Articles from Microsoft

Microsoft += RIM?? Doubt It

By Michael Flanakin @ 12:36 PM :: 1470 Views :: Technology, Microsoft :: Digg it!

Blackberry Storm

I'm not sure I can buy into this, but supposedly, Microsoft is in talks with RIM (owner of Blackberry) for a potential buy-out. I have to assume this would be riddled with regulatory issues, considering both companies are in the phone business. The key difference is that Microsoft doesn't deal with operations and RIM does. I wouldn't be suprised if there was a 3-way deal, where Microsoft got the device and software and some third party got the operations side of it. I don't know much (read: anything) about their ops, but I'd have to imagine any provider would love this deal.

Hindsight on Foresight

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:21 PM :: 2200 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions :: Digg it!

Zune 120

Nothing new here. After reading another tidbit on the latest 120 GB Zunes, I remembered an old post I had. Not that big of a deal, but I thought it was interesting to see my prediction come to light.

Retrospectiva en Previsión

En Español

No hay nada nuevo aquí. Después de leer otro comentario acerca de la 120 GB Zunes, me acordé un puesto que escribí. El puesto no es muy importante, pero pensé que era interesante que mi predicción se hizo realidad.

Want to Buy Surface?

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:24 AM :: 1403 Views :: Technology, Microsoft :: Digg it!


Microsoft has officially posted a Surface order form. Not quite the user friendly experience I had hoped for, but I can't say I'm surprised. The order form is split into three sections: commercial hardware, development hardware and software, and services, which includes installation, maintenance, warranty, and shipping costs.

  • Commercial Hardware: $12,500
  • Development Hardware & Software: $15,000

I have to say I was surprised to see the dev version being more than the unit itself. I guess I say this because I heard there are local development tools you'll install on a development machine, not a Surface machine. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. It'll be interesting to see if/how this takes off. I did get to play with a unit last month, but haven't had a chance to really post my thoughts. They're popping up all over the place, tho, so I think more and more people will be getting a chance to play with them.

Speaking of which, if you're in the San Jose area and/or plan on going to the IDesign WCF Master Class in October, I will most likely be showing it to some people then. That's assuming the unit is still there, but I'm sure it will be. I just hope they put some more apps on it. It'd be nice to see something new.

To summarize my experience on it, I'd say that it was nice, but there's still something left to be desired. There's a lot of potential, tho. One of the biggest things is going to be showing people how they can use it. Some people have the vision it takes to see how this will enhance their apps, but others need to see something a little closer to what they're doing to get that understanding. I do think this is going to be a great platform, tho. We just need to see lower costs, a great (not good, but great) API, and a more accessible API. If this remains a niche, I don't see it going far. This is something Microsoft needs to make every developer feel like s/he has access to. Unfortunately, that may take ~3-5 years.

Testing Custom Code Analysis Rules

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:55 AM :: 2281 Views :: .NET, Development, Microsoft, Predictions, Tools/Utilities :: Digg it!

Microsoft .NET

Over the years, I've been asked to put together coding standards again and again. The nice thing about this is that it enables me to pull out the old docs and touch them up a little. A year or two ago, I heard something that made a lot of sense: developers never really read coding standards and, even if they do, they don't usually adopt them. Let's face it, if you don't adopt a standard as your own, you're not going to use it. The only way to ensure the standard is applied is to catch the problem before it gets checked in. I tried a VS add-in that attempted to do this as you type, but it wasn't quite as extensive as I want, but I grabbed onto the concept. For the past year, I've been wanting to start this and have finally decided to do it.

As I sat down and started to investigate writing custom code analysis rules, I asked myself how I was going to validate them. After hacking away at one approach after another, I started to realize I wasn't going to get very far. Apparently, with the latest releases of Visual Studio and FxCop, there's no way to create the objects used to represent code. After talking to the product team, the official position seems to be that, since custom rules aren't "officially supported," they're not going to support their testability. I'm not sure who made this decision, but I think it's a bad one. Of course, I say this without knowing their plans. Well, not completely, anyway.

It's not all bad news, however. It turns out there are hopes to start officially supporting custom code analysis rules in the next major release, Visual Studio 10. Nothing's being promised at this point, it's just something the team would like to deliver. I should also say that the upcoming Rosario release isn't the major release I'm referring to. I'm expecting Rosario to be a 9.1 release that will probably hit the streets in early 2009. That's a guess, tho. If that's true, the VS 10 release probably wouldn't be until 2011. All I can really say about it is that it'll be a very exciting release. I can't wait to get my hands on a beta. Speaking of which, some of the goals they have for the product will make beta testing much much easier... I'm talking about a hugely evolutionary change, if not revolutionary, considering where the product is today. That's all I can really say, tho.

Back to the point, since there's no realy testability of the code analysis framework, I decided to create my own object model. The part I'm missing, obviously, is the factory logic that converts code analysis types to my types. I'm hesitant about this approach, but it's working so far. Hopefully, I'll have something to deliver soon. I keep bouncing around, tho, so at this point, I want to deliver a release with only naming conventions. That release is mostly complete, I just need to get approval for a distribution mechanism. If I don't get that soon, I'll just release it on my site.

So Long, Click to Activate

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:27 AM :: 2310 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, En Español :: Digg it!

Internet Explorer: now with more sexy!

At long last the "click to activate" message will be going away in IE. This was brought about because of a much debated lawsuit Eolas filed against Microsoft for patent infringement. Despite having support from the W3C to prove prior art, Microsoft still lost and had to change IE and pay millions to the company. These things are ridiculous. I'm not against software patents, but stuff like this annoys me. Seriously, how long was IE around with ActiveX before Eolas filed the lawsuit in 2004? It's not like the browser just snuck up on everyone. Anyway, I'm glad to see it go. Good riddance. Now IE is that much more sexy

El Titulo en Español

En Español

Finalmente, el "clic para activar" mensaje de IE desaparecerá. El mensaje fue creado porque el mucho discutió pleito de Eolas contra Microsoft para el incumplimiento de patente. A pesar de tener ayuda del W3C para probar arte anterior, Microsoft perdió y tuvo que cambiar el IE y pagar millones. Estas cosas son ridículas. No soy contra patentes de programas de computadoras, pero la situación me molesta. ¿Cuantos años IE tiene con ActiveX antes del pleito de Eolas en 2004? IE no hizo furtivamente para arriba en cada uno. Estoy alegre verlo ir. Buena liberación. Ahora el IE es que mucho más atractivo

Latest on Windows 7

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:24 AM :: 2152 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions :: Digg it!

Windows 7

There's been a lot that's come out regarding the next version of Windows, code-named Windows 7. Let me try to summarize what I've seen...

When it Will Release

First, let me touch on the release date, since that's been heavily debated. The initial speculation was that Windows 7 would be released in 2010. Later, rumors of a 2009 release cropped up. It wasn't too long until Microsoft released comments stating that Windows 7 would take three years to develop. Speculation from the field translated this to 2011 release. Of course, that was coupled with some doubt. As if that wasn't enough, Bill Gates recently stated that the team is targeting first quarter 2010. I'm sure the Windows team is slapping their heads wondering why he shared this, but it's too late, now. I believe the team has been purposefully quiet about the release for two reasons: (1) to ensure the release was on time; and, (2) to lessen the impact on Vista sales. I don't blame them. If you ask me, I think we'll be looking at an early 2010 release with hopes that it'll be ready in 2009. Of course, I have nothing to back that up, so it's merely a blind prediction.

How it Will Release

Microsoft has had a vision of releasing components of Windows independently for the past 6+ years. This was mainly related to the server operating system, but it's still a great feature for the client. With the software+services push, some are speculating there will be a piece-meal release methodology. I don't expect us to see this with Windows 7, but it's coming. There have also been rumors of subscriptions, which is another area Microsoft has been interested in for years. In my mind, this is more of an issue with society, than Microsoft. If the community would grasp the concept, Microsoft would definitely go there. I don't know if we'll see that in the next release or not, but it's another thing I see coming eventually.

What it Will Include

A while back, there were some hints to what was going to be included in Windows 7, but it now lookse the release is picking up a new set of pillars focused on design and usability: specialized for laptops, designed for services, personalized computing, optimized for entertainment, and engineered for ease of ownership.Taking it all in, the core concepts seem to be around ease of use, connected computing, and security -- pretty much taking the next step after Vista. I see this being evolutionary, as opposed to the revolutionary version of Windows I hoped this was going to be. I guess I can hold onto those hopes for the next release.

With an increasingly mobile workforce and consumer population, tuning the OS for laptops is going to be a big win. With this, they'll be looking at data security, responsiveness, touch/tablet interfaces, wireless connectivity, "on demand" access to all your information, and power management. Most of these are pretty obvious. The only one I had to take a second look at was "on demand" access. This is basically about either storing your information in the cloud or ensuring access to it, no matter where it may live. Windows Live is how we're going to get there. This pretty much says that Windows 7 will definitely have some Windows Live integration. I can already see the EU beckoning for "justice."

With the "on demand" component of the last pillar, we have a good transition into the second, designed for services. This one's obvious as well. Windows will focus on remaining up-to-date (as in with patches), worry-free upgrades, Windows online , help and community, family-friendly web experience, gadgets, and in-box application improvements. We already have most of what's here. I think the pillar is mostly about providing a more integrated experience. I am curious how Microsoft plans to achieve "worry-free upgrades." That's going a long way. Apple has that today, so it's not entirely out of the question, but I think Apple gets it thru customer confidence, not by technical prowess. Lastly, I'm interested in the application improvements. I've been using custom apps like Notepad2 and Paint.NET for a while now and it'd be nice to have something better than what was delivered in Windows 95 built-in. I heard about upgrades to these apps last year, but haven't seen what's come of that. The AeroExperience website posted these images. I hope this isn't it, tho. This is a bit minimal.

Calculator in Windows 7 Paint in Windows 7

Personalized computing is something that will really bring Windows back to the consumer. To achieve this, Microsoft will target customization, internationalization, access anywhere, secure roaming, and home network management. Again, these are pretty self-explanatory.

The next pillar is about high definition graphics, media streaming, better playback, TV on Windows, and audio improvements. This is another area that is pretty much just enhancing what we already have today. I'm mostly interested in the TV on Windows scenario. This is already available, but very limited today. I consider this to be part of the Media Center vision, but Microsoft seems to have a few different products in the area. I hope there will be some consolidation here, but that may not make complete sense.

The last pillar is about ownership. Microsoft will put a strong emphasis on diagnostics and data recovery, lessening the fear of new applications by decreasing the need for administrative access, improved upgrade experience, administrative productivity and security enhancements, devices that "just work," quick/clean out-of-the-box experience, reduced management time/cost, and improved data security. We've seen a lot of improvements in this area with Vista and there's still some room to grow. If you haven't jumped on-board with Vista, you're in for a vastly improved experience and it looks like Windows 7 will be even better.

Microsoft Boy

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:34 AM :: 2612 Views :: Other , Microsoft, En Español :: Digg it!

Microsoft Boy

This parody came out a while ago, but it's too funny to pass up. I haven't seen it linked to much, so maybe you haven't seen it. It's the story of a day in the life of what a Microsoft marketeer must have been like as a school boy.

Muchacho de Microsoft

En Español

Este parodiar fue fijado hace un rato, pero es demasiado divertido sin mencionar. No he visto a demasiada gente el hablar de él, usted no lo he visto tan quizá. Es la historia de un día en la vida de un vendedor de Microsoft como muchacho de escuela.

Surface in the Home

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:20 PM :: 2105 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions, En Español :: Digg it!

Microsoft Surface

I'm excited about Surface, that's for sure. Powered by WPF, it's a great platform for some very cool apps. Despite the fact that other vendors are looking to dig into the space, nothing has really happened since Surface was initially announced. Things may be changing, tho. There's been a huge demand from the field and apparently Microsoft is looking to release Surface to consumers sooner than the 5 year estimate initially estimated. I can't say I'm surprised, but what that will really mean isn't very clear. If I had to guess, I'd say the first consumer version of Surface would arrive in 2010. The biggest blocker to getting it out sooner is the cost of hardware necessary to produce the large-scale graphics and touch capabilities.

Surface en la Casa

En Español

Me excitan sobre Surface. Accionado por WPF, es una gran plataforma para algunos aplicaciones muy buenos. A pesar de que se busquen otros proveedores para cavar en el espacio, en realidad nada ha ocurrido desde que se anunció Surface inicialmente. Cosas pueden estar cambiando. Hay una gran demanda y aparentemente Microsoft puede publicar Surface a consumidores antes que la estimación de 5 años. Estoy no se sorprenda, pero el mensaje no es muy claro. Si tuvieran que adivinar, diría que la primera versión de consumidor de superficie llegarán en 2010. El Bloqueador de elementos más importante para conseguir fuera antes es el costo del hardware necesario para generar los gráficos a gran escala y tocar las capacidades.

Microsoft and Subscription-Based PC's

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:31 AM :: 1922 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, En Español :: Digg it!

Microsoft's subscription-based PCs of the future

As part of its Unlimited Potential program, Microsoft is starting to offer subscription-based PC's in Russia. PC subscriptions aren't anything new, but they never seemed to pick up. I believe this is the first time Microsoft has joined the game, tho. The only reason this interests me is because I'm hoping Microsoft will get into the PC hardware business. Quality hardware is the one key differentiator between Microsoft and Apple, as far as I see it.

Microsoft y Computadoras de Suscripciones

En Español

Como parte de su programa Potencial Ilimitado, Microsoft está comenzado a ofrecer computadoras de suscripciones en Russia. Las suscripciones de las computadoras no son cualquier cosa nueva, sino que nunca parecían ser acertadas. Creo que es esto el primera vez que Microsoft ha hecho, aunque. La única razón que ésta me interesa es porque estoy esperando que Microsoft conseguirá en el negocio del hardware de las computadoras. El hardware de la calidad es el un diferenciador dominante entre Microsoft y Apple. Un poco dudo veamos mucha tracción, pero mantendré mis dedos cruzados.

Improving Standards Compliance in IE

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:15 AM :: 1386 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions :: Digg it!

IE8 Beta

I wrote this a month ago, so it may seem a little out of date. I figured I'd go ahead and post it anyway. If you haven't been following IE8 much, it'll still seem like new

Standards compliance has never really caught on with the vast majority of web developers. Since Firefox hit the streets, more developers have started to pay attention to the ideals behind web standards, but they still don't seem to be doing the work to achieve compliance. Admittedly, a lot of the problems were brought on by IE's acceptance of bad practices, but the root of the problem truly lies with developers. IE7 resolved a number of standards compliance issues, but unfortunately, it broke a number of sites built specifically for IE6 at the same time. IE8 tries to resolve this problem. Today, we can opt-in to standards by specifying a DOCTYPE, which indicates what version of what standard the developer intends for a page. The problem is that no browser to date implements any standard completely, so there's still a chance your page will render differently in browsers that "support" the desired standard. IE8 fixes this problem. How? By allowing developers to write pages for specific rendering engines (i.e. IE6, IE7, IE8, FF2, or FF3). I love this idea, for obvious reasons.

With IE8 and Firefox 3 both passing the Acid2 test and Acid3 on its way, I think we're in very good standing. While I don't expect huge leaps and bounds between IE8 and 9, I think we're well on our way to some form of nirvana on the web. Hopefully, IE9 will come in the Win7 time frame, which I expect to be in 2009 or 10.