Gates keynotes CES in Vegas (and duckling flying lesson)

That's so money. That's so IT Blogwatch, in which Bill Gates keynotes in Lost Wages (baby). Not to mention teaching ducklings to fly...

Yes, the 'C' in CES stands for consumer, but your humble blogwatcher has pulled out a few interesting IT-related nuggets for your enjoyment...

Elizabeth Montalbano knows what's up:

Bill Gates is kicking off the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here this evening by unveiling products Microsoft hopes will encourage more widespread adoption of the digital or "connected" home. Microsoft has been promoting the idea of a connected home, where multiple devices can access and share multimedia content stored on a PC or a central server hub, for some time, but so far only the most savvy or wealthy technology enthusiasts have realized even a piece of that vision. But [Microsoft] aims to show how Microsoft can help more people can get access to the technology.

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Windows Vista, which will have its widespread consumer release on January 30, is also a major focus of Gates' speech.

Peter Rojas liveblogged the keynote; here's some selected highlights:

6:25 - Over the PA: "Ladies and gentlemen, the keynote is beginning in five minutes."

6:33 - Eight minutes later: "Ladies and gentlemen, the keynote will begin in two minutes." See, even Microsoft's keynotes can't launch on time...

6:57 - "With Office, new UI, connect up to Office Live services, richness improved by UI. Features users couldn't find, now they can find. New UI was a risk, but it's worked out, getting great feedback."

7:01 - Shadowcopy - Can restore previous versions of documents with a couple of clicks.

7:03 - "Better than going back in time." "Vista gives you a safety net"

7:11 - "What else are people doing with photos. A new Ultimate Extra called Dreamscene, full motion desktops." Any video can be set as desktop background.

7:21 - Just showed a clip of Ballmer's "Developers! Developers!" speech as part of the commercial. Introducing HP Media SmartServer.

7:28 - "Mobile phones, some of the hottest selling phones in the market ... In 2007 see that continue to grow. All of these things are why WinMo excels and why we outsell BlackBerry in the market. That's mobility"

7:44 - IPTV running on an Xbox 360!

7:57 - He's showing a kitchen of the future, which is honestly kind of hilarious.

Gemma Cartwright was there too:

Securing seats within heckling distance of the Microsoft big cheese took a lot of skill, some good old-fashioned British queuing and just a bit of skillful pushing in. Two hours of my life were wasted in anticipation of a keynote speech that ended up being lots of Xbox live pimping, news of an in-car entertainment centre in conjunction with Ford, and about three thousand uses of the word 'connected'.

Top of our list of questions for the big G included "Was it intentional to make vista look just like MAC OS X with the google toolbar?"

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Bill Gates keynotes are notorious for their celebs and David Brent-esque facepalm moments ... This year there were no celebs and very little comedy bar a few crap jokes. Instead we had a big talk on the theme 'connected experiences' and far too much of a font that looked eerily like Comic Sans.

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Windows Live Search is a big hit in the room, especially when we see it integrated into an office document. The new MS Office will launch with Vista, which is good news for Microsoft and bad news for anyone who's just bought the old one.

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Obviously new to these kind of events, Ford's representative accidentally says the word 'iPod' in the middle of a Microsoft talk.

Dan Farber noted that this will be Bill's penultimate CES keynote:

Gates ... declared that next year will be his last CES keynote, as he devotes his time to his foundation, unless the CES powers that be want a speech about eliminating infectious diseases from the planet. At the top of his keynote Gates talked about the "digital decade," noting that the "connected experience," where people want to do things across multiple devices and with many other people, is missing in action.

The Graundiad's Kate Bevan rolls her eyes:

You'd think that Bill Gates was some kind of rock deity given the whoops and roars that greeted many of his pronouncements made during his keynote speech

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Vista ... looks very pretty: the interface is smart and it has some neat tricks up its sleeve, including the ability to cobble together good bits from different photographs to make one good image natively.

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The new version of Office was shown off, too, with a demo of how easy it is to rescue an earlier version of a document, apply themes to it and then go online and integrate with technologies such as Virtual Earth.

Dwight Silverman raises one eyebrow:

There's usually at least one "Aha!" moment during a Bill Gates CES keynote address -- that instant when you see the potential for one of the cool technologies Microsoft's co-founder is hyping. In this case, my moment came when Justin Hutchison, a Microsoft group product manager for Windows Vista, showed off a feature of that operating system that will be offered only to those who have the Ultimate version. DreamScene makes it possible to turn any video on a Vista PC into animated wallpaper.

"Omigosh!" I thought. "The porn industry is going to love this." The fact that this was one of the high points of Gates' speech tells you just how sedate this installment was.

Buffer overflow:

Around the Net Around Computerworld Previously in IT Blogwatch

And finally... How Mandarin ducklings learn to fly

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk. Two steps forward last week, but one step back at the weekend.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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