Project Portfolio

Dan Maynes Aminzade

Research

Actuated Workbench
Audience Interaction
Hover
You're in Control
Edible User Interfaces
Fuzzmail
KC-135
OSCAR

Schools

Stanford
MIT
Carnegie Mellon

Industry

MERL
Microsoft
Adobe
Disney Imagineering

Fun

Unsafe Search
Music Visualization
Mobot
PantsCam
Taboo Database
Pointillism
Painting
WebAmp

Zany

Tacos
SETI Joke
Pepsi Database
Love Calculator

Hacks

AdBall
RCA Lyra
Stone Cold

Humor

SURG Proposals
Female Pop Singers
Satan Baby
Wesley Willis

Microsoft

During the summer of 2002, I was a software development intern at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. I was a member of the team that develops MSN Messenger, a popular instant messaging client. 

I worked with Tablet PCs, a new line of hardware devices that are somewhat of a cross between laptops and PDAs. Tabet PCs look like normal laptops, but they have an embedded touch screen with a stylus. The screen can swivel around and fold down on top of the keyboard so that the whole thing behaves like a digital writing tablet. 

At the time of my internship, Tablet PCs had not yet been released to market. I was given a prototype tablet running a test build of Windows XP Tablet Edition.

My summer project was to add support for Tablet PCs to MSN Messenger, so that users with Tablet PCs would be able to chat using handwritten ink messages and sketches.

Handwritten messages add a nice personal touch to instant messaging. The feature is also an important one for east Asian markets, where typing characters on a keyboard is particularly cumbersome, while handwriting can be rapid and smooth.

Adding ink functionality to Messenger was an exciting project with some interesting technical hurdles. Along with the modifications to the UI to support ink messaging, there were a variety of decisions to be made about ink serialization, transmission, and rendering. It was important that incoming ink messages could be displayed on non-tablet PCs as well, and that they would not cause problems for legacy clients. The ink features I added will ship in an upcoming version of MSN Messenger.

Here's a picture of me with my summer mentor at Microsoft, Justin Voskuhl. I'm pretending to detail his Jaguar.