Tag Archives: microsoft

Microsoft surfaces in Vegas

Now that touch screens have hit the masses via cell phones, it looks like touch tables may be next. There has been buzz about the Microsoft Surface Tables for awhile, but it still seemed like something only tech geeks would talk about. Until now.


With Vegas hot spots like Mandalay Bay, the Palms and the Wynn stealing most of the spotlight, the Rio hotel and casino rarely makes it onto the buzz meter. But the Harrah’s owned property is making some smart decisions to earn cool points with hot new technology. According to this report on bub.blicio.us, Rio’s iBar features six of Microsoft’s Surface Tables that allow customers to use touch screen technology to do everything from watch YouTube videos, order drinks, play games alone or with friends, and even send pick-up lines and drinks to people at other tables.

Aside from custom content for Rio, several of the applications include branded content, like the bowling game using a lime to knock down empty Patron bottles.


This is a smart move for both Rio and Microsoft. Rio has a chance to gain some popularity by being a leader with this new technology and Microsoft has a much better chance of making waves in popular culture by allowing people to play with the product (why do you think Apple stores are always so crowded?).  The surface table interface clicks at the casino by delivering two critical benefits – interaction and customization:

  1. Interaction – It encourages people to further engage in an already social environment
  2. Customization – It offers highly personalized content through an entertaining and easy-to-use interface

Microsoft Songsmith

By now you’ve probably at least heard of Microsoft Songsmith, the software that creates music when you sing into your computer. The products was introduced to the world earlier this month via a four-minute video that shows how a jingle-writing dad and his clever daughter are both able to benefit from the software.

The video is getting panned in the media and around the web. Even the New York Times has taken notice. In an article published last week, NYT writer Randall Stross references Sunsan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on Camp that identifies a “category of art that isn’t campy, just ‘bad to the point of being laughable, but not bad to the point of being enjoyable.’ The Songsmith video is exactly that.”

Microsoft was apparently not kidding about this product, but thousands of other people are. Thanks to YouTube, there are already dozens of paradoies online, including several gems of remastered classis like “Wonderwall” by Oasis, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “White Wedding” by Billy Idol, all made using the Songsmith program.