This afternoon, I’m off to Microsoft’s Vista launch shindig. I’m hoping there will be clowns and ponies. After all, Microsoft can afford a party.

As for the OS itself, I can’t resist relevant quotes from Star Trek III:

Uhura: Would you look at that!
Kirk: My friends, the great experiment: The Excelsior. Ready for trial runs.
Sulu: She’s supposed to have transwarp drive.
Scotty: Aye, and if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon!
Kirk: Come, come, Mr. Scott. Young minds, fresh ideas. Be tolerant!

[later, as the Excelsior’s transwarp is easily sabotaged …]
Scotty: The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.

Hey, I’m nothing if not a geek. Now, is it odd-numbered or even-numbered Windows releases that are the good ones?

Humor aside, I’m cautiously optimistic. Earth-shaking OS upgrade for music? Of course not. Then again, earth-shaking is generally not what any of us want from our operating system in the first place. What Vista does promise is improved audio performance and reliability and, hopefully, a worthy upgrade for existing XP users — maybe not the best choice for all Windows users as of tomorrow’s public release, but very possibly over the coming months. I expect more details as I test it with music software and hardware alongside my Mac and Linux rigs.

Now that Microsoft has done their work, though, it’s time to start ours:

More technical information: I’ll be talking to representatives of the Vista music and audio team tomorrow, and look forward to sharing that conversation alongside the detailed notes we got from Cakewalk’s CTO Noel. These are talented folks, they’re musicians, and they understand the world beyond Microsoft.

Full Vista review: Once Microsoft finally sends Vista, you can be sure I’ll be testing it. (Sounds as though Boot Camp on the MacBook isn’t quite ready to handle it, but when it is, I’ll even give Vista a try in parallel and dual-boot on Intel Mac.)

Do you develop hardware and software? If so, we’d love to keep track of what’s been tested on Vista and what needs updating. We’re especially interested in independent, open source, free, and shareware apps. In the midst of upgrades for CDMusic and Motion in 2006, we didn’t get to do the amount of Mac Universal Binary coverage we’d planned. I intend to get it right this time with Vista (and for the Mac, Leopard this summer) and keep an actual page up where we track what works and what doesn’t, and what you need to know. Sure, a lot of you may stay with XP, but with others upgrading and new machines shipping with Vista (I hear not everyone runs Mac OS or Ubuntu), we’ll want to keep up so you can keep making music.

Mac and Linux users, fret not: this will remain a three-platform site. Even if Microsoft does have clowns tonight, or, you know, a bag of swag and an open bar. (I’ll have a Vistatini, please?) Yes, I hear there will be techno-protesters, too, though, sorry, I can think of better things to protest. (Wars and stuff, you know. Readers here probably don’t know, but I have a history doing human rights advocacy as a volunteer, so to me, Microsoft just doesn’t get my blood boiling somehow.)

Users and developers alike, any tips or questions you’ve got, drop us a line and help be part of our Vista Special Report.