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Microsoft .NET Developers Launch KatrinaSafe.com

"Every once in a while, I'm reminded what a great company Microsoft is ... and what great people I work with."

"Every once in a while, I'm reminded what a great company Microsoft is ... and what great people I work with," states Houston, TX-based J Sawyer (pictured), Microsoft developer evangelist for the Gulf Coast district. He was in Austin at the weekend, helping go live with www.katrinasafe.com.

Sawyer blogged on Sunday: "Everyone here is spending their holiday weekend, working until the wee hours of the morning, to build this site and make it available. It went from an initial vision on Wednesday at 11 PM to an initial live version now. And we're not done yet."

He continued:

"Not only are we doing the web site, but we're also working on a Smart Client application that aid workers will be able to use to enter the information about survivors. It's been a lot of work. It's also been a lot of fun ... especially working with this great bunch of guys up here. And ... it is, without a doubt, the most important project that I've ever been involved in. All this work ... all this time ... all the software ... is being donated by Microsoft and some of our partners to help the relief effort. We've got support from the very highest levels of the company to do whatever we need to do to make this happen. It's a small thing, perhaps ... but if we can help provide some comfort, help someone locate a lost loved one ... then it's all worth it. Want to know what you can do? Donate to the Red Cross or any other relief organization that's helping out. I'm lucky to have this chance to work on this project ... but every one of us can do something to help. If you are in Houston or in any of the other cities that are providing shelter to our fellow Americans, donate some time to help out those less fortunate ... those that have been devastated by this disaster. And remember, as you look at the images of the survivors from the disaster area ... There, but for the Grace of God, go I."
Meantime .NET Developer's Journal editorial board member Keith Franklin tells of another project:

"We're a few local (ATL) ASP.NET programmers who have created a central datastore, collection web interfaces, and processing system for missing/safe person data on people affected by hurricane katrina, http://www.katrinaproject.com."

Franklin continues:
"The idea caught on quick... we've only got 2 guys working on this full time and a third helping out when he can. Since going online we've ben contacted by LOTS of groups who want to work with us. We're overwhelmed and need help... we've got plans for a mobile device interface to our data, and are working with a callcenter fielding calls from disaster victims (the callcenter needs some special enhancements to the interface we can't get to fast enough.). We're being listed as the central survivors database on the emergency web terminals being deployed in disaster zones ( http://www.publicwebstations.com )

We've got people on the ground at shelters trying to gather lists and transmit them to our datastore electronically. We're also contacting almost 50 other websites which have lists or data collection systems... they are starting to use our MSP file spec and transmit data to us.

If you could get the word out that we are looking for volunteer programmers who can hit the ground running and take ownership of some of the special projects we have WE WOULD APPRECIATE IT.. but there are people out there looking for loved ones who would appreciate it even more.

Current experience we need:

.NET mobile framework using our data classes to collect and process data string data parsing experience... there's a lot of data in forum posts we can't use but could triple our data if we could parse into useful fields

Mass emailing system... as our system processes incoming bulk data, it makes matches between searchers and safe persons, flagging them as needed contact via email. We need a system to read from a database table containing these contact requests and send them out

any general ASP.NET (we're using VB) experience to help build special lookups and interfaces I hate to make such a request on a holiday weekend, but we are swamped.

Please spread the word if you can."

.NET Developer's Journal is happy to do exactly that.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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