Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

April, 2004

Posts
  • Brian Keller

    Web sites - they can make your day, or drive you nuts.

    • 7 Comments

    It's truly amazing how much the Web enables us to do. Think of how much time it saves you - searching for flights, paying bills, defining terms, entertaining you, getting a map. Can you remember a time when you didn't use the Web for some of these things? I love the Internet and I couldn't imagine not having its conveniences.

    But today, I had my share of bad experiences (don't worry, I am getting to a technical reference, if somewhat oblique):

    11:15am. A friend of mine sent me a Friendster request so I had to log in and confirm he was indeed a friend of mine. Friendster is a pretty cool concept and has gained an early mover market advantage in the “social network” space, but their success amazes me because their Web back-end is TERRIBLE. It obviously doesn't scale. There is seldom a time I visit their site that I don't have a server timeout or some other error occur.

    2:35pm. I try to book a flight to Sacramento. I start with Delta.com since I have a good frequent flier status. But instead, my visit is plagued with page errors, timeouts, etc. They lost my business when I got frustrated with all the errors, and this definitely isn't the first time I've had problems there.

    2:55pm. Still trying to book my flight. I try United.com. Same issue. Their pages time out, searches bomb with bogus errors, etc. Once again, I didn't book a flight here because of problems. I finally used Expedia to buy a ticket on United and it worked great (of course I probably paid a premium for going through Expedia, but United.com didn't work so what could I do?).

    5:30pm. It's the middle of the month, so it's time to login to Fleet Bank to pay my credit card. The entire freakin' credit card Web site area is down!

    12:30am. Tried the fleet site again. No dice. What gives?

    2:00am. I'm frustrated. Time to blog my troubles away...

    So I started to wonder what could be causing all of this grief? Some Web sites work great, all of the time, but these 4 always give me trouble from time to time, and ALL of them were giving me troubles today. Well, I think I found the connection with a few quick Web searches...

    Friendster
    Delta
    United
    Fleet

    Find the common thread? Hint: It starts with a “J” and ends with an “SP”. When are people going to learn? I guess when they start losing business they'll get a clue.

    <update 2:21am fixed an incorrect link>

  • Brian Keller

    Personalized marketing

    • 3 Comments

    This is really cool. Reason magazine is personalizing their covers with satellite imagery showing the location of the individual subscriber! Imagine the surprise of the subscriber when the magazine shows up. But it spawns an interesting debate between the sanctity of privacy and the power of personalized marketing (for both the economy and the individual). If done right, personalized marketing helps everybody in the chain (“How did they know I was out of toothpaste?! Cool - $1 off!“). If done wrong, it can violate somebody's privacy (“Honey, I swear that ad for Gambler's Anonymous isn't for me!“) or make innacurate assumptions about what they want, filtering out the stuff that they really do want (the “TiVo effect“ - if you watch Happy Gilmore you must be a golf fan, right?).

    For other really cool satellite imagery stuff, check this out. Download the trial. Using this software makes you really appreciate the smart client!

  • Brian Keller

    Jagged Alliance source code released

    • 0 Comments

    This news is about a month old, but I just discovered that Strategy First has released the source code to Jagged Alliance 2! I love that game, it's great to see that now it will have a community around it and is moddable. Another great one was XCom. And it seems they are going to be working on Jagged Alliance 3. :-)

    http://www.ja-galaxy-forum.com/

  • Brian Keller

    Visual C++ toolkit, and other .NET compilers

    • 0 Comments

    The C++ team just launched a campaign to educate people about the free C++ compiler and resources that users can download, absolutely free. For more information see:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/visualc/vctoolkit2003/

    And in case you're a C#, J#, or Visual Basic programmer you shouldn't feel left out in the cold. You can also get all of the compilers (plus lots of other great resources) by downloading the .NET Framework SDK. For J#, you'll also want to grab the J# redist at the bottom of the page.

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9b3a2ca6-3647-4070-9f41-a333c6b9181d&displaylang=en

    That will give you everything you need to compile .NET Framework application. Plug in your favorite editer (Notepad, Emacs, etc.) and you're good to go! If you're more of a visual designer developer like me and want all of the productivity features that Visual Studio has to offer, there are a couple of free ways to get your feet wet:
    1) Visual Studio Hosted Experience - use your broadband connection to try out Visual Studio .NET 2003 online for free! (http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/tryit)
    2) 60-day Trial CD or DVD. Get Visual Studio .NET 2003 for a free 60-day trial. (It just costs a few bucks for shipping and handling). See the links on the right-hand side, depending on where you live, at the link here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/productinfo/trial/

  • Brian Keller

    MSDN Webcast: Microsoft Java Virtual Machine Transition

    • 0 Comments

    I did a Webcast yesterday that's online now. You can view the archive of that here:
    http://www.placeware.com/cc/mseventsbmo/view?id=1032247776&pw=webcast

    Several people have asked whether or not it's still important to migrate away from the MSJVM in light of the April 2nd announcement. While the deadline has been extended for us to support the MSJVM, organizations still need to move away from the MSJVM for several reasons:
    1) Microsoft can only fix critical and security-related bugs with the MSJVM. This means that any bugs not falling into those categories can not be fixed as per Microsoft's agreement with Sun.
    2) Microsoft cannot enhance the MSJVM. Unless your application or applet is scheduled to be retired, this obviously can limit the amount of innovation you can do with your applet/lication.
    3) Microsoft cannot fix any bugs, even security bugs, after December 31, 2007. This means that if you have the MSJVM installed on any machines, you do run a potential security risk.

    Migrating to .NET is just one way of getting off of the MSJVM. My webcast focuses on migration to .NET.

    MSDN Webcast: Microsoft Java Virtual Machine Transition
    The recent announcement between Microsoft and Sun Microsystems has extended the end-of-life deadline for the MS JVM to December 31, 2007. But Microsoft can still only support critical security bugs during this time, and Microsoft can no longer enhance the functionality of the MS JVM. If you want to learn how to migrate your MS JVM-based applications to the .NET Framework and take advantage of a modern, fully-supported developer platform, then you should view this previously-recorded Webcast. This Webcast covers key migration scenarios using J# and the Java Language Conversion Assistant. Click here to view the webcast archive.

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