Windows 10 Looks Wonderful

I wasn't able to watch much of the live presentation about Windows 10 today. We were down at Fudge having a really nice meal at a bargain price, thanks to their January seat sale (my tip, have the quiche - like a pie but without the lid, and a fantastic filling).

Anyhoo, I managed to capture the gist of the event, sneaking peeks of a live blog from the event on my phone in between courses. Which is probably the epitome of bad manners, but I really wanted to find out what was going on. 

It was awesome.

Some perspective here. I'm a Microsoft MVP. I like Microsoft stuff. So you would expect me to say nice things about stuff that comes from Redmond. But even so it was awesome.

There was a great balance between stuff that you can see fitting in with your life (universal apps that are built once and run on every platform in an appropriate way, Continuum that makes sure that you get the best experience whatever device you are using, Cortana everywhere, playing Xbox One games on your tablet/phone) and completely bonkers stuff that might just change your life completely (the Holographic headset). 

I've read up what I can on the headset and the only thing I truly, definitely know about it just right now is that I really, really want one. It is definitely a work in progress. I'm not sure that Microsoft can tell us exactly how they see it being used in the future. But kudos to the company for unveiling it as they did. If you want to watch back the event you can find it here

Microsoft now have compelling hardware, compelling software and real proper science fiction stuff. The next year is going to be very interesting. 

Hungry Bear in Leeds

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If you find yourself hungry in Leeds and fancy some fine food I can strongly recommend the Hungry Bear in Meanwood. We had lunch there today and the food was excellent. The burgers are very good value and for afters they serve a platter with a whole bunch of Yorkshire cheeses. They also have an interesting selection of locally brewed beer. You can’t get better than that.

Hope and Anchor at Blacktoft

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The Hope and Anchor at Blacktoft is a great place to go for a meal by the river. If you are really lucky you might get a sky like this in between courses. And a dirty great boat going past the window (which I failed to rush out and take a picture of).

Just make sure that you set your SatNav up with care. My score so far is “Attempts to find the place: 2. Went straight there: 0”.

It is also a great place to go if you like Laurel and Hardy. Go along and find out what I mean. And have the roast beef Sunday Lunch. Lovely.

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This is another view, using the Painterly 2 filter from PhotoMatix.

Rob Goes to London

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It looks as if Her Majesty’s stock is dropping a bit….

Having a couple of days in London. I like the place, but wouldn’t want to live there. Had lunch at The Diner. Always have lunch at the Diner. I insist. And nobody seems to mind. If you want some of the best burgers in London, you should pop along.

Then went off in search of camera stuff and bits and bobs. Paid homage in the Apple store (I always go in there wearing a Microsoft jacket to see if it will burst into flames). The new Macbook Pro looks very nice. But at the moment I’m loving my Samsung Slate 7 (on which more later) and so I’ll stick with that for now.

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I’m breaking in a new camera at the moment, so I took a whole bunch of pictures.

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Bright Shades

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Patriotic Bike.

Dalby and Ducks

Went to Dalby Forest today. (having a tiny holiday) Great place. Once we arrived we had a coffee at the Purple Mountain Cafe. If you like riding bikes at great speed down steep hills you should go there. They arrange all kinds of races and stuff (including truly scary sounding 12 hour ones). Find out more here:

http://www.purplemountain.co.uk/

Dalby Bikes
“Excuse me, can you hire these bikes?”
"Certainly sir, they have a small adjustment at the back”

Note – this joke completely breaks if you write it down….

Then we went for a walk around, and I took the big camera.

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Look! Blue Sky!

We rounded off the trip with a visit to Thornton-Le-Dale, which has a lake and ducks.

Ducks

Nobody mention oranges.

Final Summit Friday

Today was the last day of the Summit. It has gone by real quick. Amongst the final presentations was one by Satya Nadella who heads up the new Microsoft search team.

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These are the people bringing you Bing. Personally I quite like Bing. I like the user interface, the pictures and the way it groups results. I don’t like the way that it doesn’t always find what I want though, which means moving over to Google for the more technical searches. Hopefully Bing will catch up in due course.

It was interesting to hear how Microsoft are trying to improve the “search experience” and are working on why we search, in a bid to improve the usefulness of the activity. The way I see it, they are changing Bing from “search” to a “research” engine. When you search for a place it will try to pull down travel and hotel details, along with pictures and links to official sites. Quite neat. This all needs some frightfully clever algorithms to recognise content, along with a fair amount of editorial input as well I would think. However, it is nice to see Microsoft not just trying to equal the competition, but to go beyond this and move the field on.

In the afternoon we had a final wander around Bellevue and then headed to a nearby place for tea.

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..can you guess where?

After tea I’d booked seats to see Avatar again, at the local Imax cinema in 3D. Awesome.

Party and Fan Man

Went to a party today. We had our "office do" at Fudge in Hull. Very nice it was too. Great food, great company, great times.

And no photographs. (I forgot).

Then it was back to Paul's, where he strapped a propeller on his back and tried not to fly around his garden. No. Really. Paul is a recent convert to paragliding, having just helped to create the world's first paraglider simulator. He wanted to show us his new rig and was offering drinks and sweeties, so we were all round there like a shot. So it was that, drinks in hand, we watched as he fired up his machine and tried to use it to blow cast iron garden furniture around. Now this I did get a picture of.

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Fan man

When Paul bought his house, it came with a collection of plates. Including this one.

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I'm not sure if it is dishwasher safe, but it does have a unique style.

After the party we wandered back to the office for some gaming. I had to zoom off early and do some other bits and bobs, but I did manage to win at Wii tennis (although Warren beat me at Guitar Hero).

XNA Party Time

Thanks to help from Kieran at Rare, Jon and I managed to snag invites to the XNA party, which was held at a really swish nightclub.

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We had to pick up the bus outside the Metreon centre

As soon as we got to  the club, had our ticket taken, hand stamped and passport checked (no - really, it was that exclusive) we grabbed some free food and drink and, old people that we are, headed for the chill out zone. Which was really, er, cool.

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The blue ceiling was amazing

Microsoft do parties well. Very well. Sitting watching the world go by with people bringing you free drink and food works for me. After a while though, we thought we'd explore the place.

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Blue with XBOXes

We wandered into one room and found a band playing.

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Forget the "Wedding Singer" looks. These guys were seriously good. And loud.

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And they had even more XBOXes for gameplay whilst you party

Finally, we went upstairs and took a look at the winners of the XNA Express challenge. These people had spent the last few days at the show creating a video game from scratch using only XNA Express Edition. The winner looked very snazzy, with real time lighting and all sorts. If the competition runs next year there will be somebody from Hull in the mix, you mark my words.

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XNA Winners

Then, having drunk and eaten our fill, and with the band ringing in our ears it was out into the chill night for a brisk walk back up the hill to the hotel.

Woksoever Forever

Had a wedding anniversary today.  Twenty four years of wedded bliss(tm). I bought my wife a romantic novel. She bought me a copy of the ACME Catalogue. We know each other pretty well by now.

As part of the celebrations we went out for a meal. We went to a place in Cottingham called WokSoEver.  You can see a video of it here. As the name implies, it is chinese, and they use a wok for cooking. The first thing we noticed when we walked through the door was the large proportion of chinese guests chowing down. We reckoned that this, and the fact that the place was pretty busy on a Monday night, was a good omen.

And so it turned out. The food was wonderful. We had the set banquet for two (there was actually enough for three) and everything was great. I always have difficulty putting names to any kind of dish more complicated than burger and chips, so I've no idea what some of the stuff was called.  But the ribs were great, the chicken things on sticks were great and the prawn toast was the best I've ever tasted.

The service was attentive and polite, the food was presented with style, and if you get there before half past seven they are presently doing a special deal which gets you a wonderful meal for less than ten quid a head.

If you live in this area and you like chinese food (or even if you don't) you should go there. Great place for students to take mum and dad when they visit. They have a lunch time menu too. And they'e won awards.