Monthly Archives: September 2009

Speculative advertisements for Microsoft Tag makes you wish everything had MTags

If you’ve ever pondered about the future convergence of mobile devices and the web, then you might have envisioned something like the scenarios shown in these three speculative (mock) advertisements for Microsoft Tag, courtesy of a familiar director Marty Martin who also shot the Windows 7 college spots.

Produced by “White Rabbit” in collaboration with Microsoft, these three 60-second spots dubbed “teen” (above), “mom” and “business” shows how Microsoft Tags could seamlessly bridge the divide between real tangible objects with content and services on the web.

Examples shown in the video enabled by MTags include the discover and downloading of new music from an artist’s poster, finding stores who sells a piece of clothing you see in a magazine and streaming a movie trailer to a portable media player all from a movie poster.

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What I like about these videos is that they illustrate scenarios that very practical but not currently possible with the ease of clicking just a button. Sure you could bring up a browser on your phone and type away but by the time you’re done you would have probably lost interest. A picture on the other hand is a snap.

Microsoft shows off prototype next-generation office wall

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Photo credit: Microsoft Advertising/Flickr

Say what you might about their products on the market, but when it comes to flashy prototypes and revolutionary concepts, Microsoft is indisputably a clear leader in the industry.

The latest of these perpetually next-generation prototypes out of Microsoft Research to be shown to the public is an integrated home office environment that combines the wonders of interactive wall displays, a Microsoft Surface and a digital assistant, albeit with a creepy voice and unsettling-long response time.

This particular demo presented by Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President of Microsoft’s Online Audience Business, to the crowd at the Interactive Advertising Bureau MIXX 2009 conference assumes the scenario of an architect designing a pond, and I’m sure they do and spend as much effort in. The architect uses this computer to plan, simulate and collaborate with others in designing the pond.

Those of you who recall the 2019 vision video might see some similarities in the visual aesthetics of the graphics and animations used in the prototype suggesting this is most likely an Office Labs project too.

The video I extracted from the low-quality stream doesn’t really do the visuals justice. To get a better look of the wall, check out the photos from Microsoft Advertising’s Flickr stream.

Trippy Zune HD introduction video

Some lucky Zune HD owners in the land of the free and the home of the brave might remembering seeing this first time booting up their shiny new toy, but for the rest of us watching from the continental sidelines here is the cool and somewhat trippy minute-long “Welcome to the Zune HD” rite of passage into the “social”. Remember, you can look but don’t touch.

For the musically curious, the song is “Blackout” by The Whip who according to their MySpace profile is all too familiar with the Zune-ies.

Awesome interactive installations in new MS buildings

A couple of months ago the Microsofties from Entertainment and Devices division moved into four brand new state-of-the-art buildings on the Redmond campus much to the awe of the other employees. Besides just the glamor and smell of a new building which I’ve been told is even better than the “new car smell”, each of the four building’s atrium feature a three-story high interactive installation that makes traditional vertical banners look pathetic in comparison.

The installation designed by MODE Studios utilizes a transparent LED system called curveLED making it possible to both see and see through the display. The interactivity of the installation comes from sensors both inside and outside the building that analyzes traffic patterns, weather and thermal patterns inside the building. Combined with a single unmarked “hotspot” that allows for direct interaction, the installation features procedurally generated imagery that is always dynamic and evolving.

Yeah the economy is hitting Microsoft really hard.

Windows 7, now with extra street cred

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Photo credit: Ross Harmes on Flickr

Obviously unicorns and bunnies would have never clicked with the hip-hop community which might explain why Microsoft has sprayed a derelict wall with two giant pieces street art spreading the cool that is Microsoft and Windows 7 in downtown San Francisco sometime last week.

From what I can put together with different accounts of this from several Flickr photographers, the presence of studio lighting equipment suggest this is a planned photo or film shoot for what should be the Windows 7 advertising campaign.

Although I’m generally not a big fan of street art and Microsoft is no stranger to being caught and fined for illegal corporate graffiti, I must admit the flaming Windows 7 logo is quite cool and I wouldn’t mind seeing that on a T-shirt perhaps. Hopefully they learned and got permission this time.

New Zune software makes you “wanna”

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A couple hours ago the Zune HD was officially launched and came with it was a new version of the Zune desktop software, version 4.0.740 for those of you playing along. If you’ve already updated, you might have seen this fancy 30-seconds introduction video teasing some of the new functionality in the v4 software. If you haven’t, well here it is.

Be careful though, the video might make you “wanna” and if you don’t live in the one and only country recognized by Microsoft worthy enough for such advanced and groundbreaking technologies like a multi-touch portable media device and an online music/video store, you’ll be in a bit of a pickle because its not like there’s any comparable product and service out in the marketplace that can satisfy that need.