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  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Live from MSNBC…it’s Microsoft Surface

    • 2 Comments

    If you were on the East coast this morning or just up real early on the West coast you might have seen Microsoft Surface in action on TV. But this isn’t just another news story about Surface, this morning a unit was deployed on the MSNBC set for regular use by Chuck Todd, NBC News political director, to assist him in analyzing the upcoming 2008 election and political news beyond.

    Today we saw two applications in action, the Electoral Map and Battleground States, but over the coming days/weeks Todd will likely use other unique applications and features to further highlight the candidates, the issues, polls and relevant political news.

    I thought I’d drill down into each app briefly and give you a sense for what Todd has available at his fingertips…

    Electoral Map – Todd will use Surface to quickly and easily view historic voting results, polling insights and demographic data for each state. And by placing an object on the display, Todd will be able to instantly change the map to showcase results from previous predictions or to identify up-to-the minute changes.

    Battleground States –This application will allow Todd to visually demonstrate the impact of various potential voting outcomes in key states and the effect they have on the number of electoral votes needed to win the election. This will be a great tool for Todd to lay out various electoral scenarios.

    It’s been a fun and wild ride to bring this experience to life. MSNBC was looking for a new and engaging way to tell the political drama that is unfolding before us and they came to Microsoft Surface for help. In turn, we worked with one of our partners, Vectorform, to create a suite of applications based on MSNBC’s unique needs. And while the content and apps are different, the approach to using Surface is as well. Surface goes beyond just multi-touch and resizing content, Todd can bring “tagged” objects to Surface (like in the Electoral Map) that deliver unique digital interactions (new predictions). Surface also allows for multiple people to interact with the content simultaneously.

    We’re changing the way you political junkies (that’s all of us, come on you know you’re hooked after those conventions) are gonna get their news fix. Tell us, how do you think Surface is going to change political coverage as its presented and shared in the news?

    Here we are on set just after our first segment aired...

    Surface on MSNBC

    And here's a video of one of today's segments...

    Here's another segment shown on Monday. Meanwhile, stay tuned to MSNBC for new apps and more Surface goodness.

    Cheers from DC,

    K

  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Dungeons & Dragons done right on Microsoft Surface

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    I don’t want to put any pressure on Michael and the team over at Carnegie Mellon University, but you guys should be getting an A for your class project this semester. Their Dungeons & Dragons experience called “Surfacescapes” on Microsoft Surface is amazing. This is the future of how computers will aid in board games. Remember, D&D playing aids like this are for serious role playing gamers who might normally use balsa cutouts and not just wimpy printed maps. The computer is has a technical role in the gameplay but the DM and the players are the storytellers. That’s why it doesn’t look exactly like a video game. Not that it isn’t seven shades of wonderful. This is crazy cool stuff for role players – unless your dream is a mashup of Project Natal and LARP. ;)

    Surfacescapes Demo Walkthrough from Visual Story TAs on Vimeo.

    P.S. When I last talked to the team at PAX, they were planning on bringing this to PAX East this spring. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

  • Microsoft PixelSense Blog

    Social Stream for Microsoft Surface 2.0 posted

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    As part of our SDK we have some samples that help developers understand Microsoft Surface development concepts. The goal of the samples that we post on our SDK is to show how to use a given API. In those samples we favor simplicity and clarity sometimes at the expense of how useful the application itself may be. For instance, we have our RawImageVisualizer sample that does a great job showing how to use our Core APIs to query the raw image and show it on the screen; on the other hand all it does is, well, show the raw image.

    We also think it is useful to share with the developer community how to write complete functial applications. I am happy to share with you one of these applications. It is called Social Stream for Microsoft Surface 2.0, and it just got posted to code.msdn.microsoft.com.

    Social Stream for Microsoft Surface is a sample application created in collaboration between Microsoft and Stimulant, Inc. It is an interactive way for businesses to engage their customers face-to-face using the most recent and relevant Twitter™, Flickr®, and RSS newsfeeds.

    More information on it at code.msdn.microsoft.com

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