The core team working on the KatrinaSafe effort has been in Austin, Texas, at the Microsoft Technology Center there, said Dan Manrique, a Microsoft information worker technology specialist who is part of the core team. "We wrote the first line of code at 11 p.m. Wednesday night," said Dave Gardner, a developer lead on the project and another of the core participants on the team. But the requirements for the system changed and the team had to scrap the initial code base. "Then we wrote the first line of code for the current code base Saturday at noon, and we completed that code Sunday at 9 p.m.," he said.Sawyer said on his blog: "Every once in a while, Im reminded what a great company Microsoft is ... and what great people I work with. This is one of those times. Im in Austin right now, and were going live with www.katrinasafe.com right now. This is a web site that will help victims of Hurricane Katrina find their loved ones ... and will also allow victims to send messages to family members." Sawyer said KatrinaSafe started as a grassroots effort inside Microsoft, but is being supported by the "highest levels" of the company. "All this work, all this time, all the software is being donated by Microsoft and some of our partners to help the relief effort," Sawyer said in his blog. "Weve got support from the very highest levels of the company to do whatever we need to do to make this happen. Its a small thing, perhaps, but if we can help provide some comfort, help someone locate a lost loved one ... then its all worth it." Microsofts Carroll said although the effort started with the software giant, it could not have been accomplished so quickly without help. "Microsoft as a company could not have done this without our partners," he said. "Our partners have donated time and money. Two ISPs hosted the app for us. It would be completely unfair to say this is just a Microsoft effort." Since the teamwhich includes members who came from California, Florida, Alabama and Texasbegan working on the project last Wednesday they have averaged only 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night, Manrique said. A project providing victims of Hurricane Katrina with Linux-based public access to information, e-mail and services is seeking volunteers. Click here to read more. And they wasted no time getting to work on the project. "I was chatting on IM about it that morning, and by that afternoon I decided I would go, but the only flight I could get was at 3:10," Manrique said. "My wife had just stepped out for lunch, and by the time she got back I was leaving. And she had no idea before she left for lunch that Id be going at all." Carroll said the project transcends the technology. "Ultimately its not about the code; its about the people," he said. "Were lucky enough to work for a company that supported this project. And we couldnt have done it without our partners. Not one single company said no. Its been a privilege to be a part of it." Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
"Microsoft brought in people to work on their own time and over a holiday weekend," said Manrique. "This is a company that really cares about people and cares about this situation. Its been a pretty massive effort."