Windows Vista Coach Tour
- Day 8
We made several stops today
and had good turnout at each. The first stop was a training
center outside of Atlanta. Although the stop was relatively
short as students needed to be back in class, they came prepared
with questions that we hope we answered well. Once again,
we had a full bus, and as one or two would leave, a couple more
would come in.
Next, we stopped at a mall
that had a MicroCenter. Here again, the turnout was good,
although they couldn't compete with the enthusiasm that we'd
been met with at our first stop. I grabbed a shot of the
books available about Windows Vista, including one on which I
did the technical edit.
The third stop was near a
new Fry's. We met a variety of people from store employees
to computer novices. It was after 5 when we finally pulled
out to continue our drive towards Nashville. Due to the
lateness of the hour, we decided to stop in Chattanooga for the
We'll start out tomorrow
morning for the final leg of this trip. It feels as though
it's over before it even began. I think it was the fastest
week plus that I've ever experienced. I think my body has
decided that it's on East Coast time in the mornings and West
Coast time when we get off the bus, which transl.
I want to post a quick
apology to any of you who may have had some problems with this
site over the past couple of days. Apparently, the bus
tracking gadget has some issues with IE6. I've removed it
so that all should be able to read about this great time I've
had. My Tablet PCs and I have made some new friends.
I'm very grateful to have had this opportunity.
Windows Vista Coach Tour
– Day 7
Although today was a
relatively short day as our days have been going, it was also
one of our busiest. Kacey, who has been following Windows
Vista, the blog, the Windows Bus Gadget and other things related
to the new operating system as well as Office, set up a meeting
with several of his friends and co-workers at one of the
buildings at the University of Florida. We went for a few
hours solid with people coming in as soon as someone would
leave. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't the most
cooperative with some showers, so we did our best inside the
coach. The photos that I have were before lots of people
showed up, and once they did, I didn't have time to grab more
Interestingly, many of those
attending are expecting a new Tablet shortly. As they've
decided on a Lenovo X60 Tablet, there was a good amount of
interest in the one I'm using and lots more questions as to how
I liked it. That was the easiest part! There's no question
that I love the X60 and I'm hoping my enthusiasm came through
despite the fact that we were talking to so many people.
After we finally closed the
door, we headed off towards Atlanta where we're hoping to do a
couple of demos on Tuesday in the surrounding area.
It's hard to believe that
the Consumer General Availability Launch is only a week away!
It's even harder to understand how quickly the past week has
gone by. We'll be finishing up the tour in Nashville on
Windows Vista Coach Tour
- Day 6
Started off from our hotel
near Savannah and headed out to Florida. We left an hour earlier
than planned and Charlie took us on a short tour of this
beautiful old city. It was early Sunday morning in the
south and there was no traffic and few pedestrians. Those of you
who watch the Food Network might recognize one of the photos,
and some movie buffs will probably recognize another.
We weren't quite so lucky
after we left. Due to traffic and construction, we were a bit
late through Jacksonville and made a tough decision to keep
heading South so we didn’t miss the crowd at Orlando.
Since we couldn’t race the
bus at Charlotte, we decided to try Daytona. As soon as we got
there, we knew that wasn’t going to happen as the parking lot
was full. The first attendant told us to head down towards the
main seating, but then the second attendant didn’t even want to
let us take a couple of quick photos. After Charlie, our most
capable professional driver, pleaded with him, we were given two
minutes. Not enough time to do any demos, but we managed to
grab a couple of photos.
Thinking that the Kennedy
Space Center would be way to check out where the winner of the
vanishing point game might start off, not to mention a big
tourist attraction filled with people who might like to see
Windows Vista in action, we drove the short distance there. As
we pulled in, we were met by a security guard who was most
adamant that we park at the back of the lot. As we’re a little
too long to fit in the standard RV parking spots, Charlie parked
us across a few spaces so as not to block traffic. As we
watched another security guard approach in his truck, we thought
we’d need to move again. He pulled in across the nose of the
coach, so unless we were going to leave in reverse, we weren’t
It was a very pleasant
surprise to find out that he’d come over to find out more about
Windows Vista. As Brandon and Nick were giving demos, I was
running around and getting a few photos of the area.
We couldn’t stay long as we
still needed to get to Orlando. We went to the Downtown Disney
attraction. As we made our way back to where we were supposed
to be after we got slightly off track, we noticed a car
following us. We weren’t sure whether to keep going or stop to
see what he wanted, so we headed to the Disney area and parked.
Turned out that our ‘stalker’ was a great guy who has been
following our progress and decided to drive down from
Gainesville to meet us. Thanks, Kacey! We were all talking
Windows Vista until well after dark.
All I can say at this point
is that it’s warm and toasty down here. Quite the change from
just a couple of days ago.
Tomorrow, we're starting
back towards our starting point with a visit to Gainesville.
It was a long night last
night and morning came way too soon. As I got off the elevator
to go to my room, I was met with a lot of laughing, yelling and
giggling. Unfortunately, these sounds were just as loud inside
my room as they were in the hall. Since it was well past
11:00PM, I thought they’d settle down soon. I was wrong. After
they continued for almost another half hour, I called the front
desk – 10 minutes on hold. I hung up the phone and went down to
the front desk and asked that I be given a different room. I
finally managed to get to sleep well past midnight, knowing that
we were leaving early this morning to head to Charlotte and
hopefully to Savannah for the night.
This morning at breakfast we
saw the reason for all the commotion as a group of about 12
girls in the 10-12 age range came down for breakfast. They were
much more subdued this morning – probably due to their lack of
headed out to our first stop of the day – when in Charlotte,
it's hard not to know that it's one of the first homes of Nascar.
We decided that it might be a good idea to stop at Lowes Motor
Speedway to see if they’d let us race the bus! Of course, that
wasn’t the real reason, but hey, when in Rome….
After grabbing a few photos
at the speedway, we headed down to a large mall in Pineville,
NC, just outside of Charlotte. This time, the bus was so full
that it was hard to turn around.
Next we went to drop Ryan
Hoffman off at the airport. We’re going to miss having him with
us. He was a huge help in demonstrating all the features of
Leaving Charlotte, Charlie
pointed the nose of the coach towards Columbia, SC, and then on
to Savannah, GA for the night. We’re still in the planning
stage for Savannah, so stay tuned to the Windows Vista Tour Bus
Windows Vista Coach Tour
– Day 4
We had a bit warmer weather
this morning – more like a jacket day than a heavy coat day, at
least until the wind kicked up, the clouds rolled in and the
stopped just outside of Washington, DC for our first demos of
the day. As the day before, we had lots of people come onboard,
including a general manager or two from the Best Buy chain.
Once of the highlights of the trip so far was driving into DC
just to do a bit of sightseeing and have the bus seen by those
doing the same thing.
At this point, I can’t say
enough about our driver. He dropped us off in a couple of
different areas so that we could get photos of the coach by
different landmarks, then circled around until we got the shots
we needed. Anyone familiar with Washington (or any other large
city) traffic will appreciate it..
I hadn’t been back to
Washington, DC for several years, and seeing the changes around
our monuments was a bit of a trip back to reality. Barricades,
fences and guards are now the norm rather than the exception.
It’s a beautiful city. The
Washington Monument towers over the city, the Capitol Building
is beautifully designed, the White House is still impressive and
the Pentagon is beyond measure. The Jefferson Memorial is
breathtaking in its simple and elegant design. I think everyone
really enjoyed this time.
After leaving Washington, we
headed South to the Durham, NC area where we did an evening
presentation. We found the first store where there were kiosks
available showing Windows Vista on an HP computer. It had touch
screen capabilities which really had me watching how folks were
interacting with it. Nick White, Product Manager for Windows
Client, gave a Windows Vista presentation to a family who was
playing with the machine, and soon had several store employees
paying attention as well. Since several of them hadn’t been
trained yet on Windows Vista, watching someone give a concise
and precise demo will help them know more about Windows Vista.
After a nice home-style meal,
it was back to the hotel around 11 for a good night’s sleep
before heading out in the morning to Charlotte and hopefully the
If you haven't been
following the trip, be sure to read about our other visits
If you're in any of the
areas we're visiting, please stop by! To see where we're
heading, get the Windows Sidebar Gadget. We'd love to meet
Windows Vista Tour Day 3
Another day is history and
this was the best so far!
as soon as the coach pulled into a Best Buy parking lot near
Pittsburgh, the people starting coming over to see Windows Vista
There were times when there
was no more room on the bus as each presenter was showing off
Windows Vista to two, three or more potential customers at once.
What we thought would be a couple of hours stop turned into 4 ½
hours and they were still coming. Even the manager of Best
Buy’s computer department came out to get more information on
Windows Vista. You know that when something like that
happens that it can only create even more interest! It was
a lot different than my experience at a Dell kiosk in a mall in
Lexington. The kiosk was sporting a large sign touting the
free upgrade to Windows Vista with a purchase of a Dell computer
installed with Windows XP Media Center Edition. I asked the
sales clerk which version of Windows Vista they were offering.
His answer – “SP 1.” Ummmm….. I hope that other sales
staffs are briefed a lot better than that before the General
Stein, a Microsoft MVP who owns
ActiveWin (a Microsoft
Featured Community) came by and spent a few hours with us.
It was at his suggestion that we had stopped at this particular
Best Buy. Since it was such a great call, we tried to talk him
into coming on the bus with us to Washington, DC, but other
commitments kept him from doing so.
started flying so we decided it might be a good time to get back
on the road and head towards Washington, DC. We caught a
view sights as we drove off, including one of the inclines that
goes to the top of Mt. Washington. As you can see, the
rivers here are very close to flood stage.
managed to avoid snow and ice on the roads, but it was
definitely cold as you can see from this shot of what used to be
water running off the rocks on the side of the road.
We’re now close to Dulles
Airport in Virginia and looking forward to seeing our nation’s
capital (and Capitol) tomorrow!
Windows Vista Bus Tour Day 2
We left Lexington amid warnings of ice and snow,
but found dry roads and bright sunshine, although it was well
below 20 degrees. The rolling hills of Kentucky with the
thoroughbred horse farms were beautiful.
we headed North, we crossed the Mason-Dixon line in Florence,
crossed the Ohio River, swollen, muddy and close to flood stage
into Ohio. I was born in the Cincinnati area, so it was a
bit nostalgic. Obviously things have changed considerably
since I was back many years ago. Passing through Mason and
seeing King’s Island made me wish the weather were a bit warmer
so that we could enjoy the amusement park. The roller
coaster looked amazing!
first official stop of the day was at Prime Outlet Malls in
Jeffersonville, between Cincinnati and Columbus. Immediate
interest was evident. There were folks ready to see us
before we’d even opened the door.
stop was Ohio State University in Columbus. Although we’d hoped
to go to the Student Union, narrow streets and sudden one-way
only signs had our driver in a spot that was tough to get out
of. With a one-way (wrong direction for us) suddenly looming
both in front of us and to the left, and a long line of cars
behind us, he was forced to navigate onto a very narrow alley
with a telephone pole on one side and a brick pillar on the
other. After several maneuvers, he got this big bus going in
the right direction. Glad it wasn’t one of us or we’d still be
sitting there. There are some times that a professional driver
is the only way to go. Great job, Charlie!
Anyone who's a longtime college football fan should remember the
name on this street sign in front of the Buckeye's stadium.
lack of parking on campus was a definite deterrent, so we made
our way out of town to Easton Mall. After grabbing a late
lunch, we headed off towards Pittsburgh. Charlie made great
time and we pulled into our hotel about 7:30pm, ready for dinner
and a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow, we’ll be meeting Bob Stein from
ActiveWin.com in Pittsburgh.
Coach Tour Commences
And so it
begins.. January 16, 2007
Catching a flight at 5:20 Monday morning wasn’t
my idea of the best way to start a trip, but it’s been worth
it! I got to Nashville at a reasonable time, early evening
Central time. Others weren’t quite as lucky as flight delays
seemed to be the norm in many parts of the country. Nick White,
Brandon LeBlanc, Ryan Hoffman and I were excited to be starting
off with the Microsoft Windows Vista Coach Tour that will be
visiting several cities starting from Nashville, Lexington,
Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC,
Richmond, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Orlando, Gainesville, Atlanta
and ending up back in Nashville.
After landing in Nashville, I was relieved to be
here, but the bag carrying some of the necessities of any trip
(power cords, USB keys, speakers, DVD player and other odds and
ends) decided to head to Denver for the night, then go to
Memphis before showing up in Nashville about 18 hours late. I
wasn’t the only one to arrive without all the luggage that had
been checked-in. Ryan Hoffman ended up here with no bags. I at
least had clothes, just no extra power for my computer or cell.
Our bags arrived on different airlines late this
morning, intact. Shortly thereafter, the coach arrived and we
were ready to start our tour.
Being on the Windows Vista Coach Tour is an
opportunity I wouldn’t want to miss, no matter what the minor
The outside looks great with the Windows Vista
background and logo; the inside is sleek, sophisticated and
comfortable. It will certainly make an impression on those who
see it. (See photos below)
As we were getting some provisions for the trip,
we had our first visitor. A couple were loading their van and
asked us if we were going to be doing any demos. We invited
them in and Ryan, Nick and Brandon fielded questions and showed
off some of Windows Vista’s capabilities. Just goes to show
that there’s a lot of interest in Windows Vista.
We’ll be spending the night in Lexington, our
first stop on the tour. We headed to Fayette Mall and again had
a couple of visitors who were very interested in seeing what was
going on. One of our visitors was a name that should be
familiar to those of you who have been following Tablet PCs for
some time or have been to any of the Windows XP Tablet PC
chats. MiniMage stopped by. It was great meeting her and
putting a face to a name I’ve seen for a couple of years now.
As she’s been on the beta for Windows Vista, she was quite
familiar with it, but it was great to talk with someone else who
cares as much about Tablets as I do.
Tomorrow we’ll be heading north through
Cincinnati and Columbus, then turning east towards Pittsburgh.
If you happen to be in the area, watch for us!