#DevSpotlight: What Can a Developer do with Kinect? We are pleased to present today a project by Tomasz Kowalczyk, who uses the Kinect system as the basis of his applications. He entered one of his projects - Kinsector  - in the “completed projects” category of the Openness Ideas competition.   Kinsector, monitoring and controling We asked Tomasz to tell us a little bit more about this idea. "I created the application with home and shop owners in mind. The overall objective of Kinsector is to increase safety of premises through their monitoring, motion detection and sms notification in case when something should happen. I came up with the idea about two years ago, when the Polish mobile phone operator T-Mobile released the Open API which enabled developers to use telecommunication solutions. The application is based on Kinect sensor and its SDK, also using the T-Mobile Open API. Right now due to the expiry of this service in T-Mobile, the application uses Twilio. This is how it works: the user connects Kinect to their computer and starts the application. Next, when the sensor detects somebody’s presence in a monitored room, the application takes their picture and sends it to the user via SMS. This mechanism gives the user control over what is happening in a particular area.”     … and in case of emergency Tomasz designed Kinsector so that it increases the safety also of store or gas station employees. He says: "You can program the Kinect sensor so that in case somebody raises their hands above their head (a gesture which is often performed when somebody is being attacked) the Kinsector application will send an automatic notification to a given phone number, such as the police or a security company. Also, a word can act as “trigger” for the system. For example you can program the system to react in the event of registering ‘HELP’, because the Kinect system has voice recognition capabilities.”   New opportunities through combining technologies Tomasz emphasizes that for him Kinsector is more than just a commercial project. His main purpose was to show the opportunities offered by today’s technology, and its vast interoperability possibilities: "I wanted to prove that creating such a project requires minimal costs, and to show that combining different technologies really lies within the reach of most developers.” He adds:"I am pleased that my idea has materialized, and that I did something with it." If you would like to find out exactly how Tomasz has created this project from a developers perspective, read his article “KinSector - Monitoring Premises with Kinect for Windows”, which was chosen the best article of the month in December2013 by the readers of http://codeguru.geekclub.pl/. Rehabilitation based on Kinect wins! Tomasz has had a few experiences regarding participating in competitions. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with finding the energy to fill out applications: “Compared to the amount of time needed to create a project – filling out an application form seems like a stroll in the woods :).” He tells us that before the Openness Ideas competition he took part in a startup contest together with his brother (a doctor) with whom he created the Heremo application, which is a solution supporting people with locomotive problems. The Kinect Sensor system will monitor the performed exercises and provide feedback about their quantity and quality. It has an interesting feature which will allow to share these results with the doctor who is in charge of the rehabilitation process, and keep him informed about the frequency and accuracy of our efforts. We will also receive these results on our phone. “We even won a contest with Heremo,” says Tomasz, and adds: “We are still working on it and adding new features, but in the ‘after hours’ mode. We are hoping to find people in Poland who would be interested to use our application in their clinic. So far we have received very positive feedback from people interested in Heremo from abroad.” The project is based on the Kinect Sensor system, is written in C# and XAML on the basis of the WPF engine.   The beginnings Tomasz works as a senior programmer designing IT systems, so he develops his own applications in his free time basing on those projects, which are first and foremost functional and which have an active community to which you can turn to in case of problems. He has been programming since high school, which is approximately 9 years now and is self-taught. This is what Tomasz has to say about his beginnings: "At the time when I started to learn how to code there weren’t many people to whom I could turn to for help. One day I read something about programming which caught my attention, at first I spent a little time exploring this subject, eventually I devoted more and more time to deepening my knowledge on this subject. Finally my interests evolved to the point that I decided to major in computer science. However, in this profession getting a collegue degree is just the beginning. You have to stay on top of the new trends and up-to-date on what is going on all the time. Thankfully, there are many tutorials and educational materials out there, for example I use Microsoft Virtual Academy courses or Channel 9 films”. Tomasz also shares his formula for high productivity: despite working full time he succeeded in creating 3 large projects, participating in competitions, currently he is working on new developing new applications, and in the mean time he has been able to write about 20 articles (check out his site for more details). “I simply do not have a TV,” says the developer. And now everything is clear :) In the second part of our interview (which we will be publishing this Friday) Tomasz will tell us more about yet another of his international projects (this time educational), which he claims brought him the most satisfaction, and which involves an interesting history. We hope you join us!

Drupal CMS on Azure Websites: Overview of Best Practices

#DevSpotlight: Paweł Hofman on Plans, Competitions & Microsoft, from a Developers Perspective

#DevSpotlight: CodeTitans Libraries For Multiplatform Game Devs – The Story Behind The Project

Managing Projects and Time with the Help of Microsoft Azure Cloud

Top 10 Openness Posts | June 2014

Improving The JavaScript Development Experience For Azure Websites With Grunt

Embracing Linux Devices on Azure via Service Bus and Web Sites This short 14 minute screencast by Jose Miguel Parrella, who is an Open Source Strategist at Microsoft is a continuation on our articles about the relationship of Microsoft and Linux. Just as a reminder, Linux runs as a first class citizen on Windows Server Hyper-V and is supported on Azure Virtual Machines (CentOS, openSUSE, SUSE, Ubuntu). Here you can find a variety of different resources on Linux and Microsoft. If you would like to take your dose of knowledge in the form of a film – you can watch Load Balancing Linux Services On Azure, but if you would prefer a tutorial, then perhaps you might be interested in Building and Modifying A Linux Kernel With Visual Studion in 20 Steps.   What is the film about? In the screencast Jose will use Azure’s open source SDK for Node.js, the REST interface of Azure Service Bus and Node.js and Web Sockets Support on Azure Web Sites to illustrate how to capture data from sensors connected to a Pinguino board on a Raspberry Pi running Linux. This screencast is part of Jose’s presentation at LinuxFest Northwest 2014 in Bellingham, WA. The slides are available here, and sample code here. Jose says: “I will show you how to connect Linux and attach devices on the Internet of Things scenario to Microsoft Azure.” Are you ready? There is really not much more to say, so we hope you watch the screencast and enjoy Jose’s short lecture! - The Microsoft Openness At CEE Team

Azure for Research: Microsoft’s International Contest for Scientists   Are you into science? Working on a socially important project in the area of physics, chemistry, information science, medicine, ecology or another fundamental discipline? Then Microsoft has something special for you! Several months ago Microsoft Research announced the start of a new international contest for scientists Azure for Research. And guess what? The grantees will be awarded with a year-long free opportunity to use Microsoft Azure services!   How to participate? Those who want to take part in the contest need to fill in the application form. This form requires a short description of the project with information about necessary computing capacities and resources for data storing. Research proposals from any branch of scholarly activity are welcome, however, special attention will be paid to those projects which would have scientifically significant results. All the proposals are reviewed on the fifteenth of even-numbered months (June, August, October etc.) and the grantees are announced shortly afterwards. Within this contest there is also another nomination for projects related to specific cloud-based research topics. You can find out more about this award in Microsoft Research blog. According to Daron Green, senior director of Microsoft External Research, the main criteria for projects assessment will be the possibility to deploy the project on Microsoft Azure and how this platform can speed up the research process.        Congratulations to the bi-monthly nomination winners! There is already a huge response from the scientists all over the world and among grantees of the bi-monthly nomination there are scientists from Russia: - Sergey Gerasimov with his project devoted to the R&D of machine learning algorithms in big data processing, for example, for analysing social media and assessing scientific articles quality; - Sergey Chernov with initiative related to collecting and analysing data from Russian social network VK to make these data available afterwards for the scientists; - Evgeny Rogaev with the Alzheimer Bio Project, aimed at analysing human sequence data and annotations of various effects of Alzheimer disease.   We sincerely congratulate scientists from Russia and other countries with getting this great opportunity to use Microsoft Azure one year for free! And don’t forget that Azure for Research is still on and we encourage all the interested scientists from all over the world to participate and share great ideas. Together we will make many discoveries! Stay with us and you will find out much more about great world of Microsoft Azure! 

How Has The Polish eOpen Group Increased Its Range Of Services With Azure?

Microsoft & Open Source. The Truth

How Is Visual Studio Developer Friendly For Cross Platform Mobile Development ?