Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On Microsoft Surface Computing

"It's half arsed, under specced and no, you *can't* buy it" - Sarah

And that kinda sums the entire feeling of underwhelmingness that I got from Microsoft's Surface technology. A vaguely productised rendition of a multitouch surface device aimed at people who can afford $10000 to have it installed.

It feels more like Bill Gates attempt to slap his cock on the table at the D conference today. A Digger nailed it for me...

"Awesome, a touch screen table.
Now if only it could fit in my pocket, hold songs and video, had a phone built in and only cost $499 or $599...." - Fitzfan

And that's the difference between Apple and Microsoft. Apple release consumer products, Microsoft release statements of intent and demos of things which they hope will make a consumer product one day.

Anecdotally, I was playing with the concept of touchable desks back in 1984... We're still not where I was imagining things then...





Monday, May 28, 2007

Beans, real Beans....

Richard Bair's posted about JavaBeans and what makes a real Bean. Food for thought. And no, JavaBeans don't make you do this....





Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Repurposing

[ I'm playing around with getting some oped out of my head, so this is a developing article ]

Adobe, Microsoft and Sun have all rolled out their Web "Rich Application" Platforms. Now that the wraps are off the WRAPs, there's one thing that's obvious. They are all based around repurposing each companies existing platform. Adobe took Flash, gave it a programming language that didn't sit on a timeline and glued it into Eclipse so code developers don't have to step out of their IDE to develop for it. But basically, it's Flash, with a pony tail and sandals and a tool bag. Microsoft took their .Net platform, created a bucket of glue for Python to run on it, called the glue the DLR, and made it web embeddable. Sun took Java, fixed up the long standing issue of Java being a big download, popped a new scripting language on top, and called it JavaFX.

What does the repurposing achieve though? It does establish dynamic scripting languages as a first class platform, rather than its more traditional position as the left-field platform of geeks and hackers. But beyond there, they still have a lot to do. Adobe and Microsoft have delivered not so much open platforms as ajar platforms; they both have open sourced elements to their offerings, but both have proprietary lock-ins, Adobe on the server side (with the Flex platform playing 'best' with Adobe server extensions) and Microsoft on the development tools (Silverlight might run on a Mac, but to develop it you'll be wanting Windows and Visual Studio). Sun have a more open offering but they also have a different problem; over ten years of "Java's too slow, too big" folk analysis is a lot of baggage to take into a fight, a fight which Sun started on back in 1995 when they launched Java.

But there's also another competitor to all these technologies. The repurposing of the browser. Five years ago if you'd said people could drag and zoom maps, work with documents and spreadsheets, drag and drop components and all this in a web browser with no embedded virtual machines or components, folks would have called you a fantasist. And yet that is where we are with the whole host of Ajax related developments. All they miss is the ability to step "outside" the browser, but even then it's not a huge leap to think of using the core of the browser, the rendering canvas as the run time for non-browser applications; just lose the back button and address bar and you have the repurposed browser. What this approach lacks is a big hitting company behind it.

So now we have four approaches in play...

[ to be continued ]



Friday, May 11, 2007

Freaky Friday Idea...

I have this idea, it's like Freaky Friday crossed with Life On Mars but it follows an IT pundit getting swapped with some one else.... It'd start something like this

"My name is Guy Kewney.
I had an accident and woke up at the BBC.
Am I mad, back in time or in a Goma?"

Hmmm... maybe not.




Monday, May 07, 2007

Bestest iTunes Visualizer Evah

Magnetosphere

It actually *reacts* to the music and looks fabulous.

Saturday, May 05, 2007