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  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Trip Report: Boston Sheraton Surface Event


    Last weekend I was asked to go to Boston to help demo Surface at a Sheraton event.  I was a last minute addition to this trip due to an emergency for one of the other demo people.


    I wanted to share my experience as well as all the great work being done by our small team of events people.


    I traveled with Thyagi who is a Program Manager from the Surface team.  Like me he doesn't normally get to do a lot of public demos.


    When Thyagi and I arrived at the Sheraton the takeover of the large lobby had already started:




    Lining the front desk there were about fifteen monitors showing a slideshow of our marketing pictures.  They were set up specifically for this event.

    (I have to say, those are some amazingly cute kids in those pictures :-)



    When I got to my room, I saw this on the desk (every other room at the hotel had one too.)



    The Boston Sheraton is connected to a shopping mall.  We had a little signage there too:




    After throwing my things in my room, we went to the “Boardroom” for some demo refresher training with Barb and James.


    The “Boardroom” was also where we were having press briefings.  I thought this sign was a fun play on words:

      (sorry for the dark pic, no Photoshop on my work PCs )


    Barb and James gave Thyagi and me (not in pic) the lowdown on what and how to demo. 

    James was on death’s doorstop through the whole weekend.  He really gave it his all and used plenty of anti-bacterial goo so as not to infect the rest of us.


    Setup for the actual event started at 4:00AM.  When I got down to the lobby, at a somewhat more sane time, there were plasmas-a-plenty and the takeover of the lobby was almost complete.


    Here is a Sheraton associate risking life and limb to set up the gobo.  When your color is rhodamine, instead of red carpet, you get the shiny black-carpet treatment.  The result looked pretty cool.


    Some final setup of the demo tables:




    Before the demos, Thyagi and I did some last minute practice.  I don’t have too many pictures of the actual event since I was busy demoing with the rest of the team.


    Demoing Surface to people who haven't seen it is a blast.  When you work on this stuff day-in and day-out you start to lose perspective on how cool this really is.  In addition to techies, there were a lot of non-technical hotel guests who came by for demos.  Some could not get over what they were seeing and able to play with.  Even some of the more jaded technical people were surprised when I would take their picture, set the camera on the Surface, and they saw it right there, ready to be shared.


    It was also fun to hear all the great ideas people have for Surface.  I enjoyed talking with everyone and even got to chat a little with legend Dan Bricklin who mentions this event on his blog.


    That said, having this kind of intense interaction with all sorts of people for five hours straight can be pretty draining.  I have a renewed respect for those who do this all the time.


    Here are Barb, Thyagi and Steven doing the demo thing:




    After the demos were over, we spent a few hours cleaning up and crating the tables.  No pictures of that but I do have a few small injuries to prove I was helping.  I should probably be more careful with my hands since I’m really a typist for a living.  Everyone was pretty exhausted after the long day.


    I got up early the next morning so I could set foot outside the hotel before my flight back to Seattle.  The Sheraton is near some neat sites.  Here is one of them for those of you who don’t hail from Colorado (unlike me…)



  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Surface business up and running



    “The future is here right now; it’s just highly distributed.”

    So quipped my friend Bill Buxton, one of the doyens of surface computing here @ Microsoft.  In a lot of ways, we’re trying to offer a twist on that with Microsoft Surface, our first product in this exciting category.  It represents years of focus and passion by a small legion of really smart people around the globe bent on doing one thing; cherry-picking all of the little features that make technology so cool and delivering a user experience that’s fast, easy and, natural.

    Business and Pleasure:  The Leisure and Entertainment Sector

    Through these posts I’ll be filling you in on the details of how we’re taking Surface from the Lab into your Life.  We have a nice squad of bloggers here, each with their own angle on things.   My team’s angle is business.  That means bravely charting a course where few in our company have gone before.   We are creating a new category and putting together the right plan to grow value.  We have a lot of “partners” in the value equation; leading brands in leisure and entertainment like Starwood Hotels and Harrah’s Entertainment to name a couple.  We’re also partnering with best-in-breed ISV’s from Web 2.0 shops to accomplished game developers. 

    As we enhance our focus on the Leisure and Entertainment sector, we’d love to hear you think about venues that would be appealing to have your first Surface experience!

  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    A Matter of Time...


    As you might have read by now, C|Net reported that the first Surface units will be in the wild a little later than we originally planned. It’s a slight shift in timing for us, but we think that some of the stuff we’ve been working on is worth a little more wait. This is an entirely new category of technology afterall, so we’re working closely with our partners to develop customized content that suits their business and they are going to deploy when the time is right for them. We expect that to begin in the spring...of course each partner is different and will be on different timelines for broad deployments.


    We really do have a lot of things we’d love to be able to show off as soon as possible, things our developers are working hard on, but we also don’t want to overload you guys with too much cool either – and hey, we like it when you pay attention to us for long periods of time, so we’ll spread it out a bit. It does go beyond Pumpkin Carving though: our wicked smart boys and girls in the lab have been working on a wide variety of applications, code and UX that not only push Surface computing to the limit, but will redefine what you can do with a computer. Stay tuned for more cool stuff…


    K Robert Warnick


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