I was totally blown away to have been invited to attend a dinner this evening with Jim Allchin, Co-President of Microsoft's Platforms and Services Division. I thought it was a huge group of Windows Communities getting together when in fact it was actually quite a bit smaller - with just a few bloggers.
Mr. Allchin pretty much asked us for suggestions and thoughts on a wide variety of Windows Vista topics. We all were pretty up front in terms of what we thought were major issues with Vista and areas that need improvement and he was up front with us:
The "scrap metal" theme just doesn't measure up to what we see today in Windows XP. It simply looks horrible. Mr. Allchin tells us a new theme is in development to replace this for Vista-capable PC's (PC's that cannot run Windows Aero).
New technologie lies within Windows Vista that helps prevent loss of data when Automatic Updates take place. Essentially the Restart Manager will take a "snapshot" of your system before a restart needs to occur and then bring it up just as you left it without you even knowing an update occured. Well, maybe you'll see a little blip or something. I thought this was pretty cool. The Restart Manager is a specific piece of technology in Vista that applications can be written to take advantage of. Currently, Office 2007 utilizes it.
Mr. Alllchin explained to us that if you are a user using a PC with 512MB of RAM and you plug a 512MB (or larger) USB Key and enable ReadyBoost - you will see a significant improvement in system performance. We actually asked him whether ReadyBoost really works as well as touted and he was adament on telling us it does. Of course, if you already have high amounts of RAM in your PC, its likely you won't see such a big performance increase while using ReadyBoost.
Now this evening we were told a very interesting concept behind Windows ReadyBoost. Apparently ReadyBoost wasn't just developed to add memory to your PC via your USB port. Apparently ReadyBoost was designed to allow you to "barrow" memory from other PC's over a network as well. When Mr. Allchin told us of this concept, everyone flipped. Currently, he was mum on when and if we can expect the feature to arrive for Vista. But imagine going and barrowing some memory from unused PC's on your network? Or having a giant memory server serving memory when needed to boost performance when specific applications need it? This was great.
These were some of the highlights but to be honest, my head was flooded with all the great discussions that took place its all mixed together. Mr. Allchin took notes of important suggestions to take to the Windows Team which was very exciting. Here were are sitting having dinner with the leader of the Windows Division at Microsoft and he's asking us for feedback and writing it down. It was such a complete honor to be there. I won't ever forget this moment.
At the end of the evening, they handed us Windows Vista Beta 2 on DVD and we had the DVD's signed by Mr. Allchin. I took a picture of the DVD as well as part of the dinner. Unfortunately the picture of the dinner turned out really bad but here's the DVD:
EDIT: Chris Pirillo talks about tonights dinner. He pretty much puts it best by saying how Jim Allchin personalized Windows more than any desktop application could.