Google IO Registration Anxiety

 

Google IO Developer Conference Dates and registration (gulp) was announced.

https://plus.google.com/+SundarPichai/posts/hVVvM5MJU3d

The ominous part: "We'll be implementing a new system, where you can submit your interest to attend Google I/O 2014. Successful applicants will then be randomly selected and notified shortly thereafter."  This sentence raised the anxiety level of the geek world exponentially yesterday (we tend to be an anxious bunch anyway).

I welcome changes to the registration process which has historically been frustratingly bad.

I am hoping the process will require some bare minimum requirement (maybe have to write a short paragraph about why you should go) and maybe filter based on "Googliness" (apps in the Play store, member of your local GDG ( hint ;-) ), or have a minimum number of followers on G+\YouTube).  Knowing that I can get my name on the list, and actually enter a lottery is a welcome improvement (as opposed to the "lottery" of failed web-services in years past).

20130517_115445_498.jpg

Microsoft Retail Store (First Impressions)

I am definitely a geek, so naturally when I heard Microsoft opened their first retail store today in my hometown, I made plans to head there as soon as I could.  Overall, I was actually impressed with what I saw. The Microsoft Retail Store Tour Bus

First off, although I am sure the MS guys wince every-time someone compares this store to an Apple store, it is a natural thing to do.  I found a lot of similarities.  The store layout was almost identical, with tables displaying products, employees in different colored t-shirts, an "Answer Bar" in the back, and sleek/modern design.  To be clear, on first impressions, this really felt a lot like an Apple Store.

Answers Bar

But digging a little deeper, there were some really cool things.  The first cool thing about the store, is there was a ribbon of video screens completely surrounding the top of the store.  When I was there, some were being used to play XBox, some were displaying static info about products, and some had general news info.  In videos I have seen (like the engadget one: http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/22/microsoft-store-opens-to-scottsdale-campers-video/ )  you can really see how they leverage these screens to change the atmosphere of the store.

Otherwise, as expected, they had a bunch of  "Surface" machines setup.  They were wide open (ie. there wasn't a employee monitoring them or anything), so people could pretty much play with them freely.  I didn't have a chance to play with them today, but this was the first time I have seen one in person, and it was really cool.  I look forward to getting back there (when it is less busy, and a little easier to get my hands on the demos).  They also had a lot of Zune's setup throughout the store (this is the first time I got my hands on one, and I was impressed, it is a nice little device).

People playing with Surface (there were at least 2 others to play with too).

Something really cool, that wasn't getting much attention (but should have) was the giant touch screen in the back of the store.  It was being used to display a map, and I am pretty sure it wasn't open for public use.  It was multitouch ( I definitely witnessed someone pinching to zoom).  Bottom line, this was a huge screen, and adding touch technology to it, was something I haven't seen before (and something pretty rare).  I am sure there is a lot they can do with this, once they get settled in.

Giant Touchscreen (sorry about the guy picking his ear)

Otherwise, the product selection was interesting.  If I was in the market for a new computer, I would most definitely make this a stop in my shopping tour.  They had computers from Dell, Sony, and HP (maybe more, those are the ones I saw for sure).  They had all the latest models (probably due to the fact that the store just opened).

They were promoting the store by offering free tickets to a concert by "Ashley Tisdale" (from High School Musical I guess).  The tickets were limited to the first 1000 people in the store.  I was there 3 hours after opening (and there were a ton of people at the store), and there were still tickets available.  I am thinking that a lot of people didn't take the tickets (I certainly didn't - I did get a free Bing t-shirt though).  My guess is MS missed the boat, and didn't quite figure out their target market.

Bottom line, I was actually impressed with this store.  It represents the Microsoft product line really well, and is a well stocked "Adult Tech Toy Store".    I look forward to going back soon, when there are fewer crowds, and playing around more.

Google Wave

I attended the last Google IO, and in addition to walking away with an HTC Magic phone (sweet), I got early access to the Wave Sandbox. I haven't really done anything with it yet (I don't know a lot of people with Wave accounts, so I don't have anyone to communicate with).

Yesterday I received 8 invites for the Beta preview.  I have already given most of them out, but will give out one randomly, to a person who comments on this post.

  • Bonus points if I know you (I am looking for people to Wave with).
  • Bonus points if your comment makes me smile
  • To reiterate, I would like to give this to someone I know, so random internet people, who comment on this post won't be in the running (unless you are particularly funny).

I will send out the invite Monday morning - Oct 5th.