Thursday, September 15, 2005

Microsoft PDC 2005

Microsoft showed a preview of Office 12 as well as some new Vista stuff in the still ongoing Professional Developers Conference 2005. You might want to look at the image gallery they put up in the virtual pressroom. Very pretty pics.

Guess, what? The Vista sidebar is back! The sidebar seems to be a sort of dock for widget-like things. There's a clock, an RSS reader, and a Media Player widget, among other things. Placing all the widgets in one side of the screen makes it seem less cluttered than Apple's Dashboard, but it does limit the number of widgets you could see at a time. That might be a good thing for people who don't like sensory overload, but then Dashboard and Konfabulator users have their own tastes. Anyway, I might (though probably not) see the logic in using these redundant, resource-hogging little eye-candies once I can afford a Vista-compatible computer. But right now I'm not very impressed.

Other than the Sidebar (and the new 3D chess game!), there's not much else in the Vista screenshots that's not been seen before. What I really got excited about was the preview of Office 12. The screenshots are nice-looking, but I think you really need to see the video of the actual demonstration(torrent) to appreciate just how much better the new interface is compared to anything we've seen before in a Windows application. No, I haven't seen the video yet (dial-up...gaaah!), but from what I've heard from virtually everyone who has seen it, it's gonna blow your mind. That is, if you're not a close-minded Microsoft-hater...or maybe it still will: they say it's THAT good. Can't wait to see it next week! :-)

Update: I've finally found out what those widget-like things on the sidebar are called. They're Microsoft Gadgets, and they're not only for the sidebar. Gadgets can be placed on your desktop (like Yahoo! Widgets) or the web (via start.com). Bleh, still unimpressed.