“You got your head in the clouds and you’re not at all what you seem”…
I had the pleasure of attending a very special do on London’s Southbank on Friday for Microsoft’s UK division, with the aim of exploring their longstanding, yet seemingly under-appreciated SkyDrive service. Joining a group of tech-focused bloggers for a breakfast briefing at the Marriott County Hall (below), we delved into the ins-and-outs of all things SkyDrive and prepared for a head-to-head competition – using it to seek, capture and share the City’s landmarks with speed and style.
Just another cloud-storage product? I had thought so. And by seemingly general consensus, so had the group! What we discovered however, was a feature-rich photo-sharing service (complete with quick shoot-and-upload apps for both iPhone and Windows Phone) that makes it easy to save and share individual shots – or even entire galleries (below) – with your friends, family or the world…yes, even those NOT on Facebook.
There’s no need for a Hotmail account (major plus!), you just need to get yourself a Windows Passport/Live ID (which can be linked to any of your existing addresses) and you’re in.
Far from being a static storage device, SkyDrive incorporates Microsoft’s Web Apps, which pack some remarkable features for collaborative editing of workplace Office docs. Word appeared smooth upon demonstration, with clever tools such as the ability to assign certain paragraphs of text to individual people for editing, and a lock-down/notification system that prevents accidental cross-editing and informs the group of rewrites in-progress and completed revisions.
Personally, I struggled using Web Apps to create a PowerPoint presentation for the day’s second challenge, but would highly recommend the service’s photo-sharing feature, which with its gallery lightboxes and simple sharing options (send to any email / post to Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn / get a link for Twitter etc.), plus permission toggling (can edit/must sign in), appears well polished and would make management of larger online photo collections in particular much easier to juggle.
Post briefing, we took our newfound knowledge and put it to the test, with a shoot-out in a private capsule on the London Eye! One lucky winner would take home 2 x Nokia Lumia 800s with Window Phone. Juggling bubbly and photography, we sought out, captured, and tweeted like mad, hoping followers might be able to not only recognize our landmarks, but tell us where they were shot. Yes, that’s what all those random tweets were about Friday…and knowing that followers of MTN are largely US-based (and prolly not even awake yet), I mostly forgive you for not responding.
Next up…battle two. Armed with PowerPoint, we all had 30 mins to create presentations of our experience – vying for a brand new Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook. Utterly surprised by the quality of my fellow bloggers’ slideshows, and personally thwarted by the aforementioned technical problems, I conceded defeat. Again. So yeah, no giveaway prizes I’m afraid.
Finishing up with a spot of fine dining, fantastic views and great conversation at the top of the Oxo Tower, the sun had set and it was time for us to part…until next time!
A special thanks to Ian Moulster from Microsoft UK, Andrew and Emily from 3 Monkeys and all the amazing bloggers that made it such an enjoyable day. And thanks to our pro-photographer, we even have pics of the action. Enjoy…