Paul reviews latest Windows Vista build

So, the Windows Vista December 2005 CTP (Build 5270) is here. This is a big one! Paul Thurrott said it was so big that it took four parts to properly cover it. I’ll have a Tablet PC running the latest Windows Vista and some other stuff on it at the geek dinner next week if you wanna take a look (unfortunately my Tablet PC doesn’t have a good enough video card to run the latest glass theme, but everything else is there).

Paul’s conclusion? “Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this good about Windows Vista. I can see sweeping improvements across the board and, perhaps more important, a level of fit and finish that had never been present in pre-release versions of this product before.”

I agree. I’m using it more and more and it’s harder and harder to use my XP machines. 2006 is looking like it’s going to be a fun year to be a MSFTie.

Well, I’m outta here for the weekend. Have a happy holidays. Next week we’re in Santa Clara, CA. Looking forward to having a blogger/geek dinner in Palo Alto on December 30 at 6 p.m. in the Cheesecake Factory on University Ave.

Microsoft buying Opera?

Ahh, as Om Malik says, it’s a slow news day so rumors are running wild on the blogs. Is or isn’t Microsoft buying Opera? I have no freaking idea either way, but didn’t the Riya deal teach us anything? That rumors are just that — at least until the deal is signed? All the key players are on vacation right now, though, so I doubt something is up.

Mark Cuban warns us against building the American Idol of Search

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and the IceRocket blog search engine asks “The better question is – “will objective search remain the people’s choice in search engines?” In other words, is there such a thing as a best answer for most questions and is that what a significant number of search users want?”

There is bias in every system, whether algorithmic or human-based. The algorithmic is just a bit more predictable.

Speaking of human based, have any of you been watching digg spy? That shows you — in live time — what Digg’s members are adding to it. That’s cool. Not sure how useful it is, but I just found this digg about a site that is advocating using the Firefox/IE RSS icon.

Cool screenshots from Flight Simulator

Ever try to land a 747? Me neither, but over on the AVSIM forum a member posted pictures of his hard landings. That comes to me from Jason Waskey’s blog. He’s an art lead on the team that does Flight Simulator, among other things. Obviously his blog covers lots of stuff related to simulators and game art. His blog is one of the better Microsoft blogs. Tells you why things don’t work the way they should (one of his posts tells you why bridges would end halfway across a river, for instance).

A conversation with Windows Vista Kernel Team

This is Channel 9’s Christmas Present to geeks everywhere. A candid conversation with the team that’s building Windows Vista’s kernel. I even ask if they wish the registry had never been invented. But, Charles Torre did most of the interviewing. Being in a room with these guys for an hour makes my brain hurt.

They give a lot of details about how they are rearchitecting Windows to make it easier to ship new, higher-quality, versions of the OS.

I don’t remember any conference where these four people get together and just have a simple conversation. In 2006 I’m going to push for even more corporate transparency into why we do the things we do. Since much of the world has bet on our products, shouldn’t the world have better conversations with the folks who build those products?

Think about the impact on the world these four people have. If there are going to be hundreds of millions of people using Windows Vista (and that’s if it’s a market failure), and these four people find a way to increase computer speeds even a few seconds a day (or do something similarly impressive to increase productivity), imagine the economic impact of that.

Happy Holidays from building 18 on Microsoft’s headquarters! Hope you have a good one!

Update, I wish I were back in Belgium with this Nine Guy.