Plip's Weblog

Phil Winstanley - British .NET chap based in Lancashire. Enjoys tea and tech. Working for Microsoft.

December 2010 - Posts

Plip’s Hardware Lineup for 2011

Inspired by Mike Taulty’s hardware lineup 2011 I thought I’d share mine.

As we go into 2011, I’m well and truely an apple fanboi in terms of their hardware. I love Apple kit and have always found it to be really stable. The only issue I’ve ever had is with *spit* iTunes and Apple’s fascist control of how their devices sync. You’ll see that reflected in my hardware below.

As I pointed out in my previous post I’m joining Microsoft as of 2011. Let’s see if that changes my love of Apple hardware. I will be issues with a non Apple Laptop for work I suspect and that’ll be a new one for me!

Car

My favourite gadget of all. My Jaguar XF.

As we speak it’s sitting in a garage having it’s internals taken apart piece by piece as it’s refusing to start, not the best experience! It’s a sexy beautiful car and it’s is SO much fun to drive, powerful, comfortable and not too flashy.

Verdict 9/10. Hold!

Phone

I’ve had an iPhone 3Gs since they came out in the UK and I love it as a device for playing music, tweeting, and generally faffing about. As a phone it’s bloody awful. 

I *love* Spotify and use it all the time on the Phone.

It’s the only phone of the two I have that will connect to my car over Bluetooth, that’s one of the main reasons I don’t use my WP7 device as my main phone.

Verdict 8/10. Hold (Until the WP7 is up to spec).

I mentioned I also have a WP7 device, it’s the LG E-900 Windows Phone 7. The device hardware is very nice, comfortable to hold and without weighing I think it’s lighter than my iPhone.

I had a torrid affair with this phone for a few weeks while I gave it a chance. I missed too much from my iPhone, at the time (November 2010) the apps were somewhat lacking, I missed a GOOD twitter client that handled the tombstoning properly and I was starting to go crazy without Spotify (all my music is streamed, I now don’t have any stored locally) and without a Spotify client for the phone I was musicless, so ended up carrying around my iPhone JUST for Spotify.

There were other issues with the OS that were frustrating me, I didn’t like the way it forced all my MSN contacts into the main phone book nor that it kept dropping the WiFi at my home (every other device is fine with it so it WAS the phone) where I have an atrocious 3G signal.

When the apps are there, the phone has multi tasking and the niggles are sorted in the OS I’m certain I’ll switch wholesale to the WP7 but until then the device can’t compete with my iPhone.

 

Verdict 5/10. Sell (Until WP7 is updated and the Apps are there which make me love it as much as my iPhone).

Music Player

Any device I can run Spotify on, so at the moment all of my computers (running Windows or OSX), my iPhone and my iPad. That goes in the car too, it’s either BBC Radio 4 or a Spotify playlist on the iPhone.

I’ve not bought a single CD since I’ve had Spotify. I was buying on average three to four a month.

 

Spotify Verdict 9/10. Hold. (Especially if they keep on expanding their Library).

 

Slate

I was furious with Apple back in April 2010 they brought in the infamous changed to their licensing agreement putting the future of Monotouch and other platforms running on their hardware at risk. At the time I vowed never to buy Apple hardware again.

Back at Barcamp Blackpool in July 2010 I was surrounded by people using iPad’s and I caved in and went out there and then during the conference and bought a 16GB 3G iPad.

I use the iPad for reading the EXCELLENT Economist and for playing Music via Spotify. I also use Echofon as my twitter client of choice on the iPad. In addition to that I check e-mail and occasionally browse the web. It’s also a great device to have in the living room when friends are over as you can quickly pull up things like Facebook and Flickr and pass the device around.

With travelling lots the iPad has become my travel companion, it’s revolutionised mobile computing for me, I no longer lug a laptop round anywhere – simply pickup my iPad and go.

I swallowed my pride with Apple and I’m glad I did, the iPad was my second best purchase of 2010 (after the Jag).

Verdict 9/10. Hold.

Laptops

I have two Laptops, they’re no longer used unless I’m giving a presentation. I use my iPad now for ALL mobile computing. They both have Windows 7 installed on them, the Air also has OSX Leopard.

Macbook Air

HP nx9420

 

Verdict 3/10. Sell. They’re good machines, they just don’t fit my work/life style now since the iPad came along.

 

Desktop

I’ve had a 24” iMac for a few years now and I love the beast. It’s not super powerful but it does EVEYTHING I need and more. It’s a beautiful device.

I dumped the Apple keyboard and mouse as they’re about as fun to use as a condom with a tear in it at a syphilis sufferers conference. I use a Logitech Wireless keyboard and mouse and have an old Dell Monitor plugged in as a second display.

I’m running Windows 7 Ultimate on the machine and it’s where I do all of my development work.

If I’m doing video editing (2-3 times a year) I switch into OSX and use Final Cut Express 4.

Verdict 8/10. Hold.

Home Media Player

Admittedly I’ve not used this in a year as I’ve not brought myself to buy a new TV which I can plug into the Mac Mini through HDMI. In my previous place I had a Mac Mini plugged into a TV running XBMC and Spotify – great setup and I’ll be resurrecting this in the next few weeks when I buy a new TV.

 

Verdict 10/10. Hold.

Printer

I have a Wireless HP Photosmart Premium 309a which is absolutely brilliant although the ink is bloody expensive Smile

It rarely screws up and it’s great for wirelessly scanning etc.

The iPad doesn’t support it which is a shame, but other than that it’s a great printer and was well worth the cash.

Verdict 8/10. Hold.

Bye bye MVP Status. 2011 and beyond

Back in 2005, spurred on by the examples of independent, strong, smart people within this community I decided to break the shackles of permanent employment and hit out on my own. This saw me building what’s proved to be a very successful career and business which I’ve loved to bits. 2011 will be a big change for me and my life, the largest in about five years (which whilst it might not sound like much is proportionally a lot of my life! ).

From January I’ll be joining Microsoft. 

What I’ll be doing is joining the Services division here in the UK as an Application Development Manager.

Role Purpose

The purpose of the ADM is to provide our customers access to a wide range of product and application development expertise to help software developers accelerate the development cycle and produce successful applications. This can be accomplished by direct collaboration or by facilitating access to other resources within Microsoft.

By maintaining a long-term relationship with their customers, an ADM becomes intimately familiar with the customers’ development environment. The technical tasks performed in this role include general “how-to” strategic advice, solution architecture assessments, workshops, prototyping, application design reviews, performance benchmarking, code reviews, porting/migration assistance, configuration management and general development consulting.

The ADM gains an understanding of their customers' development organizations' impact on overall business, their development goals, and their pain points - which is used by the ADM to ensure their customers' success with developing on Microsoft products.

While the ADM is assigned as the primary contact for the development efforts of a company, the ADM may leverage other ADMs or even other groups within Microsoft to provide the best service possible, especially if escalation services are necessary. The ADM acts as the escalation manager to bring in appropriate technical expertise (primarily Customer Services and Support) to manage incidents to resolution. The ADM follows up to ensure either product improvement within Microsoft or appropriate development skills are built within the customer's development environment.

Team/Department Mission

Microsoft Application Development Managers (ADMs) strive to be the best in software development. Working with cutting edge technologies we play a pivotal role in the delivery of industry leading solutions within the UK’s most prestigious enterprise organisations and software houses.

This is high value technology consultancy. We generate great customer satisfaction from our long term engagement model.  This gives our customers the confidence to allow us to become their trusted advisors helping to architect, design and implement their solutions.

Key Accountabilities

• Work with key UK customers to provide innovative solutions to their development problems, helping to architect, design, implement and test solutions throughout the development cycle.

• Build an on-going trusted relationship with customers by improving their development processes and deliverables.

• Delight customers with your technical breadth knowledge, demonstrating a willingness to engage and work with other resources to solve difficult technical challenges.

• Transfer knowledge to customers through effective communication and engagement style

• Liaise with internal Microsoft communities (such as our development teams in the USA) to represent the interest of customers and drive product improvements

• Remain technically competent in a broad range of Microsoft products and technologies

• Support your peers though deliverables into internal and customer engagements, contributing to an environment for learning and creativity, contributing to others’ success.

There’s a little marketing blurb here: -

http://www.microsoft.com/microsoftservices/en/uk/adc.aspx

Sadly I’ll not be able to make it to the MVP summit as an MVP any more as the status gets taken off me pretty rapidly, evidently awarding one’s own employee’s is seen as cheating, who’d have thought it?

I will continue to be involved with the ASP Insiders & work closely with the Web Platform and Tools Team, not only because of what they all mean to me both personally and professionally but also because it’ll be a big part of my job to help connect experts, and what group is better than those guys to find experts.

Some of you know I’m involved heavily in DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper and the UK Community, this will continue and if anything should increase. The guys and gals that I work with over here won’t let me go so I’ll be pushing that both within my role and outside of it as I always have. It’s VITAL to me that DDD stays independent of Microsoft as that’s it’s true strength – that check and balance.

Products and Projects worked on by my business’ will be handed over to the loving care of others so that they can continue to be worked on and serviced. This is all very woolly at the moment and when there’s more concrete information I’ll announce it.

Thanks everyone for your support over the years and I look forward to working with you in 2011 and beyond.

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