Google Chrome OS

July 8th, 2009

Well lookie that…  One of my predictions came true. Google is finally announcing their quest for world domination.

I wonder how long it will be before we start calling Google the evil monopoly and Microsoft will be as useless as IBM…

Google Reader

December 4th, 2008

I tried out Google Reader when it first came out and there were too many usability issues that didn’t quite match the way I read feeds. So I went back to Newsgator Online and happily went along doing my thing.

Then I found out about Google Reader shared links and I thought I’d give it another chance. It’s improved quite a bit. The only gripe I have is Google’s insistence on marking old posts as “read” just because they’re old. The obsessive compulsive in me *hates* that. “Don’t mark that post read until *I* tell you to mark it being read”.

It’s part of the bigger problem of online feed readers in general. There’s no personal storage. I want it to archive everything I’ve subscribed to, and then be able to search on it.

Of course, I could always use an offline reader that does this, but with all the different computers I use on a daily basis, there’s no way.

Anyways, if you use Google Reader, I’ve made my google shared links available for subscription. Link is on my webpage in the Links section, or use this link. Or, if you add me as a google contact, it somehow magically appears in your Friends section.

This is a whole lot simpler than writing a blog post everytime I find a neat link I want to share.

PDC Sessions

November 7th, 2008

Regarding my post a while back, “10 is the new 6“, you can watch that session (as well as all the sessions) from this year’s PDC here:

I just watched “10 is the new 6″ and I don’t know if I’m really convinced.

I mentioned that there are many people who share the same viewpoint as me. The VirtualDub developer weighed in on his experiences (both past and present) with Visual Studio. It’s a good read, as well as most of his blog postings.

PS: You can view Raymond Chen’s talk here. It was weird to hear him talk after reading his blog for all these years. He doesn’t seem that grumpy in person. :)

Windows 7

October 13th, 2008

My conspiracy theory was wrong.

The official name of Windows 7 is… Windows 7. How original. But it makes sense.

- Vista 2? No way, they want to steer as far as possible from anything called Vista. Remember when Windows 95 came out and everything was named 95? That’s not going to happen with Vista. You’ll never see another product with that name… ever. Although I thought it would be nifty if they bought Yahoo, and stuck the AltaVista name on an OS.

- Bet on a new moniker? Well, they spent enough money trying to build a brand around one name. I’m sure they didn’t want two failed names in a row. Betting on a number is nice and safe.

- I wonder how much Intel’s naming of the i7 chip played into this. I mentioned a while back that the Nehalem is the chip to get whenever it comes out. I wonder if the old Wintel partnership is getting back into gear. That relationship has been on rocky ground the last few years, so it will be interesting to see if there’s going to be a dual marketing effort based on the names. “Windows 7 only runs great on Core i7″ Of course, that’s just the conspiracy theorist in me coming out again.

Yes, I know this is 2 posts in one day. Judging by my past performance I can safely say that this isn’t a schedule that I can maintain.

Windows PR

October 13th, 2008

In the wake of the Vista disaster, Microsoft is doing quite a bit of PR to try and drum up support for their Next Big Thing.

On the more technical side, the Engineering Windows 7 blog delves into complex / controversial topics to try and justify the reasons why they did the things they did, and some of the decisions they are going to make regarding the next version of Windows.

It really is a marketing site for the geek audience, but it has some interesting insights. Particularly regarding their use of user statistics from their Windows Feedback program (that I remember getting some product free from them a while back). But regardless of the freebies they offered, the user data is pretty cool, from a geek perspective.

Google Chrome

September 2nd, 2008

Google has a new product… a browser? Really? Oh ya, I forgot, Google wants to eliminate the OS. Or more accurately, make the OS *be* the browser.

I decided to try this out right away, given my mood for trying new things.

It’s sleek, it’s smooth. Let’s start with the things I like:

- The technology. Multi-threaded this, Multi-process that. It’s explained in the comic, so read that first. But there’s a lot to like under the hood. A virtual machine for JavaScript. A task manager to see which pages are using the most resources. Sandboxing pages for security. Neat stuff.

- Performance. Like I mentioned in the Firefox “review” (Is it still a review when you first run it years after release?), Firefox just “feels” faster. And the same is with Chrome. I could care less which one launches a few milliseconds faster than the other. But just open up and watch it load. Does it incrementally load like it’s supposed to? Or does it sit there for a few seconds and then display the whole thing at once. Incremental is better.

- Smooth. Again, load and move the window all over while it loads. Does it stutter all over the place? Or does it smoothly scroll? Then, take the upper left corner and resize the window. Does it smoothly resize? Or does it flicker all over the place? Chrome is surpringly smooth.

- The opening page. Nice idea. I’m one of those guys mentioned in the comic who keeps new pages as about:blank for performance reasons. If the opening page opens quick *and* gives me access to pages I’m going to go to, great.

- Screen real estate. Excellent. User interface. Just the right amount of feedback. Keyboard shortcuts. Seems to be all in tact.

Now, on to what I don’t like.

- Tabs. This is probably the deal-breaker for me. You can’t turn them off! And it appears Google wants to keep it that way (perhaps as a sort of “running apps bar” to compete with the OS?). From the comic: “In Google Chrome, the primary piece of the user interface is the Tab.” Well, I don’t like them! I’ve said my piece on why I dislike them, so making them a first-class citizen in your product doesn’t win any points in my book. And all of the talk about making each tab it’s own separate process doesn’t affect me either, since every browser window I open is already it’s own process. So that kind of disappointed me.

- Searching in the same bar as url. Microsoft has tried this before (not as slick mind you), and I just don’t like it. I prefer search to be it’s own page. I like intellisense on the url bar, and always use that, so it’s good to see it here. But leave the search out of it.

- Non-native UI. Minor gripe. The URL bar also does not act like a Windows edit line. Better than Firefox, but still not native.

- Too early. It’s a beta, so a lot of *stuff* is missing. Probably on purpose, to create a more stable platform. So that will turn a lot of people off initially. However, I’m certain that if the browser becomes popular, the *stuff* will show up.

Speculation. Why did Google create its own browser? It already pours millions of dollars into Firefox development. Did they not see enough of their ideas get put into motion? Was it too hard to change a browser that already has a sizable following? Is Chrome going to be used as a testbed for future changes, essentially a Firefox research platform? Or did they just have a whole bunch of smart programmers that they recruited from Microsoft who didn’t have anything better to do?

I don’t know. My initial reaction is that it will just water down the Firefox brand, diluting its numbers slightly. People (including me) are already more than content with whatever’s included with the OS. Once it’s in the OS, people don’t care. Look at the disk defrag market. Or the email program market. Or… the browser market. So, most machines with more than one browser will have either IE and FF, or IE and Chrome. Not all three… Except for the die-hards who install things like Opera… or Safari. (eyes rolling)

10 is the new 6

August 5th, 2008

One of the sessions for this year’s PDC is called:

Microsoft Visual C++: 10 Is the New 6

I love it. I’ve mentioned before that many C++ developers feel that Visual Studio 6 (released over 10 years ago!) was the last great IDE put out by Microsoft. When Visual Studio 7 came out, it just felt like Microsoft was pushing .NET, the Web, and Visual Basic into one product, and “oh ya, we included a C++ compiler too”.

We kept waiting for improvements on the IDE side for C++ devs. Visual Studio 8 (2005), nothing. Visual Studio 9 (2008), nothing. We kept shouting, “Make it more like Visual Studio 6! Give us Visual Studio 6 with the new compiler! Why does hitting F1 take us to a Visual Basic help page??”

Anyways, I think it’s a pretty funny title for this talk. It shows that people are actually listening inside the monolith. Hopefully something can be done about it. Can’t wait to see what’s revealed at the talk.

Why did Microsoft name it ‘Vista’?

June 26th, 2008

Ok, here’s my conspiracy theory post of the year.

I’ve wondered why Microsoft chose the name Vista to be their new OS brand… I’m guessing it will eventually be no longer Windows Vista, but just Vista. Just like it’s called the Nintendo DS, not the Gameboy DS, even though it’s an evolutionary product (I still call it a Gameboy out of habit). Of course, this might change given how poorly Vista has performed in the market (but don’t underestimate the MS Marketing machine).

Anyways, why the name Vista? With all the press about Microsoft and Yahoo, it got me thinking.

Microsoft has a huge competitor that it wants to beat, Google. Microsoft has tried to compete in the search space, and hasn’t succeeded much. What was the most popular search engine before Google started? It’s so obscure now because it was so long ago. Remember the name? Altavista. Who owns Altavista? That’s right, Yahoo. Can you see the name for Windows 7? Alta-Vista perhaps?

Is that just random coincidence? Or has it been planned all along? Would MS buy out an entire company for a marketing name? Would MS name an OS after a internet search site?

Ctrl-Tab Visual Studio bug

June 8th, 2008

Another bug to vote on for Visual Studio.  Log in and vote for it.  They actually keep track of which bugs get votes.

New kitty!

June 2nd, 2008

I had a momentary lack of judgment over the weekend and now we have a new member of the family. (!)

Everyone loves kitty pics (the new kitty has taken over Princess’s seat for the time being).  Isn’t she cute!!