Monthly Archives: December 2009

I’ve seen the future of UIs, and it’s in stereoscopic 3D

By now, I hope most of you have seen James Cameron’s Avatar movie. And if you’ve seen it in 3D – the way it has to be seen – then you might have a pretty good idea of what a stereoscopic 3D user-interface looks like and would agree with me when I say it will be the next evolution of graphical user interfaces.

If for some reason you haven’t seen Avatar and will not in the near future, then no two-dimensional image (like the one above) will do the technology justice. As much as it has to be seen to be believed, it is essentially the effect of adding three-dimensional depth to the user interface. Bear in mind this is far and beyond the simulated z-index imitation of overlapping windows we’ve lived with since the early 80s, or even the so-called 3D compositors such as Compiz, but instead, the real thing.

One of the best and at the same time simplest examples of this demonstrated in the movie is when the character Jake Sully was recording a video journal on a computer. Although in retrospect it’s almost trivial that the recorder software UI “floats” in-front of the video, the end result is that not only the UI separated from the content by depth but it also made it possible for the eye to focus on different “depths” of the UI. This means users would not be distracted by different UI elements not because they’re hidden but because they’re out of focus.

Granted it’s already possible to display stereoscopic images on computer displays, no operating system I’m aware of supports it natively and takes advantage of it in its own UI subsystem. However with the advancements of autostereoscopic displays – monitors that can display stereoscopic 3D without the use of special glasses – maybe they should and maybe Microsoft already had a head start.

Speaking at Microsoft’s Advance 08 event last year, James Cameron said,

“… I like to tug on the hem of Microsoft and remind them that they need to be thinking about some future version of Windows that ships fully stereo-enabled that goes in concert with these devices, and that they should be talking to their various partner, and so on, technology partners, about this, and I think it’s going to happen.”

Let’s hope Microsoft took his advice.

Win 1 of 5 HTC HD2 from Microsoft Australia

HTC HD2 giveaway

If you’ve been on the lookout for a new smartphone for 2010 and is a resident of Australia 18 years or older, then here’s a competition that will make the new year extra special for five lucky Aussies. That’s because Microsoft Australia is giving away five of the state-of-the-art HTC HD2 Windows phones launching in Australia on Telstra during January.

I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want this, even if they’re not a fan of Windows Mobile. As such, head over to the competition website and write a short 25 word story on how the HD2 will improve your life.

Competition closes 16th of January so you have the whole holiday break to think of something good. Note, entries are judged on creativity so you might want to avoid writing about “calling mom” and the like.

Here’s an idea – a site all for ideas

Here's an idea

Some of you might have noticed for the past couple of weeks this blog has been on somewhat of a hiatus. Whilst it is statistically true that I earn more advertising revenue during periods which I don’t post new content, this is not the case this time, but in fact I’ve been working on a new web project.

The site “Here’s an idea” – taken from the popular colloquialism said before expressing an idea, is a community site dedicated to sharing and discussing ideas. I believe everyone has great ideas – big or small, and the first step to making them a reality is to share it. After all, ideas that spread, win.

With the basic fundamentals done, I also have a lot of ideas and features planned for the site that will hopefully help empower people to take their ideas further beyond conceptualization. In the meantime, I invite everyone to go and check out the site. Even if you’re short on ideas, check out some of the other interesting ideas submitted already and provide some much-needed feedback. 🙂

PowerPoint 2010’s sample “Five Rules” presentation shows off powerful new graphics engine

If you’ve ever doubted if you were using the full potentials of PowerPoint, then watch this presentation I exported to video titled “Five Rules” included in Office PowerPoint 2010 (and the beta available today). Even if you’re already familiar with PowerPoint’s advanced animations features, it’s still quite impressive.

Designed by Duarte, a company who seems to specialize in corporate presentations (imagine making PowerPoints all day), this presentation not only provides some good insight on how to create a compelling presentation, but also showcases the powerful new DirectX-powered graphics engine in PowerPoint 2010 that’s behind the elegant animations with silky-smooth playback.

If you have PowerPoint 2010 handy, check out how the magic is created yourself by taking a look at the raw slides under “File > New > Sample templates > Five Rules”. While you’re there, open up some of the other sample presentations for some cool stuff too.