# Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Microsoft sponsored the HackIllinois hackathon held at the University of Illinois February 27-March 1, 2015. Approximately 900 students attended. The following people from Microsoft worked on site:

  • Bill Fink, Technical Evangelist
  • David Giard, Technical Evangelist
  • Martin Schray, Technical Evangelist
  • Sarah Sexton, Technical Evangelist
  • Paul Sledd, Recruiter

IMG_0968

Of course, students love free stuff, so we came armed with some prizes: We gave away a t-shirt to anyone who completed a brief survey. When we ran out of t-shirts, we gave away books, stencils,mugs, and stickers. From those who completed the survey, we drew a name to win a Surface Pro 2.  William Su of Ga Tech won this drawing. We offered a HoodiePillow and a free Azure pass to anyone who wanted to incorporate Azure into their weekend hack. 42 people took advantage of this offer.

Throughout the weekend, the four evangelists answered questions from teams using Azure and other Microsoft technologies.

On the final day, we offered a Dell Venue 8 Pro to each member of the team with the best use of Azure. 18 teams completed an application with an Azure component.

It was a difficult choice and we debated for some time. One team hosted an impressive translation application on Azure; another created a GPS application that displayed the location of the user's dog and whether it had left their yard.

IMG_0981

We awarded the prize to a team from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for their Flock application - a system built on a Pebble watch to communicate restaurant recommendations to friends. Most of the application logic was in an Azure web service that called out to APIs exposed by Twillio and MailJet. The Pebble watch called to the Azure API. This team spent some time at our booth asking questions of Bill and Martin. You can watch an interview with this team at Technology and Friends.

Bill Fink brought his Kinect Photo Booth and it was a big hit. Many students were drawn to our booth when they walked past and saw themselves in front of a dinosaur or live volcano on the giant monitor at our table. The Photo Booth sent out 102 emails over the weekend.

IMG_0962

Overall, the event was a great success - Students came away with a positive impression of Microsoft and many used Azure and Kinect that probably would not have had we not been there. Many students were unaware what Azure even is. They were excited when they found out how it could help them and their projects. One team planned to use IBM for their back-end data storage; but after struggling with the IBM service and talking with Bill, they switched to Azure and completed their project successfully.

HackIllinois Photos

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 13:48:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 10 March 2015

This is the fifth in a series we are doing at DevRadio on female entrepreneurs. I interviewed Luan Cox of Crowdnetic – a global crowdfinancing platform.

Watch episode at DevRadio

Tuesday, 10 March 2015 12:26:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 09 March 2015
Monday, 09 March 2015 15:54:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 08 March 2015

This is the fourth in a series we are doing at DevRadio on female entrepreneurs. I interviewed Jennifer Whaely and Jeff Everett of Pose-a-Pet, a Chicago-based company that helps find homes for animals.

Watch episode at DevRadio

Sunday, 08 March 2015 12:38:26 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 07 March 2015

This is the third in a series we are doing at DevRadio on female entrepreneurs. I interviewed Diana Paredes, CEO of Suade - an open regulatory financial platform.

Watch episode at DevRadio

Saturday, 07 March 2015 20:20:21 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 06 March 2015

The second interview in the Microsoft for startups series is with Bernadine Brocker, CEO of Vastari - a company that matches art collectors and museums.

Watch episode at DevRadio

Friday, 06 March 2015 13:34:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 05 March 2015

At DevRadio, we are starting a new series on Microsoft for Startups.

In this recent episode, I spoke with Microsoft Startup Evangelist Tereza Nemessanyi about her history as an entrepreneur, what she and Microsoft are doing for startups, and what it's like as a female entrepreneur.

Watch episode at DevRadio

Thursday, 05 March 2015 14:36:32 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 04 March 2015

NickZackTimmy

This is a photo of Zech. He's the one with no shirt. The other two are my sons. When he was a boy, Zech lived next door to us. All 3 boys have grown to adulthood since I took this photo.

Zech was close friends with my boys, even though he was a bit older. There was a time when Nick and Zech were inseparable during the daylight hours. I remember Zech as quiet and polite. He always addressed me as "Mr. Dave".

I haven't seen Zech in years. He had a tough life. His parents were not around for much of his childhood; When he was my neighbor, his aunt and uncle were raising him; and I am told that, as an adult, he struggled with a heroin addiction and spent some time in jail.

A month ago, Zech was reported missing. This weekend, his body was found in a snow bank in Cincinnati. He was 27 years old.

I grieve for Zech and for a young life that was cut short; I grieve for the life and childhood he should have had but did not; I grieve for his family, who are suffering a tragedy I pray I never experience; and I grieve for myself because I was not there to help someone who could have used a role model and maybe just a little more guidance.

If you are reading this, call your kids and tell them you love them.

If you are reading this, call your siblings and ask them how their week is going.

If you are reading this, call you mother and listen to whatever she feels like talking about.

If you are reading this, hold tightly to someone special in your life.  Tomorrow is not promised to either of you.

Today, my prayers and thoughts are with Zech's family. I hope that they remember him as I do - a quiet, polite boy who was kind to my sons.

Rest in peace, Zech.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:45:41 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 02 March 2015
Monday, 02 March 2015 19:44:28 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

3/1
Today I am grateful that my boys are safe and healthy.

2/28
Today I am grateful for a trip to the University of Illinois.

2/27
Today I am grateful for this new Logitech headset.

2/26
Today I am grateful for a packed room at yesterday's Web Camp.

2/25
Today I am grateful for meeting up with Mark and Anne last night in Minnesota for the first time in about 3 decades.

2/24
Today I am grateful for: -Aaron the handyman fixing a bunch of broken stuff in my house -Words of encouragement from Ted, whose voice I haven't heard in too long.

2/23
Today I am grateful that my pipes did not freeze at my Michigan house while I was away for weeks of sub-zero temperatures.

2/22
Today I am grateful for the opportunity yesterday to deliver my first keynote presentation.

2/21
Today I am grateful to those who braved the weather in Nashville yesterday to attend my Web Camp.

2/19
Today I am grateful for my first-ever trip to Kansas.

2/18
Today I am grateful for dinner with Lee Brandt last night.

2/17
Today I am grateful for a belly full of Kansas City ribs last night.

2/16
Today I am grateful that every day brings new possibilities.

2/15
Today I am grateful for breakfast yesterday with Gail, who I haven't seen in 20+ years.

2/14
Today I am grateful that there are people in my life who care enough about me to pick me up when I'm down.

2/13
Today I am grateful for 2 engaged web camps today - at a Web Camp in Indianapolis, followed by an Android development class at IU.

2/12
Today I am grateful to all those who organize technical conferences in their spare time.

2/11
Today I am grateful I got to see the Spartan basketball team play very well at Northwestern last night. #GoGreen

2/10
Today I am grateful for lunch with Timmy in Bloomington and dinner with Laura in Chicago and a safe drive in between.

2/9
Today I am grateful to spend yesterday evening with my son Tim.

2/8
Today I am grateful for: -Driving my son around to his old homes and school in northern Kentucky -Dinner with Gary and Patricia last night. -My first trip to the Shoemaker Center in over a decade to watch an exciting USF-UC basketball game.

Monday, 02 March 2015 02:19:28 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)