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Windows learns a thing or two from the world of blogging

As part of Microsoft’s efforts to promote its Windows projects, the Windows team is launching a new initiative -- a blog to promote its new upcoming Windows 7 operating system.  The new blog is titled Engineering Windows 7 and the first post went online August 14 at about 5 PM.  The blog is going to provide exclusive insight from Microsoft's development team about the progress of the OS.

The first blog, unsurprisingly, comes from Windows senior vice presidents Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky.  The pair has already stated that official engineering details will not be fully discussed until October 27 at the Professional Developers' Conference in Los Angeles.  However, they hope to drop a few hints in the blog, along with getting feedback from what people hope to see with Windows 7.

The pair writes:

The audience of enthusiasts, bloggers, and those that are the most passionate about Windows represent the folks we are dedicating this blog to. With this blog we’re opening up a two-way discussion about how we are making Windows 7. Windows has all the challenges of every large scale software project—picking features, designing them, developing them, and delivering them with high quality. Windows has an added challenge of doing so for an extraordinarily diverse set of customers. As a team and as individuals on the team we continue to be humbled by this responsibility.

They also announced that the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, a week after the Professional Developers' Conference, will feature more technical details on Windows 7.  Interestingly the team seemed to allude to the hype and moderate disappointment surrounding Windows Vista, stating, "We, as a team, definitely learned some lessons about “disclosure” and how we can all too easily get ahead of ourselves in talking about features before our understanding of them is solid. Our intent with Windows 7 and the pre-release communication is to make sure that we have a reasonable degree of confidence in what we talk about when we do talk."

Mr. Sinofsky and Mr. DeVaan believe revealing too many tentative technical hardware details too early can be very detrimental.  Not only does it waste resources, they say, but it also confuses partners.  This argument seems slightly more logical when you consider that Microsoft has to work with over 10,000 hardware partners, each with unique needs.

Both say they will post "regularly" to the blog, to provide behind the scenes info.  They also promise to try to respond to selected user comments.  Mr. Sinofsky encourages readers to send him emails to his corporate email suggesting topics and suggestions for Windows 7.

While blogging is no means new in the Microsoft community, the new Windows 7 blog seems to represent a more concerted effort to use a public dialog to help it create its new OS.  With the blog expected to run through 2009 when the OS is scheduled to release, it should be interesting to see what tidbits of information it offers.



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RE: Not really bothered
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/15/2008 10:22:37 AM , Rating: 2
Well its hard to say with details scant about the OS, but among the things that it can and likely will possibly do:

Release a new graphics API (Direct X 11 ?)

Touch Screen Functionality

Improved multithreading/operation on multicore machines

Leaner builds for less powerful systems

People say these kind of things with every generation of OS "Why do I need it? My old OS works great!"

Yet, there are always perks that have kept OS's selling since the days of Windows 3.1.


RE: Not really bothered
By 306maxi on 8/15/2008 10:34:36 AM , Rating: 3
True.

But DX11 would most likely get released for Vista.

Touch screen functionality - Not sure I really want it on my PC at home. What's wrong with a good ole keyboard and mouse? But this would be excellent for a lot of other uses.

Improved multi-threading? Isn't that mainly down to the applications to support? Vista doesn't have any problems in this respect for me.

Less powerful builds - PC's are getting more powerful by the day. Most new low end PC's can run Vista happily with Aeroglass enabled. For devices like the eee and other netbooks they should just keep XP alive.

I know people say "Why do I need it" about new OS's and always have and this frustrates me. But I think this might be a genuine opportunity for people running Vista to say "Why do I need Windows 7?" when in reality Vista is a great OS and does just about everything Windows 7 supposedly will.


RE: Not really bothered
By Diesel Donkey on 8/15/2008 11:03:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most new low end PC's can run Vista happily with Aeroglass enabled.


I think you've captured the crux of the matter right there.


RE: Not really bothered
By therealnickdanger on 8/15/2008 11:27:41 AM , Rating: 2
Let's get to the root of the problem: any PC with 1GB RAM or more can run Vista w/Aero just fine. When Vista was released, the major complaints were due to vendors selling Vista on 512MB machines, thinking they could just sell XP SKUs with Vista loaded instead. Even Celeron 430s with Intel IGPs can run Vista just fine with 1GB RAM.

RAM RAM RAM RAM RAM!


RE: Not really bothered
By 306maxi on 8/15/2008 12:19:21 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I've always argued all along that upgrading an old PC from XP to Vista is a stupid move. My argument is that there's no reason not to spec Vista on a new PC and that most new PC's will run it great. Plus anyone can afford 4gb of RAM these days and Vista will fly along as long provided you have a semi-decent CPU and GPU combination.


RE: Not really bothered
By Jimbo1234 on 8/15/2008 1:58:07 PM , Rating: 3
And why not even 8GB or more? RAM is dirt cheap. $80 for 4GB (2x2) on Newegg.


RE: Not really bothered
By 306maxi on 8/15/2008 2:28:34 PM , Rating: 1
True. But I prefer to buy decent RAM so getting 8gb of RAM for that much money is just a dream for me. I paid about that much for 2x1gb Dominator modules just last week. 4gb of RAM will be plenty for most people for a while to come yet. Not forever of course but for at least 18 months for most people


RE: Not really bothered
By therealnickdanger on 8/15/2008 6:53:24 PM , Rating: 5
LOL @ "decent RAM"

Unless you're in the upper echelon of over-clockers, you don't need anything beyond budget RAM. If you don't believe that, I have a $120 gold-plated Monster parallel cable to sell you.


RE: Not really bothered
By 306maxi on 8/16/2008 2:22:37 AM , Rating: 3
Wow! He quotes me and says I'd buy a monster cable and I get rated down and he gets a 4 for no reason. What I mean is RAM that is not ****. Yes you could go for budget RAM like Corsair Value Select or Kingston ValueRam but for a little bit more you could go for something like Corsair XMS2 which costs a little more and in my experience is more reliable. RAM doesn't need to overclock to be decent. Not breaking is something I also like in my components.

OMFG you'd buy a Monster Cable! Rate me up for my snappy remark lolz! *sigh*


RE: Not really bothered
By therealnickdanger on 8/16/2008 1:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
Even Kingston ValueRAM is too expensive! I'm talking A-DATA and every other brand that's at the bottom rung - with free shipping! :P You ought to reconsider paying the bare minimum sometime, you may be surprised at how good the stuff is. I haven't built a ton of systems in the past 5 years, but of the 10 I can remember, all of them used "bottom-rung" RAM and not one had memory problems. Just buy some and run MemTest on it to see if you should return it or not.

Seriously, don't take the rating system here so hard, opinions are like buttholes... yada yada yada.


RE: Not really bothered
By Maximalist on 8/16/2008 9:42:57 PM , Rating: 2
You need to understand what you are eluding to. Show me many desktop or laptop machines with 8GB RAM capability. I guess it did not cross your mind that most of the machines out there support only upto 4GB of RAM, and most of them can only make up to 3.2GB available to a 64-bit OS. Unless you're running server-class or workstation (trimmed down server-class) chipsets, the OS cannot utilize more than 3.2GB in most circumstances.

The huge problem with current desktop- and mobile-class chipsets is that they are really based on legacy 32-bit architectures. Hardware makers are lazy bums who found themselves out of step with the industry requirements. Only now they are coming around with new designs to address these needs.

Same situation continues to exist in most software development shops, who to a large degree are responsible for Vista's sabotaged launch and slow adoption. Not only the industry (hard- and software) failed Vista, many parties continue to actively create various obstacles.


RE: Not really bothered
By jvillaro on 8/15/2008 3:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
I heard Windows 7 will cure cancer...

I really don't know why or how people can be saying they will wait for Windows 7 to switch because it's going to be leaner, faster, less of a resource hog, compatible with my 16bit software, compatible with my 8 year old printer o scanner etc etc etc.

You can't just assume that. Neither think it will be available next year. Not just because they say so. I'm not a hater, mind you. I'm a Windows user, I loved my Win XP and I'm loving my Vista64.

I really don't know why people think that the hardware requirements for the new Windows are going to be lower. In to years when it will maybe come out or when the SP1 comes out for it (you know many people will automatically say they'll wait for SP1) ram will be even cheaper, CPU's more powerful etc.

Do you still have/need to use your PIII 500 mhz with 256mb of ram or whatever people still use, then keep using XP or your OS, who's forcing you to change?

I can still remember when I had my PII 233 mhz with 128mb running Win98SE that was cool till XP came out and it was sluggish... XP's fault? hardly. I upgraded to a faster pc and XP suddenly was the best thing since sliced bread.. oh wait that was after SP2. Todays Vista bashing is just the same thing...

Windows 7 could probably just be a more modular and faster Vista (Just because theres going to be better hardware).


RE: Not really bothered
By therealnickdanger on 8/15/2008 11:36:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Touch Screen Functionality

I believe it goes well beyond mere functionality. As I understand it, the OS is being built with touch being a centerpiece - it will be the primary interface. This excites me mostly because there really is a LOT that you can do much easier with your hands than you can do with a traditional mouse and keyboard. All perverted jokes aside, I can't wait to touch my computer.

But I can already see the problems. The majority of LCD/LED screens sold at present are not touch-enabled, so there will be a whole slew of touch screens with different degrees of touch "resolution" and response times, etc. Windows 7 will be blamed for any and all faults due to manufacturers not meeting proper touch standards. Like Vista being sold on 512MB machines, W7 will be blamed when vendors sell it with poor-performing touch screens.


RE: Not really bothered
By TomZ on 8/15/2008 11:54:44 AM , Rating: 2
I personally have no interest in touch for a desktop or laptop. You'll always need a mouse anyway, because touch is not that precise (think about finger size compared to mouse pointer size), and touching a screen will always lead to it being dirty.

For portable devices with canned user interfaces (e.g., big buttons), I do think that touch is worthwhile.


RE: Not really bothered
By skaaman on 8/15/2008 12:38:53 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I look forward to the day where I can replace my coffee table with a nice Surface PC... Lets pay attention to where this technology is heading.

http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=933742930


RE: Not really bothered
By skaaman on 8/15/2008 12:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Not really bothered
By Jimbo1234 on 8/15/2008 2:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how will it react when Jr spill his kool-aid all over the table?


RE: Not really bothered
By skaaman on 8/15/2008 3:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... I would image they are fairly well sealed. I was pondering jow long it would tale someone to hack it and leave a less than desirable image on the desktop. "Mommy, whats that???" Mother faints...


RE: Not really bothered
By Icelight on 8/15/2008 12:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
I'll stick with mouse/keyboard thank you. The last thing I want to do is stretch my arm to reach a monitor constantly to touch it.

And who has room on their desk to put a big monitor on its side if that's the way things go?


RE: Not really bothered
By whickywhickyjim on 8/15/2008 11:45:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Touch Screen Functionality


No. Touch screens have been around forever - people just don't want them. I've deployed touchscreens with windows products as far back as winNT in the late 90's. They've probably been around longer. Google microtouch.


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