10:25 pm - Some pictures from the Creole Queen, the location of tonight's event...


6:00 pm - OK, the meetings are over, my commentary is filed, and we're being kicked out of the press room. I have some interesting Windows Phone news I'd like to get published, but it might have to wait. Tonight there is a press event on a river boat, and I believe we're all heading over there in the next 30 minutes or so.


3:00 pm - We've suffered through a major network outage here at the convention center, but we're finally back up. I still have three more meetings to go...


11:15 am - It's going to be a busy day of back to back meetings. I'm in the press conference now, with Bob Muglia and Tony Scott.


9:03 am - 10:40 am - Bob Muglia takes the stage. Notes...

Transformation happening ... the cusp of cloud computing. Will affect us all.

A lot of execution and delivery required. A lot of change still coming.

Microsoft will help you take your investments forward into the cloud.

First: Dynamic IT, enabling capabilities through services. First talked about this in 2003, a ten-year vision.

Cloud computing: Deliver IT has a standardized service, freeing up businesses to focus on their business.

Server: The core dimension of the cloud. Clouds are built with servers. Microsoft has learned by building cloud-scale datacenters. Bing, MSN, and now services like Microsoft Online Services (hosted Exchange, SharePoint, etc.). The core essence of cloud computing is just-in-time provisioning and services scaling on shared hardware.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2011 demo.

Where is the cloud? Multiple places. Private clouds inside of datacenters. Public clouds. Microsoft is building its own Internet-scale cloud with Windows Azure.

Taking all of the capabilities from Windows Server, System Center, and SQL Server into Azure.

There should only be one model, one platform, across all of these things. All of the skills and experience are leveraged. The tools. The identity model. The application model. The management model. Commonality is critical.

Some surprisingly dev-heavy stuff here. I guess this makes sense given the requirements of transitioning the cloud. Still a bit much.

Announcement: Windows Server AppFabric available now, for free to Windows Server 2008/R2 licensees. Windows Azure gets .NET Framework 4.0, IntelliTrace, Visual Studio 2010 RTM support.

Announcement: Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) public beta in July. Final release by the end of the year. Some key new features for Windows Server only. Hyper-V Dynamic Memory and HD-quality remoting on VDI terminals via RemoteFX.

Partner piece of Microsoft's cohesive platform vision: Over 10,000 service providers running Windows Server, SQL Server, building clouds that can be delivered to customers. It's not just from Microsoft.

Video: Chicago Tribune and the Windows Azure platform.

Using the cloud to enhance professional and social interaction - bring social networking functionality into business and enable people to collaborate and share in richer, new ways. Also new styles of interaction esp. around real-time. Which leads to a demo of Microsoft Communications Server "14" of course. Full feature set being shown for the first time. Communicator is a "major new Office application, broadly adopted by customers." Basically enterprise IM. "Activity Feed" sort of like "What's New" feed in Windows Live. Complete "soft phone." (VOIP) 74,000 users at Microsoft headquarters, not using PBX anymore. New features. Search for people in organization by name, but also by "skill." Fly-out contact card, also available throughout Office 2010. Full-screen video chat in 720p HD. Real time Office document sharing inline inside Communicator. Whiteboarding, etc.

Smarter devices. i.e. a device that can run applications. Windows Phone 7. New collaboration scenarios. Still using the same prototype phone hardware, I see. Lock screen notifications. Start screen with two separate Outlook tiles, one for each Exchange account, one hosted, one on-premise. People hub - integrated contacts from multiple places, RSS feeds from social networks, all in one view. Email - swipe to filter, SharePoint integration with attached documents. Performance is super. Excel spreadsheet on the phone. Nice auto-correct feature. Roundtripping between PC and phone over SharePoint.

IE 9. Windows 7. Windows InTune. The PC is alive and well and growing. One of the fastest periods of growth in history right now. (Point taken, I hope.) IE 9 is coming with "full support" for HTML 5. Very, very fast, graphics acceleration. Major step forward. But will retain the manageability that is so important for business. A browser you can trust. Windows 7 going gangbusters. Entered beta on a cloud management service called Windows InTune. In the long run, will be very, very interesting to businesses of all sizes. A glimpse of the future.

New scenarios. Business insight and understanding. Put business intelligence into the hands of all workers. BI + cloud. Surprisingly excellent and graphical demo. Bing Maps SDK released today. Map apps. Health. Traffic. Pictures that are geotagged. Easily the best demo so far.

Announcing... SQL Azure with 50 GB capacity for databases and DataSync and Spatial Data support, Silverlight PivotViewer coming this month (this is what made the visualizations in the previous demo so good), Bing Maps SDK.

Video: James Cameron (Avatar) used Microsoft cloud technology for its GAIA digital hub to store digital media assets. Windows Azure and SQL Azure.

Cloud creates opportunities and responsibilities. Microsoft CIO Tony Scott discusses integration of cloud computing into Microsoft's own IT infrastructure. "Dogfooding" - early adoption of in-house tech in production use.

Responsibility: "Your data is yours. We're not confused about that." Little Google dig there.

A bit on green IT/green datacenters.

Wrapping up. "You" Microsoft is committed to this transformation. Cloud affects everyone, but particularly IT pros and developers. Cloud is maturing. You can start moving business apps to Windows Azure and SQL Azure. Now is the time to start.

Done.


8:55 am - Some pre-show entertainment.


8:45 am - Good morning. We're in the keynote hall, waiting for Bob Muglia's address. With Steve Bink, Long Zheng, Ed Bott, and Sandro Villinger.