During his keynote address at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2004 in Seattle Tuesday, Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin updated attendees on the company's client and server product plans for the next two years. It's been a while since the last What I Use, but there haven't been many major changes since late last year: Surface Pro 3 has become my go-to travel companion, I've added a third cellphone line for testing Windows Phone, Android and iPhone side-by-side, and have rotated through some new tablets and other devices.
448 SIMON BOLIVAR - visited 4 May 2004 - mill being dismantled but rails shiny and showed sign of recent use. 405 - LA BERGNES - 4 May 2004 - No.1346 (numbered as 1343) plinthed at the roadside between Caibarien and Santa Clara.
TRINIDAD 6 May 2004 - No.1517 in steam and being made ready for the tourist trip to Iznaga up the San Luis Valley. Maternity leave (four months continuous leave at full pay and a further two months unpaid leave) is offered to all female employees. Press your menu button and find the option to bookmark this page (a star icon for some browsers). A report from the federal Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack has painted a bleak picture for America under such attack: Electricity grids down, uncontrolled fires from exploding gas transport systems, no communication to summon firefighters and if they could come, no water to battle fires.
The 200-page report says Americans should look to past incidents, then multiply those impacts by the number of cities that could be hit by such an attack.
San Diego County Water Authority and San Diego County Gas and Electric companies experienced severe electromagnetic interference. The report, published on the commission website, cited other scenarios that should be expected to develop subsequent to an EMP attack on the U.S. The report also cited a 1994 refinery disaster in the United Kingdom in which lightning strikes resulted in a half-second power loss.
WND has reported several times on the threat of EMP attacks, including just two weeks ago when William R. The scariest and most threatening kind of EMP attack is initiated by the detonation of a nuclear weapon at high altitude in the range of 25 to 250 miles above the Earth’s surface. The committee’s report analyzes the impact of an attack on electrical supplies, telecommunications, banking and finance, petroleum and natural gas, transportation, food, water, emergency services, space systems and government. Graham also had warned Congress such an attack could come without the backing of an international power, such as China or Russia.
Theoretically, an EMP attack is devastating because of the unprecedented cascading failures of major infrastructures that could result.
Graham took the EMP debate out of the realm of science fiction by reminding the committee that as recently as May 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Russian leaders threatened a U.S.
Graham says terrorists who get their hands on one or a few unsophisticated nuclear weapons might well calculate they could get the most bang for their buck from attempting an EMP attack.
Ultimate recovery from an EMP attack could end up taking years, during which time America very well may have to exist without many  high-tech services, from cell phones inoperable due to damaged towers unrepaired because of parts shortages to a disruption in the food supply path because of fuel shortages.
Allchin also declared the coming product waves to be part of what Microsoft calls "the experience economy," where only those products that think through end-to-end experiences will be wildly successful.
So I pulled the trigger on an unlocked Windows Phone flagship that will hopefully take me through at least the first half of this year. The immediate effects of EMP are disruption of, and damage to, electronic systems and electrical infrastructure. The electrical grid, for example, is needed to distribute water, food, fuel, communications, transport, financial transactions, emergency services and government services. No electricity would mean out-of-control water, natural gas or fuel flows through distribution systems. Shinn, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security, who several weeks ago told the same House committee that China’s arms buildup includes exotic experiments with electromagnetic weapons that can devastate electronics with bursts of energy similar to those produced by a nuclear blast. Allchin called out non-tech industry companies such as Starbucks as innovators of the experience economy. But no emergency services could be contacted for help, and if they already were on scene, it’s unlikely water would be ready.
Even worse, when such fires burn themselves out, and repairs are begun, supplies could neither be ordered nor delivered because of communications and fuel disruptions, and the critical workers needed for repairs might not be able to get to the location.
First, Microsoft plans a Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) release in late summer that will focus on what Allchin calls "safety" features, primarily security updates that will make the underlying system more resilient and reliable.

XP SP2 will beget three major new client releases, XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 (codenamed Lonestar), XP Media Center Edition 2005 (codenamed Symphony), and XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-bit Extended Systems, the latter of which targets AMD-64 and upcoming Intel-based x86-64 systems. Microsoft will also ship Windows CE 5.0 and new versions of the Smartphone and Pocket PC operating systems in 2004, Allchin said. Additionally, the company is planning a "media experiences wave" this year that will include a major new version of Windows Media Player that supports "Janus" subscription-content synchronization with portable devices, a major revamp of MSN Music, Portable Media Centers from a variety of third party hardware makers, and Windows Media Center support for Media Center Extenders, set-top boxes that will remotely access Media Center Content. Longhorn, Allchin said will integrate the "three magic ingredients" of fundamentals, scenarios, and people.
During a demo, he showed Longhorn playing 6 high-resolution videos simultaneously while playing Quake III Arena in the background; a comparable XP system was unable to play four of the videos simultaneously. Allchin also demonstrated an interesting migration tool that can optionally use an upcoming smart USB cable to transfer personal data from an existing PC to a new Longhorn-based PC. Windows 2003 SP1 will be followed by Windows Small Business Server 2003 SP1 and Windows Server 2003 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems, and Virtual Server 2005.
In 2005, Microsoft will deliver Windows Server 2003 Release 2 (R2, which he referred to as "Windows Server 2003 Update"), Windows Small Business Server 2003 Update, a new version of Windows Storage Server (codenamed "Storm"), and Longhorn Server Beta 1. Furthermore, Microsoft revealed details of Longhorn's so-called tiered user experience, dubbed Aero. The default Aero user experience is built on the low-level Longhorn graphics application programming interface (API) dubbed Avalon, and will require a DirectX 9-compliant 3D graphics processor with at least 32 MB of RAM and an AGP 4x bus; Aero will require a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 (XGA), compared to 640 x 480 (VGA) for today's Windows versions. Last year, Microsoft announced DirectX 7 compliance as a baseline for Longhorn, but Hammil defended the change. Transparencies and animations will be hallmarks of the Aero Glass user experience, with more modern, high quality visualizations than with [standard] Aero." Aero Glass will require a DirectX 9-compliant 3D graphics processor with at least 64 MB of RAM, though 128-256 MB of RAM will be recommended. This mode will support all of the non-UI-related Longhorn technologies, so Longhorn applications will still run fine in Classic mode. Microsoft is providing this mode for upgrades that don't meet the minimum requirements for Aero, and for corporations that would prefer not to retrain users as they migrate to Longhorn. That's the new plan at Microsoft, anyway: Once seen as a laptop alternative, Tablet PCs will soon give way to a range of mobile PCs that meet all customers needs, a sharp departure from the niche products PC makers released until recently.
What we found working on the Tablet PC is that much of the platform work we were doing was benefiting all mobile PCs. We're still the same group, and we have one team focused on mobile PC fundamentals, and one that's very focused on pen and ink." Fish laid out Microsoft's mobile PC schedule for the next three years.
Tablet PCs, he said, had evolved from premium ultra-portable notebooks PCs in 2003 to being more of a feature of notebook PCs, a trend that will continue through 2005. Starting in 2006 with the Longhorn product wave, mobile PCs will adapt to meet every customer need and will slowly overtake the desktop PC form factor. PC makers shipped 38 million mobile PCs in 2003, but Microsoft expects that figure to grow to 63 million units by 2006. Late this summer, Microsoft will ship Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 (code-named Lonestar), a free update for all Tablet PC users that adds a dramatically enhanced Text Input Panel (TIP), with context-sensitive handwriting recognition and other new features.
Though Microsoft hasn't yet determined which of these features will be included in the base Longhorn product line, and which will only be available on Tablet PCs and notebook computers, the list is dizzying.
The company will beef up the product's fundamental features, such as power management, multi-monitor support, and the like. But it will also be working on a slew of new functionality, including: Auxiliary Displays.
Next-generation mobile devices will include small external displays on their covers that will let users view personal information management (PIM) data at a glance, without having to open or turn on the device.
Using Longhorn's integrated Synchronization control panel, users will be able to synchronize data between their PC and Tablet PC, notebook computer, PDA, portable audio devices, and other portable devices. Longhorn will make it easy for users to quickly set-up ad-hoc wireless networks for file sharing, and discover people who are connected near you. It will also provide a way to connect with wireless projectors, with one-to-one and one-to-many support for wireless connections between PCs whose users wish to collaborate in real time.
Microsoft is planning an Activity Center called Mobility Center for Longhorn that will include all of the mobility tuning features in the OS, all in a central location. Though the details of how the system will accomplish this are currently in flux, Microsoft plans to add location awareness to PCs with Longhorn, so that your system will behave and look differently when you're at home, at work, at school, or at other locations.

Longhorn will natively support ink files names: Click on an icon's name with the stylus, and just write the file name normally in your own handwriting. A simple wizard will let you supply examples of your handwriting so that the handwriting recognition engine only compares created file names against your writing, and not the millions of samples the engine currently uses. A a new pen gestures feature (codenamed Flick) will allow you to perform certain actions with a Tablet PC stylus that aren't writing or control selection activities. For example, you could set up gestures for copy, paste, back, forward, undo, and delete activities. Another pen utility, codenamed Snipper, will bring the Microsoft Snipping Utility Powertoy into the base OS.\ Pen Optimized Skin. For a new generation of small, 5-inch to 8-inch, Tablet PC devices that will begin shipping this year, Microsoft is developing a dashboard page that will provide access to PIM information that users need, all in a single, handy page. The Pen Optimized Skin presents time and calendar information, links to recently accessed documents and applications, the 7 most recent unread email messages, the most recent uncompleted tasks, and the links to your most often used applications. This skin is designed to sit on top of, and generally replace, the basic Windows user interface on devices whose screens are too small for a desktop UI. I've got the first two of what will likely be many Longhorn build 4074 screenshot galleries available now on the SuperSite for Windows, and of course I'll have a full review as soon as possible.
What's changed is that Microsoft originally planned to have separate marketing campaigns for XP SP2 and XP Reloaded; now SP2 will be marketed as part of the XP Reloaded campaign. Both OSes will target AMD-64 and Intel x86-64-based hardware, and will for the first time offer all of the features of their 32-bit brethren (previous 64-Bit Windows versions didn't, dropping features like Windows Media Player). However, these new 64-bit OSes versions will have one major limitations that will, for the time being at least, limit their appeal: Hardware driver support will be minimal until third party manufacturers step up to the plate and get going with 64-bit drivers (Today's 32-bit drivers won't work).
And that means 64-bit systems will be pretty useless for mainstream users, again, at least for the short term. The technology will still be an optional piece of Longhorn, and will require specially-made PCs, which include security-oriented chipsets.
Part of the problem, I suspect is the constant delays Microsoft faces with XP SP2, which was original due in the first half of 2004, but was recently set back to late summer 2004 (though I'm hearing "July" might be the new date).
XP SP2 will solve a lot of security problems--and bring a host of compatibility problems as well--but like Longhorn, it's still mired in "future technology" territory as I write this. Then, in November, the companies showed off a second-generation Athens PC design that actually utilized real-world HP hardware, showing that the prototype was quickly on the way to becoming a reality.
This year, at WinHEC 2004, the companies showed off Athens PC generation three, dubbed "Troy," which now features a Longhorn user interface, but still retains the prototypical elements of past designs, like a breakout box for currently unassigned functionality, like a docking bay for a PDA. There was also a "Hermes" mobile PC prototype, basically a notebook version of the Athens design. It's Your Fault I've been stressing for months over Microsoft's refusal to improve Internet Explorer (IE) by embracing modern Web standards and adding user-requested features like tabbed browsing, but I think I've finally figured out the problem: Microsoft isn't going to fix IE when it is still the most-often-used Web browser by far, with its next nearest competitor bringing in Mac-like market share numbers. And that, folks, is the problem: By continuing to use IE, every one of you are allowing Microsoft to continue its policy of ignoring a product that, frankly, needs a lot of work. So if you're serious about seeing Microsoft improve this aging clunker, maybe the best solution is to start using something else.
Because Gates is on the board of directors for the company, he's required to comply with federal antitrust premerger notification requirements. In case it's not clear, this fine has nothing to do with Microsoft's antitrust woes, though people often seem to have trouble separating Gates from the company.
Here's how you tell the difference: Gates is the Bond villain, and Microsoft is the death ray he uses to threaten humanity. Y05 and Beyond (WinHEC Session) Tablet PC release schedule.

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