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How Technology Can Help the Katrina Relief Effort

Have you cried about the human suffering inflicted by Hurricane Katrina? I have, and I still do from time to time, but only briefly. There are so many messages of hope that quickly move me past that. I live in Houston. Every family I know is actively participating in the relief efforts. Did you know that 25,000 volunteers of all faiths and walks of life attended training sessions at Second Baptist Church over the 3-day Labor Day weekend? It was awesome. No motivational pep talks were required--everyone was highly motivated already.

Have you wondered how technology can help? I have, and I have good news to report. A team of Microsoft developers has been working almost around the clock developing applications to cope with this tragedy. They developed to help reunite families separated by Katrina. They've also developed smart-client applications to help manage information. I'd like to be more specific, but they're way too busy doing things to talk much about what they've done. But we'll get a chance to find out the details from some of the team members next week at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles. There is a new Birds of a Feather (BOF) presentation, "Katrina Relief Through Technology" on Monday night, September 12, at 7:00 p.m. If you're attending PDC, please attend this session and bring your ideas. Let's get all of the best minds together and come up with answers.

--John Cook

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