A Peak at My Presenting Experience with Windows 7 RTM

So last night, I did a presentation on programming and extending SQL Server Reporting Services.  I may post more on that later.

I installed Windows 7 RTM (Pro x64) last Thursday when it came out to MSDN/TechNet subscriber because, well…, it’s kinda cool to use the new stuff.

I had no issues with SQL 2008 Dev SP1 (you are warned when you install the RTM that it’s not compatible and need the SP) and VS 2008 Pro SP1.

The latest Flash player, Adobe Reader and Silverlight 3 (surprising not in the RTM) all worked just fine.

I also used SlySoft’s Virtual CloneDrive (for opening .ISOs) without issue.

Three things I learned while doing the presentation in relation to Windows 7.

  • Either learn the new shell icons or set the taskbar to show text, not just icons – you don’t want to be guessing which thing is which because…
  • Aero Peak is not your friend for presenting.  While Vista added LivePreview (live pop-up thumbnails of applications that appear just above the task bar which you hover the cursor over the taskbar items), Window 7 includes Aero Peak.  By default applications with 2+ instances open (2+ IE, Visual Studio or Explorer instances that I needed open) have just one taskbar icon and you see multiple thumbnails above each icon when you mouse-over each one.  You can click on a thumbnail to switch to (and restore if necessary) it’s application window.  This is solid, but if you hover your cursor over one of these thumbnails, after a split second, the new Aero Peak feature kicks in.  All the other windows become just rectangular outlines and the window for the thumbnail you are over is the only window showing.  Even if the window is minimised it temporarily shows in its restored position.  Now roll to the other thumbnails and everything switches.  This sounds great for a single user, but it can be potentially confusing and jarring for the audience.  I liken this to when you are in a movie theatre and you hear random interrupting sounds from other people.  Those people don’t find the sounds annoying because they are controlling them, but to others it’s a bit random.  You really need to know which window is which or avoid Aero Peak unless you really need it.
  • Practice with extended desktops if you are going to use it and have things set up ahead of time and/or move the taskbar to the projected screen.  I had a prompt script open in Word on my laptop screen and had the main show projected from the extended screen.  This is nice because the audience sees things full screen, but it does mean you have to manage windows.  If you are going to say “I’m going to open…" you don’t want a window management pause while you drag across a screen that has launched on your laptop screen.  Also, when this setup is combined with Aero Peak/Live Preview activity, the audience cannot see the thumbnail interaction and so don’t know why there’s a less-than-smooth window-flicking experience occurring on the projected screen.  Therefore, it’s better to have the taskbar on the projected screen and/or avoid Aero Peak.

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