Windows 7 Feels the Love

windows_7_logoComputerWorld has a report citing a couple of interesting poll results:

  • A poll conducted by ChangeWave says that 44% of the IT pros they interviewed said that they were “very satisfied” with the Windows 7 beta. This is leaps and bounds over a similar poll they conducted in February 2007 when 10% said they were as satisfied with Vista.
  • In the same poll, 53% said that they’d skip Vista outright and just wait Windows 7.

This is consistent with my own experience talking with people at various events ranging from the EnergizeIT cross-Canada tour to my Coffee and Code gatherings (where even Macheads have been asking me for Win 7 install DVDs) to the Mesh Conference. I’ve never seen people this stoked about a beta operating system, never mind a version of Windows!

It’s an interesting part of what I like to describe as the “sea change taking place within and without The Empire”. I’m looking forward to the upcoming release candidate.


Toronto Area Windows 7 Installfest

This article originally appeared in Canadian Developer Connection.

We held a Windows 7 Installfest yesterday as part of the cross-Canada EnergizeIT tour. The idea is pretty simple: invite developers, IT pros and early adopters of all stripes to the Microsoft Canada Headquarters in Mississauga, provide them with DVDs of the Windows 7 beta, walk them through the installation process and show them what the upcoming operating system can do!


We held two sessions on Saturday, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Both sessions were hosted by IT Pro Evangelist extraordinare Rick Claus, who with his signature Tilley hat and friendly delivery style ran them with great fanfare and high praise from many participants. Rick gave a quick presentation walking the crowd through the basics of the installation process, demonstrated a number of Windows 7 features and covered other topics such as creating a bootable USB stick with a Windows 7 installer.


The event wouldn’t have been possible without the able assistance of our proctors. They were volunteers from the local IT community who believed in Windows 7 so much that they were willing to spend a Saturday morning and afternoon helping people install a beta version on their computers. Thanks, guys – without your help, we would’ve been swamped!


I was also there for both sessions, helping Rick out as well as doing my own demonstrations showing all kinds of software than ran “right out of the box” on Windows 7, from Visual Studio 2008 and XNA (I showed them my incredibly simple and incredibly dumb prototype for a game based on the move Zardoz), to Far Cry 2 to the music synthesizer/production app FL Studio, which I used to build a hip-hop backbeat on the fly.


Also present was IT Pro Evangelist Damir Bersinic, who along with Anne Murakami and Cristina Ferreira from our partner company Maritz Canada, made sure that everything ran smoothly, from making sure that the room was set up to signing in the attendees to getting not just enough mini-burgers to feed the crowd, but also enough to haunt Rick’s dreams for the next week.


Most of the people who came brought laptop computers. A couple brought netbooks. Some people who really wanted Windows 7 brought desktop systems, and they weren’t tiny ones, either! Here’s one that got brought in, complete with a decent-sized monitor and webcam! The system was so new that it still had all the feature stickers on it.


The “Flashy Chassis” award goes to this guy, whose pimped-out enclosure got a lot of oohs and ahhs. Speaking as a guy who walks around town and tech conferences with an accordion on his back, I applaud personal expression of all kinds and salute this gentleman with a filet mignon on a flaming sword! I plan to build a gamer/music studio PC rig at some point, and you’d better believe it’s going to be at least this decked out:


Ages ago, a full two years before The Empire hired me, they sent me an Acer Ferrari 1000 as part of program to get prominent Canadian bloggers interested in Vista. I still have it…


…but it no longer has Vista. Under Windows 7, it feels a little snappier. I plan to use the machine, which is now a couple of years old and whose specs are a bit lower than than developer-grade laptops that The Empire provides me, as a “reality check” device, where I’ll test applications that both Microsoft and I develop.


I never thought I’d see the day when people would get jazzed about an upcoming Windows operating system, never mind sign up in droves to get their hands on a pre-release version, but that’s just what happened. The room was filled with geek love and techno-lust for Windows 7.


It was also great to meet new people and make new connections with the tech community at large, and they in turned seemed quite happy to meet some of the actual human faces that make up Microsoft. When we asked the audience if they’d like to see more Saturday events like this, they responded with a resounding “YES!”, and we’re keeping that in mind as we plan events for 2009 and beyond.

All in all, the Toronto Area Windows 7 Installfest was a lot of fun, and from where I stand, it was a great success! Thanks to everyone who attended and helped out!


EnergizeIT 2009: Coming Soon!

Banner: EnergizeIT - Anything is possible

It’s been announced on Canadian Developer Connection, but I thought I’d mention it here: we folks at Microsoft Canada are gearing up for the 2009 edition of EnergizeIT, a cross-country tour where we’ll show off our upcoming tools, technology and platforms.

Logos: Windows Azure, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

For starters, we’ll be showing off Windows 7. I’ve been running it on both my “developer” and “TPS report-writing” laptops for weeks now, and it’s been nothing but rock-solid: all my XP and Vista-based software, from development apps to games and even my synth software (I run Ableton Live and FL Studio, a.k.a. “FruityLoops”) work like a charm on it. We’ll show off the improved UI, additional capabilities that you can take advantage of as a developer, and even give you a chance to install the beta on your own machine.

EnergizeIT is also an opportunity to check out what we’ve got in the way of server tech, such as the revamped Windows Server 2008 R2 with its Hyper-V virtualization and Windows Azure, our cloud computing platform that scales to meet your needs and saves you maintenance headaches.

We’ll have five different kinds of events at our EnergizeIT stops:

  • The Future of the Windows Platform: We’ll talk about Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, all with this question in mind: “How is this going to make my life easier?”
  • Energize IT: From the Client to the Cloud: Find out about our “Software + Services” vision, where you can access computing power anywhere, any time and on any device.
  • Student Connection: Get Energized About the Future! Get a head start on your journey from academia to “the real world” as we show you some upcoming tech and talk about the opportunities that exist, even in current economic mess.
  • Faculty Connection: Supporting Faculty to Support the Future: Find out about our programs to support people who teach technology and let us know what you need.
  • Enthusiast Connection: Windows 7 Installfest: Take Windows 7 for a spin and ask us about our experiences with our up-and-coming desktop operating system.

Map of Canada

In the past, we’ve only held EnergizeIT in Toronto, but this time, we’re borrowing a page from Aerosmith’s book and coming to your hometown. Starting in mid-March and running through until the end of April, we’ll be hitting these cities:

  • Victoria
  • Vancouver
  • Edmonton
  • Calgary
  • Regina
  • Saskatoon
  • Winnipeg
  • London
  • Kitchener-Waterloo
  • Mississauga
  • Toronto
  • Ottawa
  • Montreal
  • Halifax
  • Moncton
  • Fredericton
  • St. John’s

As for how much it’ll cost for you to attend our EnergizeIT events: nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Bupkis. Honkis de Konkis, as we say in some circles. Simply put, it’s free of charge.

Want to find out more about EnergizeIT or register? Go hit the EnergizeIT site.


xkcd on the Windows 7 Beta

Even though this organization gives me a nice paycheque every two weeks for evangelizing:

Microsoft logo, featuring the evil monkey from "Family Guy"

…I still found today’s xkcd comic on the Windows 7 beta release funny:

"xkcd" comic on Windows 7Click the comic to see it on its original page.

The alt text for the comic does say "Disclaimer: I have not actually tried the beta yet.  I hear it’s quite pleasant and hardly Hitler-y at all."

By the bye, don’t quote me on this but I hear tell that the next Ubuntu release will do nothing but show Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond forming a sexy “Eiffel Tower” (see this post for an explanation) with Linus Torvalds in the middle. I’m just sayin’.


Taking Windows 7 for a Spin


I had my first look at the next version of Windows – Windows 7 – at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles back in October, a week after I joined the company. By the powers vested in me as a Developer Evangelist with Microsoft, I got my paws on an installer for a recent beta edition and a spare machine – a Dell Latitude D830 with a 2GHz Core Duo processor and 4GB RAM — on which to take the new operating system for a test run.

The installation of the Windows 7 beta went considerably better than my experience installing the Windows Vista beta back in 2006: this time, it worked.


Over the next little while, I’m going to spend some time – perhaps a day a week – doing actual daily work on the Windows 7 machine in order to really experience it. It’ll also give me a chance to try out some “developing for Windows 7” example code. I’ll post my observations here on Global Nerdy – at least as much as the non-disclosure rules allow.



“The Onion” Compares Apple’s OS X “Snow Leopard” Against Windows 7

…and hilarity ensues: