First of all I was to explain where I have been for the last couple of weeks!
I was on the road in Christchurch at our Vista/ Office Technical readiness event. We then had a team offsite at Hanmer Springs. Last week we had the Auckland Vista/ Office Technical readiness event and the "hugely successful" WebStock conference in Wellington.
I have learnt a lot!
I spent most of last week with Tony Chor group program manager of the Internet Explorer team. Now I often get confused by Microsoft titles so let me take a moment to explain what this title means.
Tony is responsible for the technical development of Internet Explorer, this is different to a product manager that looks after the marketing of a product. Tony has 11 Direct Reports including other well known IE personalities such as Chris Wilson. Tony reports to Dean Hachamovitch.
This was Tony's first trip to NZ and we lined him up with a pretty full schedule. Tony did a 10 minute surprise slot during the keynote at the Auckland connect event, we then did an interview with Juha Saarinen for computerworld. Tony delivered an architect forum at Microsoft Auckland before we rushed to our flight to Wellington... leaving the MS Akl offices less than 1 hour before our flight meant for a very tight call.
In Wellington is was all about WebStock, another couple of architect forums at Microsoft Wellington, a press interview with Dominion and a great opportunity to connect with lots of Web Developers and Internet Celebrities!
What Tony taught me about IE7 during the week?
"IE7 kills orphans to save trees!" - the print feature in IE7 has a smart algorithm to reduce orphaned text printing on new pages.
The zoom feature in IE& "Ctr + mouse scroll wheel" uses an algorithm developed by Microsoft Research to "smart scale" images up and down.
Trip to a RSS page and subscribing to a common feed list uses the BITS (Backbone intelligence transfer service) engine that Windows Update also uses. What this means is that you can access these feeds through a sidebar gadget, within outlook 2007 or in any application that you write that calls the API.
Protected mode running IE7 on Windows Vista means that the browser and all it's plug ins run at less than User Privilege... all registry and folders are virtualized into a per user store. Breaking into IE7 on Vista is like breaking into Jail.
All ActiveX components on a machine require first time opt in... e.g. HTML help and ADO.db stream, removes the opportunity for silent attack.
An anti-spyware program is run on install of IE7 to detect and remove any spyware that may already be installed on the machine.
What WebStock taught me:
There is certainly a buzz left over in the web sphere from WebStock and big-ups to everyone that took part! It's been a 8 month project for me and the team. Pre Christmas last year when we choose to be involved and a special thanks to the Elyssa , Natasha and the rest of the team at the "Web Standards New Zealand" for making us so welcome!
Well where do I start...
Rowan's presentation was brilliant! - really good tip about removing features that aren't popular on your website so that it doesn't grow in complexity over time.
Kathy's presentation was also great... the effort she put in to work in quotes from the other speakers really hit a chord. At the end of her talk she got people to comment on "the biggest" surprise of the conference I had to laugh when someone yelled out of the crowd that they were surprised that "The Microsoft guy was actually pretty friendly!".
Ben's firefox talk was informative and well delivered as was Tony's talk on IE... I have a little camcorder video of Ben and Tony chatting on how standards are a common platform between all browsers and how working towards standards is in everyone's interest moving forward... and before you flame my post with "emotional comments"... one of the things I enjoyed most about last week was that people were above talking about browsers as a "religious war" and after Tony's apology on behalf of Microsoft for dropping the ball after IE6... I found that the people I talked to that live and die on the web generally want to help improve the browsers moving forward.
I recommend checking back to http://www.webstock.org.nz in a week or so to watch the sessions for yourself!
The WebStock Buzz:
Doug Bowman - new Visual Design Lead for Google wrote:
"In the past few years, I've attended quite a few conferences, both as attendee and as speaker. After attending Web Essentials in Sydney for two years, and @media in London last year, I thought I had experienced the high points of medium-scale web conferences. Now that Webstock is here, it appears the bar has been raised significantly higher.
"…it could be the sponsor booths just outside the main auditorium that actually seem interesting, relevant, and entirely appropriate. (Props to Microsoft/Auckland for having a friendly, engaging team manning their booth.) Or perhaps it just comes down to the people attending the conference-especially all the Kiwis-and their enthusiasm and excitement that a conference on this grand of scale and importance is happening right in their own home city and/or country."
"Overall, I can't help but be impressed by Tony's vision for IE7. They obviously recognize the threat that Firefox has become, and the opportunity for IE to leverage Vista. Of course Microsoft has such a huge lead in the browser market that they can afford to be confident."
"Dealt with the animosity towards Microsoft really humorously - apologies for IE6, which received a round of applause."
I have more to come... but I thought I'd snap a few photos from the video I have been cutting together... enjoy!
As for collateral, I filled the attendee bags with a DVD of what Microsoft is up to on the web... one foobar was to only include .wmv files for the videos which was less than ideal for all the MAC and LINUX users that were at the conference but I got that feedback load and clear! At least this meant these guys were looking at it! Attached with the DVD was a campaign that was somewhat unMicrosoft... Joel was quite impressed he went as far as suggesting that most people would be surprised to find that Microsoft even knew tinyurl existed!
See what you think for yourself...