Clear, Confident, Connected. These are the mantra of Microsoft’s Windows Vista, rolled out in this morning’s keynote addresses at PDC.
Microsoft aims to make information clearer through slick UI presentation, data organization, and data slicing. I’m not sure if having multiple video feeds playing on screen simultaneously necessarily creates greater clarity, but it certainly demos well. “Virtual folders“ allow you to bring together all files of a particular type on your system into a single virtual folder. I can appreciate the problem that people lose track of things buried in hierarchical folders, but how is dumping hundreds of files into a pile going to help you find the right slide show or the right photo from last year’s summer trip? It’s information overload either way.
On the virus and malware front, Windows Vista is planned to provide more control over what applications are allowed to do to your system, based on the application itself as well as the profile of the currently logged in user. New ESRB support should allow parents to control what kinds of software their children install and run on the PC. This will require the cooperation of software vendors to place their ESRB ratings in the setup and software somehow, but it’s an interesting improvement in program control.
New countermeasures are in progress for IE7 (due to ship with Vista) that actively detect and block “phishing” attacks, where email or web sites present links that take you to fake web sites hoping to capture personal identity information, login passwords, or credit card info from unsuspecting visitors. IE7 implements some rules to examine URLs for suspicious patterns common to phishing attacks – such as the use of a raw numeric IP address rather than a domain name.
The theme here is to bolster OS services to instil greater user confidence in performing everyday tasks safely.
“People Near Me” is a new networking metaphor for Vista that attempts to be easier and safer than existing peer to peer networking protocols. It’s primarily for wireless networks, and requires opt-in by both parties. The general idea is: two people sitting down at a table to go over a presentation or whatnot, and they want to transfer files between their machines, or just view a slide deck or application demo hosted by the speaker’s machine and viewed by others at the table.
Why should developers start thinking about how to support Vista in their legacy and new applications? Microsoft’s answer: Vista will drive a lot of churn in the marketplace. Vendors can ignore it or can ride it to drive application updates.