Blog Post

CES Keynote Thoughts

I am currently watching the CES Keynote by Ballmer and Microsoft. Now, what I don’t want to do here is start a flame war or bash Microsoft, but I just have a couple of thoughts I kind of wanted to see what others thought of concerning what they are up to.

First, I have to admit, Ballmer started off with a great funny. He had a shot of like 5 or IMs he received from varous famous people. You can see a picture of that HERE. Now that was pretty funny, especially the one with our famous Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Henry Poulson and his need for Microsoft Money, and even the Jerry Yang one and his Facebook request.

Now, on to the stuff I found interesting.

They claim that the average user has between 5 and 15 windows open
5, OK, I can see that. Working in various enterprise settings where Windows was the norm, I never saw one person have more than a few windows open, let alone 5 to 15. Heck, I don’t even like having 5 or more windows open, but in a development environment that isn’t always possible. I know my mom and dad never have more than 2 windows open. Has this been proven? Usability experts, where are you?

Snapping 2 Internet Explorer windows places them side-by-side
Think about when you are trying to compare 2 items, it is nice to place them side-by-side so you can view them together and start comparing. It seems the work behind doing this for the user would be more than say, pressing a button that would split 2 tabs in Internet Explorer, kind of like what you can do with Konqueror in KDE.

Clicking in the bottom right hand corner, you can peer through open windows
You know how a lot of us use a button or keystroke that will show us the desktop? well I do that every now and then when I am trying to hide stuff at work :p (Just kidding Chris, I know you read my blog every now and then). Anyways, Windows 7 allows you to peer through these windows to see your background. I guess for those of you have widgets on your desktop, this feature is useful. It was kind of neat I must say, but I don’t know if it is an improvement over just showing your entire desktop.

AHAHAHAHA!!! Sorry, had to laugh a little there. But….Microsoft has actually added a neat little function to their Hotmail webmail that I think can work well within say, any email client. So…You and a friend are setting up dinner plans, that friend sends an email and asks where you are going for dinner. Instead of going to the Internet, finding the place, getting the address and what not, and then pasting it into the email body, they made it so you can search and get the information you want from within the webmail interface. I thought that was pretty cool. Heck, I want that on my Blackberry!

Some crazy touch screen, flexible screen, crazy screen
They have this screen they are using for educational purposes for showing off stuff to doctors. You can carry this little mat around, or screen, and it will respond to touch and all kinds of whacky things. I must have one of those!

If you just happen to have a computer with Silverlight on it, take a look at the CES keynote. I have to admit I liked it better than anything Gates did in any of his keynotes. No blue screens of death in this one. There are some neat things they are looking at doing in the future, and there are some things they are attempting to do different because everyone else already does it.

Next year instead of Ballmer doing the keynote, they need Jono.


yay! (from the crowd)



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  • Update: Jeesh, I just watched this young girl create her own game with the XBox and she did it so fast that I was lost watching her do it. Pretty neat!

    Also, I sat here for a second and though, “wow, we are light years behind behind Microsoft”

    I thought this because it seems our main push has been the desktop and the server. And I am watching Microsoft show off desktop, mobile phones, media (tv, games, music)…then I thought, “wait a second, we have desktop which is pretty good right now, mobile phones now and around the corner, and the media is getting better.” I don’t think we are light years away of really being an overall competitor, but we are still a ways off. I think we have done very well in the desktop and server worlds during the past few years.

    Man, this little touch screen they have with the medical stuff is pretty cool.

  • I am sorry, the MS Surface is freakin’ cool. I really like how the different devices can work together so easily.


  • Jono for CES keynote! Where do I vote? 🙂

  • They claim that the average user has between 5 and 15 windows open

    That might have been true before IE got tabs.

    Also.. who do they think is the “average” user? The “average” office user/knowledge worker probably has 5 to 15 windows, but only 4-6 unique applications (including services like mail and IM). The “average” home user probably has 5-8 windows, and only 3-4 unique applications.

    Very different contexts. Of course they are going for the effect.

  • I’ve watch a lot of the PDC videos ( and I have to say Microsoft has not been resting (or fixing Vista bugs). There’s a shitload of cool things being done. Of course everything could be done on Linux – but it isn’t.

  • Don
  • Don

    In the blog post User Interface: Managing Windows windows, they discuss telemetry data where they mention on average people have 6-9 windows open at a time.

    Given that this data doesn’t look like it could be got from a usability session or a focus group study, it is probably gained from their “Customer Experience Improvement Programme”.

  • One of my colleagues uses as much windows as possible (and even more). I think it’s caused by shes disordered nature.

  • Tony

    I know that guy.

  • Tony

    By the way, they reopened 7 beta, in case you want to try. It’s OK.

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