Category Archives: Windows Phone

Student Windows Phone Apps Need Votes!

This year we’ve been hard at work engaging with student developers all over the world. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of developers to create unique experiences for Windows Phone.

A little bit ago I blogged about a promotion called Big App on Campus targeting US student developers:

  • The idea: students create great apps
  • The reward: the developers of the top 10 apps all get flown to SXSW in Austin for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: passes to the music festival, a special concert with The Gracious Few and Candlebox, a VIP dinner with the bands, and an interview on national radio about their apps and experience
  • The big payoff: the top overall paid and free app will each win $15k!

The past week was spent judging all the submitted apps and the top 20 semi-finalists (10 paid apps, 10 free apps) have been chosen. Now it’s up to public voting to determine who will get to go to SXSW and who will return home $15k richer with the title “Big App on Campus”.

Please take 10 minutes to check out the student apps on the dedicated Facebook page. Download any apps that catch your eye and/or “Like” them on Facebook. We will be using the downloads and “Likes” to determine the finalists and overall winners.

http://www.facebook.com/MicrosoftTechStudent?sk=app_136366186486038

Forward to your friends and have them vote too! Thanks @BenLower for spearheading the voting initiative

Global Game Jam: It’s on, we’re there!

This weekend is Global Game Jam! If you follow Andrew Parsons’ blog then you’ll know that this year Global Game Jam especially exciting. If not, you can head over to his post or you can read this telling excerpt:

And this year it’s even more exciting for me because Microsoft has sponsored a number of the GGJ sites in the East Coast of the US, and a bunch of us are going to be there. For example, I’m going to be heading over to the Jams at NJIT in Newark, NJ and NYU in downtown Manhattan. And because we love Windows Phone (and secretly I want to encourage as many students to find out how easy it is to develop for the Windows Phone and maybe enter Imagine Cup too), for those specific sites we’re at, we’re going to be coming with actual phones to give away to any teams that want to try their hand at building Windows Phone games on the weekend itself. Cool!

The East Region Audience Team is going to deployed all over the East Coast in the name of game jams and Windows Phones! If you’re going to a site on the list below, give some serious thought to a Windows Phone game. Just in case it didn’t sink in the first time, here’s why:   : )

If you create a Windows Phone game your team will receive a Windows Phone!

I’m going to be at the Rockville and Baltimore jams. I’ll see you there!

Locations

Big App On Campus!

We see new, amazing experiences created every day by student developers and we wanted to come up with a way to return the favor: we are partnering with the band The Gracious Few (featuring members of the bands LIVE and Candlebox) to create an amazing experience for ten (10) US college students (and their guest) in Austin, TX at SXSW: attend a private concert, receive backstage passes, go to a private dinner with the band, and be interviewed on national radio about their apps.

We’re topping all this off with two $15,000 cash awards (one for the top free app and another for the top paid app) for the two apps that will be named “Big App on Campus.”

Big App on Campus (BAOC) is open to US College and University students who build apps for Windows Phone. Each app created from August 1st, 2011 until February 14th, 2012 can be entered and students can submit multiple entries.

Overview of Prizes

  • clip_image003Top free app + top paid app get $15,000 each!!
  • 10 students (and their guests) will join us in Austin, TX for SXSW Music festival in March 2012
  • Transportation, hotel, $500 spending money
  • Private concert with The Gracious Few
  • Backstage passes and private dinner with the band

 

Timeline & Judging Criteria

There are a few dates of note:

  • February 14, 2012 -> deadline for all entries to be submitted
  • February 15, 2012 -> Round 1: Judging
  • February 23, 2012 -> Round 2: Public voting
  • March 1, 2012 -> Round 3: Public voting to select Big App on Campus
  • March 13-18, 2012 -> SXSW Music festival in Austin, TX

Every app submitted will be judged on three criteria:

  • Innovation (40%): How innovative is the app? Does it do something new or does it accomplish something in a new way?
  • Experience (40%): Does it feel seamless and like a native experience on Windows Phone? Does the app have a polished feel?
  • Potential (20%): Does the app have potential in the market (lots of users, making money, both) or not?

Public voting will include a combo of number of downloads of the app + “Likes” on Facebook. Semi-finalists will definitely want to think about how they can get their friends, family, fellow-students, and even complete strangers to download and “Like” their apps.

How to Enter

Obviously entering requires building & publishing an app. Each student must also complete the Official entry form (takes 49.7 seconds on average). Here’s what to do:

  1. Register for DreamSpark at http://www.dreamspark.com and for an App Hub membership (both are free of charge for students) at https://users.create.msdn.com/Register/. Also check out our great Getting Started Guide for more info and resources. https://www.dreamspark.com/Products/Product.aspx?ProductId=28
  2. Create & publish a Windows Phone application to the Windows Phone Marketplace. Make the apps free, charge money, put ads in them…it’s up to you.
  3. Visit http://wpdev.ms/BAOCApplication and complete an Official entry form. Do this after you’ve published your apps because you’ll need the App ID.

The full details are in the Official Rules so make sure you check them out.

Eligibility & Rules

Windows Phone Colors in RGB & Hex Values

UPDATE: Get the latest colors for Windows Phone 8 (HEX & RGB) here! Get Windows 8 theme colors (HEX) here!

I find myself looking up the values of these colors a lot, so I thought other people might as well. If you want copy/paste-able color codes, see the table below.

 

Magenta #FF0094 RGB(255, 0, 148)
Purple #A500FF RGB(165, 0, 255)
Teal #00AAAD RGB(0, 170, 173)
Lime #8CBE29 RGB(140, 190, 41)
Brown #9C5100 RGB(156, 81, 0)
Pink #E671B5 RGB(230, 113, 181)
Mango #EF9608 RGB(239, 150, 8 )
Blue #19A2DE RGB(25, 162, 222)
Red #E61400 RGB(230, 20, 0)
Green #319A31 RGB(49, 154, 49)

Useful Links for Windows Phone Development

The other day, I was at the Windows Phone Camp at Howard University. We had developers & students and beginners & experts in attendance. I got the pleasure of presenting the sessions on Silverlight and XNA. Similar to other Windows Phone Camps, we also had a hackathon that gave developers a chance to win great prizes like Marketplace subscriptions and even a Windows Phone!

During my presentation I showed a few links to some useful resources for Windows Phone Development. After the presentation I received a lot of requests to post those links so people can refer to them. I’ve compiled the links here! Have some resources that have helped you? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for training kits?

Help moving from other platforms?

Learn about the Metro UI

Get more functionality in your apps

Slides and Demos

Easy-Bake Oven Apps: ScriptTD

Want to create a Windows Phone 7 app? Want to create a game? Don’t feel like coding the ENTIRE thing yourself?

Let me help you. Or rather, let Andrew Parsons (@MrAndyPuppy) help you. Andrew wrote a comprehensive post that will walk you through the Windows Phone Marketplace experience using ScriptTD. ScriptTD is a tower defense game engine that allows you to easily create custom tower defense games by changing the graphics and audio. You can download it from scripttd.codeplex.com. After you’ve done that, head on over to Andrew’s post, Create and publish your own Tower Defense game.

If you publish your game, send me the deeplink!

Happy creating! 🙂

Agenda Update: Windows Phone Camps

I want to let everyone know about some updates to the Windows Phone Camps that are happening on the East Coast. There is an updated agenda for the following camps:

11/2/2011 NCSU, Raleigh, NC Registration
11/8/2011 UCF, Orlando, FL Registration
11/10/2011 Univ of Miami, Coral Gables, FL Registration
11/15/2011 Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA Registration
11/17/2011 Howard, Washington, DC Registration
11/29/2011 Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA Registration
12/1/2011 Hofstra, Long Island, NY Registration

For the locations above, there is a new agenda. The new start time is 2:00 PM!! Please update that in your calendars! Here’s the new agenda:

Agenda
2:00 PM Welcome Campers
2:15 PM How to make money with your Windows Phone app
3:00 PM Frameworks for fun and profit > Silverlight and XNA
4:00 PM Cool stuff your app can do
5:00 PM Dinner and Hackathon
8:15 PM XAP-Off (show off your app)

The day will be capped with an open lab hands-on session and prizes for apps completed. This is the perfect opportunity to begin work on your dream application, or finish that app you’ve already started, with Windows Phone experts there to guide you every step of the way. Bring your own laptop to join in the fun and show off your killer app!

I hope to see you there!

Prerequisites:
Bring a notebook computer and identification. Also check out the APP HUB where you can get developer tools, learn about application features, understand common task for Apps and register and load your APP.

Notes:
This event is brought to you by Microsoft and is free of charge. However, you are responsible for booking and paying for your own travel and accommodations. If your location is not listed in this post, you can find the agenda in the original post here.

Tennessee Women in Computing (TNWiC)

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend (and speak at) the very first Tennessee Women in Computing Regional Grace Hopper Celebration. I know that a super long name which is why everyone calls is TNWiC. Here are some stats-at-a-glance from TNWiC:

  • 180 attendees (TNWiC sold out and there was a waiting list!)
  • 19 sessions
  • 5 Lightning Talks
  • 2 talks with “awesome” in the title (mine was one!)

Day 1 started with the keynote from Dr. Lynne Parker about what robotics can learn from nature. From flight patterns to hunting principles, robotics has a long way to go and a lot to learn from wolves, birds, and bees. One of my favorite things about robotics that Dr. Parker talked about is the diversity that’s needed in the field. Not just women, I mean backgrounds; everything from math to philosophy is relevant to robotics.

Following the keynote were two rounds of sessions, one featuring a talk by Ruthe Farmer (@ruthef) of NCWIT, The Power of Encouragement, and the other featuring the panel I was a part of, Thriving in a Man’s World. Ruthe actually mentioned me in her talk! She made a quick reference about how I became a CS major (my professor wrote on my test, “Do you have a major?”). She also talked about the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. If you know any high school girls who have an interest in technology, encourage them to apply! The panel I was on discussed advice for surviving the workplace. We answered questions about being mommy-tracked (well, I didn’t answer that one) and how to dress in the workplace and everything in between.

The second day was packed full of great sessions too! There were two sessions for the Distinguished Speakers, Dr. Valentina Salapura (IBM) and Dr. Vidya Setlur (Nokia). In additions there were lightning talks (I gave one!), technical presentations and an invited speakers session. During my session, Mobile: Be Awesome. And Hot., I got to talk about some of the cool features of Windows Phone 7 and show-off two ways of creating mobile apps that require little to no coding experience. If you’re interested in creating apps and games for the phone check out AppMakr, an RSS aggregator, and ScriptTD, a customizable tower defense game engine.

Demo of ScriptTD

I always love the regional Grace Hopper conferences and TNWiC was no exception. The opportunity for meaningful local connections is so important and I’ ‘m grateful when I get to be a part of that process. I’m so proud of the organizers of TNWiC, it was a very successful first conference and I know it’s only going to get better.

Why I Do This

I love my job. I’m passionate about technology and I want everyone else to love it just as much as I do. Day-to-day I’m pretty successful at piquing people’s interest in technology, but sometimes a story comes along and reminds me that this industry is capable of making a profound imprint on people. That’s what happened at the 2-day Boston Windows Phone Camp & Hackathon.

To find out more about the Boston event, check out a write up here and here. We’re doing more Phone Camps in the East, find one close to you!

On the Hackathon day, I spent some time at the back table chatting with the people sitting there. They were hard at work, so we chatted briefly about Colorado and snowboarding. Later that afternoon when everyone was presenting their apps, one of the men from the table, Brian, presented his game, Spooky Game. Spooky Game is a Halloween game using XNA and royalty free graphic. It turns out, Brian had been laid off early this year and he’d never written a line of code before. That morning, his 8-year son had told him to write a Halloween game with a pumpkin canon. With the phone training from the first day and the availability of XNA experts on the second day, he was able to code a working game!

When it came to vote for the best app of the Hackathon, Spooky Game won! Brian got his choice of prizes and he picked the Xbox 360 with Kinect. I have no doubt his 8-year old was super excited that his pumpkin canon idea won App of the Day!

This is one of those great stories about helping someone become a creator of technology! And he got an Xbox out of it! I’m feeling lots of warm fuzzies…like I swallowed a kitten!

App winners in Boston

Windows Phone Camps – East Region 2011

What’s a Windows Phone Camp?

For those who went to our “Windows Phone Garage” series last year, it’s one of those. For those new to the scene, it’s a free, full day event chocked full of everything you need to know to develop a Windows Phone application. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just getting started with phone app development this full-day event is for you.

Interested in profit? We’ll also lead discussions on how to monetize your applications and generate profits with your apps.

Don’t miss the new Windows Phone 7.5 (codename “Mango”) features as well – with detailed sessions in the afternoon around Fast Application Switching, Multitasking, Live Tiles, Push Notifications, and more.

The day will be capped with an open lab hands-on session and prizes for apps completed. This is the perfect opportunity to begin work on your dream application, or finish that app you’ve already started, with Windows Phone experts there to guide you every step of the way. Bring your own laptop to join in the fun and show off your killer app!

Agenda
9:00 AM Welcome Campers
9:15 AM How to make money with your Windows Phone App
10:00 AM Frameworks for fun and profit > Silverlight and XNA
noon-ish Canteen > Install Fest
1:00 PM Hands-on lab
3:00 PM Cool stuff your app can do
4:00 PM To the Cloud
4:45 PM Be What’s Next > Peoples Choice Awards

Not only is the content great, but we’ve got a ton of locations coming up. Note that we are not only hitting the traditional Microsoft facilities, we are hitting a ton of campus locations as well. Students can attend Microsoft facilitiy events, and professionals / entrepreneurs are more than welcome to drop in on the on-campus locations as well. Mix, mingle, network.

Don’t see your geography in the list? Located in the East Coast USA? Reach out to us and let’s see if we can line up a Windows PhoneCamp “community edition”.

Schedule
9/20/2011 Charlotte, NC Registration
9/22/2011 Atlanta, GA Registration
9/27/2011 Malvern, PA Registration
9/29/2011 Reston, VA Registration
10/12/2011 Cambridge, MA Registration: Day 1

Registration: Day 2

10/18/2011 Chevy Chase, MD Registration
10/19/2011 New York City, NY Registration
10/25/2011 Tampa, FL Registration
10/27/2011 Champlain College, Burlington, VT Registration
11/2/2011 NCSU, Raleigh, NC Registration
11/4/2011 Fort Lauderdale, FL Registration
11/8/2011 UCF, Orlando, FL Registration
11/10/2011 Univ of Miami, Coral Gables, FL Registration
11/10/2011 SUNY (New Paltz), New York Registration
11/15/2011 Virginia Tech Registration
11/17/2011 Howard University, Washington, DC Registration
11/29/2011 Pittsburg, PA Registration
12/1/2011 Hofstra, Long Island, NY Registration
11/29/2011 Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA Registration

Prerequisites:
Bring a notebook computer and identification. Also check out the APP HUB where you can get developer tools, learn about application features, understand common task for Apps and register and load your APP.

Notes:
This event is brought to you by Microsoft and is free of charge. However, you are responsible for booking and paying for your own travel and accommodations