Update: see a virtual race car drive over Rory’s face — completely dynamically generated. It is utterly un-freekin-believable!
Check out this video from MSR TechFest, going on right now. Rory takes a look at two cool demos.
One is called “DynaVis”, and is basically a tool that makes all of your charts and other visualizations change dynamically (animated) when you change the underlying data. The idea is that a smooth animation from one visualization to the other helps the user maintain context.
The other is called FASTDash; a sort of dashboard for development teams, built on Visual Studio Team System. It shows off some social networking and ambient information design techniques. It is also covered here.
Rory even asks the tough question — “How did you get a job where you get to think, play and make cool demos all day?” The answer is, “What, you are trying to compete for my job? Here’s what you need to do…” OK, that’s not what the answer was, but the point is that MSR is a cool job to have.
Bridging the final step from cool demo to integration with shipping product is the hardest part. I’ve worked on a couple of projects where we tried to integrate MSR technology, and the conservatism of established products can be stifling, to put it mildly.
Two things I think will help the situation, though. First is that MSR is becoming more open to spinning off technology to startups. This is a great way for researchers ideas to see the light of day. The other is that we’re moving many things to a web-based model where new ideas can be integrated and deployed without risking stability of millions of desktops.