Remarks by David Cole
April 7, 1999, Los Angeles, CA
DAVID COLE:Well, good morning and welcome back from the break, those that have made it back in so far.A few people still coming in, but I’ll get started.So — let me get my clicker here. Computers are wonderful devices.I think we spend a lot of our time slamming what the computers didn’t do for us, and how it’s broken, but if you look at the way computers have changed the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we play at home, I think most people will agree that they’ve really revolutionized a lot of our lives and lifestyles.
So I thought I’d take a quick second to remind ourselves the good things that we’ve done and where we’ve been before I launch into the rest of my slides where I kind of beat us all up about what we’ve done.
But first of all, you think about the transition from the character-based user interface to the graphical-based user interface.It was actually a wonderful thing to happen.You got to point and click at things.You got common device drivers for all the applications.Users could learn one set of commands and do all the basic functions in all the applications that they ran.It was great.
Then along came interrupt conflicts and memory DMAs and all kinds of stuff, so we came up with Plug and Play, and that gives us another great shift in gears for the PC environment, where you could just plug in a printer and it would work, plug in a mouse and it would just work.That was kind of nice, so that’s a very good thing that we’ve done.
I think the invention and popularization of USB in the last couple of years has been a great thing for the PC industry.We now have one way to connect up a whole broad range of peripheral devices, so that’s an effort that we should applaud ourselves for doing.
The 3D graphics and gaming enhancements that have happened to PCs are really quite phenomenal as well, going from the days back when we worked on Windows 3.1; to see the great 3D graphics and the great Windows-based games you see today is just phenomenal, and that created a whole new growth of PCs around games.
Then along comes the Internet, which brings a whole new level of value of PCs in people’s lives.
So those are just some of the highlights that I wanted to bring up here before I got started. I’m not mentioning all the hardware advances that we’ve gone through.You guys are more familiar with those than I am.
But it’s still too complicated to use.You know, too many error messages, to hard to get things installed.You know, applications and hardware just don’t work together.
What I’m going to talk a lot in the rest of my talk here about is Consumer Windows and consumer PCs.And the reason I’ve tied these two together, consumers, Windows and the hard job of making it easy, because that’s exactly what consumers want.They want their PCs just to be easy, and that’s a hard job for us.
And we had a video that was going to illustrate the point, but I think you already saw part of it, so I won’t have a video to go through, which is good.The last part that we did looked a little silly to me.
So a couple of trends that I looked at, when we formed the Consumer Windows Division.We’ve been looking at some of the trends in the industry, what’s really going on, what should we really focus in on.And most of these trends are pretty obvious to you in the room.At least, I would hope they are.You know, I think everybody realized that PCs are mass-market consumer devices.They’re no longer the devices for the technical elite, or the hobbyist, or the early adopters.Some of the people on my team gave me this number the other day, where, on average, 48 PCs sell per minute, around the clock, seven days a week.That’s a mass market device, by any measure.
The second big trend, again no mystery here, media is going digital.You know, not just audio, which has been digital for quite a while, but still images, moving pictures.You know letters, letters are digital now.It’s called E-mail.So everything we do is becoming digital, which presents tremendous opportunities for us.
I think homes will have a multitude of devices in them, not just PCs, although we like PCs as well, and we think those are very critical appliances for the home, but we think there will be a lot of intelligent appliances and smart objects in the home, and on the showroom floor you’ll see some of those early manifestations of what we’re talking about there.So connectivity between all those devices is key, and there’s a recognized need, and so you see home networks happening, products you can go buy today and that you’ve been able to buy for six months that allow users to hook up devices and hook up PCs.
And then the Internet continues to increase the relevancy of computing to people’s lives, that they communicate online and access information online, pay their bills online, write letters online.It’s quite amazing.So that’s what we like to call the web lifestyle.So that’s a key trend that is in our heads and we’re focusing on.
So some of the industry opportunities we’ve made seem obvious as well to some of you is that it’s a huge opportunity to make PCs and other intelligent devices the hub for all media, all things digital, communication, pictures, photographs, whatever it happens to be, a huge opportunity there.
We want to be able to use the Internet to improve the PC experience.We have this problem today with finding the right device drivers and resolving error messages, and making the PC just work better.Well, we have the Internet.We have connectivity to as much data and as much intelligence as we can possibly imagine to put out there.So let’s use that to enrich the PC experience itself, so to not just make the PC a great appliance to be on the Internet, but use the Internet to make the PC better.
And, of course, as you guys think about every day when you wake up, lots of opportunities for new types of hardware products, lower cost PCs, maybe more single purpose activity focused PCs, in addition to general purpose PCs.New devices and peripherals that may plug into the home and be just for storage, just a digital file cabinet or just a movie store or something like that.
And then lastly, the key component that’s going to allow us to sort of get to the next generation of home computing or business computing for that matter is make it all work together much, much better than we have in the past.I think nobody’s going to disagree with that.It seems to be anybody I know these days, tell them what I’m doing on Windows, it only takes about 30 second before we’re talking about somebody’s experience with Windows,
“tried to install it, had a problem; tried to install an app, had a problem; tried to plug in a camera, had a problem.”
So the need’s clearly there.Consumers are demanding that we do something about it.
So consumer Windows, what’s the mission here?Well, it’s quite simple, I think.It’s to partner with hardware vendors, software vendors, the industry as a whole to create a more empowering computing experience, connecting to everything, removing all that ugly complexity that there’s today, enabling some new usage scenarios that I’m going to talk about a little bit, and try to create many more form factors that we think consumers will be interested in.Steve showed some on stage, some of the ideas here.Think about where the computer’s going to live.It doesn’t just live in the den anymore.I’ve seen people with PCs in their kitchen and certainly in their living rooms, up in the bedrooms, in the kid’s play room.So those require more innovative thinking and different types of form factors that are more appropriate for those environments.
So Microsoft’s role in all this – I think our role is really to provide the software platform, the tools and to drive the standards that allow innovation up and down the line of devices that are on this slide here.So everything from smart objects – basically it can listen to a command and turn on and off through some kind of very simple IP network – all the way up to smart phones, gaming systems, WebTV systems, Auto PCs, all the way up to what you might want to consider a high-end, desktop PC in the home.
So I see Microsoft’s role, partnering with you, as being able to go create very compelling devices along this line.
So I want to talk a little bit now about what it’s going to take to actually succeed at this.So I’ll stop talking about trends for a second, stop talking about the state of the industry and talk about where do we need to go.
What it comes right down to is making things just work.That’s a term that I can’t remember if I coined it at the company, or maybe Steve Ballmer did, I’m not sure.I sat my team down, we had a team meeting the other day and talked about Consumer Windows and what we’re going to do, and it all comes down to making it just work for consumers.Consumers like the convenience of being able to do e-mail, write their letters, pay bills online.You know, consumers are kind of lazy, too.They don’t want to have to work very hard to get convenience, which makes sense.You want convenience to be convenient to have.So we’ve got to make things just work to do that.
So we have to have simple appliance-like experience.I made the mistake the other day of having this analogy with my toaster, and said,
“Gee, I’d like it to work more like my toaster, where I put in the toast and put the knob down.”
And then it turns out, well if you turn the one knob too high the toast burns, so that’s not really the appliance I should be using.So I’ll invent a different metaphor in the future for that.
The user interface has to be way simpler and discoverable than it is today.So this really I look to the job of Microsoft to go do innovation here in the UI.You saw one set of discovery work we’re doing with the 3D UI, and we have some other work underway as well to go forward and see what a better user interface might be like, one that anticipates what users want to do.It doesn’t make them search across the big hierarchy of menus and commands, across the stream where you’re trying to find the little command that lets you do E-mail, and you’ve got to hunt all over for it.It’s quite insane.
It needs to be personal and tasked for you, so the computer ought to know who you are and what you like to do.It should be tasked for you.You know, if you want to manage your pictures, you want to take your pictures, you want to take photos off the camera and store those on the PC and organize them and categorize them, share them with your grandma or stamp them out on a CD for mailing them around to your friends, you shouldn’t have to go through the UI and find the sixteen different commands you need to pick in their hierarchy of hundreds of commands.You ought to have sort of a task-oriented way to do that, where everything you need to do that task is right there in front of you, and you can just click and away you go.
So in addition to making things just work, and I have several more slides on that we’ll talk about, there are basically three scenarios that I’m going to focus the consumer Windows team around and go do a world class job of delivering on these scenarios for customers.
Scenario one is connecting to everything, everywhere.And you’ll hear that talked about as Home Networking.And that’s Home Networking or Universal Plug and Play (UpnP). We’ll talk about it in those terms.And we’re going to make sure that the PC is such a powerful, and add value to that experiences in such a way that people are going to want to have PCs when they have home networks.They’re going to want to build home networks if they have PCs, and they want to fuel that innovation cycle.
We’re going to focus a lot of people around digital media and entertainment, audio, video, still images, gaming, television, which we’re going to show some demos of here in a little bit.We’re going to have a little team go around that will enrich the entertainment capabilities of the PC and make that a natural part of Windows instead of more of a clunky part of Windows, I guess you might say.
We want to provide users with access to services and data anywhere.This is another way to say I want an integrated online experience as part of Windows, so that when people use Windows it just blends right in with the Internet so that E-mail and browsing the Web and finding things are just part of the experience and not a separate deal of things, just right there, part of it.We’ve made great strides in recent years on doing this.We want to go even further and make that a very consumerable type experience.
So the next generation just works.I want to focus in on this a little bit, because this is key to everything here.So at the high level what it means to me, it means the PC, it does what you want, it does it when you want it to do it, not when it wants to do it, when I want to do it, and it does it how I want to do it.So I don’t want to have to go figure out a confusing user interface, what command, what checkbox do I pick?I don’t want to have to read the manual.I mean, who reads manuals?Maybe I should, but I don’t read manuals.And I don’t think a lot of other consumers like to read 200, 300 page manuals to figure out how to do E-mail.That seems kind of silly to me.And I get tired of answering all kinds of questions.You know, I go to install a game, what directory do I want it in.I don’t care what directory it’s in, I just want it to start working.
So that captures what I think about ‘it just works.’
So to make this happen there’s all kinds of improvements across the system that we have to tackle.We’re in the midst of figuring out our architecture and design for error avoidance and recovery.What I mean by that is having the PC be able to determine when something’s going wrong and just fix it, whether it has to go to the Web and look up something in a database to kind of figure out what’s going on, but automatically apply those fixes so the PC gets healthier over time, not sicker over time as you install more apps.And we’ll have a demo that sort of articulates some of that in a little bit here.
We want zero-install applications.I really don’t want to install applications.I want the concept to go away.You want to be able to just take your CD, put it in the machine and just start running the application.It caches up as it needs to, and pulls in all the DLLs that it cares about.Or I want to be able to browse just some name space, like the World Wide Web, and click on an application out there and just have it start working.I don’t want to have to install it.Installs are just sort of a relic, like memory management used to be a relic of PCs -you used to have to manage that expanded memory stuff.I kind of want that to go away.Consumers want that to go away.
I want the system to easily update itself, either letting the user say okay, because there’s still an element about PCs where users want to be in control of that experience, or we want file system updates where the user says,
“Hey, take care of me with some buttons,”
and then every update that happens and every thing that updates, they need to fix bugs or whatever, just automatically happens.People are quite used to this today in their set-top boxes, or satellite receivers.These things update themselves and nobody seems to care about that all.They just want those to work.
Can you imagine your TV popping up some UI,
“Do you want to update such a feature for your satellite dish?”
No, you just want that to work in the middle of the night while you’re not watching TV, or early in the morning when you’re not watching TV or whenever you happen to be not watching TV.
So recognizing that even in a world where we make things just work better than today, one of the mistakes that we can make is thinking that they’re going to work perfectly.Nay, we’re just going to make them work and they’re just going to work perfectly, so let’s not worry about any of the failure cases, let’s not worry about what happens when things go wrong.Well, that’s not quite the case.So we’re going to invest in a set of what we call PC health tools that allow the PC to sort of self-diagnose and self-repair when things do go wrong, so the user won’t have to spend as much time, or no time at all, to go fix these errors.This includes a nice progression of tools, so there’s a set of problems that can just be fixed and the PC knows how to fix those.There’s another set of tools that will help support technicians discover what’s wrong with the machine, for things that are harder to figure out, or that a database can be populated that tells the machine how to get itself fixed.
And lastly here, we want to separate the system state and data so that, for example, if you have two PCs in your home that are networked, you can identify yourself on one PC and it takes all the settings that you had from the other one and uses it there, so you don’t have to really worry about PCs as devices necessarily from the user point of view.You have a computing environment that follows you around the home, if you want it to, backs up your state for you, lets you roam around the home and certainly lets you roam between the home and office, so you can take work home, you don’t have to reconfigure things, how you like to do things when you’re working.So all that just needs to work.
So some other attributes of ‘it just works.’The system has to be available.It’s just got to be there, the whole time.It’s got to boot fast.It’s got to resume fast.The online access has to be right there.This one, in particular, for me, really rang true about a year ago, and I was a normal Internet user like everybody else, and would dial the phone and wait around, and boy that Internet was cool, I could do stuff with it.Then I got this crazy thing called ADSL, it was a trial that we had.And the computer in our house completely changed from a computer to an appliance.You know, when the guys come by and deliver the Yellow Pages phone book, this big thick thing, we just put it in the recycle bin.We don’t even have a yellow pages anymore.We just go in there, you wiggle the mouse, the screen turns on and I’m right there on the Web, looking at whatever I want to look at.That’s part of being the consumer appliance; it’s always there and ready to go.
It can’t be intimidating.Error handling in the past means you put up a nice dialogue box, a nice 3D, chiseled edges and the right color scheme.So when you got that error message, it looked good.That’s what handling errors used to mean.In the future, handling errors has to mean you’re handling the error, taking care of it for the user and only popping up errors when it’s a last-ditch effort or it’s an option you want to give the user, but the less messages the better.People are tired of getting asked how the computer should work.The computer should know how it should work.
You know, security has got to be just a built-in feature of the system in the home.We all have kids.When kids get into some of the data and the finances and that kind of stuff, so you want to have security there.
You want to be able to add and remove hardware in very seamless and easy ways.So that’s very true that there’s a lot of money spent on peripherals and we’d like that market and want that to continue.So we don’t want to completely seal up the extensibility of the PC and then it loses a lot of its purpose in life.
I want it compatible and easy to upgrade.That seems pretty obvious a part of it just works.If you buy a new system or buy a new piece of hardware, you want things to just work and be compatible with what you’ve done before.You want the system to be efficient on resource usage.If you plug in your USB speakers and your USB mouse and any of your USB peripherals and you play a loud sound through the speakers, you don’t want your mouse to stop working.You want the bandwidth to be scaled for you without some complicated UI that tells you how to reserve it here, reserve it there.You just want that resource management to just work for you.
And I already touched on this point, you want it to be flexible and extensible like we have today.You know, it’s clear to us that not one size fits all for the home, in terms of computers and computing devices or in terms of peripherals that you have.So we want very easy external buses, UPnP type devices, where they just network in the home and work together.
Anthony, do you want to come up?We’re going to do a quick demo here of what we call PC health.And what I want to articulate here in the demo is that I take two aspects to it just works.There’s the work that we do to make things just work.Think of these as the features car manufacturers put in their cars to keep the car from crashing: antilock brakes, four-wheel drive and all the other kinds of things. And so you want a set of tools to help you recover when things happen, like you have air bags and seatbelts and whatnot to protect you when the car does crash.So Anthony is going to demonstrate a couple of tools here that here that help repair the system and keep it healthy in case something goes wrong.So Anthony Chavez is our lead program manager for our PC health effort today.So what are you going to show us?
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:All right, so the first thing I’d like to show is an example or some stuff that the PC health team is doing in the area of systems self-repair, self-healing and also integration with the confusing and cryptic error messages that users get today.So we’ll start out with my laptop here, and I would like to be able to dial out onto the Internet to go check my e-mail or go surf the Web.So I’ve all the numbers in here, and I push connect, and as you can see I get an
DAVID COLE:I know what that one is.
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:Oh, yeah, everybody here does, I’m sure.It says the modem’s not installed or configure for dial-up networking.Well, I know my modem for sure is installed.I’ve got it plugged in right here.So this is a very kind of confusing error message.Let’s cancel out.
Well, fortunately though this is a PC that has some PC health self-repair technology installed on it.So let’s see what it says.It says, well we’ve detected a modem configuration problem.Well, that’s good.I’m glad you noticed that.And now it’s offering to say, well we’ll try and fix the problem and resolve it automatically.Well, this is very cool, it’s great.So that basically the PC health system has detected that a modem error has come up and then it’s fired off some logic to try and diagnose and figure out what that problem is.
So because I’m sort of fancying myself to be a somewhat technical user, let’s actually see what it thinks the problems is by clicking on the problem details link here.It says, well, one of your configuration files for your modem is corrupt.Okay, great.
Well, most of the time most users will probably just want to press the fix the problem button and have the system go off and just go do the right thing.
DAVID COLE:So what’s it doing here, as it’s coming up?
ANTHONY CHAVEZ: You can think of them as scripts, basically, that diagnose and attempt to repair the problem.So in this case what the system is doing is we have some code running that understands how modem configuration files are supposed to look, what their format is, and it’s going in and attempting to repair that.
So to finish off this demo, unfortunately I have to reboot the machine, so let me go ahead and do that.And in the meantime, while that’s going on and rebooting, let’s switch to another demonstration.So here we have another machine, and as you can see this machine is not in a very happy state right now.It is pretty broken, so active desktop is completely white screened.We try and click on My Computer, doesn’t work.My Documents.
DAVID COLE:Those are very helpful messages you’re getting there.
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:Yeah, exactly, right.So what has happened, what we have done to this machine actually is installed a real application on this machine, and it has broken the system in this manner, so this is the thing that happens today, this is a real application which will remain nameless.And we’ve also even gone so far as to uninstall the application as well, and you can see that the bad effects are still present even after —
DAVID COLE:Did youhave to uninstall it to get it off here?
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:Yes, exactly.So we’ve already done that.So that’s something that, relatively smart users would be able to do is say,
“Okay, I think the machine ended up in that state after I installed it.Let me go ahead and try to uninstall it.”
And so even the user needs to get to some pretty critical thing, let’s see our file user, and you want to go to the control panel, you see I can’t even get to the control panel.So this is a case where almost for sure there’s going to be a support called a PSS.And unfortunately in cases like this, the resolution might be something as extreme as reinstall Windows or something like that, not a happy situation.
So fortunately though this machine has the PC health system to restore functionality on it.
DAVID COLE:I knew you were going to say that.
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:Yeah.So what system restore does, very simply, is lets you roll back your machine to a previous point in time where it worked, and it does this in a completely automated fashion.So this is not a manual backup or a manual restore feature.What we’re striving for, as David was saying, is a complete ‘it just works’ scenario where we provide the user with an automated safety net, so if something does go wrong, the user has something they can roll back to.
In addition you can see here in the UI we’ve listed out basically a series of system events, things like installing applications, adding new devices, uninstalling applications.Maybe making some configuration changes, things like that.
So what I want to do, so I know my machine went bad after I installed Bad App 4.0, so let me select that system even to roll back.And what will happen is the system will restore the machine to the state it was immediately prior to before I installed Bad App 4.0.Let’s hit the restore button.It goes and does its thing.
DAVID COLE:Okay.So it’s imply taking a set of configuration files that you’ve stored away and compressed, and reconstituting those on the machine.
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:Right.Exactly.So, very efficiently, as the user uses the machine, I’m keeping track of what changes they’ve made, so we can roll back if that’s necessary.So let me just go ahead here and reboot.
And while that happens let’s switch over to the other demo.So this is the one where the modem was not working properly.
All right, let me log in here.As you recall, the PC health system here was going in and attempting to repair the modem configuration files.
DAVID COLE:And we’ll get this reboot thing sped up next year.
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:Yeah, I really hope so.
DAVID COLE:So we can do demos live without having to switch machines.Is it up yet?
ANTHONY CHAVEZ: So as you can see, the PC health self repair UI pops up, and it asks me to check whether or not the modem configuration problem has been resolved, because really the only way for sure is to actually go try and dial out.So very conveniently we’ve provided a link here to go test the modem.So I just click on that, and up pops the UI.Let me make sure I get the phone number right.And let’s now try and dial out.
DAVID COLE:Now, there’s an awful lot of user interface for a tool that’s called self-repair.So what’s that all about?
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:Exactly.So basically what we’re doinghere is really just the first step in a pretty long journey to make sure that the system truly does self-repair.And ideally we wouldn’t want to show any of this user interface to the user whatsoever.So the same technology we use to go in and repair the modem configuration file after it’s corrupted can be used to basically prevent the configuration from getting corrupted in the first place.So it wouldn’t make as good a demo basically because there’d be nothing to see.So the ideal PC health demo really would be just to stand here, have me use the machine for a long time, and you would never see anything, because Error 633 and things like it would never manifest themselves to the user.
DAVID COLE:Now, is this extensible at all, so that we can build a database on the Web or our partners can build databases on the Web that sort of seize this intelligence and let it —
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:Absolutely.So one thing we know for sure is that we won’t be able to come up with every single diagnosis and fix script in advance.That’s going to be figured out as people use the product, as we get feedback.So we’re building an infrastructure in play on both the client and the server to allow this logic, this fix logic to be propagated down from the server onto the client.And this is also an area where we’re very excited to partner with OEMs and with ISVs to be able to write custom diagnosis and fix scripts for the specifics of their hardware and for their applications and be able to download and distribute that over the Web to users machines.
DAVID COLE:That’s great.
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:So let’s just make sure that it has actually dialed out.So we’re going to my favorite site.And we need broadband here.
DAVID COLE:Some of that ADSL I was talking about earlier.
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:So as you can see we are successfully going to the website and that’s great.Minimize this, and say,
“Yes, thank you, the problem has been fixed.”
ANTHONY CHAVEZ:So now let’s switch back to the machine that was broken before, due to the application, and let’s see if we’ve managed to fix that.We’re starting up.And as you can see, active desktop is back, with its little channel bar and everything.And let’s just check this out a little bit further.I can get to My Computer successfully and I can get to My Documents, and the system is back in its original working state before I installed the application.And that’s it.
DAVID COLE:Great, thank you.That’s great.
DAVID COLE:So you can see, we picked some examples that we can illustrate the problem with, but certainly for an error like a corrupt modem file or something that’s the kind of thing you want built into the system, those integrity checks, so those things happen right away and stay healthy all the time.But I thought it was a good example to sort of illustrate sort of what we’re after and what we’re out trying to do here.
So the next area, what I’m going to talk a little bit about the enabling scenario, where we’ve been talking about making things just work.It’s very important.I want to talk about some enabling scenario that moves consumers forward in the computing platform.
So Home Networking I think is a pretty key area here.Our view of the home isn’t, although I wouldn’t reject this idea if somebody proposed it, isn’t a PC in every room, the bathroom and the bedroom and all that.Our view of the home is PCs in the appropriate places and then information appliances in appropriate places, depending on the activities users wanted to do, and smart objects in lots and lots of places, with the communications infrastructure between those pieces to make basically the home the platform, to network the platform as opposed to just any one particular device.So the announcements that you’ve seen today around UPnP enable the foundation for a lot of that work.This will be a multi-year effort with ourselves and with our partners to go make this happen, sort of from the ground up.And you’ll hear a lot more today from Carl on some of our Home Networking infrastructure, so I won’t get into that.
One of the key things I want to enable here, and talk about, is what I call unified logical storage.It’s one of the, quote, for lack of a better term,
on top of a home network.I think it’s storage and viewing data in the home.So, for example, a problem I have at home a lot today is I write a letter on one computer, and I go away and the kids start using that computer to play games.So I go over to the other computer.I can’t get back at the letter. I could hook up all the networking that’s in Windows today, but it’s just not that easy.
What we want to be able to do is create one unified logical view of storage across the home, so from any device that you’re at in the home, you can see all the storage in your home, you can see the letters that you’ve written.On some of the devices maybe you can only read the letters, you won’t be able to actually work on them.Or you’re sitting at your television and you can read e-mail that maybe came in through the accounts on your PC.So I think that’s one of the killer applications we’re going to be after, on top of Home Networking, when we have this very robust integrated infrastructure across the home.
So UPnP is a keyplumbing element of this, as well as what we call home API, which is a set of APIs we’re designing now that let developers create applications that can automate the home and check status. You can dial in from outside the home and control things while you’re away on vacation and whatnot.
The next area is digital media and entertainment.And really, this boils down to the next generation multimedia:imaging, video, audio and great gaming.So one of the things that we’re after in the next few years in terms of next generation multimedia is we want just brain-dead simple acquisition of the images.The Windows imaging architecture announcement that you saw or will see today is all about getting images off still cameras and scanners on to your PC.We’re going to store those on the PC in a very robust way that lets you categorize, search back through the images, and manipulate them in very intuitive ways.We want to make it trivial to publish those images to the Web.So hey, grandma, go browse this page, here you go.Or send those as an e-mail, or stamp them out to a CD or read/write DVD which we’ll have some day.
We want seamless playback of media from any source, whether it’s from the Web, streaming over the web, from TVs, from movies stamped out on disks or CDs.We want to basically do the work necessary to make the PC the sort of hub of all that digital media.
Now, whether you play it back on the PC or whether the video is home networked off to some display device in your living room, all those scenarios are wide open here.But our intention is to build the infrastructure and the user interface on top of that, that makes that very seamless for users.
In gaming, DirectX has been a tremendously successful gaming platform for Windows.So the next thing that we’re really after there, in addition to just continue to improve the richness of that environment is to go after what I call console level simplicity.So in other words, ‘it just works’ gaming.So I want to be able to bring home a set of games for my kids to play, and I don’t have to keep looking over their shoulder.
“Oh, did they put that in the right directory?Oh, did it stomp on that file?Oh, can I do work anymore on my computer?”
And we’ll show a demo what that means here.
And then entertainment as a whole.We want to be able to blend multiple data types for a new type of experience, blend data and video which we’ll see a demo of here in a second, just sort of raise the notch or raise the level of entertainment a couple notches, so you have entertainment, what you want and when you want it.
So I think now we are going to switch to a demo, if I have my slide order in right and my clicker works.Here we go.So we have Dave Marsh here, our technical evangelist for TV and video stuff.That sounds like a fun job.
DAVE MARSH:It is, yes.It’s a great title.They call me Tele-evangelist actually.
DAVID COLE:Tele-evangelist.All right.So what we’re going to see today are some demonstrations around what we call TV time shifting.This is about watching TV for when you want it as opposed to when it gets broadcast to you.
DAVE MARSH:Yes, absolutely.
DAVID COLE:I think I’ll sit down and relax for a minute.
DAVE MARSH:Yeah, why don’t you.Yeah, the PC architecture is able to add value in a big way to the whole TV watching experience.And the most obvious example of this is TV time shifting.We can not only provide high-quality digital VCR type capability, but we can also use that capability, coupled with a powerful processor to basically de-couple the TV viewer schedule from the TV broadcasting schedule.Let’s give a few examples.Currently when watching live TV, it’s a problem if somebody phones up during the critical part of a murder plot, or you just drank too much beer and you need to visit the bathroom.We’ve a live capability —
DAVID COLE:So this is a live broadcast here —
DAVE MARSH:That’s right, yes.
DAVID COLE:– of some soap opera I don’t know?
DAVE MARSH:Absolutely.I can click on pause, and then visit the bathroom.I’m not going to demo that bit.And then when I come back —
DAVID COLE:Thank you.
DAVE MARSH:– I can press play and carry on watching from exactly where I left off.
DAVE MARSH:Now, in order to be able to do all these kinds of things, it’s necessary to have the video in an MPEG form so it’s a manageable amount of data, can go via the processor, be stored on disk, et cetera.Now, in the case of a digital CD broadcast, it’s already in MPEG form, but for an NTSC broadcast, then we need to MPEG encode it, as it comes into the system.
DAVID COLE:So what kind of horsepower are we looking at to be able to do this today, with an NTSC signal?
DAVE MARSH:This is a regular just Pentium II that we’re using here.
DAVE MARSH:This is the thing that’s doing the work on the MPEG encoding.This is a reference design from CQ that uses their DV Explorer MPEG encoder chip, and that’s what we’re using is the CD front-end module.
DAVE MARSH:Now, using our circular buffer architecture, we’re able to record everything just on the off chance that it might be useful.So this this comes in handy if, for example, I’ve missed a bit of the TV show, because I was talking to you, or whatever.Then I can just rewind and then play and see that whole show again, or see just a bit of it or whatever.
DAVID COLE:So right now just playing back this part is it’s spooling up, for lack of a better word, the current live broadcast?
DAVE MARSH:Absolutely, yeah, I mean, an important thing here is that after I’ve watched this action replay, because we’re always in time shifting mode, then we can just carry on straightaway afterwards without missing anything.Or if I decide half way through that this is a great TV show, because it’s been buffered to the hard disk, I can ask for it just to be stored up in my personal archive collection.
DAVE MARSH:Now you might have used live pause or watched some action replays or whatever.You’ll now be behind real time.But during the boring bits you can fast forward to catch up with the live. We haven’t quite mastered time shifting yet — or rather we haven’t quite mastered time travel yet, I should say.So in the initial release it will automatically go into play when it gets back to live.
And, in fact, just to prove that this is live, if I switch to the camera input, that should be there, and if I just kind of wave my arms around a bit or something, and then there we go, we can just have an action replay of that, and just include a little bit of the CD that we have on the start, and then it will go into a replay of that.
Now, these features are extremely useful, and people are going to kind of wonder how they ever lived without them, but we can do far more than that.And we’re using an intelligent condensation.We can basically change the whole TV viewing paradigm.We really can de-couple TV viewer schedules from TV broadcasting schedules.
DAVID COLE:That’s great.
DAVE MARSH:So, okay, let me just switch across to another demo now.And this is going to show you some of our digital TV stuff.For quite a while we’ve had the capability in Microsoft demos of being able to show the reception of a digital broadcast.And this is going to come in extremely useful with various bits of special purpose hardware attached to the PC.But our goal has always been to enable digital TV, high quality digital TV as just a mainstream feature of the PC architecture.And we’re now virtually at that point.And this PC here is receiving a digital broadcast via this highly elaborate coat hanger antenna here.
DAVID COLE:Can we get a shot of the antenna?
DAVE MARSH:Yeah, get a shot of the antenna.And, yeah, what we’ve done is we’ve set up a small TV station backstage where we’re broadcasting.
DAVID COLE:So that’s what all that equipment is.
DAVE MARSH:Yeah, hopefully the FCC won’t take us off the air before the end of the demo.
But fundamental to reducing costs and producing the maximum possible added value is passing the intake streams via the host software, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here is it’s DirectShow software running on the host that’s processing the intake stream and adding value to the whole TV watching experience, like time shifting, like I was just saying.
The process can also make good use of advance enhancement data that is a part of the NTSC transport stream.It’s a nice big fat pipe for IT data basically.
So if I click on here, you can see some of the enhancements.It’s a different rodeo event to come on.This option here calls up the rules for the different events, like that.This gives us the bios of the different riders as they come on to wrestle the cows.
So what is actually happening anyway here is that we’re going to be delivered MPEG streams via a whole host of different delivery methods.There will be satellite receiver modules, cable receiver modules, terrestrial ADSL, ATM, MMDS, legacy encoding modules and receiver modules for a bunch of delivery methods that haven’t even been invented yet.But device play, device play receiver modules such as this is the best solution to TV delivery methods that employ a conditional access system.A PCI card, such as is used here, is fine for free over the air NTSC broadcasting.
And it’s vital to keep the receiver module separate from the rendering side of things, and in fact I’ve removed the couplers from here so you can see that there’s nothing weird inside.You’ve just got two cards, a receiver module, and a graphics card that is actually doing the video rendering.And of course part of the video rendering is in the MPEG decoder.
This is the NTSC receiver module we’re using, with some bi-partnerships as Microsoft and Intel, and it takes an NTSC here.It gives us a 19.39 megabit second transport stream.And then the ATSC transport stream — (inaudible) — is being performed entirely in software via DirectShow filter.That’s then passed into video streams to a — (inaudible) — supplied software decode filter.This is making heavy use of MPEC acceleration features built into the graphics chip.And the graphics chip in here is a mainstream graphics chip.It’s an ATI Ray 128.And even though it’s a mainstream chip, it’s got on-chip motion com.Not only that, it’s got inverse CTT, and it operates at H20 MPEG levels.So it’s really enabling digital TV.
And we’re really pleased that ATI are announcing at WinHEC that they’ll be providing MPEG acceleration that can operate at six times standard definition rates.And that’s enough to do — yeah, it’s really exciting — it’s enough to do all formats HDTV, but it’s also enough to do simultaneous decode of multiple MPEG streams in parallel.
DAVID COLE:So these standard components, along with the infrastructure and user experience we’re building into Windows will really allow companies finally to really go after that sort of living room entertainment focus type scenarios with more vigour than we have before?
DAVE MARSH:Absolutely.I mean, we’re enabling it.It’s just a mainstream feature of the PC architecture.
DAVID COLE:That’s great.
DAVE MARSH:There’s nothing weird.And, there’s no weird add-on cards.There’s no over the top video sidecar cables, no separate decoder or anything like that.It’s just, just becoming another data type on the PC architecture.
DAVID COLE:There are probably some good opportunities for a better — for the living room form factor than an open metal box —
DAVE MARSH:Well, that’s right.
DAVID COLE:– with boards in there.
DAVE MARSH:Spill coffee in it or whatever.
DAVID COLE:Right.Well, thank you, thanks great.
Okay, now we’re going to turn our attention to a gaming scenario.
So this comes back to a combination of it just works and our efforts in home entertainment.So what are we going to see here today?Well, I should mention who’s here first.We have Jim Veres, who’s the manager for DirectX.And then we grabbed two guys off the street that were doing the videos out here, Lewis and Joe, Lewis on that side and Joe on this die, who are just hardcore gamers.It turned out, we gave them red shirts, we hired them at the company, and now they work on the DirectX stuff.So I’m glad you guys could join on such short notice.So what are we going to see today, Jim?
JIM BARIS:Okay, Dave.This morning we’re going to demo Windows Game Manager.Windows Game Manager is designed to make game play on the PC as easy as drop in the CD, pick up the controller and start playing.
DAVID COLE:Oh, that’s great.
JIM VERES:Now, to demo that we’re going to do a monster truck race.We have our two contestants.Joe here is a longtime computer user.He likes to click dialogue boxes and do manual installs.
DAVID COLE:So like manual transmission kind of guy.
JIM VERES:He’s that kind of guy.Joe’s elected to use a traditional version of Monster Truck Madness on a traditional PC.Lewis, on the other hand, believes that real men drive Monster Trucks.They don’t click dialogue boxes.Lewis has elected to use a Windows Game Manager enabled PC, and a Windows Game Manager enabled version of Monster Truck.Gentlemen, start your PCs.
Now, the audience will be able to follow their progress on the left and right monitors.
DAVID COLE:So these PCs are starting out, other than game manager being installed on Lewis’ machine, they’re identical?
JIM VERES:They are identical.
DAVID COLE:Same amount of disk space left around and all that?
JIM VERES:Not a lot of disk space.
DAVID COLE:Not a lot of disk space.
JIM VERES:So the object of this is to see who can install and get past the first level of Monster Truck Madness the first.So Windows Game Manager automates the install process.You’ll notice that Lewis has just dropped the disk in and it starts running.
JIM VERES:Windows Game Manager enabled games, call in to game manager to make the space enabled that they need to install —
DAVID COLE:Oh, oh, hang on, we’ve got a good one here.
JOE:I’m out of disk space.
JIM VERES:Monster Truck Madness needs 50 megabytes to install.Didn’t have that much.Joe’s now got to navigate back to the add/remove programs control panel, free up some disk space and try again.
DAVID COLE:Well, now if he started out with the same amount of disk space, why was Lewis able to continue going?
JIM VERES:On Lewis’ machine the game called into Game Manager and said
“Make 30 megabytes of disk space free.”
DAVID COLE:And where did that come from?
JIM VERES:Windows Game Manager went back to the least recently played Game Manager game and asked it to downsize itself.
JIM VERES:Now, no files were taken off that can’t be recreated from the master CD.And if a user wants to play that game again, he can either put that game in the CD tray or navigate to the Start menu and all the files get put back on.
DAVID COLE:It seems like the image file and whatnot, that was taken off and the preferences and user settings were left on.
JIM VERES:Those were all —
DAVID COLE:Okay.So, I would guess that Lewis is having a much better time than Joe right about now.
JIM VERES:So the second piece of technology, and we’ll let Joe continue on trying to get that set up, is the input device mapper.He’s having a hard time.But he likes clicking dialogue boxes.
JOE:Okay, I’m almost there.
JIM VERES:So Windows Game Manager enabled games will work with Game Manager to select the best input device and then map that input device to work best with the game.So on Lewis’ PC you’ll see that the wheel just came up and started working.
DAVID COLE:Well, that’s great.So are we going yet on Joe’s machine?
JIM VERES:No, he’s not quite there.
JOE:Okay, we’re just about there.
JIM VERES:Getting closer.The third piece of Game Manager technology is a performance profiler. The performance profiler runs the first time a Windows Game Manager game is run.It goes through and profiles the multimedia performance of the system, and then stores that away.
DAVID COLE:Okay, so each game knows what kind of system they’re on, what parameters, how fast the CD can run and all that kind of stuff.
JIM VERES:Right.So on Lewis’ machine the Windows Games Manager enhanced version of Monster Truck called into the system, found out the multimedia performance, automatically selected the high-end video cards and turned on all the quality settings.
DAVID COLE:So basically to summarize, there’s the install manager that makes install sort of not an install, it just works, right?You have the part that automatically configures the wheel and joysticks and whatnot, so you don’t have to pick those.
JIM VERES:The quick mapper.
DAVID COLE:And then the automatic performance —
JIM VERES:The profiler.
DAVID COLE:– profiler.So that just works, that did just work.
JIM VERES:So Joe now is selecting his wheel, he’s turning on for feedback.It looks like he’s going to live with the default settings.Joe has to remember what each of the buttons on his device map to.Once we have mapped the device we need to show that information to the user.Lewis, how is your input device mapped?
LEWIS:I have —
JIM VERES:And there it is, it shows the actual input device that’s been selected, and what each of the functions are and where they map.Joe is now getting his graphics setting set up, and he is about ready to go.
DAVID COLE:Lewis is done.
JOE:I had trouble because I had to configure both my wheel and I had to also change the graphics setting because the quality wasn’t very good to start off with.It uses software rendering instead of hardware rendering.But anyway, I’m ready to start, let’s go.
DAVID COLE:Lewis is done.How about that
DAVID COLE:Well, maybe you can come up after and you can go ahead and play when we’re all done here.
JOE:It looks like I should have had WGM.
DAVID COLE:All right, thanks guys.That’s great.
Well, I need that at home now.I get tired of taking phone calls for my kids that are trying to get their games installed and working right.
So we’ve been talking about sort of the long-term multi-year efforts that we’re on in the Consumer Windows Group, a big effort around it just works, a big effort around Home Networking, a big effort around digital media and entertainment, and a big effort around the integrated online experience, which I don’t have a bunch of slides on here today.
So on the Windows roadmap, what we plan on doing is available later this Summer, this Fall in volume, we’ll have Windows 98 second edition, with in terms of it just works, we have a very simplified out of the box experience, where we’ve taken all the crazy dialogues and numbers and things you’ve got to enter, we’ve tried to streamline all that with one sort of UI, for lack of a better word, UI architecture sequence that users go through.It’s very extensible and customizable by our OEM partners to make that sort of a tuned experience for the PCs and things that they want to set up.
And the whole goal here is to go from, out of the box to up on the Internet in just a few minutes.And I think the new OOBE we call it — you hear the word
that’s what it means, out of box experience, will help us do that.
We’ve added a lot of new hardware support for device based and some other things that I won’t get into here.
We’ve got the Internet connection sharing that’s part of Windows 98 Second Edition.So we’ll be able to use a Windows 98 machine and proxy, other PCs or other devices in the home through that machine to the Internet.So that will help share phone lines, hook up three or four phone lines if you want to have three or four PCs on the web at the same time.
In the online experience we include Internet Explorer 5.0 and the associated tools, and then the drivers and infrastructure needed for broadband support.Cable modem, complete line of ADSL support, et cetera are in Windows 98 second edition.
I want to go back a slide here and do that.The next spot on the line here is what we’re calling here on this slide Consumers Windows in 2000.So to meet sort of the consumer cycle, we want to be able to do a release every year, for the consumer, and which is a very retail market driven kind of thing.So we plan a release next year, Windows 2000 or Consumer Windows in 2000 that’s based on the Windows 98 kernel.You know, customers and partners have told us that they continue to need support there.People want to continue using that, and it’s compatible, it just works, for the devices and applications that people care about.We’re going to put a little more energy into that and keep that platform going for another year, while at the same time planning and pouring our efforts into building a new consumer operating system, built on top of the NT code base, which I won’t be talking about today.
So, let me flip through to the next.
So Consumer Windows in 2000, so the key investments we’re making here in terms of digital media and entertainment, the Windows image acquisition architecture will be in there, so a standardized, very simple way to get images out of cameras, out of scanners and into the OS and the file system and the shell in a very sort of easy way for users.We want to have some digital content management so I can be able to query for those things and add some properties to those things, search for pictures taken last July or whatever.
We want to make sure we have a very seamless and integrated audio playback infrastructure with a nice play list, I can download files off the Web and manage those in very core ways, as well as invest in some of the infrastructure in the Win 98 code base so that audio files play more seamlessly without the stuttering that can happen sometimes when you overload the buses.
And then of course the higher quality game experience, AKA the Game Manager and our DirectX improvements will be here as well.
As far as Home Networking, we continue to invest in the UPnP infrastructure, so the discovery protocol that goes out and discovers all the devices on the network in the home and gives them IP addresses, whatnot, that will be here, as well as some key device classes that will just work.
We’re still investigating what type of user experience we’ll put on top of home networking and on the consumer PC, so I have a team of people out thinking about that very hard and what does that mean to the user, and how do those devices manifest themselves in the UI and how do I click on and make them do things that are interesting for the home.
And of course we’ll have a broader range of media support, so for wireless, phones, power lines, maybe plumbing, I don’t know.We’ll make sure we support everything that’s there.
And then as far as it just works, the team has very explicit instructions from me to make the thing boot really fast, like a couple seconds type fast.You know, you go around and talk to users and customers and your friends and neighbors, and, not a one of them doesn’t mention they want it to boot faster, I want to start up.I want it to be like my TV set, it’s turned on and it comes on.
We’ll work on better power management, which is part of the always available effort, part of faster boot.And then we’ll invest very aggressively in the sort of legacy three effort that you’ll hear about, part of our easy PC initiative with Intel, to remove all the confusing peripheral extension buses that tend to cause problems for users and tend to increase our support costs for Windows and consumer PCs.So we’ll deliver on that next year.
And then we’ll continue with the immersed Web experience or the integrated Web experience, so that the PC and the Web become one.
So the active summary that I want to send here, the messages I want to send that we can work on jointly is when we develop our solutions, let’s keep them simple.Let’s make it just work.Let’s, for lack of better word, let’s have the discipline to balance the feature innovation with make it just work.Make it just work means think through all the error conditions, think through how things can go wrong and anticipate them and make them — make them just work.
We like the people who migrate to the new out of box experience model, so that users have that very simple experience of taking the PC out of the box, having it on the Web and browsing their favorite web sites.
We want you to build, develop and test platforms for our ease of use PC initiative that we talked about.
We want you guys to go off and build UPnP enabled devices and enabled PCs.And you’ll hear more and more from us in the coming months on how to do that, and from Carl later today.
We’d like people to go more aggressively after broadband offerings.You know, the PC, as I said, from my personal experience in talking to other people, the PC dramatically changes its profile in the home with a broadband connection.It goes from sort of a device that smells like it has a manual transmission and sort of limited convenience, to like, wow, one of the most central appliances in the home.It’s amazing what happens when you have instantly available broadband connectivity.
We’d like people to support USB compliance testing.As we move forward on simple PCs and refining the user experience we’re going to focus on a few external buses, USB being a very, very important external bus.We want everybody to do compliance testing, so we don’t have to go through bug fix cycles and whatnot.We want the thing to just work for consumers.
Then as far as the imaging solutions, support USB for connectivity or wireless.We want you to support the Windows imaging solution — Windows imaging architecture solution as well, so we can have one unified simple way for users to access and manage their pictures.
So to wrap up, the opportunities are there.You know, Steve B mentioned, there currently are no signs of PC growth slowing down.We’re selling more PCs per minute today — well, maybe not today, but certainly over Christmas season, than we ever have before in the past.So let’s keep leveraging that.Let’s work together to try to create the next generation of computing in the home and computing for end users.
So I look forward to working with you guys over the coming years to make that happen.