SilverLight 2.0, Parallel FX and ASP.NET MVC

November 30, 2007

Blizzard of great new stuff for today, summarized nicely by ScottGu.

The new Parallel FX stuff is really quite cool. It’s a cliche to say that the number of CPUs in a typical machine is increasing while each individual CPU is not actually faster. But it’s great to see Joe Duffy release Parallel FX and PLINQ to to actually address the challenge.

All very cool can’t wait till next week for ASP.NET MVC.

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What next for Microsoft? Bill 2.0?

October 30, 2007

Microsoft seems to be in a quandary at the moment. Vista was late, over budget and the single greatest step forward for Mac OS X and Desktop Linux ever taken. Their various labs are full of brilliant ideas that never get beyond demo.

To be fair to Microsof t they do bare the weight of backward compatibility for the majority of the worlds computers but it still doesn’t explain their lack luster performance. Their stock recently jumped twice, once for (now exMicrosoft) Bungie’s Halo 3 and once again for their purchase of a minoroty stake in Internet hype-Juggernaut Facebook. These are not the kind of things that should be driving their share price.

In contrast all of Apple’s recent gains have been core product related and Google’s dues to their ability to print money.

So the question is; what now for Microsoft? Why not bring back Bill? All great companies are run by one great man (or woman). Why? Because committee’s have no vision. Leaderless least common-denominator thinking saw Apple languishing before Jobs came back. IBM was lost once Tom Watson stepped down. Ellison is Oracle. The list goes on.

Corporations run by ‘good corporate goverance’ alone are doomed to fail.

So I say; bring back Bill. Pull support for everything, scrap backward compability, delete the source to Vista and start again. build products people want, buy BumpTop, bring out Seadragon, sell free calls though Xbox Live and kill everything that doesn make a ton of profit.

It would cetainly make for a more interesting Microsoft… but I guess, when you’re number one; why try harder?


Death of the non-transferable ticket?

June 13, 2007

I was heartened to see the launch of Virgin Charter. They look to be tacking something which has been a pet-peev of mine for quite sometime: the non-transferable ticket. The concept of a ticket maps cleanly onto the concept of an option. That is it confers the right but not the obligation to do something at a future time; in this case travel from one location to another.

The options market is a massive source of risk mitigation for the business community so why are consumers forced to purchase non-transferable options? I frankly do not believe that security implications are a legitimate reason, far more likely is profit; if you miss your flight, you get nothing, and the airline may get a seat paid for twice! In fact they regularly over-book busy flights, transferring customers (if they are lucky) to later (cheaper) flights.

Virgin Charter are tackling the very top end of air travel but this type of disruptive concept is bound trickle down and shake up the whole travel industry. They reminds me of the disruptive nature of Betfair in the gambling space. I wonder what Micheal O’Leary would think of starting the worlds first airline ticket exchange?


Acropolis on InformationWeek

June 8, 2007

Spotted this article on Acropolis in InformationWeek while looking into Composite UI App Block (Acropolis’ Neanderthal ancestor). The article is pretty mindless stuff except for this prescient paragraph.

Acropolis may end up being a catalyst toward the development of more graphically rich business apps because it takes advantage of .NET Framework 3.0 and therefore Windows Presentation Foundation, the user interface technology found in Windows Vista.

Which is a very valid point. Acropolis is a way of getting .Net 3.0 in via the back door. Also I guess if InformationWeek are saying it then it must be the party line from Microsoft. It’s nice to see that the boys from Redmond haven’t forgotten about the ‘upgrade path’ that us poor developers have to tread.


Trading and Exchanges… and the Brazilian Straddle

June 6, 2007

Trading And ExchangesI’m currently reading Trading and Exchanges by Larry Harris. In my opinion it’s pitched at just the right level. I’ve learned a lot about the hectic and heterogeneous landscape of trading and I’m only 70-odd pages in. Harris mixes a clear description of the field with interesting, explanatory or humorous side notes. Something that many good technology books do.

My favourite Quote so far:

The Brazilian Straddle
… consists of a large market position held against a one way airline ticket to Brazil held in the breat pocket …