The future is starting to look bright for young members of the underprivileged community in Malaysia, thanks to initiatives such as the Microsoft Unlimited Potential Program.
When Kogila was 17, she was sent to the Vocational Training Opportunities Centre (VTOC) managed by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). It was there that she came to know about Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Program.
This opportunity opened up a whole new world for Kogila who had never even touched a computer prior to this. She completed the Computer Secretarial and Accounting course, which helped her secure a job in Olympia College, that then gave her the opportunity to further her studies there. “My life has totally changed for the better and now I know I can achieve better things in life,” said Kogila.
YWCA’s Vocational Training Opportunity Centre (VTOC) was established to curb poverty and support young girls to find better opportunities. In 2006, the center received a grant from Microsoft through its Unlimited Potential Program to equip women and girls from marginalized backgrounds with ICT skills, helping bridge the digital divide in Malaysia.
This collaboration is aimed at helping to close the digital divide by creating new products and programs that will help bring social and economic opportunity to an estimated five billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology.
Sanggeri, from Perak, underwent a transformation when an acquaintance urged her to do a course at VTOC. It was there that she realized there were many interesting training opportunities available to her. She took up a Finance course under the Foundation Program, which equipped her with the skills to manage money. As a result of her successful completion of this course, Sanggeri will be starting work in a management company next year and her hopes for the future have significantly brightened.
When an intervention prevented Amanda from going down a path of self-destruction, she was sent to the YWCA where she took up a course in Culinary and Bakery. During her one year training program she gained much knowledge from the foundation courses, equipping her with basic computer skills. “I am a whole new person now and life is worth living. I thank god for giving me a second chance and am grateful for the opportunities given to me by the YWCA and Microsoft,” said Amanda.
Together with Microsoft and the YWCA’s VTOC initiative, many lives have been transformed with the practical and long reaching applications of ICT.
By Dony Sukardi
Editor’s Note: Fruit Ninja Developer Dojo was a 2 day seminar organized by Microsoft Singapore and e27. This session gave local game developers a rare opportunity to learn about game development practices and marketing techniques from the founders of Halfbrick Studios, the makers of one of the world's leading casual games - Fruit Ninja - which is played by millions around the world and is available on Microsoft platforms such as Windows 8 and Xbox Kinect.
The Fruit Ninja #DevDojo proved to be a great evening with interaction amongst the participants, sharing their passion on game development. Everybody, including me, was looking forward to getting to know the success story of Halfbrick and its famous game with more than 300 million downloads: Fruit Ninja.
At Microsoft Singapore Auditorium, Shainiel Deo, Chief Executive Officer of Halfbrick, took the stage to give an opening speech where he shared two main points on how to be successful in the industry. First, nail what you’re trying to do. You ought to try to be the best and carefully pick your team. Second, make sure that with every product you build, you learn something from it.
Fruit Ninja might be the game that made Halfbrick known to the world, however, it wasn’t at all their first game. In fact, it was the 15th ever since the company was established in 2001. There is progression and refinement from one product to the next.
The opportunity is here again, even bigger than ever, with the release of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (WP8). With the very same base code (with very minimum tweaks for WP8), you can now target tablets, laptops, desktops and mobile phones.
Shainiel then passed the baton to Phil Larsen, Chief Marketing Officer of Halfbrick, to present some of Halfbrick’s marketing strategies. The best game marketing starts with the game. Believe in your game when you market it to the public.
He also stressed that we needn’t be 100% innovative. Many times, developers crack their heads trying to come up with something totally new. That is not to say that new innovation is not important. We can also build on existing concepts and add fresh twists to them.
Highlighting the necessity of getting universal, he advises to reach out to as many players as possible, hence targeting different platforms. Such can also be achieved by getting partnerships with other companies while staying true to the gameplay.
Several marketing techniques that contributed to the success of Fruit Ninja were game trailers posted on YouTube that generated millions of views and taglines such as “Ninjas hate Fruits”, and bringing the game to people by organizing Fruit Ninja Master, a competition to find the best Fruit Ninja in Australia.
Phil also brought attention to the games by branding them to increase relevance. Recognizing the effort that Microsoft has put into marketing Kinect for Xbox360, Halfbrick decided to name the Fruit Ninja’s title for Xbox360 as Fruit Ninja Kinect. These things might seem insignificant, however, without knowing it, we buy into them, contributing to the overall success of a product.
For developers who are releasing a title and don’t know what to do, he advise them to try finding a mentor, which has proven to be beneficial. Phil summed up his presentation by reminding us that huge successes are possible. We ought to make every single point of contact count and there is no one secret to be successful.
Phil Larsen, CMO of Halfbrick greeted the audience and introduced Fruit Ninja Dev Dojo.
After a short break, it was time for a technology talk by Richard McKinny, Chief Technology Officer of Halfbrick. Richard demoed Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride on Windows 8. He praised the features that Windows 8 has to offer, starting with Snapped View. It is not immediately apparent on what to do with snapped view for games. Many developers might do nothing more than just place a splash screen or screen saver on that space, waiting for the user to come back to the game, if ever.
Thinking that Microsoft has added Snapped View for a purpose, the team thought of a brilliant idea. Realizing that players of Fruit Ninja love fruits, the team decided to give an unlimited supply of fruits on a conveyor belt. So, if you’re working on your Word document and feel bored or stressed, you can slash the fruits on the side of the screen.
And there are Live Tiles, which might be regarded as normal icons on your Start screen. Halfbrick did not know what they were for at first, but soon fell in love with them. Live Tiles provide re-engagement with users. Halfbrick implemented them on their Windows 8 games: on Fruit Ninja by showing stats on a vertically rotating tile, and on Jetpack Joyride by showing current game missions.
Social is built into the very core of Windows 8. Game developers can code what they want the user to share on different parts of the games by using the default share functionality. In Jetpack Joyride for example, players can share their points or screenshots of the game.
After elaborating on the awesome features of Windows 8, Richard moved on to discuss some game development technologies. With so many platforms to target these days, game developers should try to create their own game engine and avoid platform specific implementations for things that can be done in a cross platform way.
To read the full story click here. To read more posts like this visit http://spiffy.sg/.
Dony is a developer, designer and tech enthusiast. He loves gadgets, simple-clean-yet-sophisticated stuff and great food.
The foundation of a successful online communications and fundraising campaign is built upon a well-designed, well-written website and e-newsletter, as well as a clear understanding of how social media has fundamentally changed how organizations engage and inspire supporters and donors.
The content of this webinar is specifically tailored for executive staff in the nonprofit sector, particularly those who may be skeptical or unclear of the value of social media.
The webinar will:
Join us for this FREE webinar on Thursday, 2 May, at 9:00 AM, Singapore time.
This webinar series is being delivered by Heather Mansfield, founder of DIOSA Communications and the NonprofitOrgs Blog, as part of Microsoft Citizenship’s regional Tech4Good programme.
This article was written by Waldo Kuipers, Corporate Affairs Manager, Microsoft New Zealand Limited, and was originally published on the New Zealand Microsoft GovTech blog.
The Māori Language Awards 2012 were held on Friday last week in Tauranga, an inspiring event that celebrated the contributions of 30 individuals and organisations who have contributed to te reo Māori through their work. I attended the event with my colleague, Anne Taylor, who has supported Microsoft's investment in te reo Māori since 2004.
Microsoft has collaborated with language experts to bring te reo Māori to Windows, Office and Internet Explorer. All it takes to add a te reo Māori user interface to these products is installing the free downloads for each product. We encourage everyone to try it.
We are honoured to be recognised for this investment through the awards. We would like to take a moment to acknowledge all those who have been involved with this work, and thank them for it. This work has only been possible because of your passion and dedication:
The work that these people have made possible for three generations of products (from Windows XP onwards) includes:
The award therefore represents the dedicated hard work of many people working together to a common objective.
Although I am not fluent, I was determined to do my best to deliver my speech in te reo. I know that my pronunciation was far from perfect, so just in case I was not easy to understand I have attached my full speech notes below.
I would also like to acknowledge the work by the other finalists in the ICT category: Vodafone NZ and Hika Group were finalists for the work they did to launch the Hika smartphone app that translates common phrases between English and te reo, and Dennis J Gray was a finalist for the Māori language keyboard he has developed, which includes dedicated keys for the macrons that are used to write in te reo.
Thank you to Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and all of the other supporters and sponsors for making this fantastic event possible.
Māori Language Awards 2012 event photo by Alick Saunders. With thanks to Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori.
The Social Web has dramatically changed how non-governmental organizations communicate with supporters, donors and volunteers. Even though a large percentage of NGOs in South Asia now regularly use social media in their online fundraising and communications campaigns, few social media practitioners in the NGO sector have been properly trained on how to best utilize sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Many organizations are making simple mistakes that are draining their social media Return on Investment (ROI) – the good news, however, is that these mistakes can be easily fixed.
This webinar begins with laying a foundation for understanding the role of social media in the context of Web 1.0 (The Broadcast Web), Web 2.0 (The Social Web), and Web 3.0 (The Mobile Web), and then moves on to highlight five of the most useful best practices for managing and maintaining social media campaigns. The webinar then closes with an exploration of social media ROI, and introduces a simple system on how to track and report on results.
Date: Wednesday, 12 December 2012Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (Indian Standard Time)Cost: FreePresented By: Heather Mansfield @ Nonprofit Tech 2.0
Please Note: This webinar is sponsored by Microsoft Citizenship Asia Pacific. To be alerted of future webinars offered free to NGOs, please subscribe to the Microsoft Citizenship Tech4Good e-Newsletter.
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