Thursday, July 24, 2008

MS Bob Lives!!

lol, Frank just linked this up on twitter.. Long Live Bob!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Windows 7 Wish List

I read an article this morning (can't remember exactly where) that had a wish list for windows 7.. This list included things like Minwin, UI changes, diagnostic tools etc.. While I liked some of them, I tend to think that some of the items didn't really appeal to the geek in me.. And too be honest, I think windows appealing to geeks is important.. They help to drive adoption in the industry.. So, I thought I'd throw out a list of things I'd like to see:

  • Express Development tools as part of the install
  • A decent graphics package
  • A serious Voip package
  • Serious Support for Multiple desktops
  • Diagnostic tools, memory checker etc..

Now, I understand that Microsoft are actually in a bit of a pickle as far as some of these are concerned. I'm sure they'd love to include lots of things, but may be restricted due to Anti-Trust type things.. So, my proposal is this, a package manager like what's available in most linux distros.. Make it easy to download tools from Microsoft, they don't have to be included in the OS, just easy to get.

Now, once again, this could still cause problems. I suspect the Package Manager will still have to include links to 3rd party apps. This though shouldn't be a big problem. Allow companies to easily register their products, and provide easy categorisation. Allow users to choose apps to install by category and popularity. By default only provide the 5 most popular items for a given category..

Now this system is likely to also require some sort of payment system, but I'm sure this wouldn't be too hard. It's about making people life easier, and as a geek, this really appeals to me.

Anyway, that's my little list of what I think would help windows re-capture some of the "geek" kudos.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I was away for a bit...

Well, it seems that in my time away (and the quick cleanup of my email account) that I missed out on something. It seems that the old AusDotNet mailing list has been replaced. The new one is here.. I've just re-subscribed, I guess I'll see soon if this new one works :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Purple Monkey Dishwasher

Back when I was little, we used to play a game called "Chinese whispers". I'm sure you know the game, everybody sits in a circle and someone starts whispering a message into another persons ear. This message then gets relayed to the next person and so on until the message finally gets back to the last person. Quite often, by the time the last person received the message, it was garbled, changed, lost information or had new information added. This happened consistently even when the message was very simple (hey, we were only kids..)..

For me, I learned that the more people who are involved in a chain of communications, the higher the risk of information being incorrect when it reaches it's target.

Unfortunately, I still see this type of thing happening in my day to day work. It's not uncommon for developers to be 3-4 times removed from the users of a system. Now what makes this worse is that the information being passed around tends to be a lot more complicated than when we were we little kids. Complicated business requirements, processes, legal requirements. None of this is particularly easy on the best of days, but after it's been through the process, it's almost guaranteed to be incorrect when it gets to the developer. The only question is how incorrect.

Now, don't try and read behind the lines here for any hidden messages about Business Analysts, expert users etc.. There is none of that. They are all an important part of the process. So is keeping the developers in the loop on communications. There are a hundred different ways to do this, from the simple CC on an email through to using forums for all requirements gathering etc.

Think about the Chinese whispers situation at your work and see if you can't do something to help the message get to the developers in a clearer way.

*Yes, the title is a classic line from the Simpson's where a message was passed through a crowd at a protest rally. The message made it to the Edna, complete with Purple Monkey Dishwasher at the end. "We'll show them, especially for the Purple Monkey Dishwasher comment!"

My GMail Account...

A long time ago, I signed up for Gmail beta.. I honestly thought it was the best thing since sliced cheese.. Around that time, I was signed up for the AusDotNet mailing list at work, and decided to move my subscription across to Gmail. Not long after, work banned all web mail. Gmail included.

For some time after that, I managed to keep track of everything at home, then later on my mobile phone. By this stage, I had also subscribed to SQLDownUnder. The amount of email pouring in was huge. I got a little behind with my reading and before I new it, the amount of emails were just too much to keep up with using the poor mobile interface for Gmail. I stopped checking this account.

Just today, I got a bright idea.. I'll check this account, clear it out and start using it again.. I thought that maybe the interface had improved... And, for the most part it has. It's way better than it used to be. The problem, it still doesn't have any easy ways to deal with large amounts of data. There are all the normal features like a delete button and the ability to mark items as read. Cool... Except I have 1972 emails that need to either be deleted or marked as read.

What I want (and this applies to live mail as well) is the ability to say "Mark all emails read" without having to select them in the Mobile interfaces. I can do this for my junk mail, so why not my normal mail??

Anyway, back to it, only 99 pages of email to clear from my mobile :)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A little Tip

Just remember boys and girls, to setup impersonation before you call ChannelFactory.CreateChannel otherwise your impersonation won't work... Also, another little tip.. Regardless of when you revert the impersonation back to the original identity, the open channel will still be impersonating!!

Mobile Live Blues..

It seems as though there has been a recent breaking change with Live Mail. See, from work, I usually keep track of my live (hotmail) emails from my mobile device (i-Mate JasJam) running WM6. Unfortunately, sometime over the last week, Live Mail no longer detects my phone as a mobile device and attempts to load the full version for IE.. As you can imagine, this does cause a problem.

So, for now, I just have to make sure I specifically head over to and then click on the Mail link from there.

Oh yeah.. I also have another small little gripe.. Accessing sites on a mobile device, I generally have to pay for all my data downloads, and for anybody else in Oz, they would know that it's fairly expensive. Another feature of Mobile Live that I'm less than impressed with is the Ad Banners.. Screen real estate is limited AND data data is expensive.... Not happy Jan!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

The New Hermit Crabs on the Block

As a father, I often get to learn a lot about things that I normally wouldn't kow anything about. Over the weekend however, after a trip to the local pet shop, I discovered something that has left me somewhat changed.

Before I tell you what I know know, let me set the scene.. See, my sister and her kids once had several pet hermit crabs. These hermit crabs were kept in their little tank, and just kind of lay around, occasionally moving around the tank and not really doing much else. Occasionally they would be given a few new shells that better matched their size. The problem was, they were all plain old boring crab shells. Sure, they did vary in size and shape a little, but apart from that, there was really nothing that made one crab stand out from the next. Those poor little boring crabs...

Enter the new range of designer hermit crab shells!!! All the newest crabs on the cat walks are wearing them...

All I can say is I'm shocked.. and changed forever!!