Windows Vista Launch London – Bill Gates Speech (the one where Kat gets it on with Bill)

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Yawn. It’s 10.15, they’re running late, and still playing Razorlight. Still, I guess that’s better than an Apple presentation, where they would no doubt blast your poor, defenseless ears with U2 and The Gorillaz. While I’ve got a few minutes to spare, I’ll fill you in on who else will be speaking today. After The Feeling leave the stage, there will be a 15 minute demonstration of Vista, and Microsoft Office System. Admittedly I’m far more excited about checking out Vista some more, but the thrill of this being the first time since 1995 where an OS and Office package have been released together is pretty groovy. Once Vista has been shown off some more, bandied about like a trophy wife, there’ll be a demonstration of partner applications created by Easyjet, Franklin Covey, BetFair, IMG, Universal Music, ITN, and the British Library.

Ooh! It’s begun! Several TV screens are blaring loud noise and images of Vista being used, juxtaposed with images of kids playing football, monks in Asia walking around a river, business men making phone calls, and families using the new IPTV system, which Gates will no doubt mention…

Gordon Frazer has come out and is introducing Microsoft, and their goals in creating Vista, as well as who will be making an appearance today. You may have seen that the slogan for Vista is ‘The wow starts now’, which he talks about for a bit.

Bill Gates has just rocked up on stage, and is talking about when he first founded Microsoft, and how the concepts they created weren’t very well received. He’s looking very smart in a pinstripe suit, white shirt, and red tie, very different to the more casual attire he wore at the CES speech. Could this mean today is a Very Special Event? I think so, my friends, for today is Vista launch day.

He believes that Vista will be very apt for use in the education system, that students can ‘interact and share in different ways’. The ‘ease of use’ with Windows Vista is one important feature, as well as security features (such as parental control), features for improving entertainment, and it’s more connected with VoIP, and ‘high quality video things’. Yep, that was a direct quote from Gates, the poor man is probably jetlagged!

The new interface for Office, ‘Ribbon’, will give people more power, and ‘create what (we) call a 21st century system’. The Beta system must be credited, he claims – all the testers who gave feedback in regards to the new features, they couldn’t have done it without them.

The Windows environment has always had 10 times the amount of features and applications as any other OS, a fact of which I do agree with, having once been a hardcore Mac user.

He mentions some of the gadgets involved with the desktop, one of which is a feature which helps you with online gambling, to which he then makes a small joke about how that probably won’t be legal in the US, but no doubt used widely in the UK. Whatcha trying to say, Bill? That we’re gambling addicts? Geez.

A representative, Lynne Brindley, from the British Library begins to talk about the similarities between the library and Microsoft, with communication and access to information being extremely important to the both of them. Digital media is something the Library is passionate about, allowing everyone to have access to the texts they have, from all over the world. Ahh, I’m beginning to see why we’ll be learning soon about the digital reunification of the da Vinci Codices, as they use Windows to create a ‘turning the pages’ program, allowing computer users to view scanned in pages of historic texts from the other side of the world. The British Library can now create an accelerated program with Vista, which she just called ‘The British Library 2.0’, which I chuckle at, but the 80 other attendees don’t seem to get the joke. Noobs.

Gates is very inspired by da Vinci, his insight and fascination for learning how things work. He owns an original da Vinci notebook, the Codex Leicester, which he has allowed the library to scan into their program, the first which will be used in this way. It will be available in 6 months apparently.

On a sidenote, I’m sitting in the fifth row from the front, directly in front of Gates, not more than 4 metres away from me. As the woman, Lynne Brindley, yaps on about the Codex, I notice Gates staring at me – true, I am one of only 5 or so women in the room, and easily the youngest out of everyone by at least 10 years, but is he flirting with me? I smile tentatively at him, and he grins back, and nods his head at me. Ohmygoodness, we just shared a moment. I shared a moment with Bill Gates. My life is now complete. Well, it will be, once I get my hands on a free copy of Vista…

Katherine Hannaford