After five years of waiting, Windows Vista finally launched yesterday. I attended the Launch Event here in Louisville Kentucky, so I thought I’d mention some of the highlights. With my Novell laptop case and my HP laptop running SuSe Linux 10.2, I took copious notes of the event using Writer in OpenOffice 2.1. (I couldn’t help myself – had to do it.)

As a quick aside, I almost decided to wait a few days before posting this because I know that none of you will actually be reading this because you’re all running around rolling out Vista, Office 2007, and all of the associated hardware you’ll need.  Right? Nonetheless, here we go.

The first thing I should point out is that none of the little goody bags we got out here in flyover country were nearly as nice as the ones that were to be had in New York at Times Square. Bill Detwiler has done a photo gallery of what the rest of us received, but suffice it to say it left something to be desired.

The Launch Event track I attended was the IT Executive Track. This focused on Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007, Live Communications Server, SharePoint 2007, along with a little bit of Microsoft Dynamics thrown in for fun. It was your typical dog and pony show, with all of the mandatory demos of product – all of which ran flawlessly.

The presenter for our session did a very good job. He was entertaining and funny. He did a good job of fielding technical questions from the attendees and was ready to admit when he didn’t know something. That didn’t occur very often.  

What did occur that I found funny were the frequent references to Apple and Google. These happened especially during the Vista presentation emphasizing Aero Glass and the new Desktop Search features in Vista.  There was the occasional backhanded swipes that were to be expected, but not nearly that many. Instead, there was the clear admission of the influences Microsoft got from other products.  The exact quote was “We borrow from the best…”  This I thought was a surprising, if not obvious, statement coming from someone wearing a Microsoft shirt.  Naturally, that was from a presenter who was out in the middle of the country and not from Bill Gates, but even so… 

Naturally Windows Vista ran smoothly during the presentation, which was given using PowerPoint 2007. It was readily apparent why Windows Vista ran so well because during the demonstration of some features, I got a quick glimpse of the Performance Rating score of the machine. It scored a 4.2.  This compares with the measly 3.0 that our test machine gets here in the office. The presenter was using an IBM Thinkpad with a 2.0Ghz CPU and 3GB of RAM. I didn’t catch the actual model number, so it may have been a dual core unit.

One of the interesting things that was demoed actually came out of the Microsoft Hardware division. This is the Microsoft Roundtable.  This is a web camera for conferences that can sit in the middle of a conference table and display all of the attendees together.

Most of the attendees of the event paid rapt attention to the presentation. There were many questions and comments, most of which the presenter was more than able to handle. I was actually surprised at a few of the ooooohs and aaaahs of some of the people around me. 

All in all, the Vista Launch event wasn’t that bad. I saw some new features in Vista, Office and Exchange that I had missed during beta testing. Seeing some of the things that could be done with Microsoft Dynamics was pretty powerful as well.

Wait. I feel the implants kicking in.  Must… Go… Install… Vista…