winner

First place on the Innovation Accelerator in the Silicon Valley!

It’s been a week since we’ve come home from the Innovation Accelerator in Mountain View. This is the trip that we’ve won on the Microsoft Imagine Cup in Paris, last summer, as special prize. It’s been a great week – we’ve attended numerous priceless sessions and gained a peek into the entrepreneurial life in Silicon Valley. In the end of the week all the teams presented their projects to three venture capitlists – and of the six participant teams (Australia, France, Germany, Slovakia, South Africa and us, Hungary) we were the ones receiving the highest ratings!

Among the sessions were presentations on startups Liftopia, Ribbit, Zoosk, 3Scale and some others. We visited the Plug & Play Centre – an incubator for about 200 startups – a place that seems like lots of fun to work at! Of course there were some Microsoft sessions as well, we had a networking event and all key phases of starting up a company were covered in a presentation series. It’s incredible how much I’ve heard over the week..!

The Hungarian Team on the Innovation Accelerator

The Hungarian Team on the Innovation Accelerator

Innovation Accelerator participants with the three venture capitalists

Before the Innovation Accelerator we’ve taken a week long road trip in California and Nevada. If you’re interested, you can read our blog in Hungarian on the trip here.

Qualified for ITech Challenge National Finals!

With two of my friends at the Budapest University of Technology we’ve entered the ITech Challenge management competiton (our chosen team name is Drunk Puppies :) ). This competiton is about managing an IT firm and making most profits possible; this year each team had to manage a telecommunications company. I would actually say that the competiton is actually 90% management and 10% IT (some basic knowledge was required on how the phone/cable/internet infrastructure works and depends on each other).

Every year there are about 200 teams competing in the country, 20 of which can make it to the finals. We’ve taken part one of the qualifiers yesterday where the top 3 teams of the participating 32 were to advance. We came in at 2nd place meaning we’ve qualified ourselves to the national finals! Woo!

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Special Prize on 24 Hours Coding Competition

The Win The Web 24 hours coding competition was held last Saturday. The competition was organized by Microsoft Hungary and during the 24 hours teams of 3 had to complete a larger and three smaller web projects using any technology they preferred. I entered with two of my colleagues from work.

The main task was to create a website that tracks movements of truck drivers throughout Europe. We were given sample GPS coordinates of about 30 drivers with reports every 5 minutes in a months interval and had to visualize this information, make it searchable and implement the most we could of a list of about 30 requirements.

We decided to use ASP.NET, WCF, Silverlight and Bing maps with the Javascript API to solve the task. The competiton started at 10am on Saturday and the hours seemed to fly by too fast. I was developing route visualization with Bing maps and tried to work around limitiations of the Javascript API (e.g. that only paths of about 25 steps can be plotted on it) as well as building website functionality and a bit of Silverlight.

Unfortunately we only implemented about 60% of the functionality required. Because of this we weren’t hoping of any prize – however to our delight we were awarded IT Secure’s special prize for the most innovative user interface! And after the award ceremony I went home and slept a good 15 hours :)

Imagine Cup Hungary Winners!

The Imagine Cup Hungary finals were held last week at Microsoft headquarters in Budapest. This year’s topic was Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment and there were multiple categories one could enter (including algorithm, games, short film and some other). We’ve entered the “main” category, Software Design. In this category the winners of the national round qualify for the world finals held in Paris this year. And yes… we’ve won and will be representing Hungary in the world finals!!

The Idea

In theSoftware Design category teams of maxium 4 have to create a project for the theme of the competition utilizing Microsoft technologies. We’ve spent weeks brainstorming with what we could develop for this year’s theme and finally came up with a water saving irrigation system. The motivation driving this idea was that we learned that 80% of all sweet water used goes towards irrigation compared to only 7% of sweet water used by households! So if we could save 5% on irrigation that would be equivalent of saving 50% on household water usage and would have a huge impact.

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