• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Why start learning to build for Windows 8



    If you have done any reading about Windows 8, one thing all the press is focusing on is Windows 8 offers and unprecedented opportunity to monetize your developer skills.

    Combining the broad reach of Windows which already exists, a new developer platform in the form of Windows Store Apps, best-in-class developer tools Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server, a reimagined user experience with Windows Store, Metro Style Apps, support for new chipsets Intel and RTM, and a built-in Store with industry-leading business terms, with initial revenue share of 70% revenue for you 30 % for Microsoft and 100% in app purchase revenue to you.

    Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity, ever!

    So lets look at some of the reasons for developers to consider writing applications for the Windows Store.

    1. The Size of the Windows Opportunity

    There is more than 1.25 billion Windows users globally. The market potential for your selling your application is enormous. Clearly, the market for Windows-based applications far outnumbers anything else. Thinking about academia specifically, potential employers will be wanting to recruit students with the skills, experience and portfolio of existing Windows 8 apps to build their latest software releases.

    2. The Scale of the Windows Opportunity

    Simply put the Windows Store offers a marketplace for your application with a global reach of 200+ markets, 100+ languages, even distribution to enterprise customers. A generous revenue sharing model is in place. Imagine that you keep 70-80% of the revenue share from your application.

    3. So what are we doing to help


    1. Some amazing help is available from Microsoft
    2. I am talking about the Windows 8 Camps
    3. Sign up HERE for the App Excellence Lab Process
    4. You will get a 2 hour, 1-1 session with a technical person to help review your app, pass it (to submit to the store submission process) or give you feedback you can go away and work on.
    5. The sessions can be virtual or physical so you can do it from your location.
    6. The AEL process is about quality so please make sure your app is in good shape so you have the best possible chance of getting the app through the process.
    7. AELs run from now to GA October 26th so there are lots of dates and times so you will be able to find a time that suits you.
    8. Get to grips with Windows 8 have one-on-one sessions with Microsoft staff
    9. They will help review your application for:
      • Performance
      • Adherence to the Windows 8 Design Principles
    10. This process could result in a your app getting early into the Windows Store


    4. So What type of App should I be building?

    What is the Best App Type? - Entertainment apps are the most popular, followed by Books and References, and Games.
    What languages can I develop in? Windows 8, Windows Store apps can leverage a variety of skills you already know (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, XAML, C#, VB, or C++ ).

    5. The Windows Store Ensures Visibility

    Strong support for search, category browsing, ranking lists, editorial content. The Windows Store features latest, most popular, and fast rising apps.

    6. Enterprise Support
    Don’t limit yourself to consumer apps. Perhaps you have an idea for an Enterprise application. Luckily, the Windows Store will have rich support for deployment and management scenarios.  Compliance and security is built in. There is support for direct control over the deployment of Metro style apps.

    7. How you make money
    Your applications can be time-based and feature-based trials, paid apps, including in-app purchases.  In-app purchases can help you customize the transaction flow with the customer. Sales analytics can also help you increase your reach.

    8. Free Apps - Many choose to offer free applications + an ad model

    I personally think it makes the most sense to get your application out there as a trial. We have learned from the Windows Phone marketplace that trial versions get 70 times more downloads than paid versions. 10% of those convert to the paid version, typically within a few hours.


    1. The Windows Dev Center

    • Developer downloads – This single page gives access to all of the downloads you need to build apps, including Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Express 2012, design assets, code samples, and additional SDKs and tools.
    • Design resources – All Windows 8 design resources are located at design.windows.com. See case studies, category guidance, and get a new downloadable version of the UX guidelines for Windows 8 apps.
    • Developer content – The ‘Docs’ section of the Windows Dev Center is updated for RTM including more detailed API docs, new How-to articles, a new section for developing apps with C++ and DirectX, and many more samples.
    • Selling content – Find the Windows Store markets, how to price apps, and the latest versions of the Windows Store Agreements including the App Certification Requirements.
    • Community content – Access to developer forums, blogs, Dev Camps, and local event listings

    2. The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Creating a Linux Virtual Machine as a Persistent Windows Azure VM role.




    Over the past few weeks, I have had a few questions around the ability of Windows Azure http://www.windowsazure.com/education to run non Windows operating systems. In this post I will explain the process of  installing Linux on Windows Azure.

    Firstly some key facts about Windows Azure support for Linux 

    Creating a virtual machine that is running the Linux operating system is easy when you use the image gallery in the Windows Azure Preview Management Portal. With no prior experience with Windows Azure, you can create a virtual machine running the Linux operating system in the cloud that you can access and customize.

    Images are provided by these trusted members of the Linux community:


    So how to create a virtual machine?



    Here is a step by step walkthrough adapted from Bruno Terkaly Blog http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brunoterkaly   

    1. Open Internet Explorer and browse https://manage.windowsazure.com to enter the Windows Azure portal. Then, log in with your credentials.
    2. In the menu located at the bottom, select New | Virtual Machine | From Gallery to start creating a new virtual machine.


    Working with the gallery
    1. Select "From Gallery" to start creating a new virtual machine.
    2. Gallery will provide a list of available operating systems.

    Select a flavour of Linux

     Selecting a flavour of Linux


    1. Not including your own, you can choose your VM to run the following Systems:
      • Microsoft SQL Server 2012
        • This image contains the full version of SQL Server, including all components except Distributed Replay, Always On, and Clustering capabilities.
      • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
        • Windows Server 2008 R2 is a multi-purpose server designed to increase the reliability and flexibility of your server or private cloud infrastructure.
      • Windows Server 2012
        • Windows Server 2012 incorporates Microsoft's experience building and operating public clouds, resulting in a dynamic, highly available server platform. It offers a scalable, dynamic and multi-tenant-aware infrastructure that helps securely connect across premises.
      • CentOS 6.2
        • This distribution of CentOS version 6.2 is provided by OpenLogic and contains an installation of the Basic Server packages
      • OpenSUSE64-12.1
        • OpenSUSE Linux 64 Bits (IAAS M1 Preview)
        • This is the distribution with Yast2
      • Suse Linux Enterprise Server
        • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is a highly reliable, scalable, and secure server operating system, built to power mission-critical workloads in both physical and virtual environments. It is an affordable, interoperable, and manageable open source foundation
      • Ubuntu Server 12.04
        • Ubuntu Server 12.04 amd64 20120528.1
        • Ubuntu Server 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) amd64 20120528.1 Cloud Image


         Naming the Virtual Machine (Linux)
    1. You will need to provide:
      • Virtual Machine Name
      • User Name
      • Password
      • Size (larger VMs allow up to 14GB of memory)
    2. Some guidelines regarding Administrator account
      1. Rename the Default Administrator Account
      2. When you rename the default Administrator account, it removes the obvious indication that this account has elevated privileges.
      3. Although an attacker still needs the password to use the default Administrator account, a renamed default Administrator account adds an additional layer of protection against elevation of privilege attacks.
      4. Note: Renaming the default administrator account hinders only certain types of attack.
      5. Additionally, tools are available that enumerate group members, and these always list the original administrator account first.
      6. For the best protection against attacks on your built-in administrator account, create a new administration account and then disable the built-in account.


    Specifying Linux VM Details

    1. The DNS name is the name of your Linux OS in the cloud
    2. Specify a storage account or automatically generate one
      • This is so you can store tables, blobs, and queues
    3. Specify region or affinity
      • Affinity is a useful concept.
        • It allows you to group dependant Windows Azure services, and deploy those in one place if possible
          • If your services are dependant on each other it is good if those are co-located, so that transactions between them are executed faster.
            • The best option is if the network hops between your hosted services are minimized as much as possible
          • Lowering your bill - For the most part bandwidth within the data center is free of charge
         Understanding Availability Set
    1. Availability sets means that your VMs will be distributed across different fault domains in the data center.
    2. This means if an entire rack goes down, you will have a running instance available


    Your Virtual Machine Running (Portal)

    1. The Linux OS is up and running after just a few minutes.
    2. We now need to test connectivity
    3. We will use the Putty tool(s)


    Understanding the Dashboard, Endpoints, and Configuration

    1. You have a few choices here:
      • Dashboard
        • Usage Overview
        • Status
        • URL
        • HostName
        • Public Virtual IP Address
        • SSH Details
        • Size
        • Disks
        • Location
        • Deployment ID
        • Subscription Name
        • Subscription ID
      • Endpoints
        • Name
        • Protocol (UDP or TCP)
        • Public Port
        • Private Port
        • Load Balanced
      • Configure
        • Virtual Machine Size
        • Availability Set


      How to open endpoints to your Linux VM

    1. Each VM can have attached a number of disks for storing data, and communicates with other VMs through endpoints
    2. Endpoints are simply TCP or UDP ports that can be configured individually


    Opening a TCP port

    1. Note the:
      • Name
      • Protocol
        • TCP or UDP
      • Public Port (access from outside the data center)
      • Private Port (from within the data center)


    Working with Putty

    1. Now that you have provisioned and configured a Linux Virtual Machine, you will connect by using an SSH client.
    2. Note: You can download Putty, a free SSH client for Windows, here:
    3. Putty offers the following:
      • PuTTY (the Telnet and SSH client itself)
      • PSCP (an SCP client, i.e. command-line secure file copy)
      • PSFTP (an SFTP client, i.e. general file transfer sessions much like FTP)
      • PuTTYtel (a Telnet-only client)
      • Plink (a command-line interface to the PuTTY back ends)
      • Pageant (an SSH authentication agent for PuTTY, PSCP, PSFTP, and Plink)
      • PuTTYgen (an RSA and DSA key generation utility).


      Starting Putty

    1. Login with your credentials
      • User Name and Password (you provided this previously)
    2. You can get the SSH details from the portal


    Your terminal screen to your Linux VM

    1. You will need to login with your previous password.
    2. Once you do that, you are now logged in.

    What if you already have a Linux Sever you simply want to move to the cloud?

    Here is a quick step by step guide for creating and Uploading a Virtual Hard Disk that Contains the Linux Operating System

    You create a virtual machine in Windows Azure by using a virtual hard disk (VHD) file. You can choose to create a virtual machine by using a VHD file that is supplied for you in the Image Gallery, or you can choose to create your own image and upload it to Windows Azure in a VHD file.

    Create a Linux virtual machine using a partner solution

    Choose one of the partners below for help creating Linux virtual machines in Windows Azure:

    Linux partners

    Create a Linux virtual machine with your own image

    Learn how to create your own virtual hard drive (VHD) with a Linux operating system on it, and then upload it and use it to create a Linux virtual machine in Windows Azure.

        CSUpload command-line tool. This tool is a part of the Windows Azure SDK. You use this tool to set the connection to Windows Azure and upload the VHD file. You must use the tools available in Windows Azure SDK - June 2012 or later to upload VHDs to Windows Azure. To download the SDK and the tools, see Windows Azure Downloads.
    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Tech.Days Windows Server 2012 Camp



      The UK IT Pro Team will be back on the road as of September delivering IT Camps to venues up and down the UK.  After a brief break during the summer, the team are back to deliver technical content in an IT Camp format, and we are pleased to announce the first set of dates to coincide with the launch of Windows Server 2012.

      These hands-on sessions will give you an introduction to Windows Server 2012 and ample opportunity to discuss any specific issues and concerns you may have with Microsoft experts Simon May and Andrew Fryer as well as professional peers working near you.

      The agenda will be set by you, but here are some topics that are likely to be covered:

      - What’s new in Windows Server 2012

      - How to create Virtual Machines

      - High availability with clustering


      Try Windows Server 2012

      If you want to get the most from the camp experience then we advise you download and have a play.


      Download Evaluation Version

      The Microsoft UK IT Pro team

      Questions, comments, feedback? Email: ukitpro@microsoft.com Or Tweet: @technetuk

      Need more technical news and updates? Sign up for the TechNet Flash newsletter



      London, 07 September – Cardinal Place


      Register Now


      Southampton, 13 September – De Vere New Place


      Register Now


      Manchester, 18 September – The Lowry Hotel


      Register Now


      Birmingham, 19 September – Etc Venues, Maple House


      Register Now


      London, 26 September – Novotel London West


      Register Now


      London, 28 September – Etc Venues, One Drummond Gate


      Register Now

      Microsoft Virtual Academy

      Improve your IT skill set and help advance your career with a free, easy to access training portal. Learn at your own pace, focusing on Microsoft technologies, gain points and get recognition



    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Visual Studio 2012 and Windows on DreamSpark


      Due to the number of comments I have had on this post, I just wanted to confirm what products will be available under DreamSpark for students.

      MSDN Subscriber Downloads: August 15th, 2012

      Visual Studio 2012 and Windows 8 are available as of, August 15th, on MSDN Subscriber Downloads to DreamSpark Subscribers.

      To confirm DreamSpark Premium Subscription Program Administrators may follow these steps to get immediate access to the software:

      1) Visit http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/downloads

      2) Sign in with the Windows Live ID associated with their DreamSpark Subscription

      3) Search for the product of choice and click on “Download”

      4) To acquire product keys the administrator may click on “Product Keys” and “Get Key” for applicable SKUs.

      a. Note: Not all Visual Studio 2012 SKUs require a product key.

      5) The file will be downloaded in .iso format.

      a. Click here for instructions on how to use .iso files.

      DreamSpark.com and ELMS WebStore: August 25th, 2012 for student downloads

      Please see the SKU Availability Matrix below for specifics on which products will be available on DreamSpark.com, and through DreamSprk Premium ELMS Institutional WebStores.  The SKUs highlighted in red will be available starting August 25th, with the remaining releasing in a week thereafter, To confirm, Windows desktop operating systems are only available to students at education institutions which have purchased a DreamSpark premium subscription for STEM based disciplines .

      Note: these SKUs will be available in the following languages on the 25th, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese-Brazil, Russian, Chinese Simplified, and Chinese Traditional, with rolling releases of additional languages following on a week after:  

      For Visual Studio SKUs a separate Portuguese-Brazil language pack will be required, and will also be available on the 25th.

      Product SKU Availability Matrix

      Subscription Level

      Product SKU


      DreamSpark Premium

      Visual Studio Professional 2012



      Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web



      Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows



      Visual Studio Premium 2012


      Visual Studio Ultimate 2012


      Visual Studio TFS Express 2012



      Visual Studio TFS Server 2012



      Team Explorer for Visual Studio 2012



      Team Explorer Everywhere for TFS




      Windows 8


      Windows 8 Debug/Checked Build


      Windows 8 Enterprise


    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Announcing Blend and Sketch Flow for Visual Studio 2012



      We are pleased to announce new versions of Blend + Sketchflow preview for Visual Studio 2012. Bringing Blend and Visual Studio together offers more value. Blend is a great tool offering a wide variety of designers and developers the ability to quickly and easily build great looking and powerful UI.

      These new versions make available capabilities that were previously only available in Expression Blend such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight and SketchFlow support, unifying the design-centric tools for building Windows Store Apps and Windows desktop apps to Visual Studio users.

      This is for evaluation only and none of the platforms contain a go-live license. Therefore you SHOULD use other released versions of Blend for production work. 

      What is the Blend + Sketchflow Preview for Visual Studio 2012?

      Blend for Visual Studio 2012 can help you design user interfaces for applications with robust tools that solve complex design tasks for building Windows Store apps.

      The Blend + Sketchflow Preview introduces powerful WYSIWYG design capabilities to Visual Studio developers by providing support for WPF and Silverlight.

      What is the difference between Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012 and Blend for Visual Studio 2012 RTW? Do I need both?

      Blend for Visual Studio 2012 is a unique, innovative authoring tool with rich visual tools for creating Windows store apps using HTML/CSS and XAML. Blend is installed with most versions of Visual Studio 2012.

      Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012 delivers WPF, Silverlight, and SketchFlow support compatible with Visual Studio 2012. You can install this alongside Visual Studio 2012 RTW.

      What is SketchFlow; how does it differ from Storyboarding in Visual Studio 2012?

      SketchFlow provides an informal and quick way to explore, iterate and prototype user interface scenarios. SketchFlow is for building working prototypes of software for developers, while the new storyboarding capability allows PowerPoint to be used for capturing lightweight requirements from stakeholders.


      · http://blendinsider.com/

      · http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/en-us

    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Visual Studio 2012 Available for Download



      Today marked an exciting day, we announced via S. Somasegar’s blog post and Jason Zander’s blog post that MSDN subscribers including DreamSpark premium institutional administrators now have access to Visual Studio 2012. DreamSpark subscribers can download and install Visual Studio 2012 later this month once its made available.

      Additionally we confirmed that we will be having a Virtual Launch Event on September 12, 2012 for Visual Studio 2012 please see further details at http://visualstudiolaunch.com.

      So from today all versions of Visual Studio 2012, including Visual Studio Professional, Premium, Test Professional, and Ultimate. Additionally, Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio Express for Web, Visual Studio Express for Windows 8, and Team Foundation Server Express are now available.

      So What is new in Visual Studio 2012?

      Visual Studio 2012 includes numerous updates to simplify the development experience, help teams collaborate more effectively, and delight end-users across a variety of devices.  Although there are too many features to highlight here, below are a few key new features:

      · Improved web development tooling with Page Inspector and DOM Explorer

      · Support for Microsoft’s latest platforms including Windows 8.

      · Visual Studio Light Switch and Blend for Visual Studio are included giving developers access to rapid application tools and designer surfaces.

      · Write simplified asynchronous code using the .NET Framework 4.5

      · Take team collaboration to the cloud with Team Foundation Service Preview or on-premise with the latest version of Team Foundation Server.

      · Improved support for SharePoint development

      There have been some changes to the Visual Studio SKUs, what is the current line up?

      We are always focused on providing the right products to meet the needs of our various customers.  For Visual Studio 2012 we have the following SKUs.

      · Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate

      · Visual Studio 2012 Premium

      · Visual Studio 2012 Professional

      · Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012

      · Visual Studio Test Professional 2012

      We have also simplified our Visual Studio Express SKUs so developers can focus on the latest Microsoft platforms.

      · Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web

      · Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows 8

      · Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Express 2012

      Where do I go to get Visual Studio 2012?

      There are a variety of ways to buy Visual Studio 2012.  MSDN, DreamSpark Premium and DreamSpark subscribers will get it as part of their subscription. .  Enterprise and volume licensing customers can get Visual Studio 2012 through their existing channels. 

      For developers that would like to purchase Visual Studio without going through an MSDN subscription, they can get it through a Microsoft Academic resellers:

      Additional Resources

      · S. Somasegar’s blog post and Jason Zander’s blog post

      · Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event

      · Visual Studio Website

    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Windows 8 RTM is available for developers


      Windows 8 RTM is available for developers and new developer content based upon RTM is now available in the Windows Dev Center: http://dev.windows.com.

      The Windows 8 RTM is available for developers blog details how to get a 90 day evaluation version of Windows 8 RTM if you’re not part of TechNet, MSDN or DreamSpark Premium for institutional administrators.

      The Windows Dev Center, now contains brand new overviews and migration guides for apps built on RP as well as..

      • Developer downloads – This single page gives access to all of the downloads you need to build apps, including Windows 8 RTM, Visual Studio Express 2012, design assets, code samples, and additional SDKs and tools.
      • Design resources – All Windows 8 design resources are located at design.windows.com. See case studies, category guidance, and get a new downloadable version of the UX guidelines for Windows 8 apps.
      • Developer content – The ‘Docs’ section of the Windows Dev Center is updated for RTM including more detailed API docs, new How-to articles, a new section for developing apps with C++ and DirectX, and many more samples.
      • Selling content – Find the Windows Store markets, how to price apps, and the latest versions of the Windows Store Agreements including the App Certification Requirements.
      • Community content – Access to developer forums, blogs, Dev Camps, and local event listings

      The Windows engineering and Windows Store teams are blogging regularly at the following sites

    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Learn all about Windows 8 at one of our Camps during summer


      Want to get upto speed on Windows 8 during the summer holidays? Here is a list of camps for you to attend.  There are limited numbers at each event so if you want free training, app support and to get ahead of the curve with Windows 8 then you should sign up now! 

      Saturday, 11 August 2012  - Windows 8 Dev Camp Manchester
      Saturday, 18 August 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp London
      Thursday, 23 August 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp London
      Friday, 31 August 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp Edinburgh
      Saturday, 01 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp Edinburgh
      Friday, 07 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp Brighton
      Saturday, 08 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp Brighton
      Friday, 14 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp Bristol
      Saturday, 15 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp Bristol
      Friday, 21 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp London
      Saturday, 22 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp London
      Friday, 28 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp London
      Saturday, 29 September 2012 - Windows 8 Dev Camp London

      What to expect:

      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.

      The Windows 8 Camp will kick off at 9am and officially finish at 6pm, or 9pm for the hardcore attendees

      Before you arrive, please ensure you have downloaded:

      1) Windows 8 Release Preview installed and running on your machine
      2) Visual Studio 2012 Express RC installed

      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.

      Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the Windows 8 Camp. Click here to register for an event near you!

      Don't forget we have lots of Windows 8 curricula resources available and additional resources see

      Curricula resources via Faculty Connection http://www.microsoft.com/faculty

      Windows 8 Camp in Box

      Creating your first Windows 8 Metro Style Design Game

      XNA Developers and Windows8

      Get up to speed on Windows 8 in 6 weeks

    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Changes in Microsoft Apphub to Windows Phone Dev Center


      DreamSpark Windows Phone

      This week, the Windows Phone Team launched the new Windows Phone Dev Center. Student still get free access as before via DreamSpark but the experience is slightly different. Here is a summary of the key changes you should familiarize yourself with:

      · App Hub remains only as a landing page, the App Hub has split in two: Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Games Indie Games Portal. This is what you see when you get to http://create.msdn.com:


      · Windows Phone Dev Center has rebranded Windows Live ID as Microsoft Account, from a technical perspective though it is still a Windows Live ID. Xbox Live still call it Windows Live ID.

      · As with App Hub today, in order to get free access to Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Live Indie Games Portal, students need to have a verified DreamSpark account. So nothing new here. We have updated the Windows Phone App Hub page on DreamSpark
      (https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=26)  and created a new page for Xbox Indie Games Development (https://staging.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=48 with instructions to download tools and get access to the two.


      · We have architected the experience to ensure that students needs to verify their student status only once, regardless of whether they start from Windows Phone Dev Center, Xbox Live Indie Game Portal or DreamSpark as follows:

      o When a student starts the registration process on the Windows Phone Dev Center or Xbox Live Indie Game Portal and gets to the Payment process page, they select ‘’I am a student’’ to get free access. At that point the two stores check against AVE database to see if the Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID exists as verified. If yes, they get in for free, if not they get directed to DreamSpark to verify. So if the student had already verified on DreamSpark or (any of the two stores when trying to register on the other), she will get in automatically.

      o On DreamSpark, when students create a new DreamSpark account to get access to Windows Phone Dev Center or Xbox Indie Game Portal from the respective pages, we basically ask that they create a Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID first and make that WILD the student’s DreamSpark account (since students on DreamSpark can create account with any email type). In this way they are guaranteed to get in automatically into the two stores. If they already have a DreamSpark account, we map it to their Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID, for the same purpose.

      Please therefore direct all your students to DreamSpark as a starting point for creating a Apphub Developer account.

      · Students that had Windows Live ID mapped to a verified DreamSpark account, and got free access to the App Hub in the past,  can continue to use the same Windows Live ID to access both new app stores. All their apps and games are still there. Only change is that Windows Phone Dev Center now calls it Microsoft Account as per below.

      · The student has account type has disappeared, now it is ‘’individual/students’’. Students get the free access when they select ‘’I am a student’ The experience has been designed this way so that when students graduate they do not need to create a new account or migrate their apps. All they need to do is select a different payment option, pay and continue to avail of the same account and keep their existing apps. 

      · DreamSpark account and hence the free access to the app stores is valid for 12 months. Once the 12 months have passed, students will be asked to verify their student status again. They can do that by selecting ‘I am a student’’ when they reach the payment option in the registration process of both Windows Phone Dev Center and Xbox Indie Games Portal. They will be directed to DreamSpark to verify.

      If you have any questions please contact

      Customer service email: DreamSparkSupport-EM@eu.subservices.com

      All EMEA Service Center details: https://www.dreamspark.com/Support/RSC.aspx#Europe

      For further information on Microsoft DreamSpark, please visit our website: http://www.dreamspark.com

    • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

      Openness Research and BigData



      Despite common misconceptions Microsoft now has extensive interoperability with open source technologies for example you can run a php application on Azure, get support from us to run RedHat, SUSE or CentOs on Hyper-V and manage all your applications from System Center 2012.


      So how are academics using these resources and services

      Prof. Baesen's  from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (a.k.a. KU Leuven) in Belgium published yesterday a paper called "Beyond the hype: cloud computing in analytics". looking at Machine Learning. KU Leuven has set up a benchmarking experiment using Machine Learning techniques used in analytics, the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform and the middleware of Techila Technologies. The results were compared with those obtained in a non-parallelized setup. The results show that significant analysis speed-ups can be gained when performing computational tasks in cloud.

      Researchers have amazing opportunity now with Microsoft and Openness additionally were extending this approach to the world of big data with Hadoop.


      As you know from my previous posts Hadoop uses map reduce, the key to the power and scability of Hadoop is that it applies these map reduce concept on large clusters of servers by getting each node to run the functions locally, thus taking the code to the data to minimise IO and network traffic using its own file system – HDFS. 

      Big Data

      As your all aware there are lots of toolsets for Hadoop, many of these are built on Hive which presents HDFS as a data warehouse that you can run SQL against and the PIG (latin) language where you load data and work with your functions.

      Whats New!

      Microsoft are developing in conjunction with developer Horton Works the following functionality:

      • an ODBC driver to connect to Hive
      • an addin in Excel to query the Hive
      • the ability to run Hadoop as a service on Windows Server
      • the ability run Hadoop on Azure and this create clusters and when you need them and use Azures massive connectivity to the internet to pull data in there rather than choke bandwidth to your own data centre.
      • F# programming for Hadoop.

      At the time of writing there these tools are still in development and there is only “by invitation” admission to Hadoop on Azure. If your interested in this please do get in touch. simply email ukfac@microsoft.com

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