Monday, December 14, 2009
The upgrade from the CTP took under an hour. There are some minor naming differences, for example the VirtualEarth namespace has been replaced by with a Maps namespace. It is now Microsoft.Maps.xxx which makes more sense.
I believe you only have a few more days to perform the upgrade, and then the CTP service will be shut down.
You will need an account key for each web site on which you host the Silverlight map control. You can get your key by creating an account on the Bing Maps Portal.
Then the key needs to be placed in the XAML when you add a Map to your Silverlight app.
The Silverlight interactive SDK is pretty handy to get you started once you have downloaded and installed the SDK.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
I have been to a few of hte RCA shows over the years, it looks like this year I missed out as one of the students showed off what has to be one of the best pieces of design I have seen in a while.
Find out more information here.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
A quick search on the internet presented a very concise solution on the UK PCPro site, thanks guys.
1. Run the Boot Camp Assistant in OS X as normal and create a partition when asked, then insert your Windows 7 disc to reboot and begin the process proper.
2. Windows 7 requires the NTFS file system, so once in the installer just select your new partition (labelled BOOTCAMP), click on Drive options (Advanced) and choose to format it. Then select the newly formatted partition and continue.
3. Windows 7 will begin installing, and once it gets almost to the bottom of its checklist, it’ll try to reboot. Now, if you leave it here, you’ll get so far and see the black screen. Any further attempts to reboot will bring you to the same dead end.
4. Instead, restart and press a key to boot from the Windows 7 disc when prompted. Rather than running the installation again, choose the little option at the bottom to Repair your computer. Decline any suggestions that pop up until you see a list of options with Command Prompt at the bottom. Choose that option.
5. At the Command Prompt, type DEL C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\ATIKMDAG.SYS to delete the default ATI driver, then close the window and reboot.
6. This time, Windows should successfully initialise a more appropriate display driver, allowing you into the desktop. From here insert your OS X disc to install the relevant hardware drivers as you normally would, then run Windows update to clear up any leftovers.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
In the last 2 weeks I have been in Sydney, Singapore, London, Amsterdam, The Hague, Paris, Lyon, Berlin, London, Washington DC and Seattle. Right now I am supposed to be in Los Angeles for PDC but events on Saturday have slowed me down. I felt tired and jet-lagged on Saturday and so instead of going out into the mountains for a hike (which I often do when in Seattle) I stayed in and watched some tv. Towards the end of the day on Saturday I was still feeling rough but thought nothing of it until I came around lying on the floor with my head covered in blood. I had passed out.
Things were somewhat surreal and not good. My friend took me to the emergency ward and there I learned how to jump the queue, I passed out again. The doctors were great, they got onto getting my blood pressure and pulse (both very low) and taking an ECG, blood tests and head scan (all very good results).
The prognosis, severe dehydration, low potassium, and not enough rest. They pumped 2 liters of liquid into my system at the hospital and prescribed some potassium tablets.
I am now taking a couple of days out to rest before heading down to LA for PDC. I am not going to be running around much at the conference. I will be chilling out and networking this week, I hope to see a bunch of friends and catch up with folks. I will have my video camera with me so if you want to do a quick 5 minute video cast that would be great.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I mean look at what Lenovo offers as their latest desktop solution.
It is not that the Lenovo solution is terrible, it looks pretty nice until you see what you can buy from Apple. Then check out the hardware specs, the screen sizes and resolutions. Then turn your focus to the attention to details, the new Apple mouse, the way the screen is made to go right to the very edge of the box, the slight taper in the stand so it appears to be thinner sitting on your desktop. Jon Ives and his team are totally rocking the world of computer design.
I would love to see some other competition in the desktop market place that pushes the boundaries of PC design and pushes the Apple team to newer heights!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
In software development we have seen cycles of approximately 10 years. In 1968 was the first NATO Software Engineering Conference, one of the aims was to drive the adoption of the practically unknown term "software engineering". The title of software engineering was decided upon to be deliberately provocative and spark discussion. At the time it did this and from this methods were invented to attempt to create predictability in software development cycles.
In 1980 the first version of SSADM (Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method) was released and the 1980's saw a far more rigorous approach taken to software development. In 1982 Roger S. Pressman released the first edition of Software Engineering, A Practitioners Approach. This book become the bible for software development methods and teaching.
In 1991 James Martin first proposed RAD (Rapid Application Development) as an approach to delivering software using a more light weight and iterative process. Other great authors such as Steve McConnell and Jim McCarthy adopted these ideas in different degrees and help publicize this new approach. In 1999 eXtreme Programming was first publicized, along with Kent Beck's book on the topic. Following this the Agile Alliance was formed and a collection of other agile approaches have been proposed and introduced.
From 2001 forwards the term Agile was used as a buzzword to ensure that what ever changes were made could be signed off by the big boss. A number of Agile methodologies were pushed in to the market, SCRUM, Lean, MSF agile etc... some good, some bad. Mostly they all missed the point that XP was a set of dev tools not a methodology, philosophy or religion. In many ways the Agile alliance, although good in theory, didn't help with this.
Recently I have noticed a new issue with Agile practices and specifically some of the XP practices. There has evolved a breed of Agile coach that has a 'do what I say not what I do' approach. This is with a valid reason. Many of the practices that XP preaches are really like scales when learning music or mental exercises when training the brain. As a developer becomes more adept at them they become embedded into the psyche of the activity and the props become less necessary. To the point that some really experienced developer can move away from the practices and deliver even more amazing software without noticeably paying attention to the core practices.
As it approached the chasm, like all things, XP got watered down to become acceptable to the stakeholders that need to buy in. I don't think that this watering down of XP actually hurt that much initially, it enabled XP to get a foot in the door. It was then up to the developer to implement the solution. Here-in lies the issue. Fundamentally most developers do not have motivation to improve the state of the industry. They need to get their paycheck so they can eat, be clothed and have a roof for themselves and their families. The real passion for most developers is not business focussed. The real passion is technology for the sake of technology.
Yet through all of these changes, the software industry has not improved its reputation for delivery of poor quality, over budget, bug ridden software. Each shift has brought some new thinking and new tools to the tool box of the software development team, yet the basic principles remain the same.
Back to the Point; Agile helps but it hasnt really solved anything, it is time for a change and we embrace change, right ?
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
1. to work on some amazing new technologies,
2. the rare opportunity to really improve the world with the software you build
3. to engage with some of the smartest brains on the planet (our customers)
4. the challenge (every day) to do something better than anyone else
You are prepared to commit to:
1. bringing your best to every project every day
2. demanding that your team mates bring their best to every project every day
3. producing outstanding software experiences that deliver more than our demanding customers expect
4. learning and improving every day
You will have the opportunity to :
1. engage with Microsoft Research, Microsoft Surface Product Group and the Microsoft Education Product Group
2. work with our leading global partners including Tricky Business and After-Mouse
3. develop with us
4. deliver greatness
You will be working with me. I am passionate about building great software. No ifs or buts: I am demanding. I want to be associated with excellence and will always ask for more. I believe in zero defect software that betters the lives of it users. I believe in crafting extraordinary software experiences. I believe in growing and learning. I bring my best to the team every day and expect you to do the same. If you’re still reading, chances are that you’re inspired and you should contact us to discuss the possibility of joining our team.
Send an email to jobs_at_ nsquaredsolutions.com
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Time for another nsquared Surface discussion. This time we talk about the Microsoft Surface Shell.
We explain the components of the shell and how Microsoft Surface applications can integrate with the shell.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Over the last week I have been trekking by foot in Iceland. Iceland is an amazing country on so many levels. The geography is simply stunning.
Here are a couple of movies I have put together from photos taken on the trek.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I was recently asked what tools a team should have to support SCRUM.
- As many big whiteboards as you can make space for in the developer area
- Lots of whiteboard markers, never be in a position where it is hard to find a marker
- Open communication channels.
- A developer ego extraction utility ( this is the hardest tool to find IMO)
- A developer passion insertion tool ( somewhat easier to come by)
4 is important, let me expand on this.
Software creation with passion becomes very personal, the creation is a child of the developer. Flaws found and pointed out in peoples children are often not taken well by the parents. Developers often take suggestions for improvement very personally because they see it as an attack on their ability.
The product created needs to be an output of the team. A team that works great together will deliver great software. Often the weakest part of a team is the team member with the biggest ego. If you find you have a team where certain members of the team are not performing as well as they could it be, you often find the ego of another team member blocking their growth. The team member that wants to be the hero in the team is commonly blocking the growth of others, as it helps them feel more important.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Here is a picture of the same train station that was covered in snow last time I was here.
This month Surface Service Pack 1 was released and so in addition to all the usual goodness in the Surface Training I now have a session dedicated to the features in Service Pack 1. The course outline looks like this:
The Surface Vision
The Architecture of Surface applications
Setting up a Surface device and the out of the box applications
Working with the Simulator
Integrating with the Surface Shell
Designing Surface experiences
Using the Surface Controls
What is new in Service Pack 1
Vision Recognition with Surface
End to end building a Surface application
I received an email from someone telling me I was just teasing them and I should divulge what I cover that is new in Service Pack 1. These are some of things in Service Pack 1 that we cover in the training:
- Richer feedback of touch input, the built in visualizations that now indicate when the Surface receives input
- Object Routing, how to launch an application by placing a tagged object on the Surface
- Single Application Mode, running only one application on the Surface and hiding the launcher and access points
- Library container WPF controls, Library Bar and Library Stack. Discussion about what these are good for and how to use them
- Element Menu WPF control, putting the GUI into NUI, why this control is useful and why it is not always a great idea. How to code this control.
- Drag and Drop support, how to add drag and drop to your multi touch and (more importantly) multi user Surface application.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I went to the download page to get Photo Gallery I am confronted by this screen telling me about the scary technology being installed as part of this application. Why should a consumer care about this? Instead this space would be better used informing the user of some great things they could do with this application or a tip on how to get more out of the application.
Come on Microsoft you are not some little garage software start up anymore.
OSX is my OS of choice.
When I close the lid of my MacBook Air it is asleep, when I lift the lid it is awake. No waiting, no messing around. Last month I spent 4 weeks on the road and I never rebooted my MacBook Air once.
I now have a second machine (Mac Book Pro) running Windows Vista 32 bit (the only platform supported for Surface dev) that I use for Windows dev and I hate having to use it. It feels like some prehistoric slowed down museum artifact.
If I had XAML dev tools on OSX I would probably give up with Windows altogether.
If Microsoft wants to win back customers like me it needs to:
- Make Windows feel more responsive. Yes I have tried Win7 RC and no I am not happy, it is still slower than OSX (IMO)
- Make Office run better on Windows than it does on OSX, IMO Office is currently better (faster, easier to use, more functional) on OSX than on Windows
- Ensure Windows remembers the different monitors I have connected my machine to as a second monitor and restore the settings last used with that monitor.
- Always, without fail, find an external monitor or projector and allow me to project to it without messing around for 15 mins in preferences and settings.
- Ship a rich suite of applications (iLife) on Windows that work well with each other and do 80% of what a consumer wants to do with music, photos, email, and calendar.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Over the years I have stayed in a lot of hotels and often I wonder 'who else has slept in this bed'. Well apparently the bed I slept in last night was slept in by Eva Longoria the previous night. So while the attention grabbing headline may not mean what you think, it is kind of true.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Anyway having the car ready was nice, spending 2 and half hours sitting in (mostly) stationary traffic on the M4 was somewhat average. There was a BIG smash on the M4 motorway between London Heathrow and Reading, where I am delivering the training. I guess it was a good welcome back to the UK for me, a reminder of why I don't live here.
Finally I made it the Microsoft campus in the UK and was very pleased to discover the MTC team here are as efficient as ever and the room was mostly setup. The lab machines and Surface units were all waiting for me. I have loaded up the hands on labs and some new demo applications and now the room is ready for 4 days of intensive Surface training. Should be a lot of fun.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
Many of the MVPs I spoke to felt that the product groups were not be open with them or telling the MVPs the whole story. Personally I think this is the right thing for the product groups to do. People are now awarded MVP status because they have blogs, twitter too much (more than not at all) and are generally loud mouths in the online world. If I had something secret I wouldn't share it with this group either. During the evenings when MVPs of different technology areas gathered I overheard many conversations between MVPs where they were sharing the things they had learned that day. The point of signing an NDA as an MVP seems most questionable. I would suggest that the MVPs really need to be reminded of the meaning of the NDA.
I have also been doing some _real_ work this week and having meetings with some of the Microsoft product groups. This is the first time that when a Microsoft employee asked if I was here for the MVP summit I cringed as if I felt I didn't want to be associated with the MVP group. MVP status used to be something I was proud of, something that helped differentiate me as a person that adds value. Now I feel that being an MVP associates me with a bunch of Microsoft fan-boys (and some girls) who want to be the first ones to break the news that Microsoft is releasing product XYZ. Of course there are still many MVPs who do the right thing, and understand the business value. Yet I do not get the impression that MVPs overall are perceived to be adding great business value, and in some cases are presenting a hindrance to the progress of Microsoft products.
This is a great challenge going forward and I really hope there are some folks within Microsoft thinking through how to address these issues.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
On Thursday, at the Microsoft Sydney office, was the NICTA and Microsoft Innovation Day. I was there with some of my friends from nsquared to present the work we have been doing to improve social learning activities. We have a stand with two touch screens; one running Windows 7 and one running Windows Vista highlighting some of the single touch, multi touch and multi mouse software we are building. We were also fortunate enough to have access to a Surface unit to demonstrate some of the educational software we have been prototyping for Microsoft Surface. It is always great to get a big crowd around your exhibits and we certainly had that, thanks for dropping by and the great questions and feedback.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
This is especially true when applied to software development. With enough energy you can achieve almost anything with software do you have the motivation to achieve those things?
If you find me saying 'no' it is because you are not motivating me to say 'yes'.
Friday, February 13, 2009
- The Surface Vision
- The Architecture of Surface applications
- Setting up a Surface device and the out of the box applications
- Working with the Simulator
- Integrating with the Surface Shell
- Designing Surface experiences
- Using the Surface Controls
- Vision Recognition with Surface
- End to end building a Surface application
We will be doing another set of Surface training in the coming months around Europe. If you would like some help building amazing Surface applications please let me know. We are providing some consulting and support services to help you bring out the magic in your Surface applications.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Pardon my French, it is not as good as it used to be and I am sure this is a horrible translation, and yet here I am in Paris delivering the first round of development training for Microsoft Surface. This is the first time training has been provided to external Microsoft partners in Europe and I am extremely excited to have been chosen to deliver the training.
There are many aspects to building great Surface experiences for developers to get their heads around and nothing beats a deep dive hands on Surface training workshop.
I am really looking forward to see what the attendees end up building in the next few weeks.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Last week I spent some time with the Surface team reviewing and testing the software I have been working on for social learning experiences. Eric Havir pulled me aside to record some of the work we have been doing.
Then this week I have been at BETT talking about collaborative and social learning with technologies such as Surface and MultiPoint.
There were some interesting innovations at BETT. It was great to see the table top computing solution from SMART. I am looking forward to building some software to run on the SMART Table.
Friday, January 09, 2009
To my surprise they also demonstrated this wonderful Real Estate application running on Silverlight for Mobile.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
With 2008 already disappearing into the distance it's time to think about what will happen in this fresh new year.
No doubt the _recession_ is going to play a strong part of the activities this year. It will be used an excuse for getting rid of staff, not delivering on projects, and the general failing of all things that would have failed anyway.
I expect Apple will release a new iPhone that will solve all those little grumbles currently seen in the devices and software and this will leave no choice in the phone market. It is clear that none of the competing companies are even coming close to the iphone in terms of consumer _must have_ factor.
Microsoft will release more CTP and beta software than any sane person will know what to do with. some will be good, some will be awesome and some should have been taken and shot before being allowed out to fester in the open.
I expect that I will be travelling through more countries this year. I already have 6 countries on my itinerary to visit before the end of February, and yes some of them more than once.
Another year will pass where the software industry allows people to call themselves computer programmers when they have never programmed a computer in their lives. These fake abstract layer manipulators will continue to be overpaid and under deliver. Software will still, mostly, suck.
Microsoft Surface devices will start to be found in more and more locations in North America and western Europe. The rest of the world will wait impatiently.
Microsoft Outlook will crash. Microsoft Entourage will continue to run really well with multiple Exchange accounts. With some luck Microsoft will realize that they are software company and stop trying to drive up PC sales and start driving up sales of fantastic software.
nsquared will continue to grow and to hire great computer programmers. Yet, it is the knowledge that it is hard to do well that will keep nsquared looking for only the best of the best and driving the quality bar of software ever higher.
The year go so fast that before I know it, I will be writing the 2010 version of this blog post....
Be divine in 2009!