Viva Las Vegas!

I’m sitting here at the airport waiting to board the plane for my flight to Las Vegas. I’ll be arriving in Vegas around 5pm today, and I’ll be hitting the ground running. The Student Insiders have some very cool stuff planned, and we can’t wait to share it with you all.

I promised that when I had my schedule of who I’d be interviewing, I’d share it with you.

  • Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research
  • Erik Nelson, Princial Architect, MySpace
  • Moe Khosravy, Program Manager for Codename “Dallas”, Microsoft

Joe, Jeremy and I will be live blogging both keynotes this week, and we encourage you to join us for those keynotes and partcipate in the discussion.

I’ll also be trying to track down the goods on Windows Phone 7 Series, Silverlight, and IE9.

Stay tuned for more this week from Las Vegas and MIX 2010.


Technorati Tags:  MIX10, MicrosoftSI

MIX 2010: 5 Days Away

Here we are, 5 days away from MIX 2010. If you don’t know what MIX is, it is a conference where attendees can engage with Microsoft and other industry leaders in conversation about the future of the Web, and boundaries between content, media and commerce, and the relationship between design and technology.

As a Microsoft Student Insider, I have been invited to attend MIX 2010 as a guest of Microsoft. I just found out late last night, that myself along with the other Student Insiders who will be attending, that we have been approved for press passes to the conference so we will have closer access to keynote speakers and other MIX presenters.

For MIX 2010, myself along with Joe Osborne and Jeremy Bray will be liveblogging the day one and day two keynotes. For those of you who follow Tom on Tech in your RSS readers, you’ll notice that the liveblogs have already been posted. These are there as placeholders for the actual events next week. Each keynote starts at 9AM PST (GMT –8), and I encourage all my readers to attend and to join in the discussion. At the end of this post are direct links to both liveblogs.

I’m excited to announce that I along with Joe and Jeremy have been given the opportunity to interview MIX10 keynote speaker Bill Buxton. Bill is a Principal Researcher for Microsoft Research focusing on human interaction and design. He is the author of an incredible book called Sketching User Experiences, and has received many awards from many prestigous organizations. You can read his full bio at Microsoft Research.

I will be interviewing many other MIX10 presenters and as soon as my interview schedule is confirmed, I will share it with you my readers.

To attend the day one liveblog click on this link:

To attend the day two liveblog click on this link:

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @tziegmann, follow hashtag #MicrosoftSI for everything Microsoft Student Insider, and follow hashtag #MIX10 for everything MIX2010.

Technorati Tags:  MIX10, MicrosoftSI

Get excited for MIX 2010


Microsoft’s web development and design conference, MIX, is taking place March 15th through March 17th in Las Vegas. This year’s conference will be extremely exciting with the announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series, more detail on Internet Explorer 9, and more.

I’m so excited about what will be happening at MIX, and I’m excited to announce that I’ll be attending MIX. I also found out that I’ll have the opportunity to interview such people as Bill Buxton, Scott Guthrie, and others that I have not yet been told about.

If you have questions for either Bill or Scott or anybody else that may be at MIX, feel free to comment below or send me an email. I’m tom at (tomontech) dot com


Disclosure: I’m attending as a guest of Microsoft through my affiliation with the Microsoft Student Insider program.

Microsoft Surface – What is it and how does it work?

While in Seattle for Student Insider training, myself along with Jeremy Bray and Ryan Bucinell were fortunate to be able to meet with a couple members of the Surface team.

Below are the two segments of the interview. Apologies in advance, the first few seconds did not record, but the rest of the interview did.

Total interview length: 30 minutes

Interview with: Mark Hopkins, Programming Writer and Luis Cabrera, Software Design Engineer

Part one:

Part two:

Sitting in the Terminal

Wow, what a busy last couple of days. It has truly been a fast paced whirlwind trip to Seattle for Student Insider training at Microsoft. I’m sitting here in the terminal waiting for my flight back to Phoenix, and looking out the gray skies and watching the rain fall.

I flew up here to Seattle on Wednesday in the early afternoon, and spent the last two days at Microsoft’s main campus meeting with people in Microsoft Research, Xbox, XNA, Office, Windows Azure, and meeting some more famous names like Scott Hanselman and Frank Arrigo (Happy belated Australia Day, Frank!).

I have been chosen to be Microsoft’s IT Student Insider. I personally think that the term IT Student Insider is somewhat ambiguous. I see myself as providing more of a broad perspective on Microsoft and their offerings, and also trying to focus in on how Microsoft products can help consumers and business users achieve their goals.

There are a grand total of 6 insiders in this first wave of the program. As the program develops and matures, I think that the number will grow and that there will be insiders across many areas at Microsoft. Below, I’ve listed my fellow Insiders, and their disciplines.



Blog URL

Twitter username

Ryan Bucinell



Patrick Godwin



Joe Osborne

Expression / Design


Jeremy Bray



Ashley Myers

Imagine Cup


Tom Ziegmann



I encourage all my readers to read my fellow Insiders blogs and follow us on Twitter. Who knows, we just might have some cool stuff to give away at times. 😉

I want to take a moment to highlight a fellow Insider, and his name is Patrick Godwin. When I had been told about the program, I was under the impression that it was for college students only. However, when I met Patrick, I found out that he was only 16. Yes, sixteen! Patrick’s focus is development, and it was very evident during our talk with Scott Hanselman that Patrick knows his stuff. I was blown away by how much he knows, and he has a real passion for Microsoft, and Microsoft’s development technologies. It’s great to have you with us Patrick!

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be posting more about training and some of the people that I met with. Until then, I want to say Thank You to Microsoft for hosting us, and I’ll be back soon.

Microsoft Student Insider Training – Day 0 – Welcome to Seattle

Well, after about 4 hours of travelling today, I’ve made it to Seattle.

Over the next two days, I will be at Microsoft’s global headquarters, located in Redmond, Washington. I’ll be meeting with people from all across the company, and will have the opportunity to join the Xbox team for a live taping of 1 vs. 100.

Upon arriving at my hotel this afternoon, I was greeted with an envelope containing a welcome letter from Microsoft, and a backpack filled with tons of swag.

In the backpack were the following things:

– ASUS eeePC 1005HA Netbook

– Flip UltraHD Camcorder

– Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

– The Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein

– MSDN Cup

– Some pens

– Microsoft Dynamics Pen / Flash Drive / Laser Pointer

– New Microsoft logo’ed backpack

After getting settled into my room, myself, along with two other Insiders who had arrived at the same time (Jeremy Bray of Global Geek News, and Ryan Bucinell of DreamInCode) decided to check out the Redmond Town Center area. After we walked around for a bit, we came back upstairs and chilaxed for a bit until Jeremy had to leave to meet some family for dinner.

Ryan, who had never been to Seattle until today, and myself decided that we’d go to dinner as well, and we made reservations at Anthony’s in Seattle. We had a great evening, great food, and great conversation!

Right now I’m working on getting my laptop all ready to go for tomorrow, and I think I’m going to get some sleep. We’re all heading to Microsoft at 8am.

To stay informed about what’s going on with me and the other Student Insiders, follow along on Twitter using hashtag #MicrosoftSI, and be sure to follow me directly, I’m @tziegmann, and to follow the blog feed, follow @tomontech.

I’ll be taking tons of pictures over the next few days, and you check them out by clicking here.


Welcome Back!

After an extended period of downtime due to my web server being hacked, Tom on Tech is back!

It is my hope that over the next couple weeks to get caught up with posts about Tom on Tech’s coverage of CES, as well as other tech news.

However, I’d like to take to this time to make an announcement. I have been asked by Microsoft to join a new program called the Microsoft Student Insiders.

Here’s the description of the program as provided to me by Microsoft.

Student Insiders is a new program that engages exceptional technical community leaders who voluntarily share their expertise. Insiders are a highly select group and represent the best and brightest technical students with excellent communication skills.  They are committed to community and to helping others. 

As early adopters of new technology, Microsoft Student Insiders actively communicate their experiences to countless of other enthusiasts. Through their extensive involvement and experience, Student Insiders solve problems and discover new capabilities, helping people get the maximum value from their technology.  Student Insiders engages passionate and inspirational students for a specific technology area and provides training for students to gain skills, network, and to grow their impact.

Myself along with 6 other students from across the United States will have the opportunity to work with Microsoft on ways to help you our readers in getting the most from your computing, gaming, and media experiences. While you might be thinking that this means that we are selling ourselves out to be mouthpieces for Microsoft, this is simply not the case. We, as individual blog owners, retain all editorial control over our blogs, and we can post content that is either favorable or unfavorable towards Microsoft. What we gain from the program is the networking and opportunity to become “insiders” in different areas at Microsoft, and we will use these opportunities to produce content that we hope that will provide benefit to our readers and the community as a whole.

I’d also like to take this time to disclose that as a part of the Student Insider program, Microsoft is providing me with an ASUS eeePC 1008HA netbook, and Flip UltraHD Video Camera. Microsoft is also flying me along with the other students to Redmond next week for training and to meet with people from different product groups. Microsoft will also from time to time invite us to different Microsoft-sponsored conferences, and if we attend, Microsoft will cover all expenses relating to conference attendance.

It is my promise to you, my readers, that I will remain as objective as possible, and will try to avoid bias (unless I’m writing a post where opinion is appropriate).

Look for more next week live from Seattle where I’ll be posting and tweeting as often as I can about the new Student Insider program!


24 Hours with Zune HD

Zune HD LogoOn Black Friday, I went to the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale to check out their Black Friday deals and to chat with the store’s general manager about an unrelated matter.

While in the store, I couldn’t help playing with a Zune HD while I waited to speak with the manager (who as it turns out, I missed by about 15 minutes). As I was playing with the Zune HD, I was approached by a store employee and we began to chat about the device and its software, and then he mentioned a sweet deal. Buy a Zune HD and get a $100 gift card for use at the Microsoft Store. After he mentioned that, I was hooked. I purchased right there on the spot, and I even spent a little extra to have a custom skin made for my Zune HD.

The Zune HD uses the NVidia Tegra processor which allows for 720p HD output (which requires an optional dock). Also used is flash memory instead of standard hard drives, which help to keep the device small and lightweight. According to Microsoft, the Zune HD weighs 2.6 ounces, and I can definitely say that it is lightweight. I could barely feel it in my pocket.

Once I brought my new Zune HD home, I downloaded the software from, and then connected the Zune HD. The software told me that my Zune needed new firmware, so about 5 minutes later, my Zune was all set to have content loaded. I loaded about 1000 songs, and a few movies. I also configured my Zune HD for wireless syncing so I don’t have to use the cable to sync content.

One very cool thing that I noticed was that since  my Zune was configured to connect to my wireless network, the Zune loaded information about my content. For example, I listen to the Eagles. When I selected the Eagles in my artist list, not only did it show me the albums on my Zune, it also showed me their entire discography, bio, and related artists.

Something else that I like is the screen. The screen on the Zune HD is downright beautiful. It’s an OLED screen, requires no backlight, and colors look stunning.

So far I’m very impressed with the Zune HD. I’m working on a detailed review, and should have it and pictures up by the end of this weekend.