(Update: All my Beta invites are spoken for. If I get more, we’ll have another runoff. Thanks!)
I’m a huge believer in “dogfooding” our own products. After my friend Harry (who runs the Windows Vista demo lab) moved his own home PC to the December CTP (Customer Technology Preview), I decided to take this integrated build thing for a spin.
You see, for “the field” at Microsoft (that’s what we call the subsidiary offices), they also need to be able to show Vista to customers. Of course, they have all sorts of different hardware, so creating a master demo image can be a pain. With Vista, the drivers are “abstracted” from the core OS – the result is that you can build a single image and deploy it on multiple PCs of different types and in most cases, no additional drivers are required.
In my case, I run an Intel D865PERL mobo and P4HT processor w/ a mix of SATA and IDE drives and the like. Vista recognized everything, including the ATI Theater 550 and Hauppauge TV tuner boards. It set up no sweat, off of the demo disc Harry gave me. Sure, there is the occasional bug and performance optimizations haven’t started yet, but it’s looking pretty good.
I have a raft of feedback for my team on areas we can provide fit and finish. Overall though, I’m finding it really hard to go back to Windows XP and WMP10 on my freshly installed dual-boot system. WMP11 is sooo much better. Sidebar is really coming along as well (I know I’m teasing- good things come to those who wait!)
Want to do a little dogfooding yourself? I have 9 invites to Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) top 9 answers for why you’d make a good beta tester (pictures may be submitted via email) will get the invites.
Oh and in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve switched my photoblog to Flickr – I’m sean_alexander there. Gosh I love that service, more on that another time. Now we need a totally tricked out Flickr screensaver (I was unimpressed by Slickr, sorry). We also need a general tag/cropping mechanism for display on 16:9/16:10 displays (most widescreen PC monitors are 16:10 <g>).