PDC09 Predictions/Expectations

November 17, 2009

In a few hours the 2009 PDC will officially kick off. For software developers, every PDC keynote has its share of surprise announcements. There was a rumor this morning about some Windows Mobile 7 related announcements coming this week but I doubt it.

I think Microsoft is not ready to discuss Windows Phone 7 (WP7) publicly yet. My guess is they’re shooting to make WM7 announcements on January 6th, 2010 at the CES 2010 keynote event.

NeoWin sometimes gets the inside scoop and they say Microsoft will discuss plans for IE9 and Silverlight 4 in the morning.

Regardless of surprise, the big news is the Dawn of Microsoft’s Cloud Era. It also sets a tone for Google and Amazon. Microsoft will disclose all details on their cloud strategy in the morning. Financial analysts will be listening in carefully so they can tweak their MSFT revenue forecast models.

I predict/expect Ray Ozzie to rock the house in the morning.

It’ll be a busy 3 days. I’m expecting deep dives in the following areas.

  1. IE9
  2. Silverlight 4
  3. Office Web 2010 – Is it better than Google Docs?
  4. Microsoft Web Platform – http://www.microsoft.com/web/
  5. Multi-Touch Everywhere – desktops, tablets, surface computers, phones, cars, TVs, game consoles
  6. Facebook/Twitter Everywhere – desktops, tablets, surface computers, phones, cars, TVs, game consoles
  7. Visual Studio 2010 – Intellitrace, Coded UI Tests/Silverlight Test Automation
  8. Language Futures – Parallelism, Dynamic and Procedural, Dependency Injection/IOC
  9. Security Services – Windows Identity Foundation (formerly Geneva)
  10. Cloud Computing Architectures – Hybrid, Service Bus, Big Table
  11. ASP.Net MVC 2 and 2.5
  12. IIS7 and beyond – http://www.iis.net/

For more info, follow this live blog in the morning.

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Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Full Court Press starts November 17

October 31, 2009

The full court press to get developer’s onto the Microsoft Azure Cloud starts Tuesday, November 17th at 8:30 AM PST at the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference. I’ll be there and will be blogging as it unfolds.

I believe it’ll take at least 2 years for Azure to get the sales and usage momentum needed to be successful. As you may know, the 3 big cloud vendors; Amazon, Google and Microsoft are getting their stakes in the ground (er… cloud).

This month’s Forbes Magazine covers Microsoft’s efforts here.

It’s interesting to note that Azure will be half the cost of Amazon but Google App Engine beats them all.

The cloud computing transition is going to be big. The success of Microsoft’s Azure as well as Google and Amazon is inevitable.

I wonder how old school data center companies like AboveNet and Equinix will survive.

2009 Mobile App Development Contests

August 11, 2009

The next 20 years of software development is all about Fat Client / Fat Cloud Mobile Apps.

For the software developers, I’m restating the obvious. Let’s face it, the days of thin client / fat server are over. We quickly moved to a new world of ubiquitous mobile computing everywhere (e.g., in the car, on the train, at a baseball game, in a plane). I have software running in my watch, my sneakers, my bicycle, toaster, refrigerator and bathroom scale. The devices communicate peer to peer or device to cloud.

Thanks to the iPhone and iPod Touch, the buzz for the foreseeable future is the new small screen computing devices. I started working on some mobile apps recently and was surprised to see the level of developer interest.

I’m a big fan of Google’s Android largely for the development community and the great development tools. Google and Microsoft understand that the success of the platform depends on a healthy and vibrant development community. In an effort to measure the current ‘success’ of a platform’s development community, I compared the annual developer contests of the 6 major mobile phone vendors.

If you rank the 6 vendors by cash prize award, Android, Win Mobile and Blackberry come out on top. The following table has the details.

2009 Mobile App Developer Contests

#

Mobile
Phone
Contest

Submission
Date

Award
Date

1st Prize

2nd Prize

3rd Prize

1

Android

Android Developer Challenge

8/31/2009

Nov 2009

$150,000

$50,000

$25,000

2

Win Mobile

Windows Mobile Developer Contest

9/30/2009

Oct 2009

$100,000

$50,000

$20,000

 

3

Blackberry

Blackberry Developer Challenge

9/25/2009

Nov 10, 2009

$100,000

$20,000

$5,000 to 16 finalists

4

iPhone

Apple Design Awards

5/4/2009

Jun 12, 2009

$10,000 in hardware and other perks

5

Palm Pre preDevCamp Developer Challenge

8/9/2009

Aug 2009

Devices and $200 Gift Card

6

Nokia

Nokia Developer Programs

 

Dell Latitude XT2 Tablet PC Unboxing

May 9, 2009

My 64 bit Dell Latitude XT2 arrived this week.

It came pre-installed with Vista 64 Business Edition. I have since reinstalled the OS to use the latest 64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate RC with new 64 bit N-Trig drivers and so far so good. I need more time with it but the pen stylus and multitouch are surprisingly very responsive.

It looks like the processor horsepower is very good. It should be good enough for my software development needs. I’m going to install Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite and Android/Eclipse later this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the mean time, here’s the unboxing photos.

1. Main Box

IMAG0126

2. Inside Main Box

IMAG0127

3. Inside Accessory Box

IMAG0129

4. Secondary Box containing the XT2 Tablet PC

IMAG0134

5. Contents of Secondary Box with the XT2 Tablet PC pulled out

IMAG0135

6. XT2 Tablet PC Box Opened

IMAG0131

7. First view of XT2 Tablet PC

IMAG0136

8. XT2 Tablet PC Unwrapped

Dell-Latitude-XT2_2

9. XT2 Tablet PC next to older HP zd7000

Dell-Latitude-XT2

Invoice for 64 bit Dell Latitude XT2 ordered on Friday – April 10th, 2009

April 22, 2009

I placed an order for the 64 bit Dell Latitude XT2 on Friday, April 10th.

It looks like there’s a 5 week turnaround as the estimated delivery date is May 18th.

I’ll have the un-boxing as soon as it arrives.

Here’s the invoice. It includes the 24 inch UltraSharp monitor.

# Item Description Price
1 224-3594 Latitude XT2 Non-TAA Base $4,099.00
2 311-9873 Latitude XT2, Intel Core 2 DuoSU9400, 1.40GHz, 800MHz, 3M L2 Cache, LED LCD $0.00
3 311-9884 5.0GB DDR3, SDRAM, 2 Dimms (1GB Integrated) Latitude XT2 $0.00
4 330-2802 Internal English Keyboard for Latitude XT2 Notebooks $0.00
5 320-6270 Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP,Wide Flat Panel w/Height AdjustableStand,24.0 Inch VIS,OptiPlex Precision and Latitude $0.00
6 320-7678 Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD Latitude XT2 $0.00
7 341-8949 128GB Dell Mobility Solid State Drive for Latitude XT2 $0.00
8 468-2071 Vista Business 64-BIT Service Pack 1, with media, English Latitude $0.00
9 430-3364 Dell Wireless 365 Bluetooth Module, Latitude XT2 $0.00
10 330-2840 90W , 3-Pin,AC Adapter for Latitude XT2 $0.00
11 330-0879 US – 3-FT, 3-Pin Flat E-FamilyPower Cord for Latitude E-Family $0.00
12 330-2831 MediaBase with 8X DVD+/-RW for Latitude XT2 $0.00
13 420-9184 Cyberlink Power DVD 8.1,with Media,Dell Latitude/Mobile Precision $0.00
14 420-8010 Roxio Creator Dell Edition,9.0Dell Latitude/Mobile Precision $0.00
15 430-3086 Dell WLAN 1510 (802.11a/b/g/n 2X3) 1/2 MiniCard for LatitudeE/Mobile Precision $0.00
16 330-0884 No Intel vPro Technologys advanced management features for Latitude, Mobile Precision $0.00
17 330-2843 Resource DVD with Diagnostics and Drivers for Vista LatitudeXT2 Notebook $0.00
18 312-0852 6-Cell/42 WHr Primary Battery for Dell Latitude XT2 $0.00
19 467-6457 Energy Star 4.0 Enabled, EPEATGOLD, Latitude XT2 $0.00
20 993-4248 Dell Hardware Limited Warranty Plus Onsite Service Extended Year(s) $0.00
21 993-4247 Dell Hardware Limited Warranty Plus Onsite Service Initial Year $0.00
22 989-3449 Thank you choosing Dell ProSupport. For tech support, visit http://support.dell.com/ProSupport or call 1-866-516-3115 $0.00
23 992-2102 ProSupport for End Users: Next Business Day Parts and Labor Onsite Response 2 Year Extended $0.00
24 992-5740 ProSupport for End Users: Next Business Day Parts and Labor Onsite Response Initial Year $0.00
25 983-7572 ProSupport for End Users: 7×24 Technical Support and assistance for end-users, 2 Year Extended $0.00
26 984-3980 ProSupport for End Users: 7×24 Technical Support and assistance for end-users, Initial $0.00
27 900-9987 Standard On-Site Installation Declined $0.00
28 310-8319 Intel Core 2 Duo Processor $0.00
29 310-8758 You have chosen a Windows Vista Premium System $0.00
30 310-8977 Info SKU-Software and Peripherals products and solutions catalog included in system boxes $0.00
    Sub-total: $4,099.00
    Shipping: $0.00
    Tax: $343.29
    Order Total: $4,442.29

Is there a “Windows Cloud Home Server” coming soon?

February 6, 2009

I bought this Windows Home Server (WHS) recently.

I consider it a necessity for the home office.

The key features are:

  1. Centralized Backup
  2. File Sharing – NAS device
  3. Remote Access Gateway – remote access to any connected PC on your home network via Internet.
  4. Printer Sharing – Centralized print server.
  5. Shadow Copy – “Point in time” snapshots to recover older versions of files.
  6. Headless Operation – No monitor or keyboard. Use remote desktop or remote admin client tool.
  7. Media Streaming – Can stream media to Xbox 360 or other devices using Windows Media Connect.
  8. Data redundancy – Data is stored across multiple drives.
  9. Expandable Storage – has 4 drive bays. Two drive bays are in use, two are empty.
  10. Extensibility through Add-Ins – can host IIS web apps.
  11. Health Monitoring – Track health of all PCs on the home network (e.g., antivirus, firewall, etc.)
  12. Server Backup – backup the backup.

 
Some Positives:

· Fully Automated Minimal maintenance required except for the Server backup.
· Quiet Quiet enough for the bedroom/living room.
· Ease of Use Easy to use backup and restore process.

 

Some Negatives:

· No RAID The system uses proprietary Windows Home Server Drive Extender technology. There’s a good post on why it does not support RAID here.
· Complicated High ease of use for technologists but still too complicated for low tech folks.
· Unwanted extensions HP included two Add-Ins to WHS, PVConnect and McAffee Anti-virus. I don’t use either.
· Annoying Prompts McAffee annoyingly prompts to buy full service.
· Cloud Backup Need easy and low cost way to back up server to a cloud service such as Amazon S3.

Overall, I consider this product to be an important milestone for home computing.

However, I don’t think it will ever become mainstream until there’s zero config / zero maintenance.

I also believe that as cloud computing becomes pervasive and as costs drop, WHS will eventually be offered as a full blown cloud service with no onsite backend hardware required.

If so then Microsoft may call it Windows Cloud Home Server or even Windows Live Home Server.

World’s First 64 Bit Tablet PC

November 20, 2008

HP is rolling out a new Multi-Touch Tablet PC on November 28th.

There’s an interesting preview of it here.

This looks like a great alternative to the Dell Latitude XT and soon to be released XT2.

The most interesting part is that you can customize it to use the 64 bit AMD Turion Ultra ZM-86 processor.

This means its the very first 64 Bit Tablet PC on the market.

Correction: The HP tx2524ca Tablet is the first 64 bit Tablet. It went on sale in September 2008. Please see comments.

 

Energy Kitchen Web Site

November 19, 2008

I’ve taken a few months off from blogging but will slowly get back to it.

In the mean time, I just wanted to chime in on my recent lunch routine.

I’ve been ordering my lunch at a local food place called Energy Kitchen.  They have good healthy food but my favorite part is the online order feature.

Their online order process uses an interesting workflow that’s built with PHP.

My favorite part is the online order history. Its a convenient way to track my lunch diet.

The Energy Kitchen “online order with pickup” is currently my quickest lunch in town.

Microsoft’s Motherhood/Apple Pie ‘Altruism’

April 9, 2008

During a recent Microsoft Tech Summit that I attended last month, Microsoft’s John Fernandes gave an interesting talk on Microsoft’s Local Software Economy (LSE) Initiative.

It’s a Motherhood/Apple Pie marketing and funding initiative with the goal to build healthy software economies in developing countries.

During the talk, there was an interesting debate that at first glance may be perceived as a typical colonial/imperialist exploitation.

Yes, Microsoft needs a profit center but establishing self-sustaining software businesses in economically disadvantaged countries is the apple pie.

I think most people in the room considered it a beautiful story, if successful. The hope is that these countries become much wealthier.

John Fernandes is clearly a man with a mission. He’s committed to use Microsoft resources to help developing countries build infrastructure, education programs, and entrepreneurial support for vibrant software ecosystems.

Ultimately, the businesses created will be self sustaining profit centers where eventually Microsoft prospers by selling more OS licenses. As he noted, "Motherhood and Apple Pie is a good thing" for both parties.

Some interesting notes:

  • LSE sponsors CMMi programs, fosters innovation, builds software associations.
  • Currently 80 countries involved.
  • Imagine Cup is an LSE initiative.
  • MIC: Microsoft Innovation Center is a key LSE service.

 

There may be more info on Microsoft Startup Zone.

BTW, here’s a post about LSE from last year’s MTS07 event.

Of course, Microsoft is not the only company with Motherhood/Apple Pie ‘altruism’.

IBM’s similar initiative is called PartnerWorld. In this case, IBM benefits from infrastructure and consulting service sales.

Microsoft Brainwash Summit 2008?

March 29, 2008

Microsoft invited 43 members of the Open Source / Anything But Microsoft (ABM) development community for a 2 ½ day conversation.

Dario Laverde and I were invited since we run the New York City Java SIG. Much thanks to Microsoft’s Peter Laudati for the invite.

We had an extremely diverse group of free spirited talented developers and engineers with strong opinions towards Microsoft. The group represented most of the popular ABM tech (e.g., Ruby, PHP, Linux, Flex/Flash/ColdFusion, MySQL, Apache, Samba, Perl, Java, etc.).

The standing joke was to label the event as Microsoft’s Brainwash Barcamp. To be fair, Microsoft deserves much credit for holding the event.

For me, it was a great privilege to get the opportunity to share my thoughts on how both parties can work better together. Obviously, the key issue is Microsoft’s inability to connect with the open source community. I’ll post more about it next week.

Regarding Java, even though it’s now an open spec, there are remaining legal issues that Microsoft and Sun need to resolve. I spoke to Sam Ramji a bit about it last night. He is trying to spearhead an effort to make Windows the best OS for Java. He noted that he visited Sun in Santa Clara last week and the meeting didn’t go very well. However, he appears to be optimistic.

In any case, the NYC Java SIG will do its part to facilitate an ongoing dialog between the Java Community and Microsoft since both parties ultimately benefit.

 

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