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Windows 7

… as I looked around for some new running shoes (which I did manage to purchase), in preparation for the half-marathon I have agreed to take part in, I had one eye on the clock to not miss the appointment I had which was meeting some “bloggers” and 1000heads (well two of them) in the Starbucks on the corner of Oxford and Soho street. Though not invited I asked my New Yorker friend David to come along (he is on a London networking mission currently) and well, though a MAD (I mean MAC) user I thought he may enjoy the event, and I figured 1000heads would’t mind (and they didn’t at all, thanks Colin).

I arrived a touch late to StarBucky’s (though anywhere in London needs a half hour slot for arrival) and hooked-up with a diverse bunch of geekos, damn I must be in that category too hmm.

So we were escorted over to the brightly lit offices of 3-Monkeys (which I must say are situated in a cool building) to be welcomed by the dudes and a dude-ette from Microsoft along with finger food and plenty of booze, and some monkeys, who were all pleasant people, one of which (sorry for forgetting your name) helped me locate some mobile vids from a mutual client bash (thanks Monkey Fiona). The scene was set well, all the boxes ticked if I was ticking, but I wasn’t.

A presentation/event took place #cesfest09 (?) which was supposed to be in some way connected to CES 09 though I didn’t entirely get the connection, the invites or event may have been better pimped as ” free drinks, and a Windows 7 preview” – to be frank, but I’m a thick old engineer.

Anyway, I’m not going to concentrate here on talking about the software (well only a touch later), but rather the boldness Microsoft adopted here in allowing a bunch of Internet noisy folk in, in order to encourage them (us) to spout-off afterward (and during, which did happen a bit, ustream was streamin and some tweets were flying around).

I’ve said it before, a company needs to have one of two things (both is best) if it is going to utilise what some might call Social Media Experts, or So.Me douche bags, if you will (just kidding there).

It needs:

1. A great product
2. Balls

By inviting “us lot” you are stating you do desire us to talk, ramble, converse, slag-off, amplify positive or negatively around your product/event. – and you know what? – BLOODY GOOD ON YOU TOO, Microsoft has both, in my opinion, and I don’t know how many millions of users (billions?) use it, whatever reincarnation it is in. Microsoft runs entire hospitals, keeps people alive on machines, computed the stock markets, aids research into whatever whatever (I know I sound like the recent TV ad)

I couldn’t care much about Windows 7 to be totally frank, sure I am a user, Vista and XP, and I have a HP TouchSmart (which is very very cool) but I’m the type of user that doesn’t get excited about new updates and releases, I tend to fall into them when my machine breaks, or I buy a new one.

No, I do get excited however about looking WAY ahead into the distance and broadly considering the potential convergence. It’s been what feels like forever that the box in the corner (we call it a TV) will eventually become a multi-channel entertainment and connection box. I recall having conversations with students years and years ago about replacing the TV with a computer, and well I think we are starting to get there.

In my home we are fortunate to have a 40 inch wide plasma screen, it accepts just about any format that I throw at it, it plays mov, mp3 etc all audio and video formats, takes any portable memory stick, card, drive, and has ports to plug computers into it, in fact I am looking around right now for a small PC to hook into the plasma, so we can sit 20 feet away and shop on Tesco.. It is this type of convergence this type of changing experience that “floats my boat”, if you add touch into that (I have a HP TouchSmart) then you’ll have me taking my wallet out.

Microsoft stated they are getting into the touch market with Windows 7 (forget iTouch here, Microsoft are years ahead in touch research, did you see the Surface?). But how? – well the task bar is bigger/wider) and whilst that is the way forward they need EVEN MORE thought in that respect. The best application for the touch experience on the HP TouchSmart is in fact made by HP, you can run the application and get your fingers dirty dirty (and the 23 inch screen) touching your assets.. (hmm that didn’t sound right) – touching your media, interacting with it. But my point here is that Windows 7 is STILL too small in the visuals for that experience, the fingers are too fat to be accurate, so whilst they lip-serviced touch, I’d personally like a “touch-switch” to flip me OS into touch mode, rather than rely on third party apps for it.

Windows 7 (built on the Vista Kernel) also has monster amounts of Windows Live features, I must admit I don’t currently use it, but might have a look now, and it is clear they are taking the social aspects of people’s live very seriously indeed, with partnerships struck up with the major (current) players in social platforms (Facebook data will be available in Live).

Given the market share of Microsoft they are moving in the right direction, they know the future is not in the dinosaur IT department, it is in the cloud, the computing utility and I’ll likely stay with them in that as they make my life easier.

Thanks for the event, keep up the good work.