different shit, same day

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Posted by: stak
Posted on: 2005-10-13 17:34:05

so, today was quite a day. started off by going to the talk by bill gates @ UW. most of the stuff he said was pretty standard and generic.. the future of technology, having information and services wherever and whenever you need them, blah blah blah. it was good, but still generic visions of the future. then he got to the cool stuff:

1) a promotional/recruiting/something video of him and napoleon. it was pretty hilarious, and i would describe it further except that (a) i have a bunch of stuff that i need to do and (b) no textual description could accurately represent how funny it was to watch bill gates get slapped around by a half-stoned dude with a semi-afro.

2) the xbox 360 demo.. the have a snazzy new UI and now support usb plug'n'play for things like ipods and digital cameras. bill gates also demoed one of the games (project gotham?). good stuff, but nothing truly groundbreaking - just standard improvements to what was there before.

3) the really cool demo. there was a "smart desk" - a surface which was being monitored by a camera and infrared sensor, along with some sort of projection system on which a windows-like desktop could be projected. bill put a cellphone (probably a prototype of magneto or something else microsoft is working on) down on the surface. the system recognized the phone and displayed a login screen for the user. a quick fingerprint later, bill was logged in to the system. he put down a newly-acquired business card, face up. it was scanned and the information was displayed above the card in a cartoon-like balloon. he flipped over the card and the handwritten notes on the back were scanned and recognized, and added to the info-on-the-card balloon. he then moved the card so that it was on top of the desktop projection thingy, and the information was instantly downloaded the the cellphone's address book. that was pretty nifty. there's a lot of recognition software at work there, all of it working seamlessly together to provide an intuitive interface to do things, and i was muchly impressed.

Posted by rohan at 2005-10-15 01:37:51
he came here today too. i didn't go though, i didn't think seeing bill gates was worth the trouble
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Posted by Dave at 2005-10-15 13:45:18
They have this thing called the MS Home there, where they model a house in one of the buildings. It's very very cool and very experimental too. One of the things there is the "Smart desk" basically. More differences and more things done to it, but it's pretty darn cool.

WRT the xbox 360, you're right. It's largely just a unification of a gaming console and a media center. It also apparently works really well with Windows Media Center. They call it a Media Center extender or something like that. I think it allows more TiVo like functionality, I'm not sure though. I'd have to research it, but I must do specs....
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