Ultra Mobile PC, with Vista-ization of the user interface:
Now that Vista is officially released, it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane. Luckily Paul Thurrott has a very complete historical archive here.
For grins, start at the bottom of his Vista section and work up. Hey wait a minute! What is this sidebar and gadget stuff doing in screen shots from 2002? Why the heck is desktop search being previewed in 2002 and early 2003? Come on, it is public knowledge that these features were copied from Apple in 2005. Who are you trying to kid Microsoft? We all know that Bill Gates sent a robot back in time to alter early versions of longhorn. And we are not falling for it!
Seriously though, it's been an interesting ride. The behind the scenes Vista story is even more interesting than the public roller coaster ride. I can't give any details here, at least not for a few months. I'm sure there will be a book written about it it anyway. Heck maybe even a movie.
I'm sure everyone at Redmond is breathing a sigh of relief right now. Now that they have Vista behind them, I'm sure there will be a bit of um, 'internal restructuring'. One thing I'll put money on... the next version of Windows won't take five years to release.
Soon you will be able to feed any ipod accessory with music from your A2DP Bluetooth device. Yes even the Ipod toilet paper dispenser.
This device plugs into any accessory with an ipod dock connector. It is buttonless and come in black and white. Anycom also offers a bunch of other Bluetooth accessories including a Bluetooth adapter for an iPod nano.
I don't know why but I get a kick out of the idea of someone else feeding music through those iPod interfaces. It would be cool if the iPod interface became a defacto standard and other MP3 players started using it. But alas I sense another iSue lawsuit disturbance in the force.
It isn't exactly the huge roll out one would expect from a giant like Netflix. But Netflix has announced that they will start a staged deployment of an internet delivery scheme they call 'Watch Now'. From the limited information available this appears to be a streaming style service, with high-speed broadband users being able to start watching after 10 - 15 seconds. There is no additional charge for current members. Instead they will limit the number of hours of you can watch based on your current subscription level. They are bringing about 250,000 customers online at a time to control the demand. Only about 1000 titles of its massive library will be available at launch. The movies are only viewable on a Windows PC, no mobile, Mac or phone. Personally, now that I'm able to get downloads direct to my home theater (via 360), I don't find this sort of thing as exiting as I would have a year ago. I'll be watching to see how popular it is compared to Amazon's unbox which launch with a fizzle and has failed to pick up steam. As an existing customer however I'll be sure to check it out since it won't cost me anything.
Within days of the iPhone (tm) the Pocket PC and Palm communities have created skins that mimic a portion of Apple's new iPhone interface. And in typical Apple fashion they wasted no time threatening to sue everyone involved, or even reporting on this topic. Which means they are threatening bloggers yet again, even though their last attempt to do this was thrown out of court, after the judge claimed the bloggers were protected by the first amendment.
So after seeing the iPhone I can't help but wonder if Microsoft will pay attention and resurrect the PocketPC phone edition form factor. They haven't exactly killed it off yet, but they have only really been focusing on the smartphone for the last several years. Someone in the MS Mobile group should be very embarrassed right about now. MS had this form factor out for 8+ years and couldn't produce an interface even remotely close to what Apple managed to do. Arguably this is not Apple's first mobile device interface, but the Newton was a long long time ago.
Actually one thing that I never understood was why some 3rd party developer didn't come up with a nice finger driven interface. I've tried nearly all the PocketPC mp3 player software out their and not one would let you drive it completely with your finger. Excluding the iPhone's ability to sense more than one finger at a time, everything else in the interface is completely achievable on existing PocketPC hardware.
Well the blog has been a bit dead for a while now. I started several posts over the last few weeks but never finished any of them. I have been a bit distracted lately with the holidays and pre-holiday weather nonsense (floods, wind storms, snow, 7 days without power). But that is no excuse. Here is a random rant just to prove the blog is not dead.
Paul Thurrott finished his big Vista review. He has been in love it / hate it mode for so long now that frankly I lost interest. One side effect of the amount of time he has spent writing it is that it is not consistent at all. There are still a bunch of complaints in it, although he has sanitized most of them out now. Even after all the whining over the last year, he gives it 4 out of 5. I'm purposely not linking to his site here as I don't feel I need to help his page rank out. I reacted strongly to one minor side comment however. In his continued rant about Aero's glass effect making it hard to tell which window is in the forground (i.e. active) he offers this suggestion:
"Instead of the subtle differences between the foreground window and other windows as in today's Aero, Vista should instead dim or fade the other windows, making it far more obvious which windows are in front. Windows that are further back could be dimmed more, giving the desktop an interesting 3D perspective."
Umm, no! Lets think for a moment why that would be a bad idea. It is basically taking the point that people only care about the active window, all other windows should effectively be grayed, and un-readable out to avoid distraction. Geez, does he do anything with his computer besides work on his 5 year old review? As for me I have invested in high res displays and multiple monitors over the years exactly so I could see more than one app at a time - not just the active one. He might as well just run all his apps full screen, sheesh.
That reminds me that I'm still working on my theory to explain the differences between multi-monitor users and non multi-monitor users. Maybe I need to factor in another group - full screen only users. But that is a story for another post.