PDC 2009: Live from the Day 2 keynote

Microsoft's Windows division president Steven Sinofsky is the headliner for today's Day 2 keynote at PDC 2009, and Betanews has its usual front-row seat.

11:04am PT: Promise of discussion on Windows Mobile at MIX '10 next March 15-17 in Las Vegas -- notice once again that the number "7" is omitted from the reference to this product. Keynote ends 35 minutes over schedule.

11:00am PT: Outlook Social Connector -- a plug-in involving Microsoft and partners including LinkedIn, enabling information from individuals' social organizations and networks to be displayed in a meaningful context in Outlook. "This is a general SDK," meaning developers will be expected to deploy it.

10:37am PT: Office Mobile Clients for Windows Mobile 6.5 betas available today in Windows Mobile Marketplace.

10:37am PT: Office 2010, SharePoint 2010 public betas go live now...today was apparently the original release date to begin with.

10:23am PT: SharePoint now taking the stage, this is where we'll see the only real Office 2010 information. A lot of talk first about what Microsoft is focused on, which is a little bit of a downer coming off of some very impressive Silverlight 4 demos.

10:18am PT: Final release of S4 shipped first half of next year.

10:17am PT: Sinofsky: How S4 will be shipped: Public beta will include all features demonstrated today, tooling support for VS 2010. Now available for download.

10:15am PT: Multitouch features with basic features, zoom in, zoom out.

10:14am PT: Photos dragged-and-dropped from the outside can be loaded into the application live, then tagged, prior to being sent to Facebook.

Photo of the audience, plugged into the system, app will ask whether to upload the photo to Facebook -- all within about 10 seconds.

10:10am PT: Brian Goldfarb is showing an S4 application that utilizes Facebook, but which uses its own chrome to develop a real, custom app on top of custom Facebook apps. Can also take advantage of COM automation to right-click data from Facebook, then add to the Outlook calendar. Access to the Outlook inbox, with virtual wall on the right "to contextualize who I'm talking to."

10:07am PT: Google Chrome being added to S4's list of supported browsers.

10:05am PT: Window "chrome" of the application can be customized with out-of-sandbox support, cross-site networking, keyboard support in full-screen mode, more hardware device access. Access to any COM automation object installed on the system, using the _dynamic_ keyword in C# to call new methods found on system. For example, Office 2010 calendar can be queried, PivotCharts brought up from Excel.

10:04am PT: S4: Ability to build trusted applications that run outside the sandbox on Windows and the Mac, user consent dialog is provided automatically.

9:48am PT: UDP multicast support enables P2P networking, improvements to support for WCF, including RIA services. Transfer data 600% faster using internal transfer protocols instead of HTTP.

9:47am PT: Brush demo can be used with live video -- a YouTube video can be jigsawed live, while video and sound are playing.

Sinofsky's been rick-rolled...but he gets his revenge! A "rick-roll" video from YouTube is sliced and diced into live jigsaw pieces using Silverlight 4.

Compile in assemblies once, run in both Silverlight and .NET 4 -- compile once, run in both places.

9:45am PT: Text can be dragged and dropped from a browser to the application. Print Preview works, including with custom Print Preview dialogs. S4 will now write directly to the printer, has a print API.

HTML control is hosted within Silverlight app. HTML image can be converted into a brush -- the entire HTML page can be used as a brush, so that the page can be converted into, say, a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces of which can be juggled around the screen.

9:43am PT: "And _now_ the iPhone works," says Sinofsky.

Rich text control that ships in S4: Arabic, Hebrew, Kanji character sets all within the text editor. Custom context menu after right-click. Can paste and insert text, pictures, and DDE-like controls into a Silverlight app, such as a Data Grid control from Excel. Can cut and paste from Data Grid control back into Excel.

9:41am PT: HTML hosting support is coming, model/view development.

9:40am PT: IIS media tool, new version will enable streaming of media directly to Apple iPhone. Yes, you read that right. Video can be encoded once using smooth streaming, target clients using the iPhone.

Well, that could have gone a lot better. Brian Goldfarb rushed to the stage to give Steven a fourth iPhone. That one would link to the network, but once it accessed the Silverlight-based Vancouver Olympics site, the video would not load.


Demo tried using four different iPhones, the first three of which could not pull up the network using the router. The fourth did pull up the network, but the video from the Olympics Web site would not pull up in the Safari browser. Took several minutes, but Sinofsky refrained from making any silly Apple comment.

"We believe you, Scott!" yelled one attendee.

Printing / rich text / Clipboard access / right-click support for context menus / mouse wheel support are all coming to Silverlight 4.

9:34am PT: Demo of Vancouver Olympics site with Silverlight player, with instant seek.

9:33am PT: Open-source library for barcode reading, can immediately look up the prices of any object scanned from the barcode scanner, pulls up distributors or retail sellers.

9:32am PT: New Silverlight 4 will allow access to webcams and microphones on the user's machine. Demo now: Webcam application that captures live video, can do live effects with bulge, distortion. Integration with Twitter enables the result to be live-integrated into Twitter profile, so a picture just taken becomes the user's Twitter icon.

9:28am PT: Silverlight now installed on an estimated 45% of the world's Internet-connected devices. PDC is about Silverlight 4, first news.

9:25am PT: Corp. VP Scott Guthrie now takes the stage to talk Silverlight, now showing the video of Sketchflow feature in Expression Blend (not a particularly new video for many).

9:22am PT: The test distributions of "Microsoft PDC laptops" will likely come with promises that the users will be communicating telemetry with the company.

9:21am PT: Lot of new APIs in Windows 7, and IE will take advantage of these APIs. Videos of demos will soon be available on Microsoft Channel 9.

9:19am PT: Maps re-rendering will use 60 fps rather than 2 or 3, by moving to Direct2D from GDI.

9:18am PT: CSS selectors test, using CSS3.info -- passed 572 out of 578 (a variation of the SlickSpeed test) for CSS selectors used in rendering.

IE rendering engine will support rounded borders in CSS.

Rendering engine will use hardware-acceleration in DX9 mode (not DX10), using Direct2D. Highly resolved text with much resolved clarity.

Sub-pixel positioned text using DirectWrite. Zooms used to be jittery in GDI, nice and smooth as we move to Direct2D. Smooth realignments -- "changes without you having to do anything different with your site."

9:14am PT: Different Web sites have tremendous differences in how they handle JavaScript, CSS, and HTML parsing. Their profiles make everything different.

IE9 is getting close to Firefox 3.6 performance, not overtaken just yet. "It's getting really close to being a wash."

9:13am PT:

9:13am PT: JavaScript performance. IE9 is up to 32 on the Acid3 test, from 20. Audible groan from the audience.

9:12am PT: We continue to want to be responsible about building Internet Explorer.

First IE9 news: Three weeks into the project, we're focused on these areas:

Standards: Acid3, we're not ahead of that, we need to do a better job. There are new and emerging standards like HTML5, and we want to be responsible about how we support that, we don't want to generate a hype cycle among developers.

9:10am PT: Biggest applause of the day comes from this:

Sinofsky is now talking about a partnership project with Acer where it puts its own team through the process of actually building a laptop computer, just to see how one is built -- what laptop engineers actually go through. In learning the system that Acer goes through, Microsoft built its own limited run of PDC'09 laptops.

They will be giveaways to PDC attendees. About a minute of applause from that. "But please hang around for the rest of the talk," said Sinofsky. "We had a little problem, something like that, about four years ago, so please stay seated."

Folks realize they're being given free laptop computers. Yay. Applause, then what's the catch. No catch so far, so more applause. Then more. One of the longest stretches of applause in PDC keynote history.


9:04am PT: Everybody's jumping on the taskbar bandwagon, says Angiulo, and here again Microsoft gives credit to Mozilla for being quick to integrate previewing features into Firefox 3.6 (Beta 3 was just made available, by the way).

9:03am PT: Dell netbook uses an infrared data center to detect body heat, then powers itself back up when someone walks by.

Earlier, Angiulo demonstrated the differences between DirectX 11 processing power and DX10, mainly by means of offloading much of the computing power from the CPU to the GPU. Demos of moving thousands of "star" objects simultaneously in a simulated galaxy formation, with gravity and physical forces between them, all in a 40+ Gflops operation running on a $400 graphics card rather than a $15,000 computer.

8:58am PT: Windows engineer Michael Angiulo demonstrates how engineers of new small computers, such as netbooks, can do their part to accelerate Windows 7. After reminding everyone of the first generation UMPC (gagh!), he pulls out a pair of Windows 7 netbooks. But one has a bunch of branded background software loaded, and the other (by Sony) does not. The Sony model runs 30% faster, boots faster, and has 50% better battery life, simply by getting all that bloatware junk software out of the boot path.

8:53am PT: Moving now to examples of people trying to align their windows, one user talks about side-by-siding his windows, looking for where the window tiling feature is located...no, it's not that one...

Then another user snaps a window to the side using Aero Snap in Windows 7. "That is _way_ easier."

Aero Peek: "Hey, get all that!" says the user. "I can dig that! Good job, people."

8:50am PT: Discussion now about the UAC usability studies. We saw videos of some of these studies last year, but users are talking about not wanting things popping up in their faces constantly.

User is asked during an Adobe Flash installation what he just clicked on, and he made up a response about where the program is going on the drive. Another user is asked what the UAC prompt that he just received meant, and he answered, "It means that people...are happy with it now." [?]

8:43am PT: Video about how Microsoft programmers are held directly responsible for the errors of their ways, by way of a kind of "agony chair" that shocks, stuns, or stabs the individual developers discovered using the Watson logs to have been responsible for a specific problem.

Uh-huh.

8:40am PT: Anecdote about how Microsoft used to handle reliability problems in the Windows 3.x era using Dr. Watson (hands up if you remember that?), and how engineers pre-Internet developed the Watson system for "testosterone-based bug fixing" -- folks watching the Watson logs coming in over the BBS and responding to the most interesting and serious problems.

The sheer number of telemetry items returned from Windows 7 testers during the beta process.


8:38am PT: The value of the "Send Feedback" button, learning from clients what drivers were loaded, whether the installation of drivers and services were successful.

Software Quality Monitor ("squim") is designed to be opt-in for customers, but Sinofsky admits customers were "opted in automatically" during the preview and beta processes.

8:35am PT: At the moment, Sinofsky is going through a history of the Windows 7 launch, and lessons learned at Microsoft about being responsible about how to disclose information about the product. "You should expect us to have learned that lesson about responsible disclosure, and to continue as we move forward."

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