Microsoft Surface

My mouse clicking finger hurts and Microsoft is doing something to help. I always knew they would come through for me. The company is introducing a technology that just might make the keyboard and mouse obsolete. Soon the sound of banging on a keyboard will be nothing more than a fond memory. Do you remember the interface the pre-crazy Tom Cruise used in Minority Report? Check out the real-life iteration:

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/

Darren Crone
Darren is a sarcastic, odd, bald man with a very dry sense of humor. He originally hails from Albany, N.Y., but claims Charleston, S.C. as his hometown.He joined the Air Force soon after graduating high school. This decision was made because a) working as a busboy wasn’t quite cutting it, and b) he had zero desire to ever attend college. While in the Air Force, he traveled the world as a Combat Cameraman, documenting both natural and man made disasters in places such as Thailand, Namibia, Armenia, Germany, Panama, Italy, Croatia, Japan, Singapore, and probably more than a few places that have changed names since you began reading this bio. There are many stories about his travels locked away in a vault somewhere and it is said that Samuel Adams holds the key.

While in the Air Force, he was given the opportunity to attend a year-long Video Journalism program at Syracuse University. Much to his amazement, he found that higher education didn’t suck at all. Having been bitten by the education bug, he completed his BS and MA in education and training from Southern Illinois University and Webster University respectively. He then completed his doctorate in instructional technology and distance education form Nova Southeastern University.

Darren currently works as an Instructional Designer at The University of Texas at Dallas and enjoys spending time with his wife, children, dogs and fish. His hobbies include weight training, watching the Texas Rangers (yes, really), and trying to appear smarter than he really is.

14 thoughts on “Microsoft Surface

  1. Matt Crosslin

    I find stuff like this hard to find. Pure fabrication. I mean – Tom Cruise was never crazy? Come on…. that’s just too far fetched.

    :)

    Anyway – Something I have to wonder – will this cause more physical problems on our bodies? I mean – try banging on your desk for a few minutes and see how that feels. Won’t this hurt more?

    Probably not – but the thing that worries me is that this is in the hands of Microsoft. I can think of some cool uses for it – but nothing in the demo videos seems to be of much use other than looking cool for friends. It all looks cool – but it doesn’t make me think that I would switch from a normal computer. I find a keyboard and a mouse much more useful in doing the tasks they were showing on the videos. Except for the paying the bill at the restaurant thing. That was cool.

    Also – my handwriting is terrible – it has been since before computers came around. I need the keyboard if people are even going to understand what I am doing. I think they just lost me at that ‘Hi Mom’thing.

    I think this could be a cool invention – if Microsoft ever thinks of new cool ways to use it. Not familiar ways that are just old hat stuff wrapped up in new digital packages.

  2. Katrina Adams

    I was pretty impressed by the demos of transferring files to/from media players (Zunes, of course), cameras, and PDAs. Regarding handwriting issues, I’m sure there will be an on-screen keyboard available, much like (and hopefully much better than) those on today’s SMART Boards. But the whole point and click stress (which is what poor Darren’s been having to deal with) is made much more smooth with the point/touch ability.Some of the functionality is very similar to that demoed in the Perceptive Pixel video we had in an earlier post (http://www.edugeekjournal.com/?p=9). I’m wondering if Microsoft made an acquisition. Although their’s is more wall-mounted and Microsoft’s is more table-top.Anyway, *great* post Darren! I love seeing cool new stuff!

  3. Darren Crone

    I get what you’re saying about the potential for physical problems, but this is just the beginning. I see voice recognition playing a bigger part in the near future (it still has a way to go though). Also, there are some really cool interfaces being developed (and used) based on the brain’s electrical impulses: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4396387.stm. I probably won’t be the first to get in line for a microchip implant (I am still putting off lasik surgery), but this may hit the mainstream sometime in our lifetime. we are going to have great stories for our grandkids about how we actually had to turn on a TV by pushing a button on a remote control …then we are going to have to explain what a TV was.

  4. Katrina Adams

    Just received a tweet about a Popular Mechanics video clip on their site about the new Microsoft surface computing technology. It goes into more detail on the ability to interact with objects, and it talks about the similarities it has with Perceptive Pixel’s multi-touch board.

  5. Matt Crosslin

    Oh – i know that other people will develop cool stuff for it – as long as Microsoft lets them. The only thing I am worried about is that MS is in charge, and that means it’s initial applications may not be that imaginative. And if it doesn’t have imaginative applications, then people won’t buy it, it will get shelved, and then become an interesting sideshow in the IT freak show museum.

    When they came out with the laser keyboard (it projects a keyboard on your desk, and then motion sensors tell where you have typed), studies showed that the potential for injury was greater than on a keyboard. What I would like to see is a true Minority Report like deal, where you put on a glove to control holograms that float. That is probably the next step :)

    Plus – if it’s Microsoft – you know it will slow down, start crashing, etc.

  6. Erin Jennings

    I agree with Matt — this technology will be awesome once Apple gets involved. My first thought when I read about it last night was that I can’t believe Microsoft beat them to it. My second was… oh God, WHY did Microsoft have to beat them to it?!

    I am very excited, though. Once this kind of technology hits the mainstream, it will change all kind of things. Games and 3D modeling come to mind first for me, because those are my interests. Just as commerce naturally occurred first to Microsoft.

    I look forward to sitting at my Surface-like computer desk, using haptic interface gloves to sculpt 3D models, and printing the result on my 3D printer. :D

  7. Matt Crosslin

    Actually – Apple did beat them to it, in a way. They are using this technology in the iPhone. The Surface has great applications immediately for the commerce world, which – like you said – is where Microsoft is focused. Since Apple isn’t as focused there – they put the touch screen technology to use where they are focused – individual users. But, wow – you have me drooling over that vision of the work desk of the future….

  8. Katrina Adams

    Just curious — how did Apple beat them to this? Basically isn’t the iPhone using a touch-screen (which has been used for for quite some time now, although I’m not sure if Apple first came up with it)? Does the iPhone have multi-touch functionality? I’m not trying to be anti-Apple here — just wondering other than the touch-screen functionality, how did they beat Microsoft to this type of functionality?

  9. Matt Crosslin

    Yes – it’s the multi-touch screen. Sheesh! Don’t you watch every piece of propaganda that Apple puts out? Apple and MS both got the multi-touch stuff from the same company. When I first saw the post for the Surface, I was going to say: ‘Wow, it does exactly what the iPhone does, but it’s 100 times the size.’ But, I didn’t, because I know how you PC people are….

    :)

    All of the stuff with the resizing pictures, shuffling through images, interfacing with objects near the screen, etc are all part of the coolness that is iPhone. And all for $500! What a steal…

  10. Okay, I don’t know about all of the tech stuff, but it just looks like it will do cool things.

  11. Matt Crosslin

    Hmmm…. and you call me smart alecky? :)

    I know that all Smartphones can transfer files with one or two clicks, but I’m not sure how iPhone will do it. I am assuming that it won’t be as easy as the Surface, just because you won’t be able to get a bird’s overview like effect that the Surface will give you. But – that would be a cool idea for the iPhone – have a file on the screen, and some icon representing other BlueTooth devices in range, and then flick the file in the direction of the device you want to share it with.

    I’m only giving the Surface a hard time because it is MS and I am stunned they could come up with a cool idea like that. I really do think it’s pretty cool. Just don’t let my Mac buddies know I said that….

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