More than 2500 delegates from the IT industry have made their way up to the Gold Coast this week to take part in Microsoft's Tech.Ed conference. The conference is attended mostly by developers and IT managers and will showcase the latest in Microsoft's operating system, development, server and office software — not to mention the latest in group drinking session technology.
Microsoft welcomed delegates in a keynote presentation this morning, hosted by Colin Timm, director, enterprise data group. It featured speakers from the company's development, online, Office and Windows 7 groups. With the keynote session underway in a dark arena, a sea of HP Mini laptop screens was visible as attendees blogged and tweeted the morning's presentations. The HP Mini laptops have been given to paying delegates free of charge and are preloaded with Windows 7 and Office. The keynote didn't feature many over the top theatrics, but the crowd did get pumped up by a showing from "the PC guy", who stripped out of his nerdy attire to reveal a Windows 7 shirt and asked, "Who hates those Mac ads?"
The keynote featured presentations on the latest in development tools (Visual Studio) and consumer offerings (Office 2010 and Windows 7), with demonstrations given of new and noteworthy features. The Visual Studio demonstration touted integrated twittering capability as well as the ability to drag tabs out of the program and onto secondary screens, offering developers a more efficient way to code and organise their windows. Microsoft Outlook in Office 2010 has been given a few new features to make it easier — or more annoying, depending on who you ask — to follow conversation threads. Microsoft PowerPoint now gives users more advanced features for editing photos within the program.
Microsoft's Sarah Vaughan showed off Windows 7's multitouch capability in a deft display of hand-waving and finger-flicking as she navigated her way around the screen of an HP TouchSmart. Also demonstrated was Windows 7's Federated Search feature, which allows users to seamlessly search online databases from the comfort of the Windows Explorer interface, and the Problem Step Recorder, which takes step-by-step screen shots of a user's screen in a bid to aid troubleshooting for admins. Cloud computing was also a part of the presentation, with Microsoft giving the Wizard treatment to Exchange server, allowing e-mails to be sent to the cloud in a matter of a few clicks and drag-and-drop operations.