Longhorn PDC preview

Microsoft has placed three different search function access points in one window. Do they provide different functionality?

Aside from that odd repetition, the only other thing that really stands out are the gigantic controls and sidebar. Are these items resizable? I know you can turn the sidebar off altogether, but it looks like it can provide useful features.

This screenshot shows two rather lousy design choices:

A slider for adjusting privacy level? Who the fuck thought that was a good idea? Sliders should be for adjusting graduated settings like sound volume or display brightness – things that have immediate feedback. Something like a browser privacy setting would be better handled by a drop-down menu or radio buttons.

The pop-up control text is confusing:

“Prevent most pop-up windows from appearing. In some cases you will still see the pop-up windows.”

So does it stop them or what? Every fifth site I visit can open a pop-up or just on Tuesdays?

ClickOnce – single click application installation. I certainly hope this includes single click un-installation. I’ve long seen the Macintosh handling of application installation and removal as one of its strengths. The vast majority of applications can be installed by dragging them from a disk image to wherever you want them to reside. Images which are “Internet enabled” are particularly easy to install because they leave only the disk image’s contents in your download folder. From personal experience, Linux is the worst offender when it comes to software installation. Apt-get through Synaptic is a step in the right direction, but only a step.

This image of what looks to be a filesystem abstraction is interesting, grouping files related to a court case into People, Evidence, Arguments, and another whose title I cannot make out. This is probably based on the WinFS database technology. My question is how Microsoft is going to get people to enter the meta-data that makes such things possible – there is only so much that can be automatically generated.

Some of the file manager looks familiar. Meta-data display tooltips… Previews on hover… I wonder if Microsoft has been using KDE’s Konqueror browser and file manager a bit. Here is another example of Konqueror’s live previews of multiple document types (PDF, JPEG, Bitmap, text). This does seem a bit at odds with the oft repeated “all the Linux DEs do is copy Windows” statement.

I am well aware that these are works in progress. Every interface is. Longhorn will likely not be released until late 2005 or 2006, leaving Microsoft plenty of time to make improvements. I hope they realize that not everyone has a 30″ monitor and still won’t in ’05 or ’06.

Fancy Free from the album “Fancy Free” by Donald Byrd, 1969.

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Daniel J. Wilson

I am a designer, drummer, and photographer in Brooklyn, NY.