NEBytes

North East Bytes - Microsoft Technology Usergroup in the North East of England

The 2012 Imagine Cup UK Final Results Are In

As many of you who have attended NEBytes events recently will know we have been doing our very best to support all the teams who have taken part in the 2012 Imagine Cup North East.  Well today was the final of the UK Competition and the results are in.  We are delighted to announce that the two teams which went through from the Imagine Cup North East Finals finished first and second in the UK Final!!!!!!!!!

This is a fantastic result not only for the teams but for the North East community as a whole!  This is the first year we have seen participation in the Imagine Cup competition from the North East and we hope to see this continue for many, many years to come.  The standard of entries from the North East teams alone was very high so we can imagine that the UK judges had a real difficulty in choosing the eventual winner!

The winners of the Imagine Cup UK Final were Team Eyeworks, who presented their idea at NEBytes last month and the very close runners up were Teeside 0x32.  Both entries were fantastic and we really hope that both teams continue to develop their fantastic ideas!  We hope to welcome both of the teams back to NEBytes very soon to get their reaction on the result and to find out their next steps!

Well done to all of the teams who took part in every single stage of the competition and good luck to Team Eye Works when they travel to Sydney to represent the UK in the 2012 Imagine Cup World Final!!!!

Imagine Cup North East: Team Eye Works

At our March event we had the pleasure of welcoming Team Eye Works to NEBytes to present their entry in the 2012 Imagine Cup.  We asked the team to provide us with a blog post about their project and so I’ll hand the content over to them:

Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis (MIRA)

Imagine Cup entry by Team Eye Works

Background

Four students from the North East of England have been bought together to make up Team Eye Works. The team is competing in the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Consisting of 3 students from Northumberland University, and one student from Newcastle College, the team came together with a wide range of skills, with the intention of tackling one of the world’s great problems.

The Problem

A lot of people take the gift of sight for granted, and don’t realise how easily this gift can be taken away from them, due to everyday conditions, which, if detected early, can be prevented.

In the UK, recent studies have shown that 2 million people were living with various degrees of sight loss. It has been shown that 50% of the 2 million cases could have been prevented, and the World Health Organisation has discovered that 90% of people suffering from sight loss are living within the developing world.

Out of the various causes of sight loss, the main contributors are cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

Proposal

Team Eye Works have proposed to tackle this problem by making a mobile platform app capable of detecting the symptoms of the previously mentioned causes of sight loss.

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This shall be accomplished by creating a piece of software which will be capable of analysing an image of the human retina to detect different abnormalities. This will be done by comparing the taken image against a library of images. The library of images shall contain pictures of retinal abnormalities. By using Microsoft Azure, the software will be able to upload and download images for analysis. It is important to use a system such as Microsoft Azure, as it can contain, and store a large amount of data, which will be available almost anywhere in the world, without the need for a physical backup. This will allow Team Eye Works’ solution to be used globally. Apart from the cloud, the mobile app will also be able to do a local comparison of the retina image using neural networks. A different neural network will be trained beforehand for each disease and used on the mobile app to quickly analyse the retinal image and give a probability of infection. As internet connectivity is not as reliable in developing countries this feature is required. It was decided to go with the neural network approach to effectively use the limited memory and computational power of mobile phones, as the approach of comparing retinal image with the image database (used by the cloud) is highly expensive, demanding a lot of computational and memory requirements.

Whilst the software is a very important element of the proposed solution from Team Eye Works, hardware is just as important. The solution will be developed for Windows Mobile technology, and will require other physical elements. Currently there is no mobile device on the consumer market that has a suitable camera and lens package. This has meant that Team Eye Works have researched, and developed a lens attachment and an apparatus used for chin rest and the camera stand, that will be capable of allowing mobile devices to capture best quality image of the retina, which will be suitable for the image analysis. The image displayed below shows the flow of the proposed system.

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NEBytes April 2012 - Automating the Platform of the Future

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE TO USUAL DATE AND TIME THIS MONTH
 
Join North East Bytes for our fourth event of 2012.  Following on from the great events that we've had over the last two years, we've lined up another great event for your benefit.  We are delighted to welcome Richard Custance, from Sage, to give us the rundown on provisioning and deploying applications on Windows Azure, and we have our very own IIS MVP, Andrew Westgarth, giving us the run down on IIS 8.   Register now, you won't want to miss this opportunity!

Date: Thursday 26th April 2012

Time: 18:30-21:00

How to ‘Smartly’ Provision and Deploy a .Net Application on Windows Azure with Richard Custance
 
The session will show how Sage UK Ltd has leveraged the Windows Azure Platform to migrate the server-side components of one of its leading lower mid-market desktop applications, Sage 200 ERP, to the Cloud. 
 
Sage 200 ERP is a .Net 3.5 / 4.0 (c#), single-tenant, traditional Windows Form client-server, line-of-business application. Not sold as an off-the-shelf application, Sage 200’s five and a half thousand customers are trained and supported by a large Sage Business Partner community. Sage 200 is fully customisable with a large eco-system of Sage Developer Partners providing add-ons, amendments, and extensions to the core product.  
 
The technical challenge posed to the Sage 200 R&D department was how to transition elements (server-side components including data and documents) to the Windows Azure Cloud whilst maintaining all the business logic, features, and customisations supported in the current desktop.
 
From this session you will learn how ‘being clever’ with Windows Azure as helped the Sage 200 team deploy, provision, host and run Sage 200  in a clustered-multi-tenant environment in the Cloud.
 
Richard Custance is Technical Architect at Sage UK Ltd, based in Newcastle. Richard has worked for Sage UK for 18 years and in that time has seen the Sage 200 application (formerly known as Sovereign and Line 100 and MMS) re-written / re-engineered from its original DOS implementation that it was in the early 90s to the .Net 3.5 / 4 Windows application that exists today. Now, as the Sage R&D team plans to move Sage 200 to the Cloud, Richard’s role as an architect has been to determine how the application (including its many 3rd party customisations and add-ons) can be dynamically provisioned and deployed on Windows Azure.
 
 
 
IIS 8 Platform for The Future with Andrew Westgarth
 
With the release of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, Internet Information Server (IIS) received a major update and this has continued through IIS 7.5 which was released with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. Now we sit on the verge of another update with the upcoming release of Windows Server 8 and Windows 8 which bring with them IIS 8.0.
 
In this session we'll set the scene with a quick run through of the building blocks put in place through IIS 7 and 7.5 and then deep dive into the features coming in IIS 8.0 which enable Developers and IT pros to deliver optimised, advanced interactive applications using technologies such as HTML5 and Web Sockets whilst also making use of scalability and configuration enhancements on the underlying platform.
 
Andrew Westgarth is a Technical Architect at Sage (UK) Ltd working on large scale web applications. Andrew is very active in the UK Developer Community, attending and speaking at multiple events, supporting users and other User Groups. In the past he has spoken at the Irish Microsoft Technology Conference, VBUG's National Two Day Conference; Developer Developer Developer Day 5 and local User Group meetings. Andrew has experience in VB6/.NET; C#; ASP.NET and Internet Information Services. Andrew's current technical interests include IIS 8.0/7.5/7.0, IIS Extensions and Windows Azure; Personal Performance Improvement and Best Practices.
 
Location
 
The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map - http://www.ncl.ac.uk/documents/Campus-Map-Print.pdf
 
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Eventbrite - NEBytes April 2012 - Automating the Platform of the Future

MUCUGUK Lync tour 2012 - Newcastle

The Microsoft Unified Communications User Group UK (MUCUGUK) is hitting the road in May with a series of events up and down the country, including one in Newcastle.

This is that this is just one of a series of events they are running up and down the country in places that don’t normally get much attention in the IT Pro world so show them some love and get signed up…

The events run over a full day, are free to attend and even better include lunch and refreshments through the day.

The content is designed to cover all of Lync’s bases; taking you through an introduction to the platform, using Lync as a PBX, resiliency / DR planning, third party integration and even helping you out with creating a business case. So as you can see it doesn’t matter if your already a Lync IT Pro, an overstretched Systems Administrator or IT Manager there should be plenty of stuff to take away from the day.

The full day’s agenda is as follows:

Start

End

Title

09:30

10:00

Registration and coffee.

10:00

10:15

Welcome.

10:15

11:00

Introduction to Lync.

11:00

11:15

Coffee break.

11:15

12:00

We have a PBX, how do we move to Lync?

12:00

12:45

High availability and disaster recovery.

12:45

13:15

Sponsor Session - A10 Networks.

14:13

14:00

Lunch.

14:00

14:45

Using an existing video conferencing solution with Lync?

14:45

15:30

Deploy our own or use a cloud offering, if cloud who's?

15:30

15:45

Coffee break.

15:45

16:45

All of this sounds good, how do I get my boss to agree?

16:45

17:00

Q&A and wrap-up.

 

Places are limited for each event so head over to Eventbrite and get signed up. See you there in May….