You may have heard that yesterday was the dual launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft's snazzy new operating system, and the freshly updated Microsoft Office. And if you haven't heard about it already, you soon will. You're also going to learn that not since 1995 has Microsoft simultaneously launched a new Windows and a new Office. And that "The 'Wow' starts now." And that Vista is Easier, Safer, More Entertaining, and Better Connected. How do we know all of this? Because we attended Vista's launch party yesterday, held at MTV HQ in Times Square and a party for which we received more pre-event press materials and invitations than any event we've ever been to ever. And how was the party? It was:
Easier to get frostbite: Attendees, registration in hand, were made to wait outside (wind chill: twenty degrees) for around 30 minutes. This included press. (How dare they!) All the shrimp in the world inside — and there was all the shrimp in the world inside — could not compensate for that discourtesy.
Better Connected than any event without the Richest Man on Earth in attendance. Still, other than Emperor Gates, the affair was rather celebrity-starved.
More Entertaining to lovers of pop-punk. Question: What's more awful than blink-182's Tom DeLonge fronting a side project called Angels & Airwaves? Answer: Said side project performing a fast-paced "What a Wonderful World."
Safer than even what we expected from Gates. How the man has not yet voiced an animated tortoise is bewildering.
More Entertaining than your average executive vice-president. Microsoft's Mike Sievert stole the show with a presentation on how his family uses Vista. See a Sievert family photo! Watch Sievert play Uno online with his 11-year old son, who goes by the alias "Icemonkey"! Marvel as Sievert plays with different templates for the annual family newsletter, "The Sievert Yearly," just by dragging his mouse! Speaking of which
Easier than every other word processor. Seriously, the new MS Office looks amazing. And Vista has video-motion wallpaper.
More Entertaining than when your uncle gets drunk. Upon officially launching Vista, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bobbed up and down like a buoy and sounded like Harry Caray on uppers. (Of course, we've all seen the clip, so this one wasn't a huge surprise.)
Safer than other exhibitions of advanced technology. After the main presentation, a few members of New York's Finest were spotted playing an Xbox 360 that was on display. Maybe if federal law enforcement took a similarly amiable attitude toward Microsoft, they could have enjoyed the three open bars, too. —Marc Tracy