Some Talk Abstracts

Every year requests for speakers at the regional conferences start earlier and earlier.  Today is already the final day for submitting talks to CodestockDevlink has also already started accepting abstracts, though their deadline isn’t until sometime in May.

2011 is a wonderful year for talks about the intersection of development and design.  The MUx counter-movement at MIX11 is all about restoring balance to the force developer-designer story and I certainly hope the message that Josh Blake, Rick Barraza and Sean Gerety have been promulgating gets out. 

At the same time, surely it’s possible to simply have more designer talks in the “closed” sessions – or simply invite those open talks that got turned down directly into the MIX11 schedule.  The basement of the Excalibur is a crowded and smelly place to be holding a counter-conference.

Here are some of the talks I’m planning to shop around this year.  I’m particularly stoked about talking on Kinect Hacks, but will have to see if anyone is actually interested in hearing what I have to say on it.  The 100% slides talk about The Minority Report and Fantasy UX is also very close to my heart:

Windows Phone 7: What’s working and what’s not

It’s been a year since developers began to play with the Windows Phone platform. The marketplace has opened, apps are being sold, and we are getting our first glimpse of what is working and what is not. What did we get wrong at the beginning as WP7 developers? Is the Metro language better observed or ignored? Native apps or web apps? Silverlight or XNA? Paid apps or free apps with advertising? Where should we be concentrating your time when developing a WP7 application – design or architecture? This session will address our lessons-learned from the past year as well as the future of WP7 and rumors about the Mango release.


Kinect Hacks 101

The Kinect has been the surprise hit of the year for Microsoft. The moment developers found out you can plug the Kinect into a PC, everyone started trying to replicate scenes from The Minority Report. At Razorfish, the first thing we built was a mash-up of a WPF physics engine and the Kinect in order to port our DaVinci surface app into a gesture-based experience. Since those first efforts we’ve continued to build app after app for the Kinect as the APIs have evolved. In this session, I will show you what we have learned and how you can get started building your own Minority Report experience in your living room.


The Mouse is Dead

The mouse died and no one even noticed. Coupled with the keyboard it has been the primary means of interacting with personal computers for the past 25 years. 2010 and 2011 saw the end of this dominance with the arrival of many new touch devices running various forms of the Windows OS: WP7, Win7 tablets, MS Surface 2 and the Kinect. Learning to program for touch is more complex than simply replacing every MouseLeftButtonDown event handler with a TouchDown handler. Touch involves learning a proliferation of interaction idioms new to both developers and consumers. Additionally, there are variations in how APIs capture these interactions on different platforms: WP7, Surface, Win 7. This session will cover the ins and outs of working with NUI interfaces on Microsoft platforms so you can make NUI work for you.


Welcome to The Minority Report

Sometimes movies that try to predict future technology end up creating it.  "The Minority Report" is such a movie.  Released in 2002, TMR has inspired technology companies to push their hardware and create new interfaces.  In 2011, we may finally be seeing the fruits of that decade long endeavor with NUI-based smart phones and tablets, the new MS Surface 2 and, most surprising of all, the gesture-based Kinect.  In this time, we have also seen vast improvements in speech recognition technology and even natural language analysis.  This session will provide an overview of the past influences of science fiction works such as William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Star Trek, the present influence of The Minority Report, and new works by writers like Charles Stross that are shaping our future.

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