The goal of this site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
This week I have done a number of events including Games Marketing Europe where I was asked to present on the 6 Top Tips for Marketing your App for Windows 8 and Windows Phone you can see my deck below
One of the most common question I get is how can I secure funding for my app or game? So I wanted to introduce you all to Microsoft, Nokia And Aalto University AppCampus Programme.
What is AppCampus?
AppCampus is €18M (US$24M) joint investment fund from Microsoft, Nokia, and Aalto University which is to fund and support high potential mobile startups around the world
So what is the Funding Opportunity?
Applicants who are successfully awarded an AppCampus investment receive €20K, €50K or €70K
AppCampus also provides some training and coaching via App Camp a residential accelerator camp based out of Aalto University in additional AppCampus provides Go-to-market support..
What are our asks?
All successful AppCampus awards need to agree to a 90 day exclusivity period and publish to the Windows Phone Store.
So what are we looking for?
• Differentiation: a brand new app that is not available in any mobile app store, OR an existing successful app on iOS/Android with exclusive/differentiated content or features on Windows Phone.
• Mass market appeal: potential to generate a high number of downloads (more than half a million per year) and/or revenue (tens of thousands of dollars per year)
• Experienced mobile developer: has experience building apps on one of the main mobile platforms (iOS/Android/WP) with demonstrated design, technical and business capabilities
• Convincing Overall Proposal: app design, technical solution, business model
• AppCampus 101 & Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.appcampus.fi/faq
• How to do a good AppCampus submission: http://jo.my/example1
• How to do a good AppCampus submission. A case example: http://jo.my/example2
Windows Phone Resources
•Windows Phone Dev Center - Design principles: http://jo.my/principles
•Windows Phone Dev Center - Design process: http://jo.my/process
•Windows Phone Dev Center - Development http://jo.my/develop
•Windows Phone 8 - Training Kit: http://jo.my/wp8tt
•Nokia Developer Center - Windows Phone: http://jo.my/nokiadev
•Microsoft BizSpark: http://www.bizspark.com •Microsoft UK Accelerator – http://aka.ms/ukaccelerator
The Microsoft Ventures Accelerator London is looking for promising early-stage startups who are doing big things in the cloud, internet, mobile and gaming to join an immersive 12-week accelerator programme aimed at compressing time to launch. You’ll get access to 1:1 mentoring, a global alumni community, a cutting edge curriculum and loads of support and assistance to help you grow. There are just 2 weeks left to apply, so if you are a high-potential startup set on fast growth, you’ll want to check out: http://aka.ms/apply and get your application in quickly. #MSFTVenturesUK
Today the news in filled with impact of the global funding crisis, the US debit Crisis and issues more closer to home with the Euro in Greece, Ireland and Spain. With the global impact of the economy the workforce and opportunities for students is changing.
In todays economy more than 50% of today’s jobs require some technology skills, workforce experts predict this will increase to 77% in the next decade. Today’s reality: jobs in every industry, and at every level, require basic proficiency with computers and other digital technologies. The question I have as a parent and a advisor is are the skills and tools being taught in school necessary and appropriate?
I have blogged before about Microsoft DreamSpark and Microsoft IT Academy programs, these programs help students increase their technical skills to better compete in the global economy. However one thing which I haven't stressed is that Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all school students worldwide. For a number of years, Microsoft has offered university students worldwide access to the latest professional-level developer and designer tools for FREE. There has been millions downloads already and the package has been a valuable tool for college and University students.
However the goal of DreamSpark is to empower students to pursue their academic and professional goals, so they are 100% ready to take their place as the next generation of business leaders. This program eases some pressure from the individual student their parents, teachers and administrators who are balancing the need for students to gain tech skills with diminishing resources.
School administrators will need to register their schools to help verify their school as an accredited institution so their students can get access to all the software for FREE. The first step to get verified is to have a Microsoft LiveID and then simply sign in and verify at the DreamSpark website https://www.dreamspark.com for more information on the program see https://www.dreamspark.com/FAQ/Default.aspx?i=gen# for how to sign up and resources:
We all know that todays students hold the key to long-term economic stability. Microsoft DreamSpark and access software means students will learn the skills required of a demanding workplace, which triggers greater creativity, opportunity and greater success.
So please use these resources so that students can learn and succeed through technology.
Thursday Dec 13, 2012 - 9 to 5 PM PST
Friday Dec 14, 2011 - 9 to 5 PM PST
Time zone: (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Live Stream via Channel9 and the Verge
Registration - http://bit.ly/iOStoWindows8
You can register for the live stream here, then just point your browser to Channel 9 or to our registration site on the day of the event. You can also tune in at the Verge to watch the live stream.
Join the Big Nerd Ranch and Microsoft for this free, two-day training designed to jumpstart your Windows Store app development.
You will learn the ins-and-outs of the Windows platform from iOS developers who are now building Windows apps. Sessions will follow a low-key, interactive format where iOS terms and concepts will be mapped to Windows alternates. You will also get hands-on time to apply what you’ve learned.
Times need to be finalized, but we’ll cover the following topics in sessions that are 30 to 60 minutes long:
Day 1 – 13th Dec 2012
· Introduction to the platform and the Windows Store
· Design differences between iOS and Windows 8
· Tooling: Visual Studio and Blend
· C# for Objective-C developers
· Asynchronous programming
· Consuming web services
· Intro to building Windows Store apps with XAML (controls, layout and styling)
· Advanced UI development with XAML (data binding, templates, and collections)
· Contracts and extensions
· Ask the Experts panel
Day 2 – 14th Dec 2012
· Process Lifecycle Management and State Management
· Notifications and Live tiles
· Bing Maps, SkyDrive, and Microsoft Account integration
· C++ for Objective-C developers
· Reusing code with Windows Phone
How do I register?
Any iOS developer will benefit from this training, but we will focus more on those apps that are not games. For this event, there will be no deep game/graphics coverage (no OpenGL ES to DirectX deep-dives).
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest blog by Dr Jacob Habgood, Sheffield Hallam University
A game jam is an exhausting endeavour at the best of times: coding day and night to try and come up with a prototype for the next blockbuster game—or at the very least—a better game than everyone else in the room. Add a festival launch event for schoolteachers at the start, and an industry Game Republic lecture by Microsoft at the end and you have a game jam sandwich—a rare delicacy which tastes of pizza and smells of Redbull.
The festival launch was for the 2013 Games Britannia videogame education festival taking place at Sheffield Hallam University in June this year. The focus of the festival is about providing hands-on workshops and competitions for schools based around game development. As part of this we run a game design competition for schools, in which pupils redesign classic videogames: last year it was Monty Mole, and this year it's Zool. The 'launch' was all about announcing details of this year’s competition, and releasing the completed version of Monty Mole as a published game (now available on the IndieCity game store in aid of the Special Effect charity). How exciting is that? A chance for schoolchildren to get their game design created and published! BBC Look North obviously thought so as they were there to interview the children about their game and they appeared on TV that very evening!
Amongst all this media excitement, our own students had been challenged to make a Windows 8 game in just 24 hours using GameMaker Studio (the same tool used to make the Monty game). Fortunately, we had the support of Lee Stott from Microsoft to help the students to obtain free Windows 8 developer accounts via DreamSpark. He'd also kindly brought along a stack of Windows 8 tablets to test the games on and (most importantly in the eyes of the students) he provided the pizza. He was definitely the most popular man in the room.
Students were put into artist/programmer pairs and told that their game had to be a single touch control and based on the meteorologically appropriate theme of 'ice'. As you can imagine, the next 24-hours involved a predictable number of appearances by snow men, ice skaters, polar bears and penguins, with a space man selling ice-cream on the moon thrown in for good measure.
All of the first year students taking part in the Game Jam had been using Game Maker in one of their modules, but a few of the older students taking part had never used it before. It was a testament to Game Maker's simplicity that they were able to create game prototypes in such a short space of time. It gave the programmers a chance to focus on experimenting with gameplay through simple game mechanics rather than having to worry about the underlying technology for a change.
The students worked incredibly hard day and night to get their prototypes done and everyone was really impressed with their dedication. There were times when you could have heard a pin drop, although that soon changed once the sound effect CDs came out! Twenty four hours may seem like a long time for an event, but it’s an incredibly short time in game development terms and the deadline was soon upon us. Each bleary-eyed team queued up to demonstrate their game to the judging panel and awaited their decision.
The three finalists were announced as Snow Fight, Ice Fishing, and Sgt. Rick O’Shot. The worms-like gameplay in Snow Fight hit the judges’ nostalgia-spot perfectly and the winding game mechanic of Ice fishing was both impressive and intuitive to play. The bouncing game mechanic of Rick O’Shot was surprisingly simple, but very enjoyable. The final accolade for these three teams was to get to present their game in front of an audience of industry professionals at the evening’s Game Republic event. Lee Stott gave a very informative talk on Windows 8 game development to the assembled crowd of local veterans, before the teams got their chance to take to the stage and show off their achievements of the last 24 hours. Finally the suspense was lifted and Sgt. Rick O’Shot was announced as the winner, for its simple, enjoyable gameplay mechanic. The team received a range of Microsoft goodies, plus access to the Steel Minions studio to finish off the development of their game—so watch this space! Everyone then retired to the pub together for some well earned food and drink courtesy of Microsoft and Game Republic.
Many congratulations to all our students who took part for showing the kind of enthusiasm and commitment that is essential to get into the games industry! Hopefully we will be seeing completed versions of many of their games appearing on the Windows 8 store in the near future. Having a published game has great value in the eyes of the games industry, and to be able to do this in your first year at university using Game Maker Studio, is an opportunity that every student should jump at. To encourage this, YoYo Games very kindly provided our students with temporary free Game Maker Studio licences, and Lee has set up both local and national competitions to give them a deadline to work to.
Many thanks to everyone for their support with this enjoyable event and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour on the Windows 8 store!
Beta3 release of Project Siena. This new release makes it even easier for business experts, business analysts and other app imagineers to create powerful custom mobile apps that are connected to enterprise services, major SaaS, and popular web and social services.
Siena Beta 3
The Beta3 release is a major addition to Project Siena’s empowerment of business experts and analysts. Key new functionality includes:
In Beta2, we introduced the concept, illustrated below, that non-programmers could consume services as easily as using an Excel function. And composing multiple services was just like linking two Excel functions.
Beta3 takes the ability to work with services to another level, where getting started with key services is now as easy as adding a PowerPoint slide layout to a deck.
Please install the latest release of Project Siena from the Windows Store, check out http://microsoft.com/ProjectSiena , watch a tutorial video, download a sample app for inspiration, and then bring your own ideas to life in a Siena
This December were running a special two day event so if your building an app or game, have an existing app or game for iOS and Android or simply interested in meeting with fellow app developers and building amazing Windows 8 apps then this is the event for you.
We’re running a two day event in December to create amazing app experiences for people using Windows 8. There’ll be some workshops, some training, some tools and resources for you to make use of – and you’ll all get to publish your app(s) by the end of the month into the Windows Store.
Who’s attending? There’s a great mix of students and non student developers. As long as you can do some basic coding you’ll have the skills needed.
In a nutshell…
I have some information here that might be helpful for you or your development staff in regard to getting up to speed on HPC and Azure. I also have some information at the bottom of this email regarding how you can get access to Azure accounts. There are of course a multitude of links you can find all over the internet regarding these topics, but these will give you a general idea of the scope of what you can do with HPC and Azure and how it works:
1. The first thing you’ll need to do is understand the installation of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2:
Getting Started Guide for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2
Designer and Deployment Guide for Windows HPC Server 2008 R2
2. You can watch these videos to learn more about the capabilities of HPC Server and Windows 7 Clients
MSDN Webcast: Taking Scientific Computing Mainstream with Windows Client & Windows HPC Server 2008 R2
MSDN Webcast: Migrating Your HPC Applications to the Windows Platform
Overview of Microsoft Technical Computing and HPC Server 2008 R2
Channel9 - The HPC Show (many more videos here)
3. If you are going to be working with Azure and its latest SDK, you will need to install Visual Studio 2010. Please note that to view the Azure portal, that is just a website and doesn’t require Visual Studio. However, to develop a Cloud application and deploy it, you do need Visual Studio. Once you have Visual Studio installed:
Install the Azure SDK and Tools
4. Watch these Azure Videos
MSDN Webcast: Discover the Windows Azure Services Platform
MSDN Webcast: Windows Azure Boot Camp: Cloud Computing Scenarios
MSDN Webcast: Windows Azure Boot Camp: Worker Roles
MSDN Webcast: Diagnostics and Service Management
5. For lots of other links to whitepapers, articles, tools etc (this is the overwhelming part)
Getting access to Azure
Free Pass Options
For more info on the access check see the following blog http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2011/04/12/windows-azure-announcements-at-mix11.aspx
Azure resource for Academia http://www.azurepilot.com/
Azure Trial Offers
Looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions
Microsoft Research is soliciting proposals for the use of Windows Azure in research.
Microsoft Research welcome research proposals from any branch of scholarly activity. To qualify, applicants must be affiliated with an academic institution or non-profit research laboratory. In addition to individual investigator projects, we are interested in projects that will support access to services and data of value to a collaboration or community. Winning proposals will be awarded large allocations of Windows Azure storage and compute resources for a period of one year.
We will periodically announce additional special-opportunity RFPs on specific cloud research topics. These topics will include community research data services, streaming instrument data to the cloud, machine learning in the cloud, large-scale image analysis, environmental science, astronomy, genomics, and urban science.
Your proposal should not exceed three pages in length. It should include resource requirement estimates (number of core, storage requirements, and so forth) for your project.
Proposals will be evaluated and awards announced six times a year. The first deadline for proposals is October 15, 2013, and results will be announced within two weeks after that date. The next deadline is December 15, 2013, and on the fifteenth of every other month after that.
Windows 8 allows you to build trial functionality right into your existing app, using the LicenseInformation class. Using the methods in this class, you wrap key functionality of your app inside conditional statements. You can then decide to time-limit these features in the trial version, disable them totally, or even include advertising until the user buys the full version. This flexibility ensures you never have to write a second version of your app, or worry about in-app purchases – and your app will always be free to download from the Windows Store.
You can also simulate the current status of your app (trial or full) by using the CurrentAppSimulator class, to test how it will appear to the user.
The current license state of your app is stored as properties of the LicenseInformation class. Typically, you put the functions that depend on the license state in a conditional block, as we describe in the next step. When considering these features, make sure you can implement them in a way that will work in all license states.
Also, decide how you want to handle changes to the app's license while the app is running. Your trial app can be full-featured, but have in-app ad banners where the paid-for version doesn't. Or, your trial app can disable certain features, or display regular messages asking the user to buy it.
Think about the type of app you're making and what a good trial or expiration strategy is for it. For a trial version of a game, a good strategy is to limit the amount of game content that a user can play. For a trial version of a utility, you might consider setting an expiration date, or limiting the features that a potential buyer can use.
For most non-gaming apps, setting an expiration date works well, because users can develop a good understanding of the complete app. Here are a few common expiration scenarios and your options for handling them.
Trial license expires while the app is running
If the trial expires while your app is running, your app can:
The best practice is to display a message with a prompt for buying the app, and if the customer buys it, continue with all features enabled. If the user decides not to buy the app, close it or remind them to buy the app at regular intervals.
Trial license expires before the app is launched
If the trial expires before the user launches the app, your app won't launch. Instead, users see a dialog box that gives them the option to purchase your app from the Store.
Customer buys the app while it is running
If the customer buys your app while it is running, here are some actions your app can take.
When your app is initializing, get the LicenseInformation object for your app as shown in this example. We assume that licenseInformation is a global variable or field of type LicenseInformation.
Initialize the CurrentApp or CurrentAppSimulator to access the app's license info. Add an event handler to receive notifications when the license changes while the app is running. The app's license could change if the trial period expires or the customer buys the app through a Store, for example.
When the license change event is raised, your app must call the License API to determine if the trial status has changed. The code in this step shows how to structure your handler for this event. At this point, if a user bought the app, it is a good practice to provide feedback to the user that the licensing status has changed. You might need to ask the user to restart the app if that's how you've coded it. But make this transition as seamless and painless as possible.
Include code to determine the app's trial expiration date.
CurrentAppSimulator gets test-specific licensing info from an XML file called "WindowsStoreProxy.xml", located in <installation_folder>\Microsoft\Windows Store\ApiData. If this path and file don't exist, you must create them, either during installation or at run-time. If you try to access the CurrentAppSimulator.LicenseInformation property without WindowsStoreProxy.xml present in that specific location, you will get an error.
You can edit WindowsStoreProxy.xml to change the simulated expiration dates for your app and for its features. Test all your possible expiration and licensing configurations to make sure everything works as intended.
Be sure to explain how your app will behave during and after the free trial period so your customers won't be surprised by your app's behavior.
For more info about describing your app, see Your app's description
After you test your app with the simulated license server, and before you submit your app to a Store for certification, replace CurrentAppSimulator with CurrentApp, as shown in the next code sample.
Important Your app must use the CurrentApp object when you submit your app to a Store or it will fail certification.
Trial app and in-app purchase sample
TechEd Europe, 25-28 June, IFEMA – Feria de Madrid Convention Centre, Madrid, Spain
Register by 22 March to take advantage of the Early Bird price of €1,695, a €300 savings off regular pricing there will be also a limited number of academic tickets available from the 12/02/2013 for $1,195 so ensure book as soon as possible.
At TechEd you will get 4 days of hands-on learning, deep product exploration and countless opportunities to build relationships with a community of Microsoft experts and peers. Need to deliver maximum business value while managing your company's technology investments?
Session and Speakers
TechEd Europe has a wide range of education opportunities and the technical tracks. You will learn shortcuts, glean real-world guidance and get product roadmap details from Microsoft and industry experts.
This Years Special Events
Delegates will get access to the technologies and opportunities to meet one-on-one with Microsoft product experts and fellow professionals at our ancillary activities.
Check out solutions and services from Microsoft partners and meet with the Microsoft product groups
Delegate Party Mingle with your fellow attendees and countrymen along with some fun activities.
Ask the Experts Meet one-on-one with Microsoft technology experts and peers to exchange feedback on technology trends and how to leverage these effectively in your business.