Thursday, December 15, 2005


In the last week, I've started using the new and improved mail clients from both Microsoft and Yahoo. Needless to say, about freakin' time, y'all!

The Microsoft offering is part of the new Live-branded services which are pretty fantastic in my book. Definitely the elegant and outstanding interfaces I have to come to know and love from Microsoft. They screw up enough stuff, but they sure know how to do usability. As is typical, there are things you don't expect to like because they don't seem to make sense and then you finally realize that they actually work great and it's just what you never knew you always wanted!

Kudos on the simple, clean interface. The faq says it's deliberate while they figure out what it's ultimately going to look like. So double-kudos on the PM who finally grew a pair and realized there is a reason they call it Beta! You can release software early, and we will be very grateful and love you for it. It makes us happy. Now go tell the other groups that. More releases, more often. Even if you break stuff and it kindda sucks at first. Let people get the smokin' hot goodness in their greedy little hands and they'll create the buzz, give you great feedback and lay a publicity smack-down on all the nay-saying know-nothings who say you're too big to be nimble. At least that's what my friend told me.

Anyway. I dig it. Keep it coming.

The Yahoo! offering is equally clean but further along in the polish department. The new RSS Feeds feature is outstanding! Big high-fives for that one, whoever the rocket-scientist was that finally realized how blisteringly obvious of a good idea it was to add this feature. Microsoft blokes, pay attention! They scooped you on this one.

The integration with other Yahoo! services is still a work in progress. Sometimes you feel like you go through a time-warp where you are working in this great little application, just loving the experience and then you click a link and bam! back to the boring, old, vintage sections of the site.

Anyway. You had me at RSS feed. Just don't let up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another Google-bit

The onward march of Google towards usefulness and necessity continues. A new beta service called Google Transit will let you plan your transit routes with precise. It is an excellent example of combining two information sources into one extremely useful resource. Currently, they are supporting the city of Portland but plan to expand to other cities soon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

VS Launch Day

Today Microsoft held a Visual Studio Launch Event at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Being a Microsoft event, it was smoothly executed, albeit lackluster compared to the spectacle that is PDC and the main VS Launch Event hosted previously. But there were only minor things to humbug! about on this particular day.

Firstly, the keynote a speaker a GM from Microsoft turned out to be kind of a chauvinist. He made reference repeatedly to "the wives who got drug along just for the software" which was mildly offensive. And then again to when "your mom wants to make a database of recipes". For me personally, I don't care, but it was interesting to hear the comments from the women behind me who seemed to be a little peeved. They kept whispering, "He needs to stop saying that." and similar things. I agree, his comments made him look ignorant and narrow-minded. You would think if they were going to spend such effort on an event like this, Microsoft would ensure their speaker was charismatic and somewhat politic. Add these mildly offensive comments to an otherwise bland, dry, and grossly repetative presentation and you have an instant recipe for nap-time.

The second gripe was the caliber of speaking talent in the break-outs. Specifically the database guy who talked about scalability, security, and whatnot. I haven't heard a more monotonal and lifeless speaker since grade school. Add that to the fact that he completely skipped the demos on new T-SQL functions in favor of a very one-sided and lame SQL CLR demo. Why on earth would he be pushing this crap!? And if it was decided that for some reason we need to be force-fed this ignorant drivel at least get someone with a little energy who can speak some inflection. And it would help to provide a demo that isn't a comparison of a stupid way to solve a problem with a faster way to solve the same problem with equal stupidity! You could have gotten a room full of database engineers excited about using actual SQL features instead of essentially saying that what they've been doing for years is wrong and they should move to another language! I rarely get so disgusted with a speaker but this was truly horrendous.

Other than those two issues, the food was passable, the staff helpful and the facilities very good. It was a pretty good day.