Tuesday, September 13, 2005

PDC 05 - Webcast Feeback - Live!

11:30-11:58 AM
Watching the PDC 05 Webcast right now; and Bill hasn’t said anything yet, its all historical recap.

The webcast blocked out the recruiting video, with this message:
“Due to the proprietary nature of the content being broadcast we must temporarily suspend the audio and video portion of this telecast. Normal program will resume in a few moments”.


11:59 AM - 12:04 PM
Bill doing more recap, snooze.

It strikes me how crappy the video quality is. Apple’s special event where the iPod nano and the Motorola ROKR iTunes phone Webcast, not live mind you so that may be part of it, but once available is gorgeous in Quicktime  HD (mpeg-4 is the standard).

Anyway, waiting for something to happen…

12:05 PM – 12:09 PM
Audio is still live, but video is freeze-framed. Hopefully it will figure itself out before Bill starts showing demos.

Ah, there is goes, Bill is animated again…

12:10 PM – 12:31 PM
Chris Capposela is now demoing Windows Vista. He took one deep breath before starting to talk.

App Switching
Thumbnails on the taskbar, ok, but not great. New Alt-Tab, again ok, but not great.

I missed something with sideways presented 3D windows, but a co-worker interrupted me.

Quicksearch Seems to work just like Spotlight, I don’t see anything here that is impressive. They have the search box everywhere like in OS X Tiger.

There is some stuff in the new Explorer, like expanding amounts of detail with a slider, which looks like it might be cool.

Sidebar and Gadgets. LOL…This is just like Dashboard and Widgets. You can undock Gadgets from the sidebar and put them on the desktop.

I don’t like mini-apps on the desktop, but some due and I think its largely personal preference. It’s clear the sidebar is very influenced by Dashboard and Widgets, Chris C. makes sure to point out they have nice visuals!

Aux Displays. These little LCDs on the front of laptops can show gadgets, which might be useful.

Games Explorer. Has built-in parental controls, and box shots (this is what it looks like) of the games.

Phishing. Chris attempts a joke about paypal phishing emails, it falls like a rock, not even a chuckle. I hope he doesn’t attempt that again. I have nothing against Chris, first time I have seen or heard of him, he has a tough job, just jokes when you don’t have “it” don’t work. He is also going a bit too fast.

IE 7. Thank goodness, they moved tabs under the address bar. Tabs bar itself is looking blueish. Ah, the first nice moment. The Exposed the tabs you have open inside the browser. This is nice functionality, implementation is a bit plain.

Moved on to printing. They finally fixed dangling headers and footers, which has always been annoying.

RSS. Chris says how nice they are presenting the feeds in IE, it looks just like, I mean near identical to Safari. They even put the filter bar on the right. Geez guys, at least put it on the other side, anyone that has ever cribbed a paper off someone in college knows to move sentences around…

12:32 PM  - 12:54 PM
Audience thought Chris was totally down, an awkward cheering moment ensued, now Chris is doing Office 12.

I feel bad for this guy that he has to know all the Vista stuff and Office 12, why couldn’t they split this up? I am surprised Chris is making it through this, you really gotta give it up for him, I have known people giving BillG demoes, they are almost always sick.

Office 12. Chris is in Excel 12. Menus are gone; they act like big tabs that switch the entire toolbar. This is tough to tell if it’s useful or not, the video is so small

Formatting data now, there is definitely some cool stuff with pre-built styles for formatting data. This has always been tough in Excel, it it’s as easy as the demo, they have done some good work.

Ugh, the scrolling repaint is very jaggy. Don’t know if this is the webcast, but painting just wasn’t smooth. Cool functionality, but where is the attention to detail.

Oh my goodness, I think they have a machine for every demo. Chris is demoing an add-on from some company. I know they mirror the machines back stage just in case the main demo machine fails, so it must be a crazy amount of machines they are using for the keynote.

Word. Live preview of font changes, I think Chris thought this would be a homerun demo, but its not really because the font transition happens to subtlety, you need some transition in place so show the user something is happening. He is doing a lot of stuff that is pretty hard now Word very easy.

New File menu, huge departure from any current notion of a file menu.

Ah, they integrated hidden information removal into the File dialog. This has taken way to long, and you get no points from me sir on this.

Powerpoint. Built-in ability to change text only to graphical diagrams, like cycles, flow-charts, arrows.

Man is this annoying; I can hear music over the feed from somewhere. Clearly not part of the demo and it’s very faint in the background. When there was silence earlier, I could hear ESPN radio in the background.

SharePoint. Next version has a recycle bin. How timely, I was in a meeting where my company was discussing backup and restore strategies for Sharepoint, including writing our own code and tables in the DB, or buying a 3rd party tool. They can’t ship this feature fast enough.

Outlook. This is yet another new machine (YANM). Ah how I miss Outlook (I hate Lotus Notes). Tasks are in the main UI now, as is a small calendar. They achieved this by collapsing the folder bar.

Ah, the finally got preview in the messages for attachments. This seems like a potential security nightmare, just knee-jerk reaction based on past history.

Outlook gets RSS. MS just killed RSS readers for anyone using Outlook. Uses the same store as IE 7 for RSS, as expected.

Search looks just like it does in Apple Mail with Spotligh, but it’s across all of Outlook, including Tasks and anything else.

Outlook has SharePoint integration, which includes using the document libraries offline.

Ugh, seriously Moby – Beautiful is playing in the background. Mute WMP, no music and Webacst, unmute, you hear the show and music. Guy running the Webcast should be shot.

12:54 PM – 12:59 PM
BillG is back on stage, recapping again. There is just no energy in this presentation now.

Damn, co-worker wants my attention. Now seems like a good time, Bill is building up to workflow in the server, but I might have time.

1:00 PM – 1:19 PM
I am back online. Jim Alchin is one stage; he is telling the audience that they are getting a pre-Beta 2 build of Vista.

There was some proprietary content, so I picked a good time to answer a question! Jim also demoed what may have been Windows 1.0, so nostalgia is a good thing.

Jim I have always enjoyed listening to his presentations before, his keynote at PDC 03 was very entertaining, particularly with Don Box and Chris Anderson.

But so far, Jim is not very entertaining. It sounds like he is building up to a demo, but geez, we have all heard this before. Maybe this is just me, but I want the delta from PDC 03 to 05. A lot of this keynote seems like PDC 03 redux. I guess that is unfortunately where we are.

Ah, Jim said they are highlighting the changes since PDC 03 somewhere, too bad I am not there.

Jim said there are hundreds of new features in Vista, he can only talk about a few. Stop talking, DEMO DEMO!!!

1:20 PM – 2:02 PM
Reboot Manager. Jim mentions this to reduce reboots from config changes. Very nice.
Transactional NTFS. About time.
Protected Users. Standard normal user, yes, they he is going to demo!!!

LOL. Jim asked if anyone has a machine that gets slower over time? Some chuckles from the audience, everyone knows Windows decays over time. Commonly held rule is that 6 months is the half-life of a Windows install. They are trying to do something about it.

Superfetch. Jim shows what XP is like today. Everyone knows that XP on cold boot load time sucks, but its pretty good after a cold boot.

Jim now turns on superfetch. Shows a monitor that is loading up memory with all the applications you typically use. Everything is fast. Jim has to ask for a clap, because superfetch is faster, but not ridiculously faster.

This is something; Jim plugs a USB memory stick into the box. The virtual memory manager just uses the USB stick as main memory. Impressive, though not sure how USB sticks perform relative to main memory, latency has to be bad. Need to see more info.

Sandbox. Jim is demoing sandbox mode for IE. This is truly impressive, caveat always on if it really works. Even a standard user can break themselves with holes in IE, just as they can on OS X. Sandbox mode for IE, or any app, prevents that. This might be the second killer feature for me, behind transactional NTFS.

Presentation layer. Jim is introducing Atlas, MS’s Ajax dev environment. Atlas works with any modern browser, extension to ASP.NET 2.0

Jim claims the Windows Presentation Foundation (Avalon) is well ahead of what anyone has, breaking it down to the dev framework and the engine.

WPF/E. Windows Presentation Foundation for Everywhere. A subset of WPF on Vista. Instead of C#, dev is in JavaScript.

Darryn Diekon came out to do a demo based on work they have been doing with NetFlix. This should be interesting. App that runs on a PC, Tablet, Media Center, and a phone.

If they are all running some flavor of Windows, not so impressive. Netflix catalog browsing app on Vista, very similar to the Amazon catalog browser they did for PDC 03. They obviously couldn’t show that again, so they came up with this. Again, maybe it’s the Webcast, but the animation ends choppy, I think its not the Webcast because most of the time it’s smooth.

Damn, connectivity problems again. I lost everything for 20 seconds. Darryn is demoing the Netflix browser on Media Center Edition. Movie previews in the app are a bit sketchy, slow to start.

Cell phone itself looks cool. Its over a $1,000 phone. But Jim has a special deal, $149 for first comers at the PDC. That’s sick, and its totally like an infomercial, and he knows it, one of the few genuine laughs during the show.

Darryn shills for Resonate, the app developer that they got the browser done in 1 month with 3 devs and a graphics designer. Geez guy, we all know those people didn’t sleep the whole month....lol!

LINQ. Language Integrated Query for searching across XML, relational, or other stores.

Windows “InfoCards”. Something about federated identity, like Hailstorm, but totally different this time.

This is getting very long, I am not sure if it gone over the time, but I am tired even thinking about the new information.

P2P. Can’t remember what they called this feature, but you can connect to other machines on your local subnet and share documents, joint edit, and replicate the changes back to the original machine. Very cool, but as Jim says the experience isn’t done and it shows. I wonder if this is stuff from the Groove acquisition.

DON BOX! Don is such a presence the feed crapped out again for a few seconds. I love Don’s presentations. Here comes Ander’s Heijsberg, father of C#. He is talking about LINQ.

You can query any IEnumerable derived object, like arrays. This looks powerful, but the syntax is looking very similar to T-SQL. Same where and order by clauses.

2:03 PM – 2:27 PM
We get automatic object mapping to the database with LINQ being the query language. This is very powerful, bridging data and objects in a seemingly elegant way. This is tough to see though as the Webcast window doesn’t allow me to see the code.

You can join a table and an in memory object together. This is great stuff.

XLINQ is next. I really don’t know what the standards compliance aspect to any of this is if any.

Chris Anderson is now onstage, Don is talking through the Indigo stuff and the universal contract.

OMG, this presentation is so long, 2:47 so far since I started a few minutes before 11:30 AM.

Don is going crazy fast, you really can’t follow; he obviously knows this backwards and forwards.

Don and Chris so how to connect the browser to indigo services using AJAX. Nice, but the details are lost now because I can’t see any code.

ScottGu is on stage now to flog Atlas. Can’t see code, *sigh*. Scott is going to connect a better looking UI to the indigo service, lots of typing by Chris. Chris types very fast. The client side of this is very nice too.

2:28 PM – 3:22 PM
Wow, drag and drop client side and pretty rich presentation. And they add in the MSN Virtual Earth control.

LOL...they just brought up a Mac to demo cross-platform browsing with Atlas. They run the same demo on Safari, it works perfectly, no code change. Best part of the demo! This would seem to mean ASP.NET 2.0 detects the browser and makes any changes to the browser code as needed. Very intriguing.

The Avalon LapClient looks decent, at least the built-in controls look decent. They added some 3D in it, just goofy.

Jim Alchin just came back on stage. He is teasing a sample app, they are going to demo a sample app that demoes the platform. Hillel Cooperman is doing the demo. He did the first Longhorn UI demo at PDC 03.

Showing Microsoft Max. It’s a photo blogging app, with some nice image rearrange stuff. The smallest thumbnail view has to much white in it, but again tough over the webcast. Slider based zooming, looks very similar iPhoto resizing.

Oops! A co-worked pulled me away for a few minutes and the show is over. Man was that a long one. Some good stuff in there and curious what the other opinions are. Have to hit RSS Bandit!