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Reviews of An Overview of the Next Media Research Group in Microsoft Research:

  • Eithon Michael Cadag

    A lot of interesting things in this discussion. One idea that particularly piqued my interest was the image viewer. It moves away from the conventional desktop paradigm, and tries to present an almost "folderless" navigation system.
    While the idea of moving away from a folder heierarchy has been out for some time, I haven't seen it implemented much. One exception is possibly Google's GMail system. Rather than "browsing" for messages, a user "searches" for them. Here, keywords become associated with mail, and location isn't as important.
    What would be interesting is to see an OS built around this idea of association of spaces rather than heierarchies. A user wouldn't have to know where a file was located exactly - just what the file generally was about. Such a system would probably need an insane indexing strucutre, and there might be isses regarding data integrity (users LIKE knowing exactly where their files are rather than having them float around).

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  • Gregory Nathaniel Heasley

    I thought the 3d lists were interesting visually, but I wonder how much they improve the actual process of storing and retrieving information within a database. The two programs I thought were really quite useful were the quick picture sorter and the tivo fast forwarding program. The picture sorter is a great idea as a sort of "first line of defense" when sorting photos. What could be useful though within that program would be the ability to compare two or more photos side by side. It seems, more often than not, that when you are disposing of pictures it's not just deciding between vastly different photos that are either "bad" or "good", but photographs that may be quite similar that are "ok" or "great". The second program that I thought was handy was the fast forwarding program. The ability to scroll in and out of different levels of detail is attractive due to the control the user has in their viewing experience.

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  • Julie Dawn Pravitz

    I could really relate to the Media Variation program. It would be wonderful to be able to browse inside Blockbuster. Sometimes you don't know what you would like to rent and this is a great way to search through movies in an alternative method. It could easily lead you to a movie that you would not have otherwise thought of renting. It is also interesting to image all the other areas that this program could assist in browsing through. It really isn't limited to just movies.

    The mediaframe browser has a quite advanced search capability that seemed confusing at times. It was really neat that the program could recognize certain characteristics in the picture and automatically group them together. But I can't help but think about how I would use the program as an average user. I don't feel as though I would use most of the advanced features. I would prefer to take the extra second to myself group the pictures and provide a label that I could Identify such as "Scott's birthday- 2004" or something of that nature and just have the groups appear chronologically.

    I could see how Smartskip could be attacked by Commercial Advertising companies. Their money spent on commercials would become useless. But I also beleive that people sometimes like commercials. I provides a mental break from the program and time to get up and do something quick.

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  • Scott Brandon McDonald

    I enjoyed the talk from Steven Drucker, particularly the demonstrations of the different applications. There were several useful tools that I would like to see in future Microsoft software. It would be nice, though, if we could have gotten a peak at something newer, since these projects were all a couple years old.

    The video fast-forward program was particularly intriguing. One thing I noticed was the emphasis on a single way of doing the fast-forward. I think it would be a better idea to have a variety of methods and let the user pick. The surveys may have pointed out the most popular, but why not let everyone have their way. Also, I didn't quite understand why you couldn't build in a function to automatically skip commercial advertisements. What legal grounds would there be to sue?

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  • Ferdinand Laurino

    Talk about having to browse through your media files with style. I never saw a browser such as mediaframe browser that has a very compelling visual animation and ease of use. The innovative search of mediaframe made the whole experience memorable, the ability to look through your files by just clicking at face recognition, by cluster of dates, and etc.

    The Media Variation program has a very compelling interactive UI. I can see myself playing with it for a long period time just to learn more about movies in general. I can see this product to help a student memorize and study materials in school from history to math just by taking the same visual UI to help visualize the information or ebooks, especially reviewing the plot afterwards.

    Bathroom break on commercials has past away thanks to products that allow you to record TV shows and stop at any given time to take a break. Smartskip ability to visually break down movie in frames not just by time is a great idea. I can°Įt really compare this product to other current products of how this is better because I never had the chance to check them out.

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  • Ann Marie Sager

    The Media Browser is something I've been dreaming about ever since I got a digital camera 3 years ago. The multiple categorization capability is a powerful tool and the 'movement' is necessary, I think. Photo-triage, added to the Media Browser, is the perfect accompaniment. The intuitive ease is something not always seen in computer programs.

    The Movie Variations program is just what video stores need. The programs on the kiosks at Scarecrow and Video Isle are pathetic. The cross-referencing is a perfect example of how well Steven's team understands the way people think. I CAN ALSO SEE GREAT USE FOR THIS TYPE OF DATABASE AND INTERFACE IN BOOKSTORES!

    I'm not much of a tv watcher or a video game player... I'll leave those comments to the more well-versed.

    Steven Drucker's think tank must be an exciting place to work!

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  • Diana P Ayala

    I enjoyed the microsoft media research presentation; specially when he talked about searching for a film and how it can also bring different films from the same director, actor, actress, and producers. The graphics of the search was also entertaining because of the combination of sound and movement of the carousel makes it playful, that it grabs people's attention to play and search for movies.
    Once I saw how there are different ways of storing your digital images. It made me want to update my own digital camera. But, I want happens if your computer crash, would you have lost of your images?

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  • John Hilgeman

    Stevenís presentation was very interesting from the point of view of a consumer. The movie browsing interface is a great idea, even for video stores. I think most people who like to rent movies have at one time or another been frustrated by the fact that ĺ of the movies at the store are placed on the shelf with only the thin edge and the title showing. I feel that for a typical customer, the graphical movie cover is the first object that attracts attention and evokes interest in a movie. In a store it is not possible to arrange all the movies so the covers are showing, so a digital solution for movie browsing is great!

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  • Rosanne Weiling Chien

    A lot of great ideas were presented in this talk. I liked the movie variations, and think it would be not only fun, but helpful, especially in video rental stores or any video retail store. But I can imagine how confusing and complicated the database would have to be if EVERY movie were to be catalogued. In this case, it might be useful to have a keypad so that users can type in a specific search (i.e. movie title, actor, director, etc.), and use that as the middle focus and then work from there. The media browser, where users can organize their personal pictures and movie clips, is also a great and innovative product. People (unlike me) who use their digital cameras extensively and like to catalog and organize their photos would really benefit from a software program such as this. But for me, this might be more cumbersome rather than useful since I RARELY use a camera, let alone my digital camera, and when I do, making simple files is sufficient enough. Smartskip is also a great new technology that I can see many television watchers enjoy using. But then again, I am a very simple person, and the fast forward button may suite me better. I guess Iím not very active when it comes to change. Lastly, the Spectator program is an interesting concept that feeds off a computer instant messenger system. But I am not sure whether this program allows the user to block out their name so that they would appear to be offline to other users when they truly are not (much like how AOL instant messenger allows us to do so, so that we wonít have to communicate with others if we do not want to Ė i.e. we are using AOL for internet access, and donít want to talk to anyone at that time). This program allows us to see what other people are viewing, and I am wondering if we could also block out what we are viewing so that others cannot see it. Of course, this would probably defeat the purpose of the entire use of the system, but Iím considering it to be much like AOL internet access, where we may need to use it and thus leave it on all the time, but do not want others to know what we are doing. Iím thinking as if this would be the new way of watching television, and thus ďregularĒ television with separate DVD, VCR, and game consoles would be obsolete as this new wave of television would take its place. Maybe Iím looking too much into it, but I just think all these ideas are great, especially since we keep on trying to improve our technology so that things would be simpler and easier for us.

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  • Ethan Hilleary Whitesell

    I was very excited to see the photo viewing program. I have tons of pictures on my computer that are all saved in different files. It would be so nice to have a program like this one which would organize and label and do the work for me. The 3D viewing application was what struck me the most. I love being able to see things visually instead of having to search around in a 2D world on the computer looking for a picture or file that I can't remember where I saved it.

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  • John Christopher Mayfield

    Media Variation: (GUI for browsing related movie titles)
    I really liked this idea. Nothing truly profound about it, but the ease with which it was possible to browse through related movies made it seem very useful: a quick utility to find just the film you're in the mood for. The only suggestions I would have are to add as many films as possible, and to add different relation parameters, such as genre, date, or awards won.

    Mediaframe Browser: (GUI for sorting, tagging, filtering and viewing media)
    A very attractive program, certainly. I liked the way each thumbnail moved from place to place to maintain the context. It made things seem less random.
    The suggestion that future file systems would use only tags for organization made me a bit wary, however. Perhaps it's simply my own unfamiliarity with the new system, but I like knowing where my files are, not just what they are. I can't help picturing a desk strewn inches thick with papers, and being told that since I forgot to make my term paper blue, I'd have to check each paper individually, before I could print it. Hopefully there would be failsafes to avoid such problems.

    Smartskip: (Thumbnail system for navigating movie files)
    This seemed like a well thought out program with somewhat limited uses. As was pointed out, most professionally produced videos have already been formatted to skip to predefined points of interest. It would be most useful in navigating videos that lacked these for some reason--probably created or at least recorded by amateurs. It is almost too bad people prefered the "skip about 30 seconds forward" method.

    Game Spectator: (System for watching others play online games)
    As an avid gamer, I'd very much like to see this implemented. It is unfortunate that the team ran into a chicken and egg problem with game companies.
    I was somewhat confused to hear that the team wanted to stream video out to viewers rather than in-game data. I don't know too much about such things, but I do know that video is BIG, and that people playing aren't going to want to diminish the speed of their connections by sending out video. Lag's a killer.
    One solution, as suggested, might be to distribute a viewer-version of the game, possibly as part of a demo. Another might be to have game-owning spectators rank game sessions and make the top few available later to non-owners in video format.

    Educational Games:
    Another thing mentioned towards the end of the talk was educational games. Very few games have achieved the necessary balance to be both educational and entertaining. Most of these are either educational in a very general sense, like puzzle games, or try to impart some skill, like typing games. Some trivia games can impart knowledge efficiently, but outside that limited genre, I can't think of any other games that do.
    The problem is that it is very difficult to make knowledge an integral part of a gaming experience, and when only included in the periphery it takes a great deal of time for players to absorb that information. I might have a general idea of where some of the towns in northern California are from having played Fallout 2, but my learning that simple thing was spread out over hours of play time.
    I no longer know where I'm going with this. I'd better stop now.

    P.S. If anyone is interested in playing Typing of the Dead, let me know and I'll bring in my copy. It's pretty fun!

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