Imagine Cup 2011–Team NeaSoft (Italy)

Raffaele-Sergio-Clemente-MartaToday, I’d like to introduce you to Team NeaSoft from Italy, and their project OMCR.

Team NeaSoft hails from Naples, Italy, and their team name means “New Software.” (Nea meaning “new” in Greek.) The team is lead by Clemente Giorio, a current Microsoft Student Partner, and is joined by Raffaele Galiero, Marta Ponari, and mentor Sergio Di Martino. Clemente and Raffaele are students at Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, and Marta is a student at Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli.

With over 16 million people in the European Union suffering from motor disabilities, Team NeaSoft is working to bridge the digital divide to enable these individuals to communicate, learn, and be entertained.

OMCR (Oculorum Moto Computer Regere) aims to be a tool of expression for those with disabilities. Team NeaSoft is aiming to simplify the computing experience for those that currently do not have the ability to use a computer.

For more on Team NeaSoft, stay tuned here, July 8th-13th, and join them on Facebook to keep up-to-date.

Imagine Cup 2011–IT Challenge–Sinescu Ionut (Romania)

Ionut SinescuOne of the best things about the Microsoft Imagine Cup is the variety of competition categories that span all of Microsoft’s technologies. One such category is the IT Challenge.

The IT Challenge tests competitor’s skills and knowledge about everything IT. Competitors are given a case study on an organization and have to write a document telling the judges exactly how they would meet this organization’s needs. If they do well and move on to the final round, the competition heats up.

From the Microsoft Imagine Cup website:

“This lab will challenge you to build servers, server images, and configurations on a Hyper-V host server to prove your practical knowledge and experience with the technologies.  You will be asked to setup, install, and demonstrate knowledge and expertise around Windows 2008 R2, Exchange 2010, Windows 7, Office 2010, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, TMG 2010, SQL 2008 R2, Office Communications Server 2007 R2, etc. You will be given 24 hours to complete the hands-on lab challenge.” 

One such competitor is Sinescu Ionut, a student at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Romania. Sinescu will be competing against five other students in what Sincescu calls “a one man show” of information technology excellence.

For more on Sinescu, feel free to check out his blog (in Romanian), or visit him on Facebook.

Imagine Cup 2011–Team Software4Life (Spain)

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Earlier this week, I introduced you to the first of five teams competing in the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup, Team Note-Taker. Today, I’m going to introduce you to Team Software4Life from Spain.

Team Software4Life is made up of Cristian, team mentor, and Luis, Pedro, Cesar, and Gonzalo. Their project is called WaterSense, and the goal is to streamline the availability of drinking water. Why is a project like this needed, you ask? In some areas of the world, drinking water is not as plentiful as it is in developed nations.

Team photoWaterSense aims to change this with their 3-part solution. The first part is WaterSense Mobile. This is a tool designed to be used by volunteers in developing countries to identify potential water shortages. The second component is WaterSense NGO. This is what is used by NGOs to examine and analyze the data collected by volunteers through WaterSense Mobile. The final piece is a social component called WaterSense FB. This component lives on Facebook and enables users to see where projects are going on and enables users to donate and track where their donations are going.

This is one project that I am incredibly curious to see in person. Water is an absolute necessity for life, and I believe that any project that can bring clean drinking water to those who need it is worthy of praise.

For more on WaterSense, I strongly encourage you to visit their Facebook page, YouTube channel, and stay tuned here for more from New York City.

Imagine Cup 2011–Team Note-Taker (USA)

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The Worldwide Finals of the 2011 Imagine Cup by Microsoft will be upon us in about three weeks. Over these next few weeks, I’ll be introducing you to some select teams that will be competing July 8th-13th in New York City.

Today, I’ll be introducing Team Note-Taker. Team Note-Taker is based out of the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC) at Arizona State University.

Led by team leader David Hayden and Mentor John Black,5607507820_f581754579_z along with Shashank Srinivas, Michael Astrauskas, and Qian Yan, Team Note-Taker has created a portable assistive device consisting of a robotic camera, a tablet PC, and Microsoft OneNote 2010.

Inspiration for this project comes from David Hayden who is legally blind and decided he was not going to let his blindness get in the way of pursuing a dual degree in both Computer Science and Mathematics.

notetaker-prototypesThe Note-Taker presents its users with a split-screen view of live video from the camera and a Microsoft OneNote notebook. By using gestures (pinch to zoom, tap to focus, etc.) users can control the camera and take notes at the same time.

By using a solution such as the Note-Taker, students who are vision impaired can reduce the time and struggle in keeping up with their sighted peers in classes.

The Note-Taker is an innovative approach combining software and hardware in an easy to use way and at an affordable price point.

Team Note-Taker took first place in the Software Design category of the US Imagine Cup finals. Will they take it all the way in New York City? Stay tuned right here to find out!

(All images property of their respective owners. Imagine Cup logo, property Microsoft Corporation, Team Note-Taker photo, property Microsoft Corporation, Note-Taker prototypes photo, property Wired.)

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 | Part 2: Installation

In Part 1 of this series, I introduced you to Windows MultiPoint Server 2011. Today, in Part 2, I’ll show you just how easy it is to get setup with MultiPoint Server 2011.

System Requirements (minimum)

  • 2 GHz 64-bit processor with at least two cores
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 32GB Hard Drive space
  • DVD Drive for installation

For more on system requirements, I recommend reviewing the Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 Planning Guide.

Installation

The initial setup for MultiPoint Server 2011 is straight forward. Starts out with the ever familiar Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2 setup process and then leads into a customized Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) for MultiPoint Server 2011.

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Post-Install

After installation and OOBE have completed, display drivers need to be installed as well as any other drivers necessary for the proper function of the MultiPoint Server. After drivers and Windows Updates were installed, I rebooted and was greeted by the MultiPoint Manager. MultiPoint Manager is the central console for managing any and all MultiPoint servers on the network.

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In part 3, we’ll take a deeper look at MultiPoint Manager.

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 | Part 1: Introduction

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 is an awesome product from Microsoft. MultiPoint Server is designed as a solution to provide what I’ll call “one-to-many” or “shared” computing. By “one-to-many” I mean that MultiPoint Server runs on one server and provides the computing power for up to 20 users at the same time.

What are some of the possible usage scenarios? With the ever shrinking education budgets here in the United States, schools are having to find new ways to do more with less. Instead of buying a lab full of workstations, schools can buy MultiPoint Server and thin client hardware at a fraction of the cost. Another example is a small business looking to keep their costs low, can deploy MultiPoint and thin clients to all their employees. The possibilities are endless.

I’ve included below a slide listing the cost of MultiPoint Server. Note that this is for the software only and does not include server hardware or client hardware and is based on Volume License channel pricing.

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In Part 2, I’ll walkthrough the initial installation and setup of MultiPoint Server 2011.

TechEd North America 2011–Day 0

(Disclosure: Like most things Microsoft related, I am attending TechEd as a guest of the Microsoft Corporation. Flight, hotel, meals, and conference pass have been provided by Microsoft.)

I’m writing this post from 10,000 feet above the ground using GoGo Inflight Internet as I fly from Phoenix to Atlanta. (So cool!) I’m on my way to Atlanta for Microsoft’s TechEd North America conference.

TechEd is one of the premier conferences for IT professionals and developers alike. Obviously since it is being put on by Microsoft, it focuses on Microsoft technologies. This year, Robert Wahbe and Jason Zander will be keynoting the event and as my friend Mary Jo Foley has noted on her blog, we’ll probably see some cool stuff around SQL Server, Visual Studio (I hear there is a Kinect + VS demo!), and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some more info about the future of System Center and its role in facilitating public / private cloud interaction as well as management and consolidation in the datacenter.

I’ll be spending most of my time in sessions this week and will do my best to update everyone with the highlights. Also, I’ll be bringing a preview of what will be seen at the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals this summer.