Monthly Archives: August 2008

Preparing for a busy week at TechEd 2008!

We are now well into the countdown for TechEd 2008, and for people like me who count on their fingers and toes I can join in on the count-down now. My week is going to be pretty hectic as I am presenting three sessions:

TechEd Sessions

Hopefully they go off without a hitch, but you never know how the demo gods might decide to smite thee. I think the highlight is going to be the Hour of Power where 6 folks including myself will give a ten minute presentation and you’ll get a chance to vote on whose presentation was the best (voting for me will earn you good karma).

I’m also going to be hanging around in the DevGarten and Sandpit areas (they are right next to each other) helping out in any capacity that I can. Hopefully I can get in on Delicate Genius’ Ask the Experts gig if I can pull my finger out and get organised, I had better submit some questions and see if I can get some folks to nominate me!

I’d love to score one of these beasties!

On .NET Reflector and Lutz Roeder

I was just reflecting (no pun intended) on this thread on the ALT.NET mailing list. I that there are a few people out there who were at least initially upset at Lutz Roeder handing .NET Reflector over to Red-Gate.

Personally I think that Lutz has done a great job for a very large community of developers and he deserved to be congratulated on his effort, and hopefully rewarded for his IP. I trust that Redgate will take the product forward in any way that makes sense, and I for one would be happy to pay for it, although they have said that they will maintain a free version.

Looking forward to .NET Reflector 6.0!

P.S. Thanks Lutz, your a champion!

Visual Studio Language Features (vNext)

The march towards the 10.0 release of Visual Studio is well under way and details are starting to come out about what features are going to be showing up in the IDE. This link provides some details on some of the interesting improvements coming down the line for developers.

I really like the thumbnail view of the document with the document map, and I can imagine this being extended as a really good code review tool. I also like the Calls To and Calls From functionality, it kinda reminds me of the Disassembly capabilities of .NET Reflector (more on that in a moment).

iPhone + iTunes + AppStore + Services: Microsoft, please note.

I purchased an iPhone (3G) a week or so ago. It has been an interesting experience getting used to a device that is not based on the Windows Mobile platform. Within fifteen minutes of having the device I was able to get access to my Exchange e-mail which was nice, but it took me until today to figure out a way to download e-mails from my two Hotmail-based accounts to the device.

I’m using a service called Izymail which basically front-ends Hotmail and provides a POP3/SMTP or IMAP/SMTP interface which the iPhone can use. It works fairly well although it wasn’t nearly as easy to set up as Exchange to iPhone (how ironic).

Having said that – I like how Izymail is providing a service for device users for which they will (most likely) surrender their hotmail, hence Live ID password for, where is the Live platform support for the iPhone Microsoft?

Microsoft is probably holding out because they want their mobile platform to take on the iPhone, and in the spirit of increasing competition, here are the areas that I think Microsoft needs to address.

  1. Roll out a global media store; one of Microsoft biggest strengths is its partners. One of Microsofts biggest weaknesses are its partners. Microsoft has a multitude of partners for everything from digital media players to the music providers compatible with the Microsoft platform. However when Microsoft finally stopped the consumer confusion and gave us the Zune, they failed to roll it out globally. If it isn’t global, it doesn’t exist – well not for me anyway.
  2. Compete with MobileMe on all devices; the Live team already has an awesome mail platform with Hotmail which includes calendaring support. So why not figure out how to hack the iPhone so that we don’t have to use services like Izymail? My guess is that people are leaving Hotmail for MobileMe because it works with their iPhone, their PC, and their Mac, as well as through the web-browser. Microsoft’s cross platform offerings are fractured with incomplete support for even their own products like Entourage:mac.
  3. Re-write Windows Mobile; the platform is showing its age. If it was up to me I would be taking something similar to the iPhone hardware base and building a platform from the ground up based on a .NET runtime (to encourage traditional developers to target the platform) and Silverlight as a rendering platform – although I am not sure what you would use as a browser. The underlying OS might be OK on Windows Mobile, but the UI stack is too slow, and not finger friendly (it was designed for a stylus).
  4. Roll out a global application store; one of the things that really excites me about the iPhone is the AppStore. One of the reasons that mobile development hasn’t really taken off like it should have was that it was a complete pain to get any application of value onto a device, and then keep it up to date. The iPhone AppStore integration has shown us how it needs to be done – and it also includes a payment model – in fact when I started writing this post, it was the only thing that I was going to write about. You’ve already got people using with iPhone, and its a three minute exercise to get it going.
  5. Leverage the devices for digital identity; a Windows Mobile device that felt like an iPhone would be one kick-arse CardSpace identity selector. Figure out a way to allow people to walk up to a machine and issue a card from their device. This could be the beginnings of an awesome payments system.

The interesting thing about this is its all about providing a service on top of a software/hardware platform. Software + Hardware has been an advantage of Apple’s for a time, but Microsoft if they come in with a Software + Hardware + Services angle could win the game – but they have to do it fast, and don’t rely on your partners.

Paralysed by TODO

Do you have a TODO list? I do – it kinda works, but sometimes I find myself on a context switching mess where I have so many hi priority things to do that I don’t know what to do next so I spin my wheels. I find myself doing anything but useful work as a means of escaping the constant stress of the TODO list.

What is the solution? Maybe I don’t know, but sometimes I find myself looking at the TODO list through the eyes of multiple other people, and each of them rates their TODO item as the number one priority – but what is the priority for me?

Is anything on my TODO list a priority for me?