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Microsoft Surface Interview #MicrosoftSI Part 1

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Well i had a great week at Microsoft and I'll do my best to share as much as I can about it. I have a bunch of pictures and videos, that I am working on uploading, so look forward to those as well. ( Im trying to scrounge up as much info so this may take a few days to post it all up). The #MicrosoftSI, is actually the twitter hash tag that the program is using, so if you want to look up the other insider's accounts of the week, feel free)

To start, when I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted with the backpack of swag (as mentioned in the previous entry), and a $100 gift card for food ( the two meals that were not going to be directly given to us by Microsoft). So given the opportunity, I had the concierge hook us up with a reservation at Anthony's, a very very good seafood restaurant, where I ended up dropping $50 on the elegant meal. Every penny was worth it.
Thursday started the real fun, by 8:30 we were on Microsoft's Campus, all 6 insiders in the Microsoft Research building. Now one thing I gotta say bout Microsoft's( ok from now on its MS, cause im getting lazy :P) campus its huge, and high tech. Many of the buildings are state of the art, even the parking garage (which had a sign telling you how many parking spaces were available on each floor). But back to MS Research building (bldg99), we used as a home base when we could. We started off by meeting with Frank Arrigo a quite popular blogger for MS. We discussed various tactics and uses for blogging, twitter, and other social media tools, since that is why we were there, to blog about MS.

After that we were split up to interview different developers. So my first interview was with the MS Surface team. For those who don't know anything about it, my videos should be very informative. Microsoft Surface is a multi-touch table top, that is designed to change how we use computers in the home and office. In my interview we worked with one setup in a living room setting. I got to play with it as they were explaining its features. Some things I liked and was impressed with, was the the 52 touches they can recognize at once, and the table was quite responsive to my touches, and there was no lag when all of us had our hands on the table, lastly was its durability was impressive. The acrylic top made it resilient to spills, and i was told I could stand on it w/o breaking it (I wouldn't dare try though). There is a lot of potential for this device and the applications developed for it. The downsides however are something to be concerned with. The multi-touch is actually a double edge sword. There can be a problem with too much input, as I ended up fighting over tool selection or other elements on the screen, at times this would confuse the machine, also a small issue i had was trying to find what made the objects re-sizable and what had other functions (some came too close to the border, making it hard to make things bigger). The table felt a bit low for prolonged use, i can see back issues arising. Watching a promo video for the Hardrock cafe, it looks to be the same level there, so I can't judge how easy it is to adjust the height. They do have an api and tools designed to test applications designed for it, and the sdk is now free. the only problem is, these tables are quite pricey at $12,500 for commercial and $15,000 for dev kit. While the technology is cool i dont see it in a family setting until they are under $4000. because I can't see too many families dishing out that kinda money for a super cool coffee table. And it may be justifiable to a business barring that there was some serious applications to make it friendly with the rest of MS's plan to integrate the whole office environment. Overall, its a kick ass proof of concept that you should keep your eye on.

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