Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Creation From Thought

As pure as output can be
Virtual worlds to explore and see
Internal mechanics are hidden
Magic words unlock the forbidden

Fingers whir to weave the spell
Separates his layers for testing well
A wizard of the modern world
Sees fresh creation unfurled

Unwind, unlock, protect and store
Validate the ceiling
Validate the floor

Reload, refresh, enqueue and batch
Trying tricky patterns
Followed with a catch

On a stage of many switches
Removed of any glitches
Perfection tantalizing closer
Is this the million dollar grosser ?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Perception is everything

Mix10 was a great event. There was plenty of activity around the new announcements, Windows Phone 7 Series, IE9, Microsoft Translator, Silverlight 4 and Blend 4.
It is interesting to watch how the masses now say it is all about Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 series and nothing else matters. Again and again I hear how touch is the new interface for everything. This perception is clearly not correct and yet it is the perception of developers coming away from an event like Mix.
There were also some missing players from the conversation. One of them close to my heart was Microsoft Surface. I think when a Microsoft Product Group with high profile decides not to attend a big Microsoft event such as Mix it sends the wrong message to the developers and the geek community. Engadget recently published this article, which almost predicts the end of Surface as a product.
This is clearly not the truth. I have been busy training partners over the last 15 months, and these partners are busy building solutions for real customers buying Surface units.
New products like Surface take a long time to roll out. This is not helped by the fact that most Surface applications are still failing to meet the basic criteria of what it takes to be a great Surface application. A very quick litmus test to determine if an application is a good Surface application can be achieved by deciding if the application does anything that cannot be done on a vertical touch screen. If an application would work just as well on a vertical touch screen then it does nothing to take advantage of running on a Surface unit and is therefore not a great Surface software citizen.
If developers and designers can evolve their thinking to understand what makes a great Surface application, I expect Surface solutions to get better and more companies to want to buy them. Until then it will be a long slow process before Surface proliferates into the world.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Do you speak my language?

I am on my way now to Las Vegas for Mix. I will presenting a session on the new features of Microsoft Translator that will be announced on Monday PST.
The nsquared team in Sydney has been working long hours with the Microsoft Research team in Redmond on getting things ready for this launch.
There are so many great things about this new release, I look forward to telling you more shortly.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Failing to protect a brand, Microsoft still doesn't get it

It astounds me to watch a company that employs so many really intelligent people repeatedly make the same mistakes around something simple like branding.
The latest example is the Mobile 'Surface' project being undertaken by Microsoft Research. Make no mistake, I think this is awesome research and it is thinking and projects like this that will lead us into future generations of computer interaction. The issue lies with the use of the Surface brand. Microsoft has a product called Microsoft Surface, it is very clear that such a new and innovative product needs to have a clear and concise purpose and place in the market.
When Microsoft themselves allow research projects such as the Mobile "Surface" and SecondLight projects to use the Surface brand it dilutes the message of what a Microsoft surface actually is as a product.
To make matters worse, Microsoft released Microsoft Surface applications in the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7. This pack contains a number of touch applications that have the Surface brand associated. This further dilutes the value proposition for Microsoft Surface as a brand.
To protect the brand Microsoft needs to ONLY use the Surface name for the Microsoft Surface product and nothing else.

Why do I care so much? Because I have invested a lot of energy in helping to promote, and teach people about Microsoft Surface, teaching Surface application development, writing a book on Microsoft Surface, and working with nsquared to build rich Surface applications.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Do you speak my language?

If you have followed my activities over the last year you may have noticed that I am doing a fair bit of work with the Microsoft Translator team. I presented at Mix '09 on Exposing Web Content to a Global Audience.
For Mix '09 the nsquared technology studio in Sydney worked hard on producing getting started guides and documentation to help developers begin using the APIs.
Today the translator team announced that seven new languages have been added to the supported list, creating a grand total of 30 languages!
I will be at Mix again this year and talking about Microsoft Translator. If you are at Mix be sure to come along to find out about some new additions to the Translator and how you can build translation into your software using the same technology behind Bing Translator.