Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

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BillG's CES 2007 Keynote: Where was the Wow?

Going to the Keynote on Sunday was an blast. First off, we got screwed on seating. The attendees of the Vista RTM Lab were supposed to get a section cordoned off especially for us. But we got there late, and that didn't happen. So we got sent to the back. earlier, Nick told us about the Microsoft overflow room, and that there would be a near-endless supply of food and booze. So StarDock's Kristin said "If we're gonna watch it on a screen, we might as well watch it there!" Brilliant! So I tracked down one of the Lab's organizers, who directed us to the Microsoft PR room. And it was awesome. Open bar and a buffet... fantastic. Screw front row seats, if you seen BillG live once, that's all you need.

Unfortunately thought, the keynote was less than stellar. The only real high-points were the HP video and the Vista demo. Among my gripes:

  • There shoud have been a Windows Home Server demo. One of the things that made me mad about the Vista Views article that CNET put out about WHS was that most of the people who said "who needs a server at home?" don't have a clue what they're talking about because they haven't seen the product. They heard the name and made assumptions. Having "server" in the name is kind of a misnomer, as WHS is more like a Windows-powered NAS on crack. Doing an on-stage demo would have seriously upped the "wow" factor.
  • Speaking of demos, who let the Ford guy get up there and jerk his mouth off for 6 minutes? If I wanted to hear about how great Ford was, I could have gone to my local Ford dealership. A word to the Ford guy: you're company's gonna be irrelevant soon, so next time, shut up and demo the Sync technology that is supposed to be so great. No one cares how much you like your own Kool-Aid. (Disclosure: I drive a Ford).
  • The Vista demo was cool... but where was the hardware? Microsoft worked super-hard with OEMs to have great hardware ready for Vista... so why did they keep it on the show floor? There should have been a parade of Sideshow-enabled devices. Put one of the new SPOT-enabled Garmin GPS devices in a golf cart and drive it onstage to show how you can get directions and traffic together.
  • Xbox 360: IPTV but no new hard drive. And speaking of IPTV, why didn't they show the experience from console start-up? I wanted to see how you get to it from the Dashboard, and when we could expect it. Nada.
  • Home of the Future: zzzzzzzz. Bill, you're a great guy. Thanks for talking with us, seriously. But the guy that gives the tour on campus did a much better job. You guys have cooler stuff you're working on, so why spoil your $10M investment in Disneyland by showing off the HOTF onstage? Should have demoed MultiPoint instead.

But of course, I'm biased. We had already been briefed on some of the big news in the keynote, like Windows DremeScene (nee "Motion Desktop"), and the new Toshiba with the UWB dock. It just seemed like Bill couldn't live up to the cool demo they did last year with the Smartphone on the projection table. Oh well, there's always next year.

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