For Vienna BE TRANSPARENT during the choice of the sound and LET US CHOOSE OUR OWN FREAKING SOUND!
First, I will note that if you listen to the new Vista sounds, Frippertronics or no, they are basically techy sounds that almost completely mimic the previous sounds. This is good from a continuity perspective but it is lousy for making us feel anything other than we are using XP with some really nifty skins.
It is the bells, of the bells and whistles.
What Scoble laments is deeper. He laments the utter lack of control users have in a Windows environment over their environment. The sounds are only one part of it.
For example, deep within your computer are things called Interrupts, or IRQ ports. With XP, on a laptop, you cannot change your IRQ settings - they are dictated by the manufacturer. Why? Because you can't handle the awesome responsibility of your own IRQ settings.
My last laptop, a tricked out Dell D800 was useless for music because every communications device used IRQ 11. This meant that Firewire, USB, modem, and LAN all used the same IRQ setting - akin to all talking on the same phone line. So when I wanted to make music using my Firewire 410 and my USB 2.0 External Hard Drive, they would fight for control and the sound would cut out.
Complaints about MSFT software often center around control. Prior to Windows 2003 Server (and even with it), server administrators have very limited abilities to create things called build scripts which are very common in Linux. A build script is a text file of commands that, when run, make the server to sometimes very complicated things. Writing a good build script once means you can replicate your action on other servers or repair your server if things go wrong. Windows' focus on the Graphical User Interface, led to the abandonment of build scripts and forced people to point and click all day to set up even simple server features.
Lest I allow this to become an MSFT rant, the point I really want to make here is that control over one's environment is a basic human need. In the tech world we often call this "personalization".
The term personalization often debases the real underlying need to have control over our own space. When society doesn't allow "personalization" we consider that totalitarianism. Rarely do we say that the treatment of the Kurds by Saddam was indicative of a lack of "personalization."
But in tech we often think of personalization like being allowed to decorate your dorm room. You can make it pink or you can put in some carpet. You can put up a rock icon poster. But the real crux is ... do people really want to live in a dorm room very long?
When we limit individual control over social and software environments, we limit the ability of community to form, of appreciative constituencies to develop and users to just plain relax. This was the big promise of Web 2.0, control. We could gather our important information, organize it in ways that worked for us, have tools to access and leverage our communities, rapidly access esoteric information and quickly receive important alerts.
So Scoble is right, let people choose their own sounds, their own looks, their own wayfinding tools, their own build scripts. Not just for windows, but for any software we build. Communities will reward you for being outward reaching. Communities will reward you for the respect.
In closing, I swear the goodbye sound in XP has the lyrics "See you in hell."