back to article Microsoft shows off Windows 10 Second Li, er, Mixed Reality

With the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update just two weeks away, Microsoft showcased on Tuesday more of the virtual-reality headset support that will be bundled with the software upgrade. Alex Kipman, a technical fellow with Redmond's operating system group, demonstrated for El Reg and other assembled tech hacks a …

  1. Youngone Silver badge

    This is great

    It looks to me like a division of Microsoft has been given some of the money Windows and Office make and told to go away and spend it.

    From my point of view it's quite funny seeing a huge company figure out what it's going to do next and failing so hard and so often.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: This is great

      For the next 'big thing' for most I suggest 3-D printing as more useful than VR. Before the down votes, I do not expect 3-D printing to be all that big outside of some engineering applications and small lot production. VR seems to have the same problem, it is useful in a few niches and basically pointless elsewhere. I could see a some justification in the future for more widespread adoption of 3-D printing but not necessarily mass adoption.

      The problem with determining the next 'big thing' is finding a product that either is very useful on its own merits or has significant advantages over previous technology. Any example of the first is a microwave, it is a very useful cooking device that has numerous advantages over conventional cooking for most people. Thus, a device people will accept as very useful and even necessary. For the second, smartphones have supplanted the old wired phone as it is more convenient and useful than the wired phone could ever be. Thus, drop the wired phone service and get/keep the smartphone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is great

      "it's quite funny seeing a huge company figure out what it's going to do next and failing so hard and so often."

      They haven't failed in much that matters. Windows 10 is on over 500 million desktops already, Windows Server and associated products like SQL, Exchange and Hyper-V continue to grow market share, and last quarter Microsoft overtook Amazon in cloud based revenue - and are growing much faster!

  2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

    Anyone else read that as "Windows 10 Fail Creators Update" ?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

      Anyone else read that as "Windows 10 Fail Creators Update" ?

      Yep -everytime. But is it a typo, or does fall mean fall, as opposed to Autumn.

      Or is 'fall' the typo?

      Enquiring minds say meh.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

      No, I momentarily read Windows 10 Second Lier and thought surely Liar is the proper spelling.

      Then I woke up.

    3. N2 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Windows 10 Fail Creators Update

      All the time, a *.* fail

  3. Lysenko

    TIFKAM redux...

    We didn't want to just build a new OS, we wanted to build a deeply human way of operating

    Cars steered by joysticks again. Operating a PC is a solved problem and has been for decades just as operating a car has been a solved problem since the invention of the steering wheel. There are niche uses for other approaches and I'm sure all the VR stuff is brilliant for CounterStrike, but for 90% of purposes "innovative user interaction paradigms" simply obfuscate things. MicroWriter, Dragon Dictate, Eyeball Tracking ... they were all meant to revolutionize the way we use PCs and they all comprehensively failed because they were attempting the equivalent of inventing a new alphabet for English or (worse), devising Esperanto. Cars require steering wheels, PCs require keyboards and English requires the alphabet I'm using right now.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: TIFKAM redux...

      Operating a PC is a solved problem and has been for decades

      Not really. It's been a hashed together solution...

      Cars are better designed, they didn't leave the reigns on for control merely because that is what people were used to. The steering wheel has evolved in design over more than a hundred years. Most of us still use keyboards with key layouts that are a design solution to the problem of mechanical typewriters jamming up.

      Just because a number of radical design change attempts failed doesn't mean the existing design is not in need of a rethink.

      1. Lysenko

        Re: TIFKAM redux...

        Most of us still use keyboards with key layouts that are a design solution to the problem of mechanical typewriters jamming up.

        Most of us still use an alphabet designed for engraving epitaphs on rocks with a chisel. Steering wheels were borrowed from ships and haven't evolved in any meaningful way since they were first adopted (except for power assistance allowing them to get smaller).

        Just because a solution is old and entrenched it does not necessarily follow that it needs a rethink, particularly when it is ubiquitous. One can argue that Kanji is a more efficient encoding scheme than the Latin alphabet but it won't make the slightest bit of difference. That is a solved problem. You can evolve fonts and over time maybe work in some pictograms like "emojis" and ";)", but "radical rethinking" is a counterproductive waste of time.

  4. Anonymous Blowhard

    "Your humble hack found it hard to even listen to his Microsoft handler, who became a disembodied voice once the set was turned on"

    This actually sounds like a good feature...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the development team are running a contest to see how long they can continue fooling the users that win x UI is anything more than a game for 2 year olds.

    I had the misfortune to have to use a win x machine a few days ago. Everything took 3 times longer than it should because of the crappy UI -first find the white on white scroll bars. They should concentrate on getting an easy, clear, workable UI - something like the ones used on win 7 or XP rather than trying crapp bells and whistles VR.

  6. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Nah

    If it ain't CSI I ain't interested.

    Gawd, many of those of us have read William Gibson and Iain M Banks and are still waiting for the stuff we read about 20 years back.

    I expected VR to be all done, finished and Google glasses by now ( or even in my 2 for one Specsavers goggles).

    1. RockBurner

      Re: Nah

      I'm still waiting for my AR-enabled contact lenses.

  7. James 51 Silver badge

    I can see the uses of AR in an office. I could have lots of floating windows with consoles, code, contents of stacks and debuggers and other stuff just there. All the cool interfaces I saw in university many moons ago might actually make it out of the lab. VR is just too anti-social for the office or even at home if you have other people who expect to be able to interact with you. However there is no getting around the fact that the keyboard is still by far the best way to enter large volumes of text into a computer. Even if voice recognition was 100% can you imagine writing large amounts of code that way?

    1. Lysenko

      AR in an office .... VR is just too anti-social for the office

      It's an artificial dichotomy really. VR is just AR with the augmentation dialled up to 100%. The potential to provide a fully re-skinned version of reality, transmogrifying your own PHB into the PHB cannot be overlooked or, indeed, resisted.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        AR could be transparent glasses with the office still visible. When I think of VR it is the helmet and headphones shutting you off.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Get the desk back

          I for one, will be glad to reclaim more desk space (so I can put my feet up).

          We've relegated the system box off the desk and out from under the monitor to the floor or elsewhere, the monitor has reduced in depth even if they are all pointlessly widescreen (bit of a step back there).

          Now all we need is a flexible keyboard that is resistant to coffee (to at least pint-mug depth) and a better solution to the mouse/trackpad type action that doesn't involve pawing at a huge screen (with grubby kit kat chocolate covered fingers)...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Barrier to adoption?

      In a world where, for many, personal appearance and style seems to be the most important aspect of life, methinks a lot of people won't be very keen on being watched while they're behaving as though they had St.Vitus's Dance.

      Filming an office full of randomly jerking business suits would make for a pretty bizarre video.

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I just get the feeling that VR is going to become the next 3D TVs, loads of hype now about how great it is but in a few years time the hype will have gone and the industry will drop it in favour of pushing something else

  9. Roland6 Silver badge

    MS really have lost their way

    "We just don't believe, right now, the state of the art in VR is such that it is an enjoyable experience,"

    So why MS are you putting such immature technology into the next Windows release and showcasing it as the reason why people should use this release?

    What is the value of Windows Mixed Reality to your typical Windows Home/Office user, who will using a traditional laptop/desktop with a non-touch screen, keyboard and mouse?

    Given the state-of-the-art, VR and Windows Mixed Reality should be an optional feature pack.

    Also given its been 5 years since MS introduced the Win8 UI/UX mashup to the world, why hasn't this been fixed? Doing stuff like this ie. support for VR/Mixed taking precendence over sorting out the UI/UX crap, just confirms that MS really have lost their way.

  10. johnnyblaze

    No point

    Really, just what is the point of all this VR/AR stuff for the average user? Gamers, sure thing. Professionals (architects, medical etc), yeah, I get it. For the average person - not a chance in hell. They will not spend this type of cash on something that would be consigned to collect dust after a brief few minutes (that's after they've bumped into everything in their lounge, broken the TV and trod on the cat in the process). Then they'll feel sick, throw up and never touch it again.

    Sorry, but this is not the next big thing. I got my brief fix with a £5 Google cardboard device last year. Moderately interesting for half an hour, but I haven't touched it since. I don't mind as I didn't spend much on it, but how they expect people to spend between £300-£500 plus hand controllers is plain delusional.

    1. YARR

      Really, just what is the point of all this VR/AR stuff for the average user?

      With AR you can sit on the same settee and watch different things on "the telly" at once, in 3D. Bliss.

  11. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    "Yeah, well, for us, it's like the 1990s all over again with 3D GUIs attempting a comeback albeit with more powerful and capable hardware."

    1. This.

    2. You still look like a dick using it.

    3. Whatever happened to all that "cybersex" I was promised 20 years ago?

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