Microsoft Surface

surface The picture is part of a video which shows young ladies using Microsoft Surface to pick up men at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, technology has its limitations; I doubt I could successfully use Microsoft Surface to pick up beautiful young women at the Rio. Which probably is for the best, since I think my wife would take a dim view of that use of technology.

Back to grim reality. MSNBC has announced that it plans to use Microsoft Surface on election night (which can’t come soon enough for me) to track the electoral vote.

OK, but what is Microsoft Surface? This wiki article explains:

“Surface is essentially a Windows Vista PC tucked inside a table, topped with a 30-inch reflective surface in a clear acrylic frame. A projector underneath the surface projects an image onto its underside, while five cameras in the machine’s housing record reflections of infrared light from human fingertips. The camera can also recognize objects placed on the surface if those objects have specially-designed “tags” applied to them. Users can interact with the machine by touching or dragging their fingertips and objects such as paintbrushes across the screen, or by placing and moving tagged objects.”

Hmmm … sort of a Tablet PC? Indeed, as this MobileDevicesToday article explains:

“Tim Russert used a white board famously in 2000 to show the electoral map. Sharp observers know it was a Fujitsu Tablet PC in 2004. This year, move out Tablet, hello Surface.”

The article further explains the use of Surface by MSNBCs Political Director, Chuck Todd (aka Chuckie T):

“Electoral Map. Todd will use Surface to quickly and easily view historic voting results, polling insights and demographic data for each state. And by placing an object on the display, Todd will be able to instantly change the map to showcase results from previous predictions or to identify up-to-the minute changes.

Battleground States. This application will allow Todd to visually demonstrate the impact of various potential voting outcomes in key states and the effect they have on the number of electoral votes needed to win the election. This will be a great tool for Todd to lay out various electoral scenarios.”

But I agree with the author’s conclusion that while this is a “pretty cool and engaging use of the tech,” it “won’t replace Russert and his whiteboard in my heart.” I miss Tim Russert.

In any event, on election night you might want to tune in to MSNBC (guess what the MS stands for?) to see this use of technology. As for other mentioned use of this technology, try it at your own risk!

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