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A group from the school,consisting of pupils,teachers and parents, visited  Microsoft European Product Development Centre  in Leopardstown, County Dublin on April 7th. 1998. This centre is responsible for the localisation of all Microsoft Software and hardware for the European market and beyond.As an entity in Ireland, it localises products in over 27 different languages.

netdays.jpg (10236 bytes)We were invited there to collect our prizes, as part of the Netd@ys ’97 competition. Jason Milner, as national winner in his section, collected a framed certificate and a Kodak digital camera for the school. Conor Conroy was awarded the runner-up prize of ‘Creative Writer 2’ for his story. The other prize-winners were Stephen O Fatharta, Gairmscoil na bPiarsach, Rosmuc, County Galway and Conor Quirke, St. Michael's CBS, Inchicore, Dublin. Pupils from all over Ireland were invited to submit, via e-mail their thoughts on what the information Age means to them, on using the Internet as a communications tool and to tell a story on an embarrassing moment in their lives. Thousands of children responded from schools all over Ireland. We were all delighted to be going to Dublin for a day out

Two pupils from each class were selected to go on this trip of a lifetime. Each prize-winner brought along a member of his family. Jason Milner brought his grandmother who lives Cork for the day. She was very proud of his success. Conor Conroy’s mother also came.Mr. O’Neachtain hired a bus from Carey's Coaches for the day, and we all set off at 8.00 am from the school. It was a lovely morning as we set off for Dublin, with Mick Creed driving. We went up the coast road through New Ross, Enniscorthy, Arklow and Bray. Mr. O’Neachtain directed Mr. Creed to Microsoft, as he used to live in Dublin. The pupils from the other schools had already arrived.

creative.jpg (6221 bytes)We were met by,Lisa Ashmore Temple the Education Business Manager Microsoft Ireland, and Joanne Hunt from Text 100. We were brought to the canteen, where we were treated to drinks and sausage rolls. After about ten minutes we were led into a large lecture room, where we took our seats. The prizes were set out on a table. Lisa Ashmore Temple introduced herself and the company, and showed us a short video about Microsoft. We then saw a short film on how computers are used to make movies to-day. We saw how films like "Toy Story " were put together on a computer.It takes many people working together as a team to achieve such good results.We all found it fascinating.

One Product Group within the Microsoft European Product Development Centre is the Interactive Media Division. This division works on the localisation
of sounds, graphics and all multimedia aspects of products such as Microsoft
Age of Empires, Close Combat, Microsoft Money (personal financial manager) and   Encarta World Atlas (encyclopaedia), Music Central, Cinemania, Sidewinder 3D Pro forcefeed joystick and many more.The group works with top of the range technology and a many external resources such as actors (for voice overs) and designers. The localisation of some products such as Playschool Workshop require extensive localisation because each country's educational system is different
Mr  Gerald Donnelly,Head of  IMG Division, Microsoft European Product Development Centre joined Microsoft in 1995  spoke to us about his work.He explained how his team developed  the Microsoft game ‘Age of Empires’  It had taken a lot of planning to perfect.

empires.jpg (6893 bytes)Age of Empires is a real-time strategy game spanning ten thousand years, in which players are the guiding spirits in the evolution of small Ice Age tribe. Starting with minimal resources, players are challenged to build their tribes into great civilisations, and choose from one of several ways to win the game including world domination by conquering enemy civilisations, exploring the "known" world, and economic victory through the accumulation of wealth.This game has become one of the fastest and most popular of all games for PC.It has excellent graphics and visual effects.All the graphics were drawn on  computer. They also had to record sound files. It was exciting to meet  the men who had put the game together.


Next, he spoke about the developed of  the  Microsoft World Atlas. It really is the best atlas available on CD-ROM today. The main developer explained all the work his team had to do, to develop the atlas. It needs to be continually revised and updated. He told us that, as a developer, he is allowed little treats for himself. On the section under Irish culture, there is a picture showing ‘Gaelic Football’. In the picture there is a Meath footballer, he put this in because he is from County Meath.

Lisa then introduced Mr. Noel M. Treacy TD. Minister of State for Science and Technology, who spoke about the success of Ireland in the Information Age. He then presented the prizewinners with their prizes. The boys from Rosmuc won a brand new PC for the school, as did the boys from St. Michael's School in Dublin.He presented Jason with his certificate and the Kodak DC120 Digital Camera.

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Jason read his story ‘All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go’. Everybody enjoyed it and gave him a big clap. Mr. Treacy presented him with his certificate, and Lisa presented him with the digital camera for the school. At the end of the ceremony, everybody received Microsoft souvenirs, such as T-shirts, caps, pens and key rings. Mr. O’Neachtain was awarded a special prize of ‘MS FrontPage ‘98’ so we could develop our web-site. A photographer took special pictures of the prizewinners.We all wanted to see how the Kodak digital camera worked, so we decided to take some photos. It really is brilliant.                                                                        

kodak.jpg (5235 bytes)This is the Kodak DC 120 Digital camera.The camera  stores the pictures on a small disc inside the camera. It also has a built in flash. It takes pictures as J-pegs. You can then use them on your web site.When the disc is full you can transfer the images on to a computer, by using Kodak Picture Easy Software supplied with the camera.It can take up to 64 pictures at low resolution and 15 photographs at high resolution.

We thanked everybody for a lovely day and set off for McDonald’s in Stillorgan for a meal. The ladies went shopping. On the way home, we read the manual and explored the workings of the camera. By the time we got home to Tramore we were nearly experts. We arrived home at about 7 p.m. after a very special day. Thank you to everyone at Microsoft Ireland for making us feel so special.

The following week we appeared on the front page of one of our local newspapers," The Munster Express’(in colour if you don't mind).
Read about this story on their on-line edition.
We also featured in two other local papers, the ‘News and Star’, and ‘Waterford Today’.

fpbox.jpg (16105 bytes)There was a lovely set of photographs in ‘Parent and Teacher’ magazine. Mr. O’Neachtain got the photograph of Jason’s prizegiving enlarged, and, together with his story, had it framed. It is now hanging in the school. Like most schools we enter many competitions. It is nice to win something for a change,thanks to Microsoft, we now own a digital camera and it gets a lot of use in the school. We take a lot of the photographs ourselves. We are also learning to use "FrontPage 98" to develop our web site.It is very easy to use once you get the hang of it.Our site is simple and we hope you are enjoying your visit. We have an Internet Club which meet twice  a month to keep the site up todate.

MicroSoft1.jpg (5886 bytes)The first photograph we took with the camera was of Lisa and a group of us in the reception area. It was taken by Mr. Robbie O'Leary, who organised the competition on behalf of Microsoft Ireland.. When we worked with it on the computer,we forgot to save the original and  as a result the photograph you see here is small. We have learnt a lot about image editing since then.We are sorry we do not have a better picture but it is a famous photograph as it is the first to be taken with the new digital camera.


Regretfully Jason has now left Tramore and has returned to his native Cork.We say a big "Thank You " to him and wish him and his family every success and happiness in the future.

Read Jason's winning story by clicking "All dressed up and nowhere to go"       

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