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I was at Eileen Brown’s EVO Launch, sorry, Exchange, Vista and Office Launch, (yeah who are we kidding EVO is less of a mouthful, I even caught our HP account manager saying 'EVO' to) and I have to say it was a pretty impressive day mainly because most of the content was demo based, hardly a PowerPoint in sight, just used to link the sessions together, this is an amazing achievement!

The day was split into four sections that where themed based such as ‘security and value to the business’, ‘simplicity and ease of use’ (the actual theme names escape me, if only I could find the PowerPoints, I will cover this topic later in the post), each section had three small presentations showing examples of how the a point of the theme could be met, for example the UAC system in Vista is a good example of how security has improved.

Oh yeah and as a quick suggestion, I would like to suggest a ‘This weeks events’ section on the UK Events website because finding a link to an event in the past to download all the PowerPoint’s from the event is actually a pain in the neck! Yeah, like I’m going to remember the event code.

Another suggestion is that Microsoft need to work on shortening their URL’s, it’s no good on trapping them on a PowerPoint , they have to be easy to find on our own!

Because of the complexity of the event it was clear that the guys were going to expose themselves to a high risk of the ‘Demo Gods’ intervening with the odd hiccup or two which did happen but the presenters just soldiered on and made light, I don’t believe a point was missed and there weren’t actually that many hiccups. Yep, it’s pretty safe to say that Eileen and team did pull it off, but I’m sure they have all aged a bit, but still the classic for me was watching a Mac crash in the DDD4 session on ‘Ruby on Rails’ in the same room a few weeks before, none of the things at this event could compare to that.

The key take-away I took from the day was that Microsoft haven’t just added sparkly new features to their software but beefed up and/or made easier most of their existing features. What is clear is, take for instance Vista, it’s not just a pretty face-lift, it’s not just about Aero, WCG, (dub)WF, WWF, Bit-Locker, DX10, IPM, UAC, ReadyDrive , the side-bar, it is clear that every part of the operating system has been touched! They have put in a lot of thought on how you do everything, I found myself thinking that the only reason why some of the old ways of doing things where still there was that the punters wouldn’t get to shocked and have that scary thought of ‘I could do it like this in 98, ME & XP but I don’t know how to do it in Vista?’ yep continuity, so all the old stuff is still in the same kind of places if you really get stuck.

Hey, lets not just talk about Vista, but Exchange and Office have had the same kind of treatment, no stone unturned. I’m using the new version of Word to write this and the new menu bar is just sooooo easy to use, a full dose of common-sense has gone into this and the result is something that obviously increases productivity, no more fighting with menu’s to find things, it really isn’t just eye candy and doesn’t take long to get used to and increases your personal productivity no end specially if you use the tool allot and Word, IE and email are my main tools of my trade.

On a business level I don’t have a problem at all recommending these upgrades and can build a pretty strong case (this helps!) on a personal level I find that Office 2007 and Vista Ultimate are just to expensive for my home PC, I’m not sure what I’m going to do here as I have a limit on how much I will spend on a piece of software and that is £150 (I know that even some people will say this is high) and both products exceed that, this is a shame, it would be a slam-dunk for me personally and professionally if they were cheaper.

Anyway, this has got to be one of Microsoft’s biggest launches but it does seem rather low key compared to other releases I’ve been too, no big events with thousands of people, fan-fares blazing and so on. The down-side to this is that the products in the cold light of day have run the risk of not rocking my world, I think the opposite is true this time round, these products are better and obviously so, and will rock your world, just no blaze of glory just Eileen Brown and her team telling you how it is. I like the change, just how the heck are we going to know about all the things that have changed? Now that would be a post of biblical proportions.

Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 3:15 PM Main | Back to top

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