10 days in

It has been a fun 10 days since I started at Microsoft. I’ve started to meet people and see things that have blown me away. It was a fun week, here were the things that made me go wow!

Microsoft Surface

Technically, this was first discussed on TechCrunch way back at mesh in May. I’ll admit I hadn’t seen it until last week, and I was floored. It was like watching Jeff Han’s talk at TED and ETech. The multi-touch display is one of those devices that could prove to be game changing (check out Perceptive Pixel for additional footage). This led into to meeting Bill Buxton at Don Norman’s talk at UofT. I am hoping that we can get a Surface to play with at EnergizeIT (though that’s not looking like it will happen) or maybe a future event in Toronto.

Popfly! blew me away for 2 separate reasons. The first being the .ms domain name. This is totally silly, but I loved the .ms. Dot-ms is a domain for Montserrat and it looks like you can use GoDaddy to register dot-ms domains. Montserrat has a total GDP of $29M. Hmmmm, register a domain or just buy an island in the Carribean. I loved it so much that I registered davidcrow.ms that is mirrored here (because it made me laugh, maybe I should just forward it to posts in the Microsoft category).

So much happened when I was on vacation, Popfly was announced on May 18. It’s a Silverlight based mashup tool. Similar to Yahoo!Pipes and Google Gears. All of these are new, I’m looking forward to learning about the similarities and differences because there are a lot of competing technologies from each of the different vendors.

The Design of Future Things

Don Norman and the Perspecta

Qixing posted a summary of Don Norman’s talk at the University of Toronto. Don spoke about his latest book, The Design of Future Things, to a crowd of about 150 people. It’s interesting to think about the design implications of automation for individuals and groups. Don does a great job bringing complex ideas to general business and science writing. I’m looking forward to this book, it will hopefully provide a generalist overview for the design of smart things.

Anand invited Don, Bill, Ilona, Jay, Qixing, Gabriel and me to tour the DGP lab at UofT. And to see the Bumptop demo. Very cool, since I missed Anand’s last demo at DemoCampToronto6 due to unforeseen circumstances. Bumptop is incredible, we were all wondering what it would be like running on a Surface. Anand is going to demo again at EnergizeIT at 1:00pm on Saturday.

Don Norman, Bill Buxton and Qixing Zheng

Bill Buxton is talking on Monday at TorCHI about his new book, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design on Monday. The talk looks like it will build on Don Norman’s talk.

Designing for experience comes with a whole new level of complexity. This is especially true in this emerging world of information appliances, reactive environments and ubiquitous computing, where, along with those of their users, we have to factor in the convoluted behaviours of the products themselves. Doing this effectively requires both a different mind-set, as well as different techniques.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Bill talk again. His presentation at CHI97 in Atlanta was extremely memorable.

Just so you don’t think I’m drinking too much Kool Aid. I am hating Windows Mobile and the Motorola Q. I miss the clean elegant lines of my RIM 8700r the industrial design on the physical device is so much better. I can’t tell if the interaction design is just me not being familiar with the device, but I really think it’s got a long ways to go. There are just too many button pushes and inconsistent behaviours for this to ever be a favourite. I do love using Outlook 2007 and the other the air syncing. But the device, I’m less than positive on. What are the killer applications and themes I need for my MotoQ?