September, 2010

  • Steve Clayton

    Lenovo Power Hub


    Lenovo Power Hub

    Some smart thinking by the boffins at Lenovo brings us the Lenovo Power Hub. A power adapter that includes a 4 port USB charging unit.

    $74.99 is a bit hefty and the unit itself looks a bit hefty…but smart thinking. 

  • Steve Clayton

    OpenTable on Windows Phone 7


    Another one to add to my list of apps when the marketplace opens. Of course I know this (and many many) more apps are already on iPhone but I’m glad the actually useful apps like this, Twitter, Netflix etc. are coming to Windows Phone 7. Hoping UrbanSpoon isn’t far behind this one…

  • Steve Clayton

    Phaidon design



    I’m a big fan of Phaidon books – they were some of the heaviest items that shipped in boxes with me over here to Seattle and alas they remain unpacked. This new website is as beautiful as their books and covers Architecture, Design, Art, Food and Photography. Maybe I should ask them if I could add a Technology section that would round out most of the topics I’m interested in? Smile

    Check it out…beautiful design.

  • Steve Clayton

    Scratching my design itch



    The Story of Eames furniture is now officially on my wish list. Last week I splashed out and bought an Eames Lounge Chair. They’re ridiculously expensive but ultimately I decided I have to have one. Why? Well they’re beautiful to look at, comfortable as hell and after 50 years they’re still iconic. There are few other products that have stood the test of time quite so well. Even the Porsche 911 has evolved over its 40+ years but the Eames remains pretty much unchanged. How many products will we say that about in 50 years time? Very few I suspect.

    I also bought it because I’m a frustrated designer – I love getting close to design, listening to designers and reading about design. I’m typing this as I sit listening to Jay Greene talk about his book Design Is How It Works. I think if I went back to college I’d study design. I doubt I’d be good at it but I think I’d enjoy it.

    On a related note, I’ve found an underground design culture here at Microsoft that I never new existed. There are a tonne of remarkable designers here who I’ll be interviewing and exposing their work…the people behind Zune (hardware and software), Windows Phone, Metro and more. Hopefully you’ll find them interesting.

  • Steve Clayton

    Remember Steve Masters?


    I’ve been doing a lot of work on future thinking of late and what the technology trends we see today will enable over the coming years. It reminded me to go back and find this old video that became known as the Steve Masters video – the accident prone, smartphone toting guy from Microsoft Devcon back in 2001.

    I can remember seeing the video back then and thinking it was all possible – all of the tech was there to enable what you see in the video but joining the dots between the devices, the platforms needed to meld his world together was always going to be the hard part. Much of what is in the video has been realised today – at least from the device side but there are still gaps in the experiences. Joining a smartphone to something like HealthVault would get us pretty close but it goes to show that this stuff takes time. Even if we have all the technology, knitting it together is the tough work and dependent on a lot of interoperability. That’s not evening mentioning the social norms and protocols that would need to evolve to make this reality.

    Anyway, fun to go back and look to see how long it takes for dreams to become reality. Here’s how Steve Ballmer described it back then…I was surprised to see “the cloud” used as a term back in 2001.


    Steve may have problems, but those intelligent devices sure helped him a lot. The phone that maintains information about his position, a phone from which he can plug into the services in the cloud and give up personal information, pay for things, about himself. The smart card and the intelligence in that device. The X-ray imaging system built with the right kind of intelligent technology to provide information released from the smart device. This is the kind of world in which we're moving. And the only devices I think that will make sense as we get into the future are devices that are smart, that do plug in, that do connect into this infrastructure. And if they have an end user connection, they really are smart devices about me. They store or allow me to access information about my personal preferences and data, my schedule, my contacts, whatever the case may be. The experience has to scale. There's an appropriate user interface that scales from very small screens, from low resolution screens on to much larger screens like the one we saw on the Bally's Gaming machine.

    These devices need to be smart about other devices. They have to be able to announce themselves to other devices across the network. They have to be able to say what services they export, and they have to be able to discover other services provided by other devices that are participating in the scenario, in the solution that is relevant. Connectivity, we're going to move, people are going to increasingly move these devices around. And the infrastructure has to be smart about quality of service, and deciding at what bandwidth and what capabilities to provide the user at different bandwidth

    <para cropped>

    And last, but certainly not least, the software infrastructure that you want to have available to you as an application developer in these devices gets richer and richer. You shouldn't have to worry about your own networking. You shouldn't have to worry about your own management of people's personal preferences, and some of their core data, payment, identity, et cetera. You shouldn't have to worry about basic infrastructure that allows you to create inside the smart device a Web service that talks to other devices.

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