And so Microsoft released Halo 3. And for at least 48 hours developers (being the geeks that most of us are) ‘were off sick’ and then came back to work to notice that the Borg had also released two other items to the wild.

It’s not with some ironic rolling of eyes and shrugging of the shoulders that after watching the whole summer’s online pressure on the Vista team to justify exactly where the extras were to make Vista Ultimate, well ‘ultimate’, they released DreamScene, possibly the world’s most underwhelming bit of software. It lets the wallpaper move like a screensaver, does it? Oh bravo. And exactly why is the build date on this v1.0 product mid-July? It was never really going to impinge on Silverlight and IronRuby at Mix 07 was it, so why the delay? At least it comes in x32 and x64 flavours. Oh wait, but it won’t run on any machine (like mine) that has two (cheap GeForce 8400GS) graphics cards in it? Exactly why or how did the scenario of DreamScene running on a two card machine (which I can’t help thinking the typical gamer-type owner target audience type person for Vista Ultimate is more likely to own than other demographics) get dismissed so easily? So I repeat: exactly which is the Ultimate bit of Vista Ultimate then?

That’ll be the stuff in the other release of the week: the first release candidate of WIndows Server 2008, the only possible replacement for the many thousands of development machines still running on XP and 2003 Server because Vista just doesn't kick it. It’s clean, fast and it works on the premise that if you want a feature you’ll switch it on, rather than the other way round. And no signs that Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 won’t all make the official February launch date MS has set. By all account, we might even get Visual Studio for Christmas.

Who needs DreamScene anyway? No really…