Listen closely. Can you can hear it? It's the kapocketa-pocketa-pocketa of the Microsoft hype machine, as the Windows 7 launch bears down upon us.
Though it's never worked quite as well as it did back in the halcyon days preceding Windows 95, Microsoft still drags the thing out of the basement every few years, fills the tank with diesel, cranks it up, and hopes it doesn't spew oil on the carpet or overwhelm us with fumes.
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As always, the hype starts with Steve Ballmer. In a letter sent to customers and developers (but that mysteriously made its way to several reporters), Ballmer boasts...
Windows 7 simplifies tasks and lets people get more done in less time with fewer clicks. Ready to deploy now, it enhances corporate data protection and security, and increases control to improve compliance and reduce risk.... making it easier to reduce costs, improve performance, and enable end users to work anywhere. These and other enhancements are the result of close collaboration with millions of customers and thousands of IT professionals... Thanks in large part to their help, Windows 7 is the best PC operating system we have ever built.
Of course, this time Ballmer really means it. He also really meant it when he said the same things about Vista, XP, NT, Windows 98, Win 95, and every other Windows OS going back to DOS 2.1, with the possible exception of Windows ME. More disturbing is that he truly believes it.
Meanwhile, the braniacs in the Microsoft marketing department have come up with a truly wacky idea. They're encouraging Microsoft fanboys and girls to throw Windows 7 launch parties on the big day -- kind of like Tupperware parties, only with more burping and less sealing. There's even a Web site and a vague-yet-perky video describing what's supposed to happen at these fetes.