Mark Cohen is GM, Product Technology at Fairfax Media which is the most fun a job can be while still being legal. On weekends he may be found meandering along Bay parade with a coffee in Malabar. This is an old personal site (you can find Mark Cohen at his new vanity url. All views expressed are solely are my own. Except maybe the ones about short-circuit evaluation in SQL.

Archive for April, 2007

In Vegas for Mix

I messed up. I forgot that the USA were a day behind us. so I accidentally got a day more than I had planned in Vegas. I’ll survive ;) they’re busy setting up downstairs in the convention centre. Mix is going to be brilliant.

I walked up and down the strip all day yesterday and took a whole lot of photos. They are here. It’s all very surreal. The strip is so much imitation of other places that the imitation has become the reality. All that’s missing is the Las Vegas themed hotel, with mini-mini-eiffel towers and mini-mini-New York. It’s something to see.

1 week to mix

One week to go! I am so psyched. I’m off to Vegas for Mix, in a week.  I’ve never been to Las Vegas, haven’t been to the US since the 80′s.  There’s a session titled ""ZAP!, WHAM!, KAPOW!": Windows Presentation Foundation and the Next Generation of Online Comic Book Reading" which sounds like it’s just up my alley :)   I also noticed "Building Rich Web Experiences using Silverlight and JavaScript for Developers" now reflects the new brand name.  I’m keen on attending this one as I see some real valuable use for us at work.  And then there’s "Internet Sites with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007" which is very much in line with my current work.  *so* looking forward to this :P

Crazy estate agents short of photos :)

Stumbled upon this ad on domain.com.au today.  ROTFLMAO – excuse the pun :D

Very soon someone will complain and it will get taken down :)

Google launching a Presentation app. Oh, and collaboration tools too :P

The Google Blog has broken the news today that the Google Crew will be launching a web presentation application to do what Powerpoint does. I can’t help but picture someone in a big meeting, walking an executive team through a strategy presentation. The presentation starts with the presenter looking for a network point and battling to get internet connectivity. Once he sorts that out he gets his presentation going and pulls up slide number one. It has big fonts, with an intro saying “Executive Summary of xyz strategy”. down the right hand side of the slide there is a skyscraper of adword ads and the top three say “Buy new and used xyz strategy on eBay”. Terrific :)

From the google blog post:

First of all, we want to welcome the team from Tonic Systems to Google. Tonic, which we’ve just acquired, is based in San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia. They have some great technology for presentation creation and document conversion, and it will be a great addition as we add presentation sharing and collaboration capabilities to Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

The whole point of presenting or pitching is the ability to be prepared. Being prepared means eliminating every possible risk of something going wrong. When I used to present as a consultant I used to have a backup of my powerpoint on my USB key. I would take printed copies with me. There is no way I would walk into a presentation and say “I need an internet connection before I can start, please”. It is for this reason, combined with Powerpoint’s core market (I know I’m making an assumption here) that I think the response from Microsoft as well as from business people would be something along the lines of “meh”. And this is why I think Read/WriteWeb are a little off the mark with their headline article captioned by a graphic saying “Microsoft vs Google”.

I’d be interested to see the demographics of who actually ends up using the Google product – using, not trialling – and to somehow determine who of those people actually owns a licensed copy of powerpoint personally or through work. The bit that interests me much more than the “meh” is the collaboration and sharing thing. that’s largely overlooked and understated in the posts I’ve seen, and I’d see that as an on-the-back-foot move responding to whats in Office 2007 – Groove. Groove rocks. If you don’t know Groove check it out. That’s a tough act to follow.

Microsoft Silverlight released

Just found this article on Tim Sneath’s MSDN Blog via this article on Read/WriteWeb. According to the article

Silverlight is both client- and server-agnostic. There’s no difference between the Macintosh and PC runtimes; you don’t need any Microsoft software on the server if you don’t want to – you can deliver a great Silverlight experience from an Apache / Linux server to a Mac OS 10.4 client.

So the technology is both client and server agnostic. and it runs on mac.  Wow.  And the Microsoft Silverlight Fact Sheet says

Silverlight is delivered to end users through a small one-time installation, offering consistent experiences to both Macintosh and Windows users on a variety of browsers including Internet Explorer®, Firefox and Safari. Silverlight will be available to customers on April 30, 2007.

So the plugin is installed in more or less the same way as flash, and from day one support is offered for Windows and Mac users – even for Safari.  I can’t find a clear indication of whether XAML itself will utlimately be an open standard or not, but based on Adobe retaining copyright on Flash (according to their current EULA for the player) I would expect it not to be totally open.  Having said that xaml content can be embedded in html documents as clear text xml.  That’s something you could edit with Notepad.  The next few year in Web are going to be exciting to be a part of :)

I’m on twitter

I went back for a second look at twitter after talking about it with a certain delicate genius this afternoon. I’m on twitter here. I can see why people find it sticky.  I don’t think I sit still enough to really get into the habit of twittering.   The simplicity of the app is what makes it.  A dozen or so web pages connecting millions of people.

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Originally uploaded by T Glow.

I’m a huge fan of some of the photographers on flickr. One photographer that I drop in on the more frequently is T Glow. This photo of his shows his style, but the title is what I loved the most. I recommend anyone with an appreciation for photography, vivid colours, or life, to drop in on T Glow’s photostream for a breath of fresh air.

MyCareer launch niche market site – in asp.net

The guys over at mycareer.com.au have recently launched a new site called The Big Chair – an online executive jobs board that is targeting the high-end job market. The site is interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, the site is really “web 2.0″ in design, which is a refreshing change compared to the other major job boards. The site was built using asp.net 2 onto SQL 2005 and it flies – try it out. There’s a deviation from the standard homepage – search page – listing model in that the listings and the “search results” are shown on the same page, Outlook – style. That’s really user-friendly, but the thing I love the most is the UI design where listings you’ve looked at are shaded differently much like Outlook’s read vs unread emails. It encourages you to keep looking – and allows you to jump around the listings, whereas search – view split into two feels more like it’s forcing you to browse sequentially. Check out the salary slider in the search refine

Also of interest is the integration of car listings from drive.com.au, house listings from domain.com.au and breaking news from the smh plus more. Check the links along the bottom of the page. It’s really stepped out of the job board mold.

Bootcamp Update 1.2 is worth getting

The latest update to Bootcamp is great news for Windows-on-Mac users. I missed the alert (or they never sent one) saying that the new beta was released. It offers some great feature support that was missing before. Reason alone for updating is that the new touchpad drivers support gestures. You can touch the touchpad with two fingers and then drag to scroll. I love that. The video driver update now also means that the webcam works well in MSN Messenger and Skype. As for performance, I find that Visual Studio and SQL Server (express) running on my macbook (with 1 GB RAM) performs much better than Visual Studio and SQL running on my work laptop (dell, also a dual core). Not sure why. But I think that with Bootcamp where it is now, the Macbook Pro is finally a desktop replacement and a good alternative for .net developers.

I read that the latest update to Bootcamp works well with Vista too, but I haven’t tried it out.

I’m off to MIX

It’s all been very surreal, but the short story is I’ve been given an opportunity to listen to the masters of the future web and get some inspiration from them first-hand at MIX 07.

The talks look amazing and interesting and if Scott Guthrie is half as good to hear as he was at TechEd then it’s going to be worth going for his talks alone. He’ll be talking on Orcas (the next asp.net). Polita Paulus will also be presenting.  Paulita is the person who brought us BLinq.  Nikhil kothari is presenting on Ajax.  He is the man who thought up Script # which totally rocks.

In short, I’m going to be a bit like a kid at Disneyland.  I promise not shriek too much during the rides :)