Sunday, 28 October 2012

Windows 8 Launch Party

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What an exciting weekend! I was lucky enough to accompany Nathan to the Windows 8 Launch party in London. Since he has an app in the app store in time for the launch ( Interference)  he is now part of Window8 Elite and got an invitation - with two tickets.

I have never been to anything like this before - so I thought it would be interesting. For a start the place where it was happening was not some swish hotel or high tech office block - but an old school which has been transformed into into a designer work space, called Modern Jago   in the heart of arty Shoreditch. Walking there we went past numerous art studios, video suites and print rooms, until we followed the fairy lights and entered Modern Jago. We had to hand in our tickets outside and get our hands stamped with a J, first though.

 Then as we went through the door we were handed a cocktail. Not sure what they were but there was a choice of alcoholic or non-alcoholic - naturally we chose the one with a kick! There was an almost blank canvas on the wall by the entrance - the "Windows 8 Elite canvas" where we were invited to put our names and any little pictures we wanted to. I'm not sure where it will end up - but a few people had obliged already. I just drew a rabbit and wrote Bunnery - and later Nathan drew the Interference logo and put the web address for it on. :-)
As we looked around the rooms - there were three big ones with a few smaller ones off them, we saw that they had put quite a few distractions there for the guests. There was a scalextrix track - where they were holding a tournament - with the winner being awarded with an X-Box at the end of the night.

Design your own t-shirts!

The Windows 8 Elite Canvas

In the next room there was a free bar - where they were holding a Mixology Lab - you could learn how to make your own cocktails! I had spotted a side-room (which it turned out was actually their Boardroom under normal circumstances) where they were printing t-shirts, I dragged N in there and we discovered that they had screen printers set up with a variety of designs and colours and you could choose any design - or more than one - and put them anywhere on a t-shirt you wished. We had to have a go! There was a chap who gave you a plain white t-shirt, then you could ask the guys with the screen prints to put them wherever you liked. Then they were dried under a hot-air machine, before being handed over to you. 

I chose a cool red design for the front of mine - but N had designs front and back on his!

Cool coasters
As we looked around the space with its randomly-wallpapered walls and mix and match chairs, retro coffee tables and posh art magazines, we were offered drinks - beer or wine - at frequent intervals. We were also given food in the form of mini-meals! N had a mini sausage and mash and I went for the fish and chips. That was just three fat chips and a goujon of fish with Tartare sauce and a wedge of lemon. Also they offered mini-burgers, mushroom risotto and some kind of salad. Later they came around with mini chocolate cakes, each with a big fat raspberry on top.

One of the most exciting moments just after we got there was to see Interference on the giant screens around the room. They were cycling through some of the apps that the Elite had produced and Interference kept coming on. :-) :-)
We chatted with other app developers. We had met a few in the pub round the corner while we were waiting for this event to start at 4.30pm. N and they had geeked out - and I had had a very nice Cappuchino and understood about one word in ten!! I did ask a couple of them about their apps. One had produced a Font Selector app and the other a very useful School/Uni Organiser. From the look of it you could put in your timetables, when work was due in, revision, how far through modules you were. 
It was really interesting how varied the apps were! On the screen I saw word games, an anatomy app (quite gruesome!) and one called Nearly Weds which was a wedding planner. Some very talented people there!

My T-Shirt drying off :-)

Around 6pm someone rang a school bell and we gathered in the main middle room while Paul and another guy (sorry - can't remember his name) gave a presentation about Windows 8 and how many potential customers the app developers would have. He was encouraging everyone to build more apps! He also held a draw to give away 6 new tablets. He said that everyone's tickets had been put into the draw. A chap in front of us piped up that his wasn't in - before rushing up to put it in the bucket!

They had Cocktail lessons

Sadly we didn't win anything - but Chris from Lightwood Games (also based in Stoke-on-Trent) won one. And of course - the man who had just put his in the draw also won one!! After that the event began to wind down. There was more chatting and drinks, but then the main lights all came on and we took that as a hint to be on our way back to Euston Station!

It was a fun event - great for networking. N will be back there in less than two weeks for an even more exclusive event to meet Steve Balmer, the current head of Microsoft who is coming over from the USA for a special event - a showcase session showcase. Sadly I have to stay at home for that one.

Interference on the Big Screen!

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