Friday, October 05, 2007

Microsoft Expression around the clock

Just got back from the Microsoft Expression around the clock event at Fuga, a pub off Brigade Road. Got to see some cool demos of Microsoft Expression Studio suite of products and met up with some interesting people in the user experience domain.

The event, which was very design focused, kick started with an interesting talk by Shelly Armstrong - Design Manager, Xbox & Zune, on how to stay creative. Her presentation showed her team’s designs done for Zune and Xbox, talked about the work culture of her team, how they constantly get inspired by stuff and how work and play work wonders for their creativity. She also gave out suggestions for us designers on how to innovate with ideas and also to diversify our interests in order to stay creative.

One of the points in her presentation said

Dont ask for permissions. Beg for Pardon.

Then was the Designing with Expression Blend demo by Supreet and Pandurang. Supreet is a designer and Pandurang is a coder and together they showed how Expression Blend can be used to make coders and designers work in harmony in an integrated environment. I liked the way they showed the designer doing something on Blend and passing it over to the coder to write the logic for it on Visual Studio. I would very well relate to it coz I used to do things like that a couple of years ago when I was working on the .Net platform. The best thing of .Net I found was the ability to work on two different layers of presentation and logic. In our company we had made a rule that only designers should touch the aspx page and the cs file where the logic behind the aspx componenets were written was all for the coders. It was so convenient that way that the designer can do his work of presenting things in a compelling way using the aspx page and there was no way the coder was going to screw up the html or any other design element. The only difference was that then I used to work on aspx pages using Dreamweaver and the coders used visual studio. And now there is Blend to replace Dreamweaver and is more integrated with the development environment.

The usual suspects were missing except for Param of GE Healthcare Onward Research + Consulting and my friend Mahesh Shantaram, the independent photographer. Mahesh noticed my shirt once again and asked

Oh so you are in your usual pink floral shirt eh?
I corrected him

This time its pink leaves. Not flowers.
We had a nice talk about the current trend of social networking sites; why he likes Facebook more than Orkut etc. It seems he was interested in the Expression suite to know how he can make use of it to create different photography presentation experiences.

Also met Shilpa of OnMobile, Vinodh and Upma of Aditi, Harish Kumar of OneBigWeb, Visakh and Sumeet of Silicon India. We talked about the kind of work we do and had some interesting discussions too. Met Ramji Ganti of whom I had only heard about through the bangalore designers google group. The way he showed his excitement of meeting me made me feel like a celebrity :-)

The bar was open throughout the event and the drinks flowed. And there was a goodie bag too for all the attendees which had a Expression Studio 60 days trial CD, a copy of the Design Now magazine and a cool Reebok t-shirt.
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