Live from MIX ’08 Keynote (Recap)


To kick things off at Microsoft’s MIX 2008 conference in Las Vegas, Ray Ozzie, Scott Gutherie and Dean Hachamovitch hosted the first of two keynotes at the event on its first day. Here’s a slideshow of pictures taken from the keynote. Due to technical difficulties, couldn’t actually do the liveblog I wanted to do. Maybe next time.


Pre-show entertainment


Packed room


Show begins. Ray Ozzie walks out of a door in the clouds (oh the irony).


Talks about online advertising and how important it is to the internets.


Ray discusses the many opportunities in devices. Connected devices.


Ray introduces Scott Gutherie.


Not long into his presentation, Scott introduces Dean.


Dean introduces Internet Explorer 8. Audience goes into shock.


Announces official CSS 2.1 support. Talks about the non-uniformity of standards and specifications. Proposes standards on standards.


Recognizes performance problems with Internet Explorer 7. Will put lots of effort into IE8 to make it a fast experience, especially with JavaScript. Already doing pretty good, but will try to improve by final release.


Real world performance feedback on new JavaScript engine from Google’s Gmail team. Ouch. Where’s Live Hotmail team?


Gives demo of developer features in IE8. First is a revamped “developer tools” plugin. Looks like they’re not going to waste reinventing the wheel and take all the best bits from Firebug.


Shows off Activities. Basically a fancy framework to build in-line search providers.


Shows the map activity provider, Live Maps. Results pop open in a small window besides the menu.


Another example with eBay.


Shows off the code to make third-party Activities. It’s basically an XML file developers can specify some custom outputs.


eBay tells how it easy it is to implement. Agreed. Looks really simple and straight forward.


IE team will publish this spec under the Microsoft open protocols promise, and also under Creative Commons.


Next is WebSlices. First I thought this was going to be Apple’s Webclips but it’s a bit different. Instead of just a “live screenshot” of a portion of a website, this requires work by developers to specify which sets of data are ‘sliceable’. Here is an eBay WebSlice.


WebSlices appear in your bookmarks menu. It will pop open a custom window which reformats the information the developers originally specified. Here is an eBay listing. Notice how it is different to the table in eBay listings.


Facebook’s also implemented one for status updates.


An overview of the topics Dean’s covered.


Finally, a public beta download is announced.


Scott comes back to talk about Silverlight.


Apparently 1.5 million Silverlight installs a day. Seems awfully high. However if true, could easily become mainstream very soon.h


First beta of Silverlight 2 will also be available.


One of the media features of Silverlight 2, adaptive streaming.


It allows servers to dynamically reduce the bitrate of the video they’re pushing to users in situations where the client may not have optimal bandwidth, for example a spike.


DoubleClick shows off events tracking for Silverlight-powered advertisements.


Scott introduces Perkins Miller from NBC Olympics website to talk about their Silverlight-powered website.


It will certainly be the first digital Olympics. The sheer scale of the digital media efforts NBC will put into the Beijing 2008 Olympics is nothing like anything we’ve seen before. Their entire website is basically Silverlight. When it comes time, it will certainly be a huge boost for Silverlight adoption and awareness.


The full-screen live video stream.


An overview of the improvements in Silverlight 2.


An overview of the new UI framework.




Will provide the ability to ‘skin’ default UI controls. Left is default, right is skinned. Is apparently similar to how you would skin a website with CSS.


Shows off a whole application built with default controls skinned.


Introduces AOL team to show off their new Silverlight-powered webmail application.


The default Silverlight version looks pretty much the same as it does now, except runs like an application would – instant refresh, data caching, etc. Allows for ‘skins’ like this Halo 3 above.


Hard Rock cafe is also introducing a Silverlight application powered by the previous unannounced DeepZoom website. DeepZoom is based off the Microsoft Live Labs Seadragon technology.


Very fluid zoom in and out. Extremely cool stuff. Try it yourself.


Aston Martin also jumps on the Silverlight bandwagon, or maybe bandsportscar.


Shows off their Silverlight-powered web showroom prototype. Each car is modelled in 3D with amazing detail. Shows off 3D capabilities of Silverlight.


Has also developed a mobile version of the same application for use by salespeople to customize the cars customers would buy. Very conceptual but very effective.


Video presentation begins. Shows off some in-car technology that allows drivers to ‘record’ their driving like if it was a racing game.


They can then sync this with their PCs and watch their performance from the desktop. Real life Gran Turismo replay anyone?


“Ladies and gentlemen, you will find a free Aston Martin under your seat.”


Cirque du Soleil also jumps on Silverlight. (pun)


Shows off a recruitment application for likely circus actors. Scott is a candidate.


Scott shows off his amazing ball juggling skills. One, at, a, time.


No business application is ever complete without a 3D graph. Data is so much more accurate when you’re looking at it in perspective.


Internet Explorer 8 is released before the keynote has finished.


New improvements to WPF as well so desktop users can enjoy some of the new Silverlight benefits.


Implemented 3D processing offloading to the GPU to lower the CPU usage during graphics intensive operations like this water ripple shader effect.


Silverlight is also going mobile.


Demo of a social networking Silverlight mobile app for people who likes to party.


Nokia will be the first non-Windows Mobile vendor to support Silverlight on their S60, S40 and Internet Tablet devices.


Keynote summary. Things to do.


And everyone’s rushing out to pee.

25 insightful thoughts

  1. Once again Engadget and Gizmodo show how useless they are. Checking the sites, I don’t see any Mix coverage. Maybe it will come later as a little roundup. Meanwhile, they’re gearing up for live coverage of the iPhone SDK. WTF?

  2. IE8… mmm… uhh… unstable :) Between refreshes or simply clicks the pages are displayed differently. ACID2 is ok, ACID3 is 16/100

  3. There is one thing I will never understand: Why do almost all first versions of Silverlight apps have these ugly super-duper rounded corners???

  4. there was a reason that 15 year old singer didn’t look like Elvis, Long… he was a Johnny Cash impersonator and did a decent job considering his age. Although I hate the music.

    IMO today was a bust. Sure, they dropped IE8 on us but I am a WPF guy and don’t care all too much for web dev or Silverlight. Looking forward to Ballmer/Kawasaki’s keynote and there are a LOT of technical sessions that look good.

  5. Wow. Some of this stuff actually looks interesting.

    And did they actually use PowerPoint? Maybe I’m a bad PowerPoint maker, but this looks like it goes beyond what’s in PowerPoint 2007. Lots of beautiful graphics, text, effects, and stuff more akin to Keynote (Apple). Even better than the usual keynotes that Bill Gates had.

    The Cirque du Soleil profiles chart looks super sleek. Along with the other things I would love to see for real.

    I also can’t believe AOL is using Silverlight in their mail. (I also couldn’t help but noticed their new look seems akin to Live Hotmail, but it is speedier). AOL and MS aren’t exactly friends on the web.

    MS should have more interesting presentations like this. Any videos?

  6. @quickboy

    Electric Rain’s Stand Out was used. Its a bit of Powerpoint with an injection of XAML. Blend-like. Its an awesome tool. VERY professional presentation output.

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