Tuesday, September 13, 2005

PDC 2005 Blog: Day 1 (Tuesday)

PDC 2005 kicks into high gear: Up for today: Bill Gates keynote, Windows Vista build 5219, Office 12 user interface revealed, numerous meetings and sessions, and, if I'm lucky, not adventures in an elevator. (See Day 0)

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5:58 am.
It's still dark in LA, but thanks to the wonders of time zones, I'm suddenly a morning person. There is a sudden sense of dread.

I forgot to mention that I ran into Raymond Chen last night. Great guy who, though he can't officially discuss it, is responsible for the excellent TweakUI tool.

I'm posting a few photo galleries to the SuperSite as I write this. That's right: I suddenly have direct access to the site (sort of). Life is, if not good, the better.

6:54 am. Maarten sent me some Office 12 screenshots. In general I'm getting a bit tired of Microsoft continually trying to outthink the user, but these look nice and simple. I hope it ends up that way.

Time to shower and head in. The SuperSite has been updated and it looks like everything is working correctly. The grind begins.

8:36 am. The keynote is finally getting ready to start. The crowds weren't as excitable as they were for PDC 2003, which is interesting, but Scoble tells us there are lots of good things coming that haven't leaked. He hasn't seen our Office 12 shots, of course. We'll see.

10:57 am.
I've shot about 90 minutes of video so far, but I need to recap what's happened. Gates started off with a bit of humor about the power failure yesterday and a cool video clip starring the weird kid from "Napoleon Dynamite," which was quite good. Then it was about 30-40 minutes of typical, boring Gates. And finally, the Vista demos began. Finally.

There isn't really anything new to say about Windows Vista. We already knew just about everything there is to know. We're getting build 5219, which looks great. Obviously, I'll be looking a lot more closely at this build as soon as possible.

They also showed off Office 12, which we won't be getting. It looks good. They've completely wiped out the old toolbar/menu metaphor and have replaced it with a new user interface that groups functionality into tabs and bands across the top of each application. Depending on what you're working on, the UI will change to present the ools you need. There are two aspects to this. First, it's providing you with only the most relevant tools, which is good. Second, it's exposing cool functionality that most Office users didn't even know was in there, which is great. My Office 12 screenshot gallery on the SuperSite will show some of this.

After Gates finished up, Jim Allchin came out to run through the platform features. Though little has changed in a general way since his 2003 presentation, many of the details have changed, and he did a good job of running through that stuff. They're getting into some coding demos, so it's time to hit the press room.

Much more soon. It's been a firehose as expected.

12:17 pm. Several Microsofties have congratulated me on my Vista product editions scoop from last weekend, which was nice. Well, actually, one called me a "SKU spilling loser," but it was delivered in humorous fashion. I think.

My keynote videos are being copied over to the computer now. Should take a while, and then I have to edit parts out for posting. I'll have at least a few available late today, I bet.

5:08 pm. Like so many Windows Vista technologies, the Gadgets technology Microsoft is creating for the newly returned Sidebar will be made available "downlevel" to legacy OSes such as Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2), according to Sean Alexander. He told me that Microsoft was doing this to ensure that more developers would embrace Gadgets, which makes a lot of sense. I hope to speak more with Sean about this soon.

As for the rest of today, I've got one more meeting and then dinner, and a press party on the roof of the Figueroa Hotel, which is an amazing place. Hopefully I'll get some pictures this time. In related news, my first video should be available soon as well.

Build 5219 is still installing (virtual machines are horribly slow). I'll post shots when it's done.