Friday, October 31, 2008

Why I hate the Web

I live a life of frustration, always waiting for web pages to load and refresh, it is all so slow.

The Web Browser provides the state of the art in dumb terminals with slow performance and lack of responsiveness. I have a machine with a 64 bit bus, more memory than I would know what to do with and I am constrained to spend nearly half my life interacting through this most unbearably restrictive interface of rendered markup languages and remote procedure calls over shared networks to overloaded time sliced servers.

Computing has not come very far in my opinion.

What can we do about this?

Build smarter client applications that are connected to the cloud, but understand how to take advantage of the computing power in my hands. Please build your software to be network aware, power managed and very fast.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day Two PDC Keynote - Rock and Roll to the Epic Saga of Misunderstanding

(cross post from nsquared blog)

The initial pump and excitement was certainly there this morning as opposed to yesterday’s slightly lackluster performance.

It should not be surprising that Windows 7 gets the rock star treatment on stage. It is the bus that drives the cash to Microsoft's front door every day.

Ray's introduction to the session was a perfect pull back and setting to the scene. Explaining the history of Windows, positioning the PC, the phone and web platforms from Microsoft's perspective was perfect. This is the theatre you need in a keynote, and the scene was set for Steven Sinofsky to get on stage and start showcasing Windows 7 and the features being improved.

It is clear that a lot of work has gone into the user experience for the client, and there is an understanding that Windows is now (and has for a long time been) a consumer operating system not just a business operating system.

Windows 7 is about much more than the user experience. The core technologies have had some great improvements at a power management and networking device management level. Goals for Windows 7 have been around performance and responsiveness; Windows 7 now supports 256 processors, boots faster, uses less memory and reduces the power consumption on the device.

Today all attendees get a copy of the win7 pre-beta (milestone M3 ) build. Beta will be delivered early CY 09.

This is where the keynote should have ended but Microsoft VPs rather appreciate long-winded tales, so it must have made sense to them to continue telling stories. Feedback for anyone putting together a presentation - tell one story, create a beginning, middle and an end. Perhaps learn from theatre and movie makers – please keep it short and simple next time, folks.

The next story was presented by the great Scott Guthrie. The new features in WPF, .NET 4 and VS 2010 were briefly covered by Scott, and the developer focused audience loves the fact that now more average developers can write code. Again a democratization of software development continues, allowing more mediocre software to be built and shipped. You have to hand it to Microsoft for enabling software development to be done by unexceptional members of the world’s population; leading to even more rubbish software in the world. Personally I think this may be great, it will allow the people that really know what a computer is doing to build fantastic software that will really differentiate from the rest.

Two hours in and the Day Two PDC keynote kept going and the audience got restless, the exodus started from the keynote room as David Treadwell came on stage to disclose information on how to build software using the Live Services. David discussed the concept of the internet as a bridge to allow users to see the same data and share data between users and devices. Mesh is now a key component of Live Services, mesh is the experience built on top of Live Services. The Live Services is now a platform for S+S, making it easy for developers to build applications that utilize the Live Services via the Live Framework.

Live Operating Environment is akin to the CLR in .NET. A set of open, consistent interfaces are provided in the Live Framework. Live Framework comes with a set of API kits including a .NET API kit making it easy for .NET developers to build Live Services enabled applications. Now your applications can tap into the user data, devices and social relationships.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windows Azure - the old new blue thing

This morning Microsoft announced windows Azure, a new platform for web computing development and deployment.
There will be plenty of technical details of Windows Azure out there so I am going to focus on the question: Is it really new?
Time sliced shared server solutions have been around since almost the beginning of electronic computing.
What seems to be really new is the democratization of this process to the masses. This is where Microsoft plays a strong game. Taking what was high cost and hard for most people and providing it to the masses of developers and smaller businesses.
This is good in many ways. It will act as a vehicle for new business growth and drive some interesting new applications. At the same time because it will be open to the masses it will be something that will attract a lot of _average_ software too. The market will determine the value.