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After months of frustration with all the Facebook changes, as well as the constant changes (without notifications) to account settings, and making it a constant pain with keeping my account privacy settings locked down – I have decided to deactivate my FB account. And it feels so great! I equate it to the feeling I had after working at Microsoft for almost 10 years and finally used a Mac for the first time! It was such a refreshing revelation! My next computers at home are going to be Macs, and I love my iPhone and iPad. As for Facebook, its become a constant stream of privacy issues with the company and I think it just goes back to the “hacker” mentality with its founder.
If you want to get an appreciation for all that is written on FB privacy issues, just Google Facebook Privacy Issues and see what kind of interesting postings and FTC investigations and charges you will find.
Years ago, while at Microsoft, we talked, blogged, preached about Software plus Services (S+S). In fact, Microsoft has been talking about the cloud in the context of S+S for years. Microsoft vision has always been that the cloud can make software better in a complimentary architectural way. As apposed to Google’s vision of cloud which is all about the web and the browser. In fact, Apple’s vision of cloud is in total alignment with Microsoft’s with iCloud! Its S+S – but although Microsoft is right on with the S+S strategy, they have struggled to really demonstrate this strategy and its valuable implications. I totally agree with Pascal’s post on SAI – Apple’s iCloud is annoying to Google, and humiliating for Microsoft. Microsoft had it right for years and they are still struggling with implementation. Whether its phone + cloud, software + cloud, or just cloud.
Cloud is different for consumer experiences versus the enterprise. A platform company that has the right strategy, needs to implement that strategy differently for the consumer market, versus the enterprise market!
OK…I guess my head is not totally out of the clouds!
How did I get here? What led me to walk away from the hot team at Microsoft – Windows Azure, and even more interesting, leave Microsoft after 9+ years.
First, its important to note that most of the 9 years I spent at Microsoft were incredibly rewarding. I worked with some really smart and good people. And Microsoft is indeed a great company to work for.
So why leave? Well, first I need to get something off my chest – let me start with Innovation and R&D. Every year for the last 9 years, Microsoft executives remind all the employees, customers, partners, the world that they spend between $6 – 8 billion in R&D annually! Really? Now, I am not implying that there is a lack of innovation going on in the mildew forest (redmond); there are some really cool things like XBOX Live, Surface, .Net, Windows Azure, Live Mesh. But lets face it, Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 (a Vista SP) over 9 years was not very innovative – especially now that I am using OS X! Windows Mobile Phone strategy? Search? Over $60 billion in R&D over 9 years – I can probably come up with a list 10 startups that had less then $300 million in funding in total that are more relevant today and innovative. …OK. I feel better now.
I mentioned being on the hot Windows Azure team, as well as listing it as innovative, and I still think there is some really cool technology there. Some of the best innovation in the last 9 years at Microsoft. Public PaaS Cloud is certainly innovative, interesting and very relevant to future deployment scenarios (not all, but some). But I started to question the overall “cloud” strategy and approach. I really think Azure technology should have first been introduced as a private cloud (on – premise) platform, enabling enterprises to build on their virtualization footing, and start with customized private PaaS. Then compliment that with a Public PaaS strategy that included ISPs and Partners and enable hybrid cloud scenarios. Instead, its sort of a huge leap for most enterprises to think about what workloads to build onto this primarily new and proprietary platform running in Microsoft Data Centers, and have a completely different perspective and approach to cloud patterns on-premise. Sorry, its not Hyper-V and Windows Server.
Then there is Ray Ozzie’s departure (not to mention all the other executives leaving to this day). Ozzie was the new Bill Gates at Microsoft. The “architect” of the new Microsoft and leading the transformation and vision for the cloud – the driving force and vision behind Azure. All of a sudden, while on the Azure team and coming to, Ozzie resigns! And then Ozzie writes his “Dawn of a New Day” . As I wrote in my blog post regarding the memo – Its a very interesting read and as one of my colleagues tweeted; “Shut the door, turn off your phone and read Ray Ozzie’s Dawn of a New Day” .
Anyway – my Azure bubble was popped. I was no longer a believer, nor passionate about the direction. There were other things that I wont go into, and there were also things that made me want to stick around – mostly some good people. I will absolutely treasure some of the work and people I was fortunate to work with – some of who are still at Microsoft. Keep up the good work!!!
I have found a renewed love for something from Microsoft that runs on the Mac – MacOffice 2011. Now, we just need OneNote on the Mac.
I am finding an incredibly rich, innovative, and very relevant approach and strategy at my new gig! With some incredibly compelling dialogue with enterprises regarding cloud. More on that on that later….
Students across America have been dreaming up ways to solve the world’s toughest problems using the magic of software. Now, they are competing in the Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition hosted annually by Microsoft Corp. Starting today and running through April 23, the public is invited to learn more about the U.S. finalist teams, view videos about their innovations, and vote for their favorite Software Design idea at
“We believe that students have the power to change the world,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education, Microsoft. “Encouraging students to study science and technology is critical to developing a skilled 21st-century work force. Through the Imagine Cup, we are bringing together the brightest young minds and empowering them to use technology to make a difference in the lives of people in their local communities and around the world.”
More than 14,000 high-school and college students throughout the country registered for the competition, and 20 student teams were chosen to participate in the Imagine Cup 2010 U.S. Finals in Washington, D.C., on April 26. The U.S. finalists will vie for the chance to represent the nation among students from over 100 countries and regions in the worldwide finals this July in Warsaw, Poland.
Create Phone Apps and Videos to Help Change the World
While the U.S. finalists for these categories have been selected, there are still opportunities for students in America and around the world to participate in the new Windows Phone 7 Series “Rockstar” Award and Envisioning 2020 Award categories.
You can read about the 2010 U.S. Finalist Teams here.
A colleague of mine came across this paper on the topic of Cloud Computing, and offers a pragmatic look at cloud computing scenarios for the enterprise. With constant pressure to manage IT costs, cloud solutions offer a new way to provide cost effective IT solutions, but without having to transfer all of your technology over to the cloud in one major leap.
Matt Deacon, Chief Architectural Advisor at Microsoft, and Dan Scarfe, CEO of Dot Net Solutions, outline a pragmatic hybrid approach to cloud computing. They outline how customers can combine cloud solutions with their existing applications and infrastructure, to achieve IT cost savings, flexibility and the ability to bring new ideas to market rapidly and effectively.
A good read. You can download it here.
With the LOUD release, and all the buzz of the Apple iPad, and the recent announcement at CES by Steve Ballmer and HP regarding the HP Slate, its a real exciting time in my opinion, because although these are cool products, it really reveals new experiences for the consumer and the business user. This new product category will drive huge investments in new applications and will likely reveal new business models that we have not even imagined. I thought about adding the Kindle to this discussion, a great innovation in itself, but its simply a “reader”. The iPad and the HP Slate (and likely other Windows 7 slate devices) are new type of computer IMHO.
It is certain that whenever Apple introduces a completely new product, there is a lot of attention and buzz in the industry. Apple did not disappoint in that regard with the iPad launch earlier this week. It was a big deal and everybody seemed to be watching, twittering, blogging, and talking about the iPad. Although I am hearing many in my industry make comments like “its just a bigger iPhone”, I disagree. I think the iPhone is being used for things the iPad is better suited for (web browsing, reading, video, etc.).
Apple did a great job in building an aesthetically beautiful machine, something they do well, and additionally not just releasing a product, but with it, services and rich experiences like iBook (although its not live yet). They don’t launch new products, they launch new experiences!
However, I think the iPad certainly comes with some significant shortcomings as well. I have listed some here: no camera, no multi-tasking (that’s right, only one app at a time), no SD slot.
No multi-tasking really hinders its opportunity. I would think my friends at Pandora would not like that. As I type this blog in Windows Live Writer, I have one of my Pandora stations playing in one of my browser tabs. If I want to read a book on an iPad, I can not have music playing in the background…
I do love the 10 hour battery life! WOW.
Disclaimer: This is not a product review or comparison. The HP Slate is not released, and I have not tested or used either product. My notes here are based simply on what I have read about these products so far.
As for the HP Slate (to be released; see story here), it is going to run Windows 7. I can use it like I use my laptop – listen to Pandora, read a book, even use the camera for a Skype session, all at the same time. If I am a developer and want to build apps for it, I can use the same development environment and tools (Visual Studio) I use for any Windows PC device. Additionally, Windows 7 comes with Windows Touch, so like the iPad, it enables you to use touch gestures with it.
All and all, I think this is an exciting development for client technology when we consider these new innovations, combined with cloud services available for consumer experiences as well business services like collaboration, web conferencing, email, and much more!
What’s next in this space? My guess is in addition to more Windows 7 devices, you will see some running Android.
Microsoft Wave (nothing to do with Google Wave) is a cool new site from Microsoft’s UK team. It shows off the latest developments and products that are coming out of Microsoft. You will find information on technologies like Photosynth, Worldwide Telescope and Deepzoom Composer, as well as Project Natal and Microsoft Tag.
The Professional Developers Conference (PDC) has been Microsoft’s premier gathering of leading-edge developers and architects. Attendees come from around the world to learn about the future of Microsoft’s platform, exchange ideas with Microsoft product and technology experts and network with fellow professionals.
This year, you’ll hear more details about our services platform, the future of Windows, the web, devices, and our next generation of developer tools. And as always, some of the most exciting announcements are closely guarded secrets until the event. Join us at PDC09 and be among the first to see the future of Microsoft technology!
Save the date: Conference | Nov 17–19
Where: Los Angeles Convention Center
Registration opens in early August.
Join the PDC09 mailing list here.
Microsoft recently announced Microsoft® BizSpark™. Its a global program designed to help startups by providing key resources when they need it the most; Software (no upfront cost), Support, and Visibility. You can learn more about this exciting program at the Microsoft Startup Zone here.
Tomorrow night (Tuesday, Dec. 16th), I will be attending an Ignition Event in San Francisco at The Carnelian Room at 7pm.
Look forward to seeing some of you there!
Over the past year Microsoft Silverlight has enabled developers and designers to create compelling media experiences and rich Internet applications (RIAs) on the Web via an easy-to-use, quickly installed browser plug-in. This week, with the release of Silverlight 2, Microsoft is delivering a wide range of new platform features and tooling options.
New Features in Silverlight 2
- A rich base class library. A compatible subset of the full .NET Framework gives developers the most comprehensive RIA runtime on the Web today, with unparalleled data access capabilities, local data caching and local data storage, superior input-output (IO) performance, and better threading. By leveraging the rich base class library of the .NET Framework, developers can minimize the amount of additional code they have to write for their projects.
- Powerful built-in rich controls allow developers and designers to quickly build applications through a rich set of built-in controls such as DataGrid, ListBox, Slider, ScrollViewer and Calendar. With the rich controls built into Silverlight 2, developers don’t have to start from scratch when building the controls for their rich Internet applications.
- Advanced styling and templating support gives designers and developers complete control over the look and feel of an application to ensure the custom brand experience for their rich Internet application meets their exacting requirements.
- Rich UI Library. Silverlight 2’s UI Library, a compatible subset of the WPF user interface framework featured in the full .NET Framework, makes building rich Web applications easier. The powerful graphics and animation engine enables developers to reuse skills, code and content to build rich applications for the browser that can be rapidly ported to the desktop and devices.
- Better support for higher-level UI capabilities. The UI Framework in Silverlight contains support for higher-level UI capabilities such as layout management, data-binding, styles and template skinning.
- Comprehensive networking support enables Silverlight users to leverage the power of the .NET Framework’s Windows Communication Foundation and directly access resources on the Web by supporting cross-domain network access.
- Out-of-the-box support for calling REST, WS*/SOAP, POX, RSS and standard HTTP services enables users to create Web 2.0-style applications that easily integrate with existing heterogeneous back-end systems.
- Advanced content protection features, now including Silverlight digital rights management (DRM), Powered by PlayReady. Silverlight DRM builds on Microsoft’s extensive expertise in developing DRM technologies, delivering robust protection for key Silverlight scenarios including live streaming, on-demand streaming and progressive downloads for connected experiences.
- Improved server scalability and expanded advertiser support. The combination of Silverlight 2 and Windows Server 2008 offers streaming video professionals industry-leading scalability and cutting-edge progressive download features. In addition, Silverlight offers superior search engine optimization capabilities and advanced in-stream advertising support through companies such as DoubleClick Inc. and EyeWonder Inc.
- Unparalleled interactivity with high-resolution content through Deep Zoom technology. The new Deep Zoom technology in Silverlight allows users to see images on the Web as never before. The smooth, in-place zooming and panning that Deep Zoom allows is a true advancement and raises the bar on what image viewing should be. It is also now possible through this feature to make super-high-resolution images easily consumable on the Web. Even better, Deep Zoom is designed in a way that will reduce Web hosting and bandwidth costs by sending to the browser exactly the right size and resolution image for the current display area.
Openness and Interoperability Support
In a commitment to openness and support for interoperability, Microsoft is funding a project to integrate advanced Silverlight development capabilities into the open-source Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE), will publish the Silverlight Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) Vocabulary Specification, and will make the Silverlight Control Pack available as open source software. The project web site “Eclipse tools for Silverlight” is here.
The Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight Project will integrate advanced Silverlight development capabilities into the Eclipse IDE and Eclipse Rich Client Platform.
- Silverlight Project System and Silverlight Compiler. Eclipse will contain both an advanced project system for creating Silverlight applications and media experiences and a compiler for packaging Silverlight applications for deployment.
- XAML editor and preview with code hinting and code completion. Eclipse will contain an advanced, standards-compliant XAML editor with code hinting and code completion, which helps detect and correct coding errors.
- Full compatibility with Microsoft’s development and design tools. The XAML and Silverlight projects created by Eclipse will be fully supported by both Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression Studio tools.
- Results. See the picture below for a glimpse of a Silverlight application being created in Eclipse.
- Availability. A preview of the bits was posted today at
under the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0. Customers can use the SourceForge project site to submit bugs and feedback or contribute to the project. The release candidate is scheduled to be available free for download by spring 2009.
- Road map. Although the first version of the Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight will be optimized for the Windows version of Eclipse, the project plans to offer full support for the Mac and Linux versions of Eclipse in a later release.
Also, for additional great detail on Silverlight 2, see the following blogs and pages:
ScottGu’s Blog and post on Silverlight 2 as well as other relevant posts on Silverlight.
And Microsoft Videos is showing the Digital Lifestyle: Girl from Mars. This is shown in Silverlight 2, and shows a variety of other products and services.