It's 3:45 and the Vista Beta 2 and Office 12 LoadFest is still going on.  I started at 10:00 am, and just now finished the Office 12 install.  We are pulling the bits down from a server, so a lot of the time is being spent while 20 people are trying to download Office 12 on the same connection at the same time. 

I spent a bit of time trying to get wireless to work.  The culprit was that I didn't have a wireless certificate, that was fixed by running "gpupdate /force" at the command line. 

I then spent some time fighting to get Aero to work.  Turned out that there is an updated driver for the Tecra M4 that needed to be installed.  Once I got that, my machine started pimping full Aero effects.  Clicking the Windows key + tab gives the really cool effect of scrolling through windows, and I get a live preview of the windows in the task bar.  Incredibly cool.

One weird thing did happen... my mouse starting shooting across the screen without me touching it.  Worse, I couldn't seem to control it, and it progressed over time.  Several other people indicated they have had the same problem pre-Vista, and I have seen the problem on my machine before.  It seems to have stopped once I plugged in a USB mouse, so I will be keeping my daily machine Vista-licious (thanks for the term, Rob!)

Something incredibly cool just happened.  I loaded Outlook, and started dreading the process of trying to find what the settings are for our Exchange server.  But no... it automatically filled in my email address (I am logged into the domain, so it pulled it from Active Directory), populated all of my Exchange server settings automatically, and started downloading my emails.  SWEET!  Man, that was always such a monumental pain in the arse.

While I am at it, another incredibly cool feature of Vista that probably hasn't gotten any press.. an updated Solitaire.  The cards shuffle really cool, you can hit Ctrl+Z to undo, you can even hit "H" and get a hint of where your next move should be. The cards glow, and automatically flip when you uncover a card.  Yeah, even the experience of winning got better: the cards fall and shatter like glass.  This is going to be addictive for a couple days.

While I was at it, I flattened another machine and reinstalled XP, VS 2005,  and SQL Server 2005.   That went really quick, thanks to the beauty that is RIS network installation. 

So far, I am loving Vista and Office 12, and already working with my other XP machine seems like a chore.