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back to article Microsoft tests HALF-INCH second screen to spur workplace play

Microsoft Research has detailed a tiny device called “Picco” that pipes sketches to users to make the workplace more feel more intimate. Detailed here in a research paper titled “A Small Space for Playful Messaging in the Workplace: Designing and Deploying Picco”, Microsoft Research explains that Picco is “a tiny situated …

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Sorry no pay rise again this year. Here is a better smiley face thingy though to keep you happy. Now get back to work bitch...

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Ahh, bless 'em

Having only just heard of the smartphone, microsoft see the big players like Google, Apple and Samsung all bringing out wearables and realize they are as usual a decade away from catching up. So here's their quick n dirty "me too" offering they hope no-one will see through...

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Re: Ahh, bless 'em

So at least we now know what became of all those bloody irritating Tamagotchi things from a couple of decades back...

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Re: Ahh, bless 'em

It's worse than that. It's the physical manifestation of Microsoft Bob.

This is just the first step. Version 0.1. An alpha. Just like how Skynet started out as a chess program*

I'll get the cyanide if you arrange the safe house.

Steven "OH GOD IT'S STARTING" Raith.

*depending on whether you class TSCC as canon and how you interpret where the story was going, etc. It's certainly better canon than T3, put it that way.

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And yet another thing to distract from work*. 5 years ago, I could quite easily say "this is a no email/phone day", put the phone on do not disturb and only check my emails at 5pm.

Nowadays, if people don't get an immediate reply to their email, they IM, and my browser beeps and pops up the message, regardless of what workspace I am on. Worst of all is flowdock, which I'm now mandated to be on several flows, most of which are irrelevant but still cause browser notifications to pop up - "@everyone ready for the call?" - not a call I'm on, but thanks for disrupting my thought processes to remind people about a meeting in their calendars.

Then, 3 minutes later, the same message arrives in your inbox and then your phone. Gaaaaaaaa!

* He says, posting on the register....

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Paris Hilton

Re: Ahh, bless 'em

Skynet started out as a chess program

Pretty sure that meme is from the original Tron. Only in the 80's would it seem remotely plausible to build General AI on chess,

(Insert obligatory Clippy reference to keep on-topic)

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Re: Ahh, bless 'em

DestroyAllMonsters - in TSCC, a character builds a chess computer which is a bit different because it's designed to adapt in a manner similar to that of a neural system; one of the lines is that if you feed it a problem one day, it'll fix it one way. If you feed it the same problem the next day, it'll fix it a different way. And that sometimes it can't fix it at all - as if it has good days, bad days, and has moods.

That was the important MacGuffin they added in to make it a bit different to the normal 'chess = intelligence' thing - it was the manner it went about the fixing that made it different/dangerous.

I thought it was a nice touch anyway.

God I'm such a nerd :-D

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Anonymous Coward

And in the mean time

our planet is facing extended famine, destructive wars, precious resources exhaustion and lots of other nasty things while we as a brilliant race when we're not killing each other, we are wasting our brains on all sort of silly things.

Appalling!

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Happy

Re: And in the mean time

So why are you typing on a IT forum instead of working to end the above?

Get yourself on TED and you'll realise happiness bears little relation to wealth. (check out the speeches by monks and you'll see why).

Now come here and have a hug.

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Re: And in the mean time

I feel the same way about the actual raw resources that go into crap like this, and countless other swathes of useless plastic junk that never needed to exist. All to be tossed in landfill a year or two down the road.

It's not all going to last forever, we may as well make things that aren't totally awful.

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Re: And in the mean time

Get yourself on TED

TED is part of the problem. It's a particularly gluey manifestation of "I have the solution to Good Living" happy happy wiki wiki mindset.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, this brings me back

A useless gimmick being deployed in a pointless, wasteful attempt at sidestepping relevant issues? For some reason it reminds me of my previous job. I wonder why?

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Re: Ah, this brings me back

"A useless gimmick being deployed in a pointless, wasteful attempt at sidestepping relevant issues? For some reason it reminds me of my previous job. I wonder why?"

The above statement made me think of any Government 'initiative' I've heard about in the last twenty years. i.e. Alcohol, Social Services, etc. etc.

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Microsoft still have Apple Envy

It looks a bit like an original Mac.

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How long until

...it's made to display a crude line drawing of a dick and balls

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Re: How long until

That would be about 2.3 "picco" seconds.

*Kudos on the username, love that book!

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Re: How long until

Ideally one would wait until an important customer or member of senior management was at said colleague's desk.

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What?

Really?

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Re: What?

Yes, really!

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Workplace play?

Didn't they try this before?

First time it's called Microsoft Bob, and second time it's called Office Assistants.

The ladies may like it, but the men...

Also, I agree with Hero Protagonist. How long before it's being abused to send bangers and balls to people you don't like in the office?

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Mushroom

Re: Workplace play?

They can also probably expect a call from some Japanese lawyers from Bandai - it's a net-enabled modern reincarnation of a Tamagotchi.

And we all remember how bloody irritating they were...

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Sorry - a HALF inch screen?

I would have though 1" would be about the minimum for a useful display given that current 'smart watches' seem to be at least 1.25" (e.g the Pebble).

I will actually be interested what becomes of this. It's not the kind of thing I'd use but I'm curious as to what it will actually do and how well such a small screen will work. Could you even make out a half-inch screen from normal monitor-viewing distances.

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it's probably some nsa requirement.

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About the most pointless idea I have heard of for a long time

A separate little standalone display (no matter how cute) is precisely what my cluttered desk does not need! Besides, everyone these days has a smartphone (or two) that can do what Picco is supposed to do, if someone writes an applet for exchanging the doodles. It probably could be done even with a HTML5 web page.

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Instead of drawing a stupid face

someone could just call that person instead.

My wife sendinng me a photo of her tits would make me feel an intimate connection with this thing. Bob smith from accounts sketching a smiley wouldn't.

Seems like some NSA-ready tool to help them correlate your mood with with your actions... and it's a bit big for what it is, especially with smart watches on the horizon...

...also how long will it be before people start sending dick images to people when they see their boss over at their cowokers desk?

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This looks to me like the physical incarnation of the Microsoft Office Assistant. I knew we weren't rid of that one yet.

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Whatever next?

Someone might just come up with some software that allows you to split your computer screen into smaller 'windows' and a fixed size one of those could be used to exchange these sketches.

I seem to remember writing one of those on W3.1 - it could do text too!

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Re: Whatever next?

You have the answer!

This is a rather crappy workaround for the limitations of the !metro UI, isn't it?

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April fools?

I hope this is all about April fools (either too early or too late.....)

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HR Nightmare

This has got early P45 written all over it. It's going to take about 10 minutes for someone to send something non PC for the whole company to wander past and see. I'll stick to my USB controlled foam missile launchers...

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Re: H&S Nightmare

Where I work foam missiles would mean I would have to raise a near miss, lord knows what will happen when they find the shock tanks we now can't take out for fear of someone pointing and yelling UNSAFE!

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We all mock at such a simple thing...

...but for those old enough to remember, I have one word.

Tamagotchi !

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FAIL

Nope

Too small to draw a standard comedy cock on therefore useless.

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Problem thingy in the making

Admitting for an instant that this thing has a snowball's chance in Hell to get purchased and deployed inside a Fortune 500 company, I wonder how long it will take for the suits to take it over and declare it be used for corporate-only internal something-or-another, and transformed into a corporate bulletin board of some kind.

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Facepalm

Microsoft shoots, and misses.... again...

A limited use 'social' 'app' that depends on special hardware?

Somebody will make a mint on this in the future 'Probably involving a documentary about mining a landfill in the desert after a myth' That's never happened before, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Am I the only person

who wonders why it has to be a separate physical device?

I'd have thought the bright minds who brought us those operating systems might have had it y'know, pop up in a little area like a er window in a corner of a bigger screen...

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WTF?

*headinhands*

Do Microsoft NEVER learn?

Don't they remember the failure that was Vista SideShow?

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Coat

They don't. It has now become Windows Side Show.

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Since this is an MS Product

I take it you'll need 1 for each contact on your contact list, How else would you tell which one it's from !

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Since this is an MS Product

Don't forget a license for every contact!!! And somehow mangled by some other confusing licensing hooks that even MS reps can't decode...

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Underpants gnome diversified business plan

Step 1: make millions of little screens

Step 2:

Step 3: Profit!

Sounds like a slightly less fun version of http://littleprinter.com/

Is this actually the result of a brainstorming session to think of a way of using excess stock of obsolete tiny screens?

But if it takes off and after years of development I suppose in some sci-fi-inspired future it may be commonplace for people to carry about wireless full-colour touch-sensetive screen gadgets for communication & time-wasting purposes.

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Logitech beat them to it

"Research?" Nothing original here.

http://www.logitech.com/en-gb/products/keyboards/articles/554

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Inch?

Aren't inches those things they used to use in the Middle Ages to measure something or other? How very Olde Worlde.

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Anonymous Coward

Knowing the sad cretins I call mates, the poor little bugger would spend his life displaying crude drawings of genitalia!

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If it's anything like my office.

Small penis drawings popping up all over the place.

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forget it, MS

==-

Looks like another Ballmer idea. NO ONE will buy this.

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