Greek Students Shine in Worldwide Hackathon

Greek Hackathon 2012

Greek Students participating in WOWZAPP Hackathon 2012. Image from Forbes and courtesy of Microsoft.

On November 9th Microsoft launched its first ever WOWZAPP 2012: Worldwide Hackathon for Windows. It was a 48-hour global hackathon for students, startups and professionals all over the world. There were over 100 locations and more than 17,000 people registered for the event.

While the student registration ended up around 14,000, the European country with the most students invovled was Greece with more than 550 participants. Other countries with a great student turn out were Ireland with 200, Poland with 350 and Russia with 200.

“With more than 14,000 students registered to participate, WOWZAPP 2012 will be the largest simultaneous hackathon of student developers ever, acting as a catalyst to bring a wealth of new, exciting and quality apps to the Windows Store,” said Moorthy Uppaluri, general manager of Worldwide Academic Programs at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to empowering students with the tools and resources they need to showcase their creativity and make money through app development.” –Yahoo! Finance, Microsoft Corporation press release.

WOWZAPP 2012 Bing World Map

WOWZAPP 2012 participation World Map. Image courtesy of Microsoft Bing.

The WOWZAPP hackathon was a great way for people to come together and create Windows Store apps for the recent Windows 8 product launches. For Greece the turnout was spectacular despite transport strikes being held on the opening day of the hackathon. It shows that these young people are looking for ways better themselves and find employment. It is wonderful that despite all the hardship and frustration, they channeled their skills and knowledge to be apart of something that can only help their future.

“But being a developer has many advantages,” she adds, “and in Greece it’s one of the few job opportunities. I can work for people in a different country. Every developer can speak the same language, no matter the place.” –Lia Kampantai, a 24-year-old developer. Forbes, Parmy Olson 2012.

This event was also a way for them to make connections and become part of a global community that is looking for the younger generations help especially in the field of technology. Check out what people had to say about WOWZAPP 2012 on Twitter at #WOWZAPP.  Also visit the WOWZAPP alumni Facebook page.

And for now I leave you with this….

“I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Essay Competition for Youth Unemployment Solutions puts Money on the Line

Jobs Vanish

Image featured on the Henry Jackson Initiative website for the national competition in Britain to solve youth unemployment.

As youth unemployment is stretched far and wide across Europe, countries like Greece and Spain are currently taking the hardest hit. Britain has also taken notice to this trend and despite the number of jobs increasing; about 1 in 5 young people in the UK is unemployed.

According to an online article by The Telegraph,

“Globally, an estimated 75m under-25s are looking for work, with Greece and Spain suffering high levels of youth joblessness at above 50pc.”

In an effort to generate some creative and innovative ideas to decrease youth unemployment the Henry Jackson Initiative has joined forces with The Telegraph Media Group Limited to form a national competition in Britain, which is being sponsored by Sir Alec Reed, founder of Reed Specialist Recruitment.

What better way to spark a little friendly competition than to throw in a prize? £10,000 pounds to be exact, which equals out to be about $16,000 US dollars! That is certainly a lot of money at stake to complete an essay which is similar to a basic college assignment. There is also the possibility to gain some publicity by being published by The Daily/Sunday Telegraph and online at telegraph.co.uk.

If I was eligible to participate and interested in writing an essay (no more than 1,000 words) to help my country and win money I would say, sign me up! It’s like a civil duty not only to Britain, but to everyone affected by the Eurozone crisis and youth unemployment. Think about a serious issue, create an opinion and offer some solutions.

The general Terms and conditions are as follows according to HJI website:

 “This competition is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 18 years or over, except for employees of Telegraph Media Group Limited and the Henry Jackson Initiative, their agents or anyone else professionally associated with the competition.”

Submissions are due by midnight on Friday, December 14, 2012 and the winner is to be notified by January 25, 2013. For more terms and conditions visit the Henry Jackson Initiative website.

Leading up to the announcement of the competition the Henry Jackson Initiative posted great links to their Facebook page about overall youth unemployment awareness. (Click the images to check out their Facebook Page.)

The Telegraph Facebook Post

The Telegraph Facebook Post

The Telegraph Facebook Post

The Telegraph Facebook Post

It would be great to see this competition successfully executed in Britain and for countries like Greece and Spain to take notice. It might not be possible to offer the same kind of incentive, but it would be great for other people to also take part in generating ideas to better their home countries.

 

And for now I leave you with this…

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” – Albert Einstein

@GreeceUnemployment is breaking records! #InABadWay

According to a leaked government email, covered in my last post, the general public in Greece became aware that officials were considering implementing a 6-day workweek. I picked up the story while on my laptop reading about the Eurocrisis on CNN. This blog post topic was actually easier to find, because it presented itself with only the swipe of my finger.

I came across this tweet, which is very unfortunate news but great for me to talk about in my blog, while browsing through my twitter feed on my phone. This specific article also appeared on my Google alerts and I am sure it was covered by other news related twitter accounts. To keep my post narrow I am going to discuss the Huffington Post tweet as it pertains to the original source in which I gained my information.

 The article, Greece Unemployment Rises Above 25 Percent, was posted to Huffington Post’s website in the World section on October 11th. It was first tweeted by @HuffPostWorld and later tweeted by @HuffingtonPost, which is where I picked it up. The article explains that as of July unemployment has hit an overall record high of 25.1% with youth unemployment increasing well past 50%.

          I could continue on with the rather depressing figures and facts on the current economic crisis in Greece, however, I am going to touch on the reach (people who saw the tweet) for these two tweets and the reactions received after they were posted on twitter.

           When you combine these numbers there was a chance 2,168,750 people saw either tweet posted by Huffington Post. Keep in mind that excludes other news sources tweets, people who retweeted and their followers who had some kind of interacted with the tweet.

          Phew, I’ll let you digest that and move on to a variety of opinions people shared with their followers.

Proud

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

Satire

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

Related to American Government/Politics

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

Austerity: In economics terms – “A policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided,” (Wikipedia).

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

Other

(2 part personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

 

I have to admit when I came across the tweet my only interaction was:
(1.) Seeing it
(2.) Taking a screen shot so I could find it later to write this post.

          I didn’t retweet, quote the tweet or even favorite it because I use twitter more as a source to gain information rather than share it. That is why I was able to come across the tweet because you can pick and choose what you want to be reading about. It also goes to show that twitter is the top dog for getting the word out in real time with the ability to reach millions of people.

         Think about your online presence, especially on twitter, and the way you interact and share its content. Don’t have a twitter? You should get one. Coming from a former skeptic at least check it out and learn about how it works.

And for now I leave you with this…

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

…..Now go try twitter.

Greece (6-0): Work Days of Employed vs Unemployed

Γεια σας αναγνώστες – Hello readers,

I found this interesting video from CNN about the current employment conditions in Greece. Although you will be surprised because it does not feature the young Greek generation. Although it does include what could be considered a tiny bit of hooliganism (in a protesting sense) and not quite from who you would expect…Take a look.

As you just saw Greek youth have managed to fly under the radar in the media this week, but the older generation certainly did not. If you didn’t watch the video then you may wonder why are they protesting? A leaked email outlines changes being made to begin a 6-DAY WORK WEEK!

(I imagine gasps from the employed and quiet cries from the unemployed).

Created by Matt Barringer, CNN. Content by Irene Chapple, CNN. Sources: Eurostat. Figures accurate as of April 26, 2012

 

It seems like quite a bad situation when the people who are employed don’t like the idea of pulling another day, while there are so many who are completely unemployed.

Now the logic behind what I am about to say could be completely unrealistic but hear me out. If they are considering adding another day to the workweek and the currently employed are not happy then could they cut back their hours to employ younger people for much less?

For example: A new teachers salary (based of my knowledge and it differs depending on where you are) is probably around $26,000 to $34,000 a year. Where as, a veteran teacher who has been teaching for 40 plus years and may have earned more education along the way is probably making AT LEAST double if not triple the new teachers salary. So if your school is in debt and needs to make budget cuts, as we’ve had problems with in the U.S., they turn to cutting programs like art, music and drama. BUT what if they offered veteran teacher(s) an early retirement package and then employ a new teacher for much less. Resulting in less money being taken from the budget to pay for the veteran teacher and keep the programs that are in jeopardy of being cut.

Easier said then done, but if something similar was plausible to help the unemployed then it could be worth a shot. I am in no means saying out with the old and in with the new because those people are extremely wise and knowledgeable, but the young generation needs to be to be able to come in and learn from them. Eventually if the young people are gone and stay wherever they decide to relocate, then who will be there to take on leadership positions when the older generation are ready to retire?

I want hear what you think could fix the 6-day workweek.
Should they cut current hours and bring on new people?
Or force the currently employed to work more? Neither?

And for now I leave you with this…

““Seven Deadly Sins

Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Hooliganism: A Destructive Stigma for Young Greeks

As I am researching Greek blogs for my first post I sit within the comfort of a nice quite study room scrolling through images of beaten immigrants, smashed cars, rioting, reports of severe unemployment, race hate and a government in crisis. I see Greek life, in many aspects, has spiraled out of control.

On June 8, 2012 Nick Malkoutzis blogged on the topic of fear saying, “Fear is a sentiment that Greeks have learned to live with over the past couple of years. As the thread by which the country hangs grows ever thinner, fear has begun to pervade all aspects of life.”

If fear has ‘pervaded all aspects of life’ in Greece then I wonder what is one subject in particular that they fear the most? Well for young Greek people it’s the fear of leaving home to find employment. That plays a part in the reason the Internet is flooded with videos of riots. There are no jobs. Life for some is basically at a stand still until they decide to take matters into their own hands. This action has created quite an outburst of hooliganism.

Hooliganism is a term that describes a collective group of people as malicious, unruly and committing violent acts of destruction. In the U.S. we sometimes use the term hooligan to describe when one or a few young people are acting out in society, but this label has been branded to the foreheads of young people of Greece in the current turmoil of the Eurozone crisis.

The media blast Greece youth as destructive and out of control, but their side of the story is seriously lacking in the headlines. With 50% unemployment for educated young people under the age of 25 the odds are extremely lacking in the favor. As if unemployment wasn’t enough the current political and debt crisis is taking a toll on the country as well. Greece has seen a spike in poverty, suicide and crime rates along with unemployment and emigration in order to find work outside of the country.

This makes me wonder if I ended up in a similar situation how would I handle my emotions? Would I take action with drastic behavior or just wait until the day things finally turned around?

Despite the anger, hopelessness and anxiety that consumes peoples’ lives there are still those who are holding out for better times. Within the blog Occupied London: From The Greek Streets I found a bit of hopeful happiness that occurred in Athens where a bus traveled around to fill their streets with “colourful forms of art”. The video encourages the people to “be optimistic, they will hold the hands of the person sitting next to them and they will do something about the situation,” said Georgios Neris who was featured in Take back the Greek streets, with art a film by Ross Domoney on Vimeo.

That is just a sneak peak into my explorations of how young Greeks are handling the problems that overwhelm their lives and homeland. I want to express my thoughts on the situation in a critical and comparative voice between what is covered in hard news reporting and what the people have to say about it within personal online blogs.

And for now I leave you with this…

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson