Killer Vista app demoed

At SXSW I hung out in the hallways. That’s where you always see the coolest stuff. This year was no different. A couple of guys were introduced to me and showed me their new app that uses a variety of Web services. It’s from Thirteen23 and is a design prototype that uses Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation along with Web services from Flickr and Netflix.

You’ll see a ton of apps like this one this year from both Adobe and Microsoft as they try to convince developers to use their new platforms to build Rich Internet Applications. You can try these apps yourself on Thirteen23′s “labs” page. Windows Vista recommended (it works on other OS’s that have .NET 3.0 loaded, but was really designed for the Vista aesthetic and usage model). It’s the first set of apps I’ve seen that made me want to load up .NET 3.0, which is why I call it a “killer Vista app.”

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/04/PID_010777/Podtech_ScobleShow_Thirteen23_demo.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/technology/2597/thirteen23-demo-with-scoble-at-sxsw&totalTime=341000&breadcrumb=1b092433-c1f0-42b4-8ede-feb93250f821]

Comments

  1. Cmon. “Killer Vista app” demoed on a MacBook Pro, with a default OS X background, and the first app they demo is a coverflow ripoff. lame. Some decent stuff, but the presenter was terrible, saying “it does some cool stuff” doesn’t sell me. Where’s the passion?

  2. Cmon. “Killer Vista app” demoed on a MacBook Pro, with a default OS X background, and the first app they demo is a coverflow ripoff. lame. Some decent stuff, but the presenter was terrible, saying “it does some cool stuff” doesn’t sell me. Where’s the passion?

  3. While their demos look cool and executed well, they could have been done in Apollo too although auto-sizing is a rather large todo item. The annoying thing is that WPF is weak on web media integration (HTML and Flash in particular) and Apollo is weak on desktop media integration (Quicktime, WMV, desktop app file formats, etc.).

    If RIA takes off, consumers will end up with two or more gadget sets divided along the line separating the two camps: webapp-wannabe desktop apps and desktop-wannabe webapps. First camp will go with WPF and second to Apollo. Unfortunately, I think both camp will leave the user dissatisfied.

  4. While their demos look cool and executed well, they could have been done in Apollo too although auto-sizing is a rather large todo item. The annoying thing is that WPF is weak on web media integration (HTML and Flash in particular) and Apollo is weak on desktop media integration (Quicktime, WMV, desktop app file formats, etc.).

    If RIA takes off, consumers will end up with two or more gadget sets divided along the line separating the two camps: webapp-wannabe desktop apps and desktop-wannabe webapps. First camp will go with WPF and second to Apollo. Unfortunately, I think both camp will leave the user dissatisfied.

  5. This is a killer app?

    This is a rehash of about 10000000000 apps from 5 years ago.
    Booooooooooooooooooooooooooring.

    The only difference is that the “rich” media is taking forever to load. When before it used to load instantly. This is visual basic application level masturbation.

    We have an interface, it’s called a browser. Wow. I bet these guys have never heard of it.

    The “browser” TM, works and presents these sites in a consistent way, on Mac, Linux and Windows!!!
    The technology of the “browser” TM is staggering.

    If this is what WPF and Windows Vista has to offer, I am laughing my ass off.

  6. This is a killer app?

    This is a rehash of about 10000000000 apps from 5 years ago.
    Booooooooooooooooooooooooooring.

    The only difference is that the “rich” media is taking forever to load. When before it used to load instantly. This is visual basic application level masturbation.

    We have an interface, it’s called a browser. Wow. I bet these guys have never heard of it.

    The “browser” TM, works and presents these sites in a consistent way, on Mac, Linux and Windows!!!
    The technology of the “browser” TM is staggering.

    If this is what WPF and Windows Vista has to offer, I am laughing my ass off.

  7. It’s funny that this is the first SWSX news from Scoble since the event. Maybe that’s because he’s embarrassed that ValleyWag exposed him as a psychopath.

  8. It’s funny that this is the first SWSX news from Scoble since the event. Maybe that’s because he’s embarrassed that ValleyWag exposed him as a psychopath.

  9. *Dancing around on stage*

    “Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in!”

    Will it work on Linux? or even OS X? Will it work with Firefox? Will it work with the specialty browser and OS on my Nokia 800?

    Not to just pick on Microsoft: Why can’t I even VISIT the iTunes store on my Linux box? Will be interesting now that they are promising non-DRMed music to see if I can actually pay for and download such a thing without having any Apple hardware or software.

    Only Google is doing it right as far as I can see: Throw out some 80% complete application with a working API on day one. Wait for customer feedback and contributed “mash-ups” to roll in. What’s so hard to understand about that?

    Oh, yeah, no OS lock-in. What was I thinking? Sorry Steve B.

    And as #6 says, what we’ll get are a thousand different version of every interface right down to what my cell phone carrier and model number is.

  10. *Dancing around on stage*

    “Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in, Lock-in!”

    Will it work on Linux? or even OS X? Will it work with Firefox? Will it work with the specialty browser and OS on my Nokia 800?

    Not to just pick on Microsoft: Why can’t I even VISIT the iTunes store on my Linux box? Will be interesting now that they are promising non-DRMed music to see if I can actually pay for and download such a thing without having any Apple hardware or software.

    Only Google is doing it right as far as I can see: Throw out some 80% complete application with a working API on day one. Wait for customer feedback and contributed “mash-ups” to roll in. What’s so hard to understand about that?

    Oh, yeah, no OS lock-in. What was I thinking? Sorry Steve B.

    And as #6 says, what we’ll get are a thousand different version of every interface right down to what my cell phone carrier and model number is.

  11. If MS wants to speed adoption of 3.0, they should use it themselves. Vista’s iteration of Explorer is a nightmare due to the bugs in it, and a lot of them are related to improper datasource refreshing, which WPF handles very well (as well as asynch data fetching).
    Why would a company convert an app to it if MS won’t? Is it a performance issue (glass effects on WPF are brutally slow…maybe it’s because WPF is running on top of a GDI win manager, but it’s still a pain)? If so, why would I bet an app on it? If MS thinks Explorer is too much code to risk rewriting, again, why should another company make that bet?

    BTW: I used to be very pro-MS, but the quality of what they’re putting out is a big disappointment (do a search on “Xbox 360/Visual Studio 2005/Vista” + “problems/unstable/crap” and you’ll see what I mean). .Net 3 (.Net in general, really) is one of the bright spots in MS’ portfolio – an absolute joy to use – but as Robert’s pointed out to me several times, it’s a niche tech, and I think MS needs to shoulder a lot of the blame there.

  12. If MS wants to speed adoption of 3.0, they should use it themselves. Vista’s iteration of Explorer is a nightmare due to the bugs in it, and a lot of them are related to improper datasource refreshing, which WPF handles very well (as well as asynch data fetching).
    Why would a company convert an app to it if MS won’t? Is it a performance issue (glass effects on WPF are brutally slow…maybe it’s because WPF is running on top of a GDI win manager, but it’s still a pain)? If so, why would I bet an app on it? If MS thinks Explorer is too much code to risk rewriting, again, why should another company make that bet?

    BTW: I used to be very pro-MS, but the quality of what they’re putting out is a big disappointment (do a search on “Xbox 360/Visual Studio 2005/Vista” + “problems/unstable/crap” and you’ll see what I mean). .Net 3 (.Net in general, really) is one of the bright spots in MS’ portfolio – an absolute joy to use – but as Robert’s pointed out to me several times, it’s a niche tech, and I think MS needs to shoulder a lot of the blame there.

  13. “Rich Internet Applications”. Wazzat? They were talking about this in 1997.

    Oh wait, I see others also realized how you totally missed this.

  14. “Rich Internet Applications”. Wazzat? They were talking about this in 1997.

    Oh wait, I see others also realized how you totally missed this.

  15. “You’ll see a ton of apps like this one this year from both Adobe and Microsoft as they try to convince developers to use their new platforms to build Rich Internet Applications.”

    True, but I think that’s just slightly askew… Microsoft is paying people to show proofs-of-concept, while most of the Flex/Apollo work is happening by free choice among individuals. For “using their platform”, MS work requires buying into the MS codebase stack, while Apollo can use regular HTML/JS techniques and is just deployed further.

    Both technology families will have demo examples, true. One will be more inclusive; the other will have higher buy-in costs.

    jd/adobe

  16. “You’ll see a ton of apps like this one this year from both Adobe and Microsoft as they try to convince developers to use their new platforms to build Rich Internet Applications.”

    True, but I think that’s just slightly askew… Microsoft is paying people to show proofs-of-concept, while most of the Flex/Apollo work is happening by free choice among individuals. For “using their platform”, MS work requires buying into the MS codebase stack, while Apollo can use regular HTML/JS techniques and is just deployed further.

    Both technology families will have demo examples, true. One will be more inclusive; the other will have higher buy-in costs.

    jd/adobe

  17. John: these guys say they were not paid by Microsoft to do their app. But, overall I agree with you. Even when they aren’t paid they are given goodies like exposure in front of audiences at Mix, etc.

  18. John: these guys say they were not paid by Microsoft to do their app. But, overall I agree with you. Even when they aren’t paid they are given goodies like exposure in front of audiences at Mix, etc.

  19. As to the people who said this kind of app was possible years ago. That is probably true but to build an app with this kind of polish would have taken teams of designers and developers.

    And, I don’t remember Flickr or its API being around a four years ago.

  20. As to the people who said this kind of app was possible years ago. That is probably true but to build an app with this kind of polish would have taken teams of designers and developers.

    And, I don’t remember Flickr or its API being around a four years ago.

  21. I have to admit that the application looks great, it slides and fades smoothly, but I’m a bit dissapointed that it also looks so Mac-ish! Is it really the only thing Vista developers will produce? A copy of Apple and Mac apps?

    If we think about it, iTunes was one of the first modern RIA with the Music Store.

    Bah.

  22. I have to admit that the application looks great, it slides and fades smoothly, but I’m a bit dissapointed that it also looks so Mac-ish! Is it really the only thing Vista developers will produce? A copy of Apple and Mac apps?

    If we think about it, iTunes was one of the first modern RIA with the Music Store.

    Bah.

  23. Do you use a Tablet anymore Robert? I have been wanting to buy a tablet for a while now. Is the Lenovo one the best around?

  24. Do you use a Tablet anymore Robert? I have been wanting to buy a tablet for a while now. Is the Lenovo one the best around?

  25. met: unfortunately nope. I’m switching my life over to a 17-inch MacBookPro. Why? Simple: resolution.

    I really want a high-resolution tablet PC and would switch to it in a minute, but resolution trumps inkability for me. I don’t work while standing up and I am trying to travel less and less, so a Tablet’s ability to work in coach makes less and less sense.

  26. met: unfortunately nope. I’m switching my life over to a 17-inch MacBookPro. Why? Simple: resolution.

    I really want a high-resolution tablet PC and would switch to it in a minute, but resolution trumps inkability for me. I don’t work while standing up and I am trying to travel less and less, so a Tablet’s ability to work in coach makes less and less sense.

  27. Frederic: I see influences from Apple on Microsoft and Microsoft on Apple in terms of design (Apple TV’s UI was largely influenced by Media Center, for instance).

    I don’t think this is a bad thing.

    But the tools are there to do some wild UIs that look different than anything that came before.

    Oh, and Met, the Lenovo seems to be the best Tablet around. I’m sure someone will argue with me there, but my friends who have Lenovos are very happy.

  28. Frederic: I see influences from Apple on Microsoft and Microsoft on Apple in terms of design (Apple TV’s UI was largely influenced by Media Center, for instance).

    I don’t think this is a bad thing.

    But the tools are there to do some wild UIs that look different than anything that came before.

    Oh, and Met, the Lenovo seems to be the best Tablet around. I’m sure someone will argue with me there, but my friends who have Lenovos are very happy.

  29. JD, while depending on MS code stack is not ideal, .NET as a RIA platform enables access to wider array of functionalities on the desktop. Local audio and video recording, for example, is can be done in .NET (not as easy as one would like but at least its possible) but not in Apollo which currently supports only remote recording (higher network and server cost). What Apollo needs is a native plugin support (ANI?) through which native functionalities can be exposed.

  30. JD, while depending on MS code stack is not ideal, .NET as a RIA platform enables access to wider array of functionalities on the desktop. Local audio and video recording, for example, is can be done in .NET (not as easy as one would like but at least its possible) but not in Apollo which currently supports only remote recording (higher network and server cost). What Apollo needs is a native plugin support (ANI?) through which native functionalities can be exposed.

  31. A killer app is never a rehash of existing stuff.

    Name one thing the demoed apps can do that existing apps can’t.

  32. A killer app is never a rehash of existing stuff.

    Name one thing the demoed apps can do that existing apps can’t.

  33. “.NET as a RIA platform enables access to wider array of functionalities on the desktop.”

    True… if you write in an OS-specific language to an OS-specific runtime, then you can usually dig deeper into that system. Such an approach carries a host of security implications, though, as we’ve seen with the last decade of Microsoft work.

    (I’m not too sure you’re correct with that “cant write local video” angle, although local software-based encoders themselves may be the sticking point. Indeterminate, at least for me at this time.)

    jd/adobe

  34. “.NET as a RIA platform enables access to wider array of functionalities on the desktop.”

    True… if you write in an OS-specific language to an OS-specific runtime, then you can usually dig deeper into that system. Such an approach carries a host of security implications, though, as we’ve seen with the last decade of Microsoft work.

    (I’m not too sure you’re correct with that “cant write local video” angle, although local software-based encoders themselves may be the sticking point. Indeterminate, at least for me at this time.)

    jd/adobe

  35. #22: I get beat up when I say nasty things about Microsoft and when I say nice things about them. I can’t win. Heheh.

    I liked the app. I wish more apps had that kind of polish, and integration with other services. It’s a prototype, though, not really a full app that you’d use for anything.

  36. #22: I get beat up when I say nasty things about Microsoft and when I say nice things about them. I can’t win. Heheh.

    I liked the app. I wish more apps had that kind of polish, and integration with other services. It’s a prototype, though, not really a full app that you’d use for anything.

  37. Thanks for sharing the video Scoble. I think that the thirteen23 guys and their apps rock. These kind of applications and interactions were really hard to implement with Windows Forms. The thirteen23 lab guys did a good job of showcasing the interactions we can build with WPF. Their proof-of-concepts are definitely good to look at.

  38. Thanks for sharing the video Scoble. I think that the thirteen23 guys and their apps rock. These kind of applications and interactions were really hard to implement with Windows Forms. The thirteen23 lab guys did a good job of showcasing the interactions we can build with WPF. Their proof-of-concepts are definitely good to look at.

  39. Amazing. Power to designers. If it can’t be done in .NET 3.0, people like thirteen23 will find a way to do it in Apollo.

  40. Amazing. Power to designers. If it can’t be done in .NET 3.0, people like thirteen23 will find a way to do it in Apollo.

  41. They’d better not try to sell that coverflow knock-off, or use it to promote their business. Apple’s got patents on that.

    BTW, interesting to see that Scoble’s edging away from flogging that “tablet PC” horse now that he’s not working for the chair-tosser.

  42. They’d better not try to sell that coverflow knock-off, or use it to promote their business. Apple’s got patents on that.

    BTW, interesting to see that Scoble’s edging away from flogging that “tablet PC” horse now that he’s not working for the chair-tosser.

  43. Stephane,

    I’m not sure you’re correct that a killer app is never a rehash. Lotus 123 was certainly a killer app, and it was a knock-off of VisiCalc. The iPod was a rehash of music players, except that it was done far better than the ones before it.

    That being said, I agree that the stuff Scoble is gushing over here is entirely mediocre.

  44. Stephane,

    I’m not sure you’re correct that a killer app is never a rehash. Lotus 123 was certainly a killer app, and it was a knock-off of VisiCalc. The iPod was a rehash of music players, except that it was done far better than the ones before it.

    That being said, I agree that the stuff Scoble is gushing over here is entirely mediocre.

  45. My favorite “killer app” prototype was one I saw on Channel 9 from MSR that organized photos by selecting metadata tags. It would highlight filtered photos and bring them up front (the animation was nice but not over-the-top). I remember at the time thinking this thing should be the basis for an explorer.exe replacement…a much bigger improvement over the old tree paradigm than what Vista was able to come up with (I HATE the way they set up Programs in Vista…they’ve flattened it out a bit and made *typing* the primary input method for using Programs; talk about a misguided search strategy!)

  46. My favorite “killer app” prototype was one I saw on Channel 9 from MSR that organized photos by selecting metadata tags. It would highlight filtered photos and bring them up front (the animation was nice but not over-the-top). I remember at the time thinking this thing should be the basis for an explorer.exe replacement…a much bigger improvement over the old tree paradigm than what Vista was able to come up with (I HATE the way they set up Programs in Vista…they’ve flattened it out a bit and made *typing* the primary input method for using Programs; talk about a misguided search strategy!)

  47. Presentation layers, without infrastructural foundations, Apple-cloneish rehashing the past 5 years, with some Web 2.0 angel dust. Wheeee. PS – Old old news too. :)

    resolution trumps inkability for me

    Not me, but each to own, got desktop for res. Vista and OneNote 2007 has made Tablets actually functional (plus the Phatware apps rocking). That Windows XP Tablet Edition was a trainwreck mess, and Microsoft knew it too.

    He backs off, I back on, guess a good sign. ;)

  48. Presentation layers, without infrastructural foundations, Apple-cloneish rehashing the past 5 years, with some Web 2.0 angel dust. Wheeee. PS – Old old news too. :)

    resolution trumps inkability for me

    Not me, but each to own, got desktop for res. Vista and OneNote 2007 has made Tablets actually functional (plus the Phatware apps rocking). That Windows XP Tablet Edition was a trainwreck mess, and Microsoft knew it too.

    He backs off, I back on, guess a good sign. ;)

  49. “Dead simple” I like that. If these guys can squeeze some of the complexity out more power to them. Another positive is that they are from Austin. Nice to see some elegance emerge from central Texas.

  50. “Dead simple” I like that. If these guys can squeeze some of the complexity out more power to them. Another positive is that they are from Austin. Nice to see some elegance emerge from central Texas.

  51. Robert, nice as the Thirteen23 app’s are, they’ve relatively old (theres been versions since early ctp’s of WPF) and are more early demo’s than apps. If you’re interested in interesting WPF app’s, Tim Sneath’s blog @ http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/ is a good reference.

  52. Robert, nice as the Thirteen23 app’s are, they’ve relatively old (theres been versions since early ctp’s of WPF) and are more early demo’s than apps. If you’re interested in interesting WPF app’s, Tim Sneath’s blog @ http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/ is a good reference.

  53. Perhaps not a killer WPF app, but one I use every day is NoteScraps: http://www.notescraps.com.

    It’s a simple note-taking app that replaces the bits of paper and sticky notes hanging around the average Joe’s computer.

    Disclosure: I work for the company that created NoteScraps as a sandbox project.

  54. Perhaps not a killer WPF app, but one I use every day is NoteScraps: http://www.notescraps.com.

    It’s a simple note-taking app that replaces the bits of paper and sticky notes hanging around the average Joe’s computer.

    Disclosure: I work for the company that created NoteScraps as a sandbox project.