Saturday, May 23, 2009

Microsoft Surface in the Spring

You may remember in February I was in Munich delivering Surface Training. I was back in Munich again this week delivering more Surface Training and it is a very different place in the Spring. I think I was lucky as the weather was fantastic.
Here is a picture of the same train station that was covered in snow last time I was here.

This month Surface Service Pack 1 was released and so in addition to all the usual goodness in the Surface Training I now have a session dedicated to the features in Service Pack 1. The course outline looks like this:
The Surface Vision
The Architecture of Surface applications
Setting up a Surface device and the out of the box applications
Working with the Simulator
Integrating with the Surface Shell
Designing Surface experiences
Using the Surface Controls
What is new in Service Pack 1
Vision Recognition with Surface
End to end building a Surface application


I received an email from someone telling me I was just teasing them and I should divulge what I cover that is new in Service Pack 1. These are some of things in Service Pack 1 that we cover in the training:

  • Richer feedback of touch input, the built in visualizations that now indicate when the Surface receives input
  • Object Routing, how to launch an application by placing a tagged object on the Surface 
  • Single Application Mode, running only one application on the Surface and hiding the launcher and access points
  • Library container WPF controls, Library Bar and Library Stack. Discussion about what these are good for and how to use them
  • Element Menu WPF control, putting the GUI into NUI, why this control is useful and why it is not always a great idea. How to code this control.
  • Drag and Drop support, how to add drag and drop to your multi touch and (more importantly) multi user Surface application.
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If you would like some help building amazing Surface applications please let me know. We are providing consulting and support services to help you bring out the magic in your Surface applications.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Technology information for those that do not care

I recently reinstalled Vista on my laptop and I keep finding little things that I don't have installed. Today it was Windows Live Photo Gallery. I like Photo Gallery because of the photo stitching feature to create panoramic photos.

I went to the download page to get Photo Gallery I am confronted by this screen telling me about the scary technology being installed as part of this application. Why should a consumer care about this? Instead this space would be better used informing the user of some great things they could do with this application or a tip on how to get more out of the application.
Come on Microsoft you are not some little garage software start up anymore.

I am a switcher

Time to confess.
OSX is my OS of choice.
I am fed up with windows that say (not responding) in the title bar. Microsoft Entourage supports multiple Exchange accounts and it works like a dream and fast, unlike Outlook.
When I close the lid of my MacBook Air it is asleep, when I lift the lid it is awake. No waiting, no messing around. Last month I spent 4 weeks on the road and I never rebooted my MacBook Air once.
I now have a second machine (Mac Book Pro) running Windows Vista 32 bit (the only platform supported for Surface dev) that I use for Windows dev and I hate having to use it. It feels like some prehistoric slowed down museum artifact.
If I had XAML dev tools on OSX I would probably give up with Windows altogether.
If Microsoft wants to win back customers like me it needs to:
  1. Make Windows feel more responsive. Yes I have tried Win7 RC and no I am not happy, it is still slower than OSX (IMO)
  2. Make Office run better on Windows than it does on OSX, IMO Office is currently better (faster, easier to use, more functional) on OSX than on Windows
  3. Ensure Windows remembers the different monitors I have connected my machine to as a second monitor and restore the settings last used with that monitor.
  4. Always, without fail, find an external monitor or projector and allow me to project to it without messing around for 15 mins in preferences and settings.
  5. Ship a rich suite of applications (iLife) on Windows that work well with each other and do 80% of what a consumer wants to do with music, photos, email, and calendar.
Windows 7 feels like a big leap forward from Vista, for me it is not enough (yet).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Last night I slept in Eva Longoria's bed!

Over the years I have stayed in a lot of hotels and often I wonder 'who else has slept in this bed'. Well apparently the bed I slept in last night was slept in by Eva Longoria the previous night. So while the attention grabbing headline may not mean what you think, it is kind of true.
I wonder who else I have shared a bed with over the years!