• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Welcome to F# 3.0


    A developer preview of F# 3.0 was made available as part of the preview-release of Visual Studio 11 announced at //build/ in Los Angeles.

    F# brings a powerful, succinct, efficient and expressive language, which allows the user to write simple code to solve complex problems. F# is a productivity accelerator it is used by a growing community to solve analytical programming problems in a variety of domains, such as trading, finance, bio-informatics, blog analysis, advertising, and energy markets. To learn more about F#, visit the F# Developer Center.

    With F# 3.0, the team is maintaining and expanding this vision through the addition of F# Information Rich Programming, including F# Type Providers and F# LINQ Queries.

    Check out Don Syme's talk at //build/ here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Touch Mouse: From an idea to award-winning paper to amazing product



    Touch Mouse

    For the past few weeks I have been getting to grips with my new Touch Mouse. Microsoft first unveiled the Touch Mouse, a new multi-touch device designed exclusively for Windows 7 that enables users to click, flick, scroll, and swipe at 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.

    The Touch mouse makes it easier and more fun to interact with a PC. Touch Mouse combines the virtues of a traditional mouse with the rich natural language of gesture. The new mouse has already received an accolade, winning ‘Best Peripheral’ at CES from Endgadget,

    So what's special about this mouse - two fingers snap windows into place, three fingers quickly switch tasks, and your thumb can move forwards and backwards through websites, photos and documents.’

    Like many of Microsoft products the Touch Mouse began in 2009 as part of a research project called ‘Mouse 2.0’ conducted by Microsoft Research and Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group. The results of that research were presented in 2009 during the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, garnering a best-paper award.

    Nic Villar

    Lead paper author from MSRC, Nic Villar, is particularly excited about the product release “When I finished my PhD at Lancaster University three years ago and came to work for Microsoft, I didn’t imagine that my research would contribute to a new product for the company so quickly or in such a tangible way. What’s particularly pleasing about this project is the close collaboration between MSR Cambridge and our colleagues in Redmond, which was critical to the successful transition from research to product. Following the initial research insights described in the award-winning ‘Mouse 2.0’ paper, the MSRC Innovation and Development team worked closely with the Hardware product team in Redmond to turn the research prototype into the commercial product that’s being released this year.”

    A huge advantage Microsoft has is nearly every product which Microsoft ships includes some form of technologies from Microsoft Research. So what does this advantage mean, through exploration and cross company collaboration we can advance the state of art computer science.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Celebrating 20 Years of Success at Microsoft Research


    Celebrating 20 Years of Success

    27 September marked the 20 year anniversary of Microsoft Research (MSR). To celebrate this milestone the six worldwide labs hosted a series of co-ordinated events. Beginning in Beijing, Craig Mundie kicked off the proceedings, followed by Bangalore, Cambridge, the lab in New England and then Silicon Valley and Redmond.

    To an audience of academics, media and staff, host Gareth Mitchell of the BBC and Imperial College, started the Cambridge UK event by inviting Rick Rashid, Nathan Myhrvold and a series of others to talk about the impact of MSR via pre-recorded video. Gareth then handed the stage over to lab director Andrew Blake, who spoke in more detail about the history of MSR, particular achievements of the Cambridge lab and set the tone for an event that celebrated how proud and excited we all are to be part of Microsoft Research. Showcasing the breadth of basic research from the lab, the audience heard from panellists about the future of software verification, speakers on subjects including programming life, why we build data centers like we do, the future of looking back, model-based machine learning for e-health records, medical imaging in the hospital and finally NUI panellists discussing and demoing the future of digital interaction. All this was sandwiched around an open demo-fest for visitors to wander freely, meet with researchers and experience some of our latest projects for themselves.

    From feedback received, it seems that attendees thoroughly enjoyed the event. To quote one academic “Naturally, I had high expectations for the day. Microsoft exceeded them. I was particularly impressed to see the continued emphasis on fundamental and theoretical work- this is a great tribute to Microsoft's focus on contributing to the state-of-the-art."

    We have seen a number of media articles from those that attended. The first main piece being a glowing report on KinectFusion, which was demoed during the NUI panel session: Kinect Project Merges Real and Virtual Worlds (MIT, Technology Review) and another being a three page article in c't magazin (with a prime score of 200).

    Check out the Microsoft Research Anniversary web site and blog for more about what went on during the worldwide celebration.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    New curricula material and resources for Windows Phone 7.5

    Windows Phone Programming in C# (Windows Phone Version 7.5)


    Main Text – FREE Ebook Windows Phone Programming in C# by Rob Miles
    The main text is provided as a Word document and PDF file. This contains the entire text, broken into chapters.

    The Demos folder contains a folder for each of the chapters that have demonstration programs.

    Teaching Content
    For each of the chapters there is a folder with the presentations and lab content for that chapter. Each presentation is for that section of the chapter and has a corresponding folder containing the demonstrations for that chapter. The Demonstration slides in the presentation contain step by step instructions for that demonstration in the slide notes. Note that not all the demonstrations have sample projects associated with them, for these demonstrations the program will be created during the presentation.

    The first 9 chapters also have a lab document which contains a set of lab exercises for that chapter. Some of the lab documents also have answer documents.

    The following chapters are covered in this material:

    1. Windows Phone
    2. Introduction to Silverlight
    3. Visual Studio Solution Management
    4. Constructing a Program with Silverlight
    5. Isolated Storage on Windows Phone
    6. Using Databases on Windows Phone
    7. Networking with Windows Phone
    8. XNA on Windows Phone
    9. Creating Windows Phone Applications
    10. Windows Phone Marketplace

    To download this great resource simply visit Microsoft Faculty Connection Resource

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Kinect - Happy Birthday! 1 year old on 04/11/2011– See how academic research contributions make a huge success



    Kinect for Xbox 360 has been a smashing success since its November 2010 debut, thanks in part to contributions from Microsoft Research to its audio, skeletal-tracking, and facial-recognition capabilities. And further refinements could mean the best is yet to come. Read the following to learn more about the science behind Kinect - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/about/feature/contributionstokinectforxbox360.aspx

    Over the last few months,Microsoft Research have published a series of feature stories to outline the contributions they have made to the ground breaking Kinect for Xbox 360 product, which Guinness World Records has dubbed the fastest-selling consumer electronic device ever.
    This week, the Kinect team is marking the one-year anniversary of Kinect. Read the following blog for more details and watch the an amazing video detailing their contribution http://blogs.technet.com/b/inside_microsoft_research/archive/2011/11/03/the-research-behind-kinect.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect SDK Beta 2 Release



    Today is a very special day, the Kinect device has turn 1 and we have released beta2 of the Windows SDK for Kinect along with a new web site and branding see http://kinectforwindows.org/

    Microsoft built Kinect to revolutionize the way you play games and how you experience entertainment. But along the way, people started using Kinect in ways we never imagined. From helping children with autism, to helping doctors in the operating room, people are taking Kinect beyond games. And that’s what we call the Kinect Effect. h

    So whether you’re educating students, exploring new research, or redefining what’s possible when humans and computers interact, you can create something amazing with Kinect for Windows. The Kinect for Windows SDK Beta 2 is now available for download 

    Watch the following video from Microsoft Channel 9 where Rob Relyea give a refresher on what the Kinect SDK can do, and what's new for Beta 2. There are a number of under-the-hood improvements including faster and more accurate skeletal tracking, support for x64, and support for multi-core machines and support for Windows 8. Microsoft have also added a new StatusChanged event to know when a Kinect has been connected, disconnected, or doesn't have enough power, as well as new APIs to better manage using multiple Kinects.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Teaching UI and UX want some reference style guides–Metro



    From a design point of view a nice thing about Windows Phone is that it brings with it a whole set of design guidelines which are referred to as “Metro”.

    Microsoft has developed a sets of guides to  how controls are supposed to look and establishes a set of criteria that your applications should meet if they are to be “good looking applications.”

    For further details see the Metro style document, you can find the style guide here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh202915.aspx

    This is well worth a look if you want to publish your programs in the Marketplace, where your potential customers will have certain expectations of how things should look and work.

    Additionally the following interviews are a GREAT virtual guest lecture for teaching UI and UX course attendees on concept and theories of design.

    On type


    On way-finding graphics


    On mobile audio


    On light & space in architecture


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Python Tools for Visual Studio 1.1 Alpha now with support for Kinect



    We’re pleased to announce the release of Python Tools for Visual Studio 1.1 Alpha. Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS) is an open-source plug-in for Visual Studio which supports programming with the Python programming language.

    Python Tools for Visual Studio – an open source (Apache) & free plug-in that turns VS into a world-class Python development environment.

    Python Tools for Visual Studio - has a cool feature for students/academics: PyKinect, which enables writing Kinect games using Python!

    Project Link:  http://pytools.codeplex.com

    C9 video: http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Charles/Announcing-Python-Tools-for-Visual-Studio-11-Alpha

    What’s new?

    1. Over 100 bug fixes and new small features: http://pytools.codeplex.com/releases/view/69667

    2. Pyvot – A Python to/from Excel connector:  http://pytools.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Pyvot

    3. PyKinect – Write Kinect games using Python! : http://pytools.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=PyKinect

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    DreamSpark and Apphub Creation step by step guide



    So if your a Student or Academic and you want to get a free Dreamspark account and upload some phone apps via App Hub waiving the $99 fee. follow the following step by step by step process.

    1) Go to https://www.dreamspark.com/verify/default.aspx and sign in with a LiveID (you can create a LiveID using your .ac.uk email address or a personal email address if preferred) or if your a school or college administrator with a .org.uk email you can register your school.


    2) Select your country and status

    1) UK
    2) Verify as a Student
    3) Get verified through my school
    4) Click Continue


    4) Select correct School, college or University.


    5) Type in your information, and be sure to use your .ac.uk email address.


    6) Check your .ac.uk email for verification:


    7) Follow instructions to activate by clicking on the link and typing in the code sent to your email address.


    8) After this is done, go to https://users.create.msdn.com/Register/ and choose account type, “Student”. This will waive the $99 fee.


    9) Go through the entire App Hub account creation process. follow the step by step guide here

    10) It will lead to another email to confirm your App Hub account.


    11) To register your phone handsets

    1. Turn on your phone and if necessary unlock the phone screen.

    2. On your phone, ensure that the date and time are correct.

    3. Using the USB cable that came with your phone, connect your phone to your computer. On your computer, the Zune software starts automatically. If Zune does not start, then start it manually.

    4. On your computer, click Start, click All Programs, and then click Windows Phone SDK 7.1.

    5. Click Windows Phone Developer Registration.The application starts, as shown in the following image. Verify that the Status message displays Phone ready. Please enter your Windows Live ID and password and click "Register" to begin.


      If your phone is already registered, the Status message will indicate this and you will see an Unregister button.

    6. Enter the Windows Live ID and password that correspond to your App Hub membership.

    7. Click Register.

    After your phone is successfully registered, the Status message will display Your phone has successfully been registered. You can now deploy applications to the Windows Phone. If you ever need to, you can also unregister the device by clicking Unregister in the tool.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Build Windows 8 Applications With Windows Azure



    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8.

    Windows Azure platform provides you on-demand compute, storage, database and content network delivery capabilities to host, scale and manage your Windows 8 applications through Microsoft data centers. Windows Azure enables you to focus on delivering value to customers – and not on managing technology infrastructure.

    The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 is designed to make it easier for developers to create Windows Metro Style applications that harness the power of Windows Azure platform.

    Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8


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