Posted by: technofutures | October 5, 2008

Student Technology Day in London

I headed off to London on Wednesday (and met up with Valerio) for the UK Student Technology Day.

Having only slept two hours (bed at 3:30am to finish reviewing an XNA curriculum, and then up at 5:30 to catch my plane) I still manage to make it in time for the day!

Andy (Sithers) started off with one of my favourite quotes by Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”… so true…

I really enjoyed the Live Search presentation (though thought it would have been a little more technical…) but I think I should have asked the question that I had in my mind about the importance (or not!) of localization:- an issue which still bugs me with search engines…

After a delicious lunch, the Microsoft Research talk on the Halo 3 and Game Ranking system was very very interesting and very different to any Microsoft presentations I had been to before.

The highlight was of course Steve Ballmer’s keynote. He is a very different person in real life than I expected. Different from all the ‘jumping about monkey’ videos you can find of him on YouTube, I found him very down to Earth, very realistic, and always ready to express his ideas clearly and without hypocrisy.

He’s certainly exuberant, passionate and enthusiastic, but the views he described about education and the lack of ‘Microsoft Cool’ were very perceptive and I really liked his presentation style. Of course a hilarious moment was the ‘feet on the Surface table’! PA010497 I would have liked to hear him speak to the TechNet crowd of the event next door (where he apparently let slip ‘Windows Cloud’) to see how (if at all) he contrasted with different audiences (actually I’ve just found a keynote video… for later)…

PA010501 Steve & Andy Sithers

The Future User Experience Presentation by Paolo Barone was also cool, especially the part where he demonstrated part of the Surface SDK (release soon?) and actually programmed the table in front of us. The demonstration of the Surface simulator on the PC was also very exciting stuff.. lots of potential (see my Seattle blog posts for more Surface views).

Overall a great day (despite the fire alarm at Gatwick on the way home)!

Thanks to the team at Microsoft Academia UK for orchestrating such a successful event!


Addition: By popular request, I’ve included a video of ‘Surface Piano’ which I took at Seattle, but which lots of people would have liked to see demo-ed on Wednesday!


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