Live from PDC 2003: Day 1, Monday

I love the smell of outage in the morning

I woke up early this morning to get some work done and ... ta da! ... the Marriot's Internet connection was down. This necessitated some quick thinking on our parts, and we finally edged over to the LA Convention center to hop on the wireless network. Many SuperSite updates will go up today, so check that site in a few hours.

10/27/2003 7:02AM PST


The moment we've all been waiting for... nigh. We can't remember the last time we actually were looking forward to a Gates keynote, but in about an hour, Microsoft's illustrious Chairman and Chief Software Architect will take the stage at Hall A of the LA Convention Center and, for once, he will have our rapt attention. Stay tuned...

10/27/2003 7:26AM PST

Geeks at play

When the finally opened the doors to Hall A at the LA Convention Center, a melee ensued as geeks almost trampled each other to get in, many of them running full-speed to their seats. So if you still don't believe this event is a big deal, consider the evidence: This crowd doesn't run without a reason. We took a short video of the stupidity, which might be required for a Cops-style exposé later.

10/27/2003 8:15AM PST


Gates keynote

Gates is about 30 minutes into his keynote as I write this, and so far it's a real snooze-fest. They did show a nice video before he came on stage that showed off a bunch of Aero stuff, and not surprisingly it looked exactly like the Aero preview I published on the SuperSite back in August. So far, however, Gates hasn't gotten to the future, and is instead taking attendees through the company's work to this day. Yawn.

10-27-2003 9:15AM PST


Longhorn speech capabilities

Gates finally mentioned Longhorn, noting that the next Windows will have huge gains in both speech recognition and synthesis, and in searching.

10-27-2003 9:17AM PST


Longhorn rocks

Well, we finally got a lengthy Longhorn/Aero demo and ... my goodness. Longhorn is going to rock, and we're only disappointed that the build we got doesn't show this system's best features off effectively. The transparent window effects--called glass windows, appropriately enough--are beautiful. The ability to embed video and any other kind of media into documents, apps, and anything else you can think off--even small previews you see when you mouse-over a scrollbar--are just incredible, surpassing anything on any system available today (yes, including Mac OS X Panther). The visuals in Longhorn are just going to blow you away, and the good news is we have plenty of photos and video to prove it.

10/27-2003 9:40AM PST


Longhorn pillars

The Longhorn product family will be built on three core pillars: Avalon, WinFS, and Indigo, utilize a new MSBuild engine, and provide a new programming model called WinFX. Avalon, as SuperSite readers know, is a new vector graphics-based presentation layer that enables striking animation features, transparencies and translucencies, and other awesome effects. WinFS, as first reported on the SuperSite, is a new data storage engine that builds on NTFS, providing for logical data views that are very powerful. Indigo is a new communications subsystem that will form the basis for next-generation Web services. We're getting a pretty serious drilldown on these technologies as I write this.

10/27/2003 10:26AM PST


Allchin keynote

Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin's keynote address is focusing more on the technical how-to's of Longhorn, and he's brought programming gurus Don Box and Chris Anderson on stage with him to show just how easy it is to program with WinFX, Avalon, and all the other new Longhorn technologies. It's exciting stuff, though at two hours, a long, long keynote.

10/27/2003 11:27AM PST

Windows roadmap

Allchin discussed Microsoft's plans going forward for Windows, and the roadmap includes a few new items. The next version of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, codenamed Lonestar, will debut in the first half of 2004; we're meeting with the Tablet folks about this tomorrow. Longhorn Beta 1 will ship in Summer 2004, he said, noting that Longhorn was still very early in its development cycle. Performance is not good, he said, telling attendees that Microsoft has never handed out code this early for any Windows version.

10/27/2003 11:48AM PST


The PDC 2003 Bits package: What we got

We were among the first to get the PDC 2003 Bits package, and here's what's inside: Inside Longhorn for Developers, an MS Press book by Brent Rector; a WinFX developer preview poster, and a gorgeous CD case (called "the goods") with DVDs of Longhorn DVD 1, Longhorn DVD 2, Virtual PC 2004 beta CD, Yukon CD, and Whidbey DVD. The Longhorn DVD 1 contains Longhorn x86, Longhorn x64, Longhorn IA-64, Longhorn Symbols, Longhorn SDK, Longhorn Driver Kit, Tablet PC SDK, and Windows Mobile SDK, along with whitepapers, guides, presentations, and sample chapters.

10/27/2003 12:02PM PST


The Sessions never end

I've had a heck of a time getting video content uploaded to the magazine, but I'm still trying. Meanwhile, it's been an afternoon of mostly-Avalon-related sessions. Suffice to say, Avalon is incredible. Microsoft describes it as an integrated platform for UI, media, and documents that uses a vector-based graphics engine and is completely backwards compatible with legacy applications. It's an interesting merging of Web-based applications and standard Windows applications that I'll investigate fully in a showcase soon on the SuperSite for Windows.

10/27/2003 3:06PM PST

Longhorn: Mobile PC Friendly

We went to an excellent session called Mobile Applications and Longhorn this afternoon. Apparently, everything in Longhorn is optimized for mobile PCs and Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into making the mobile experience as seamless as possible for laptops/Tablet PCs. That means improved power management, network awareness and multi-monitor support. Longhorn will also include a Location API which will provide the user's location with other applications, providing true presence information for the first time. We'll be attending a session on the Location API in the next few days and should have much more details soon.

10/27/2003 3:45PM PST


Don Box Attracts the Masses

We also went to a session on Indigo, imaginatively titled "Indigo": Services and Future of Distributed Applications." Presented by the hilarious and genius Don Box, the session was excellent and, of course, humorous. The room was absolutely packed and we were relegated to the floor on the side of the front screens. It got so uncomfortable at one point we considered bailing, but there wasn't any floor space left to walk out on. Absolutely crazy.

10/27/2003 5:05PM PST


Some video content now available on the SuperSite for Windows

We're having some amazing bandwidth issues in the press room; apparently there are just too many people hitting the network, and it keeps going up and down. But fear not, there is some video content available now on the SuperSite and more is on the way for tomorrow morning. What's there now? Videos of the crowd running into the hall, a Longhorn promotional video with some Aero stuff, and Gates being introduced. We'll have some real Aero stuff up tomorrow as well as more photo galleries. Sorry for the delays!

10/27/2003 5:09PM PST

Party at the Standard

Microsoft held an invite-only party on the roof of the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles this evening, a very cool place to be, with great views of the city. Don Box's band, "Band on the Runtime" (insert groan here) provided musical accompaniment, sadly a very lame set of cover songs with computer industry lyrics. The lowest point came when Box dragged out Ximian's Miguel de Icaza and actually sang a rendition of the Beatles' Michelle (renamed to Miguel, of course) to the startled open source programmer. Eek. Anyway, that was enough for us, so we retreated to our own hotel for sweet sleep. Spare us.

10/27/2003 11:02PM PST

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