Monday, January 31, 2011

Mix'11 Sessions Proposed, please vote now

Las Vegas will host Mix again this year, between April 12 and 14. As always I expect there will be a wide range of interests around Microsoft technologies represented at the event.
I proposed a total of nine talks for the event, sadly only three were accepted for the community voting. If you would like to attend any of these presentations please will you click on the link in the title and vote for them.

Wave, Touch, Pen, Speech, Mouse and Keyboard
In the last decade we have seen a variety of new interfaces popularized. With Microsoft Kinect you are the controller. There are screens that can see like Microsoft Surface. We have touch screens that can feel you and pen interfaces that provide rich digital inking capabilities. Speech technology to control an computer has existed for over a decade now. Yet we still are using the mouse and keyboard almost daily.In this session you will explore how the different input technologies can be applied to different categories of engagement. You will learn why the mouse and keyboard is here to stay and when you should take advantage of the other input technologies. This session will also provide you with some insight into how you can apply combinations of input to enhance your applications further.

How to build a great Microsoft Surface application
Microsoft Surface represents a new category in computing. Vision based screens enable unique interactions and they present fantastic opportunities for innovative software to be created. In this session you will learn what makes Microsoft Surface unique and how you can use that to build great software for Microsoft Surface. This session will cover the user interfaces and concepts that you need to apply in order to take advantage of the technology in MicrosoftSurface. With the imminent release of Microsoft Surface 2.0 this session will cover everything you need to build really amazing experiences for MicrosoftSurface.The company Dr.Neil works for has more applications certified for Microsoft surface than any other company in the world. This session will provide some insight into how they conjure up the magic that enables them to repeatedly build awesome Surface experiences.

Building Really Social Software
Technology can be both an inhibitor and an enabler of social engagement. This session presents a discussion on how technology can be used to enrich the dialogue between users. When you consider many forms of computing today you think of users staring into a screen and yet the most successful systems, such as twitter and Facebook, are really about how people converse with each other. In the last few years new categories of technology, such as Microsoft Surface and Kinect, have emerged that truly bring people together. This session will discuss the way these new technologies (and others) will change the way we can use technology to enhance human interactions.

Then with the other Surface MVPs we are proposing a discussion on all things relating to Natural User Interfaces.

The Microsoft Surface MVPs present: Natural User Interfaces, Today and Tomorrow; an interactive discussion and demonstration
Joshua Blake; Neil Roodyn; Dennis Vroegop; Rick Barraza; Bart Roozendaal; Josh Santangelo; Nicolas Calvi
The Natural User Interface (NUI) is a hot topic that generates a lot of excitement, but there are only a handful of companies doing real innovation with NUIs and most of the practical experience in the NUI style of design and development is limited to a small number of experts. The Microsoft Surface MVPs are a subset of these experts that have extensive real-world experience with Microsoft Surface and other NUI devices.This session is a panel featuring the Microsoft Surface MVPs and an unfiltered discussion with each other and the audience about the state of the art in NUI design and development. We will share our experiences and ideas, discuss what we think NUI will look like in the near future, and back up our statements with cutting-edge demonstrations prepared by the panelists involving combinations of Microsoft Surface 2.0, Kinect, and Windows Phone 7.

Please submit your vote for the sessions you would like to attend or hear. Remember many of the sessions get recorded and published online after the event.

The presentations that got rejected were:

Confuse me, lose me
Lets face it no one reads the manual anymore. Software should be so easy to use that the user can just walk up and start using it. So why is this not the case?
In this session Dr. Neil will discuss how interfaces can be built to enable users to get started with new technology and learn by using the system. A rich discussion of the pitfalls of complexity and how to simplify your user interface will allow you to leave this session with a set of tips to make your applications easier to use.
This session will provide an insight in to the thinking behind Natural User Interfaces as well as how to improve your Graphical User Interfaces.

Future Furniture
What will the furniture of the future look like? What functionality will it provide? This session provides you with a fun filled look into the way technology is being built into furniture and how furniture may look in our meeting rooms, our office and our homes in 10 years time.
Microsoft Surface has provided a glimpse into this future of furniture, where a table is no longer just an inert object but provides rich digital content. How else might our future change with new innovations that we expect to see emerge in the coming decade.

Look into my eyes
Face to face meetings provide the best way to really understand another person. Human interaction happens between people. Business transactions are agreements between people. It is easy to forget that everything we do in the software industry is still about people. In this session you will discover how technologies like Surface 2.0 can enrich the true social interactions between people. You will also learn why it is important for software developers to understand the nature of human engagement in order to build better

Now you’re speaking my language
Do you want to support multiple languages in your software? Can’t afford to pay for a translator to translate your software into every language? Microsoft Translator will help you support multiple languages in your application.
At Mix 09 Microsoft announced the release of the Microsoft Translator SDK. At Mix 10 Microsoft announced an update to the Microsoft Translator SDK include the Community Translation Framework. Come to this session to find out the new technology being released by the Microsoft Translator team.
Microsoft Translator is a team within Microsoft Research that focuses on natural language processing. The Microsoft Translator technology is used by Bing Translator, in Internet Explorer and in Office 2010.

So what exactly is technology anyway?
How are you reading this session abstract? Is it created with technology? Is the attendee badge you are wearing technology? One of the definitions of advanced technology is you will not notice it is there. It will blend into everyday life. With this concept in mind, Dr. Neil will discuss how we can move the technology we are building to the next level and become unnoticed by our users.
Come to this session to be awakened by the reality of what we are all creating in this world and learn how we can extend the reach of our technology into the everyday lives of our users.

If you would like to hear one of these presentations, please get in touch.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ntask, another win for the nsquared team

Over the weekend a new iPad app became available in the Apple App store; ntask.

It is a gorgeous task management application that synchronizes with Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Sharepoint tasks lists. I have been using it while it has been developed and I am so pleased to see it has been selling like hotcakes now it is available in the App Store.
Earlier today when I checked it was the 32nd best selling business application in the app store! Congratulations to the nsquared team for another wonderful application.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Social networks, sharing and your personal information

The latest wave of social media frenzy is about sharing your location and knowing where your friends are, or have just been.
This is something that I have discussed and presented on many times before. In fact in 2003 I presented proof of concept applications on the Microsoft smartphone platform ( then it was actually called Microsoft Smartphone) and the Microsoft Tablet PC platform. These applications enabled the user to post their current location to a blog or shared feed. I have used a number of variations of this to keep my 'Where was Dr. Neil' page updated.

In the last couple of years the rise in popularity of Facebook and Twitter have lead to an increase of related location sharing services. Services like foursquare or Facebook's own checkin system enable you to share your location with the world. This is great for those occasions where you want everyone to know where you are. These systems are mostly an all or nothing solution, either share with everyone or no one. So when you just want to let a couple of people know where you are located it's is back to the old text message or even resorting to call them.
It is for this reason we built Locus. Locus enables you share your location when you chose and with whoever you chose, including Facebook and Twitter.

I truly believe the pendulum will start to swing the other way now, with private personal information becoming more valuable. This value will start to be realized by the consumer and leveraged by the consumer to their own advantage.

When will you start to take more care of the information you share and who you share it with?