They've been there for a while but I had a few moments a couple of days
ago and installed some of the toys found at
http://research.microsoft.com/research/downloads/. Specifically, I
tried out the virtual desktop power toy, the timezone toy, and Scalable
Fabric. Of the three, the time zone tool is the only one still
running. That's because I work with people all over the world and so
it's handy to have quick access to their current time.
The virtual desktop power toy sort of worked. I got 4 different
desktops but I couldn't drag between them so it felt very awkward.
Scalable Fabric is a very cool idea although the implementation felt
half done. It certainly felt research quality, which is all it was
advertised to be. I guess my beef is why don't we see more of this
materialize in the final Windows product? We use XP for years and then
wait more years for Vista and we still don't have any cool built-in
virtual desktop manager? We still can't do any better than the age-old
Apple is making hay these days about Time Machine. While Windows has
had this core feature for a few years now, Microsoft needs to understand
that in a consumer level OS it has a lot to do with presentation. I
have no doubt that Time Machine is not technically better than Previous
Versions, however it sure looks cooler. Message to Microsoft: we like
that you spend billions on research. Just move some of the more visible
projects into the final product.