Another day here in Austin with a lot of progress on KatrinaSafe.com. Right now, I'm waiting on test to approve the next push of the Smart Client application. We've added the functionality to allow case workers to match evacuees with the inquiries ... the real heart of the system moving forward and one of the more complex pieces from a logic perspective. Jim Dugan is down here from the Reston MTC working on the initial data piece that will go through the evacuees and inquiries and match potential evacuees to their loved ones. It's not an easy task ... we have to take into account misspellings, incomplete information and possibly bad data. But I'm sure he'll get that done. In the meantime, we'll also have some folks from the SQL Server team and Microsoft Research looking over the data to come up with a really good probablistic matching system. Pretty amazing stuff.
Meanwhile, the Smart Client has been deployed and is being used at several locations. I'm not sure of all of them (they don't let me out of the Dev Pit much), but I know that Todd Ellison, on of the Technical Account Managers in the Houston, was working down at the Astrodome to get them set up, deployed and running and was also working on Dallas, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Mississippi. I know they were going pretty strong earlier today because I watched the statistics posted on KatrinaSafe.com go up one by one.
Right now, we have over 37000 evacuees in the system and more coming in all the time. We're currently working on some additional data loads from other sources (including the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Astrodome ... again thanks to some hard work by Todd, Chris Wafer, another TAM), so expect to see that number jump up. We've also had a bunch of other 'Softies helping out at various locations with things ranging from machine set up to networking, DHCP and DNS. More and more people are also coming in here to help out with a variety of things, including building out laptops to ship out to relief centers with the Microsoft Across America bus -- which has a high speed satellite connection and self-contained power (internet connections at some of the relief centers, ad-hoc as many are, can be challenging).
I have to say that I've been really, really blown away by the response and support that Microsoft has given to this project, both the company and the people. Here in Austin, we've not wanted for anything ... food, drinks, everything is brought in and, in some cases, brought to us at our desks. (Eating fajitas while coding can be somewhat challenging.)
Well, I'm out of here for now.