« August 2005 | Main | January 2006 »

December 27, 2005

Code Camp '06

Code Camp South Florida is set for February 4. (visit Code Camp Web Site). If you are a part of Florida's developer community  you should be there. It's a great place to network and learn about new and  future technologies. If you've been putting off getting really serious about Visual Studio 2005 this is the place to get started. It's a great day; it's lots of fun. You'll learn a lot. Free food and tons of giveaways. The price is right ($0). Register today and I'll see you there.

08:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 21, 2005

UI's and a New Way of Thinking

The Advent of the .NET Framework gave all us the ability to create windows that are not rectangular. Your app can exist with in an octagon or a circle or any shape you can dream up. Not only can you do this but, .NET made it easy. But, the shape of a window is just the beginning.

It is clear that UI designers are being given the tools necessary to take the user experience to a new level and that requires new skill sets and new ways of thinking about how information is preseneted. Take a look at Macromedia's Flash 8 it has full support for video and audio. Now with Flash you can present a true multimedia experience. Video can be used just like any other piece of a Flash movie. It can be animated, it can be a button, etc.

Well, that's Flash and Flash is...well...Flash and thats what Flash does and does well. But then their the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) which will give us a XAML based UI designer. It will be capable of doing the same thing as Flash in terms of presentation - a full multimedia experience. What's possible? Take a look at Expression Studio coming from MIcrosoft. This is the future of Windows development and if you want to be player in thier arena  you had better sit up and take notice. Just as the web  brought with it a need to learn new skills like Photoshop, the advent of the WPF will increase your need to under stand video editing and sound design.

It's coming soon. Adapt or die.

09:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Vision of Media - On Step Closer

Last July I wrote about my vision of the future of television entertainment. See Broadband - How Much is Enough. Today we are one step closer to that reality and its Apple that has delivered it first.

I just got an iPod video for Christmas - a truly amazing device. The networks, at least a couple have already started to allow their TV shows to be sold (at 1.99 each) through iTunes - Apples music/content service. This is fascinating because, if I am right, then the network's greed over a new revenue stream, combined with their short sightedness, have made them willing participants in their own deaths. Just like Bruce to God in Bruce Almighty,  the networks seem to be crying out to the consumer "Smight me again oh mighty Smighter." Or if you prefer, just like Judas, they seem to have traded a fortune in heavenly inheritance for a few pieces of silver.  Oh well, it would not be the first time Hollywood has sold itself off like a two dollar crack whore.

Anyway, here we are on the first step of a path I previously described. Just a reminder. For the most part, networks (ABC, NBC etc) do not produce TV shows. Studio's (Paramount, Universal, etc.) produce TV shows and own the rights to them after their contractual obligation to the networks. It used to be that show had to produce 100 episodes before it could enter syndication and the studios found themselves on the outs for all those shows canceled after airing 2 episodes. Not anymore. There is an instant distribution channel that does not require a network feed.

Think about it. The idea is just in its infancy but, today's reality is that you don't have to watch ABC to see Desperate Housewives or Lost. You don't even need a TV. You need a computer and a 1.99 an episode. I know someone will eventually seize on the idea of free  shows with embedded commercials distribution. Again, in this revenue model you trade your demographics and preferences for free shows. As you download each show commercials tailored to you are embedded in the show.

Along those same lines advertisements could be embedded with the show itself. With today's technology this is possible. Lets say a Gabrielle on Desperate Housewives, picks up a soda can and takes a sip. What is she drinking? Well with today's technology it could be a Pepsi or a Coke - could be a 7-Up. That detail could be placed in later - to the highest bidder. Or, perhaps rights to whose soda can touches Gabrielle's lips is sold by demographic. Up to 18 its a Pepsi. For Women, 18 - 30 its a Diet Coke. For Men, 18-30 its a Ginger Ale.

Anyway you look at, thanks to Apple and willing participation of the networks we have just taken our first step into a new paradigm of television.

09:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 20, 2005

Controls and Control

ASP.NET 2.o gives some new data controls such SQLDataSourceControl, XMLDataSourceControl and ObjectSourceControl. Basically these controls allow you to tie the UI to a specific type of data source. Its fast, its code free and the foundation for a lot of VS 2005 "WOW" factor in demo. They work. They appear to be solid and in some circumstances I might even consider using them but.

I am a control freak. I don't like process which I have little or not control over making decisions for me. Part of my problem is that I have been repeated been paid over and over again to develop systems that you can't get out of the box or from a wizard. It seems that when you work with these control, yes it saves you code but you trade-off control. I've worked on many projects where I would embrace these controls but I still hold that any serious application work needs to bypass data source controls in favor of fine grain control over events and data-binding.

09:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Disloyal Apprentice

Randal had just been named Donald Trumps new apprentice to the cheers of the majority of the crowd gathered. Yet just seconds Randal found himself under hail of boos and protest. After he got his dream job, he was willing to deny Rebbecca hers even though it would not detract from his victory one bit. Randal no matter how you slice your nice guy image is forever tarnished. What you did was mean and unnecessary.

09:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 15, 2005

No DHTML Editor

Its amazing to me that no one has ever created a good DHTML Editor. Homesite and Visual Studio provide spotty intellisense but its incomplete at best. What a I am looking for is a editor that will build and completely recognize all the tags that I put into the HTML. IT will have complete intellisense just like Visual Studio has for C# or VB. But most important of all, it will simulate a page load in the browser with complete event structure and allow full step-through debugging.

I wish I had time to write it myself. If anyone out there has the entrepreneurial bug I'm your first customer and there are plenty more where that came from.

08:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 13, 2005

New Simple Talk Article

I've been writing a series of articles for Simple Talk. The latest is called "Data solutions for disconnected applications" and was published last week. Please take a look.


05:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Launch Event

The Visual Studio/SQL Server 2005 Launch Road Show came to town last Thursday. The whole thing was presented with a Rock N' Roll Theme. The tempo was upbeat. There was a well designed mixed of multimedia complete with music video style editing. Overall an excellent event. Everyone who attended got a free copy of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk 2006. Not bad.

A few notes for Microsoft (or anyone else) for next such event:

1. It's really easy to establish the quick, upbeat tempo and get people really excited in the morning. It is, however, tough to maintain the fever pitch through out the day. Take a que from Disney World. When you enter the park in the morning the music is upbeat and bright but Disney discovered that you should tone down the music toward the end of the day. People are tired and when the music doesn't match the mood it can really grate on you. No wants to hear Zip-E-DEE-DOO-DA when your in a "When you wish upon a star" mood.

2. The show was great but too long. While the presentations were excellent and the material was robust there can be too much of a good thing. The fall off at the end of the day was big, I noticed many people heading for the door rather than the last session. This is true at conferences as well.

3. I live in Orlando and it seems that most of us are proud of our town. So....why were we treated to three minutes of "Cleveland Rocks" just minutes before the show got underway? Cleveland may rock but so does Orlando!

Overall great show. Sorry if you missed it.

05:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)