It's public now, so wanted to let everyone know that Tantek Çelik is leaving Microsoft and going to work for Technorati. This is a loss for Microsoft and a major win for Technorati. Tantek did the rendering engine for IE on the Mac, represented Microsoft on the W3C, among other things, during his tenure at Microsoft (some of his more recent work won't be seen until Longhorn ships).
I learned it earlier this week (Tantek IM'd me). Tantek is one of those developers that you just wish you could bottle up and duplicate. I'm happy for him and Technorati, though.
Is the weblogging and RSS world picking up steam? Can you feel it yet?
Cool addon to Map Point that lets you hear driving notifications while using a GPS.
Strongly Typed (Richard Caetano): developers, developers, developers.
"I've really turned sour to vendor hype. I've turned sour to the latest and greatest. And to some degree I've turned sour to the profession of software development. My intuition was telling me to get out…it's going to get bad."
Well, I'm responsible for a lot of hype, sorry about that. But that's not what most of his point is about. Richard's main point is that Microsoft is commoditizing developers.
On that point, yes, we want to make it easier for developers to do their jobs. I've seen demos of Whidbey (next version of Visual Studio) where code for various things is dramatically easier than it is in the current version.
If you look at it one way it looks like your job is either going to become some boring job, or it'll be shipped to some overseas market. I think that's all hogwash.
Did all the good jobs go away when Visual Basic came along? After all, before VB came out developers typed 400 or more lines of code just to draw a simple window on the screen. Now we take it for granted that such an action takes three lines, at most.
I keep running into executives from Silicon Valley who tell me they can't find enough talented guys. For instance, I just went to eBay's site and searched through their jobs. Lots of development jobs.
I bet that NewsGator's Greg Reinacker will be hiring some devs real soon too, since he just got funded. Heck, look at him for inspiration. He saw something that needed to be developed. Did it, landed funding, and now is building a business.
SecretGeek (Leon Bambrick): How Microsoft lost the Joel war.
"The harshest conclusion is that Joel's article is a piece of FUD from a very frightened ISV (Independent Software Vendor), who has decided to try and invent the future."
We did the interview in front of a neat display they have on a hallway up in building 42. It's a global map with pictures of all the participants.
Our future is safe in the hands of these young people. Really amazing people.
Teams from all over the world competed. The best are going to Brazil in a week. I wish I were going.
Tim Oren (a venture capitalist): "the client side is stagnant and investment stays away" and "it is no longer the location of new investment and innovation."
That's not my vision.
Dave Shea, in reaction to Joel Spolsky, says "Web apps are hot."
Hmmm. Clients not important? Web is all?
Problem is, it isn't true. Here, let's take you to the "W" hotel in New York. Have some sushi. See the terminal at the front of the restaurant? It's running a Windows client.
Now, let's go outside in Times Square. See the signs outside? They are running a Windows client.
Let's hop into an elevator. How about the one in the Hilton Hotel. It has an advertising screen. it's running a Windows client. How about the United Airlines terminal screens? They are running a Windows client.
When I was on the airplane from New York to Silicon Valley I counted computers being used on the airline. 23 total. Three were Macs. 20 were Windows. I saw Outlook on eight of them. That's a Windows client. Solitaire on three of them. That's a Windows client. DVD players on four of them. Those are Windows clients. Five others were working in Office apps like Excel or PowerPoint. Some, if you watched long enough, switched into picture apps, or other apps (I was watching Channel9 videos on my Tablet PC, but I won't count myself in this survey).
Are these things less important than the Web? Are they going away? My son was playing videogames on David Weller's AlienWare machine yesterday. You really think Halo is possible using Web technologies?
Now, that all doesn't take away from the fact that the Web is, indeed, hot. But, don't count out the boring old stale Windows client.
The Visual Studio Data team has taken a major step forward in corporate transparency by publishing its bug data. Does it matter for customers/developers? Maybe not on its face (a commenter on the blog says that this is useless info). It is, however, useful as a datapoint to see how real the software is, and how well it's going forward.
Peter Rysavy today was complaining that the Tablet PC team doesn't do exactly this. He wants the Tablet team to explain why a bug he cares about isn't getting fixed (or when it will be).
There will be some messy times as Microsoft moves toward complete transparency. But let's go go go. This is important work and it's an important step to take.
David Weller, my next-door neighbor at work, posted a picture of his 12 machines. He also posted a picture of Mike Rowe meeting Robert Hess. Remember "Mike Rowe Soft?" Oh, we will never forget that one.
Anyway, he visited Microsoft recently and I took him and his dad to the airport and bought him dinner. His dad is an eBay Power Seller (sells DJ equipment). Had lots of fun.
I told Mike he should start a PR company. Why not? He has the world's top press in his IM list. And, he's certainly demonstrated the ability to get a story onto the world-wide stage (his servers were seeing 28 million visits a day at one point -- that's more than all but our most visited sites).
Hey, do you think I could get Microsoft's lawyers to try to shut me down? Nah, better not tempt those guys.
Clemens Vasters: "Just don't try that exposure argument on me, please, Mr. Marketing Droid."
Oh, since I was formerly in the conference business, I've been "Mr. Marketing Droid." Come to think of it, I still am. :-)
Clemens is right. You need to know your speakers and you need to be able to pay enough to get them interested (either that, or you get inexperienced speakers and the quality of your conference goes way down). I usually invited them via phone or IM. Why? Because they'd be able to tell me their objections and I'd be able to negotiate. For European speakers I often was able to get them more money, or something else, to make it worth it.
The conference business is tough. For every super successful one you see, there are five that aren't making money, or are barely breaking even. My usual budget for speakers was $65,000 for a two-day conference. Getting enough attendees is difficult at best.
Olivier Garbe, my former boss, and founder/CEO of Winnov, called me up today and said "hey, I finally read your blog."
But then he said "you gotta check out Smart Corridors."
Turns out Smart Corridors is a network of traffic cameras in Silicon Valley. Well, OK, that's pretty boring. But he said "look closer." So, I clicked on one of the cameras. Whoa. Live video. Even Seattle doesn't have that.
Then he gave me the details. Turns out at major intersections there are four cameras. All connected to a Winnov box. Running Windows, of course. He says that because it's a government job the technology is four years old (Windows Media 6 or so) but that they are working on upgrading the system.
Very cool. The system has been running for more than a year.
Winnov is doing some other cool stuff (they have bleeding-edge videoconference room technology). I'm gonna get a demo on July 4th weekend and I'll write more then.
AlwaysOn reports that Microsoft has the top Fortune 100 Web site.
Engadget: What would Steve Jobs do?
TechWorld: Mac OS X security myth exposed.
Security is an industry problem. It's a problem for all of us. Let's repeat. It's an industry problem. If you're a developer, whether on the Mac, or on Linux, or on Windows, you need to think about security and the threats out there.
OK, I'm drinking a bit of security Koolaid today. I interviewed the guy, Frank Swiderski, who wrote the threat modeling tool.
Alan Meckler: "I admitted my failure with cdXpo. It is hard to admit failure."
Oh, isn't it? I hate failing. But, really, the future of conferences is either company-specific ones or niche ones. Alan has succeeded in the search engine space (Danny Sullivan's conferences have thousands of attendees -- Sullivan's shows are owned by Meckler).
Other conference news? Chris Pirillo decided to close down the open bar and get a little more serious with his Gnomedex conference. I'm speaking on a panel. Steve Wozniak is keynoting. Getting rid of the open bar was a good idea -- companies won't pay for people to attend conferences that list their number one benefit as free alcohol. Gnomedex, for me, is a cool geek gathering. It'll be interesting to see what happens now that it's in a Lake Tahoe Casino.
Back to Comdex. I attended several of them (and helped setup booths at a few. I remember driving nine hours to save Winnov a few thousand dollars).
I won't miss the hour-long cab lines. Or the crowds at every party and restaurant. Things I will miss? The Spencer the Katt party (Leo Laporte, then of TechTV, gave me his tickets). The low priced hotel rooms that went for $300 a night (I stayed in a few that probably rented their rooms by the hour). The GeekFests run by DeeDee Walsh (ask Tena Carter about the time that she almost nailed Bill Gates in the head with a football). Or the walks down the strip late at night (I'll tell you about the hooker some other time. Well, she offered me a two-for-one special for $45).
Personally I stopped being interested in the late 1990s. That's when it died for me. Why? It turned boring. CES was so much sexier. Plus, Vegas finally got enough hotel rooms, so Comdex lost its exclusivity too (it was always fun to brag to your friends when you got a room in a hotel within a 20-minute drive).
What would I do? I don't know. What show am I jealous of missing? I wish I was at eBay's conference that's going on now. Hey, that gives me an idea. Maybe eBay, Sun, Apple, and Microsoft can all move their conferences to Vegas on the same week. Wouldn't that be fun?
James Avery: "does anyone else think the blogs written by inanimate objects are a little strange?"
I do too. How can the .NET show write a blog? Well, easy. The .NET Show is Robert Hess. Hence, Robert Hess has a blog. But it's .NET Show focused. Hmm.
Congrats to Greg Reinacker, founder of NewsGator, for getting venture capital funding. Oh, Joel Spolsky, please note that NewsGator isn't a Web app and is written in .NET. Who said Venture Capitalists weren't funding Windows client software anymore?
Heh. "The net Blogging for Food result: I am permanently immortalized as an idiot on Google, received no page rank whuffie since the original post preceded the rollout of my eWEEK blog, and didn't even get the benefit of a Slashdot traffic spike on the originating eWEEK.com site."
Speaking of ISV's, on Monday we opened a new ISV community center. Lots of stuff for independent software vendors.
My friends over at the ISV Show have put up a new episode. In this episode, we review Microsoft product directions and enterprise messaging partner opportunities with the Exchange Server group. Omniva, a startup that provides secure email and policy management software, describes customer requirements in the messaging compliance space. Mayfield, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist, provides guidance on which areas are more appealing from the venture viewpoint.
Every morning I read Neowin. This site gets lots of rumors. I don't know how they do it. They get stuff I don't even get and I work inside Microsoft. But here they are printing a rumor that Hotmail is going to respond to Google's Gmail by increasing the space that each Hotmail user will have.
I want one of these systems in my car. Runs on Windows XP. As seen on MTV's "Pimp My Ride."
Peter Rysavy: I still like the tablet. But I am all out of love.
I agree with a lot of what Peter is saying. If you don't know who Peter is, he's been one of Tablet PC's strongest supporters online for quite a while now. The Tablet PC is a concept that hasn't broken out yet. For a whole lot of reasons.
That makes writing on screen dramatically nicer for potentially billions of people.