Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

31 Days of the HDX Dragon Contest: And The Winner Is...

Wow, it's been a wild and crazy week. First off, thank you to everyone for your patience, and for putting so much time and effort into creating your entries. There were nearly 30 submissions, and several that stood out as quite excellent.

What Determined The Winner
While I was totally floored at the quality of some of the videos, no one touched on all of my requirements. I was really looking for someone to show me how they were making a serious impact on the world using Windows Vista, and demoing exactly which Vista feature helped them do so. In the end, there were 4 videos that really stuck out in my mind. What follows are those videos, along with my thoughts on how I picked the winner.

Third Runner-Up: "Where Will Vista Take You?"
The only video that filled my "making a difference" criteria was an entry by two brothers who won not one, but 2 different Imagine Cup competitions. If you're not familiar, the Imagine Cup is an international competition funded by Microsoft for high school and college students. Microsoft picks a theme that usually has to do with bettering humanity in one way or another, and the students have a limited amount of time to build an application that matches the theme.

Anyways, this video was a solid use of Windows Movie Maker, with an engaging narrative of the adventures of Roberto and Eduardo Sonnino. The main reason this video didn't win, although it was very well produced and showed off some cool technologies, is because it didn't show anything that was specific to Vista. Pretty much everything they demoed in their applications was about .NET 3.0/3.5, with the exception of Speech Recognition. And while they showed off their award-winning apps very well, I might have given them more consideration if they had done so from inside the Vista shell. Nevertheless, they had a couple very cool experiences on their trips around the world, and I wish them the best of luck on their future endeavors.

"Where Will Vista Take You?"

Second Runner-Up: "Buckwheat on Vista"
What happens when you combine Windows Vista, a *cough* Mac, a super chipmunk, and a skirt-chasing talking dog? Only one of the most entertaining Vista demos I've ever seen. When the opening shot switches from the Vista desktop to the Narrator, the camera slowly rotates from behind a Crapintosh Macintrash MacBook Pro to reveal a rather unusual Vista user. Extra style points were awarded for being the only user in the history of Vista to actually use Windows Meeting Space.

I can't really find any fault with this video. While it appears that the only way Vista makes a difference in Buckwheat's life is that it helps him get more play with the ladies, it was solidly entertaining, and reminded me of the often-overlooked features of Vista. Unfortunately, it was just outdrawn by two other competitors.

"Buckwheat on Vista"

First Runner-Up: "How Dave Uses Windows Vista"
I wanted to give Dave the Dragon SOOO bad. I mean, his video was, in this bloggers' humble opinion, a hundred times better than ANY of the commercials Microsoft has put out about Vista. Note to Microsoft: HIRE THIS GUY!!! It had great special effects, it was stylistically unique, and it was just shy of 60 seconds, which fit perfectly with my attention span.

So why didn't this video win? Because it didn't show Vista at all. I feel really bad, but IMO all Dave needed to do to win was to show Vista's desktop (maybe with the Sidebar on for added recognition) to the stylized laptop in his video. But I do have to say that it was the most professional video entered (and I loved how much attention to detail was put into the stylistic approach), and it doesn't need to show Vista to be perfect for a TV spot. It's definitely on par with the iPhone commercials' "cool factor", IMHO.

"How Dave Uses Windows Vista"

The Winner: "Stop-Motion Vista"
When this video started, I have to say, I was not initially impressed. I was surprised by the number of entries that completely eschewed PowerPoint for a decidedly 1990's approach (who uses pen and paper anymore?)... but after 2 seconds, I was picking my jaw up off the keyboard. I absolutely loved how he transitions from stop-motion animation to regular video by having the image appear in the desktop background.

And while I was looking for how the person entering used Vista to make an impact on the world, I was also looking for how the HDX Dragon would impact the person entering. So the fact that it would be replacing an ancient desktop, coupled with the outstanding demos in the video, pushed this video over the top for me. So without further ado, the winning video.

The Winning Video

So congratulations to Nathan Hamersley of Rittman, OH! I've asked him to write up his own take on the HDX Dragon for Windows-Now, and I for one can't wait to see his experience. If he could get Vista running well on a 5 year old computer, it out to scream for him on the Dragon.

What's Next?
I am working on a post to highlight some of the videos that didn't win, based on "categories" I've placed them in. I'm also trying to arrange for other prizes for the other 3 runners-up, since they were so good, but I can't promise anything yet.



  • sushruta78 said:

    Damn didn't win again. :(

    May 26, 2008 8:42 AM
  • May 26, 2008 9:14 AM
  • Jess said:

    Way to go! Congrats! :)

    May 26, 2008 10:59 AM
  • Scott said:

    Thanks again for putting all the effort into selecting the winner (and going further to highlight the runners-up. I'm glad you liked Buckwheat, although I think the fame went to his head. :)

    May 26, 2008 11:18 AM
  • Bryan said:

    Man I totally feel for Dave.  As you said, his video had that coolness to it, it's such a pity he didn't win.  If I were MS I'd be in contact with this guy to mod his entry to show Vista and turn it into an ad.

    May 26, 2008 3:54 PM
  • HonEbaby said:

    I have to admit that as hard as my family worked on making our video... the guys who took it were pretty darn good at showing the "wow."  We went more for the funny because of the comment:  "Please please PLEASE make them funny."  But sometimes wow is better than funny.  :)  Either way... good competition - really stressful week (waiting is a bugger!) and good job to those who placed!  

    Kind Regards,


    May 26, 2008 5:47 PM
  • Scott said:

    I did feel he was my biggest competition, but that he didn't show anything vista would probably be his downfall. Thinking back though, the winner that was chosen really had to most Vista to show. So it did deserve to win!

    Always sucks to be so close though... me and especially Dave! :)

    May 26, 2008 5:47 PM
  • Pourquoi Windows Vista ?

    May 27, 2008 4:52 AM
  • Ryan said:

    Was this competition even close?  I felt the winner was leaps and bounds above everything else out there.  Dave's was more professional but I would bet he doesn't have a copy of Vista - legit or otherwise.  The winner showed off Vista, Dave just talked about how he supposedly uses it.  I commend your choice!

    May 27, 2008 9:44 AM
  • May 30, 2008 3:31 PM
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    July 27, 2008 8:38 PM