DreamSpark for Free Stuff

Last week Bill Gates (you might have heard of him - used to run a software company as I remember) announced a new Microsoft initiative called DreamSpark. This gives all students (even those unlucky enough to be at places which are not in the Microsoft Academic Alliance) access to free Microsoft software, including Visual Studio 2008 professional, Windows Server 2005 and Microsoft Expression Studio. And they also provide students with free 1 year XNA creators club memberships. You just have to go on to the site and sign up. If your institution isn't listed as one of the authenticating places (for some reason Hull is not on the list) you can use your Athens username (which all Hull students have) to get access.

To find out how to do it you can read more at Ed Dunhil's blog, where he describes the process. I've just tested it (don't ask me how) and it works fine.

This is wonderful, since it means that any student with an Xbox 360 and Xbox Live membership can now write games for their console. And with the upcoming community developments it means that in the slightly longer term they will be able to publish them out to everyone on Xbox Live.