Microsoft and In3 host a STEM Open House for Parents and Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today in our Nation’s Capital near Howard University, the Inclusive Innovation Incubator (In3) and Blacks@Microsoft (BAM) invited area students to learn about new and exciting STEM workshops In3 will be hosting in 2019.

IMG_3173Local BDPA Student Members and NSBE Jr. Members who attended met Microsoft employees and small business executives to discuss and learn more about:

  • How to write code for computers and robots using Minecraft and OhBots (8+ years old)
  • An intro to Computer Science using Java (Middle School and beyond)
  • ManCode: The Microsoft career day program for young males (Middle and High School)

Microsoft believes their continued success depends on the diverse skills, experiences, and backgrounds employees bring to the company. To help foster diversity and inclusion, Microsoft has developed a very rich community of Employee Resource Groups (ERG) and Employee Networks (EN). These organizations provide career development, support, networking opportunities, mentoring, community participation such as this weekend’s Open House, product input, and assistance in activities that continue to promote cultural awareness. Their programs also include speaker series, scholarship programs, community service, development conferences, and heritage celebrations.

Founded in 1989 as the first Microsoft-sponsored ERG, Blacks@Microsoft host career speaker series, employee mentoring programs, college intern mentoring programs, minority student days, and a scholarship program for high school seniors with GPAs of 3.33 or higher.

For more information about BDPA and Microsoft in 2019, student computer and coding competition programs, or career development activities across the National Capital Region with BDPADC and In3, visit → BDPADC.org.

— Source: BDPA Greater Washington, D.C.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

2019 Rate Schedules | PTTV & bdpatoday

Oculus and ESL Team Up for VR League: Season 2

MENLO PARK, CA —Last year, Oculus helped launch the world’s first VR esports league, including the first ever Echo Arena North American Regionals at OC4 and a global livestream of the Finals from IEM Katowice. Oculus announced this week a brand-new look and expanded lineup for VR League—and the kick-off of Season 2 with ESL!

VR League Season 2 features a prize pool in excess of $220,000 USD, a more flexible tournament system, and up to seven participating titles in the five-month competitive period—all leading up to the climactic grand finale at Oculus Connect 5!

Oculus hit the ground running on May 18, with a month of competitive urban spell-casting in The Unspoken, followed by a month of fast-paced parkour racing in Sprint Vector beginning June 4.  An additional two titles with prized competition will be unveiled on ESL Play during the months of July and August, plus additional action as three new games make their first foray into esports.

Echo Arena returns on May 20 with the start of a four-week competition. Last year, this fast-paced zero-g title brought out 258 players across 98 teams worldwide, and we’re excited to build upon that initial success as we continue to grow the community. Later this year, we’ll partner with Ready At Dawn to bring Echo Combat to VR League with a ladder-style competition of its own.

“Oculus is committed to fostering long-term growth of the VR esports ecosystem, and Season 2—with its new format and additional games—is an amazing next step on this exciting journey,” says Oculus Head of Esports, Christopher K. McKelvy.

To that end, VR League will also support VR Master League and the grassroots community that’s developed around Dante Buckley’s mil-sim success story with an Onward Invitational event from June 16 – 17. One of three live events to be held at the ESL UK Studios, the Onward Invitational will also benefit Stack Up, a charity that supports US and Allied veterans through gaming.

VR esports represent an exciting and promising area of growth for both the VR industry and the community it supports, and we’re proud to partner with ESL to help change the game. Visit vr.eslgaming.com for more information, and follow VR League on Facebook and Twitter  for regular updates.

Source and photos — The Oculus Team

 


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CES2018: Youth = The Future of Technology

damisha-proBy DaMisha Brown

LAS VEGAS, NV — For young people who are willing to move just as fast or faster than technology itself, CES is where you should be. But, “Why?”

Technology is always moving rapidly into the future. What once needed man-power has become electronically made easier for us to market better and faster.

For over a decade, bdpatoday has shared the world’s latest tech creations with small businesses, Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). However, in order to share, one must go to where technology and our futures meet, at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, for over 50 years this global event is a gathering place where many who are affected by technology can network, learn and push technology to the next level, all within an exciting and action-packed week.

Who does technology affect? It affects any social media navigator, content creator, entrepreneur, small business owner, video producer, photographer, freelance writer or college graduate. Young people are affected by technology.

With technology constantly moving, young people are regularly the first to test a new invention’s fate: success or failure.

For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the rise. It was the biggest discussion of CES2018.  Young people use AI to help navigate to new destinations with Siri, play their favorite tunes at home with Alexa, search the web with Cortana or use Samsung’s new assistant and latest AI invention “Bixby” to remind them of what the next day holds.

damisha-ces2018-tweet

— Photo Credit: Twitter

Young people may not be the predominate creators of new technology, but, they promote the path of a new invention as a need for the future or a one-time convenience.

How far technology can go is in the hands of its fastest critics, young people. It’s their call, being a group of great travelers and closer to what is current, to tell creators “This works!”, or “This could be better”.

djvalfleurydjvalfleury-tweet

International DJ Val Fleury (@iamValFleury pictured to the right) showcased her musical skills playing for Intel among our CES2018 fun and infotainment. Fleury is Los Angeles based and quickly became noticed for her style and diverse sounds. She is featured during our credits on bdpatoday‘s CES2018 sizzle reel now airing on your Popular Technology TV (PTTV) YouTube Channel.

Photo Credit: @iamValFleury

Young people, get active, get involved and be present next January at CES2019. YOU hold the future of tech!  Send it forward.

—Source: CES2018 and cover photo credit: Intel

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BDPA Members Talk Tech & Disruption in Philly for Tech Week

PHILADELPHIA, PA—How does one change the way we think about business? How does one keep up with constantly changing markets in software-defined ecosystems? How can one utilize new technologies to launch, grow, and sustain a new company?

2017 “DISRUPTION & DIVERSITY IN TECHNOLOGY”

In today’s world these are the questions that people be asking in business and technology and these questions were the bases of this week’s Accelerate PHL Fireside Chat dialogue with Earl A. Pace, Jr., Co-founder of BDPA and Owner of Pace Data Systems and Rodney Williams, CEO and Co-Founder of LISNR, one of the most disruptive new technology companies in the world of mobile connectivity.

Fireside Chat speakers: “Disrupting the Status Quo
EarlPace-HeadshotRodneyWilliams-LISNR headshot
Earl a Pace, Jr.  and  Rodney Williams

Accelerate PHL partners with community, educational, and professional institutions and organizations to discover essential components to stimulate connection and provide resources.  In this article, they remind readers change is always happening. Widespread, nonstop innovation is impacting every aspect of our life. One sees the Internet of Everything (IoE) transforming every industry around where people are trying to determine their roles, what they can do, how they can participate, and an urgent need to learn and maximize their positions inside tremendous change. The Acceleration Summit was designed to give immediate tools, skills, connections and knowledge to be better-positioned to win and to empower people through entrepreneurship.

Establishing stronger tools, attracting talent and building a more-defined pathway for entrepreneurs and new ventures is mission-critical for Philadelphia. Presently, Philadelphia is ranked 34th in Start-Up Activity, 17th in Main Street Entrepreneurship, and 21st in Growth Entrepreneurship according to the Kauffman Foundation. In other words, compared to other NFL/MLB cities, Philadelphia is near-bottom with statistics that matter most in our Innovation Economy.

To compete in the Innovation Economy, we must immediately work-together to make Philadelphia stronger for entrepreneurs and start-up companies in all industries.

Stated in the Kauffman reports, “entrepreneurs flourish in a connected, dense, and diverse ecosystem where they can move quickly to take advantage of opportunities.”

The Acceleration Summit showcased the disruption that is occurring in the local economy in artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR),  and robotics.

— Source: Accelerate PHL
accelerationsummit.com
Disruption & Diversity In Technology
May 2, 2017 @ WeWork / Philadelphia
Cover photo:
bdpatoday

The Hidden Figure$ of Gaming, Data Processing, and Code

SILICON VALLEY, CA—An early computer hobbyist’s club in Southern California has some pretty heady history behind it. You’d be hard pressed to match the geek cred of some of its members — Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, for example — and Jerry Lawson.

jerry-lawon_game-cartridge-creatorThe late Gerald Anderson Lawson (above), known as Jerry, along with Ron Jones, were the only two members of color of the Homebrew Computer Club in Silicon Valley.

The club began in 1975, the same year National BDPA was founded,  when hobbyists, most with an electronic engineering or computer programming background, met to talk about the Altair 8800 and to exchange schematics and programming tips. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-born electronic engineer, taught himself everything he knew about designing. His impressive creation of the Fairchild Channel F video game console separated him from contemporaries such as Nolan Bushnell and Ralph Baer.

The Fairchild Channel F console was released by Fairchild Semiconductor in November 1976 and was the first programmable ROM cartridge-based video game console, as well as the first console to use a microprocessor. Baer wrote the code for the first video game played on a TV set, called Chase, and in 1972 Bushnell helped create the video game Pong and later that year started Atari Computers.

But it was Lawson’s main distinction as the inventor of the video game cartridge, something that seems simple now, that established our new  standard for how video games were played into the next three decades.

marc-hannahChicago native Marc Regis Hannah (left) is a co-founder of Silicon Graphics (SGI) and is partly responsible for the direction of computer graphics since the company’s 1982 founding in Mountain View, CA. SGI partnered with Nintendo to create the early architecture of the Nintendo 64 gaming system. SGI, in essence, placed the power of a $5,000+ SGI Indy workstation into a $250 toy.  SGI’s technologies were used to design cars, aircraft, and  virtual simulation training for the Defense Department.

sgi-indySGI’s high-powered workstations were responsible for “computerized” films, such as “Mars Attacks!” and “Jurassic Park”.  Hannah’s 16 years at SGI made him a special effects whiz.  Hannah also is the recipient of 13 patents and numerous awards and honors, including the Professional Achievement Award from both Illinois Institute of Technology and the National Technical Association (NTA).

— Sources: Kevin L. Clark, techtimes.com
Photo credits: Estate of Jerry Lawson,
Black American History, and SGI

 

OCULUS Rift Software Development Kits Available for Developers

Samsung and Oculus photos

Rift SDK 1.0 Shipping to Developers with Final Rift Hardware

If Virtual Reality (VR) developers are shipping a Rift title in 1Q16 (first quarter, 2016), they will need early access to Rift hardware and new platform features to finalize games or applications. The Rift SDK 1.0 and runtime include features tied to the consumer product, so Oculus has currently limited the release to developers putting final touches on launch titles.

oculus-riftIf planning a launch title and don’t yet have hardware, developers can now upload a preview of their apps through the Oculus submission tool, and Oculus will be in touch with next steps.

Oculus is shipping more Rift hardware out to developers every week in the run up to launch. In the meantime, DK2 and SDK 0.8 continue to be the right platform for early Rift development — one only needs SDK 1.0 if development teams are imminently shipping.

New customers and Industry are anxiously looking forward to seeing new VR experiences on Rift when it launches in Q1!

The Oculus Team

Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR)

SAN DIEGO, CAGCN.com reports the military has been developing and using both virtual and augmented reality applications for battlefield training, helping soldiers better communicate with bomb-sniffing dogs and treating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, one laboratory is seeking to merge the capabilities of augmented and virtual reality.

BEMRAugmented reality superimposes images on the user’s true physical surroundings, while virtual reality fully immerses the user in a simulated environment.  When these technologies converge, users can easily jump between states of virtuality in what is called mixed reality, or MxR.

Through the Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality Lab, the Office of Naval Research intends to advance affordable virtual training, data assessment, firing of weapons and basic operations concepts. Located at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific. BEMR is designed to showcase and demonstrate cutting-edge, low-cost commercial mixed reality, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. It also provides a facility where warfighters, researchers, government, industry and academia can collaborate.

Watch BEMR video now on  PTTV

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