Marco on The Surface

Marco on The Surface is a great subjective account of visiting a Microsoft store and trying to have a go on a Surface Tablet. This bit sums it all up:

The Surface is partially for Microsoft’s world of denial: the world in which this store contains no elephants and Microsoft invented the silver store with the glass front and the glowing logo and blue shirts and white lanyards and these table layouts and the modern tablet and its magnetic power cable. In that world, this is a groundbreaking new tablet that you can finally use at work and leave your big creaky plastic Dell laptop behind when you go to the conference room to have a conference call on the starfish phone with all of the wires and dysfunctional communication.

Mapping The Entertainment Ecosystems

Mapping The Entertainment Ecosystems has already been blogged by John Gruber so you have already read it, so this is more for my own reference as anyone else’s.

In case you haven’t already seen it, Mapping The Entertainment Ecosystems of Apple, Microsoft, Google & Amazon maps the entertainment ecosystems – Music, Movies, TV Shows, eBooks and App stores – of Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon across the planet with some nice interaction HTML5 maps.

It makes for interesting reading/viewing. Note how absent Africa is from most of the maps apart from eBooks and Apps and North Africa is pretty much absent from all of them.

(And if you find that interesting, you’ll love Worldmapper – one of my favourite sites to explore data cartographically).

Why Good Looking Error Messages Matter

baggage_error.jpg

Almost anything involving computers falls over once in a while, but it’s how you handle it that makes all the difference.

I spotted this in Newcastle airport the other day. I see a crappy broken Windows system almost every time I travel. I imagine travellers going through Heathrow’s Terminal 5 saw quite a few too.

Now, not only could someone have done a better job of handling the error on the application coding side, it’s also such shitty branding for Microsoft. Every time I see one of these I think: “Microsoft products can’t run enterprise systems without falling over – I wouldn’t let them near any project of mine.”

Given the massive wads of cash companies spend on those inane glossy business-management-enterprise-big-dick-corporation ads you always see in airports, this would seem to unravel the band promise it all pretty quickly. With all the new tech, it’s only going to get worse.

(Sorry about the crappy picture – I wasn’t too sure about taking photos in the airport. You know, just in case I got shot by the British Police or something).

Photosynth

Nice to see Microsoft doing something truly groundbreaking, or at least acquiring something truly groundbreaking. The above demo of Photosynth and Seadragon by Blaise Aguera y Arcas (now that’s a name) is remarkable for both it’s smart computation and sewing together of images to create a navigable space, that is relatively resolution independent (in terms of processing speed at least) but also for its potential interface ramifications. I’m starting to see how something like that connected to Surface would be pretty nice to have around. Remarkably there is a demo available to try (for those of you with XP SP2 and Vista).

But it’s also a great example of how tiny contributions to the group pool add up to far more than the sum of the parts. As Blaise says, once someone tags your images with extra metadata, they become instantly more rich and useful. Words are relatively useless here, take a look at the video above or the video on the Live Labs site.