I, probably like everyone else in the world, find picturing Microsoft without Bill Gates rather hard. Bill Gates is the face of Microsoft even more than Steve Jobs is the face of Apple (the iPod is Apple’s face). But as iconic as one of the richest persons in the world is, that doesn’t change the fact that Bill Gates will be stepping down from his position as CEO of Microsoft in July to take on the full-time responsibility that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation demands.
As has been tradition for the past few years, the kickoff of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is begun with Bill Gates giving the opening keynote. Tonight marks the last CES keynote Bill will give, and his intro to the address was very fitting. Here is a link to the video that was shown addressing what Bill’s last day at Microsoft might be like:
Bill Gates’ Last Day At Microsoft
Can anyone say cameo? And talk about getting your money’s worth. I didn’t count, but there are probably around 10-15 semi/full-blown famous people in that 6 minutes clip. Regardless of the fact that Bill can obviously get anyone in the world to do anything for him, this video was a nice piece of comedy that shined above what usually amounts to loads of geekery at events like CES. It’s sad to see such an outstanding innovator leave the industry, but there is little doubt in my mind that the work that he will do with his and Melinda’s foundation will rival what he did at Microsoft in terms of positive impact on the world as a whole.
As for the rest of the keynote, he and his Microsoft helpers did announce some interesting technologies, most importantly the broadcasting of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics online with their Silverlight technology, but nothing really held up to the intro video. Even the Guitar Hero with Slash finale, it all seemed kind of lackluster when compared to the fact that an era of technology leadership is ending and that another is about to begin.
Addressing the CES conference, I probably won’t be covering any of it unless some product really jumps out at me. As for the Macworld conference, I’ll probably be all over that (even though I can’t go this year).
Of course anything that happens regarding Steve Jobs will make the tech blogs, but yesterday was a big day in the life of a newly converted Mac user. It was the start of WWDC, and as usual, Jobs gave his keynote as an opening act. Also as usual, there were massive rumors circulating both forums and blogs alike, some rumors came true, other fell back into the “save for next Apple event” pile. Here are some of the things announced today and my take left along side of them:
Mac OS X Leopard
- Desktop: We have a new dock and semi-transparent top bar. The new dock is definitely nice with the Stacks feature, but listing a semi-transparent bar as a feature? What’s up with that? If Jobs would have skipped the bar and focused solely on the dock, I would be much more pleased. Either way, the new dock is a definite improvement. It’s a step in the left direction.
- Finder: This is where I am most excited for Leopard. The finder has a whole new way of browsing through the files and folders located all around your hard drive. New icons that mimic the file/folder contents, new Cover Flow view, and and improved searching with Spotlight all excite me. I believe that Core Animation will be integrated somehow into the new Finder features which would make this new explorer even prettier.
- Time Machine: Nothing really new, but Time Machine looks nice. Admittedly, it is just a backup program with a pretty GUI, but what’s wrong with that? Having it integrated into my OS is very welcome.
- Spaces: Again, nothing new, but this is probably my second favorite feature coming to Leopard. This makes it OK for those of us who can’t fit four screens on our desks. It looks like it will have very intuitive integration into everyday use, and with the rapid increases in RAM size and decrease in prices, more programs are going to be open more of the time. One screen can’t really handle that without something like Spaces.
- iChat: A few new things make this simple text/audio/video chatting program even more appealing. You can now show your the people who you are chatting with your presentations, slideshows, or other things not pertaining to your face. Nice new features, nothing shocking though.
- Boot Camp: We all knew that Boot Camp would be integrated into Leopard, and although we were hoping that Apple would make it into a Parallels/VMware killer of sorts, Jobs presented it as a complementary product to these two others. The new Boot Camp will allow quick switching between your different virtual machines. Small update.
- Front Row: It will look like Apple TV, that’s nice… I guess. I don’t really use Front Row right now, maybe I will next year at college. This new interface doesn’t affect me too much.
- 3rd Party Apps: No SDK, only web apps. Apple needs to learn that, although first-party limitations have worked thus far, competitors are coming in on all sides. Seeing as Apple is entering into a brand new market that already seems saturated with carriers and phone makers, being locked into the Cingular/AT&T contract sucks big time. Only web apps really hinders the capabilities for others to develop kick-ass applications.
- Size Issues: The picture of the iPhone has changed on the Apple website (which has also received a redesign). What is odd is that it now seems MUCH smaller than before. It turns out that after the old and new images are compared and the new one is vertially stretched, they match exactly. This is some shady imaging on Apple’s part. It looks like Andre the Giant’s hand holding the iPhone where as before it was Mini-Me’s.