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I've just returned from both of the following events - Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver.  I saw lots of new products, but my favorite was the latest innovation from Fujitsu.  For photos and specs, check the Events page.

Right after that, I headed to the Southwest Computer User Group Conference in San Diego. I met a lot of great people who want to learn all they can about computers.

Gnomedex 2007 was held from August 9-11 in Seattle.  As usual, Chris and Ponzi Pirillo did a great job in organizing a very interesting event.  Here are just a few photos from some of the various events.  Click on any of them to see a larger version.

Location is everything, and Seattle cooperated this year with no rain and pleasant weather.  HP sponsored the first night's reception and a party at the Seattle Aquarium was sponsored by Windows Live.  h


Worldwide Partners Conference 2007 was sold out with good reason.  There were so many sessions and hands-on labs that it was almost impossible to do them all.  The exhibition hall was filled with vendors talking about their latest products.  One of the most popular areas was around Microsoft's Surface. 

The huge Windows Vista globe hanging over the Windows Vista section drew people by the thousands to see what all was new. The Certified for Windows Vista logo program (with PM Ben Reed) was busy both in the Windows Vista area as well as the special area for ISVs.

I wasn't too impressed when reading about it, but seeing it in person changed my mind.  I can see where this is the beginning of a lot of things that Surface will be used for.  It's going to improve sales when patrons see the photos of the food and drinks that they'll be able to order.  Kids will be kept amused by some of the things that Surface offers them, such as puzzles while waiting for their food or waiting while the adults linger over an after-dinner drink.

As I noted on our main page, I was very impressed by the new mini-Tablet PC that will be offered by Fujitsu.  Called the U1010 in Japan, it's not yet available in the US. Yes, that's an 8.5"x11" paper next to it.  This is a full Tablet PC. If you'd like to see the full specifications, check here.


Other Mobile PCs on display were the Gateway Thin and Light (check our Gateway page), the Lenovo X61 Tablet, the Sony Vaio and the Samsung Ultra UMPC with it's thumb keyboard.


A couple of the parties took us places that we would probably never see otherwise.  The US Regional Partners party was at Invesco Field (Mile High Stadium) and home of the Denver Broncos as well as other Colorado sport teams.

 

The surprise band was Huey Lewis and the News.  I had a front row view.

The attendee party was at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team.  The stadium was morphed into several internation areas, offering varied food from around the world - Japan, Greece, Mexico, Germany, and of course, the US.  I wasn't aware that our food donation to the world was hot dogs and buttered popcorn, but people really seemed to enjoy it.



TechEd is already over and I feel like it went by in a blur.  There was so much going on that it was hard to choose which session to attend.

The backpack that attendees received was jam-packed with disks, coupons and fliers from many of the companies in the exhibit area, as well as a T-shirt and cap.

There were breakout labs, technical learning centers for many different Microsoft products, interactive theaters and hands-on labs.

The convention center here is huge.  It can take upwards of 20 minutes to walk from one session to the other end. 

The Exhibit Hall is filled with vendors who have products that can make life a lot easier for ITs.  Giveaways were everywhere, from something as simple to a pen to the usual caps and T-shirts to a classic motorcycle and $7500. 

One of my favorite events was the Women in Technology luncheon.  It's gratifying to see how this event has grown over the past few years.  This photo shows only about half of the hall.

Frank LaVigne, another Microsoft Tablet PC MVP had a couple of sessions on developing for the Tablet PC.  I talked to vendors who are interested in adding ink to their applications and sent them to Frank and to those at Microsoft who work with Tablets and ISVs.

I also talked with a representative at HP about their marketing a swivel screen notebook.  To be fair, HP has never pushed the tx1000 as a Tablet PC, but we're a bit concerned that consumers may mistake the lower-priced unit for a Tablet PC. 

I've added some of the information I was given today to the review we did on the HP tx1000.  I want to be sure that people realize that not all the machines in the series have Tablet functionality.

I also got to see a few of the newer Tablets and UMPCs, including a prototype from Fujitsu.  As you can see from the mouse next to it, this is a very compact machine.

Although not a Tablet form factor (yet) this Asus' wood case made with renewable bamboo was an attention getter.


If you didn't get to attend Mix07 in person, you can stay apprised of all the news from Mix07 at http://visitmix.com/news

The Tablet and Touch Technology Team had a good representation of products here, and in more than one location.  It's nice to see the attention these are getting.  It's just more proof that people are interested.  Once there's wider availability in stores where people can get hands on before they buy I'd expect sales to take off even more.

For some photos of a couple of newer devices you may not yet have seen, click to see our Mix07 page.


Windows Vista Launched and The Tablet PC was there!

I was in New York City at the Windows Vista Launch for General Availability.  What a party it was.  I've been running Windows Vista since it was first made available to technical beta testers.  This was the culmination of a lot of testing, bug reporting, complaining and more testing.  As far as I'm concerned, no matter what anyone says, Windows Vista is an operating system that's better than anything else that's come before.  For Tablet PCs, there are a lot of changes, such as improved handwriting recognition, handwriting training that we've been asking for since the Tablet PC OS was first released and a single image that can be used for all different versions of Windows Vista.

I love New York City, so having the opportunity to have been there and attend the Windows Vista Launch as well was great! The coach we toured the East Coast in came up to NYC as well and got a lot of notice. For photos from inside the venue as well as Times Square, check our coverage of the Launch.

My second favorite event this year had to be the Windows Vista RTM Lab that was held the weekend preceding CES.  As usual, Nick White did a great job of bringing in interesting presenters who gave us an understanding of Windows Vista that we were privileged to get.  We saw some things that had happened in the background that didn't get all the recognition that the more publicized side of Windows Vista has been getting.  One of the unique sessions was about photography by famed environmentalist Art Wolfe.  The photos were almost unbelievable.  Some of the other sessions gave us news about some things yet to be announced, so be sure to keep an eye on the Windows Vista Blog.  

Even more exciting was the opportunity to have lunch with Jim Allchin.  Anyone who has followed this site knows that I'm a big fan.  I think Jim has done to keep the end-user at the forefront of the Windows Vista development has had a huge effect.  For a couple of releases now, we've felt that the everyday consumer was being ignored in favor of the large enterprise.  One sale compared to hundreds or thousands doesn't seem like much of a choice, but that one consumer could be the person who's in charge of the purchase of those additional licenses at his place of employment.  If he's not happy with his experience at home, he may not be willing to recommend the product to his board.

We were presented with an individual award from Jim Allchin.  I asked that he sign mine, and soon others followed suit.  This is something only about 25 people have, so I'm especially proud of it. 

Be sure to check for details about the Windows Vista Coach Tour.  I was on the coach for the entire trip.  We've set up a special page to bring you all the information, news and photos of the tour.  Check it out here. 


 

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