the evening event was a trip to the company store (read: buy stuff for cheap) and then an evening at the microsoft visitor center/museum. almost immediately upon arriving…the fire alarm went off. imagine about 80 people with handfuls of keyboards, xbox games and perihperals, etc…and then being asked to leave the building — quite a sight.
here’s the scene outside:
it was quite funny actually — and oddly enough was the caterers for our event that had something smoke-up and caused the alarm to sound.
the museum is a good place to hang out for a while…a little disappointing they took out the media center demos though. some pics
what’s better than seeing wicked cool stuff from research groups?
don box of course.
in classic don box style, he came to talk with our group and opened with the “where do we suck” type mentality — which is quite refreshing and IMO we need more of it.
the discussion varied on a few things, but here was the list of items covered…don box style of course (frank and in scheme)
it was a great and entertaining discussion…thanks to don for attending
update: here's don's take: http://pluralsight.com/blogs/dbox/archive/2006/04/12/21612.aspx
rick rashid from the microsoft research group just came to speak to the group. this wasn’t the typical technology presentation you are used to and there really wasn’t any intention to have “open source” discussions around research ;-), but to show what microsoft does to invest in technology in an altruistic manner and publish work we are doing.
rick’s history comes from MOC among other things and if you are using a mac, you are using code he wrote 23 years ago as he says.
probably the coolest things that rick showed was the research they did in image rendering/editing/whatever. rick showed the groupshot feature which enables you to pick the best parts of various photos and stitch them together in a “best photo” for yourself.
the other image research he showed was stuff like literally taking any photo, highlighting things you don’t want in it and having it completely removed from the photo, but not leaving any voids and having original photos appear that nothing was missing — literally making it look like that person that walked by in the middle of your photo was never there…truly amazing.
he also showed technology by taking a 2D image and being able to move it around to appear to look at the image in 3D — with using the single image — not additional images…it was almost frightening.
but probably the coolest thing was a minority report-esque glass wall…remember the part in that movie where tom cruise moved images, etc. around with his hands jut by pointing at the glass screen? yeah, that’s in the microsoft museum now…friggin unreal. i snapped a vid of jack herrington playing with it here.
the important thing to note is that msft research is a basic research organization — which means academic. their stuff is amazing and rick has said they plan on trying to publish more to the open public…
sitting in a room with people from technorati, apache, open source lab, etc. — this is a great experience. and guess what — it’s on the microsoft campus!
we just got done listening to bill hilf, who leads open source initiatives/learnings at microsoft — what a great exchange of questions comments. seriously, the questions asked were raw, and the answers given were equally raw. i loved bill’s style of not evading any question — he genuinely didn’t know some answers, but also didn’t hide some reasons around why we do things we do.
next up — microsoft research head, rick rashid
today is the start of the first day of the second microsoft technology summit (mts06).
what is mts? well it’s an opportunity we (msft) take to invite the more broader audiences outside of microsoft (read: generally the ‘anything but microsoft’ crowd) to redmond to have a 2–day conversation with key technologists within microsoft.
is the goal to convert the attendees? no. although admittedly that would be a great byproduct for us…but NOT the goal at all. the goal is to help change perception of what we are doing, and to mainly listen. we are listening to the feedback from this crowd. will it immediately impact change in the short term for products that are in the path of completion? probably not to be honest…but it *will* influence.
the hosts for this event are the technologist elite: don box, chris anderson, anders hejlsberg, rick rashid, jim gray, scott guthrie, bill hilf, etc, etc. — these are the people that are at the right levels in the right areas to hear the feedback.
i’ll try to report as much as i can from the event — it should be interesting. to protect the privacy of the attendees, i won’t iterate through them, but know that the java, linux, php elite are here. the influencers in apache are here. community leaders in open source movements are here. if they aren’t…they were likely invited and had some conflicts. a very small crowd (52 from around the world).