Entries:
Comments:
Posts:

Loading User Information from Channel 9

Something went wrong getting user information from Channel 9

Latest Achievement:

Loading User Information from MSDN

Something went wrong getting user information from MSDN

Visual Studio Achievements

Latest Achievement:

Loading Visual Studio Achievements

Something went wrong getting the Visual Studio Achievements

Microsoft Research TechFest - Intro, DynaVis, and FastDash

Download

Right click “Save as…”

If you could see me now, I'm a giddy, happy, silly little niner.

I just learned about something at Microsoft that happens every year called "TechFest". It's a convention for Microsoft Research, meant to provide a glimpse of what goes on in what I now think of as the Area 51 of Microsoft.

I spent a couple hours just walking around yesterday, going nuts for everything I saw. Typically, when I go to a convention, I like most of what I see, but it's only the rare item that really brings out my excitement.

TechFest is completely different. There isn't a single thing sitting in there that isn't simply fantastic. Beautiful. Amazing. Fun. Useful.

In this, the first video in what will be a series covering this event, we get a nice introduction to TechFest, some info about Microsoft Research (MSR), and two projects: DynaVis and FastDash.

When you watch this video, hopefully you get an idea of why I'm so excited right now. Once I have the whole series online, you'll be able to see the amazing work being done in MSR - and this only represents a few projects. There are many others.

I'd like to film them all someday Smiley

Tags:

Follow the Discussion

  • Rory will you get a chance to talk to Don about F# 1.9 ? It would be great to get some of that on video, esp. if Don has some F# and LINQ action going on! Smiley

  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    dot_tom wrote:
    

    Rory will you get a chance to talk to Don about F# 1.9 ? It would be great to get some of that on video, esp. if Don has some F# and LINQ action going on! Smiley



    It might be possible to get that interview, but it wouldn't be part of TechFest.

    Don works in the non-research portion of Microsoft.

    The toughest thing about getting a Don interview is that he's a really busy guy...
  • Richard Anthony HeinRichard.Hein Stay on Target
    LOL, Rory you are hilarious!  Big Smile  Aren't you afraid that you'll offend someone by refusing to shake hands?  What if you interview Bill G, will you shake hands?  Perplexed

    Sweet interview.
  • I want my DynaVis! Cool stuff, I hope this makes it into the next version of Excel. Great stuff, Rory and Don.

    If anybody wants more FASTDash coverage I shot another video back in October with Mary Czerwinski and Greg Smith over in MSR.

    Brian

  • Rory, he was referring to Don Syme, who does work at MSR Cambridge. I just saw Don today in a meeting, and he is here at TechFest.

  • Pretty kewl stuff.

    BTW, you should deinterlace your video as a first step before doing any resizing or compressing.  Will make the text shots turn out clearer, and also any vertical motion will be more natural.

    Wish TechFest could still be going on next week since I'll be on campus.  Oh well.  But seeing these videos is the next best thing!  Looking forward to the next one in the series.

  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    JohnLam wrote:
    Rory, he was referring to Don Syme, who does work at MSR Cambridge. I just saw Don today in a meeting, and he is here at TechFest.


    Whoops Smiley

    I think my memory has hit some kind of critical density.

    Too many names. Too many faces. Too many people.

    Thanks for clarifying, though. Hopefully the name'll stick. I really do think my head's full.
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Lorin wrote:
    Pretty kewl stuff.

    BTW, you should deinterlace your video as a first step before doing any resizing or compressing.  Will make the text shots turn out clearer, and also any vertical motion will be more natural.

    Wish TechFest could still be going on next week since I'll be on campus.  Oh well.  But seeing these videos is the next best thing!  Looking forward to the next one in the series.



    I've had the same thought about deinterlacing, but we're working with some fairly limited tools. We have to make a compromise between quality and speed in getting these out the door Expressionless

    I'll look into it, though. I've slowly been modifying the way I produce my videos. They're generally smaller (in file size), but higher quality than they used to be.

    I though I might have been the only one who was bugged by the interlacing problem, but now that you've mentioned it... it seems more "real" to me all of a sudden.

    Anyway...

    Sorry you won't be able to visit TechFest in person - this is my first time, not even having known about it before since I wasn't working on campus, and it's a wonderful event. The things you see are just insane.

    And wait for Friday - I have a really nice one planned Smiley

  • A general Rory video comment (there may be a better place to post this), I may be the only one but I'd like to see him lighten up on the shtick.  Not really "new to this thing" anymore and it's approaching Bevis and Butthead level.

    I like the videos, like Rory and like the friendly banter but it's getting a little old.  I guess the reason I post this is due to the fact I watch a lot and over many videos it gets annoying. If this is Rory in real life I'd suggest spending time watching the videos and trying to polish on-air presentation skills. 

    P.S. Love the content! Big Smile
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Bazul wrote:
    A general Rory video comment (there may be a better place to post this), I may be the only one but I'd like to see him lighten up on the shtick.  Not really "new to this thing" anymore and it's approaching Bevis and Butthead level.

    I like the videos, like Rory and like the friendly banter but it's getting a little old.  I guess the reason I post this is due to the fact I watch a lot and over many videos it gets annoying. If this is Rory in real life I'd suggest spending time watching the videos and trying to polish on-air presentation skills. 

    P.S. Love the content!


    It's not a "shtick" - I'm just being myself.

    If you don't like it, you're at the wrong place.

    I don't even know what you mean by "shtick" - I've seen so many critiques this week from so many people who don't even bother to explain what they're talking about.

    As for polishing my "on-air presentation skills" - do you have a site I can visit? A book to describe how? A set of motivational DVDs I can buy? An informative pamphlet?

    I'm assuming that you know a thing or two since you're questioning my skills.
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Bazul wrote:
    A general Rory video comment (there may be a better place to post this), I may be the only one but I'd like to see him lighten up on the shtick.  Not really "new to this thing" anymore and it's approaching Bevis and Butthead level.

    I like the videos, like Rory and like the friendly banter but it's getting a little old.  I guess the reason I post this is due to the fact I watch a lot and over many videos it gets annoying. If this is Rory in real life I'd suggest spending time watching the videos and trying to polish on-air presentation skills. 

    P.S. Love the content!


    Never mind.

    I just saw that you only joined today, so I'm assuming "Bazul" is just another alias for someone who's already had accounts here (you claim to watch a lot of these videos - even over and over - so I'm guessing you already had an account).

    I'll just file this away under "Beer28".
  • MassifMassif aim stupidly high, expect to fail often.
    Y'know, there comes a point when you need to be less paranoid (not really the correct word, but close) about criticism and Beer.

    I can kinda see Bazul's point, because you've used the line "I'm new to this thing" or variants, a fair bit. It probably only makes an impact if you watch a bunch of your videos one after another. Aside from that you're seeing criticism where there isn't any! We all like your content, but you'll see a disproportionate amount of criticism because that's the way forums work.

    Oh, and you don't need an account to watch videos, so there's no reason to doubt the claim that they've watched a stack before deciding to comment.
  • hehe

    I actually just created an account so I could post feedback.  I don't watch the videos over and over, I meant over the course of many different ones it started to wear on me.  If it makes you feel better Scoble had that annoying laugh of a mouth breathing dullard after every comment going but also delivered great content.

    I'm not questioning your skills I just know what would make it more enjoyable to me.  I'd be awful at doing these, so I can't give you any pointers myself.  I'd be annoyingly bland, you're better.  I do know public speaking trainers encourage videotaping yourself and watching them, just encouraging you to watch them yourself and see if you might agree.  You may already do this.

    My personal guess is that younger techs new to the industry like the shtick and the seasoned techs want you to mostly pull technical content from the guest with just a little bantor to get them to reveal their personality.

    Do whatcha do.

    Regarding "Beer28", buy shirts that fit. Tongue Out

  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.

    That was pretty neat. At first I was wondering what practical use DynaVis had, but then I realised that it's exactly what I need: whenever I watch different types of charts, I'm always spending a lot of time figuring out how it relates to the other type of chart I just saw. This helps a great deal.

    What I'm wondering about is what all that hammering early on in the video is. Especially after all those error-message sounds started sounding. It made me switch to the desktop from full-screen view twice to see what had failed in the background, before I realised the sounds came from the video. Tongue Out

  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Massif wrote:
    Y'know, there comes a point when you need to be less paranoid (not really the correct word, but close) about criticism and Beer.

    I can kinda see Bazul's point, because you've used the line "I'm new to this thing" or variants, a fair bit. It probably only makes an impact if you watch a bunch of your videos one after another. Aside from that you're seeing criticism where there isn't any! We all like your content, but you'll see a disproportionate amount of criticism because that's the way forums work.

    Oh, and you don't need an account to watch videos, so there's no reason to doubt the claim that they've watched a stack before deciding to comment.


    I said I'd "file it" under Beer28 - I can tell a genuine Beer post from a non Beer post. He does have a certain style that gives him away (not just talking about content).

    The reason I saw it as a troll was that we've been hit by someone who's creating accounts with which to troll. It's hard not to be suspicious when I find negative comments posted with brand new accounts.

    As for the annoying stuff... I've been public speaking/blogging/podcasting/whatevering for so long now that none of this stuff requires any kind of conscious effort. I have to watch these videos as I'm editing them, and I have no idea what Bazul was talking about.

    Again, if someone's going to provide any kind of feedback about something specific (and it sounds like there's a specific complaint here), it helps to point me to what is offending rather than just telling me that I've got a "shtick" and that it's irritating.

    When I critique something (or flat out complain), I do the object of my critiques the favor of specifying exactly what it is I'm talking about. I don't just say "You stink" and then walk off. That's not helpful.

    There's also been so much negativity around here in recent months that it's getting harder and harder to tolerate. I hope to have a "breakthrough moment" when I suddently decide to stop caring about it, but it hasn't happened yet because I'm still in the stage of caring about my job and how well I do it.

    In my last job, I read thousands of comments from customers. The vast majority were extremely positive.

    The few negative comments usually fell into one of these categories:

    - Personal Preference: These were the people who didn't like my style and kept the comment simple, down to a few general adjectives and adverbs from which I could learn absolutely nothing

    - Insane: Some people would leave a few comments in Klingon amid grease stains left by their unwashed hands - I didn't pay a lot of attention to these

    - Experience: You'd be shocked at the number of times I got rated down because someone didn't like the muffins

    - Ignorance: Some people just didn't know any better and left scathing complaints to make it look like it was somehow my fault their IQs were in the low double-digits

    - Valuable: These were the rarest complaints, but I dd get them every now and then - From them, I was able to improve what I did, and avoid making certain common mistakes, but it required the effort on behalf of the audience member to come up with something specific to say - Without specifics, it was right back to the "Personal Preference" flavor of complaints...

    After getting so many insulting comments, I got a little tired of it.

    But those interactions were one way. I collected the comment sheets, read them, and couldn't respond.

    Now I can respond, and I think that what I initially said to Bazul was entirely valid:

    If you have a problem with how I do my job, then your comments will get a lot more attention and respect if they're specific and respectful - I don't respond well when someone calls my personality "shtick" - it may prove that this is the case and that I'm the wrong guy for this job, but I know absolutely nothing more about how to do my job well after having read Bazul's comment than before.

    That, and with all the mud-slinging I've been seeing here (there's a reason I stopped frequenting the Coffeehouse), it's hard to tell the real comments (yours) from the bait.
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Bas wrote:
    That was pretty neat. At first I was wondering what practical use DynaVis had, but then I realised that it's exactly what I need: whenever I watch different types of charts, I'm always spending a lot of time figuring out how it relates to the other type of chart I just saw. This helps a great deal.

    What I'm wondering about is what all that hammering early on in the video is. Especially after all those error-message sounds started sounding. It made me switch to the desktop from full-screen view twice to see what had failed in the background, before I realised the sounds came from the video. 



    I was talking to Chris Sells a couple years ago about data visualizations. He speaks beautifully, and paces himself well, but it was still a little tough to understand him that day...

    He was talking about WPF and DirectX. Having been the de-facto Windows Forms guru, he had spent a lot of time with the APIs. Nice as they are, they were for the most part a v1.0 design for a managed abstraction of Win32 calls.

    I'm not sure if he was more frustrated with Windows Forms or more excited about WPF and DirectX, but the net of the conversation was that he saw the potential in both technologies for cool new ways to perform data visualization.

    Honestly, I'm not the kind of dev who gets excited about stuff like that, so I had a hard time sharing his enthusiasm. Through my life as a contractor, I avoided doing reporting work. I got hit with it occasionally, but on those occasions, I kept myself busy and had some fun by writing my own charting stuff instead of using some other baked product (Crystal, etc.). For me, reporting was an obstacle I had to get past so that I could do the coding I wanted to do, and the only way to tolerate it was to make it fun for myself.

    With the stuff I saw while conducting this interview, I finally started to see what Chris was so excited about.

    I think I hated reporting because I didn't find it very useful. I don't have a lot of patience (if that isn't already obvious with my reactions to criticism as of late), and I get frustrated as numbers about things I don't really care about sail past my face.

    Chris was absolutely right about needed improvements in the area. This DynaVis stuff is nicely representative of that.

    It reminds me of the first time I saw a relevance aware tag cloud. I thought it was hideously ugly, but what it lacked in appearances it made up for in functionality. Being able to see what the most talked about subjects were for the site (I forget where I first saw one) without even having to read the tags was pretty cool.

    I get frustrated easily by having to sift through large quantities of information. We need new tools and new ways of displaying data or else the me's of the world are going to go nuts...

    What I liked so much about DynaVis was that it was such a tasteful application of technology to an old problem. It wasn't flashy. A lot of devs have problems with either going overboard (let's port this chart to the Unreal engine!) or doing next to nothing (here's your text file dump of the database contents - feel free to sort through the 800,000 records manually).

    DynaVis was right in the middle. It's clear (to me at least) that a lot of care went into making it. It can be hard to code something cool without indulging oneself and adding all the fireworks available, but it can also be hard to come up with the motivation to do the thing in the first place. It strikes me as the product of a real coder. Someone who derives pleasure from elegance.

    I wish more of this stuff bubbled up to the top and made its way into the world. My understanding is that Microsoft Research is all about testing and planning for the future. My experience is that the future's already been pretty well constructed. It'd be nice if it all made its way into the wild.

    But that's another subject entirely, and one I'm going to write about soon.

    I'll just end this comment by saying that getting to meet all these MSR people was a real eye-opener. I'm still collecting my thoughts and making sense of how MSR fits into the big picture.

    It's all so bloody cool...

  • Extremely intersting!

    It may be cool in the Navision & Axapta products, but what about Microsoft Dynamics CRM Big Smile
    Now that could be interesting!

Remove this comment

Remove this thread

close

Comments Closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums,
or Contact Us and let us know.