• What's all this #ukmspmeetup talk about?

    Nov 10, 2010

    There are 103 Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) all over the UK. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, the UK is big. Wouldn’t it be great if, just for one day, we could all come together from whatever corner of the United Kingdom we’re from and meet up in person?

    Well that’s what we’re here to announce! I’m part of a small group of Microsoft Student Partners who have come together to organise the greatest event in MSP history. Yes – you guessed it – a UK MSP Meetup!

    The idea behind the hashtag was originally proposed by @DansGalaxy


    On Tuesday, December 21st 2010, at Microsoft’s London office - which is right next to Victoria Train/Bus station, and also just down the road from Buckingham Palace.

    The event will run from 12 noon until 18:00, with some optional dinner and entertainment in the evening kindly being provided by Microsoft.

    It’ll be a great opportunity to network, make friends and hear some cool presentations delivered by some Microsoft speakers that we’ve invited. Here’s the agenda:
    13:00               Welcome to the Future
    14:00               Session 1: Developing for Windows Phone 7
    14:45               Session 2: Developing for The Web
    15:30               Break
    16:00               Session 3: Game Development for Xbox, Phone and PC
    16:45               Session 4: How to get jobs, get skills, and make lots of money.
    17:30               Round up
    18:30               Dinner and Drinks

    Big thanks to Microsoft for giving us a venue and feeding us all for the day. Their sponsorship has really helped make this event possible!

    Who? How?

    Now, we do expect the day to be rather popular, and we canʼt fit all 103 MSPs into the
    venue - itʼd be great if we could, but itʼs simply not possible. Don’t worry though – we’re going to be live-streaming the event on the web for those MSPs that can’t make it in person!

    There’s space for around 40 MSPs in person at the event though, allocated on a first-come/first-served basis. Details of this will be sent out to all MSPs closer to the time. To register, drop an email to lewis.davies@msptechrep.com with your details and we’ll let you know if and when you’ve got a place. If you want to attend, don’t hold back – we’re expecting places to go pretty quickly!

    And Finally…

    If you’re travelling a long way, and fancy staying over in London for the night of the 21st, a few of us will be staying at The Langland Hotel on Gower Street, not too far from Covent Garden and Soho. By tube, the hotel is around ten minutes on the Victoria line from Microsoft London. Shop around for prices, but the best we’ve found so far is over at LateRooms.com for £40 per night, including free in-room WiFi and breakfast the following morning.

    We really want to make this event a success – so please, come on down to London on the 21st and meet your fellow MSPs! In the meantime, you can chat about the event on Twitter using the #ukmspmeetup hashtag.

    We’ll see you on December 21st in London!

    The MSP Meetup team:
    Adam, Andrew, Blake, Dan, Ian, Lew and Mike

  • Inspiratech: Now live!

    Nov 1, 2010

    Hey folks! It's with great pleasure that I can say Inspiratech has acquired a domain and is now live. You can check it out at www.inspiratech.eu. We've had a few meetings to get things sorted and organised. We're not pressing on with our project fast. Thanks to some awesome php by Josh we have it aggregating our RSS feeds so you can find our updates in one place. The slick look is bought to you in no small part by JJenZz and her site onedollartemplates.

    This is our first big step towards more the Imagine Cup. In addition to the website; decisions have been made as to which version control and document management system we’ll be using.

    For source code management we’ve reached a decision based on accessibility and ease of use - github. It allows for us to have a good trail of who did what changes line by line. Being able to have a local repository allows for us to make small incremental changes locally without frequently pushing source code to the main branch and possibly messing with others.

    For our documentation management we've decided to use Huddle. It's a free tool, with options to pay for more features. It allows for you, as a user to sign up and keep track of the various projects that you are working on. It's easy to arrange meetings in this, same, workspace. It allows for discussions to take place without need for immediate action. They seem pretty savvy in the way they conduct their business. One tweet from me and they set about working to solve an issue that same day!

    We had a great meeting today where we decided what our project will entail, with a bit more detail than the original vague ideas that we bounced around. However, there is always room for expansion and refinement. We're taking it in our stride now to "imagine a world where technology to help solve some of the world's toughest problems" in the Software Design Competition. This brings with it both extreme motivation and a great challenge. We want to make sure we get this right!

  • UKPDC10: Roundup

    Oct 30, 2010

    So yesterday I was pleased to be one of the last people to snap up my place at Reading's PDC10 event. I turned up a little late and sadly missed a bit of the keynote. After quite a lengthy overview of what Microsoft is doing. Essentially with the cloud, they're going "all in". They've been listening to developers qualms and making the changes that they wanted so it becomes easier and smoother for you to create and deploy your applications in the cloud.

    It was after this we were let loose on Microsoft's tasty offering of food and drink. Never underestimate how much hungry geeks eat.

    I went to a couple of talks after this. Building Windows Phone 7 applications with the Windows Azure Platform. This was a demo heavy session, as such I'll be watching it again later on and taking notes. It essentially gave an overview of how to push and pull data to and from Azure from a WP7 application.

    Next there was a break for further refreshment, quickly followed by a quiz to be in with a chance of winning a Windows Phone 7 device. Sadly I fell at a question relating to how many followers someone had. The others I'd got right though. Daniel Parker, a friend and Inspiratech team member, was one of the last people standing and entered into a final phase against 3 others to be in with a chance of the device. This deciding round was a pretty intense battle on Kinect's running game. He even went on to win the device! Great for him, and for our Imagine Cup team as it will give us a real device to test on once we get to that stage.

    After this I had my first play on Kinect. I have to say I was amazed at how responsive and awesome it was. Despite there being a good 20 people in the field of view for the final phone competition it easily distinguished between the players and the crowd, with no configuration needed for each running pair.

    I played a far less energetic game of Table Tennis with Kris - it was a little different from playing the actual thing (playing face on), but great fun. I think there is some video footage of this - will add it once I can access it. Hardly any input lag and nothing incorrect. Awesome when you consider the work that must go into translating images into game input. Step aside Wii and Playstation Move, Kinect is getting ready to blow them out of the water!

    The last session I went to was about optimising your WP7 application, something I thought would be very relevant for our Imagine Cup effort  as we want the user experience to be as slick and intuitive as possible. Essentially if you want things to happen in the background, take them off the UI thread and use another. This'll ensure that the user doesn't have input lag or hangs.

    I want to say a big thank-you to the Microsoft UK team for putting on such a great event, way later than a normal event. A thoroughly enjoyable evening!

  • Microsoft UK Students: Facebook page & Twitter

    Oct 27, 2010

    Are you a student passionate about technology? Then the Microsoft UK Students Facebook page could be what you're after. It's a place to interact with other like-minded students about all things tech. On there you'll find some links to free stuff; we all know free stuff, free stuff is good.

    You may even meet someone you want to work on the Imagine Cup with there: a great opportunity with a chance to meet some amazing people, learn and use technology to help solve the world's toughest problems.

    They're in the mood for Halloween at the moment, they even got a new picture for the occasion:

    To save you any hassle here's the like:

    If Facebook isn't your thing and you like to tweet. Why not follow @MsUKStudents?