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the final day of mts started with some discussion around which is an identity system…but that was actually one of the points up to debate…and hearing the debate, i agree — we usually don’t provide our credit card as an identity, but rather as a set of trusted ‘tokens’ for a specific reason — i can’t remember the actual terms used, but it made more sense than an identity.  it was a good discussion around the technology, what standards are going to be put in place and the direction moving forward.

the mobility team came in to show some devices and talk about the improvements microsoft has made in our mobility platforms.  i personally think we’ve made great strides and having used blackberries (all forms) and other pda devices for quite a long time, i’m pleased with my windows mobile device.  is it the best?  no.  but i don’t think blackberry has everything i want either.  the mobile team brought a suite of devices, including some new ones i hadn’t seen.  there was some very specific feedback given about ui design (wasted screen real estate) and color usage (contrast).  i didn’t agree with these and tried to help understand that it is a matter of configuration.  of course there are defaults, but there is also the ability for a) the provider to customize their build and b) the user has ultimate control.  one attendee asked me on my treo 700w why there was so much wasted space on my contact list and why it wasn’t more streamlined like the blackberry.  i was quick to point out that i configured it that way…i added things i wanted…and quickly changed things back to show that indeed it can be whatever i want — if i wanted a shorter list like the default blackberry…i think it is a matter of education really.

jim gray came to talk to the group about escience.  for those who haven’t seen him, his pretty much a genius…and trying to describe his genius here would be a disservice…check out his site and read some things he works on within the research group.  he was an awesome guest and stayed to have lunch with the attendees and chat:

Jim Gray

after lunch, jack greenfield was here to talk about software factories and some of the work he’s worked on since coming to microsoft.  again, another super smart guy and hard to explain what the discussion was in a blog.  he (and others) literally wrote the book on factories ;-).

there was a brief, but important discussion on openxml and reasons behind making those decisions.  i thought this was intriguing and wished we had more time to talk, but a lot of attendees had to leave for the airport.  one resource i wasn’t aware of was www.openxmldeveloper.org which i thought was cool, check it out.

before he left, brian took me up on the offer that i would trade him hats.  so for a crisp, clean windows vista hat, i traded for his.  gee…i wonder what i’ll do with it ;-).


the week is over and we went to some dinner with some of the attendees and had some great conversation (i thought at least) about eclipse, vstudio extensibility, etc.  i can’t wait to see the feedback from the week.

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so, one of the guys i’ve been talking to at mts is from .  he’s got some clever marketing going on — here’s the most unique business card we saw this week.  since ‘it’s all about tagging’, his card (name/number/email blurred because to protect his spam v-mail/email) is a tag ;-)



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yeah, i know this is weird, so random i had to snap a video.

the restaurant we went to tonight had only one stall in the bathroom…but no worries in the stall were two waiting chairs.

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welcome to mts part 8 :-)

well, day 2 was filled with a bunch of stuff.  here’s some highlights…


what is wpf?  it’s the uncool name for avalon.  there are reasons behind the naming that don box explained to us and it actually made me appreciate it a little bit more…but let’s be real — it still doesn’t zing.

the wpf team showed some really cool stuff with wpf and various aspects of the model, etc.  to me, i’m still struggling finding the core ROI business value behind bubbly buttons, gradients, etc.  i certainly can appreciate the technology being a geek, but the business consultant in me is still (along with our customers i think) trying to understand the value-add to the technology outside of flashy ui.

one business value i see is the wpf/e strategy.  wpf/e (e=everywhere) is our strategy for bringing the wpf infrastructure to the browser and to “other” browsers (read: safari, mozilla/firefox).  yes, that’s right.  there was even a bit more information that wasn’t given clearly at mix but alluded to today.  look at jeff brand’s post for some insight there.  i think wpf/e is a message that needs to be cleared up, and brought to the masses — it is an interesting take on bringing richer clients to cross-platform environments.

ScottGu cometh, and leaveth his mark

first, please understand that the web (and namely asp.net) is my passion.  i love it.  i can’t get enough of it.  i wish i could get paid for just sitting down and coding asp.net concepts all day long.  i’m having a new baby boy soon and i think i may name him “provider” i love it so much.

now, remember, this audience isn’t the typical msft audience.  so while we may have seen scott present this topic before, it was new to some that may not have been exposed to mix, teched, pdc, asp connections, etc.  scott opened up the visual web developer express (free), used sql server express (free) and started walking through the the IDE/framework creating an asp.net application on the fly, with input from the audience.  then scott showed some of the atlas magic that the team has been working on.  then he showed even more atlas energy sauce when he showed the that was released…oh…about 15 minutes before he walked in the door.  then he dropped the bomb about the atlas control toolkit being shared source under the .  you bet that got questions…and positive response.  he mentioned that we’ll be putting the control toolkit on an environment that will enable open source collaboration on the toolkit to grow and adapt to all technologies. (arg, i wish i could share more about this “environment” — uber cool.)

then came and showed iis7.  have you heard iis7 is modular?  one monolithic dll turned into 40 modular components and you use what you want?  yeah, that’s just stealing from apache. well, stealing is a very harsh word.  i really think microsoft (we did this with ie7) is taking a step back and saying, ‘okay, we get it, we were wrong in some areas’ and implementing best practices.  modular pipeline is a best practice that people like and want — we listened (it may have taken some time) and implemented.  bill showed php running on iis7 using asp.net forms authentication and roles.  pretty cool.

so that begged the question from the audience…(paraphrasing):

audience: so visual web developer is free?
scott: yes
audience: asp.net is free?
scott: with windows, yes
audience: sql server express is free?
scott: yes
audience: atlas is free and the control toolkit is free?
scott: yes
audience: and atlas/control toolkit can be used on other platforms? why would we even use yours then if we can get all the magic with your tools and run on php/linux?
scott (massive paraphrasing here, but you get the gist): well, we’d love for you to use our stack, but yes it can.  at the end of the day if our stack isn’t showing value (and we think that the asp.net 2.0 version and efforts around atlas do show value), then we shouldn’t be in business

you get the drift.  it was a good exchange.  i love scott’s demeanor.  he doesn’t come across with any agenda.  it was almost that the audience member was waiting to do an “a-ha! gotcha!” but there wasn’t an opportunity.

later that night, the same audience member continued his amazement (and we further educated him on some other areas) and he stated (again, paraphrasing) that microsoft technologies should be considered when building a new web 2.0 site — something he said he couldn’t believe 3 weeks ago…his perception has changed.  is he going to go out and build his company on asp.net, probably not immediately ;-)

it was a great exchange of information.

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so i was using firefox and just noticed that a popup had occurred in the background saying that it automatically upgraded.  no option.  and i don’t recall that i ever said i wanted auto update — in fact even on windows update i say only download and then i’ll decide if/when i want to update.  this was a bit troubling.

even when i clicked the details link to see the update, it wasn’t updated with the version it just provided?!?!!?!



ai pointed me to this video today, which is quite hilarious…video: