Tuesday, November 30, 2010
It may seem like a strange question yet it is not something we typically think about.
Furniture is taken for granted, in fact sometimes the word furniture is employed to mean the adornments in or on an object. You could say someone with lots of facial jewelry has 'furniture on their face' or, as I have heard it said, they have 'face furniture'
In our everyday lives we utilize furniture to enhance comfort and to perform functions, it is these functions that are worth exploring.
Think of all the things you do at a table. Eat food, work on your computer, layout a puzzle game, hold a meeting, and many more 'events' occur at a meeting. Consider which of those events take great advantage of the horizontal surface that is presented by the table. Playing puzzle game with friends, or holding a meeting at a table is something that clearly requires a horizontal platform. The horizontal nature of a table with multiple sides open and available for people to sit, presents the ideal place for holding a meeting. It enables eye to eye contact, allowing all participants to engage in a much fuller conversation. Such a large portion of communication between people is non-verbal and by facing the other parties around a table we can pick up on these subtleties. We can understand from proximity and quick glances of the eyes the nature of personal relationships between people.
Many technical solutions ignore the human interactions that are crucial for us to work together and create far shallower modes of engagement. Instant messenger, for example, provides a mode of communication between multiple parties, each siting at their own workstation. The nuances of passion, humor and disgust during the conversation can be hinted at with the use of emoticons. These provide a limited set of clues to hint towards the users feeling as they make a statement. The vocabulary of these is not just limiting but also deceptive. A person may want you to feel they are being jovial while really they are sad. You would only ever pick this up if you actually with the person. The telephone can provide a better medium for judging the mood of someone, through the tone of their voice and through other audio clues.
Yet nothing bis better than sitting at the table with someone for truly understanding their feelings and position on a topic. Most digital content is still presented using vertically oriented displays, yet these displays act as barriers to the optimum personal communication.
When working with the Tablet PC team at Microsoft in 2003- 2005 one thing became very clear, the slate form factor could radically change the dynamics of a meeting room. In a typical meeting at Microsoft people will bring their laptops and sit around a table, each staring into their own screen. This is incredibly anti social and detrimental to the level of engagement of the people in the room. In a meeting where each participant had a slate device the device did not act a barrier between the individuals at the table. Tabletop computing now has the opportunity to take this to the next level. By sharing the content directly on the tabletop the number of barriers is further reduced. A personal screen can present personal distractions during a meeting (email, IM, etc...), on a shared screen the focus can be on just the content desired.
Today I presented these concepts to a potential client showing the nsquared business pack for Microsoft Surface. It is clear that these applications can really change the dynamics of a meeting. Even as we were discussing the requirements of the project we were sketching out the ideas on nsquared thoughts. Tabletop computing should start to bring new ways of human engagement to our meeting rooms in the coming years and this will help us to work better together than many earlier technologies.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Over that last 2 years the nsquared development team has been building Microsoft Surface applications. We are one of the most accomplished teams in the world at developing tabletop computing experiences. We wrote the book Developing for Microsoft Surface and have delivered all the global training to Microsoft Partners for Surface development. The certification of 10 of our applications now puts another achievement on our list to validate we are masters of our craft.
It is important that customers can differentiate between validated experts and those that claim to know what they are doing. Building software for table top interfaces such as Microsoft Surface is not a skill that can easily be adapted from desktop programming skills. This is not about the technology, this is about creating simple, easy to use, and engaging experiences. At nsquared we are bringing our expertise in this space to produce applications that owners of Microsoft Surface can purchase, download, and start using today. Having our applications certified for Microsoft Surface provides a level of assurance to our customers that we are delivering high quality software that will deliver a rich Surface experience.
My belief is that within 5 years we will see a proliferation of table top computing devices and at nsquared we plan to be at the forefront of this revolution.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Last month when I was in Redmond I managed to catch up with my friend Ken Levy who drives the CodeCast podcast. We went for a great lunch at an indian restaurant and afterwards he set the ipod to record and we chatted about a number of topics, including Microsoft Surface, tablet devices, Microsoft Translator and the Messenger Connect SDK. All products I have been busy working with over the last couple years.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
- Surface doesn't have a web browser, I must have a web browser
- Surface is just Windows with touch
What is their vision? A good place to start is to understand the usage scenarios they are hoping for.
Friday, June 04, 2010
Lets say i have a ScatterViewItem on position point(30,130) and i want it to go to point(550,300).
How can I set the following:
inertiaProcessor.InitialOrigin = new Point(30,130);
inertiaProcessor.DesiredDeceleration = ?;
inertiaProcessor.InitialVelocity = ?;
// Restart Inertia
// Now please end up at: new Point(550,300);
Sadly there is no way to know this with precision. In theory you could use the physics formula to calculate this. The precision is not that accurate though so you would probably be a little off.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Thursday, March 04, 2010
To protect the brand Microsoft needs to ONLY use the Surface name for the Microsoft Surface product and nothing else.