Articles from April 2007

Ubuntu vs. Windows (c/o Information Week)

By Michael Flanakin @ 10:26 AM :: 1120 Views :: Technology, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!

Information Week Mobile-ready link Syndicated feed did a quick run-down Mobile-ready link of the latest versions of Windows Mobile-ready link and Ubuntu Mobile-ready link. Here's a summary of that comparison for those interested...

Feature Ubuntu Windows Why?
Installation

X

Ubuntu has a slight edge here, if only because it can be run directly from the CD and tried out non-destructively.
Hardware, PnP

X

On the whole, Windows still deals with hardware more elegantly and efficiently than Ubuntu.
Software Installation

X

X

It's a tie. Both operating systems show much the same centralization and efficiency in dealing with applications, protocols, and programs.
Networking/Web Browsing/Email

X

Windows, but only by a hair. Windows has a bit of an edge in terms of sharing network connections -- but both platforms have possible mail migration complexities.
Word Processing

X

Ubuntu, because it comes with OpenOffice -- although that can be added to Windows easily enough.
Indexing/Search

X

Vista, for having its search function integrated from the ground up through the shell and the OS.
Multimedia

X

X

Another tie -- the functionality of the default multimedia programs on both platforms is about even.
Image Editing/Management

X

X

Again, 50-50 -- Vista for its Picture Gallery; Ubuntu for having a better native image editor than Paint.
Backup/Restore

X

X

A tie, but only because both platforms fall short in some ways. Vista's roster of backup features aren't available in every SKU of the product; Ubuntu doesn't have anything like Vista's shadow copy system and its user-friendly backup tools are pretty rudimentary.
Winner

X

X

A tie, but only because both platforms fall short in some ways. Vista's roster of backup features aren't available in every SKU of the product; Ubuntu doesn't have anything like Vista's shadow copy system and its user-friendly backup tools are pretty rudimentary.
The Last Word Ubuntu's best strength is handling the ordinary task-based day-to-day stuff. Vista has a level of completeness and polish that some people find it hard to do without.

Ok, so I see there's a tie, but looking thru the evaluation, which I think is definitely good and very worthwhile for those who have the Linux vs. Windows questions. Heck, a co-worker just professed to me how great he thought Ubuntu was a few days ago. I admit it... I'm curious. It's been a while since I've played with Linux and it might be time to give it a shot, again. But, to touch on the comparison, if you consider score, this is 6-to-7 in Windows' favor. Putting weights in, I'd even go as far as to say the score comes down to 15-to-24 in Windows' favor, again. Admittedly, my weights can be argued, but here they are in order of decreasing importance (1-5, 5 being the most important): hardware (5), networking/web/email (5), word processing (4), search (4), multimedia (3), image editing/management (3), software (2), backup/restore (2), installation (1). I won't get into the reason I chose these weights, but can.

Of course, I have to mention a few comments. First off, the fact that you can run Ubuntu from a CD is just phenominal, in my book. Granted, I consider this somewhat of a novelty, but I love it. Windows is a long way from doing this, as far as I can tell. Aside from that, however, the install experience is very nice for Windows Vista. No real complaints here.

Next, if we're including Open Office, I'd have to include Microsoft Office. Sure, it's not part of the install, but if I'm going to have an office suite, it's gonna be the mac-daddy office suite, which is hands-down better than Open Office. Not even a competition; especially, when considering Office 2007. In the same breath, I have to express my angst for some of the default apps, like Notepad, WordPad, and Paint. You're kidding, right? These apps just plain suck. We need an Office Express in Windows... to some extent.

I have to touch on search next. I think this point is understated. The ground-up search in Vista makes me question why I've never had it before. Now, I'm looking for search everywhere and just not finding it. I see so many opportunities for the level of ease I get with Windows Desktop Search on Windows Vista.

When it comes down to it, after reading thru this comparison, I still think Windows is the hands-down winner. Tie, schmie. I was surprised to see some of Ubuntu's features and capabilities, tho, so don't take that as me dismissing the OS. I think both have their high and low points, but if I'm choosing an OS, it's Windows Vista and Office 2007 all the way.


Unofficial Microsoft Blogroll

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:15 PM :: 1351 Views :: Technology, Microsoft :: Digg it!

A while back, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Mobile-ready link posted a list of Microsoft blogs Mobile-ready link. While I cannot attest to the completeness of the list, I definitely appreciate the work put in to create it. So much so, that I've created aggregations for each of the groups (as of the 3/27/2007 update).

There are a five more groups of related, non-Microsoft feeds, but I didn't create pipes for them. I can, if someone thinks it'd be worthwhile, tho. In the meantime, enjoy!


Yahoo Pipes

By Michael Flanakin @ 2:21 PM :: 1174 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!
I've been meaning to post about Yahoo Pipes Mobile-ready link for a while Mobile-ready link. This is an absolutely great service from an unlikely source. And, thanks to Pipes, I'm now able to enjoy a great source of tech info without the fluff. For those interested, I have an English-only feed for MSDN Blogs Mobile-ready link Syndicate English-only MSDN Blogs feed. I don't know about you, but I get annoyed by posts I can't read. Additionally, I've created a second pipe to filter out those authors I just don't want to watch. This really helps a lot when I'm consuming feeds on the go Mobile-ready link.

.NET Infringing on a Patent?

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:42 PM :: 1467 Views :: .NET, Patterns & Practices, Technology :: Digg it!
Vertical Computer Systems Mobile-ready link is suing Microsoft Mobile-ready link for infringing on their patent Mobile-ready link for "generating websites in an arbitrary object framework." If the patent sounds questionable to you, you're not alone. Skimming thru the patent, it reads like a how-to for some key patterns and practices... in legalese, of course. Specifically, it reminds me of some key model-driven architecture (MDA) concepts. Most notably, I'd have to say it resembles the software factory concept. I didn't dig into the patent completely, but it seriously makes me question how much patent approvers really know about software. The InfoWorld article makes the problem sound like it has to do with WinForms, but the patent specifically states that it has to do with websites. Either way, I don't see this going thru. Vertical is trying to take this to court, but I see a lot of people jumping in to back Microsoft. Not because they think Microsoft came up with any of these patterns and practices on their own, but because everyone has used these same concepts when building applications and frameworks. There's a reason they're called patterns and practices. On the other hand, I don't know if anyone supporting this will help. Looking back at the Eolas patent issues (1 Mobile-ready link, 2 Mobile-ready link, 3 Mobile-ready link, or on Wikipedia Mobile-ready link), none of the supperters did anything. For those who don't know, Eolas is the reason you have to click on some ActiveX controls, like Flash and embedded media players.

Live Beating Google (Source: Google)

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:32 PM :: 1055 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!

Ok, ok; so this isn't the most reputable way to identify a possible winner to the web search war, but I think that could easily be argued. Let's face it, most people see their placing in a Google search as direct relationship to their popularity. Noting this, I find it interesting that Windows Live Search is ahead of Google on Google and Windows Live Search. Interesting...

Searching for 'search' on Google Searching for 'search' on Windows Live


Silverlight and Mix '07 Addendum 2

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:03 AM :: 1539 Views :: .NET, Predictions :: Digg it!

Well, it's about damn time! In the essence of the Expression Suite, Microsoft just released WPF/e with it's official name: Silverlight Mobile-ready link. All I can say is that it's about damn time they give a tool a "cool" name. I almost wish they'd do the same for the .NET 3.0 technologies and Visual Studio line, but there's so much history there (at least with the latter), I doubt that'll ever happen. Either way, great job, team Silverlight!

Well, I'm 0 for 2 in the "guess what's going to be announced at Mix '07" game Mobile-ready link. My first Mobile-ready link and third guess have both come to light before the conference. Well, then again, part of that third guess was regarding a user-friendly development/design tool for what is now Silverlight. That one is still possible. I still think a preemptive release of Visual Studio would be somewhat out of place at Mix. Well, I guess we'll have to wait two more weeks to find out for sure.


Visual vs. Textual Requirements

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:29 AM :: 1862 Views :: Patterns & Practices, Requirements :: Digg it!

Tyner Blain Mobile-ready link posted some comments about using use cases vs flow charts for branching Mobile-ready link -- specifically, regarding failure handling.

The first thing I thought was odd is the fact that he used a flow chart. Maybe it's just me, but this should be done with a UML activity diagram. Sure, they both provide the same info in an almost identical format, but I just feel like the standardization of UML is near crucial for requirements management. Again, this is just a small thing.

I'm somewhat confused by the purpose of the post, tho. If you ask me, it's not an either-or situation. I see a need for both. In every use case I create, there's an activity diagram attached. Actually, I put the diagram in the use case specification. Having the visual allows you to briefly run thru the workflow to get the gist of it without having to read all the nitty-gritty details about how it's supposed to work.

Of course, that brings up a good point. Most people under document their use cases, in my opinion. Let me clarify that comment, tho. I, by no means, think a use case should dictate how the system does what it does -- developers need a certain level of creativity in that realm. But, I do think a use case should dictate the workflow and its key business rules. If you ask me, the use case spec should be all a developer needs to get his/her job done. If there are questions after reviewing the spec, then it either wasn't complete or wasn't accurate for one reason or another. Of course, this is completely outside of the realm of concepts like user experience, which I think users should have input on, but not drive. I feel pretty strongly about that, but that's another topic for another time.

The last thing I wanted to mention about the post is the use of 4a, 4a1, 4a2, etc. to document the alternate flows. I've never actually seen this done, but I have to say I don't like it as much as what I've seen, which is to separate alternate flows completely. Of course, this only matters in the textual description of your workflow. The reason I like it separate is because I find it hugely easier to read. This may purely be perspective, tho. I like the idea of reading thru the basic flow and not being interupted by anything. This should provide an end-to-end view of the most common use of the functionality in question. Any big decisions should be left for alternate flows, which reference the basic flow. For instance, in an alternate flow, I would say something like, "This assumes the user has completed steps 1.1 - 1.3 of the basic flow and wants to edit an existing record," assuming the basic flow was to create a new record. Additionally, there would probably be another flow for deleting. For those who like more structured use cases, you can break these out into completely different use cases. It's all up to you. This is yet another one of those simplicity vs. manageability choices.


Microsoft Pushing for Choice in Document Formats

By Michael Flanakin @ 9:33 AM :: 1934 Views :: Technology, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!
Slashdotters never cease to surprise me. The imbeciles are taking Microsoft's move to stop ODF-only madates Mobile-ready link as a move against open standards. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Roles have been reversed in the ODF v. OpenXML war Mobile-ready link. The typical open source community is pushing for a one size fits all answer, when they know their solution doesn't support everyone, while Microsoft is pushing for choice. Completely backwards, I know, but people don't seem to see this. All they see is Microsoft opposing an "open standard." I only have one comment for that, tho: OpenXML is an open standard Mobile-ready link. So, by saying Microsoft is opposing open standards is completely wrong.

Expression Tools on MSDN

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:16 PM :: 1315 Views :: Development, Microsoft, Predictions :: Digg it!
I called it! Mobile-ready link The Expression tools will be available on MSDN Mobile-ready link. I figured this was an easy one to guess, seeing as tho the Expression suite is Microsoft's first attempt at design tools. I have to say that I'm not impressed, but I have faith that future releases will be much better. I still want to play with them more, but just haven't had much time. Nonetheless, I think their availability on MSDN will make them much more likely to be adopted. The only thing I'm wondering now is, what will the big announcement at Mix '07 be? Hmm... There are still a number of things I can think of, but my curiosity is even more piqued given this turn of events.