December 2014

Microsoft New York’s Best Blogs of 2014

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It’s been a great first year for Microsoft Technology and Civic Engagement in New York. The past six months have been filled with great events, news, and support from our community members. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up the best blog posts of the year! Join us in reflecting with our top blogs of 2014:

June

New Tech City
by John Paul Farmer

July

Three Civic Innovation Spaces to Watch
by John Paul Farmer

Introducing Matt Stempeck: Microsoft New York’s New Director of Civic Technology
by Matt Stempeck

August

Yammer’s Key Role in Disaster Response and Recovery
by John Paul Farmer

Bring Your Tech Skills to the Classroom
by Matt Stempeck

September

6 Local Programs helping STEM
by MSNY Staff

October

Microsoft NY Embraces The Responsive City
by MSNY Staff

Participatory Budgeting in America
by John Paul Farmer and Hollie Russon Gilman, PhD

November

New York Public Schools Recognize Computer Science Credit toward Graduation
by MSNY Staff

December

Black Girls Code Game Jam Kicks Off Computer Science Education Week
by Calena Jamieson and Catt Small

NYC Civic Hackers Meet With NYC’s First Chief Technology Officer
by Noel Hidalgo

Microsoft donates $2 million in YouthSpark software, 200 HP Stream tablets on TODAY show

I always love the holiday season, and this Friday it became even more special to me because I had the pleasure to make an appearance on NBC’s TODAY show’s annual Holiday Toy and Gift Drive, which has raised nearly $400 million in donations since it began 21 years ago.

I told Hoda and Kathie Lee that this year, as part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, we are donating $2 million in software to NBC-sponsored charities and other youth-serving non-profit organizations. We’re doing this because we see a gap between those who have access to the skills and training they need to be successful, and those who do not; particularly when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Having access to the latest technology is so important for creating a better future for our children, and we want to do our part.

But that wasn’t enough for us. While access to great software is important, it’s also kind of important to have great hardware to run it on, too! So the Microsoft Retail stores kindly lent a hand by donating 200 HP Stream Windows tablets to those same charity outlets. With these amazing tablets, the charities get access to the full Windows 8.1 experience, and with powerful tools like SQL and the cloud-based Office 365, they can do a ton more than ever before: go paperless, impress stake-holders, reduce costs, access important documents anywhere, anytime, and work more productively and more collaboratively, so that they can do even more good for the communities they serve.

I can’t tell you how honored I am to be a part of this effort, and to have the privilege of sharing with nearly 2 million TODAY show fans! On behalf of all of us at Microsoft, thank you New York for another great year and we hope your holidays are filled with cheer.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

For more information on the Microsoft YouthSpark program, which is our effort to provide 300 million young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship, visit the Microsoft YouthSpark homepage. You can also read up on how much time and money Microsoft employees have donated to make their communities a better place at Employee Giving at Microsoft.

To find a Microsoft product or service for you, locate a Microsoft Retail Store in your area, or shop online at Microsoftstore.com.

Happy Holidays!

Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco

Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco

Photo credit: Hugh Molotsi

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak on the “Lean in the Enterprise” panel at the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco. Lean Startup, of course, is the movement toward iterative, evidence-based processes, based on the 2011 book by Eric Ries. I was joined in the conversation by Dan Ward (author of F.I.R.E. and a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force), Simeon Sessley (Fastworks innovation leader at GE), and moderator Drew McManus (VP of Product at Pivotal Labs). The time absolutely flew by as we engaged in a lively and interesting conversation – sometimes with each other and sometimes with the audience – about approaches that have worked and others that haven’t at leading organizations in both the private and public sectors. Drew later observed that “we could’ve talked all afternoon!”

The tweets below showcase some highlights of the conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC Civic Hackers Meet With NYC’s First Chief Technology Officer

NYC Civic Hackers Meet With NYC's First Chief Technology Officer

Photo Credit: Coalition for Queens and Andrew Kelly (Insider Images)

Through its weekly hacknights and BetaTalks, BetaNYC hosts events to demystify government, data, technology, and design. For our last BetaTalk of 2014, we introduce Minerva Tantoco, New York City’s FIRST Chief Technology Officer, to New York City’s civic technology community.

There is a great opportunity in New York City for government and the tech community to work together to challenge the status quo and improve people’s lives. I’m honored to join the de Blasio administration and look forward to working with City agencies to transform our government – and our city – with technology and innovation.” – Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco, Sept 9 2014

Almost four years ago at New Work City, we hosted a town hall and welcomed the City’s First Chief Digital Officer. One year ago, we launched the People’s Guide to a Digital New York City. Within this resident-driven civic technology roadmap, the community outlined 31 policy initiatives. Our sixth recommendation was the strengthening of the City’s technology leadership. With the appointment of Mrs. Tantoco and the development of the City’s Office of Technology and Innovation, we get exactly that!

The BetaNYC community is excited to host this historic event. In preparation, the community crowdsourced a list questions. Starting with her initial interest in technology, to future initiatives around Government IT talent, infrastructure, and open data, New Yorkers passionate about the future will have an unprecedented opportunity to engage directly with the City’s new technology leadership.

At 7:00 PM Wednesday evening, with the generous support of Microsoft New York, tune into the Twitter hashtag #nycCTO and follow the conversation. Thanks to the Internet Society of New York, we will record the proceedings and share them in the days to come.

Watch — Brad Smith Discusses United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Digital Privacy

Last week, Microsoft filed an appeal to the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals in its ongoing case challenging a U.S. warrant seeking customer data stored overseas. The brief lays out the important legal and policy issues that Microsoft believes are at stake in this case and can be read here.

Microsoft will discuss the case and the larger issue of digital privacy today from 11am – 12:00pm EST.  The event will be held at Microsoft New York, 11 Times Square – at the corner of 8th Ave and 41st Street (please enter through the Microsoft lobby on 8th Ave.) Microsoft will host a live webcast at the Microsoft News Center.

Black Girls Code Game Jam Kicks Off Computer Science Education Week

Black Girls Code games to kick-off Computer Science Education Week

Photo credit: She’Neil Johnson

Guest post written by Calena Jamieson and Catt Small.

Despite the gray weather on Saturday, December 6th, 57 girls arrived in high spirits for the Black Girls CODE X Code Liberation Game Jam. The game jam kicked off the New York Chapter of Black Girls CODE’s celebration of Computer Science Education Week and was hosted by NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. The girls, who ranged from ages 8 to 16 and hailed from across New York City, completed 5 hours of coding education using GameMaker: Studio. Our young tech divas completed their coding missions on Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets on loan from Microsoft New York.

Black Girls Code games to kick-off Computer Science Education Week

Code Liberation’s Maria Naggaga, who is also a Tech Evangelist at Microsoft New York, began the day with a workshop to introduce the girls to GameMaker. Maria also gave the students a quick primer on the Surface Pro 3’s to ensure they were comfortable using the devices. During the workshop, Maria and the girls created a maze game, which was then used as a template to make games during the afternoon.

Black Girls Code games to kick-off Computer Science Education Week

During the second half of the workshop, students worked on building their games in teams and within only a few hours created a diverse range of games, including characters such as an angry fisherman, zombie soccer players, and famous rappers. At the end of the day, girls presented their games to their excited and proud parents.

For more on this event, see Black Girls Code’s Storify.

Photos via Code Liberation.

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

Get involved: Code.org Resources for Computer Science Education Week

Computer Science Education Week (#CSEdWeek) is happening RIGHT NOW through December 14. We at Microsoft New York are excited to contribute to the global effort to give ALL students the opportunity to learn computer science.

Code.org has some great resources to help get computer science in your schools. While 25 states (including New York) have standards in place allowing students to count computer science credit toward high school graduation, 25 others are still behind. Promoting computer science is a priority — and one that is easy to accomplish if we all work together. Let’s change this stat!

Here are some facts about computer science in New York, via Code.org:

Get involved: Code.org Resources for Computer Science Education Week

Here are some ways you can get involved in Computer Science Education Week:

  1. Talk to your school: Talk to your local school district about computer science and allowing courses to satisfy a core math or science requirement. Discuss expanding computer science offerings in K-12 classrooms.
  2. Promote computer science in our state: Visit http://code.org/promote/ny to learn more about how you can support computer science education in our state.
  3. Become a ‘Skype in the Classroom’ guest speakerJoin Skype and Code.org in instructing students in specialized tech topics. Tech professionals interested in participating as guest speakers can apply online, and teachers interested in bringing these virtual guest speakers into their classrooms can connect with them through Skype in the Classroom’s site. All it takes is one simple call to change a student’s life!
  4. Get involved: Code.org Resources for Computer Science Education WeekParticipate in the #HourOfCodeJoin tens of millions of students and instructors in over 180 countries in the Hour of Code this year. The largest learning event in history, the Hour of Code encourages problem-solving skills, logic and creativity by offering one hour of computer science education to anyone willing to participate. Everyone starts somewhere, and the Hour of Code is a great place to start.
  5. Free YouthSpark #HourOfCode workshops at your local Microsoft Store: The Microsoft Stores will be hosting workshops where students will learn to code, create their own game, and achieve more. Find a store near you: http://retail.ms/storeloc
  6. Tell the world! Share the Code.org video on social media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKIu9yen5nc

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

Fine Bros. Know Coding Is More Than Just ‘Fine’

One of the most popular YouTube channels is one produced by the Brooklyn-raised Fine Bros. They cover all sorts of topics, but, as they are first to admit, they could not be doing this without technology. So of course it’s not a surprise that this week, they’ve joined the movement to stress the importance of Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code.

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

Welcome to Computer Science Education Week!

December's Civic Tech Events in NYCWelcome to Computer Science Education Week! Running from today, December 8, through Sunday, December 14, “CSEdWeek” promotes Computer Science learning for all—students, teachers, parents, and anyone willing to learn how to code. Microsoft’s initiatives in STEM education are part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark initiative, our commitment to create opportunities for youth in STEM education and beyond to empower students. This means we are all-in for Computer Science Education Week, and we encourage everyone to get involved.

Start off with the Hour of Code, an industry-wide campaign with the goal of teaching 100 million students of all ages to learn how to code, starting with just one hour. Organized by Code.org, the Hour of Code is an accessible coding reference that uses topics from pop culture—like Angry Birds, Frozen, and more—to get students excited about computer science.

Welcome to Computer Science Education Week!Our Microsoft offices, stores and nonprofit partners are hosting events for CSEdWeek to encourage everyone to get involved. After all, everyone starts somewhere.

In our offices at Eleven Times Square, we will be hosting the Harlem Children’s Zone on December 12 for an Hour of Code. And across the New York area, our retail teams are hosting a series of events promoting computer science and the Hour of Code through YouthSpark workshops and more. Students will learn more about Computer Science Education Week by publishing apps with AppStudio, developing with TouchDevelop and Visual Studio, and learning how to code, program, and play in the realm of gaming.

Not sure where to start? Here are our Hour of Code events for students in the New York area. Register now by emailing the listed contacts below:

Dec. 8, 4:00-6:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8-10)

Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

Dec. 8, 4:30-6:30: Bridgewater, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Dec. 8, 6:00-8:00: Garden City, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8-10)

Contact: jezontin@microsoft.com

Dec. 8, 6:00-8:00: Huntington Station, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Contact: timedeck@microsoft.com

Dec. 8, 6:00-8:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11-13) Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

 

Dec. 9, 4:00-6:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8-10)

Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

Dec. 9 – Dec. 12, 4:00-6:00: White Plains, NY—Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Contact: Cindywa@microsoft.com

Dec. 9, 4:30-6:30: Bridgewater, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Dec. 9, 5:00-7:00: Freehold, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11 to 13)

Contact: zubick@microsoft.com

Dec. 9, 6:00-8:00: Garden City, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8-10)

Contact: jezontin@microsoft.com

Dec. 9, 6:00-8:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11-13) Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

Dec. 9, 6:00-8:00: Huntington Station, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers ages 11 to 13)

Contact: timedeck@microsoft.com

 

Dec. 10, 3:00-5:00: Freehold, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Contact: zubick@microsoft.com

Dec. 10, 4:30-6:30: Bridgewater, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Dec. 10, 6:00-8:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11-13) Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

Dec. 10, 4:00-6:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8-10)

Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

Dec. 10, 6:00-8:00: Huntington Station, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Contact: timedeck@microsoft.com

 

Dec. 11, 4:00-6:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8-10)

Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

Dec. 11, 4:30-6:30: Bridgewater, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11 to 13)

Dec. 11 6:00-8:00: Garden City, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11-13)

Contact: jezontin@microsoft.com

Dec. 11, 6:00-8:00: Huntington Station, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers ages 11 to 13)

Contact: timedeck@microsoft.com

 

Dec. 12, 4:00-6:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8-10)

Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

Dec. 12, 4:00-6:00: Freehold, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Contact: zubick@microsoft.com

Dec. 12, 4:30-6:30: Bridgewater, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11 to 13)

Dec. 12 6:00-8:00: Garden City, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11-13)

Contact: jezontin@microsoft.com

Dec. 12, 6:00-8:00: Paramus, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11-13) Contact: asturch@microsoft.com

Dec. 12, 6:00-8:00: Huntington Station, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Contact: timedeck@microsoft.com

 

Dec. 13, 3:00-5:00: Freehold, NJ — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 8 to 10)

Contact: zubick@microsoft.com

Dec. 13, 6:00-8:00: Huntington Station, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers ages 11 to 13)

Contact: timedeck@microsoft.com

 

Dec. 14, 2:00-4:00: Huntington Station, NY — Smart Game Coding (Young Developers ages 8 to 10)

Contact: timedeck@microsoft.com

 

Dec. 16, 4:00-6:00: White Plains, NY—Smart Game Coding (Young Developers 11 to 13)

Contact: Cindywa@microsoft.com

 

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.