A New Role on Media Cener

A quick update. I’ve made a small update ot the title. I’ve switched form the Project Management team to a Program Manager. What does that mean within Microsoft?

Well simply enough a Project Manager at Microsoft looks across the entire project. A Project Manager would worry about making sure everyone gets their work done. Writes their specs, hits coding milestones, tests, etc. The ownership is at a very high level.

As a Program Manager you spend your time getting very specific about features of a products or delivarbles. I’ve joined what we call our “Platform Team.” This team is responsible for making Media Center something extensible and ensuring that we have a usable and worthwhile development platform. I’ll be on the same team as Aaron Stebner and working closely with Charlie Owen and Micahel Creasy.

Specifically I will be owning Online Spotlight, The Media Center SDK, and a couple of other things I can’t quite talk about yet – but hope to talk about very soon.

I really excited about this change. I very interested in getting our development community excited about Media Center (including hobbyists and casual developers). I think there are also a lot of opportunities in Online Spotlight to do some very cool things – things I hope to speak about here.

To celebrate my change I have nine Windows Live Messenger invites that are up for grabs. All you have to do is tell me what you’d like to see out of Media Center community efforts in the comments. I’ll take honest feedback. Sarcastic comments might get you a laugh but not a Messenger invite. 🙂

Note: If you want the invites you need to send me your email address or have a linked address on your log-in. Can’t send one over if you don’t tell me how to get in touch with you. 🙂


Comments (17)

  1. anonymous says:

    The difference really depends on the group.

  2. MSDN Archive says:

    While the difference could depend upon group there really is a differentiation between job focus. Normally you are either one or the other type of Program Manager.

  3. Griffon says:

    I would like to see a transparent process for how things get to spotlight :).

    Interesting, where I work the meanings for program and project manager are completely flipped. Projects fit into programs, so the program manager has the over arching responsibilities.


  4. Jim says:

    I’d like to see a little more uniformity in the interfaces in the various services on the spotlight. Maybe some guidelines to the various partners. Some of the services in the Online Spotlight are ridiculously cluttered and hard to figure out. (I’m thinking especially of the MTV and VH1 services.) After working in the nice interfaces of the rest of Media Center, it’s jarring to stumble into an area where nothing seems to make sense. Also, the VH1 service is the only thing I’ve used in Media Center that actually managed to crash my machine.

    Hopefully, that’s somewhat in the scope of what you were looking for…

  5. edwardk says:

    In addition to talking about the features and functionality we’d like to see in Media Centre, a discussion group should focus on the dialog. It’s time we started seriously discussing the problems associated with online media. Specifically, lack of openness and incompatible DRM systems are serious problems that confuse and frustrate users.

    Example: My wife is an avid Mac user who loves iTunes. She was shocked to find out that she couldn’t burn an MP3 CD from the music she downloaded from iTunes. "Don’t I own this music?" she asked.

    I’ve purchased music from some of Microsoft’s partners before and now every time I try to listen to it I get prompted for a license. Sure I should have backed up my license folder, but give me a break, when I insert a CD in my drive, I don’t get prompted for a license. If I did, I wouldn’t buy CD’s either. As it stands, I won’t purchase content online until this problem gets resolved.

    The concept of information anytime, anywhere, on any device should begin with the media we use online.

    Solve the above problem and you’re guaranteed to drive traffic to Online spotlight. In fact, it should be a gate to Online Spotlight. ie. If you meet the bar in terms of adhering to an open DRM standard, supporting most, if not ALL devices, then you’re in. Otherwise, go talk to Apple, see if they’re willing to open their platform. <grin>

    BTW: It would be helpful if Microsoft were to adhere to standards as well. MP3, WMA? Beta, VHS ring a bell? Who cares which one’s technically superior, pick one and move on, it makes everyone’s life easier, especially my Grandma’s.

    There you go, let’s have a dialog.

  6. Janson says:

    Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll link here to a post on Chris Lanier’s post regarding difficulties of getting software add-ons accepted into online spotlight http://msmvps.com/blogs/chrisl/archive/2006/01/26/81911.aspx Is it really that difficult for third party apps to be accepted?

    From a more personal perspective, drive the extender route for the community, provide a way to turn other PC’s into Extenders (I have a feeling this is being worked on 😉 and also allow full media capabilities from XBox360. Some of the new ways in which the new apis allow the MCE excerience to be fully remoted to the 360 are cool… but not being able to play MPEG 4 based content such DivX is certainly not cool. Having to hack that with transcoding is a challenge, but yet an uncessary one.

  7. MikeA says:

    I’d just like to see the FOX Sports service in Online Spotlight show the scores of NHL games. They have them on their website, just not in Online Spotlight. Maybe before the season ends 🙁

  8. Tunji Afonja says:

    I think content providers and brands should be able to build additional content around their programming. Instead of tuning into abc to watch the rosebowl I should be able to tune in to USC or Texas media center tv channel such that as the game goes on I can do stuff like stream in the latest pics and other interesting content like accessing Player stats, web cams, order merchandise etc.

    My email is tj@gx-5.com. I would love to have the windows live messenger invite

  9. MSDN Archive says:

    Thanks all for the great feedback.

    One thing that caught my eye was the dialog that you were looking for in general. Would a chat or something work for you guys? Something where we could get online and tell us about the things you like or don’t like – and spend some time telling us about issues or anything you like to go over.

  10. Mark says:

    I’d like to see more integration between the Media Centre and the other Microsoft products such as Messenger, live.com, live mail, even the office family. I don’t know if this will come with Vista but a 10 foot interface would be great. For example you can get a cut down version of messenger in MC, which is fine but it’s incompatible with the standard version or the current beta for that matter, so you have to log on separately. The thing I find most annoying is if I want a video conversation I’ve got to close MC down. Whilst I can view my hotmail (is there a reason I have to log on every time?) I can’t send one. Live.com is great but why not an MC version of it?

    With online spotlight I’d like to see a closer match in content to what I can get from the various broadcasters web sights. I’m from the UK so the BBC is a good example, BBC News online spotlight is great, but I want to be able to stream a podcast from Radio 4 or watch trailers or even old episodes of programs I might have missed. Surly if I can get it on the web I should be able to get it via online spotlight. BTW do you know when Sky by Broadband will be available via online spotlight?

  11. Janson says:

    I think a chat would be a great idea. Something more ‘realtime’ than blog comments would be cool.

  12. Steve says:

    Chat sounds like a great idea (timezones allowing) to allow for some real feedback.

    I’m a Brit UK user – and have been running MCE 2005 for about a year with two DVB-T tuners, as well as a 360 as an extender.

    There are still significant downsides to the DVB-T support in MCE – stuff that sub-$50 set top boxes sold in the UK do as standard, MCE still doesn’t… (DVB subtitles, MHEG 5 interactive text, display the right listings for the channel you are watching etc. – Sky Three is still showing as Sky Travel months after many of us reported this)

    I’ve persevered for a year through the EPG failures, crashes, missed recordings whilst on holiday etc. – because the potential for a great user experience is so obviously there… It just isn’t HERE yet!

    Sadly my Tivo (which I hoped to retire a year ago) is still the most reliable device for recording shows I really want to watch – though the better quality of lossless DVB-T via RGB SCART means MCE is my recording and live-viewing platform of choice. (I just can’t trust it to record when I’m out in case it has crashed, or lost its EPG…)

    My wishlist?

    Greater stability – CE gear crashing just isn’t on (and my Tivo has been rock solid in the 3 years I’ve had it)

    Reliable EPG – both in guide data and channel mapping terms. Since Roll Up 2 the "total loss of EPG" bug seems to have gone, but there are still issues with the EPG (especially where channels have different broadcast times on different platforms, and the addition of new channel listings takes months, whereas Tivo usually gets them there for launch – or before…).

    Full, not barebones, DVB support (subtitles – including recording, MHEG5 text, audio description, full digital radio support), as well as DVB-S, DVB-T and CI support, and the ability to mix digital and analogue tuners. (Buy any low-cost DVB PVR to see how much MCE is lacking in this area)

    Proper support for replay of a wider range of video formats with better navigation. (Divx, MPEG4 etc.)

    Proper remote recording scheduling.

    Software media extenders (or networked MCE machines that can share resources) to allow viewing of recordings around the house on multiple PCs, as well as 360s.

    Thanks for the Blog – I do understand how difficult it is for MS to produce decent products for regions outside the US, using different standards, and with a totally different broadcast model.


  13. GBK says:

    No invite needed for me give it someone more deserving. Plus I already have bunch of them to give away myself. But Please put guidelines on what makes it into Online Spotlight there is some ugly ugly code there.  I have never seen such buggy programming that it can take down a whole machine as the VH1, MTV Comedy Central.  EPG get rid of the NTSC requirement so that ATSC tuners get the correct guide.  (yeah I know too late it’s already in Vista with the same crappy ntsc requirement completely useless for all of us HD people) HD OTA users get screwed again.

  14. G says:

    Programs in Online spotlight should have a some sort of a guide that will make sure that those programs look as good (at least interface) on Widescreen displays as on non-wide displays.  MTV and all of it’s subs look like crap on a widescreen.  Make it impossible to put stuff like that into Vista or it will make it look like Win95 on top of Vista.