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Grumble, Grumble [ 2005/09/13, 15:42:17 ]
I just typed up all these postings and now I can't get an IP address over the wireless network...
"Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger. Sometimes you're the ball." --Mary Chapin Carpenter
"The Incentive" [ 2005/09/13, 15:24:29 ]
During Jim Alchin's presentation of the keynote, a little demo was done about building WinFX "Avalon", now called Windows Presentation Framework (WPF), applications that run on Windows PCs, Tablet PC's, Media Center devices and PDAs. Pretty nice portability!
The incentive that was offered was this: A limited number of PDC attendees were being offered the ability to purchase a new Windows PocketPC Phone for $149.
Now, we're not talking about the Audiovox 5600 or the i-mate SP3. Nope. We're talking about the i-mate JASJAR Smartphone, a device that has an MSRP of $1049. Here's a link to the product page.
that's a deal.
Of course, I rushed out of the presentation to go pre-order mine on the web site and picked the timeslot to pick it up.
1pm: Gary B and I are standing in line waiting to buy our devices. Got 'em!
I haven't read the details yet, but this little pearl is an unlocked phone + PDA that opens like a clamshell to have a mini keyboard (think Nokia Communicator 9100). Windows Mobile 5.0. SD card slot. VGA screen. WiFi, Bluetooth (unfortunately, only 802.11b and Bluetooth v1.1--so no A2DP). Also has TWO cameras built-in: one for taking photos (1.3Mpixel) WITH a FLASH, and one for video conferencing. Oh, the screen also rotates so it can look like a standard PDA. I don't think the Nokia devices do that yet...
One nicety I notice on the web page is that this device also has Java support via J2ME. Not sure if that's standard for PocketPC/Windows Mobile devices but that's sure a plus for corporations who will use both .NET and Java apps on these mobile devices. .NET for internally-developed systems. Java for vendor-supplied stuff, like that from SAP. (of course, you can buy .NET-based stuff and build Java-based stuff too, but I expect the company that I keep will opt for the former.)
Also, part of the offer was for a limited number of people to get a Plantronics 320 Bluetooth headset for only $9.95 (instead of a typical $70 price or a PDC special of $45). Couldn't pass up that option either!
right now my i-mate is charging. Once it's fully charged, I'll swap my Cingular SIM into it and give it a whirl.
Too cool...I guess all these Professional Developers are being urged to jump on board the mobile platform train. Do you think Microsoft just got a few more evangelists for the technology? Probably. I'll reserve judgement until I use the device [I couldn't stand the Audiovox].
Outlook 12: RSS and SharePoint "++" [ 2005/09/13, 15:22:22 ]
Outlook 12 includes a built-in RSS reader!
SharePoint is even more richly integrated.
Outlook 12 is used to store the 'offline' content from SharePoint sites.
Leverages many features from IE7.
Again, more to come as the sessions disclose more.
SharePoint 'v3': [ 2005/09/13, 15:18:28 ]
Just a couple points until I get to more SharePoint sessions.
- A recycle bin is implemented by default
- RSS feeds for doclibs and lists are built-in
- New function library: Slidestack (very cool way of working with PowerPoint files
- Offline capability implemented by leveraging Outlook
- Built on ASP.NET 2.0 so ASP.NET 2.0 webparts apply
More to come...
Office 12: HOLY SH*T!!! [ 2005/09/13, 15:04:07 ]
Well, that about sums it up.
The tagline for Office 12 is "Results-Oriented Interface". The UI, while still looking like Office 2003, has taken what I consider HUGE leaps in productivity enhancements. One anecdote that stood out to me is this:
Office 1.0 had something like 100 functions
Office 2003 has over 1500 functions
When Microsoft asks users for new functions they'd like to see in Office, 90% of today's requests are for things that already exist in the software but the users were not aware of it!
This point speaks volumes. It's obvious that Office has become so big and complicated that most users simply can't master it (let alone use it sometimes). This is why the tagline above was introduced. The core changes are around making the UI (moreso the functions available to the user) dynamic depending on the current action context of the user. This is done by introducing a new "menu & toolbar" system.
The new "menu & toolbar" system is hard to put in words, but think of it this way: This thing looks like it came straight out of Microsoft Research. Top level menu items no longer cause drop-down menus to appear, but rather, the toolbar functions which are visible change as each top level menu item is moused-over. Another time these "function menus" change in context is when you click on items in your Office files.
As a demo, Excel was used. When a table was clicked in, the entire toolbars area changed to show functions particular to working with tables.
This makes a HELL of a lot of sense...why just grey out items on toolbars that don't appy? Hide 'em! Just show the good stuff that I can do.
That should get more people using more of the functions of Office. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it can be a double-edged sword: More functions means more time spent trying and exploring these functions rather than using just the subset of functions the user is familiar with today.
In the end, I think that if this approach is taken and implemented properly, those functions in Office apps which are productivity enhancers rather than eye-candy builders, then progress will have been made.
PDC 2005 Keynote [ 2005/09/13, 14:51:06 ]
Some bullet points from PDC slides:
- Largest PDC ever
- Software milestones:
- 1975: Microsoft starts
- 1985: PC, MS-DOS mainstream
- 1995: Windows 95, Office 95
- 2005: Internet, .NET, XML
- Volume of Tablet PC sales has doubled in the last 18 months
- Cameras are becoming a standard peripheral on phones, laptops, tablets, PDAs
- SOA is key
- XML is being implemented at the core of all Microsoft products
- Atlas is Microsoft's approach to AJAX
- Primary drivers to new software: RSS & Rich Media
- 2003 PDC was the kick-off for WinFX concepts, 2005 is the realization, 2006 shipping
- WinFS is being positioned as the Universal File System (this was the 'web store' in Exchange 2000 and SharePoint 2001 until SQL just could perform on it)
- Windows Vista tagline: Confident, Clear, Connected
I hope this tidbits in themselves get some of you thinking "hmmm...". Whether that means "Oh, crap. More changes!" or that means "Very cool. So what?", or "SO COOL! When can I have it!", all are perfectly understandable responses. Yes, Microsoft is not standing still. They seem to be trying to innovate somewhat while also evolving with new trends (RSS and AJAX). It's good to see the fundamentals of WinFX offered in PDC 2003 are still the same from an architecture standpoint, only changing with revisions which are really improvements.
Demos included Windows Vista and Office 12.
From the home perspective, Vista is "Good" and Office 12 is "Nice". I consider Vista more important to home users than business users given what I've seen so far.
From the business perspective, Vista is "OK" and Office 12 is "WOW!". More on Office 12 shortly...
What 24-hours can change [ 2005/09/13, 14:36:18 ]
Hello all...sorry to be offline and not provide updates over the last 18 hours or so...Here's a synopsis of the happenings...
Yesterday, shortly after 1pm the power went out. YES, it was practically city-wide. According to the newspaper, a DWP (CA Department of Water and Power) worker accidentally cut the wrong wire somewhere, which caused a cascade of overloads followed by shutdowns as the system tried to protect itself. [For you PA/NY/NJ/OH/Canadian readers: Remember the power outage from a few years back where a spike in one part of the grid took out large parts of Eastern Canada, and states in the Ohio-New York band? Essentially, same deal.]
Side note: Interesting that CA combines water and power in the same department. Typically, these things don't play nicely with each other. ;-)
Anyhow, even though the official grid outage was something like 1 hour long, the Wilshire Grand hotel had additional issues. Apparently, one half the building had power, the other half didn't (guess which half I was in!). That power didn't come back until some time around 11pm last night. That's why I didn't provide any updates...
Bill Gates was here to officially kick off the PDC for 2005. After all the traditional hoopla (including a really stupid 'funny' video for this year), we got into the good stuff. I'll publish that info in another entry...
PDC "The Good"s
Got the conference disc pack after the keynote. Latest builds of Visual Studio 2005 Team Server, Windows Vista, Longhorn (server). Seems like the expected stuff. Alas, the Office 12 bits were not included, but I expected that.
PDC "The Incentive"
A really cool offer was extended to PDC attendees...more on this in another entry.
Starting collecting goodies (shirts, hats, buttons, toys, software, etc.). More to be collected later...
That's all for summary now...Hopefully the utilities & services are done being "tempermental".
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