From Zero to Hero, Kinect to Sphero

We've highlighted coding the Sphero previously here on Channel 9, The Ball is in our court and control with the Sphero C# Controller (WP8, MonoDroid, MonoTouch and more), but never like this. Today's project from Mike Taulty covers a number of topics, from start to Modern App all with the Kinect and Sphero.Playing with Kinect for Windows V2 and Sphero from a Windows 8.1 Store AppThis post is really under the category of “hacking for fun”. I wanted to knock up a quick demo for a talk about Windows 8.1 apps and I wanted to show that it’s possible to connect to interesting bits of kit from an app and the 2 of the “interesting” bits of kit that I came up with where;The Kinect for Windows V2 sensor.The Sphero.and I tied them together with some JavaScript code such that I could control the rotation of a Sphero device with my left hand by moving it away from my body and such that I could drive the sphero with my right hand by “pushing” it away from my shoulder.I had a few people asking me how that was put together and so I thought I’d blog that here in the manner of a “Recipe” where I’ll try and keep the code/HTML as short as possible to reproduce what I showed at the recent “Native Summit” event.Step 1 – Beg, Borrow, Buy a Sphero ...Step 2 – Beg, Borrow, Buy a Kinect for Windows V2 ...Step 3 – Get a Dev Environment for Windows 8.1 Apps Set Up ...Step 4 – Pair Your Sphero ...Step 5 – Try an Official Sphero App ...Step 6 – Get the Kinect SDK ...Step 7 – Get the Robotkit Library ...Step 8 – Write Some CodeThe demo that I showed was written in JavaScript so I’ll try and produce a minimalistic version of that here. The Robotkit.dll library is in .NET so I need to wrap something around it to turn it into a WinRT component that can be used from JavaScript.The starting point for that is then to make a new project in Visual Studio of type “Windows Runtime Component”...Project Information URL: Source URL: Information:Blog: Follow @CH9Follow @Coding4FunFollow @KinectWindowsFollow @gduncan411

Posted by on 18 September 2014 | 8:00 am

Python Tools for Visual Studio | Visual Studio Toolbox

Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS) is a free, open source plugin that turns Visual Studio (including Express!) into a Python IDE. In this episode, Robert is joined by Steve Dower, who shows how PTVS provides Python developers all of the goodness of Visual Studio, including IntelliSense, local and remote debugging and more. He also discusses why developers who have not used Python before might want to give it a try.

Posted by on 17 September 2014 | 10:37 am

RealWorldIT -The App for That! 101 of SharePoint Apps (2nd of 5) | Real World IT

In this Part 2 of a 5 part series Audrie will be showing you new ways to use the Promoted Links App, and give you other ideas on how to maximize many apps that are available in SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint on Office 365 right out-of-the-box! Don't miss this video post where you'll get fresh ideas --even if you've been using Promoted Links for a while! Then come back soon for Part 3 - where Audrie will explore Store Apps, with a focus on "Access" driven apps!This is level 100 content for SharePoint enthusiasts and is presented by Audrie Magno-Gordon, Microsoft Certified Office Specialist for SharePoint 2013 who currently is working in Microsoft IT in the Seattle area. Comment below this video and ask Audrie to review your favorite Office App.Learn More:Office App Store@BeITReady Twitter Feed

Posted by on 17 September 2014 | 10:19 am

Liberty University Kinects

Today's inspirational project is a great example of how the Kinect continues to transform the non-gaming world...Microsoft's Kinect technology powers university libraryMicrosoft has made Kinect a big part of its latest gaming console, Xbox One, though customers can now buy the box without that technology tied to it. However, the device can be used for more than just gaming and entertainment.Liberty University is now using Kinect to power a media wall in the library. The college is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and is home to some 12,000 students, and around 90,000 more who study through an online program."Upon entering the library......It's certainly a unique use for Kinect, and one that could inspire other innovations. You can get a feel for the setup by checking out the video below.Project Information URL: @CH9Follow @Coding4FunFollow @KinectWindowsFollow @gduncan411

Posted by on 17 September 2014 | 8:00 am

Cradle to Coder: It's a Kid Coder Week - Post two,'s new Code Studio

The second post in our Kid Coder Week comes via GeekWire's Blair Hanley Frank ...Kindergarten coders: launches open source Code Studio to boost kids’ learning of computer announced the launch of its new Code Studio today – an open source product designed to make it easy for kids — as young as kindergarten age — to pick up the building blocks and skills it takes to learn computer science. The studio includes courses on broad programming topics like loops and conditionals, as well as more general topics like how the Internet works. Code Studio’s Play Lab also includes functionality that allows students to message a link to apps or animations that they’ve built directly to a smartphone ...ANYBODY CAN LEARN - Announcing Code Studio!I’m proud to announce the launch of Code Studio,’s new open-source learning platform designed to teach students the basics of computer science, starting as early as kindergarten. The vision is to bring computer science to every student in every school and today marks our latest step towards that vision.We believe passionately that every child who has an opportunity to discover the world around them through a smartphone should also be given the learning capabilities and tools to build their own app. Code Studio enables even our youngest students to learn to build a basic animation or app in elementary school, and then share it to a friend’s phone within minutes.The Code Studio tutorials enable students to cover programming topics such as repeat loops, conditionals, and functions, as well as broader concepts such as how the internet works, or the role of digital citizenship in modern society. Code Studio expands on’s previous online tutorials which have already been used by over 30,000 classroom teachers and tens of millions of students. Any student can sign up for the beginner courses at a simple app, send it to you phoneWithin Code Studio, we’ve developed Play Lab, where elementary students can create and send apps or animations directly to a cell phone, just by typing in the phone number. This is a first in education for kids, made possible through a collaboration with Code StudioFollow @codeorgFollow @CH9 Follow @Coding4Fun Follow @gduncan411

Posted by on 17 September 2014 | 8:00 am

Insights into Azure SQL Database | Data Exposed

In this special episode of Data Exposed, Scott welcomes to the show the three individuals who own the relational database at Microsoft; Shawn Bice (Partner Director SQL Relational Assets), Nigel Ellis (Distinguished Engineer SQL Database), and Rohan Kumar (Partner Director SQL RDBMS). In this episode, Shawn, Nigel, and Rohan provide a candid and insightful behind-the-scenes look at Azure SQL Database, the new service tiers, and the process around determining the right set of capabilities at each tier. We discuss the operational hardening of Azure SQL Database and the journey that took the relational service from where it began to the only relational database service in the world with 99.99 availability SLA. We gain fantastic insight into how the SQL Server team learned through the operational hardening process how to ship SQL Server in a cloud cadence by looking at operational metrics with the magic being in the velocity of delivering quickly and efficiently. Microsoft is bullish about the new service tiers and the richer capabilities available in Azure SQL Database.

Posted by on 16 September 2014 | 3:30 pm

Ping 222: MSN Preview, Siri vs. Cortana, Minecraft hits Xbox One, OneDrive, Apps for Office Workers, E.T cartridges | Ping!

Hey everybody! Welcome back to Ping!  It's episode 222, which is a pretty cool palindrome episode number.  We're so happy to get a ton of correspondence this week - thanks pingers!  We talk about your suggestions about the coolest cooler and more these stories that we've been pinging each other about...[05:51] MSN Preview[07:26] Microsoft's latest Siri vs. Cortana ad aims to find the fairest voice assistant of them all[08:37] 'Minecraft' hits Xbox One this Friday and an upgrade only costs $5[09:56] It's official: Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage to support up to 10 GB files[11:07] 10 Must-Have Windows Phone Apps for Office Workers[13:02] You can buy those excavated 'E.T.' cartridges at auction soon [14:32] Question of the week! Where would you like us to shoot a remote Ping Episode? Chat with us throughout the week using  #PingShow on TwitterLike us on Facebook @RicksterCDN 

Posted by on 16 September 2014 | 12:58 pm

A Conversation with Bjarne Stroustrup, Carl Hewitt, and Dave Ungar

What happens when you put three titans of programming language design and computing in a room and turn a camera on to capture what takes place?That's the thought experiment that led to this conversation with C++ language creator Bjarne Stroustrup, Self language creator Dave Ungar, and actor model creator Carl Hewitt. Thank goodness all three of them were present at Lang.NEXT 2014. Many topics are covered, as you can imagine. It's best that you find some quality time to watch, listen, and learn from some true masters. This is a long conversation and there is great programming history herein!This is a rare (and very candid) gathering of some of the best minds in the programming world today.Huge thanks to Bjarne, Carl, and Dave for spending over an hour to make conversation in real time. The topics naturally evolved out of the random and it was an honor to be in the room with such wonderful people who've had such a huge impact on programming.Tune in. Enjoy.

Posted by on 16 September 2014 | 12:42 pm

3D Builder App R5 Release Enhances Design and Print Features

You can find me on Twitter here: @gavingear3D Builder Windows Store app was created to make loading, manipulating and printing 3D models easy and fun. Today, Microsoft has released a major update of 3D Builder that brings a host of new features and enhancements, including a new cloud printing partnership with 3D Systems.UP Plus 2 3D Printer and Dell M3800 Touch Workstation Laptop demonstrating 3D Builder R5In the R5 version of 3D Builder, the following new features and enhancements are introduced:Cloud Print (buy a print online from 3D Systems)Overhauled main control, new selection controlNew trophy parts 3D modelsWindows RT supportSave as STLThis list of updates is too exhaustive to cover in detail, but I cover more details in the video embedded at the top of this post.Cloud PrintNow you can print 3D models from the 3D Builder app without having to own a 3D printer! By clicking on the "Buy Print" button on the advanced options bar, you can seamlessly order a 3D print and have it mailed to you. This new service is offered in partnership with 3D Systems, through its consumer cloud printing service Cubify.The new Buy Print button in 3D Builder R5 is integrated with 3D Systems' Cubify serviceWhen you buy a print from 3D Systems' cloud services, you gain access to expanded material options beyond what is offered by typical consumer 3D printers. With this service, you can select materials including opaque and frosted plastics, metallic and mixed plastics, full-color "Colorstone" and even ceramics. After ordering, 3D Systems will print your 3D model and ship it within 2 weeks. For more information about the 3D Systems cloud printing feature please visit Cubify.Ceramic 3D print from Cubify – Image courtesy 3D SystemsEnhanced ControlsThe Main Control is the primary interaction UI that exposes the most frequently used features in 3D Builder. For the R5 release, the main control has been totally overhauled with new optimizations for touch and usability:Main Control collapsed viewFrom the selected Move control above (blue) we have the following moving in a clockwise direction: Move, Rotate, Scale, Redo, Edit Mode (expanded), Advanced/Print, Object Mode (expanded), Undo.The expanded version of the default (Object) mode exposes an outer ring on the main control as seen here:Main Control expanded Object ModeFrom the double triangle (Clone) button we have the following moving in a clockwise direction: Clone, Delete, Lay Flat, Center View, Ungroup, and Group.There's also a new expanded Edit Mode built into the main control:From the star button (Emboss) button we have the following moving in a clockwise direction: Emboss, Plane Cut, Color (new for R5), Boolean Subtract, Boolean Intersection, Boolean Union.The new Main Control in 3D Builder R5 makes it easy to drill-down on particular tasks and to keep the interface as clean and useable as possible. This clean design is especially useful since more and more features have been added to the app during the last several releases.There's also a feature called the Selection Control. With this new control you can easily manage the selection state of multiple parts on the virtual build platform.The Selection Control rotates through parts that are on the virtual build platform either automatically (as you tap/click on parts) or manually (by clicking/tapping and dragging in a circular motion). In the center of this control is an expand/collapse button, and at the bottom are select all and de-select all buttons. After using R5 for a while I realized how useful this new control is!One of my favorite new features in 3D Builder R5 is the enhanced model manipulation functions, including move, scale, and rotate. In R5 you can drag arrows that are rendered right on or next to the model to use these functions. In prior versions of 3D Builder, you would need to use the Main Control (Ex: manipulation of rotation angle) to control these parameters. This new experience offers much more precision and is much more intuitive as well.New Trophy Parts3D Builder includes a library of built-in parts that are sorted by category. A new category of parts for 3D Builder R5 is a collection of trophy 3D models that you can use to create your very own customized trophy. I demonstrate the creation of a trophy from multiple trophy parts in the video at the top of this post. Want to make a cake topper? You can easily scale the trophy down. Want to make an 18" tall trophy with your MakerBot Z18? Just scale it up with one easy dragging motion.Trophy 3D printed on the UP Plus 2 3D Printer with custom embossed textIf you are curious about 3D models and 3D printing, you should definitely try out 3D Builder R5. You can get more information and install by visiting the official 3D Builder app store page.I'm off to build and print more 3D models!

Posted by on 16 September 2014 | 10:18 am

Defrag Tools #106 - Larry Osterman - 30 Years - Part 1 | Defrag Tools

In a two part special for Defrag Tools, Larry Osterman joins Larry Larsen, Andrew Richards and Chad Beeder to celebrate Larry's 30 years at Microsoft. We travel to the Microsoft Archives building to reminisce over a selection of products that Microsoft has produced over Larry's 30 year career.Resources:Microsoft Archives - Campus ToursMicrosoft Archives - MicrospottingLarry Osterman's WeblogLarry Osterman on Channel 9Timeline:[00:00] - 30 Years![00:38] - Service glass (5/10/15/20/25yrs below)[01:40] - Microsoft Archives[02:27] - Flight Simulator (Press Release for 2015)[02:47] - Binders, inc. 8" floppy[04:35] - Cobol[05:12] - Iconography[07:42] - Amy's selection of Larry's products[08:02] - MS-DOS, inc. 5¼" & 3½" floppies[10:16] - LAN Manager[13:11] - Microsoft Interactive Television - 20yrs before Netflix[16:52] - Exchange[24:10] - Windows 3.1[26:48] - Windows 3.5 - Daytona[27:32] - 'New Technology', Windows NT, OS/2[32:58] - Scalability Day - Windows vs. Mainframe[33:46] - Larry still has the ATM card![36:38] - The NCR ATM from Scalability Day[37:58] - So did Larry donate the card? No, a few already were in the collection.[38:46] - More next week... inc. the MS Mouse, Clippy and Buildings 1-4Congratulations Larry on 30yrs - you're an inspiration to so many!

Posted by on 15 September 2014 | 10:10 am

Custom Gestures End to End with Kinect and Visual Gesture Builder

In this video (part 1 of 2) we walk thru end-to-end how to create custom Kinect gestures using Visual Gesture Builder.  We discuss why you would want to use a machine learning approach to custom gesture creation and then walk through in depth all the various components of creating the gesture: recording and tagging clips, previewing the gesture, and how to call the created gesture from code.Part 2 can be found here.Detailed timeline:[00:01:32] - Overview of the video[00:02:23] - Detection:  Heuristic vs. Machine Learning[00:05:43] - Kinect Studio (Recordable Data Sources and Recording Clips)[00:10:20] - How & Why to Record in Raw Format[00:16:51] - Converting Raw Clips with KSConvert.exe[00:21:03] - Recordable Data Sources[00:23:17] - Introduction to Visual Gesture Builder[00:25:30] - Creating a New Gesture Using the Wizard[00:35:15] - Adding & Tagging Clips[00:45:34] - Building the Gesture Database File[00:46:10] - Explanation of Build Steps & Process[00:52:50] - Testing the Custom Gesture[00:56:34] - Live Preview of Custom Gesture[00:58:40] - Summary of Visual Gesture Builder[00:59:40] - Visual Gesture Builder Process Flow Chart[01:01:35] - Developer Sample:  Discrete Gesture Basics[01:04:03] - Code Walk-thru:  Discrete Gesture Basics[01:17:54] - Kinect Resources Resources mentioned:VGB Whitepaper -> Info & Blog -> http://kinectforwindows.comPurchase Sensor -> Preview SDK -> Forums -> -> @KinectWindows, @benlower, @ahilier

Posted by on 12 September 2014 | 5:11 pm

Windows Compatible Hardware Development Boards Launch Event (Morning Session) | Windows Compatible Hardware Development Boards

An event for the Sharks Cove hardware development board from Intel. We will demonstrate how it can be leveraged by developers for driver development and see how our Partners have successfully used this platform to further their business.

Posted by on 25 August 2014 | 9:30 am

Day 4: Post Award Ceremony Wrap-Up | Imagine Cup World Finals 2014

John and Golnaz discuss the highlights of the Imagine Cup World Finals 2014 Award Ceremony in this post wrap-up video.

Posted by on 1 August 2014 | 4:47 pm

Day 3: Interviews with India, Canada and Korea Teams | Imagine Cup World Finals 2014

Golnaz catches up with the teams from India, Canada and Korea while they present their projects to Microsoft Employees at the company showcase.

Posted by on 31 July 2014 | 11:13 pm

Day 3: Hands-On Judging and Partner Awards | Imagine Cup World Finals 2014

Today the competition took place at Microsoft and consisted of hands-on judging. Each judge spent fifteen minutes with each team, testing out their project directly. At the end of the judging we had a showcase for Microsoft Employees to come see the finalists and their projects. Also, John announces the winners of the partner awards.

Posted by on 31 July 2014 | 10:05 pm

Day 2: Live Presentations | Imagine Cup World Finals 2014

It is day 2 of the Imagine Cup World Finals and the heat is on! It is the first day of competitions with the start of the live presentations. Each team has ten minutes to present their project to a panel of judges, followed by ten minutes of questions and answers. Golnaz catches up with some teams after they finish presenting and we get a sneak peek into the dorm rooms where the students are staying for the week. 

Posted by on 31 July 2014 | 4:47 am

2014 Imagine Cup World Championships | Imagine Cup World Finals 2014

We'll award prizes to the first, second, and third place teams in the Games, Innovation, and World Citizenship categories. And then the three first-place teams will compete live onstage to see who takes home the overall Imagine Cup trophy and gets a private meeting with Bill Gates.

Posted by on 29 July 2014 | 6:52 pm