DreamSpark for UW students – no ISIC needed now!

With the University of Waterloo’s migration to WatIAM (a new integrated authentication system), it’s now possible to verify student status for Microsoft’s DreamSpark program without getting an ISIC from Travel Cuts. The MSDNAA site for UWaterloo only offers a few limited applications so DreamSpark is a very appealing resource.

Here’s the drill, up until now: since Canada is apparently a third-rate country even after two speeches from Bill Gates, proof of student status had to be obtained using an International Student Identity Card. Allegedly the only place to get these is at Travel Cuts, an agency in the University Plaza. To get this card, you need a passport photo ($10) and proof of student status.

What’s particularly irking about the cartel that is the travel agency business is the demand for either a transcript from QUEST or tuition statement – just showing a student card won’t do it. As someone who is reasonably concerned about privacy, I’m not a fan of a travel agency knowing my courses and grades. And I especially don’t want someone in that business knowing how much I pay for tuition; it’s a data mining adventure and a half.

This magic is now apparently made possible through Shibboleth – a single sign-on package that allows a remote server to verify credentials. Just sign in to DreamSpark with a Windows Live ID account, hit Verify, and pick University of Waterloo as the related school.

Goodies from this program that you might be interested in include full ISO’s and legitimate product keys for:

  • Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 Professional
  • Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Standard (the 2008 keys work on a 64-bit version as well; the ISO is only 32-bit, but if you’re ready to install Server 2008 I’m sure you can find an x64 ISO somewhere online.)
  • XNA Game Studio 3.0 – with 12-month subscription to the Creator’s Club (equivalent value $99US)
  • SQL Server 2008
  • Expression Studio 2

Go and enjoy!

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