Confessions of a Longhorn User

A Computer Says 'Mooooooo!'

October 2003 - Posts

  • Where the heck am I?

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    Well, I'm at the PDC, of course, but that's not really the point.  The point is that a new feature of the Longhorn OS could have told me that.

    Walking around the convention center, I've seen numerous demonstrations of a new service that will ship as part of Longhorn - the Location Awareness service (or something similar to that).

    This service uses any of a combination of data sources, such as WiFi access points, Bluetooth, GPS, and probably others, to make an educated guess as to the location of the computer in question.  In one demonstration (with simulated data), Longhorn used WiFi and Bluetooth access points with known locations (i.e. AP1 is in Conference Room A, and so on) to caculate that the subject was walking down a hallway near a conference room.  Yeah, it knew the user was actually moving.

    In another demonstration, a smartphone running a prerelease of the smartphone OS with the Location service was able to calculate the street address the phone was located at.  Totally cool.

    Now, I know what you're thinking... “That's Big Brother!  I don't want just anybody to be able to find me wherever I am!”  That's cool.   With Longhorn's new integrated Identity Management and Security features, you will be able to specify who is or isn't allowed to know where you are. 

    I'll be posting some more information about this - and other nifty Longhorn features later on.

    Very cool, indeed.

    Update: I'm sitting through a technical session about this service right now, and I thought I'd share a bit more information about it.  First of all, the service is set to Manual startup out-of-the-box.  So, in order to take advantage of the functionality provided by the service, it must be manually started.    Secondly, the service itself doesn't obtain or broadcast any information on it's own - the service is merely a provider that can be used by applications for location-centric information.  The API for the service is entirely managed so that Code-Access level security can be used, and it can only be accessed by strongly-typed languages like C# and VB.NET. 

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  • Trick or Treat...


    Yeah... I've got too much time on my hands...
    I've got a few more pictures that I'll be uploading as well, check out my gallery.

    What can I say... I'm excited :)

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  • Systems Management Enhancements in Longhorn

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    Over at PDC Bloggers, there's a link to Yet Another Article About Longhorn and the PDC (YAAALP?) which covers the basics about the special PDC Build that will be available to attendees.  It also has some information about some new management features that will apparently be built into Longhorn called SDM (System Definition Model).

    “The first operating system to support the System Definition Model (SDM) for system management, Longhorn should lower the total cost of ownership for a Windows server or Windows-based data center. Longhorn is also expected to help corporations with deployment of collaborative solutions, reduce the cost of the IT infrastructure, and distribute "smart" applications that take advantage of Web services.”

    ComputerWorld also had a story about Longhorn and SDM back in March, which has a broader view of Microsoft's entire System Management strategy. 

    Overall, the concept sounds pretty neat, and should be a dramatic step up from today's System Management arrangement.

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  • One for the Longhorn Wishlist...

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    Dylan Greene is asking for OS-level sandboxing of applications in Longhorn on his weblog. 
    Not a bad idea at all.  As one of the comments on Dylan's blog states, a lot of this sort of thing is already a part of the .NET Framework, but only applications using the framework can use it.  It would be nice to expand that to a wider range of applications, including legacy apps.

    The key to doing this, of course, is making sure that it's easy for the home user to do, while making it powerful enough to make power-users happy.  But that should be easy, right?  ;)

    Here's to hoping something like this gets implemented, Dylan.

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  • Great to be here

    Hi everybody!  Just wanted to take a quick timeslice to thank Robert McLaws for the introduction, and for putting together a great site like this one!  It's a beautiful site, Robert, and I'm excited to be a part of it.

    As Robert said, my name is Mike Kolitz, and I'm an MVP for Windows Setup and Deployment. 
    So why am I excited to see Longhorn unveiled at PDC?  Well, for one thing, I'm anxious to see how the setup routine may have changed - Paul Thurrott has reported that Longhorn's setup is now image-based, and takes significantly less time to install.  Here's what Paul had to say:

    “Longhorn's new modular architecture will have sweeping ramifications for how Longhorn is created, installed by end users, deployed in corporate settings, and updated over time with service packs and hot-fixes (QFEs). Interestingly, Microsoft actually went the distance with the componentization approach and created a bootable image of the Longhorn base OS. This bootable image will allow users to install Longhorn much more quickly than was possible in the past, as it eliminates a lot of the time-consuming file copy and Registry population phases that were present in previous Windows versions. In Longhorn, the first phase of setup simply copies this single image file--referred to as the WinPE (Windows pre-installation environment)--to the hard drive, and then reboots the system. Then your system boots into WinPE, which is basically a miniature operating system consisting of the core Longhorn features, it boots immediately, because the image ships already "installed." Then, the mini-OS runs a totally rewritten PnP routine that quickly identifies your exact hardware configuration, installs the correct drivers, and ... that's it. You're up and running. Myers says the goal is for an unattended setup of Longhorn to take less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Compared to the 45- to 60-minute install time for Windows XP, that's amazing.”

    Sounds great, if that's how it turns out.  At this point, though, only time will tell...
    See you at the PDC!

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