Okay, I take back some of the bad stuff I've said about Microsoft recently. Yesterday I attended a tech talk about Visual Studio 2005. Unfortunately, only about one quarter of the talk was about Visual Studio; the rest was the story of one guy's journey through Microsoft. Come on guys, if you are going to advertise a talk about Visual Studio, you need to spend more time talking about Visual Studio (however, I was lax from the free pizza, so I didn't protest at the time). They demonstrated the extensible build system, which didn't interest me that much (I don't have much use for it right now), but I was impressed by the unit testing system. After running a test, it shows not only whether the test passed, but how much of the code was touched during execution. You can then click on the unit test and it'll show you the code it didn't test. I haven't used a large number of developer environments (only Xcode, Visual Studio, and Eclipse), so I don't know whether it has been implemented before, but I thought it was really neat. At the Google open house in November 2004, I believe I overheard a Microsoft employee talking about the tools they were developing to automate testing (especially for games). I wonder if this is related to that. As for Office 12, the only features that have piqued my interest are the visualizations. For example, if you have a column of values, you can set them to display little bar graphs which change colors based on their values. I don't often use spreadsheets, but I imagine this would come in handy for scanning large amounts of data for peculiarities. The problem isn't that Microsoft isn't developing cool new features, they are, it is that they don't promote the stuff I find interesting. I hear about these cool Office and Visual Studio features through random blogs and tech talks, not through official Microsoft channels (not that I follow those closely). Microsoft makes a big push for tablet computers or media center PCs, but I don't really care, I want to know about little features that will make my life better or easier (and no, new toolbars and a new theme do not make my life better). Also, in addition to the free pizza, I also won a free hard copy of Visual Studio 2003 Academic (an electronic version is available on the CSE website for students). They are also going to send me a copy of Visual Studio 2005 when it is released. Now I'm actually interested in testing out C#.