During the Code Award cycle we received a great email that I am reproducing here with the permission of the author, Daniel Léger. This is a great example of someone using technologies to better the life of others.
"Regarding the MSDN Code Awards:
I know you'll find this stupid, but I'd like to see nominated the people at Microsoft who make products like SQL Server Express and Visual Studio Express, and then make them available - for free! - to any and all to use as they see fit.
For example, I work in a small non-profit cancer research lab in New-Brunswick and many people don't know this, but cancer research nowadays is to a large extent about manipulating and making sense of large amounts of data, mostly genomic data. To make a long story short, there's no way a small outfit like us could afford to hire a full time programmer and database specialist but with tools like the Express suite we've been able to manage, and quite well so far.
If the team at Microsoft ever tought that the Express suite would be used mostly to do stuff like programming a coffee machine then think again. We have used SQL Express to develop a fairly large database linking oligonucleotide sequences with genomic data, making it much easier to examine and consolidate information from microarray experiments. And we have used Visual C# to develop custom data manipulation tools, manipulations that would otherwise take an obscene amount of time, time better spent on research. We also developped reporting tools like the collapsible HTML gene expression report for microarrays, nothing to boast about programming wise, but an incredible time saver. All of them possible because some people, somewhere care about making programming tolls accessible to non-programmers like me.
So, kudos to the Microsoft team that developped these fine products. I wish you could win the award.
Daniel Léger, M.Sc.
Atlantic Cancer Research Institute
Moncton, NB Canada"