July 2005 - Posts
It looks like the next version of the Windows client operating system will be called Windows Vista. I think it is safe to assume that this name will only apply to the desktop OS - in other words, the upgrade from Windows XP. I expect the next server product to be Windows Server 2007 or something similarly not consumer-oriented, which is fine by me. Although saying it will take some getting used to, Windows Vista is not a bad name. It's not as baffling as XP, "vista" is a very positive and well-known word (but not overused), it is a bit more approachable than the big cat pattern from Apple (Tiger, Jaguar, etc.), and the metaphor is appropriate for a client OS that is promising a lot of media/visual/eye-candy features. Here's a URL with some details and the announcement video:
Oh, and don't forget to note that beta 1 is scheduled for August 3, which is pretty soon!
I have been a big fan of smart client technology ever since I wrote Tee Time for Golf.NET. Tee Time was a WinForms app that used Web services and provided offline support with local data caching. We didn't know to call it a "smart client" back then... I still think smart clients are fantastic and absolutely the way to go for many types of applications. But a lot of applications have to be Web-based to reach the broadest possible audience. For example, the reporting front-end for a project I have been working on for the past year has to be Web-based since a browser is the closest thing to a common platform across our user base.
I cannot wait to see this previewed at PDC 2005!
Here in Canada the equivalent of Best Buy or Circuit City is Futureshop. Actually, Best Buy owns Futureshop and there are a few (or maybe just one) Best Buy locations in Canada now. But I digress... Point is, I have lost faith in Futureshop to meet my techno-geek needs. A few examples are warranted:
1. I want to wire my new house (yup, I just moved from Moncton to Riverview) with Cat6 cabling and put in a gigabit switch. Guess what? Futureshop in Moncton has no Cat6 cabling and no gigabit switches. On the Web, Futureshop offers a 3 ft Cat6 cable and a couple of gigabit switches. A local Staples by contrast has Cat6 cables in several lengths including 50 ft and gigagbit switches in stock. I still have to go elsewhere to get the box of 1000' of Cat6 that I want, but again I digress...
2. Q: "Hey, Futureshop, how about a 1GB SODIMM for my laptop?" A: "Why would you want a SODIMM that big? 512MB is all you really want."
3. Good luck finding a laptop with a hard disk that spins more than 4200 RPM. I know that the slower disk is adequate and appropriate for a large class of users, but that's all they offer. Frankly, the local Costco offers better laptops than Futureshop. Futureshop has lots to choose from but it's all mediocre home-use stuff. At least at Costco you can get a Tecra.
4. Three iPods sat on display while a magnificent Creative Zen Micro sat hidden at the back of a display case and for the longest time did not even have a shelf sticker with the price. Feature for feature the Zen Micro outclasses the iPod mini (or it did, I haven't checked the updated models), which makes it appel to techno-geeks who will give up some sleekness to gain the best feature list.
Futureshop used to be a "must-visit" place for me when I went to the shopping mall. But no more. Now that once marvelous store has degenerated into Presentshop (Todayshop? Currentshop? whatever...) that appeals more to students, parents, and grandparents on a budget than the techno-geek addict in need of a fix. I no longer feel the pull to go in that I used to experience just walking past the door. I cannot remember the last time anything at Futureshop made me think or say "cool". Have my standards/expectations changed or has the coolness factor been diluted at big box electronics stores as more people get gadgetized?
I have not been getting any good referrals lately for developers so I'm thinking about advertising a position. I've looked into local newspaper advertising but frankly it does not seem very cost effective given the broad audience for such a specific ad (ASP.NET Developer, SQL Server developer/DBA). If you were looking for a dev job in Canada, where would you look? Workopolis.com? Monster.ca? Somewhere else?
Please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks!
Well, the whole MSDN Canada Spring 2005 Tour went really well, IMHO. I had a good time but more importantly I have heard some really positive feedback from people who attended all five talks. I did pretty much all of my demos from scratch - very little pre-written code, which is a bit risky when showing beta software. Fortunately there were very few hiccups. Thanks for the encouragement and thanks for coming out to see WinForms 2.0 and Team System.
We had some great dialogue with developers across the country. Some of you asked questions that we couldn't answer on the spot. If you have not received any answer yet, please follow up by using the Contact page for my blog.
This tour included my first trips to Vancouver and Calgary. Both are really great cities. A big 'thank you' to Richard Campbell for taking us out after the event. We went to Gotham for steaks and some great wine (thanks, Rich). We harassed our server a bit too much about his crumber (actually, his obsessive de-crumbing) so he came out with a handheld vacuum ("dust buster"), which (needless to say) left us speechless. It was great!
While in Vancouver I also picked up an Apple Airport Express based on Bristowe's recommendation. A must-have piece of equipment for hotel stays. I should be flogged for not traveling with one before! I found it at London Drugs along with eye drops and shaving cream...
As for Calgary, two big highlights: Chapters had two copies of my book IN STOCK and Moxie's white chocolate brownie. mmmmm....