Here at the Microsoft PDC event, there are about a dozen Microsoft Surface computers spread out around the center, open for anyone to sit down and play with. Put simply, they are nearly endless fun.
They are currently running an application that streams photos and tweets that contain a specific hashagged tweets in a scrolling fashion across its, well, surface. It looks like this:
The selected hashtag is, unsurprisingly, #PDC09, the tag for this conference. The tweets that are loaded, contain the username, and users avatar image. The message is displayed next to both, and looks like this:
The effect of watching the conversation flow as an actual stream of updates (not stop and go as on other clients, such as TweetDeck) is quite hypnotic. The stream is not “live” at the moment. Microsoft has uploaded perhaps a few hundred tweets to be used a demonstration. But, it is easy to imagine what this would look like if it was in fact, real-time.
If Microsoft builds this to work in that fashion, the Surface would become the single best way to monitor a brand or event in realtime, that exists. Of course, Surface computers are still few and far between in the real world, but the future is here to look and touch. If you are at the #PDC09, be sure to stop by and take a look. For everyone not around, I will try and get a video of it in action.
As a quick aside, the Surface seems to have become quite a bulletproof platform. Myself and @JF from Microsoft played a short game of snagging all incoming tweets and images and piling them in the middle of the Surface, not letting any actually scroll on past. Four hands and dozens and dozens of images and tweets piled, and the Surface just chugged right along without on bit of lag to be found.