Ubelly @ MIX 2011

Welcome to MIX 2011

I’ve not been to a MIX event before and it’s been 10 years since I last came to Las Vegas so this is feeling like quite a fresh experience for me. Vegas hasn’t changed, it’s still hot and sunny, air conditioned and you can’t escape the machines that go “bing, bing, bing, bing, bing” (seemingly forever). I’m 8 hours behind y’all in the UK but whilst I am behind, I’ll be hearing all the news first so between @thebeebs and I we’ll be able to tell you the news and announcements as they’re made.

Andy, Luke and Alex have posted sessions that they’re interested in hearing about and fortunately there’s some cross over so I can fill them in on the bits they’re interested in.

What’s in the MIX?

It’s a gathering of designers and developers, of agencies and clients, of start-ups and dot com legends, all of who have one major thing in common – they love the web. This year, over 30% of attendees are coming from outside the U.S. – that number has remained fairly stable since 2006. About half of this year’s attendees work for companies that build and design websites for others; another 33% work for companies with consumer facing websites and we’re all here to get the latest news and announcements for Internet Explorer, Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight.

Keynote streaming is free; no registration is required to participate. The Channel 9 Live team picks up the live coverage immediately following the keynote – preview the Channel 9 Live guest lineup – and all conference sessions will be available for online viewing or download approximately 24 hours after they are recorded.


Today (Monday) is all about Bootcamps. I’m attending 2 sessions, in the morning Stephanie (Sullivan) Rewis is covering HTML5/CSS3 and in the afternoon I’m joining Grant Hinkson (Microsoft), Adam Kinney (Pixel Lab) for a Windows Phone 7 session that promises a walk from File > New Project all the way through app submission in the marketplace. That’ll help no doubt with my current app-off project with @androidrobb.


Dean Hachamovitch, Joe Belfiore and Scott Guthrie

I don’t know what is going to be announced, but we’re all hoping for some big news from Microsoft on the 3 key areas of IE, WP7 and Silverlight. Last year, Windows Internet Explorer Corporate Vice President, Dean Hachamovitch announced IE9 Platform Previews, we’re now enjoying the full release and are excited about what he’s going to tell us this year – with Mozilla reportedly planning to release 4 new versions of Firefox in 2011, maybe he’ll tell us something about Internet Explorer 15? Joe Belfiore, who oversees Windows Phone Program Management will be telling us about the future of WP7 and what we can expect to be new in the next few months and finally .Net development legend Scott Guthrie will be letting us know about progression with Silverlight, Visual Studio and the .NET Framework technologies for building client and Web applications.


After the keynotes, the next 3 days are split into workshop sessions covering everything web – if there’s not a session that really excites you then you’re in the wrong place. I’m planning to split myself between Windows Phone 7, Web Apps, gesture and touch sessions. HTML5 guru @thebeebs is also out here with me and he’s doing a session titled ‘Hacking with the F12 Developer Tools’. If you’re in Vegas and want to follow me around, here’s some of the sessions I’m planning on attending:

  1. Designing Infographics for Web Applications with Des Traynor.
  2. Fonts, Form and Function: A Primer on Digital Typography with Robby Ingebretsen. Real type used to be the preserve of printed material, but in the last few years web developers have been given the ability to easily add beautiful type to their web pages. This is an area of growing interest to me.
  3. The Microsoft Surface MVPs Present: Natural User Interfaces, Today and Tomorrow; An Interactive Discussion and Demonstration – A great chance to chat with a panel of experts who have created some of the best applications for Microsoft Surface to date.
  4. Audio for Kinect: From Idea to "Xbox, Play!" – Presented by Ivan Tashev, who is the creator of most of the audio algorithms in the Kinect pipeline.
  5. What Exactly Are We Doing on the Web? with DL Byron. Having been in the web development arena myself for almost 15 years, i like the recognition in this session abstract that we’ve ‘been making it up as we went along’. It will be great to hear an expert’s opinion on where we’ve been and where we may go on the web.
  6. Expert Lessons: Top Tips for Building a Successful Windows Phone Application. This one is for all you Ubelly phone app developers and we’ll definitely learn something useful.
  7. Riding the Geolocation Wave with Tatham Oddie. For a long time we’ve been musing over the increased experience that Geolocation can offer users, I’m looking forward to hearing how to make geo data a useful addition to your application instead of a bolt-on “me too”.

UX Lightning Strikes MIX

I’m also planning to drop into as many of the UX Lightning series at MIX11 as I can. 12 expert speakers will present on various design and UX topics in a new session series dubbed – UX Lightning – a series inspired by a desire to stimulate creative thinking about UX in a compelling format. The result? Less fluff, less syntax, and much more creative and inspiring content!

Secret Sauce

I’ve had some invitations to private sessions which i can’t disclose much about right now, but i seriously hope i’ll be allowed to share the content of some of those sessions with you so expect to hear about some Microsoft secret sauce from me in the next few days.

Watch MIX11 online

Remember, if you’re not in Vegas you can still watch the keynotes live, April 12 & 13 at 9am PDT (4pm GMT), via live.visitmix.com.

Published by Spooner

Creative Technologist at Microsoft in the UK working in the Developer & Platform Evangelism group, he is at the forefront of emerging technologies being developed across Microsoft and champions their deployment to developers and digital agencies. His work is focused around mobile, the web and Natural User Interfaces.

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