Saturday, July 6, 2013

BUILD 2013–3D Printers Everywhere


One of the most eye catching things I saw last week, at Microsoft’s BUILD 2013 conference in San Francisco, was how 3D Printing was everywhere.

As may know, Windows 8.1 brings native, seamless support for 3D printing. You will be able to send your 3D print files directly to a 3D printer just as you currently do with any 2D printer. This is actually amazing, considering that 3D printing is still in its early stages.

BUILD had one big room dedicated to device showcase and partner’s displays, and let me tell you, I have never seen so many different types of 3D printers and so many people into it under one room. Every one was super friendly and willing to share their print-outs, models, advise and services.

I thought that the best way to share this with you, was with as many pictures as possible, so check them out!

Up Mini 3D Printer – Up 3D USA


Fabster 3D Printer



Netfabb Private


Type A Machines



Cubify 3D Systems






Cubify + Kinect Live Printed from a Kinect-scanned person!


Xbox Music Pass Available on the Web


Just received an exciting notification from my Xbox Music service communicating that the Xbox Music Pass is now on the web, allowing you to stream millions of songs through your browser, from any device. Best of all? No annoying ads!


The web streaming service completes the overall cross-device offering. Now you can stream and sync up your music on your Xbox, Tablets, PCs, mobiles and the web, making it one of the most compelling music services in the market. Don’t believe me? Try it for your self. You can get a 30 days trial. I use several other services including Spotify, and although the social features are quite good, I often struggle to find some of my favourite music, specially if it comes from non-English markets.


You can explore albums, artists, and songs. You can easily browse and jump to specific names and the search works as expected. You have access to all your playlists, and you can create and modify them on the fly. Which means that you can setup your playlists before getting home, in preparation for your dinner party.


Interesting enough, at home, we are heavily using our Xbox  as an entertainment and music system. It allows us to stream all the music we like, with big screen visualizations and a decent sound system. Sure, it is a subscription service, but so far, it is one of the best-value subscriptions I have.


Let me know your thoughts about it. And please share your experience with other services to have as a reference.

Unboxing the Acer Iconia W3

Last week I had the opportunity to attend BUILD 2013 in San Francisco, where Microsoft was bold enough to offer not one, but two tablets to every BUILD attendee! This is a picture-post on the Acer Iconia W3 unboxing for your delight, one of the first small tablets running the full Windows Pro in an 8” tablet.

Acer Tablet and Keyboard


The Tablet





The Set





First Impressions

So far I have been enjoying the tablet. Most of all, the small factor makes it really comfortable in portrait mode, which is great for reading and browsing through content. The performance is relatively good, although not close to the Surface Pro.

The only downside I can clearly see at the moment is the poor screen resolution. The keyboard form factor is a bit weird, although might be convenient if you plan to write a lot on it. So far, I used as a more-portable tablet.

As I develop and deploy application, I hope to be able to tell you more about it. Cheers!

Unboxing the Surface Pro

Last week I had the opportunity to attend BUILD 2013 in San Francisco, where Microsoft was bold enough to offer not one, but two tablets to every BUILD attendee! This is a picture-post on the Surface Pro unboxing for your delight.

Surface Pro Tablet






Surface Type Cover




Comparing Surface Pro to Surface RT





The Surface Pro tablet is heavier and thicker than the Surface RT. However, the performance bust and the full Windows 8 capabilities are more than welcomed. The balance is great and the type cover makes it a great experience as a full, portable computer.

I’m already running Windows 8.1 on it, so I’ll keep you posted as I keep developing and experiencing the new OS and dev tools features.

BUILD 2013 – Windows Keynote Summary


Last week was an exciting time in San Francisco, the way it can only be for the techies around the world. Microsoft hosted its annual developer conference for the third time since BUILD came to life, and this time it took place in San Francisco, home of Apple and Google.

There is a lot of information in the web already, and you can go straight to Channel 9 to watch the keynote and the developer sessions videos yourself. However, I wanted to share a short summary from the notes I took during the first day’s keynote, most of it related to Windows and Devices.


Windows 8.1

  • Windows 8.1 Preview is announced and made available for download.
  • Windows 8.1 allows users to boot straight to the desktop.
  • Windows 8.1 brings back the Start Button, which can take you to the Start Screen of to the Full List of Apps.
  • Windows 8.1 improves the multi-screen experience, allowing different screen. resolutions, and making the transitions between screens automatically.
  • Windows 8.1 comes with the Bing platform deeply integrated.
  • Small tablets introduced and encouraged.
  • Window 8.1 improves the portrait experience.
  • Windows 8.1 improves the keyboard gestures, making it easier to type in landscape and portrait.
  • Windows 8.1 comes with lots of app improvements.
  • Mail App improvements.
  • Bing enhancements.
  • Xbox Music redesigned.
  • Music playlists can be now generated from existing websites automatically.
  • Windows 8.1 enables home screen slide shows.
  • Windows 8.1 allows to open apps from lock screen without having to log in. Perfect for answer calls or seeing calendar appointments.
  • Swipe up from Start Screen to reveal full list of apps installed on the system.
  • Animated backgrounds in the start Screen.
  • SkyDrive deeply integrated within the OS to provide a seamless experience.
  • Hands-free camera gestures introduced. Specially handy for presentations.
  • Snap functionality now allows apps to take any size of the screen.
  • Multi-screen apps, effectively allowing multiple windows to run at the same time.
  • Power Point heavy enhancements, specially regarding transitions.
  • Windows 8.1 supports native 3D printing. Works like sending documents to any normal printer.

Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio 2013 preview announced and available for download.
  • Lots of new tools for performance and energy consumption analysis.
  • Async debugging improved. Amazing feature set for developers.
  • Push Notifications embedded within the IDE. Incredibly easy to set up and test.

Windows Store

  • Windows Store redesigned to provide a more compelling and personalized experience.
  • Windows Store picks for each user. Personalized experience.
  • New generation of Windows apps will be available, including Flipboard, Facebook and NFL Fantasy Football.
  • App updates are automatic in Windows 8.1, removing the need for the user to be constantly updating apps, and ensuring developers that apps will always run the latest version.
  • More than 100K Windows Phone apps in the store.

Graphics and Gaming

  • WebGL now supported.
  • MPEG Dash supported.
  • DirectX Tiled Resources and high resolution games in Windows 8.1 and Xbox One.
  • Project Spark presented. Crowd goes wild!

Bing as a Platform

  • Bing now available as a platform for developers to create tailored search experiences based on the platform.
  • Bing as a platform offers semantic search for developers.
  • Maps with 3D support.
  • Scan, extract and translate functionality.
  • Voice commands.

That is a short, bullet-point style summary of the keynote. You can watch the full video online at Channel 9. Hopefully, I’ll be blogging as much as possible about the Windows 8.1 updates as I play more and more with them on my tablets.

See you soon!