Nerdy tidbits from my life as a software engineer

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Random Weekend Thoughts

I’ve been rather busy at work, but have accumulated a number of thoughts over the last few months that I figured I’d share:

1. For a software engineer, I know remarkably little about ANAMES, CNAMES, and other DNS related items.  Hence, when the blog went down about one week ago, I was unable to diagnose it.  And my resolution was to give up.  Forget it. now just forwards to  Because it’s easier this way – and because, frankly, Yahoo’s domain hosting is terrible and blogger’s domain hosting help section is absolutely useless when it comes to setting up domains and resolving issues.  My advice is to use anybody else.

2. Bing is better.  Yes I’m biased, but it’s still better.  There is a palpable excitement within Microsoft after the Bing launch.  It’s fun to be a part of that.

3. On the heels of my last rant, a few things have occurred to me.  First, one big reason people like thin clients such as web pages is because the number of alternatives right now is low.  There are no rich clients that connect to the cloud and do things like Facebook or Twitter do.  If there were, then people would prefer the rich client because it would be superior to the webpage in every way.  Second, I am increasingly convinced that we have reached the end of what’s possible with HTML and JavaScript.  There’s just not much more room for improvement.  Google docs will never surpass Excel because, frankly, the technology is too limiting.  And lastly, even if there were a bunch of killer cloud-based Windows applications that were superior to web pages, people would need a trivial way to a) find them and b) run them.  Which is why we need a click-once application store for windows applications.  Apple has shown that the appstore model is a good one.  It makes it easy for people to find fun applications to run.  Windows needs something similar.

4. We need to give people a reason to want more powerful computers.  If you’re browsing the internet, your 6 year old Athlon 1.4 GHz computer from 2003 will be fine.  Having a library of rich, cloud-based applications will spur demand for faster machines (a 3D WPF-based Facebook app would be awesome!).

5. Why is it so hard to find small laptops with high screen resolutions?  Who wants a 16” screen with 1280x800 resolution?

6. I love my XBox, but mostly because Nintendo is unable to publish enough games themselves to keep a gamer busy.  Why is it that every time I go to Gamestop, the entire Wii wall is filled with games for 9 year old girls?  Clearly there are adults who own Wii’s.  Why isn’t anybody developing games for them?

7. What crazy company would ever ship competitors’ products with their own?  Imagine if Toyota gave you a “ballot” when you bought a car from them, from which you could “vote” on which car stereo you preferred – a Toyota stereo, or an after-market brand?  No, this insanity makes no sense to anybody.  That the EU is complaining about the browserless Windows 7 solution is an admission that, yes, a web browser is an integral part of the operating system.  Which makes the whole bundling argument rather weak.  But ship competitors products with your own?  Forget it.  I’d rather ship nothing.


Anonymous said...

1. DNS is fun. (Especially when you don't completely understand it.) You eventually get to a "set it and forget it" state... maybe ;)

2. I haven't spent much time with Bing yet. Although I am growing a little tired of google. Mostly in the sharing of data with other partners.

3. Interesting thought. I myself have always preferred a rich desktop app to a web app or other thin client. Funny you mention the Excel. Our company was just evaluating google cloud/apps/etc. you wouldn't believe the compromises the intend you to make. If they would just own up and say it's nice for a small group of people with no infrastructure it would be marginally ok. Selling it as an enterprise solution is laughable at best! -- Regarding apple. I think its amazing what apple did with the app store. Since its release, my -friends- somehow think that apple invented software distribution. Apple continues to impress me on the "fool people into following you with shiny hardware" market. Too bad that market seems to be everyone I talk to lately. (p.s. i have an iPhone and I can't wait to toss it for the HTC Touch Pro2(winmo)).

4. I agree. As an old PC gamer I had at least that drive. Maybe we need a 3D WPF dashboard social network aggregator thingy. Where you can drag cool 3D models of posts from facebook to twitter etc... Something along the lines of minority report.

5. Hmm, I still refuse to buy a laptop. I just borrow my wife's. (like right now).

6. I bought a 360 to join the XNA dev community. I'll have to file that right behind the WPF app above though, too much time trying to get 5 c++ devs to learn WPF/c#/TFS/and stop using VC++ 6.0

7. I've stopped complaining about that issue. (and it's previous related issues). It gets me accused of being an MS insider;)

Michael J. Braude said...

I thought I had my DNS settings in a set-it-and-forget it state...until somebody changed an IP address and everything got rearranged. So now I give up. But thanks for the comments!

Nik Radford said...

"Which is why we need a click-once application store for windows applications. Apple has shown that the appstore model is a good one. It makes it easy for people to find fun applications to run. Windows needs something similar."

Funny I had the exact same conclusion what windows was missing for the average user.

It started off as "Why do non IT people find Mac's more enjoyable" and came to the conclusion that out of the box you can do so much more with a mac, and find those things much easier (as they are already installed and sit pretty obvious on the launch bar) however, MS having to contend with the EU anti-competition laws can't really do this. So what users really need is an really easy way to discover new applications. The conclusion was the "windows app store" Where developers (both MS and Third Party) can submit software under categories and/or tags. Where users can pay through (or download free if the software is free) through the store. (Whether MS would host the software or it would forward through to some hosting by the party who holds the software (latter being preferable) is a implementation concern).

That would be great, especially if users can rate, comment on, review etc etc. (stackoverflow like rating system perhaps?) It would get developers works more visibility, and it would provide an one stop shop for downloadable windows software. Win Win I say.

Krish said...

5. Isn't this a graphics card problem? Maybe you can customize the laptop you are buying, if you are doing it online

Anonymous said...

> We need to give people a reason to want more powerful computers.

Explain why.

Michael J. Braude said...

@Krish - The issue is that the manufacturers make these laptops with very low native resolutions. The video cards shipped with laptops could probably support higher resolutions if the screens they were hooked up to supported them.

@Anonymous - I just think it's a waste for us to have these crazy-powerful computer chips that are idling around doing nothing, when there is so much potential for us to use this power to create compelling experiences for people. But instead, we are trending towards simpler applications and simpler experiences that use less processing power. I just think that we're going on the wrong direction.

Green said...

Microsoft has had a series of layoffs and this author still has a job there... Wow! The thinking process in this article is the same reason Microsoft built Vista (building Software to specs you want users to have rather than what they actual have.) We all know what happen. This author's article about not wanting to be a Web developer had a good title but content so stupid that the author just seem to wante attention- like a baby. This guy is a joke and a waste of time. I am only writting this to help warn you.

Nathan Long said...

"I am increasingly convinced that we have reached the end of what’s possible with HTML and JavaScript. There’s just not much more room for improvement."

On the contrary, I think the technology is in its infancy. The newest generation of browsers can run more powerful javascript than ever, and things like canvas and embedded video and 3d acceleration in the browser are going to make amazing things possible.

Note: try viewing this stuff in Chrome vs Firefox vs IE, and you'll understand why the browser wars are still raging.

Marcos Eliziário said...

7. Well. Why EU is not going after apple also?
I mean, safari comes bundled with Leopard.
Not sure, I've been using linux for a long time, so I've made my share of jokes about microsoft. But to me EU is clearly biased when it comes to Microsoft.
Do they think that Opera will take over the world by acting this way?