Racing Balloons Over England

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yes, it’s another post about balloons.

This time, however, it’s a nifty event across the pond, helping charity and involving a GeekDad reader.  From Richard:

I’m a Microsoft MVP working and living in Cambridge
(UK).  The village school that our twins attend in Waterbeach (UK)  is in need of some funding to mend its 40 year old swimming pool.  This year our village is holding a summer fayre on the 5th of July.     At 4pm  on this day we are launching lots of helium balloons in a balloon race.  I’ve got a garage full of balloons so I hope we sell at least the 300 I have sitting between me and my lawn mower.    So where does all the Microsoft
Technology and MVP stuff come in?  We’ll in previous years where balloon races have gone wrong is that anyone finding a balloon was previously required to attach a stamp to the tag attached to the balloon and post back. Of course people couldn’t be bothered to-do this.

So this year, we’re trying something different.  I’ve setup a website.   Anyone buying a balloon to enter the race gets email alerts of race progress. We have a live map using
Microsoft Virtual Earth to show in real time race positions and where any balloons have been found and a leader board of finds.   Finally anyone finding a balloon can record there find straight on the website, dropping a pushpin on a map to indicate where they found the balloon.   Emails get sent letting people know their position in the race.

Microsoft have put up a couple of prizes for the finder and launcher of the furthest travelled balloon (sorry to report, I know it’s not an
Xbox 360).   So the high risk part? Well, I’ve got my employer, Microsoft and the entire community of where I live looking at a website hosted on a PC pretending to be a server perched on-top of my fridge.

If you want to see what’s going on or witness my professional reputation disappear if this thing goes wrong, go have a look at  Remember on the 5th of July you could take part in a race to win a great prize.   

If you’re interested in helping out, and being part of a neat project, take a look at the website, and maybe buy a balloon.  Good luck, Richard!

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