Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MIX10 NUI Recap

Well I'm pretty much recovered from MIX10 by now (March 15-17 in Las Vegas). The whole experience was a blast. Here are the highlights for me:

Windows Phone 7 Series - Finally we learn the full scoop of the WP7 development story. Very excited about the Silverlight and XNA focus. I'm also relieved to learn that WP7 flavor of Silverlight has manipulation processors built in. It isn't quite the same as the WPF manipulations or even the Silverlight manipulations sample (no rotation support) but it makes multi-touch development feasible.

NUI MIXup - I organized a get-together for NUI and multi-touch enthusiasts Monday night. Marc Schweigert (@devkeydet) was able to get sponsorship from his team for drinks and appetizers for the group. It was well attended, about 25 or 30 people. We even had Dr. Neil and Bill Buxton (yes, keynote favorite Bill Buxton!) hang out! After we chatted for about an hour in one of the conference spaces, we moved down to the Border Grill where Marc treated us to drinks and light dinner. See some pictures below, thanks to fellow presenter and NUI enthusiast Mario Meir-Huber (@mario_mh):

Bill Buxton, Ben Reierson (@seraph_ben), and Dr. Neil chatting about Windows Phone 7 design.

The whole group of us heading towards dinner. Marc leads the charge on the left, and I'm in the middle with the black shirt chatting with James Chittenden (@okayjames).

Just about the highlight of my whole week, I had the opportunity to chat with Bill for over an hour at dinner along with several others that attended. It was a humbling experience.

NUI Development session - I didn't go to many sessions in person (they're available for download) because I spent a lot of time Monday and Tuesday putting the final touches on my presentation for Wednesday. I prepared a custom multi-touch presentation tool called NaturalShow that takes the place of PowerPoint. Even Tuesday evening I was sweating some last minute changes in the application, trying to maximize the performance. I also have to thank Josh Wall for listening to at least two dry runs and giving me great advice and feedback.

You can watch or download my presentation at the MIX10 site.

The presentation itself went pretty smoothly. The session had great attendance (144+) and the audience seemed engaged. My demos worked as expected, and NaturalShow didn't crash or otherwise behave abnormally. I included a hashtag #MIX10NUI so that twitter inclined people could follow the conversation. One posted this photo mid-presentation:

Taken from about 1/4 of the way back. The smudges around the word "design" are auras of my fingers starting to zoom in.

I have to admit that part of the reason I threw out the #MIX10NUI hash tag was so I could easily go back and read real-time feedback. When I did I was blown away by the things people said. There were two fair complaints (I took a shortcut when I described Occam's Razor and I forgot to zoom in on code, even though I had practiced doing that) but overall everyone said great things. At the risk of seeming self-focused for a moment, here are two of the most superlative comments that really made my day:

My session was also mentioned in several other people's conference recap blog posts: Luke Wroblewski, Cory Plotts, Roland Weigelt, Ben Reierson.

I guess the point here is that MIX10 was very much about the networking and making new acquaintences as well as meeting online friends for the first time. I'm still pumped by getting to meet so many awesome people, including the ones mentioned above, Steve Dawson, Pete Brown, Laurent Bugnion, Sean Getery and his crew, and many others I'm know I'm missing. Many times it was just a challenge to associate someone's real name with their twitter handle.

After the conference itself died down, Josh Wall and I went out to dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, checked out how they were using Microsoft Surface and a custom touch wall, and chatted about how we were going to apply the loads of information and ideas we gathered at MIX10 to improve InfoStrat.

This touch wall at Hard Rock let you explore memorabilia and was very popular.

Josh Wall testing the limits of interaction design at the Hard Rock Surface deployment.

This girl played with a bar-embedded Surface for over an hour.

Thank you so much to all the people I met and those who attended my session. I hope that we will continue our conversations throughout the year, and I can't wait for MIX11!

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