[box type="shadow" ]I am a Microsoft Office Champion. This trip was sponsored by Microsoft. All thoughts, opinions, girl crushes and warm baths are purely my own.[/box] April found me on the west coast again in beautiful Seattle. Yes, I was there to bring them some Silishine but I was also there to immerse myself in awesome. The Office Champs were back on the prowl. What, pray tell were we on the prowl for? New techy wonders to tell you about, of course!
You may think that it was all relaxing bathtubs and delicious food but let me tell you: it was hard work. And fun. Lawd, was it fun!
Where do I begin?
We went to this little place called Microsoft Research. Iâ€™d tell you where itâ€™s at but, I wasnâ€™t driving and was too busy playing with my Nokia Lumia 928 and taking pics like thisâ€¦
â€¦to pay attention where they were taking me. Suffice it to say it was on Microsoft soil. One of the first things I saw when I walked in was gigapixelartzoom.com.
Gigapixel Art Zoom
What is it you ask? Itâ€™s a groovy project using Microsoftâ€™s panoramic stitching. They used this super cool viewing technology to capture the culture of Seattle and created an image filled with dancers, actors, painters, poets, acrobats and burlesque queens. You can look at this thing for ages and find something different each time.
After getting an explanation of what it took to get this going (the project manager in me had a headache at the thought), we got to check out digital assistants. And this, ladies and gentlemen is what gives me the giggles and makes me feel like Christmas.
Elevators, Robots, Cortana, Oh My!
One of the things we talked about while at the research center was how technology is being integrated into our everyday lives to work seamlessly among us.
Like smart elevators that know the difference between someone thatâ€™s heading to the elevator and someone that is passing by. And the cutest thing at the Research Center?
This little guy is powered by Kinect and awaits you as you exit the elevator. Donâ€™t know where someoneâ€™s office is? Well, thatâ€™s what heâ€™s here for. He didn't have a name and yâ€™all know how I feel about that so, I named him. Readers, meet Harrison.
Walk up to Harrison and ask him where Eric Horvitz's office is and he will direct you how to get there. The more exposure he has, the more he learns about human speech and behavior. Pretty cool, eh?
I also got a chance to meet Monica. She was Ericâ€™s assistant. Having been an assistant myself at one point in time, I can tell you that this is scary AND cool all at once. Scary because it makes you wonder if we will have human assistants in the future and cool becauseâ€¦well, itâ€™s just cool.
I told you a little about Cortana last month. I cannot wait for it to show up on my new Nokia Lumia 928! Iâ€™m looking forward to it reminding me of appointments, meetings as well as quiet hours and generally teaching C-Boogey about my day to day so that I can do a better job both personally and professionally.
That was day one! Loads of learning, questions, answers and general tech adrenaline rush that leads to lots of ovulating and potentially slapping whoever is next to you as you are exposed to new advances you didn't know would be hitting your phone this year.
Speaking of ovulating: technology is awesome but cool people that you can connect with? I believe the word is amazeballs!
Here are my girl crushes from the summit:
Disclosure: I am a Microsoft Office Champ and it's my pleasure bringing you new techy wonders of the world. All opinions are purely my own.