Posts tagged Microsoft

Stories from MIX10 – Impressions

Over spring break I spent an amazing – and busy – three days in Las Vegas at Microsoft’s MIX10. I got to see a complete platform reboot with Windows Phone 7 Series, some interesting news about IE 9, and most importantly got to meet ¬†some awesome people.

MIX10 Keynote Stage

I’ve been writing a lot over that time with AnandTech, which I’ll wrap up here:

  • First day MIX10 Windows Phone 7 Series Impressions – link
  • Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview – link
  • Windows Phone 7 Series: The AnandTech Guide – link
    • If you had to read any one of these, this would be the one to be. It’s over 8000 words and comprehensively wraps up the platform in my opinion.

AnandTech - Bing search hands on

There were a couple hilarious quotes that I overheard at the conference, which I think I’ll just share briefly. Keep in mind this is at a development conference.

  1. “…and we call this checkbox driven development. We can do everything we want just with checkboxes”
  2. “…and we only had to write one line of code! Just one line, and we’re done!”
  3. But my favorite: “Can I use the back button for fire? What if I really really want to use the back button?” – immediately after a presentation about how the back button is reserved for going back.

How Not to do a Live Stream

Censorship

Like many others yesterday, I eagerly awaited the Microsoft CES keynote and the chance to see Steve Ballmer once again have a Developers Developers Developers moment on stage.  Although it was initially marred by a power outage which delayed the conference some 20 minutes and damaged a Media Center TV and an ASUS eeeTV demo, what really made me pull the plug was what Microsoft did to the live stream itself.

Initially it was plagued with audio problems. The stream started too quiet, then suddenly lost the left channel, then the left channel came back but killed the right channel. At one point I’m certain there was some sort of loop in a volume normalization system, as gain increased continually for at least an entire minute. Of course, these issues are technical and completely understandable given the fact that nearly everything needed to be restarted after the power outage.

So imagine my disgust, and the disgust of others, when during the Microsoft Xbox 360 part of the keynote, the following comes up right as they prepare to show the Halo Reach trailer:

Microsoft LiveStreams, now with DRM

Absolutely incredible, censoring a live keynote because of IP concerns from the very company throwing the keynote. Even better, apparently the Xbox team wasn’t made aware that there was any problem at all with what was going to be shown:

Sorry that had to black that out….I did not know :(t -Major Nelson

Even more strange, the content that was shown wasn’t new, in spite of the fact that the announcer lead-up to the video made it sound like it was going to be. It was nothing more than the Halo Reach trailer released over a month ago.

It’s a video…not a #haloreach demo. -Major Nelson

Why then did this content merit censoring the live stream for nearly 3 minutes? Is Microsoft not comfortable with using the public spectacle and attention that is CES to promote its own products and games? Is it honestly concerned that showing a trailer for a game in a live video stream constitutes some sort of breach in IP? What?

That, by itself wouldn’t be noteworthy, it was what followed that really iced the proverbial cake for the Keynote.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice...

Yes. They did it again. If you’re so inclined, the video is here for everyone to view, now that we’ve been all made feel like children.

There is seriously so much wrong with doing something like this to the thousands of people watching the live stream that aren’t at CES but are still interested, that I don’t even know where to begin. In fact, I don’t even have to, because so much of that is obvious. But not, apparently, to Microsoft. Shortly after was when I stopped watching.

Nice of Microsoft to leave end-user-facing employees that work and try hard like Major Nelson to pick up all the pieces:

Reagarding[sic] the Reach blackout on the stream…..I am going to talk to some folks about that #notcool -Major Nelson

Ok, I need to take a walk and have a little chat with some folks. -Major Nelson

Fast Forward to Today

Imagine how shocked I was today, when during Paul Otellini’s Intel CES keynote the following popped up on the livecast:

/facepalm

I’m still not entirely certain whether, once again, the stream had been interrupted due to intellectual property concerns, DRM, or simply because they didn’t want to show more 3D parallax (despite having done so just minutes before).

Whatever the case, this seriously needs to stop.