This years TechEd is held once again at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, for the second year in a row. Nothing wrong with the location, especially if you're from interstate, but pretty uninspiring for 'locals' from Brisbane, such as myself. The Keynote began to Nirvana's 'Smells like teen spirit', which I found a little weird, given my love of the song and how big it was in my day (sound a bit old there :)), but anyway it enjoyable to here the DJ's mix of it "…here we are now. Entertain us".
Microsoft Surface, the giant multi-touch tablet pc designed to act as a coffee table was brought out again and a scenario was enacted where Michael Kordahi, the host of the Key-note and a guest sat on a lounge and pretended to act and interact naturally with Surface and Windows Phone 7. Nothing new was covered and I certainly didn't suck in my breathe at the sight of the WP7 magically hooking up with surface and sync information. A touch tablet PC was also exhibited running Windows 7 and added to the scenario as the device that could be used, in conjunction with the cloud and the other two devices already mentioned to somehow add some magic to my life through the "many screens" paradigm.August de los Reyes spoke on Natural User Interfaces and what's next for the way we interact with our computing devices. Short and entertaining, his point was we need to investigate the differences between each interface (CLI, GUI, NUI) and use those differences to extrapolate the future of interfaces. He highlighted the He mentioned his claim to fame was designing the Windows key :)
It did give me a cool idea to add a tablet PC to my house, that docks near the kitchen. My family could use it as a central calendar and info access. The compelling argument for one hasn't been made just yet and I think it's a bit off in our future. It's not ubiquitous yet.
Kinect got a sizeable portion of the Keynote, with a demo of one of the games and just how we'll interact with it. More interesting was the brief explanation on how the device works and its "view" of the environment. The price was announced at AU$199, reasonable enough for me to pick one up when it comes out. Also mention was that Kinect signals a step toward more gesture based general interaction, though I can see it a long way off yet.