Mix 06
  • Live in Vegas
  • Remix MIX Contest Winners

    One hundred and six different ways to start a conversation, 17 different countries, 3 entrants going to MIX on the house.  As selected by the Remix judges...

    The Top 3 Remixes:

    Vegas Retro by TCarnright

    Mix 86 by Donavon

    Mixmas Tree by Sandra


    The Top Honorable Mentions:

    72 Hours by Zhivko

    A Different Angle by Jon Pielak

    Bubbles by Cheri

    Elvis Gates by Webmistress

    Horizontal Approach by Alpa

    Mix2Point0 by Scottmeinzer

    Mix Ubu Mix by Alan Sevajian

    My Vista MIX06 by Andy Parker

    oSpace by Trey


    The winner of the MIX06 Microsoft Gadget Contest:

    Yousef El-Dardiry


    Congratulations to everyone on an incredible experiment in design.  The level of quality, creativity, humor and thought that went into the Remixes is simply incredible.  The judges poured both time and reflection into their decisions'.  They did not always agree on what the best designs were, but there was a consistent amazement at the level of design excellence.

    It was extremely difficult to pick only three winners.  To those that were chosen, truest congratulations.  I look forward to toasting you in person at MIX.  To the Honorable Mentions, and all the other designers giving this their all, my heart felt thanks and admiration.  I wish there was a way to recognize in equal share the effort you put into this.

    The Remix has left the building - let the MIX begin!


  • Meet at MIX

    We've launched a new tool, Meeting Place, on our web site to better help you meet up with folks at MIX.  Go to https://content.mix06.com and fill out your professional profile that you can make viewable to other attendees who have also filled out a profile and opted to make it viewable.  Meeting Place allows you to set up times & locations to meet on-site at the conference.  This structured networking increases your chances of meeting people who have business interests in common with you, and takes some of the guess work out of who the key people are that you should be schmoozing with at the event.  Meeting Place, in addition to the session scheduling tool, will help ensure your time spent at MIX is chock full every minute so you can mute the siren's call of the one-armed bandits.  Have fun mixing-n-matching!

    Tag: MIX06; MIX   

  • Sandbox Learning Exercises posted in the Session List!

    Check out what Learning Exercises will be available in the Sandbox at MIX06. There will be plenty to learn! Just choose the Hands-On Lab in the Session Type drop down. Also, please remember that the Sandbox isn't just for getting your hands dirty with the specific technologies you learn about in the various sessions , but also it's also a place where you can demo your wares (Share Station), check out the features of new technologies (like Windows Vista and Windows Vista Media Center Addition, Ultra Mobile PCs and devices, etc), and work with the IE team in the IE Compatibility Lab. It will be fun! Looking forward to seeing you in the Sandbox.

    PS. We are also currently working on something specifically for you that you will find quite useful and cool. Hmm. Wonder what it could be...

  • MIX is MAXED

    So it's official - MIX06 has filled up.  We have hit capacity for our space in the Venetian Hotel in Vegas, the fire marshal says, ‘no mas', and now we have to close registration.  You can still join the waiting list, where you'll be asked for a credit card number for the conference fee, but no charges will hit your card unless we confirm your registration.  MIX is approaching fast (17 days but who's counting), so we'll let you know as soon as possible regarding your status.  We'll do another MIX conference in the future so be sure to register earlier next time.  For those who are going, I'll see you in Vegas for our groundbreaking, first ever MIX event.  We'll be the pioneers with the arrows in our backs.  Viva Las Vegas!

    Tag: MIX06'>MIX06; mix06 rel=tag>MIX06, MIX'>MIX

  • The Remix MIX Judges Announced

    As previously announced, we are sending three lucky people to MIX – this includes airfare, lodging and MIX registration cost.  In addition, we will also be giving each of the three winners a custom, Remix inspired Xbox 360.  The full details of the contest can be found here with a great thread on the contest here.  Also, browse the Remix gallery to see all the great entries to date.
    Today I am proud to announce the 5 judges that will be evaluating the Remix entries.  This is a stellar group and I'm grateful they have agreed to participate.  So, without further ado, here are your Remix judges:
    Eric A. Meyer – Eric has written five books and over 38 articles; most of which focus on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), their use and their application.  He is a strong and relentless proponent of CSS standards.  Eric is a former employee of Netscape, Case Western Reserve University, and The OPAL Group. He is currently a consultant for, and founder of, Complex Spiral Consulting as well as a founding member of the Global Multimedia Protocols Group.
    Dave Shea – Dave co-authored the highly influential book The Zen of CSS Design along with Molly Holzschlag.  Dave is the creator and cultivator of the highly influential css Zen Garden, which inspired our little Remix contest!  As well as being a member of the Web Standards Project (WaSP), Dave is also the owner and director of Bright Creative.  He writes about ‘all things web' in his daily weblog, mezzoblue.com.
    Molly E. Holzschlag is a well-known Web standards advocate, instructor, and author. Among her thirty-plus books is the recent The Zen of CSS Design, co-authored with Dave Shea. The book artfully showcases the most progressive csszengarden.com designs. Molly is an invited expert to the GEO and HTML working groups at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is the Group Lead member of the Web Standards Project (WaSP). A popular and colorful individual, you can catch up with Molly's blog at, where else?
    Dean Hachamovitch – General Manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer team and frequent contributor to the IEBlog.  Dean is at the very heart of Microsoft's efforts to improve and better secure the web experience for the hundreds of millions of IE users around the world.  A great introduction to Dean's vision is captured in this Channel 9 interview.
    Robert Scoble – Self described ‘Microsoft Geek Blogger', Robert recently co-wrote Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.  Robert has long been a prominent advocate of both RSS technology and the Tablet PC. While currently at Microsoft, he has previously been involved with both these technologies in a professional capacity at NEC Mobile Solutions and UserLand Software.  In addition to blogging, Robert is a key contributor of the hugely popular Channel 9 site.
    Each judge will be submitting their top 10 favorite Remixes in stacked ranked order.  I will tally these votes and determine the top 3 winning entries.  The entrants will be contacted via email at 12:01 am PST on March 14th and announced on the MIX web site the following morning.

    Tag: MIX06, MIX, Xbox360

  • The MIX Party Starts at 6 at TAO . . . is that AM or PM?

    Of course the primary reason to go to MIX is for all of the sessions you'll attend, the content you'll pick up, and the conversations you'll participate in.  But let's face it, the parties matter too!  And if you're a connoisseur of conference parties like I am (is that a good thing or a bad thing?), you're probably wondering how MIX will stack up. Is the MIX entertainment going to slot in somewhere at the level of a Styx reunion concert at an insurance sales convention (how many times can you hear Mr. Roboto in a 2 hour period anyway?), or is the event team really going to rise to the occasion and come up with something memorable?  Well, since I'm on the event team did you really expect me to go with the Styx option?  Of course not - the official MIX reception is going to rock!  We're holding it at TAO, the newest and most exclusive club in Vegas, in the Venetian hotel on Monday night.  TAO is a New York style hotspot and celebrity hangout brought to Vegas, and it is HUGE!  At 42,000 square feet, Tao's “entertainment complex is among the largest in the world and features Las Vegas' hippest nightclub, coolest ultra-lounge, largest banquet facility and of course, the hottest restaurant in town. Plus rumor has it that Microsoft's very own DrinkBoy has been tapped to create an exclusive, one of a kind original liquid concoction for MIX.  And for those of you who need something to tell the boss when they approve your expenses, I'm sure lots of legitimate networking will be happening at the party too; the waterfalls, century old woods and stones, and their hand-carved 20-foot-tall Buddha floating above an infinity pool will certainly help facilitate those profitable business connections.  So now you know: MIX is striving for new records in event entertainment, with a little something for every taste and desire - will I see you there?

    Tag: MIX06; MIX

  • IE7 Compat Lab at MIX06

    MIX06 will be a great place to learn about the latest technologies for building seamless, immersive end-to-end user experiences that reach your audience wherever they are.  And it's a chance to mix it up with leading designers and implementors from across the industry.  But we wanted to make good use of all of the IE team members who will be hanging out at the Venetian for the event, so the idea of the IE7 Compat Fest was born.  Internet Explorer is the world's most widely-used web browser, and IE7 makes significant improvements in standards conformance, bringing the goal of standards-first web development closer to reality.  The reduced need to hack around quirks in older browsers, however, means that existing pages written specifically for older browsers may render differently in IE7.  In addition, IE7 includes a number of new security features which may have impact on binary extensions such as toolbars, browser helper objects, and ActiveX controls.  Come learn about the potential compatibility challenges and lessons the IE team learned working with the top web sites and extension authors during IE7 development.  Come test your own content and extensions for compatibility, on machines pre-loaded with test builds of IE7 and compatibility testing tools.  Members of the IE team will be on hand to help you diagnose and debug any issues you might encounter.

    Come prepared to test your own site and extensions.  To best prepare before the event, you can review the following resources ahead of time:

    • Known Issues with Beta 2 Preview
    • Index of Documentation on Compatibility
    • IE7 Preparation Checklist

    Tag: MIX06; MIX

  • The Sandbox: A place to explore, learn, teach and relax.

    Want to play around with the technologies you've learned about at MIX while you're attending MIX and even after MIX has ended? How about doing so in a relaxing, non-laboratory, non-clinical environment? If the answer to either question is yes, then the MIX06 Sandbox is the place to be. We'll have more than 60 machines where you can sit down and play with “Atlas”, Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, RSS Platform and many other technologies. Each technology will have people from the respective product team on hand to assist and converse.

    Hey, are you interested in Windows Vista? Head on over to the Vista Lounge and see some of the super cool applications that partner companies are building to take advantage of some of the new features of Windows Vista and the WinFX platform. Check out Windows Media Center Edition demos and SDK walkthroughs. Heck, we'll even have some XBOX 360s for you to play with! 

    Do you have something you'd like to share with other attendees, like a cool app or design or just an idea or two? The Sharing Station in the Sandbox is just the place for you! Just bring your laptop, plug into the projection system, speak your mind, and show your stuff!

    Want to test your site with IE7? Visit the IE7 Compatibility Lab in the Sandbox and meet with the IE team, who will help you isolate, identify, and work out issues.

    The Sandbox: A place to explore, learn, teach and relax. Come on in and play.

    Tag: MIX06

  • Bolder and Bolder

    Take the next step.  Don't imprison your user experience in a tiny little box on the PC; set your user experience free!

    The days of the media-web-in-a-box are numbered.  Content is bursting out of the browser, onto the desktop, devices and into your living room.  I've talked about this in “Media, media everywhere, but why on the PC?” and “Extend Your Reach”. 

    The days of the static web page are over.  Yes, web is full of them.  However, if you want your site to stand out, you must take the next step.  The sites that make it to lists on Digg, Slashdot, BoingBoing and Wired are sites with compelling experiences and with messages that speak effectively to their users.

    Sites with these experiences are the sites that show up in posts on Scobleizer, Chris Pirillo, Dave Winer, Om Malik and other heralds of the next-generation web and technology experiences.  A little notice from the denizens of the blogosphere goes a long way toward building traffic and expanding a brand.

    We provide the tools and MIX provides the sessions to help you take this next step.  For Atlas, Scott Guthrie is presenting Developing a Better User Experience with "Atlas" where you'll be led through the construction of a mash-up.  For WPF, Filipe Fortes is presenting Developing a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Application for the ultimate in user experience.

    Users are ready and willing to take the next step. Are you?  Join the conversation. Register now.

    Tag: MIX06; MIX

  • Shoulder to Shoulder

    Designers design, developers develop; it's the way it should be.  Seems pretty obvious, doesn't it?  However, in the current version of the web most sites are designed by developers.  This is not always a bad thing, but largely due to the limited technological palette, most web sites look the same these days.  Most have:

    • Top, left and bottom navigation bars.
    • Content panes.
    • Search box.
    • Site map.
    • Bread crumbs.

    While these elements may make for a usable and mostly intuitive interface, there is little to differentiate sites from one another.  As many brands seek this differentiation in the marketplace, this approach does not maximize the branding opportunities on the web.  Let's face it: every news site looks virtually the same: headlines, columns, advertisements, a bit of media and lots of links.  If one site takes too long to load, there are several other options available.

    In the early days of the web, sites were little more than electronic billboards, populated with static links and images.  Today's media web offers so much more in the way of visual design and interactivity than was available in the last generation of the web.

    With the new tools available, designers and developers can work side by side in developing user interfaces.  These tools include the new Expressions Suite which is integrated with Visual Studio 2005.  We've included sessions at MIX 06 that highlight this collaborative approach, including “Expression Web Designer Overview” and “Introducing Microsoft Tools for Professional Designers: An Overview of Microsoft Expression”.

    Tool capabilities are an important addition to the technological palette. Sites that have windowed animations and interactive UIs certainly take the next step toward enabling media functions and rich interfaces.  By themselves, these tools don't speak to design.  Flash and AJAX applications are cool; they increase the palette available to designers.  Note that even with a better palette, a site can still suffer fatal design flaws, no matter how robust your tools are.

    So, do the right thing.  Engage designers. Differentiate your site.  Join the conversation. Register now.

    Tag Mix06

  • What can happen in 7.2 minutes? How about a new conversation.

    So, by now you probably have heard us say that we really want MIX to be a 72 hour conversation.  Well, we actually decided to start the conversations early.  So we stalked, er, I mean nicely followed some of our top speakers to capture the conversations they have with their co-workers, and then edited these down to a tight, compelling, dare I say hot 7.2 minutes (MIX = 72 hours, these = 7.2 minutes, get it???) of tantalizing geek speak each.  Think of these as appetizers, starter chats, to the main entrée conversations we are going to be having at MIX.  Of course the whole idea is to keep the conversation going, all the way to Vegas, so you can rap right now with some of these folks, via the web.  In case you're counting, so far we've posted conversations about Virtual Earth, IIS, AJAX, IE7, Windows Presentation Foundation, and what's involved with running megasites from the folks at Microsoft.com.  And of course, what kind of MIX team player would I be if I didn't say: stay tuned, there's more to come. 

    Let us know if any of these grab your interest, if they tickle your techy bone, or in other words if they are a conversation you think is worth continuing: 

    Tag: MIX06; MIX   

  • Media, media everywhere, but why on the PC?

    Once you get into the new “Whole Product” paradigm (see “Extend your Reach”, where I describe content delivered to multiple devices), you'll quickly realize: while it's cool to see a movie or a TV show in the palm of your hand, it may not always be the optimal experience for the content.

    I can hear “well duh” all the way from here. 

    Believe me: I'm jazzed that I can hop on a plane and watch “Firefly” (I'm such a fanboi) on my laptop.  When I get to my hotel room, I either plug the laptop into the TV or use my DVD in the room's player.  At home, I pry my kids off the XBOX 360 and watch Mal and his crew on the 50-inch in the media room with BIG sound.

    The scenarios I just described sound pretty commonplace, but let's look at the components. We have:

    • Laptop
    • Hotel room TV / DVD
    • Big screen at home

    In these scenarios, we mostly likely move the physical DVD between devices.  But, what if the content is provided by a download from a subscription?  First, we might add a desktop PC to the mix and then enter the mystifying and confusing world of digital rights management (DRM).

    I got 2/3 of the way through a rant about DRM and the complexities therein before I reminded myself: this post is not about DRM.  Please consider yourselves rescued.

    Let's say that we've navigated the rocky coastlines of DRM and now ‘own' the content we just downloaded.  We now get to choose the venue:

    • We might choose our home PC to manage our media subscription services.  It's centrally located, always on and can cache login information for others in the household.  It is likely the central point of download from a subscription service, but digital satellite and cable boxes can also come into play.  The PC may be relegated to file storage.
    • We might also choose our laptop to manage content for our own use, or the content we intend to take offline.  Collected and transported this way, the laptop also works nicely with the airplane and hotel room TV scenario.
    • We're going to a “Firefly” convention and we want to show off our new device to our fellow fanbois.  While not the best display venue (save for very cozy environments), a handheld device goes a long way toward cool at the conference.

    Venue selection plays a critical part of the user experience.  Given the option, I would rather watch my shows from the comfort of my couch, rather than at my desk.  While the desktop PC may be the best place to acquire the content, it may not always be the best place to consume the content.  Join the conversation. Register now.

    Tag Mix06

  • Services as a Platform

    Back in a previous life, I did lots and lots of system integration.  I was an early adopter and designer of the services orientation paradigm, and used this to great advantage in developing architectures to support exposure of legacy data to business and presentation tiers.

    There is a similar movement afoot in the web at this time.  Developers are producing applications that acquire information from disparate sources allowing users to customize their personal data experience.  Whether a web site presented on a PC or designed for a smaller form factor (like a device), users are assembling and requesting the data they want at the time they want it, something I refer to as “information snacking”.  I covered this more fully in my “Extend Your Reach” post a few weeks ago.

    We are in the sweet spot for aggregating applications at this time; there are a number of services available on the web, many for little or no cost.  Directories for these services are only a web search away; Google offers one, so does http://ideas.live.com.  Many providers are testing the waters to see what kind of revenues they can earn from providing accessible services to a composite application environment.

    These composite applications can be everything from simple aggregators to customizable portals.  Have you looked at http://live.com lately?  Once logged in via Passport, there is an entire page that a user can customize and have served in a web format.  Ditto on and http://my.yahoo.com/ (both also require logins).  These sites let our users select and customize their content, again, the data that means the most to them.  When the user comes to snack, this experience is exactly what they seek.

    A side note: as these portals and composite applications get ‘smarter', they'll start serving up mobile content for smaller form-factor devices.  Some portals perform do similar functions already: http://www.google.com/xhtml opens a small form factor page as does http://wap.oa.yahoo.com/.

    As I drift off into the Reach pillar, you might ask: what is my grail?  I seek a better experience for both for the developer and the user.  I seek the experience where the web server determines the target browser and provides the appropriate form factor to the device.  A little simplification, a bit of form factor magic, and you have a customizable, extendable experience to expose services.  Join the conversation. Register now.

    Tag: Mix06

  • The Web's Identity Crisis

    The web is deep in the throes of an identity crisis.  Hacking has become a for-profit business, with a large and well-funded criminal element attacking legitimate online businesses on a number of fronts.

    Despite dramatic security improvements, we are observing significant increases in fraudulent activities on the web.  Phishing and pharming are on the rise, and have the potential to curb confidence in e-commerce.

    On the Internet, users aren't always who they say they are.  An enormous number of fraudulent sites can be staged at lightning speed to capture unsuspecting surfers responding to catchy ads or to recipients of targeted email.  The sites vanish in minutes or hours, only to reappear in new forms somewhere else.

    You've seen the play: a well-formatted email from a major company warning you of some compromise or asking for a “security confirmation” of your accounts.  The mail has real logos and real links to security pages and disclaimers.  The link on the page leads to an official-looking site with more real logos and links.  Haven't seen one recently?  I captured one such instance in the “Scary Chase Online Phish” post on my personal blog just two weeks ago.

    Unhappily, it's easier to fall into this trap than you might think, and the damage may not immediately manifest itself.  Identity theft is on the rise, and the more data these bogus sites collect, the easier it is for the bad guys to refine an attack, sending highly-targeted emails to carefully-selected users with enough ‘real' data to appear legitimate.  This new attack is called “spear phishing”.

    Technology can help prevent fraud, but the most significant advances will come when we solve the problems created by the lack of an identity layer on the internet.  Once we positively identify users to sites and sites to users, we can reduce these risks.

    To meet this need, Microsoft developed InfoCard; an identity meta-system based on open standards.  The system integrates deeply into Windows and provides a method of unifying the identity systems available today in the Internet.  Any identification entity can be an identity provider, providing branding opportunities and significant enhancements for the end user.

    Steven Woodward posted about InfoCard last week in “InfoCard : A standards-based approach to User Authentication”, and we have sessions planned for the conference.  Join the conversation Register now

    Tag: MIX06

  • Design Your Way to Vegas

    Both the MIX team and the Microsoft Gadget team have launched contests that can get you to MIX for free.  The MIX challenge is called Remix MIX and was inspired by the amazing work in CSS design at CSS Zen Garden.  If you've never been to the site, you owe it to yourself to see the beautiful work being done there.  Check it out and you'll immediately understand what we are doing for our Remix competition.  We provide you with the CSS of our home page and you supply the inspiration and creativity to Remix the MIX homepage with your own design.  Three winners will each receive a full MIX conference pass PLUS airfare and lodging!  And wait, there's more!  We've also created three truly unique Xbox 360s “remixed” in the MIX theme; each winner gets to take one of these home as well (hello, do Microsoft employees get to enter?  J-e-a-l-o-u-s!).  We will have pictures and a video of the Xboxes up in a few days so you can see just how cool these one of a kind 360's are.

    The Microsoft Gadget team has also kicked off a cool MIXed up Gadget contest that will get you to MIX on the house.  They are accepting MIX themed Gadgets and will send one winner to Vegas on Microsoft!   

    So get involved in the MIX.  Your creativity might be your complimentary ticket to the conversation.

    Tag: MIX06