Archives For July 31, 2006

Last week, at Microsoft’s Financial Analysts Meeting, reporters poked fun at a demo bug with speech recognition, some going so far as to call it “Speech Wreckognition”. Slashdot had it, Neowin had it, Digg had it, Reuters had it.

Clearly this was a bug in a test build of Vista and it made for a good chuckle (you don’t hear about all the other demos that ran flawlessly of course). There must be someone responsible, to hold accountable right? That was probably a faceless, nameless developer somewhere in the “Echo Chamber” who would never admit it publicly right? When these things happen, engineers tear the demo system apart to learn from it but then keep that to themselves and quietly fix the bug, right?

Wrong. The owner of the issue, Larry Osterman is one of those developers I just admire the heck out of. He fessed up. “It was all my fault” he writes on his blog about the bug, noting what caused it, creating a shared learning with others. He could have said, “I spoke to the guy who owns the bug” but that would have been disingenuous. He held himself accountable. Kudos Larry. Subscribed.

This past week, my aunt and uncle were visiting. He’s one of the top Pediatric Cardiologists in the nation and used to teach at Harvard Medical School. My Aunt is Headmaster of a presigious school for children with special needs. Neither has much time for geekery. Self-professed near-luddites, they were Mac users for 10 years, and hated moving to XP from Win9x. (I believe my Aunt said the UI was inspired by Fisher Price.) But this week, after they saw how easily I could pull up pictures from my son’s 3rd Birthday Party last weekend and a recent family reunion they were floored. They asked “Okay, what’s this Vista thing?” and “Where and when can I get it?”. I’ve never seen this response before.

Tagging is super-simple in Vista. Insert a card, plug in a camera, add a few words and you’ll save hours of searching through pictures by person, place, event, occasion and more. Users of Flickr and Zooomr know this.

The Microsoft PhotoBlog has more on this feature and others in Windows Vista. They’re posting pretty regularly and it’s nice to see.

Update0: Fixed the missing “o” in Zooomr – thanks!

Nick White from the Vista team posts on their official blog more details on Vista changes coming in the Release Candidate or already seen in interim builds here on their official Vista Blog. It’s a good start but pretty wordy. Thanks Nick – how about some shiny happy screenshots with John Madden-like chalk talk to detail the changes before/after? 🙂