I just left the Office Developer Conference 2006 keynote where Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Bill Gates spoke about Office 2007. As I watched him, I realized how he is aging. He seemed so timeless to me for a long time. Now, I see greater wisdom and compassion although I think he is actually more intensely passionate than ever. It's just different, I think. Bill Gates is an anomaly. There are brilliant people; there are geniuses, people with amazing, revolutionary ideas. But, very few of them have the same genius and, if need be, shrewdness, to win in the marketplace. Critics level their claims, but one thing all are compelled to acknowledge: he's got an otherworldly sense of the economy of the human experience and the power of the moment.

Anyway, his keynote was engaging. Jay Paulus, Office Marketing manager, was sensational with his demo of what Office 2007 can do. It all worked (whew), and it was impressive. Spontaneous applause occurred twice during his short demo, and that's good.

There's a lot of good stuff in this release, although I concur with my friend, Brett J, that the name for Office is not so great. Why just go with 2007? My friend, Elliot Gerard, reminded me, though, that one benefit is that it helps convey how outdated the old version looks when the "2003" pops up on startup.

Good point, but I would love to see something out of the ordinary like, "Microsoft Office Previous Version Killer- PVK". Now, you can see why I am not the brand manager here :). In all seriousness, I am not opposed to the "2007" concept, but I just figure we have enough great minds here to come up with something even better. Whatever.

One of the big announcements is:

http://openxmldeveloper.org/default.aspx

From Brian Jones, the Office XML hero:

"The goal of this community is to provide a place where developers can freely exchange, in an open way, technical information about how to use the Office Open XML Formats that we are standardizing in Ecma TC 45. Membership in the community is open to anyone free of charge to enable broad development with the format, regardless of platform.

This community is already comprised of 39 organizations, and includes partners from the Office 2007 Rhythms and Enterprise GO programs, as well as organizations from around the world including major tech firms (Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Toshiba)."

This is a big deal. We've learned. At every level in this company we are reaching out more and with greater zeal. Actually, working with other organizations to develop standards is not new to the company, and we have always done so. But, the Open XML Developer community broadens the net and allows Microsoft to be more transparent and be more informed. We call it: goodness.

 Rock Thought for the Day: As I mentioned in my last entry (been too busy to blog- that's not good), I have purchased the Dark Light CD from euro-goth band, H.I.M. It's a very likeable CD. The lead singer, Ville, is quite good, and I think with a more risk-prone producer, he could do something bolder, more innovative. I am pleased the band abandoned the original production-thrust for the album which had a more American feel. Now, I am true red, white, and blue, but I have travelled broadly and love music from all around. This final production of the album retains its European roots, and it is unmistakably familiar. Thematically, their future albums need to reach farther. The metaphors are sometimes (only sometimes) too obvious, too simple, too common. It starts with the album title, "Dark Light". Not terribly profound, but it helps fuel the pseudo mystique of the occult that gave the band its initial momentum. It's a forgiveable offense, thank heavens, so no big worries.

OK- I need to run.

Rock On