Windows Phone 7 Development - Tech Days is next week

by michaelmcclary 7. April 2010 15:08

Blatant copy and paste from the latest MSDN Flash but, to reaffirm, this is a great week of awareness and readiness for our development technologies.  For me, Wednesday’s ‘Mix Day’ and Friday’s ‘Phone Day’ will be key but all week we have some great sessions.

“A short intro this issue as we're all heads down preparing a superb series of presentations and demos for Tech Days next week. If you haven't got a ticket yet I'm afraid we're sold out - just the last few places available to learn about Windows Phone 7 development. We have several top people over from Redmond to present in keynotes during the week including Jason Zander, Charlie Kindel and John Allwright. If you can stay into the evenings there is plenty still happening, and if you can't attend check out the fringe events happening in various other locations - Jesse Liberty is talking at several of them, definitely worth getting to one if you can.”


The Day Hell Froze Over: Tough Guy 2010

by michaelmcclary 7. February 2010 23:49

Sunday January 31st saw the latest iteration of Tough Guy, a slightly crazy race involving a cross-country run and an obstacle course from the reassuringly rustic mind of Mr Mouse.

This was my first time (definitely signing up for next year) and it was a ball.  The initial cross-country section was about 8-10km, designed to stretch the field out, involving lots of running and a bit of cold water with tortuous but pretty funny zig-zags on a steep hill to finish it off.  This was then followed by a series of obstacles; A-frames, electric fences, concrete tunnels, burning hay, etc, but the biggest challenges for me were the water obstacles.  Kudos to the leaders who didn’t have the luxury of unbroken water to jump through/into/under, as the ice needed breaking.  There are plenty of pictures floating around of guys carrying sheets of ice over sections of the course.  The water obstacles started as ‘funny’ and  graduated through ‘kind of painful’ to general expletives.  

All in all, a great way to spend a Sunday.  About four and a half thousand completed with 600 or so not making it round, principally down to the cold.  I saw one guy on the floor apparently with a broken leg and a few lying by the side being wrapped in silver blankets by the support teams and St John’s Ambulance.  Next year: gloves, a hat and hopefully a few degrees warmer…

Love this video:

But my favourite page is this with absolutely stunning pictures here from Mike King, including this one of the eventual winner, Paul Jones:

Mike King)

The Fantastic Tavern and My Special Friend

by michaelmcclary 7. February 2010 23:19

On Thursday 28th January I went along to The Fantastic Tavern organised and run by Matt Bagwell and Michelle Flynn from EMC.

The idea was ‘Trends of 2010’ and for a summary of the evening I will defer to Ioko’s Simon Gallagher and his excellent review of the night here.

On my part, I’d like to thank Matt, Michelle and EMC for organising and sponsoring the event and thanks to the crowd for going easy on the Microsoft guy speaking at the front.

My 5 minutes was called ‘My Special Friend’ on the advancement of Natural User Interface and the potential for pico-projectors on phones to bring NUI to the mobile space and finally to consider the idea of interacting with your internet buddies via real-size projection anywhere.

This was prompted by a few people, videos below, which should give a feel for the session.

Firstly, Bill Buxton, always inspirational, speaks about the future of advertising.  Part of his message is using your mobile with larger advertising canvases, linking them together to use the advert as your mobile 10-foot experience.  This is currently being done in large shopping centres; bluetooth communication and interactive advertising screens.



Project Natal is the upcoming controller-free Xbox User Interface based on 3D camera research with multiple body point recognition, facial recognition and infra-red depth analysis.  I’ve seen live demos of this and it’s pretty awesome.  What strikes me is the potential for ecommerce such as the screenshot below where two friends are talking about clothes purchases.


Pranav Mistry on Sixth Sense on shows the use of a small webcam and pico-projector to create an interactive canvas anywhere.  This is from last year and shows the progression of recognition software – take it from about 5 and half minutes in to see the main demos.

Finally this video shows the unboxing of the LG Expo Pico Projector Phone; why not experience a phone-video-projector full-size video chat with your Facebook colleagues anywhere you can find a surface?  May lead to discussions about clothes in a changing room or sob stories with a friend on a wall.  And if you don’t have real friends, why not engage with a full-size 1:1 chat with a virtual Special Friend in a shopping mall somewhere?



P.S.  This is great; the Pomegranate.  It may be a spoof but, forsaking the coffee-maker and razor, maybe we’ll get there one day :-)


My Top 5 Purchases of 2009

by michaelmcclary 10. January 2010 13:52

In an age where it’s easy to buy stuff on a whim I’ve been having a think about the things I bought last year which I’ve continued to use consistently and gave the maximum return on investment.  They range from under a pound to, well, a bit more

iStuff Hamburger Speaker

iStuff Hamburger 360 Degree Speaker

Apart from having young children I’ve not experienced such a big sound from something so small.  Makes a big difference during presentations and demonstrations or just waking up a lethargic office at the end of the day.

KettleBell Weight 24KG

(Pic: Jordan Weights)

Easy to keep in a corner and there are a host of effective CV and strength exercises which can be done with this.  If I’m travelling in the UK this goes in the car without having to pack a set of weights.

Samsung X360

Fabulous for travelling around as it's lighter and more powerful than a MacBook Air with more expansion, more memory, 7-8 hours battery life and the screen is the best feature by far.  This easily gets into the Top 5 and, yes, runs Windows 7 very nicely.

Rage against the Machine tracks

Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha
(Pic: BBC)

Low cost but great return.  No, I’m not a ‘smug liberal’, not ‘looking down my nose’ and, as far as I know, not a sheep.  I was, however, a massive Rage Against the Machine, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine and Nirvana fan in the early nineties and thought this was a well-executed campaign which put one of my favourite tracks at the top of the charts.  As for Joe McElderry, he did very well in X-Factor and does have a nice voice, but the resumption of a proper Christmas battle with a great track was the icing on the cake.

Last but by no means least:

Triumph Sprint ST 1050


The MCN reviewsays it all:

“The Triumph Sprint ST is the best sports-touring motorcycle of its generation by some margin”

I’ve an ‘07 plate non-ABS the same colour as the photo above. My favourite features? The burble sound of the triple pipes once it’s warmed up, the single swing-arm look and the sans-panniers grin and blast it gives me on a warm day (not that there’s been one for a while).  There is a 3D PhotoSynth of the bike here

Just missing out…

Had to be the kayak I managed to get for a reasonable price back home in Cornwall.  Only excluded as I managed to use it for just a week, although I plan to improve on that this year…

(Pic:  September 2009 looking towards St Michael’s Mount)

We are recruiting – Developer Evangelist with UX skills

by michaelmcclary 23. October 2009 12:38

The group that I work in is looking to add more expertise for our growing User Experience engagements…is this you?

If you build consumer-facing RIA solutions for the PC and the Web using Microsoft & other development/web technologies then this role might be of interest to you!  Microsoft is looking for a Developer Evangelist to work on early adoption projects with big brand-household name customers & creative agencies.  Bringing your passion around software development and keen sense of user experience/design you will work on developing innovative, game-changing customer projects, using the latest development and platform technologies that Microsoft has to offer.  You should also be active in the social media space, connecting with leading software and web developer communities/social media sites, etc.  If you are passionate about technology and want to be part of a great team then we want to hear from you.

E-mail me: firstname.lastname  at


Links: Microsoft Innovation and Digital Marketing Technology

by michaelmcclary 19. August 2009 17:57

I’ve been presenting a lot recently on our new/emerging technologies and how they have the potential to provide Digital Marketing solutions.  Often triggered by videos such as Envisioning the Futurepeople ask what’s here now and what we have coming around the corner.

IMO we don’t do a good enough job of talking about the massive resources and really talented people that exist inside our Product Teams and Research Division- it’s well worth looking through the site or following them on Twitter.

This blog post lists a lot of the links I use in the presentations and allows people to walk themselves through a number of digital technologies from Microsoft.  This isn’t a detailed post about the new design and build tools such as Sketchflowalthough they are discussed in terms of the workflow and multiple device targeting.  Ultimately the aim is to prompt the odd grey cell here and there, and challenge people to put together a great digital marketing solution.

Where possible I’ve given the links to show how to make these solutions user-generated.  From end to end the discussion moves through:

  • Silverlight
    • DeepZoom
    • Video
    • Photosynth
    • Search Engine Optimisation
    • Silverlight running on your desktop (PC and Mac)
  • Microsoft Surface
    • Secondlight
  • Windows 7
  • Xbox Digital Marketing Platform
  • Microsoft Interactive Canvas
  • Touchless API (from an internal project)


So as well as being able to do the flashy visual stuff, Silverlight has a number of features which lend themselves towards engaging experiences. 

The first is DeepZoom, a way of viewing huge images and collections of images through a normal web connection.  The progressive disclosure of the high-res images is smooth and performs

Silverlight DeepZoom (press ‘v’ to find the sweet spot)

Silverlight DeepZoom in an MPU

Silverlight DeepZoom with Microsoft Tag

Microsoft Tag Site

Microsoft Silverlight on Bing Maps with Photosynth

Silverlight Video

Silverlight Adaptive Streaming


Photosynth Site with tool download

Home-grown Triumph Sprint

Adidas fan-sourcing the All-Blacks

Obama crowd-sourced synth of the inauguration

Silverlight Out of Browser

Sobees Web Alpha - Twitter Client

Wait for client to load then right-click –> install

TED Talks from your desktop

Silverlight in Advertising





Windows 7 Touch Maps


Project Natal

Massive in-game Xbox Advertising

Xbox Live Advertising

Microsoft Interactive Canvas

Touchless API