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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Some Short News for Computer Science Students and Teachers in Fall 2012

It's that time of year again where everyone starts to realize that summer break is almost over and it is time to head back to school. With this, I have a few announcements for those being educated in Computer Science.

What better way is there to start the preparation for the school year off than by installing Windows 8 on your computer? Tomorrow, Windows 8 will make its way on MSDN. I am sure, by default, this will also apply for MSDNAA as well, which has now been integrated into Dreamspark. If it doesn't exactly show up tomorrow, check back in a day or two. You might be better off doing that anyway, as I am sure there will be much traffic on MSDN trying to download the RTM version of Windows 8.

Speaking of Dreamspark, students (especially freshmen) should know that Microsoft is generous to students, so generous that you have access to a good bit of software for free which, otherwise (if you weren't a student), would cost you some major $$$. This software includes products like Windows (so, for example, if you got the Home Premium flavor of Windows 7 installed on your computer, you can upgrade it to the Pro flavor of Windows 7. For development purposes, you also get access to Visual Studio for free. These are just some examples, but you get the idea.

As I mentioned before, start thinking ideas for your school's Imagine Cup team. If your school doesn't have a team, you can always start one. The Imagine Cup is open to both high school and college students, but be warned that winning will not be easy. Still, do not let the fact that winning is hard get in the way of you or your team.

With Windows 8 comes WinRT, a whole new set of APIs for Windows. Windows 8 programs can be written in javascript, c#, or c++. Feel free to combine languages if you like, but be warned there are constraints when working in more than 1 language on the same project.

Well, this all for now in this new briefing, but I hope that you can do something with this information. For students, all you really have to pay for when getting a new computer is the hardware. As an additional request, I know there are those of us who really like a company's software and exhibit fanboy-like behavior and there are those of us who don't care and just "use what works". If you are going to have debates between software and/or hardware products this year (like Windows 8 vs Mac OS X Mountain Lion), please do so with charity and don't reduce things to ad hominem attacks. If it comes down to using ad hominem attacks, you've basically lost the debate (automatically).

As a college student myself, I know what a drag it can be in the morning if I don't have my coffee to get me started. If you are going to drink coffee, why not drink it like a mystic monk. Some tasty Mystic Monk Coffee (use this link or click on the picture below to access the store and purchase) is what you really need when it comes to coffee. Trust me, it's good coffee (in most instances, much better than Starbucks coffee) and you won't regret buying some (just keep it away from your computer keyboard or laptop/tablet). For the summer (or what's left of it), they are also offering Iced Coffee as well. If you like tea more than coffee, they also offer tea. Using the link (or picture below) to buy the coffee (or tea) helps the monks out and helps me with college expenses as well.

Feel free to try out my apps for Windows Phone: Mobile Media Manager, a media player app I made which has some features which (I feel) are missing from the system Zune player, and BSA Eagle Tracker, an app that boy scouts can use to track their progress to Eagle Scout (when the scout handbook isn't always handy). The update for the paid version of Mobile Media Manager is out, but my last submission update for the free version in Microsoft Apphub certification failed, so release of the update to the free version will be a few days (< 7). BSA Eagle Tracker is also getting a bug fix for an obscure bug I noticed recently.

BSA Eagle Tracker download:
Mobile Media Manager (paid version) download:
Mobile Media Manager (free version) download:

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