• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    TechEd Europe 2012



    Today I’m at the last day of TechEd 2012 in Amsterdam, I am in Amsterdam sharing some exciting news about apps and updates for Windows Azure, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

    There are number of UK Universities in attendance

    University of Huddersfield
    University of Westminster
    Birmingham City University
    University of Leeds
    University of Edinburgh    
    The University of York
    University of Cambridge
    University of Southampton
    University of Wolverhampton
    Liverpool John Moores University
    University of the Highlands and Islands
    University of Essex
    University of Hull
    Lancaster University    
    University of Southampton
    Queen's University Belfast
    University of Derby
    Northumbria University
    Plymouth University    
    University College London
    University of Bath
    University of Warwick
    Coventry University
    London South Bank University
    The Open University
    Royal Holloway University of London    
    University of Glasgow
    The University of Manchester

    I your not lucky enough to be attending the event or cannot wait for your colleagues to return you can check out the presentations and videos of the sessions here.. http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Europe/2012

    So sit back and enjoy the on-demand sessions and live streaming content from TechEd Europe 2012 in Amsterdam.

    If your interested in attending any of our events for IT Pro or developers see http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/upcoming-events.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 Update




    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 is available for download

    HPC Server 2008 R2 SP2 is now available for download. This service pack updates the HPC Pack 2008 R2 products listed in the 'System Requirements' section. It provides improved reliability as well as an enhanced feature set including:

    • Enhanced Windows Azure integration - you can now add Azure VM Roles to your cluster, you can Remote Desktop to your Azure nodes, and you can run MPI jobs on Azure nodes.
    • Use a new 'resource pool' job scheduling policy that ensures resources are available to multiple groups of users.
    • Access job scheduling services through a REST interface or through an IIS-hosted web portal.
    • Assigning different submission and activation filters to jobs based on job templates.
    • Over-subscribe or under-subscribe the number of cores on cluster nodes.

    Download HPC Pack 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 

    In the "Download HPC Pack 2008 R2 Service Pack 2" section you will three files:

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x64.zip (123.0 MB)

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x64 :
    Download this .zip file to obtain the updater for use on your head nodes, compute nodes, broker nodes, and x64-based clients and workstation nodes. It also contains the Web Components (REST and Web Portal), Azure VM, and KSP ('soft card') installers necessary to use those features.

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x86.zip (121.0 MB)

    HPC2008R2SP2-Update-x86 :
    This .zip file contains the updated for use on 32-bit clients and workstation nodes. It also contains the KSP ('soft card') installer for 32-bit clients.

    SP2 Media Integration Package.zip (570.0 MB)

    SP2 Media Integration Package:
    For customers who will be doing multiple new cluster installations (setting up brand new head nodes, not just updating existing clusters) you can use this package to update your original ('RTM') installation media to have SP2 integrated from the beginning. (Instead of installing from your RTM DVD, then applying SP1, then applying SP2.) Please refer to the instructions on the HPC team blog for more information.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft and Nokia AppCampus – Got an Idea get funded now



    To drive innovation and business opportunities in Finland's mobile ecosystem and beyond, Microsoft Corporations and Nokia invested up to 9 million euros into "AppCampus" program -a newly established mobile application development program at Aalto University during the next three years. The AppCampus program has been set up to foster the creation of innovative mobile applications for the Windows Phone ecosystem, and in addition, Nokia platforms, including Symbian and Series 40, to create a new generation of self-sustaining mobile startups.

    Kicked off in May 2012, AppCampus is led and managed by Aalto University, which has a growing reputation as a hotbed of new startup companies. AppCampus is intended to attract thousands of application proposals from students and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

    Apart from investing 20,000 – 70,000 euros per project, AppCampus also supports the admitted applicants with comprehensive support, training in mobile technology, design and usability, and funding to create innovative new mobile apps and services. Windows Phone Marketplace and Nokia Store offer local and global business opportunities to program participants via distribution to consumers around the world.

    We don't take equity or commission from the investment. Successful applications are expected to be available exclusively on Windows Phone and other Nokia platforms for the first six months.


    For more details see http://www.appcampus.fi

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Hear from Kimi Sulopusti team leader and game designer of Dare to be Digital Winning 2012 team Kind of a Big Deal


    Guest post from Kimu Sulopuisto, team leader and game designer for Starcrossed


    The Finnish student team Kind of a Big Deal was representing Northern Europe in the game development competition Dare to be Digital 2012.

    I’m the team leader and game designer, and our game is called Starcrossed. When we were invited to Oslo, Norway for the qualifiers, we started with a rough concept for a 2D mobile platformer game where the player character uses a bazooka to launch himself from asteroid to another while avoiding the extreme temperatures of outer space.


    We even brought the judges a Windows Phone and a playable version of Starcrossed to show them our idea. It was very barebones, but along with a fluent pitching presentation it was enough to impress the judges and qualify us to take part in Dare to be Digital 2012 in Scotland.



    In the Dare competition we had nine weeks to bring Starcrossed to life. We went through much iteration in regards to the movement mechanics, art style, scoring system, level design and much more.

    The mentoring we received from industry professionals (Ruffian, Cobra Mobile and Jagex to name a few) was invaluable and helped us shape the game into a cohesive product. Many also wanted to see the game published, and so we set ourselves the goal to have Starcrossed in the Windows Phone Marketplace by the end of the year.

    As for the competition, it came to a close in the Protoplay event where the participating teams got to showcase their games to an audience of more than ten thousand visitors. We were announced as one of the three winning teams and returned home with a BAFTA “Ones to watch” nomination!


    We then spent the autumn polishing our product and creating more content. The end result was a fast and whimsical space platformer game that attempts to charm with its polished presentation and simple mechanics. Now we have published Starcrossed on the Marketplace, and it’s been met with very positive end-user feedback. This isn’t the last you’ll see of Starcrossed, either. Other mobile devices are likely to get their version early 2013.



    Check out Starcrossed on the Windows Phone Marketplace: http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=3de88f3f-5005-4019-be78-c39f8172d39e and check out this video

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition, by Kraig Brockschmidt


    Front cover of Kraig Brockschmidt's Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition

    Download the PDF, the Mobi, the ePub, as well as the companion content.

    We’re pleased to announce our free (1311-page) ebook: Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Second Edition, by Kraig Brockschmidt.

    Kraig began updating the first edition exactly a year ago, and when you examine the new ebook’s Table of Contents you’ll quickly see how much work he has done to share his deep understanding of Windows Store app building. Even in the simplest sense—new pages added to this edition: 478—Kraig’s effort and generosity are impressive. Thank you, Kraig, and enjoy, app builders!
    The following excerpt from Kraig’s introduction to the ebook shares our goals for the title:

    Introduction from the Author

    Work on this second edition began almost as soon as the first edition was released. (I’d make a quip about the ink not being dry, but that analogy doesn’t work for an ebook!) When Windows 8 became generally available in the fall of 2012, work on Windows 8.1 was already well underway: the engineering team had a long list of improvements they wanted to make along with features that they weren’t able to complete for Windows 8. And in the very short span of one year, Windows 8.1 was itself ready to ship.

    At first I thought writing this second edition would be primarily a matter of making small updates to each chapter and perhaps adding some pages here and there on a handful of new features. But as I got deeper into the updated platform, I was amazed at just how much the API surface area had expanded! Windows 8.1 introduces a number of additional controls, an HTML webview element, a stronger HTTP API, content indexing, deeper OneDrive support, better media capabilities, more tiles sizes (small and large), more flexible secondary tile, access to many kinds of peripheral devices, and more options for working with the Windows Store, like consumable in-app purchases. And clearly, this is a very short list of distinct Windows 8.1 features that doesn’t include the many smaller changes to the API. (A fuller list can be found on Windows 8.1: New APIs and features for developers.)

    Furthermore, even as I was wrapping up the first edition of this book, I already had a long list of topics I wanted to explore in more depth. I wrote a number of those pieces for my blog, with the intention of including them in this second edition. A prime example is Appendix A, “Demystifying Promises.”

    All in all, then, what was already a very comprehensive book in the first edition has become even more so in the second! Fortunately, with this being an ebook, neither you nor I need feel guilty about matters of deforestation. We can simply enjoy the process of learning about and writing Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. And what about Windows Phone 8.1? I’m glad you asked, because much of this book is completely applicable to that platform. Yes, that’s right: Windows Phone 8.1 supports writing apps in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, just like Windows 8.1, meaning that you have the same flexibility of implementation languages on both. However, the decision to support JavaScript apps on Windows Phone 8.1 came very late in the production of this book, so I’m only able to make a few notes here and there for Phone - specific concerns. I encourage you to follow the Building Apps for Windows blog, where we’ll be posting more about the increasingly unified experience of Windows and Windows Phone.

    Who should read this book?

    This book is about writing Windows Store apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Our primary focus will be on applying these web technologies within the Windows platform, where there are unique considerations, and not on exploring the details of those web technologies themselves. For the most part, I'm assuming that you're already at least somewhat conversant with these standards. We will cover some of the more salient areas like the CSS grid, which is central to app layout, but otherwise I trust that you're capable of finding appropriate references for most everything else. For Java Script specifically, I can recommend Rey Bango’s Required JavaScript Reading list, though I hope you’ll spend more time reading this book than others!

    I'm also assuming that your interest in Windows has at least two basic motivations. One, you probably want to come up to speed as quickly as you can, perhaps to carve out a foothold in the Windows Store sooner rather than later. Toward that end, Chapter 2, “Quickstart,” gives you an immediate experience with the tools, APIs, and some core aspects of app development and the platform. On the other hand, you probably also want to make the best app you can, one that performs really well and that takes advantage of the full extent of the platform. Toward this end, I've also endeavoured to make this book comprehensive, helping you at least be aware of what's possible and where optimizations can be made.

    Let me make it clear, though, that my focus in this book is the Windows platform. I won’t talk much about third-party libraries, architectural considerations for app design, and development strategies and best practices. Some of these will come up from time to time, but mostly in passing. Nevertheless, many insights have come from working directly with real-world developers on their real-world apps. As part of the Windows Ecosystem team, myself and my teammates have been on the front lines bringing those first apps to the Windows Store. This has involved writing bits of code for those apps and investigating bugs, along with conducting design, code, and performance reviews with members of the Windows engineering team. As such, one of my goals with this book is to make that deep understanding available to many more developers, including you!

    View the full article...

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Announcement from MIX11 in regards to Expression Studio and Silverlight


    At Mix, today we there has been some exciting announcements:

    • Silverlight 5
    • Mango, the next major version of Windows Phone.


    Expression Blend Preview for Silverlight 5

    Available immediately with the beta of Silverlight 5 is the Blend Preview for Silverlight 5, an early-access preview version that installs side-by-side with Blend 4 and enables you to use Silverlight 5 together with Expression Blend.

    This version of Blend does not explicitly add new authoring features, but several features of Silverlight 5 (such as, for example, new typography options) light up in the property inspector

    Expression Blend for Windows Phone Mango

    At Mix, they also demo a new service pack for Expression Blend with support for Mango. This service pack will be available later this year.

    SketchFlow Templates for Phone Prototyping

    Finally, in response to popular demand, Expression will present a new set of SketchFlow templates for prototyping Windows Phone applications in Silverlight.

    These templates will not enable you to run SketchFlow prototypes on the phone, unfortunately, but they make it a lot easier to prototype phone applications to run in Silverlight:

    Expression will provide screen templates with phone chrome on a project screen (switchable from landscape to portrait), and a wide variety of the specific components known from the phone, such as panorama and pivot, as well as mock-ups of many of the pages of the phone chrome.

    So if your lucky enough to be attending MIX11, attend the Expression presentation on Thursday (“Creating Windows Phone Applications Using Expression Blend”, 1:30pm)

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in running a Tomcat/Java Worker Role in Windows Azure? Step by Step guide here:



    The Windows Azure Tomcat Solution is designed in a way that you can update your Tomcat project outside VS2010 project.

    The VS2010 application will be deployed once however whenever you would need to update, Tomcat, Java Run time or your own Tomcat based solution, you can update without updating your Windows Azure application.

    This project is based on Startup task in which Tomcat, Java and your project is downloaded from Azure Storage and then installed in Azure VM.

    Full source code is available for startup task and solution via : http://tomcatazure.codeplex.com/

    For a more details and complete setup guides look here

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Registration open for July Windows 8 Camps



    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.

    Wednesday 18th July, Windows Phone DevCamp

    Thursday 19th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    Friday 20th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    Saturday 21st July,Windows 8 DevCamp

    Monday 23rd July, Windows Phone DevCamp

    Tuesday 24th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    Wednesday 25th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

    Thursday 26th July, Windows 8 DevCamp

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

    Requirements & Prerequisites for Attendees

    IMPORTANT: Bring a suitable laptop with the following downloaded:

    1) Windows 8 Release Preview installed and running on your machine - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download?ocid=W_MSC_W8R_DevCenter_MetroDL_EN-US

    2) Visual Studio 2012 Express RC installed - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516

    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 email (microsoft@delegate.com) 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

    Windows 8 Camps Agenda:





    Welcome & Explanation of the Day’s Format


    Presentation Room

    Work Room


    Windows 8 Overview – UX, Store & Opportunity

    Hands On Labs

    (.NET and HJC)

    App Migrating and UX Reviews




    Windows 8 App Features 1




    Windows 8 App Features 2





    Hands On Labs

    (.NET and HJC)

    App Migrating and UX Reviews






    For the committed only to continue their labs/migrating.




    Click here to register http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/upcoming-events.aspx

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Using the right tone of voice for your brand


    Many of you are aware that a few months ago my colleague Andrew Spooner (@andspo) developed a series of films which focused on various aspects of digital design and user experience.

    A number of UK Universities used these videos as part of their guest lecture series, with the launch of Windows 8 Andrew is currently producing a new set of videos, the first of which has been taken up by .net magazine.

    The concept of the video is based upon how we use words in our applications and how we can use tone of voice more consistently across communications, from the application to the error message.

    Andrew simple focus is help you understand, that when you consider the wider context of an application and the various places where you talk to your users, be consistent with your tone and ultimately, create more beautiful applications.

    Here’s a link to the article and the latest film:


    Andrew has presented a number of  design events and spoken in more detail about the series of films. If you have creative events coming up, or if any of your interested in hearing from a expert design/UX  speakers from Microsoft for large events, do get in contact.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft TouchStudio for Windows Phone 7


    Microsoft has been working hard to innovate on the Smartphone market.

    At the Mix conference Microsoft released TouchStudio, TouchStudio simply allows developers to develop applications for their phones, right on their phones.

    This is the first application ever to be released of its kind for any smartphone device. The Microsoft Research Team created TouchStudio with the simple idea: “the programs are authored and executed on mobile devices. No other computers are needed”. Microsoft Research is also the home of Microsoft Kinect and Bill Buxton.

    If you have a Windows Phone 7 device, make sure you download a copy today, and let us know what cool and exciting applications you come up with. For Academics out there, we are excited to see if these kinds of applications can help you introduce programming concepts and increase the use of mobile application development within the academic curricula.

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