Resisting temptation for lame cloud computing joke.
UPDATE: not surprisingly, I am also now a member of the mile-high “broke the build” club!! Along with the mile-high “you stupid jerk, now fix it” club.
David Sobeski has a great writeup on facebook covering Microsoft’s methodical destruction of developer trust over the last 15 years:
I am relearning how to be a software developer after many years away and it is notable that, not only am I not using any Microsoft technologies or tools, nothing from Microsoft even entered the consideration set as I selected targets, libs, tools, etc.
Rehashing all the missteps is entertaining, David does a great job of that, I never tracked all this stuff and many of the acronyms and decisions around them are lost in the fog of history. For whatever reason, Microsoft is at the nadir of its developer influence.
If I was the new CEO at Microsoft, fixing this would be job 1, and I wouldn’t be timid. I would have a 6 month plan to make Microsoft relevant to every developer. And there is no way to do that without buying a bunch of assets to get out in front of the existing parades. I’d buy Github or Atlassian. Stackoverflow. I’d buy or embrace a Linux dist — CentOS maybe, or screw it, just buy RedHat. I’d jump into the vagrant/docker world and buy a position in that space. I’d buy modern leading noSQL and Hadoop distributions. Xamarin as a tool. And 10 more things. At the end of this, Microsoft would be in the conversation with every developer on the planet. OK it would be a chocolate mess of technology assets, but read David’s write up — Microsoft has a chocolate mess of assets now, without any developer relevance.
I wouldn’t worry at all in the first 3 years about cleaning all this up and rationalizing it. I’d run the teams separately, I’d encourage them all to go go go, and I’d create organic opportunities for them to talk and discuss collaboration, without forcing it. Relevance as measured by developer use, and speed of evolution would be my top criteria. Every developer who is not using a Microsoft tool or runtime would be viewed as a failure. Internally I’d direct the Visual Studio team to become the tool for every developer, regardless of what platform they are targeting — iOS, Android, AWS, whatever. Rationalization could come later if at all.
This strategy will create confusion, overlaps, duplications, conflicts, and chaos — but dammit, Microsoft will be relevant again. Relevance will make up for a lot of sins.
We always go on a bit of a board game binge over the holidays. We played some holdovers from past years — Settlers of Catan, Seven Wonders. I got an awesome bamboo catanboard for Catan, that was a great gift. And we got the Cities and Leaders expansions which added additional layers to this game. 7 wonders is a typical resource accumulate, barter, and build game, with a ton of strategic options.
We had some failures too but I won’t dwell on those…hope your holidays were good!
UPS facilities must be absolute zoos at this time of year. The status for one of our packages below. Here’s hoping it doesn’t loop again at Redmond.
From Twitter, apparently Bud Light is the 2nd most popular search on Google for a beer brand:
Most searched beer brands on Google in the US in 2013: 1. Blue Moon, 2. Bud Light, 3. Bud Light Platinum, 4. Kingfisher
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) December 17, 2013
I’m scratching my head, what exactly do people need to find out about Bud Light? I have nothing against Bud Light. It is ubiquitously available and ubiquitously advertised. Certainly people aren’t having problems finding the product at Retail. Certainly there is no mystery about what it is. I just can’t figure out what people are thinking when they decide to turn to Google to learn more about Bud Light.
I am trying to figure out the best practice for integrating webgl with a webpage, in particular text. Overlay of CSS/HTML on a webgl element? Stuffing the text right into the webgl? Does the next version of webgl change anything? What lib to use on top of wegbl to make this easier?
Historical aside — what a huge missed opportunity for Microsoft, read for instance Alex St John’s story of the early days of really expressive content on the web. Microsoft had a browser code-named Chrome in the 90s that had the idea of webgl built into it. Sadly internal machinations killed it — political infighting about ownership of graphics leadership within the company, and a lack of vision in senior management — not enough people were excited about the idea of a browser and web content that brought a PC to its knees, failing to understand that thanks to Moore’s Law, this problem would go away within a short time.
Apparently the live Sound of Music was hugely popular:
NBC’s gamble of filling an entire night with live musical theater paid off handsomely on Thursday as “The Sound of Music,” with Carrie Underwood in the Julie Andrews role of Maria, posted the network’s best entertainment ratings for a Thursday night since 2009.
And so we are going to get a lot more of these apparently:
…this gamble — live theater on network television, a throwback to earlier eras of the medium and events like “Peter Pan” and “Cinderella” — paid off so well it is almost a certainty that the network will be looking for other musicals to mount live around holidays.
We turned it on and left it on for a while and were stunned at just how bad the show was. We found ourselves asking “How did this get on the air?”, “They must have known it was awful, didn’t they?”. And apparently we weren’t alone, as twitter was alive with hate-watchers, and the critics dumped on the show.
So, NBC, don’t screw this up by doing more of these with bigger budgets, more rehearsals, better actors. That is not why we watched. We watched for the same reason we read about Lindsay Lohan, the reason we watch Jerry Springer and New Jersey Housewives. We love watching carnage unfold before our eyes in slow motion.
My advice — rehearse less. Have Taylor Swift sing live, maybe in some more duets with Stevie Nicks. Hire unstable people — Amanda Bynes and Alec Baldwin seem perfect for the next one. Intentionally antagonize your stars. Inject some randomness into the live performance — have part of the set collapse mid-scene. Liberally stock the backstage area with alcohol. Surprise one of the stars with a cameo from a recent ex.
I’ll watch the next one if I know there is a chance someone will walk offstage in a huff, or go in a rampage live and light part of the set on fire.
I love the idea of two factor auth, and I think Google has generally done a good job on it, they have certainly tried to make it easy to use .
But the collision of iOS/OSX and Google TFA is just killing me. The problem probably lies in the Apple products — when you configure a machine to do imap email PLUS smtp send PLUS calendar sync PLUS address book sync, it is just broken. The application specific password provided by google has to get squirreled away by all these apps and it doesn’t appear to work, I consistently have problems keeping SMTP send working. I’ve tried recreating the application specific password multiple times and I always end up broken somehow.
Google is not without fault tho. I have two google-hosted accounts I use regularly — a gmail.com account and my theludwigs.com account. When I try to configure the security settings, the Google web pages get super confused about which account I am in. I’ll try to set the security settings for the theludwigs.com account and I get the page for the gmail account.
So for now I am giving up.
“Great college football rivalries engage the healthy, activate the disturbed, fascinate the thoughtful, amaze the detached, mystify the rational, horrify the scholarly, encourage the immature, enrich the greedy, and terrify the faint of heart,”
Personally I am happy to let my immature and disturbed sides out this week! Michigan football has been sad this year and here is hoping that the sadness continues!
My two earliest vivid memories of the rivalry:
3 months in and I am done in by hardware failure — I dropped the LG G2, not very much of a drop, and got a nice transverse screen crack that completely disabled touch detection. The device is basically useless. Faced with a need to upgrade, I reverted back to iOS-land and got an iphone 5s.
my net impressions on my return:
basically my advice is — if you can afford an iphone, you will probably be happier in the long run. tho the android experience is still a good experience.
So I bought a 4-pack of StickNFind BLE stickers. I’m not quite sure why. My hope was I guess that you could use these things for very fine-grained local resolution. Like maybe you could stick them onto game tokens and be able to track game tokens around a board.
Well, not happening. The spatial resolution of these things is pretty gross. At best you can say “hey something is within 5 feet of me”. And there is great variation across stickers. For instance if you line them up at distances of 1, 2, 3, and 4 feet from your phone, you will detect them all, but the apparent ordering of them per the phone will not correlate to their physical distance at all. Not sure why — differences in battery strength, in sticker orientation, in phone orientation, or in manufacturing? Whatever, not happening.
Overall packaging was good, easy to get these started, the app is fine tho they need to take some of the anti-skeumorphic vaccine that is going around. No complaints about quality or ease of use, but these are just very limited devices. I’m honestly not sure what I will do with them. The examples on the box don’t compel me:
It would be nice maybe if I could put these on some super valuable things in the house and automatically be alerted if they move. I’m not sure what those things are tho.
Maybe I will put them in my cars and quit worrying about remembering where I park.
Today is the day for offbeat hardware tinkering.
The experience is psychotic. The packaging is super nice actually, very simple, clean looking box, looks like it belongs in an Apple store. Then you read the manual which is a classic mistranslation to English from Korean. I can’t really complain, because if you asked me to translate English to any other language, I would fail horribly, but still.
The hardware is sleek — nice brushed aluminum, seems super solid, nice strap, really very high quality.
You have to download the Noontang app to your phone — more noontang, hurray! And then download the noontang remote pc server for your mac or pc — even more noontang! Actually finding this was tricky since the company’s website is at www.mediacanvas.net and is 100% Korean. And then download was super slow — I thought Korea had great broadband? Oh of course the Mac app isn’t signed as a known developer so you have to go through the normal hoops to install it.
So next you plug your noontang into your phone audio jack. And fire up the noontang app.
The Noontang phone app is pretty clean. The opening screen lets you connect to the pc. I have no idea if this worked, there is no obvious feedback. In theory then you can advance PPT slides on your PC by a gesture on the phone app but this never seemed to work. And I couldn’t seem to enter a password on either the Mac or the phone, or maybe I did and there is no feedback. No idea.
The other feature then is you can hit the phone app button and the noontang laser lights up so it is a laser pointer. Without a battery as it derives power from the phone. Apparently this works by just getting audio over the phone jack, there are some warnings about not trying to use headphones when the app is running, because it will send laser-generating frequencies and intensities into your ears and melt your brain. Or something.
So anyway, the Noontang. I’ll rent out my Noontang if you want to try my Noontang.
The reviews of this thing have been pretty tepid. And if you review this thing as a competitor to a point and shoot, the reviews are right — this is a pretty funky/bad point and shoot. Clumsy to handle, poor UI, hooking this onto your phone feels downright clumsy and bizarre.
But the concept is super intriguing, though not as a point and shoot replacement. But the ability to mount the lens in one location and control from another is very cool. There are scenarios where I would love this. GoPro scenarios. Events. I have to noodle on.
One thing they have to fix is the horrible custom SSID thing. That is just terrible. Because it means my iPad or iPhone can’t simultaneously connect over wifi to the internet. It should either connect over bluetooth or use an available wifi network.
Hey, it was a great day already watching OSU walk all over Purdue and avoid a stumble. The defense was great, the offense was great, that little ad-hoc flip pass that Braxton threw for a td was glorious.
And then Michigan just put the cherry on the top. You can glory in all the hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing over at mgoblog, but the highlight has to be Michigan’s all time rushing yardage low of -48 yards. That kind of futility doesn’t come easy, you have to really work at it.
@bfeld posted an interesting article suggesting that Healthcare.gov should have used WordPress as some state sites did. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether WordPress would have been appropriate, but I do love the call in the article to opensource the entire healthcare.gov project, advanced by a number of people including Fred Wilson.
The source should go public now. A), it would attract an incredible number of eyes that would be able to highlight the problems both known and unknown. B) it would attract the best and brightest eyes, better than the government can apply in a “tech surge”. C) there are undoubtedly a number of terrible security and privacy bugs in the code, as there are in any large software project, and they would get highlighted and fixed.
And D), the citizens own this code and it should be available to all of us, because we paid for it.
I’d like to see the states go public with their code as well, especially states like Washington where the exchange is working, everyone could benefit from seeing what works.
There is no reason whatsoever to not do this immediately.
UPDATE: there is already a whitehouse.gov petition at http://wh.gov/lD8bf, go sign it!
UPDATE: I’ve had some great conversations with people about this post. David Sobeski raises some great points, in particular the importance of making updates free and automatic, anything less is a disservice to customers and a nightmare to manage. Mike Conte and @Natbro both raise the point that sometimes a cost center can be correctly managed and feel empowered, Mike raises the example of the Audi transmission team who feel like they are part of a winning team. All great points and food for thought.
Someone saw my Surface this week and shook their head, they assumed I was one of the biggest Microsoft Kool-Aid drinkers ever.
I actually think the Surface is kind of a turd. I only have one because it is a part of the conversation in the industry, the conversation about the evolution of Microsoft and its attempts to return to relevance. I don’t know how to participate meaningfully in the industry if I don’t have firsthand knowledge of the products involved. So I have a Surface. I have a PC with Windows 8.1. I’ve tried a Windows Phone relatively recently.
For the same reasons I have an Android phone now, because there is a huge conversation in the industry about Android vs iOS, the differing corporate strategies of Google and Apple. I have a hard time understanding that discussion if I haven’t experienced the Android product directly. Maybe if I was more insightful I wouldn’t need to actually use the product, but for me, the product experience is essential knowledge. I’ve read some stock analysts’ dissections of Apple or Google or Microsoft and their lack of hands-on product experience is obvious at times, which suggests all their analysis is flawed.
And I have a Macbook, and an iPad. I’ll probably get one or both of the next generation consoles. I have an AppleTV and a Google Chromecast. Important to understand the home entertainment experience. Oh and several linux boxes running Ubuntu and Centos. Hard to understand the trends around open source and modern software development if you aren’t living with these. And a Raspberry Pi, and piles of Arduinos, super important to understand the IOT wave and low cost computing. I also use AWS. And Heroku. And Cloud Foundry. And have played with a couple other service options. I’ve tried Azure. And of course the legion of higher level services for developers and devops.
It amuses me when someone sees what I am working with and decides I am an apple zealot or linux fan or windows diehard. What I am is a technology enthusiast, and an industry participant. There may be other paths to remaining smart about the industry, but for me, it is all about hands-on experience with the products.