... 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 Facebook.com (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.
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
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
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
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.