Searching for monkeys in Cyberspace

MIX10 is coming

clock December 8, 2009 11:25 by author offbeatmammal

By now you’ve probably seen the news – MIX10 is happening in Las Vegas in March and registrations are now open – sign up before January 15th and you save $600 off registration and get a free night at the Mandalay Bay (the new location for 2010)

MIX is a conference about designers and developers so the call is open for content – and once the submissions are in you’ll be able to vote on the sessions you want to see.

Of course, you’ll want to show your support so there’s a simple way to add some bling to your blog

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

if you define two variables in your javascript before you call the random blog bing script then you can over-ride the width and height - just like this

<script type="text/javascript">
var bling_width=120;
var bling_height=160;
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

MIX09 in 6 and a half minutes

clock March 27, 2009 12:57 by author offbeatmammal

If you’re wondering how much work goes into setting up the keynote room for an event like MIX well – here is the whole 6 days in 6 and a half minutes :)

Sit back and enjoy all the hard work (and don’t forget to check out the keynotes at a slower pace on the official site)

Quick links to the MIX09 partner videos

clock March 26, 2009 21:46 by author offbeatmammal

The Day 1 keynote from MIX09 is well worth spending time watching, but as it’s all about me I wanted to highlight the partners I’d worked with this year.

So complete with short-cuts to their moment in the the spotlight here is the MIX09 Day 1 Keynote video (don’t forget to go full screen to really enjoy the experience)

You can also see more in-depth interviews with the partners on the VisitMIX site

MIX09 – Wrangling Partners

clock March 22, 2009 20:36 by author offbeatmammal

MIX_Backstage This was my third MIX (I joined Microsoft a few months after the first) and once again I spent most of the time behind the scenes.

At MIX07 I worked with one Keynote partner, at MIX08 I had partners with demos and presentations in both keynotes and for MIX09 I was the designated “Partner Wrangler” working with the non-Microsoft partners who had demos on-stage. I have to thank Mike (our Keynote owner) for the opportunity this year.

MIX this year was about the “Return on Experience” and was where we announced the final release of ASP.NET MVC as well as the developer beta of Silverlight3 so most of my focus was in those areas.

Once again I was lucky enough to be working with some really great partners who had great stories for us to bring to the event to show off the technologies – so all I really have to do is make sure they get the support they need to finish their applications in time for rehearsals that night before the keynote!

So, who was I wrangling?

StackOverflow The first partner demo in the MIX Keynote was StackOverflow – a great community site for developers to help each other, built on ASP.NET MVC (with standards compliant HTML) and optimized for Search Engine Optimization. Jeff and Joel have a great story and deliver it – like StackOverflow – simply.

MIX09 - Who is that Bald man? Netflix The second partner I worked with was Netflix. Kevin McEntee talked about how Netflix has been using Silverlight both to improve the user experience on both PC and Mac, but also driving the quality of their roll-out to hardware such as the Roku or XBox360 platforms. Kevin and Steve Swasey from Netflix sat down with Tim Harris to give a bit more background on the story.

Much to my amusement I was called on to join Kevin on stage for a few moments at the end of his talk to drive a demo of the Adaptive Streaming technology in the Netflix Instant Watch player. What was really cool about working with Netflix this year was that they were the first partner I worked with back at MIX07 ;)

Bondi Digital Publishing My third partner were Bondi Digital Publishing and Vertigo Software. They have worked together to create an amazing on-line magazine archive viewing platform that takes microfiche content, scans and uses OCR to grab the text, massage the meta data to add some intelligence (linking the contents to the articles, flagging adverts vs content etc) and then display them on the web. At MIX David Anthony from Bondi and Scott Stanfield from Vertigo demonstrated their “next generation” Silverlight3 based platform with Rolling Stone content but after the keynote they launched PlayboyArchive (NSFW!) using Silverlight2.

Tim also sat down with David and Murat Aktar from Bondi and Scott from Vertigo to discuss how they are changing the magazine industry.

KEXP Where the music matters My last (but certainly not least) partner was KEXP. As one of the most successful internet radio stations (and the most successful not-for-profit internet station) they have a never-ending challenge to improve their connection with their audience by delivering high quality content wherever their users are. Taking advantage of the forthcoming Silverlight3 features such as Out of Browser and Offline support combined with cloud services KEXP are looking to the future to make sure they stay at the leading edge. Tom Mara and Aaron Starkey talked about the business benefits as well as demonstrated a prototype of their work. They also provided more background in a video interview shot at their studios.

If you want to see how my partners fit into the overall keynote you can view the on-demand video, or check out Tim Sneath’s live blog of the keynote and of course don’t forget to mark your calendar because MIX10 is coming at Mandalay Bay 15-17 March 2010.

MIX09 is Coming - Random Blog Bling time again

clock November 21, 2008 12:01 by author offbeatmammal

MIX09 is the Microsoft event of the year for all things web, so if you don't know what it is you should head over to VisitMIX and find out.

If you do know, you probably want to promote it... and just displaying the same old image for every visitor is so old fashioned, so I turned to my handy 4 lines of javascript to spice things up a little...

   1:  <script type="text/javascript"> 
   2:  var v1= Math.round(Math.random() * 6) + 1;
   3:  document.write('<br><a href=""><img src="' +v1 + '.jpg" border="0" alt="Visit MIX09"></a>');
   4:  </script>

or... even easier is to just insert this one line of Javascript into your page and as I find new bling I can update it automatically

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

if you define two variables in your javascript before you call the random blog bing script then you can over-ride the width and height - just like this

<script type="text/javascript">
var bling_width=120;
var bling_height=160;
<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

and you can see the results here (just refresh the page to see it change)

How deep is the deep in Deep Zoom?

clock March 20, 2008 20:37 by author offbeatmammal

HardRockDeepZoom If you’ve had a look at the amazing Hard Rock Memorabilia site that Vertigo built for the MIX08 Keynote (and then put live for good measure) you’ve probably been impressed at how easy it is to zoom in and out of the dynamically re-arranging collection thanks to the Deep Zoom feature in Silverlight.

Although it’s pretty astounding to think that Deep Zoom facilitates the delivery of megapixel and even gigapixel images that can be panned and zoomed into with amazing speed (and low bandwidth consumption) the story doesn’t end there.

Thanks to a concept called sparse images it’s possible to embed images and collections within another image so you can continue zooming down past the point where pixels blur into entire new worlds or collections – it makes the imagery almost fractal in depth and navigation possibilities.

So where can you see it in action? Simple … go to the Hard Rock Memorabilia site and have a look around. To give you a clue I’ve included a picture of what you’re looking for with this post, but if that isn’t enough then have a look here (but don’t you want to try finding the Easter Egg first…).

Take a ballroom. Add a lot of technology. and MIX well!

clock March 20, 2008 11:05 by author offbeatmammal

MIX08 was quite a rush for me. I’ve already posted the fun I had getting demos ready for the Keynote but this video shows just how much work goes into getting the room ready

Watch the MIX08 Keynotes in Hyperspeed

For the full scoop of the day, and links to all the Keynote videos be sure to head over to VisitMIX.

Into the MIX

clock March 16, 2008 22:09 by author offbeatmammal

ScottGu_MIX08 ... or why Scott Guthrie was playing with his balls on stage!

Things have been rather quiet here the last few weeks as I've been very focused on some of the incredibly cool stuff we couldn't talk about until MIX08 so I had to contain my enthusiasm.

Much like last year at MIX07 I worked with some amazing partners to help provide some of the demos that Scott was able to showcase in his keynote. I still find it pretty amazing to be involved in such a great event and have a chance to work behind the scenes to make at least some of the magic come to life. You can see all of the action of the day1 keynote on the VisitMIX site but here's the back story for some of the demos...

So... enough of that. What was I involved in....

IE8 with Dean Hackamovitch

Although the rumor mill knew we would be showing IE8 at MIX I don't think anyone had guessed that we'd actually be making bits available, along with developer documentation on how to take advantage of some of the new features. I've been playing with IE8 through some of it's very early stages now and have to say I wish in my previous job I'd had the ability to use features like WebSlices. Luckily in my new job I was able to work with the team to help implement them on (yes, they're live. Install IE8 and go try it out) - for some more information check out the video on VisitMIX.

Hard Rock - Deep Zoom gets a work out.

HardRockMemo I've worked with the fine folks from Vertigo before on the Slide.Show project (one of the top downloads on Codeplex if you want a great Slideshow app for your site - there's even a plugin for this blog engine, and others, available.) so it was great to get the gang together again to work on a project that would really demonstrate the capabilities of Deep Zoom - the Silverlight implementation of the Seadragon technology.

Working with the folks at Hard Rock to expose just the tip of their memorabilia collection was an awesome experience - check out the results of all the hard work at the live Memorabilia site. Having a chance to visit the World Headquarters of Hard Rock, have a look around their warehouse and check out their flagship restaurant in Orlando was icing on the cake (thanks guys - you rock!)

Sean Dee (Hard Rock CMO) and Scott Stanfield (Vertigo CEO) delivered a great presentation and the bonus at the end was that the site went live at the end of their demo.

Mix Keynote: Hard Rock Demo

VisitMIX hosted a great interview with the team to give you a clue how they put it all together and you can check it out here and for a much more in-depth dive into how the technology can be put to use the team even ran a session afterwards.

Aston Martin - design delivers

AstonMartin Nestled in the heart of the English countryside is one of the most revered names in the automotive world. Recently branching out after several years as part of Ford they are pushing innovation along with their existing design and engineering focus, and we were lucky enough to be able to give folks a sneak preview into their thinking this year at MIX.

Marek Reishman (Design Director from Aston Martin) and Paul Bishop (Managing Director of Splendid) treated us to a three part insight into a possible future - a new way of configuring your dream car on the web (using 3D models in Silverlight to navigate around a car and Deep Zoom to step inside it); a dealer experience using XNA and WPF (and an ultra portable PC) to work through the millions of possible combinations, and allow a customer to see their chosen vehicle in amazing detail before placing an order. The final part of the demo was a video clip showing the in-car systems managed by a central embedded Windows device - telemetry monitoring, phone and GPS navigation.

Aston Martin MIX08 Keynote

Nishant did a great interview with Marek and Paul (as well as reminding me in the run up to MIX that we do care about designers!)

Having a chance to go to Gaydon in the UK and see the home of Aston Martin was an amazing experience... now I just have to work out how to save the money to get one of my own ;)

Cirque du Soleil - HR is a real juggling act

CirqueDuSoleil One of the challenges of MIX has been the way the web hogs all the design glory. No-one talks about the same problems faced by designers and developers working within a corporate environment on Line of Business (LOB) apps because it lacks a certain.... sparkle.

Well, Cirque du Soleil understand sparkle, and they really understand the challenges of LOB applications - they maintain a huge catalogue of performers, and making sure there is quality data available is a real task.

Krista Monson (Head of Casting, Resident Shows America) came on stage (with a suitably theatrical flair!) and showed what can happen when a LOB app meets design head on and sits on top of the latest Microsoft technologies (WPF, TabletPC, SQL Server and Sync Framework, and of course Silverlight)

For me the highlight of MIX had to be Krista asking Scott some cheeky questions... and trying to juggle on stage (and yes, we do have the video recorded live from the stage!)

Cirque MIX08 Keynote

Check the weather on your phone

Weatherbug Silverlight is establishing itself as a player on the web - Windows and OSX are the start of a cross platform story that Moonlight is helping round out on Linux. At MIX08 it was great to be able to announce that not only was Silverlight coming to Windows Mobile it was also going to be supported on the Nokia S60 devices.

We've already done some work with Weatherbug using Silverlight 1.0 so it was great to work with them on the next generation and the next platform for Silverlight. Using the same tools and techniques as for the desktop browser they were able to develop a really cool mobile app in just a few weeks.

WeatherBug MIX08 Keynote

Check out the interview with Tamir on VisitMIX to find out about their experiences and make sure you're ready when the bits become available.

Looking forward to MIX09

I had a great run up to MIX08 but we're not done yet. We've set the bar high for MIX09 back at the Venetian March 19th to 20th! Hope to see you there... keep an eye on VisitMIX for updates.

MIX08 is coming...

clock February 13, 2008 22:21 by author OffBeatMammal

It's really frustrating at the moment as almost everything I'm working on relates to MIX08 coming March 5-7 in Las Vegas.... and I don't want to spoil any of the surprises!

So all the really cool stuff that's keeping me busy in the office and on the road at the moment has to stay under wraps.

Come March 10th though you'll have read all about it on VisitMIX and all I'll need to do it link to it ;)

As well as my stuff (which of course I'm excited by!) I'm looking forward to dropping in on Franks panel - "Web 2.0 and beyond - what is the business reality" and some other sessions.

If you're coming to MIX look me up.... but not until day 2 when all my stuff has been presented ;)

Random MIX Bling!

clock December 3, 2007 12:16 by author offbeatmammal

As we get closer to MIX08 in Vegas I wanted to add some bling to my blog to remind visitors it was happening, but I couldn't choose which image to use.

Now one solution would be to roll a quick Silverlight app to grab the images and display them randomly with pretty transitions and the like (in fact that's something that the new Vertigo Slide.Show might be perfect for) but I went old school with one line of Javascript so I could get something up and running quickly

   1:  <script type="text/javascript">
   2:  document.write('<br><a href=""><img src="' + String.fromCharCode(97 + Math.round(Math.random() * 14)) + '.jpg" border="0" alt="Visit MIX08"></a>');
   3:  </script>

It's quick and simple so feel free to steal and share ;) or you can just grab the images from FrankArrs page or the VisitMIX Mixtify site and play your self.



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