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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

January 16, 2008 at 6:20 PM

New(ish) anonymous blog from inside secretive ‘Windows 7’ group?

Following a link from Long Zheng’s tireless Microsoft-focused blog istartedsomething, I came across the anonymous blog Shipping Seven, “Random thoughts from somebody working on the next Windows OS.”

This is potentially significant because Steven Sinofsky, the executive tapped to run development of the next version of Windows, code-named 7, has earned a reputation for keeping a very tight lid on information about the forthcoming product.

However, reading back through the 28 posts on Shipping Seven since November, I’m not seeing a lot of non-public information about Windows 7, which is due to arrive in 2010 — though the fact that it’s anonymous (posts are authored by an unidentified “Soma”) suggests that the author may eventually have something to say that would be frowned upon by his or her superiors. What there is now regarding Windows 7 is very technical.

As the blog has attracted attention in the past week, people are starting to speculate whether it’s a real anonymous blog or a fake (formerly) anonymous blog, or some sort of guerrilla marketing effort. The last post says the author lives in Seattle and spent the recent snow day at home using a Tablet PC to surf the Internet.

Assuming it is the genuine article, I find Shipping Seven a valuable read for the insight it affords into the mind of someone working on Microsoft’s most important product. It’s also starting to attract thoughtful comments. Posts include commentary on news stories being passed among developers, commentary on Apple and Google, helpful tips and a look at some of the tasks involved in putting together an operating system that will be used daily by hundreds of millions of people.

One of the latter involved the tone of user interface text in Vista versus its predecessor, XP. (Microsoft was going for something “a bit less technical” in the latest version.) I can relate to the challenge that Shipping Seven describes for the “user assistance writers”:

“Our writers valiantly try to explain a bunch of very abstract concepts to people, in a very limited space. To use a tired example: Can you explain, to your mom, what a firewall is, in 40 words or less? (Anticipate any questions she might have.)”

Actually, that makes my job sound easy.

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