I . . . wait for it . . . am a Windows Champion. Well that may be a bit of an over statement, maybe more like a Windows Champion – in progress.
Regardless of the finer points, I had the opportunity to work with Microsoft who provided flight, accommodations, meals, and activities on a trip to Seattle to dive head first into a learning session about (nearly) all things Microsoft.
It was awesome, I was in my glory releasing my inner geek and learning about all sorts of tech things, and how Microsoft really focuses on bringing all of them together and making all your technology devices (desktop, laptop, tablet and phone) play nicely together in the same sandbox.
So off to Seattle for a couple of days of Windows learning sessions crammed in between all sorts of tough chores, like underground tours, cocktail hours, excellent dinners, the Chihuly Glass Garden Museum, Space Needle and some virtual golf!
We learned quite a bit about Microsoft Office, Windows and the new update – Windows 8.1, tools, tricks, new apps, and things soon to be released, but I am going to tell about our third day in Seattle, our trip to geek central – the Microsoft Campus.
We started the morning off in Microsoft’s Envisioning Center. This consisted of a tour through what a normal day in the life of an engineer may look like in the future. I can’t say much about it because this is where the research and development come to life in a real, usable format. Normally this area is reserved for parading around their technology partners (a real who’s-who’s in the business world), but we were lucky enough to be given access to it for about an hour. I will say that there were things in there that made my 50” TV look tiny, and that if kitchen’s are ever that cool in the future, I may be able to cook one day!
Next we learned about the current state of 3D printing. 3D printers have come down in price dramatically from where they were a couple of years ago. In a couple of years it will be commonplace to see them in your home and just as common to buy replacement cartridges for them as it is to buy ink for your current printer. There are many applications for 3D printing, and we are just touching the surface for how they can be used at home, it will be an exciting ride!
We were able to pick an item to print, we chose a simple money clip, and we customized it with the letter ‘S’ on it. We printed it out in red, and it took about 15 minutes to complete. It was really neat to see this go from a concept to something real you could hold in your hand. The learning possibilities for this are endless, and this can and will bring a whole new way to learn in the classrooms of the future.
After that we had lunch in the Microsoft Visitor’s Center and we had a couple of more presentations to go.
The thing I didn’t realize before these presentations, but that I am fully aware of now, is that I WANT AN XBOX ONE! This glorious machine is much, much more than just a gaming console. This is not to take anything away from its ability to be the best gaming console ever created, but even if you didn’t play one game on the Xbox One, it would be well worth the investment. The non-gaming aspect that I was most impressed by is the voice command functionality. You can set this up so you can verbally tell your Xbox One to record shows, search shows, turn your TV on or off, order a pizza, make a phone call and search the internet. I am certain I have missed a couple of the uses for the voice commands, I most likely missed them because I was daydreaming about playing Halo and Madden Football on the Xbox One!
We learned about a couple of other things that I will be sharing with you in the near future, like the Windows Phone, and Microsoft Office – with emphasis on One Note. My trip to Microsoft and Seattle was great, very informative and was finished before I knew it!
I am off to see if I can talk Tésa into buying an Xbox One ‘for the kids to use!”
Stay tuned for the rest of my Microsoft Adventure.