Well, not literally, but many of our interns did spend a lot of their own time probing the stratosphere over the last 12 weeks, building cloud-based apps for the Windows Phone. These interns were participants in Project Hawaii Intern XAPFest 2012, a contest for building the coolest, most useful apps for the Windows Phone. And for eight contestant teams, August 14 was judgment day. These lucky few were the finalists, vying to place among the top three finishers and take home a cash prize.
Of course, we didn’t just throw down this challenge without providing some assistance. Our interns are sharp, but even the best and brightest need some support. So throughout the summer, we held a series of workshops and hackathons, each attended by more than 100 interns. Topics ranged from programming with Microsoft Silverlight, to working with Project Hawaii services, to optimizing Windows Phone applications. Developers from the across the company volunteered their time and knowledge to help the interns getting started.
Finally, the big day arrived. The eight finalists presented their ingenious projects to a panel of three distinguished judges. The judges had some difficult decisions to make, given the high quality of the contesting projects, but our steely-eyed jurists were equal to the task.
And the winners are…
Pictured from left to right: Nishant Shukla (LyncUp), Kevin Mehlhaff (Vocab Stacks), and Matt Oates (Speak)
- Grand Prize to Jasdev Singh and Nishant Shukla for LyncUp: Doesn’t it seem like you and your friends always want to hang out, but no one can decide where to go? With LyncUp, you and your posse can find mutual meet-up spots based on your GPS locations. What’s more, LyncUp will track everyone’s arrival status in real time!
- Second Prize to Matt Oates and Duncan Horn for Speak: Ever wonder how to pronounce Où est la bibliothèque? Or maybe Una cervaza, por favor? Well, that’s why you need Speak, an application that helps you say common phrases in different languages. With Speak, you can hear how the phrase is supposed to sound, and then attempt to say it yourself. Glückwünsche, Matt and Duncan.
- Third Prize to Kevin Mehlhaff for Vocab Stacks: Hey, sometimes you need help with words even in your native tongue. In that case, it’s Vocab Stacks to the rescue. You simply type or speak a word into your Windows Phone to look up its definition. If the app can’t find a definition for a particular word, you ask one of your erudite friends to enter a custom definition so that the phone will know next time.
Congratulations to the finalists and winners, and to all who entered Hawaii Intern XAPFest 2012.
—Arjmand Samuel, Senior Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Connections