torsdag 25 juni 2009

Our Surface is dead!

On the last day of the Malmö conference our Surface unit broke down! After shipping it from Stockholm to Malmö (about 600 km/370 miles) everything worked perfect on the press viewing and on the first day of the conference. But on the second day it didn’t boot!

You can hear the fan start and all the status lights indicate normal running mode but nothing happens on the screen. We checked the project lamp, plugged out BlueTooth usb, plugged in an external monitor but nothing changed. It was dead!

Last week I got in contact with a Surface Escalation Engineer that tried to help me get access to the registry. There is one setting that says what x-coordinate the display starts at and that might get corrupted if you unplug an external monitor the wrong way. I have seen it happen with the Surface Shell not showing up on the table but never during boot. I think it is a very strange solution that the bios checks the registry for this value. It feels like the table should always boot with the table as main display.

Anyway, it was impossible to get access to anything on the unit. The I/O panel is completely dead. I don’t get an IP-address and there is no response when I plug in an usb mouse or keyboard. And since I will void the warranty if I try to open the unit and since there are no Surface technicians in Sweden a complete exchange is the only way to solve this issue.

Microsoft has been really helpful with my case, both from Microsoft Sweden and thru the Surface Community. But I still think it is remarkable that they sell a piece of hardware for +10.000€ with no technicians in the country!

By the way, I just got the exchange confirmation and the new table will arrive next week. The good thing is that now it is delivered with SP1. The bad thing is that I’m having hours after hours of installing and configuration to get the unit back to where it was when it broke!

Sonicspree video

Our friends at Ergonomidesign have created a short video of Sonicspree.

torsdag 18 juni 2009


During the last weeks I and some other people from Connecta have been involved in a project together with Ergonomidesign. Our goal was to build something to showcase on the conference From Business to Buttons that took place last week in Malmö, Sweden. Our case was to build an application that could exist in a retail telecom store, attracting customers to the store and making them stay longer.

Our application, Sonicspree, contains of two sides. On side is called the Store Mode and the other is called the Quiz Mode and both have a clear music focus. The part that we have developed so far is he music quiz.

While creating Sonicspree we have stayed true to some really important fundamentals of design for Microsoft Surface and that is 360 degrees UI, interaction with physical objects and multi user.

The game can be played by up to six people at the same time, spread around the table. Each player has a player area where the player score is kept. The game starts when someone rolls two dice to decide genres for the music in the quiz. When the dice are removed album covers start floating around the screen with the back side facing up and a song from one of the two genres starts playing. Each user starts dragging covers to the center of the table where the front side is revealed. When a user finds the matching cover to the song that is playing she drags that cover to her player area.

The dice and the flip-flop that is used to change from quiz mode to store mode are custom made by Ergonomidesign.

Quiz mode

Store mode

Custom made dice

Playing the game

onsdag 10 juni 2009

Table on tour again

In the beginning of May I wrote a blog post about the coolest project in Sweden. Since then Connecta and Ergonomidesing have been working really hard to finish an application to From Business to Buttons starting in Malmö tomorrow. I have to say that I’m really happy with the result and looking forward to show it to a crowd that probably will be a critical one since the main focus for the conference is user experience. But confident as I am – that will be no problem! The UIX-people on our team has done a great job!

The application that we have built is a music game and I will get back with more details on that after the conference.

The table was supposed to get picked up by DHL yesterday but they failed big time. Apparently some delivery guy from DHL went to Connecta yesterday, didn’t find the table, and then went home. I suppose that he had a bad day and I can’t blame him but he certainly ruined my morning. A phone call at 8.30 from my colleague Marcus: “The table is still here as Connecta, is that a problem?” Panic, stress and gastric ulcer!

DHL says that they are responsible but that they don’t have a car available to drive the table to Malmö. The clock is ticking. A lot of time and money invested in this project. On site set up and deployment today in Malmö and the conference starting tomorrow. What to do?

Urban Falck to the rescue!

A new phone call, this time from another colleague; Urban Falck. Urban is a guy that doesn’t see many problems or obstacles. His solution was: I’ll take the 125 kilo pallet with the Surface table in my tiny car and drive down to Malmö! Hey, it’s only 600 km!

So, the table is in a car and on its way with Urban. Marcus is on site and responsible for the bits and the dice (more on that later) and I’m still in Stockholm. Tomorrow is last day in Pre School for my oldest daughter and then departure to Malmö.

Hope to see you at From Business to Buttons on Friday!