Update: The beta version is now available to the general public (and very nice it looks too)
VS2008 is now available for retail purchase, rather than via MSDN. Windows Server 2008 is in its late beta stages. SQL Server 2008 might be released some time this year. They are the three main themes to the heroes promotion. In addition, their virtualization tools are still in beta too. Finally there was a bit of a nod toward “open source heroes” with an “open source” package available that mainly consists of trial versions of Vs2008 and WS2008. Um…
With Adobe releasing version 1 of their Rich Internet Application (RIA) IDE – AIR – (TLA cubed!) yesterday, now is a good time to plug their free AIR Tour Europe event. They will be visiting 12 cities across Europe from March to June, offering a day’s free training in using AIR. Registration is a breeze too, so there is no excuse not to be there.
Nothing too exciting except for the fact that they are Mac screenshots! What is the world coming to when a Microsoft General Manager within the Microsoft Developer Division shows off Mac screenshots? I used to think that Microsoft employees were instantly sacked even for saying the word, let alone using one!
At Mix:UK last year, Scott did tell me that he viewed Linux, OS X etc as “arch friends”. Looks like he was serious…
As I may have hinted at in the past, I feel the MacBook Air is a classic case of style over substance: all looks and no brains. However it is possible to part with even more cash, to make this product even more pointlessly-expensive eye-candy. Fancy a pink or blue one? Metallic green? How about a glowing orange logo? What about all of the above? Unbelievably this is possible if you buy one from ColorWare, and it can be yours for a mere $620 more than the already overpriced envelope-filler’s basic cost.
Thanks to Trevor Marshall for the link.
I listened to my my first “virtual press conference” today given by Microsoft. I certainly picked a big one as my first. I actually got to hear Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, say the words “open source” without spitting, swearing or making any negative remarks! What is the world coming to?
Well the world is coming to its senses and realises that it doesn’t have to be scared of Microsoft and Microsoft is coming to its senses and realising that it cannot own the world (and will just have to be happy with a significant chunk of it.) So the press release was the final fling in a long and probably very painful process of Microsoft opening itself up to its competitors and to the open source community. Today Microsoft announced the launch of its four new interoperability principles:
- Ensuring open connections
- Promoting data portability
- Enhancing support for industry standards
- Fostering more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open source communities.
So what does that all mean? Well translated it means:
- Microsoft have promised to publish the APIs and communications protocols for all their high volume products (Vista, Office 2007, Sharepoint 2007, Exchange 2007, Server 2008). No license will be required to access this information.
- Open source developers can freely use these communication protocols without having to pay royalties and without fear of being sued. Commercial use must be paid for.
- Recent forays into open source with collaborations with the Mono, MySQL and PHP teams is due to continue and become part of how Microsoft works.
- As a start, Microsoft will be adding some 3,000 extra pages of API information to MSDN so that everyone – not just those that have bought trade secret licenses – can access the information.
Why have they done this? Well clearly the EU can take a lot of the credit with its dogged pursuit of anti-trust cases against Microsoft. The bigger picture though is likely simply a realisation within Microsoft that open source isn’t going to go away. Having won the browser war, they have watched Firefox erode that dominant position for example. That they now own nearly the entire paid-for development tool market has meant that universities now routinely teach LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP) and Java as they are free development environments. Perhaps the weight of arguably the world’s most powerful political bloc, combined with the quiet determination of the open source community, has finally broken the Microsoft bronco?
Whatever the reasons though, this has certainly been a historic day for software developers, both within the Microsoft fold and without.
This little story is a good object lesson for Scoble and us all. When you are shown something in confidence, keep your mouth shut! Saying “I know a secret and I’m not sharing” will always get more attention than just telling the secret. As another blog put it, Scoble has over-hyped this product so much, people are going to be disappointed with the reality. It now faces a struggle for survival before it’s even born. Shame really as it sounds quite a cool – if pointless – application.
With the announcement on Thursday 21st February that Microsoft have given in to EU and open source pressure and opened up their APIs and comms protocols, attention may shift from this over-hyped project. No doubt Wong and Fay will sigh a huge sigh of relief if it does.
TheStreet.com has a light-hearted video that summarises market research into the stereotypical Mac user. Aside from claiming they are self centred, arrogant and conceited, apparently the average (American) Mac user eats organic food, drives a tank (they are called “station wagons” in the USA apparently), buys five pairs of trainers (sneakers) a year and is worried about green issues. I can’t quite square the last one with driving some ridiculously big car, but that’s them “crazy Americans” for you…
Question: Which square is darker?
(1) Square A (2) Square B (3) Neither
The correct answer is (3) Neither. Apparently your brain compensates for the shadow and so square B appears brighter. I answered (1) as square A looks so much darker, I assumed it a trick question (a number of previous questions’ correct answers were that they were the same). So I loaded it up into a graphics program and checked the RGB values of the squares. What amazed me was that not only were they the same, the effect of the brain recolouring square B is so strong, that the square itself looked a completely different colour to that shown by the dropper tool as shown below:
Which all leads to a rather obvious conclusion: do not trust your eyes or brain to show you what is really there!