For those dreading another quirky excursion into Computing By Committee, Windows 7 is shaping up as a relief, at least to this stage. There’s even been some action on user feedback. The look is that Windows 7 is trying to be functional, not flashy.
Being competitive and contemporary seems to have finally received some oxygen, too:
The Sydney Morning Herald The world's largest software maker also is making Word, Excel and other key elements of Office - its flagship "productivity" programs - able to run in a web browser. The move is meant to help confront rivals such as Google that offer free word processing and spreadsheet programs online, threatening one of Microsoft's most precious profit centers. .
Not a bad idea, and not before time, either. The transition from composition to web page has been a truly monumental pain in the butt. Word happens to be a very good, reliable, bit of software, and the endless traipsing through page making rituals is ludicrous.
Addressing another complaint about Vista, Microsoft said Windows 7 will be faster and need less memory to run. Vista generally needs costlier hardware configurations than the older Windows XP.
Sinofsky (Steven Sinofsky, a senior vice president in Microsoft's Windows group) held up a "netbook" - a low-cost, low-power laptop that would have a hard time running Vista - and said it's working with Windows 7
This penitence for Vista stems from Vista’s generally loathed foibles and the massive howl from users. Speed is always an issue for users, and the sooner the industry realizes people just want to click and go there, the better. Nobody gives a damn about exotic hardware, when it means growing moss waiting for anything to happen.
Now cometh the other agenda: Cloud computing. This is everyone’s baby, and if it’s a bastard of an idea in theory, it’s producing some interesting baby showers:
Building on a broader strategy to meld the best elements of web and desktop software, Microsoft also showed off lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote software that work in web browsers and look as they normally do, but don't have to be installed on a PC.
The new programs were running "in the cloud" on the new Windows Azure system Microsoft unveiled on Monday, a move aimed at helping it catch up with Google and other nimbler web companies.
Azure lets Microsoft run software and store data in its own massive data centers around the world, instead of requiring people to install programs on their own PCs.
We still haven’t heard a word about security in terms of Cloud Computing, or what happens when one of those gigantic buildings gets hit by a nuke, but obviously there’s a lot of stuff coming out as a prelude.
Apparently, however, Windows 7 is a new baseline in terms of desktops and the link between it and Cloud Computing is one of the main recurrent themes of the media coverage. What’s been shown is the pre-beta version, and there’s still time for some feedback to seep into the beta and production models. Not inappropriate, because as The New York Times reports, this may not be your average operating system.
There was also a hint that Microsoft plans to revise Windows 7 to take advantage of the coming wave of multicore microprocessors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. Mr. Sinofsky said the company would give more details on the ability of the new program to handle up to 256 processors.
Uh-huh… Gosh, Beaver, they’re subtle. This is a longstanding issue for users, who, for the record can have any number of applications open at any one time, and do like to be able to work. I just got a duo core, and the difference is extremely noticeable.
Actually the idea of software to take advantage of 256 processors isn’t as complex as it sounds. The applications, however, are huge. It means great streaming, and handling what we now consider very complex stuff pretty easily. In terms of Windows 7 for home computers, however, you don't need all that grunt for a normal PC.
Not everyone’s thrilled, though.
Infoworld’s Randall C Kennedy contradicts all of the above, and says Microsoft has repeated Vista’s mistakes:
I have seen the future, and it is bleak. Windows 7, the next big version, the one that was supposed to fix everything that was wrong with Vista, is here (at least in pre-beta form), and I can now say -- with some confidence -- that Microsoft has once again dropped the ball.
The rest of the article, which is worth a look, is based on Windows 7 M3 Build. Kennedy isn’t spraying flowers around. He says in essence it repeats Vista’s various notorious behavior. Nor does he accept the “pre-beta” tag. Suspicions come with the mere mention of Vista. That's Microsoft's real problem.
More hype than hope?
Nobody would be surprised by a turkey.
It’s just that nobody wants a turkey.
Leaving the users, as usual, with an industry-wide bitching session and not much in terms of any obvious comprehension of their needs.
When you design a car, you stick in a few sales features, not a totally unfamiliar, irritating, experience with a price tag and a built in attitude to other cars.
You don’t produce a new Ferrari capable of doing 5mph with a following wind, and call it the logical successor to the famous super skateboard.
If you want to make any money out of this situation, try a betting syndicate.
Some basic odds on new developments in home computing:
2/1 System loathes electricity, runs on oat bran
1/1 Security patches issues cause emigration to Venus
5/1 Lynch mobs roam streets installing software and running it whether anyone likes it or not
10/1 Cloud Computing causes some weird disease that makes people buy phones
15/1 World taken over by super-computer literate Hounds
20/1 Software conflicts cause accidental literacy in financial sector, until a vaccine is developed
25/1 Earth accidentally deleted by adorable kitten in Cloud Computing complex.
50/1 Human race cut and pasted to Wall Street Journal, sues, wins, retires, crashes economy.
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