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The competitors have arrived in Washington DC (OK technically Chevy Chase MD) for the US Imagine Cup finals. Tonight started with a light dinner, some social time, and then some welcoming remarks and discussion of logistics for the next couple of days.
We started with greetings from Microsoft VP for Education Anthony Salcito. An 18-year veteran of Microsoft he will be holding “office hours” to meet with the competitors on Sunday. This will be a great opportunity for students to ask questions of and learn from a senior executive. One of the key points that Anthony made was that the students should regard the weekend as more than just a competition but also an chance to network and make friends. The computer science industry is still a somewhat small community in many ways. The people you compete with today may be co-workers and partners tomorrow. With people from all over the US here this weekend the chance to make friends and learn from each other as well as the formal program is a real opportunity.
Tomorrow the competition starts in earnest. The teams drew for their presentation time slots and now know when they will be presenting their projects. I know that many of the teams will be working into the night polishing their talks and perhaps event tweaking their demos. We start bright and early at 7AM with breakfast and there will be presentations all morning.
The afternoon the competitors will have an opportunity to see some of the sights in Washington. It would be a real missed opportunity not to see some of the sights. I’m going on a trolley tour that promises stops at some 30 different sights. I love DC and am thrilled to be here and get to see some things. Often on business trips, which is what my last visit to DC was, I don’t get to see anything but the inside of a hotel, a conference center and maybe the sidewalk between hotel, conference site and restaurants.
Sunday will have a number of top notch presentations on a number of topics by industry professionals. A good chance to get some education that they may not get in the classroom. Honestly I think this weekend and what students can learn in it is good enough reason for students to enter and work hard to make the finals. Hopefully the students will feel the same way by the time they go home on Monday. Monday will be the community showcase which is open to the public as well as the final round of judging and the announcement of winners.
Today I have a presentation to give around mid-day and then I go home to pack for a trip to Washington DC for the US finals of the Imagine Cup. Ironically last year’s finals was in near by Boston/Cambridge but I had to miss it to attend a meeting in, you guessed it, Washington DC. This year I get to go. We’ll see the selection of the top Software Development Invitational team who will get to go to the world wide Imagine Cup finals in Poland this summer. We will also pick the best (of the 10 finalists) in the US game development addition. Some of those teams are moving through the final rounds of the world wide competition which is running in parallel. Yeah, its different.
There is also a people’s choice voting for the Software design category. Visit the People’s Choice Video Gallery and vote for your favorite. Next Monday we will be running a community showcase April 26, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, at the Newseum in DC. Read about the Imagine Cup community showcase here and please come by if you are in the neighborhood! I’m really excited to see the Newseum BTW. From all I have read and heard it sounds like a very interesting place.
I’ll be twittering a bit – we’re using the hash tag #ICUS10 for US Imagine Cup related tweets. Several others should be tweeting as well. I’ll be posting updates on Facebook and I plan on blogging news here at the end of the day. So I may not have a post Friday because of travel (but I did) but you should see posts on Saturday and Sunday with a wrap up on Monday.
Microsoft has just released a new free Silverlight 4 Training Kit that walks you through building business applications with Silverlight 4. You can also download the entire offline version of the kit here. You can use the 8 modules, 25 videos, and several hands on labs online or offline from links on the Channel 9 site.
The key to this training material is not the features it covers (though it covers a variety them) but rather that it teaches from the perspective of building a business application.
The Silverlight 4 Training Course includes a whitepaper that explains all of the new Silverlight 4 features, several hands-on-labs that explain the features, and a 8 unit course for building business applications with Silverlight 4. The business applications course includes 8 modules with extensive hands on labs as well as 25 accompanying videos that walk you through key aspects of building a business application with Silverlight. Key aspects in this course are working with numerous sandboxed and elevated out of browser features, the new RichTextBox control, implicit styling, webcam, drag and drop, multi touch, validation, authentication, MEF, WCF RIA Services, right mouse click, and much more!
It really expects some previous knowledge of Silverlight but I’m going to give it a whirl myself anyway.