will if you compete in our new Hello Cloud Challenge! With Microsoft Azure, students can get a free subscription with no credit card required and start creating web apps, running databases, and much more.

    Every month, one student will win our $1,000 sweepstakes. To compete, you just complete one or more of our Hello Cloud activities. Each activity you complete gives you another chance to win. And you only have to do each activity once – your name will still be in the sweepstakes month after month!

    Register for our Hello Cloud contest today and you can get started!

    So what are these activities? They’re actually kind of cool and doing them will help you learn how to manage and deploy projects in the cloud!

    Click here for Activity One – Deploy a web app

    Click here for Activity Two – Deploy a wordpress site

    Click here for Activity Three – Deploy your resume

    More details at

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Introducing - Microsoft Imagine Academy

    We are excited to announce that effective January 11th, 2015 the Microsoft IT Academy will be renamed Microsoft Imagine Academy.


    With the change, Microsoft Imagine will be the single identity used for all Microsoft programs, tools and initiatives aimed at students to drive technology, computer science, coding and employability skills.

    Microsoft Imagine Academy will continue to provide students and educators with a complete technology education solution, that connects the real world with education by equipping students with IT skills needed for successful careers in today’s workforce.

    If your an existing IT Academy member you will have already received communication informing of the changes to ITAcademy members.

    Moving forward we will be providing all customers’ access to a digital Microsoft Imagine Academy Welcome Kit, which enables easier, and ‘on demand’ access to all program marketing materials and resources in 10 languages.

    Digital skills, curriculum & certification

    Academic institutions and their educators, students and staff benefit from digital curriculum and certifications for fundamental technology skills - as well as courses critical for success in today’s technologically evolving world.

    Learn more about member benefits

    Explore technology certification

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect developer preview for Windows 10!



    This preview adds support for using Kinect with the built-in Windows.Devices.Perception APIs, and it also provides beta support for using Kinect with Windows Hello.

    Getting started is easy. First, make sure you already have a working Kinect for Windows V2 attached to your Windows 10 PC. 

    The Kinect Configuration Verifier can make sure everything is functioning okay. Also, make sure your Kinect has a good view of your face -  we recommend centering it as close to the top or bottom of your monitor as possible, and at least 0.5 meters from your face.

    Then follow these steps to install the Kinect developer preview for Windows 10:

    1. The first step is to opt-in to driver flighting. You can follow the instructions here to set up your registry by hand, or you can use the following text to create a .reg file to right-click and import the settings:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



    2. Next, you can use Device Manager to update to the preview version of the Kinect driver and runtime:

                                1. Open Device Manager (Windows key + x, then m).

                                2. Expand “Kinect sensor devices”.

                                3. Right-click on "WDF KinectSensor Interface 0".

                                4. Click "Update Driver Software..."

                                5. Click “Search automatically for updated driver software”.

                                6. Allow it to download and install the new driver.

                                7. Reboot.

    Once you have the preview version of the Kinect for Windows V2 driver (version 2.1.1511.11000 or higher), you can start developing sensor apps for Windows 10 using Visual Studio 2015 with Windows developer tools. You can also set up Windows Hello to log in using your Kinect.

    1. Go to “Settings->Accounts->Sign-in options”.

    2. Add a PIN if you haven’t already.

    3. In the Windows Hello section, click “Set up” and follow the instructions to enable Windows Hello!

    That’s it! You can send us your feedback at

    All the info, in lots more languages!

    Many of you have probably already noticed that our Kinect for Windows developer webpage has a new home under the Windows Dev Center. This is where you can go to learn about the features of the v2 sensor and the free Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0, and to get information about building Kinect-enabled Windows apps.Other Content and Resources:


    The Kinect for Windows team wants to keep you in the loop on interesting adjacent technologies in the NUI and devices spaces. We are working on ways to give you more updates on more of these emerging solutions. In Windows 10 we have some new Cortana capabilities for devs that we thought you should know about. Get started by checking out the links below:

    1. Get to know Cortana with “Cortana Overview video

    2. Cortana Development for beginner: Cortana Extensibility in Universal Windows Apps

    3. Learn more on Cortana and Speech Platform In Depth

    4. Check out the new Cortana page under Windows Dev Center

    Channel 9

    Watch, interact and take part in discussion with Microsoft employees through the different shows on Channel 9.

    Microsoft Virtual Academy

    Develop your skills at the MVA. It includes both online and off-line components and features systems for self-assessment on the latest Microsoft Technology.

    Keep Connected

    You can browse an archive of our past newsletters from the Kinect team via this OneDrive.

    Have you built a cool project with Kinect - Simply email the Kinect team at

    As always, you can keep up to date on the latest Kinect for Windows news by subscribing to the Kinect team blog.  And if you aren’t involved in our Facebook and Twitter community already, please like us and follow the Kinect Team

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Dream it! Build it! Host it! Building your first web game Html5/JS in less than an 1 hour



    Want to create your own game? Build it, host it and make it mobile – in 60 minutes at our FREE, online workshop.

    It’s free, fun and online!

    As part of the global Hour of Code movement, join this session and learn how to code your own game and host it online using DreamSpark and Microsoft Azure. We’ll also show you how to create a mobile app – no experience of coding necessary!

    Be there! Saturday 12th December, 11:00 (GMT) for 60 minutes.

    Get prepped: Make sure you sign up for Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark beforehand (find out how here). You’ll receive a unique DreamSpark activation code by email when you register for the session.

    Register Now

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 10 Hands On Developer Camp–London Friday 11th Dec


    Windows 10 Hands On Developer Camp - London

    Windows 10 Hands On Developer Camp - London

    10 South Place
    London EC2M7EB
    United Kingdom

    Get hands on with Windows 10 Development!

    You are invited to join us for a day of guided hands on development of Universal Windows Platform apps that can run across all Windows 10 devices. Whether you haven’t looked at your most recent project in 1 month or 1 year, there is plenty to learn about what’s new in developing for Windows 10 devices -- not just for a PC or a phone, but for all Windows 10 devices.


    9:00 - 9:30 Registration and welcome

    9:30 - 10:30 Introduction to Windows 10 UWP

    10:30 - 11:30 Adaptive UI + Hands on Lab

    11:30 - 12:00 Live tiles & notifications

    12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

    13:00 - 14:00 Edge and hosted web apps + Hands on Lab

    14:00 - 15:00 Cloud Services & connected experiences + Hands on Lab

    15:00 - 15:30 Break

    15:30 - 16:30 More personal computing + Hands on Lab

    16:30 - 17:00 Store and monetization

    What to bring

    This event is HANDS ON! You must bring your own laptop and be prepared to roll up your sleeves and dive directly into code with the following tools:

    * A PC with minimum 4gb RAM, 1GB free disk space or an Apple Mac configured with Boot Camp with Windows 10 installed on its own partition.

    * Windows 10 must be installed before the event – we will not be able to assist in the installation of Windows 10 at the event.

    * Visual Studio 2015 Community installed (download) or Visual Studio 2015 Professional or Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise installed.

    IMPORTANT: When installing Visual Studio, be sure to perform a custom install and enable the “Universal Windows App Development Tools” feature.  If you already have Visual Studio installed, you will want to confirm this is enabled through “Change or remove a program” in Windows Control Panel.

    During this event, you will:

    ·         Get hands-on experience building apps using the Universal Windows Platform

    ·         Learn how to build an adaptive UI that changes layout when running on different screen sizes and orientations

    ·         Learn how to light up your app with new Windows 10 features such as Live Tile adaptive templates, interactive notifications, ink input and more…

    ·         Connect a mobile app to the cloud to create connected mobile experiences that work across all the users’ devices

    After the event:

    ·         Continue your training by working through all the hands on labs that are available or watching the Building UWP apps for Complete Beginners, or Developer’s Guide to Windows 10 course on Microsoft Virtual Academy.

    ·         Update your existing Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1 apps to Windows 10 and reach more devices and more form factors

    ·         Build awesome UWP apps!


    Register now

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Student and Faculty Guide - 10 easy steps to get up and running with Azure Machine Learning

    My colleague Amy Nicholson is the UK expert on Azure Machine Learning, the following blog post is after a quizzing session to get understand how to get started with Azure Machine Learning” 

    Step 1. Setup your Azure Machine Learning account/service

    1. Create Microsoft Account, Use Microsoft Account to set up DreamSpark Account, Verify your DreamSpark Account, Register for Microsoft Azure for DreamSpark Go to Azure Machine Learning Studio and click the "Get Started" link Microsoft, DreamSpark and Azure Account Set-up Instructional Video

    2. Azure for Education is for Faculty running courses using Azure, including Azure ML. Each student receives $100 of Azure credit per month, for 6 months. The Faculty member receives $250 per month, for 12 months. You can apply anytime at

    3. Azure Machine Learning for Research is for University Faculty running data science courses who may need greater amounts of Azure storage and additional services such as HDInsight (Hadoop and Spark) or DocumentDB (NoSQL). Proposals are accepted every two months, you can find out more and apply at

    4. Azure Passes I have access to a limited number of $100 1 Month Azure passes so if your interested in running a class, tutorial or session on Machine learning at a UK institution please get in touch @lee_stott

    Step 2: Understand the basics

    The Azure machine learning team provided a very nice walkthrough tutorial which covers a lot of the basics. 

    This tutorial is really useful as it takes you through the entire process of creating an AzureML workspace, uploading data, creating an experiment to predict someone’s credit risk, building, training, and evaluating the models, publishing your best model as a web service, and calling that web service. 

    Step 3: Getting Data to work with

    Now you need to learn how to import a data set into Azure Machine Learning, and where to find interesting data to build something amazing.

    You can upload local data (like a .csv file) from your machine or access data from elsewhere on the internet (like an OData feed provider).

    Great example of data are 

    and Azure DataMarket

    Step 4: Create your first Machine Learning Experiment

    Many predictive experiments using supervised learning (regression, classification, or anomaly detection) will follow this basic pattern. 

    ML Azure

    Drag the data set that you chose in step 3 onto your AzureML workspace.  Then you may want to use the various Data Transformation modules to clean or reformat your data (such as removing rows with missing data, etc). 

    Then you will split your data set in a training and test set. 

    Best practice is to split 75% training and 25% test. 

    Why do we have to split it?  Well, remember that with supervised learning, you need data with labeled examples.  So, the reason you split the data is to provide most of the data to train the model (it will process the data to figure out correlations between the inputs and outputs in the “train model” module), but we want to hold back some of that labeled data to test the model that we built.  Then, we can compare the output of the trained model generates against the actual test dataset (in the “score model” module) to see how well the model is performing.  (We can't use the same data for both…the model is built using the training data, so it will perform pretty accurately with that; we hold back unused data to test.) 

    Finally, the “evaluate model” module lets us compare two models against each other to determine which performs better for our needs. 

    Step 5: Choosing the right Algorithm

    There are 4 categories of algorithms currently supported in Azure Machine Learning:


    1. Clustering: grouping similar data together
    2. Regression: predicting a value
    3. Classification: predicting a discrete category
    4. Anomaly detection: identifying data that is outside of the norm

    Once you determine the category of algorithm that makes sense for your problem, you need to choose a specific algorithm within that category. 

    The best resource for this is the Azure Machine Learning Cheat Sheet

    The Cheat Sheet It is a useful flowchart that helps you analyze your data and figure out which algorithm may perform best. 

    Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Cheat Sheet

    Step 6: Refine your model. 

    Each algorithm contains a number of initial parameters.  Tweaking the initial parameters can greatly improve your results.  The "Sweep Parameters" module can help by trying many different input parameters for you, and you can specify the metric that you want to optimize for (such as accuracy, precision, recall, etc.). 

    Changing algorithms and adjusting their initial parameters can greatly affect your results.  Here are some resources to help you learn to perfect your model:

    How to choose parameters to optimize your algorithms in Azure Machine Learning

    Run and Fine-Tune Multiple Models" video by Data Science Dojo

    To evaluate your model, right-click on the output node of the “Evaluate Model” module and select “Visualize”. 

    The data provided is different depending on what category of algorithm you are using:

    Regression models give you the mean absolute error, root mean squared error, relative absolute error, relative squared error, and the coefficient of determination.  You want the errors to be as close to 0 as possible, and you want the coefficient of determination to be as close to 1 as possible. 

    Binary (two-class) classification models provide metrics on accuracy, precision, recall, F1 score (which is a combination of precision and recall), and AUC (area under the curve).  You want all of these numbers to be as close to 1 as possible.  It also provides the number of true positives, false positives, false negatives, and true negatives.  You want the number of true positives and true negatives to be high, and the number of false positives and false negatives to be low. 

    Multiclass classification models provide a confusion matrix of actual vs. predicted instances. 

    Here are some resources to help you with evaluating your model:

    How to evaluate model performance in Azure Machine Learning

    How to interpret model results in Azure Machine Learning

    Step 7: Publish your model as a web service. 

    To publish your model, click the “SET UP WEB SERVICE” button in the bottom toolbar in Azure Machine Learning Studio.  If there are multiple trained models in your experiment, select the “Train Model” module for the algorithm/trained model you want to use before clicking the button. 

    Set Up Web Service

    Select the creation of a “Predictive Web Service”.  The tool will generate a new experiment with web service inputs and outputs.  Verify that all of your data preprocessing modules still make sense when you call the service with new data.  You can also use the “Project Columns” module to remove some columns from the web service inputs and outputs.  Then, run your predictive experiment and click “DEPLOY WEB SERVICE”. 

    There is further documentation on publishing your web service here.  (You can also reference this step in the walkthrough)

    Step 8: Call your web service.

    Finally, you need to write a little code (or grab some sample code) to call your web service.  The Azure web service that you created can operate two different ways:


    • Request/Response - The user sends one or more rows of credit data to the service by using an HTTP protocol, and the service responds with a set of results.
    • Batch Execution - The user sends to the service the URL of an Azure blob that contains one or more rows of credit data. The service stores the results in another blob and returns the URL of that container.

    When you published the web service in the previous step, you were taken to a webpage documenting the different ways to call your service.  Sample code is provided in C#, Python, and R.  An Excel spreadsheet with macros to call the web service is also provided. 

    The official documentation on calling your web service is here

    Step 9: Retrain your model over time. 

    You may have new data coming in continually, and want to occasionally retrain your ML model based on that new data. 

    Here is the official documentation on how to retrain machine learning models programmatically

    Step 10: Share the Outcome as a Gallery item,

    Hopefully you learned something and others will benefit from your knowledge, troubleshooting efforts, and lessons learned as well.  You can also share your machine learning model to the Azure Machine Learning gallery with a button click from the bottom toolbar in AzureML Studio. 

    Publish To Gallery

    Other learning Resources

    Azure Machine Learning Project using Web Services Online Video Course

    Build and Deploy Your Predictive Model (75 minutes)
    1. Download the Training Data from Titanic Training Data
    2. Complete the Data Science Dojo Tutorials:
    Use ML Algorithm in Excel (30 minutes)


    Get Started with Azure Machine Learning


    Feature requests for Azure Machine Learning

    Microsoft Virtual Academy course on Azure Machine Learning

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Labs Scenarios for Machine Learning, Web Development and Mobile Game Development all with a Microsoft DreamSpark Azure Account



    The challenge of most survey information systems courses taught in the College of Business is that the hands-on projects tend to teach Microsoft Office skills rather than give insights into IT careers. 

    This might be why CIS, MIS and IS departments still struggle to recruit students to the major despite a very robust job market.


    My colleague in the US Randy Guthrie – Microsoft Technical Evangelist. Has created the

    Azure in IS Lab Series

    The Azure in IS Lab Series has been designed teach important IS concepts while at the same time giving students a better understanding of technology careers beyond textbook exercises.

    Students use professional tools and learn skills that can have immediate scholastic and career benefit.

    Each of the projects is based on the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform, but allows the teacher and student to explore several implementation scenarios including game development, web development and predictive analytics via Azure Machine Learning.

    These labs are targeted specifically at college students enrolled in survey Information Systems courses with limited technical skills, but could easily be used in other activities such as computer science societies and clubs.

    The projects are:


    Mobile Game Development: in this project students walk through one or two self-guided tutorials for one of several game types, and then heavily customize the game mechanics, graphics and story to make a unique game. They then publish the game as an Azure website and use social media to drive traffic, get feed back, etc. Students then have the option of taking it further and publishing their game to Windows, iOS and Android device stores.


    Web Development: In this project students use Azure to build and host a WordPress website or blog. Almost 25% of the websites on the Internet use WordPress, and students from all business disciplines can benefit from learning how to create and deploy a WordPress site.  As an additional benefit, the Azure subscription through DreamSpark is free, and the websites (students get ten websites per subscription) do not expire, even after the student leaves the university.


    Machine Learning: In this project students develop a predictive model using one of a variety of datasets (the Titanic passenger manifest is a favorite) using Azure Machine Learning Studio. They can then deploy their model as a web app, and can then create an API to make a Excel Spreadsheet that uses the model to predict outcomes for the data in the spreadsheet.

    All of these projects use browser-based tools, so students can use any personal connected device without the need to download or install software. There are lots of helpful videos, supplemental PowerPoint presentations, grading rubrics, and even guidance for how students can reference their completed projects on a resume or enter their projects in a contest.

    These resources are available at no-cost, and technical support is available through the website to help faculty get started and to make sure the projects provide an enjoyable and impactful experience for everyone involved.

    In a recent pilot at Arizona State University, over 30 students changed their business concentration as a result of doing the Mobile Game project, and many more thought this was one of the most enjoyable assignments so far in their college experience.

    Check out the Azure in IS Lab Series today

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