Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog

December, 2004


    Herb Sutter: The Free Lunch is Over

    Herb Sutter has written an article discussing processing power limits and how concurrency will be the mechanism that we use to continue to maximize the performance of software in the future. Check it out here:
    The Free Lunch Is Over: A Fundamental Turn Toward Concurrency in Software
    Your free lunch will soon be over. What can you do about it? What are you doing about it?

    The major processor manufacturers and architectures, from Intel and AMD to Sparc and PowerPC, have run out of room with most of their traditional approaches to boosting CPU performance. Instead of driving clock speeds and straight-line instruction throughput ever higher, they are instead turning en masse to hyperthreading and multicore architectures. Both of these features are already available on chips today; in particular, multicore is available on current PowerPC and Sparc IV processors, and is coming in 2005 from Intel and AMD. Indeed, the big theme of the 2004 In-Stat/MDR Fall Processor Forum was multicore devices, as many companies showed new or updated multicore processors. Looking back, it’s not much of a stretch to call 2004 the year of multicore.

    And that puts us at a fundamental turning point in software development, at least for the next few years and for applications targeting general-purpose desktop computers and low-end servers (which happens to account for the vast bulk of the dollar value of software sold today). In this article, I’ll describe the changing face of hardware, why it suddenly does matter to software, and how specifically it matters to you and is going to change the way you will likely be writing software in the future.

    John Montgomery on Writing Secure Code

    Developer Marketing Director John Montgomery has posted a blog entry asking developers the question, "What should we be doing to make it easier to write secure code?"
    Writing Secure Code
    One of the things that my team is responsible for is helping developers understand the importance of writing secure code and how to do it. Rick Samona has joined my team and is working with security experts like Jeff Cooperstein and Michael Howard to begin the process of helping developers think more about security. We did some research and we found that about 50% of developers think it is important to write secure code (what about the rest?) and that they even feel security is more their responsibility than the responsibility of system administrators. And about two-thirds of them they feel like we (that's we, the industry, not just we, Microsoft) don't provide them with enough information, tools, guidance, and so on to write secure code.
    Be sure to leave some feedback with your thoughts on this at John's post. This is a great chance to get your concerns voiced in this area.

    Visual C++ 2005 Page Updated

    Today we propped an updated Visual C++ 2005 page. I'm going to try to aggregate as much VC 2005 information as I can there until we launch the product, so you might want to bookmark this as a reference for Visual Studio 2005, C++/CLI, and Visual C++ 2005 Express. Check it out here:
    Visual C++ 2005
    Want to get the scoop on Visual C++ 2005? Below you'll find links to Visual C++ 2005 information. We'll add more information as we get closer to release
    In reviewing the articles for the page, I rediscovered some really great content. For example, be sure to check out Brandon Bray's webcast series, The New C++. If you have time off this holiday season, take some time to get familiar with the changes to Visual C++ 2005 and maybe download a copy of the Visual C++ 2005 Express Beta to play a bit. Finally, be sure to check out Kenny Kerr's article, C++: The Most Powerful Language for .NET Framework Programming. (Which I now see that I need to add to the new page.)

    Stan Lippman on String Literals in C++/CLI

    Stan has posted an important entry that goes a long way in explaining how string literals work in C++/CLI. Check it out here:
    The Type of a String Literal Revisited ...
    To briefly review: In ISO-C++, the type of "Pooh" is const char[5]. There is no exact match of "Pooh" to any of the three instances of foo(). However, the trivial conversion of const char[5] to const char* represents a best match, and this is why (3) is invoked. There was no built-in notion of a string literal having any relationship to System::String.

    And this was changed in the design of C++/CLI. Actually, it was changed twice, and that is the talking point of this entry – to explain why the initial change had to be further refined.

    Free Visual Studio Partner Product DVD

    I saw this on a couple of the blog sites and since I didn't even know about it, I thought I should share it with Visual C++ Developer Center visitors:
    Order Your Free Partner Product DVD
    Get the most of your investment in Visual Studio .NET with the best of breed third party tools, languages, and components.

    Order this free DVD and receive over 65 tools, components and languages from Visual Studio Industry Partners. These full version and evaluation products can help save you time and money building applications for Microsoft Windows, mobile devices, the Web, and Web services.

    Coolest Pocket PC Calculator


    I found the coolest little Pocket PC calculator today. It's called SpaceTime. I can't believe that I hadn't found this earlier, but it's a very advanced graphing calculator for the Pocket PC. They have a special running right now, so I picked it up today for 40% off. Check it out here:

    SpaceTime Mobile
    SpaceTime 1.6, a revolutionary graphing calculator  for the Pocket PC empowers your mobile device with 2D, 3D, and 4D graphing and nearly all the mathematical capabilities of a TI-83 Calculator.


    Microsoft's Spyware Strategy


    New article on the Security at Home site about spyware:

    Microsoft's strategy for addressing spyware and other potentially unwanted software

    Microsoft's vision for anti-spyware is that customers should be empowered to make informed decisions about the software that installs and runs on their computers. Microsoft will take steps toward this vision by making it easier for customers to gain insight into what's running on the system, to better discern good software from bad software, and to block and remove spyware from a PC.


    Windows XP Service Pack 2: The Inside Story

    Paul Thurrott has the inside story on XPSP2. Check it out here:
    Windows XP Service Pack 2: The Inside Story
    SuperSite readers will remember Todd Wanke as the guy who ran Microsoft's War Room for Windows Server 2003 (chronicled in Windows Server 2003: The Road To Gold Part Two: Developing Windows). Todd, you may recall, had pledged to never again run a War Room after the grueling Windows Server 2003 development process. "No way," he said, laughing, when I had asked him then if he would do it again. "No way."...

    ...In early December, I sat down with Todd, Ryan Burkhardt, and Jon Murchinson to discuss XP SP2 and the virtual team that made it happen. Here is their story.

    .NET Passport 2.5 SDK Available

    I saw on ActiveWin that this was updated on the download center this week. Check it out here:
    .NET Passport 2.5 Software Development Kit: Software and Documentation
    Microsoft .NET Passport is a suite of Web-based services that help make using the Internet and purchasing online easier and faster. .NET Passport provides users with single sign-in (SSI) capability at a growing number of participating sites, reducing the amount of information users must remember or retype. In addition, Microsoft Kids Passport can help your Web site comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) passed by Congress in November 1998. (COPPA requires that operators of online services or Web sites obtain parental consent prior to the collection, use, disclosure, or display of the personal information of children.)

    Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate Available

    The Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate is now available. Here's a link to the WIndows Server System page for the release candidate:
    Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate
    On this page you'll find information for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Release Candidate (RC). This version of the software is intended only for installation in a test environment. We advise against installing and evaluating beta software on any production computers.
    And this is a link to the page in the download center:
    Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate (32-bit)
    Install Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Release Candidate (RC) to help secure your server and to better defend against hackers. Windows Server 2003 SP1 RC enhances security infrastructure by providing new security tools such as Security Configuration Wizard, which helps secure your server for role-based operations, improves defense-in-depth with Data Execution Protection, and provides a safe and secure first-boot scenario with Post-setup Security Update Wizard. Windows Server 2003 SP1 RC assists IT professionals in securing their server infrastructure and provides enhanced manageability and control for Windows Server 2003 users.
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