Archive for the ‘NZ Imagine Cup 2007’ Category

Last week our Microsoft Imagine Cup trophy finally arrived by mail (thanks Paul and Ryan)…Chaks, Jen and I went to the commerce building one afternoon and handed the trophy to Professor Martin Purvis, the HOD (Head of Department) of Information Sci.Β  We took a few pictures at the time…but didn’t expect it to be online in such a short period ofΒ time πŸ™‚

Student NewsΒ :Β Second placing in MS Imagine Cup makes local newspaper


Thanks my team mates for all the hard work they have done πŸ™‚

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I am finally back in Dunedin…the first thing I did was to grab my friend’s XBOX360 and play Rainbow 6 πŸ™‚  Rainbow 6 is probably the best FPS (First Person Shooting) game I have played so far…if I can use a mouse for the game…that would be even better πŸ˜‰  Anyway…in the afternoon, my friend and I went to see our academic mentor…he gave us some DVDs software and tutorials on WPF, silverlight and Orcas…save me lots of time downloading them…thanks Nathan πŸ™‚


A journalist from “The Star” gave us an email a few days ago wondering whether we can do an interview regarding the Imagine Cup stuff.  They probably got the news from our Head of Department Brendan who did a press release last week.  Hope this will bring some good publicity to both of the department and boost the number of students majoring in Comp / Info Sci.

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A few of my friends ask me why I sold the XBOX 360 that I got from the Imagine Cup Competition…its such a awesome console and a great multimedia center.   Well, there is a reason behind it…and I hope you will understand my choice:


The prizes given by Microsoft were great, I love the XBOX 360,but I really can’t afford to spend my spare time playing games.  For a start, I don’t have much spare time next semester (also this semester as well); I am going to start my internship in the library (no pay, but do get a lot of working experience), and I got some papers that I want to spend more time in (My friend said: if you don’t know much about the concepts of C++, you won’t get things like WCF, WPF etc).  Secondly, I don’t have much money to buy games (the fancy camera I use is a gift from my relative), and if I have the money, I would rather get a few books on C++. 

My Comp Sci department here doesn’t have any courses on .net stuff.  After the competition, it really amazes me what you can do with WCF and WPF.  Also there are many jobs out there that is “.net related“, it would be great if I got some .net skills before I graduate so I can have more chances of getting a job.  It would be even better if the prizes for this competition are Microsoft books (e.g. on WCF, WPF, MCDA / MCSA) or training sections on .net languages so we can further “polish” our knowledge of the Microsoft development platform.  I have say that selling the XBOX is not the best move, but I can use the money to buy books so I can learn more (especially Microsoft stuff, Windows is everywhere) before I graduate.  I am in my third year now, its not fun and game anymore; without some sort of skills or experience, its very hard to find a job out there.  The job that my friend has got now…I applied for it before him, they even sent me an email and ask me whether I am free to do an interview, but once they knew my friend…its all over for me.  If they can find someone with the experience and skills, they will not spend the time and money to train someone from ground up (I can understand that).  By now, I hope you will understand why I made this choice πŸ™‚

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One of the photos I took turned out to be quite good (at least that’s what I think) and I used it as my wallpaper ever since I took it. If you like the photo and wants to use it as your wallpaper, feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment so I can send it to you through email πŸ™‚

From Trip to the I…

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Just came back from Auckland yesterday at around 21:30. We managed to get the 2nd place in the final. The team from Waikato got the 1st place; the team from AUT got 3rd.
We began our trip to Auckland at 8:30 on Thursday morning. Mark took us to the airport in his car.(thanks Mark) Our plane took off at 9:45 and arrived in Auckland at 11:45. Microsoft arranged a taxi for us in the airport, it cost more than 70 to get to the Microsoft NZ headquarters! Thanks to Microsoft, everything is covered πŸ™‚ We had pizza for lunch in Microsoft, and we met quite a few people there including Mike and Nigel, who were our judges in the NZ semi-final. We then took a tour of the Microsoft NZ headquarter; their working environment is really relaxing. We then spent the afternoon testing our application, before heading off to dinner at the Vivace. Vivace is a very fancy restaurant at the Auckland City Center. They have lots of candles everywhere in the restaurant. The food was one of the best I have tried so far, not too sure about the price though…… After dinner, Chaks and I spent the whole night testing (I had a nap before the sun rise) and debugging our application, making sure its ready for the final presentation. We ordered two bows of shoestring at 4 in the morning. They cost 7 dollars each, and 5 dollars for the delivery fee!!! The hotel we stayed in was quite nice, the room was huge…the view is great…but we didn’t have time to enjoy the things they offered. Our team went back to the Microsoft Headquarters at around 8:30in the morning where we had a “Microsoft Breakfast“. Since our presentation is at 10:10, we didn’t have much time to practice. The conference room where we did our presentation was full of guests from the industry and academic field(around 50 of them). Our presentation was quite smooth, but we didn’t manage to show the video that we have made because we ran out of time. After the presentation, we had an hour to spare, so we went to the harbor and took some photos. The result was announced at around 12:30; they announce the 2nd place first…which was us, then the 3rd place, and then the 1st place. We were very pleased about our prize (each of us got: XBOX360 + a game + Vista Ultimate + Office 2007 Standard Edition + 1 year of MSDN subscription), but also a bit disappointed because we didn’t get the 1st place. After the announcement, we had a phone interview with Otago Daily Times, then we head off to the Sky Tower in the ciy. I didn’t go up to the top because I was having a chat with my friend from my high school in China. Since we got a taxi waiting for us at 15:30, we didn’t spend too much time walking around in the city. Our taxi driver even rang us up because there was a traffic jam on the motorway, so we walked back to Microsoft as quickly as we could to pick up our bags. The whole trip ended as our taxi drove away from Microsoft. The first thing we found was that the XBOX360 was actually quite heavy…a lot heavier than what I thought.

I learnt a lot during this competition…specially about the .net platform and what it could do. After this competition, I am certainly going to spend my spare time learning the .net languages (especially C#). I also had a taste of what it was like to be working in a team…this is something that I couldn’t learn from the textbooks.

Finally, I want to thank Microsoft for providing the opportunity for us to take part in such a great competition. I want to thanks my team mates for all their hard work; I learnt a lot from every single one of them:) Also I want to thank my Uni, the University of Otago for giving us so much help. I hope the Otago team next year can win the NZ and world final.

Here are our photos of the trip:

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Right now is 6:09 in the morning…I am very sleepy……Vista installation didn’t take a long time, but Visual Studio 2005 did…and the funny thing is, Visual Studio SP1 takes longer to install than the Visual Studio itself…at least that is what happened in my case.  Anyway, I am just going to have a quick nap (can’t say sleep because its less than an hour) and hopefully when I get up, the Vista SDK will be finished.

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My trip will start at 7:45 at the Arana Dining Hall, (having breakfast with Chaks), then we will head off to the Commerce Building at 8:15 to meet Jen and Mark, where Mark will take us to the airport in his car.(thanks Mark!) Our plane will take off from Dunedin at 9:45 and will arrive in Auckland at 11:25. Well, this is the plan, hope everything goes well πŸ™‚
We had some last minute meeting today regarding the PowerPoint slides and details of the presentation. I just came back from Chaks’ place, where he completed most of the tasks tonight. My task tonight is to reinstall my Vista because we found some problems with the WCF on my computer 😦 Anyway, tonight is going to be a long night and I hope I can get some sleep tomorrow on the plane πŸ™‚

P.S. I will bring my camera and use it to document everything on our way to Auckland!

Good luck T4, you can do it!

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My team mates told me that next year’s theme has been announced…and its about sustainable environment:

Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment. A world where technology is an ally of the planet, not an adversary. A world where software enables us to interpret environmental indicators, predict the outcomes of our actions, improve our consumption of precious resources, and live more in balance with our environment.


My first thought was…lucky we took part in this year’s competition πŸ™‚

If I was taking part in the Photography, then next year’s competition might be better than this year’s one, but for Software Design… Then again we came up with the idea that we have got just days before the dead line of the Project Proposal, so if you are interested in taking part next year, you probably have started thinking about it already. Since we got into the finals this year, the departments will probably start to pay more attention to competitions like this…for a start, it brings good publicity to the University, and also to the departments too.

IC Cup

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Had a look at the Info Sci’s Student News and was quite surprised to find that they knew about us entering the finals since 7th of June!

University of Otago team reaches New Zealand Imagine Cup Software Design Finals Competition.

They will now have a chance to compete to represent NZ in the World Wide Finals in Korea in August.


We will have a meeting about the presentation tomorrow, hope we can do a better job this time and let the judges see how our project can change the Education world πŸ™‚


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Just got an email from Microsoft with our tickets to Auckland. We are leaving on the 21st at 9:45 in the morning, will arrive in Auckland at 11:25. We will be staying in the Heritage Hotel (heard it was one of the best ones) for a night. I have checked out the hotel online, and they have broadband in the rooms πŸ™‚ The returning flight will be on 22nd of June at 17:30 (very tight schedule) and we will return to good old Dunedin at 20:15 πŸ™‚


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