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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 http://www.katrinasafe.com 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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