TechEd 2012: the weirdest keynote ever

Conference kicks off in oddball style.

By Chris Jager on Sep 12, 2012
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Last night, Microsoft's annual IT conference kicked off with one of the oddest keynotes we've ever witnessed at a tech show. Dubbed 'Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants', the presentation eschewed typical keynote fare in favour of art house movies, electronica and moonwalking music conductors. The results were confounding at times, but never less than fascinating.
The keynote kicked off innocently enough, with a lone music conductor 'directing' a Metro-inspired video screen.
With no warning or preamble, the conductor suddenly broke into a full Michael Jackson dance routine, complete with moonwalking and crotch-grabs.
We'd like to think this interlude was unplanned and entirely improvised.
The packed auditorium soaked in the impromptu dance show in stupefied awe.
So far, Microsoft's TechEd 2012 keynote had certainly exhibited 'difference' -- and it was just getting warmed up.
The keynote's headlining guest was Jason Silva, a self-styled 'performance philosopher' specialising in short videos (or “two-minute shots of philosophical espresso”, to quote Silva).
Guests were treated to three "two-minute shots" from Silva's filmography. Each video was a lyrical fusion of philosophy and science that had little to do with Microsoft or even specific technology.
Silva's unbridled enthusiasm and motor-mouthed delivery received a mixed reaction from guests. As one outspoken Twitterer put it: "Sorry, folks, but being CONTINUALLY AMAZED BY ALL THE THINGS is not insightful or wisdom, it's a mental illness."
Next up was a motion-based musical demonstration involving simultaneous sound and graphic manipulation.
The application seemed pretty interesting, but little information was given about the tech involved.
Curiously, a sizable chunk of the keynote presentation was devoted to the video game developer Bungie, which is no longer owned by Microsoft.
By this point, a mosaic of random faces including Samuel L. Jackson and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston seemed pretty normal.
All in all, we're not entirely sure what we witnessed at TechEd's keynote. Stay tuned for more coverage of the four-day conference throughout the week. [Image credit: Microsoft]

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