May, 2007

  • DaveDev

    POKE 36879

    • 3 Comments

    I cannot recall the exact form of advertising that hooked me: magazine, TV, billboard, or even a movie preview. But, it was around Christmas time that I told my parents I wanted a computer.  It was a conscious decision I had come to, a decision of which I could not be swayed.  I remember having quality time with my Dad every Sunday, when he would help me with my paper route.  "Computers are the future." he would say.  "Well Dad it is time for my future now!  Some day these things will change the world." I would retort.  And so I waited for that morning...

    I got a Commodore VIC 20 that year.  It came with a blinding fast tape drive, of which one could load and save programs!  Just hit play, get in the family car, drive to the movie theatre and watch the matinee.  Come back some two hours later and your program had loaded.  Oh, but I did not care, it was magical!  There was nothing I could not do with the computer, the only limiting factor was my imagination.  I read through every page in the computer manual.  Typed in every line of code I could find.  I spent hours creating my own "Games" filled with racecars, spaceships, even "Choose your own path" ZORK based games.  But it all started with these first few lines:

    NEW
    1 FOR X = 1 TO 255
    2 POKE 36879, X
    3 PRINT "* POKE 36789," X
    4 FOR T = 1 to 1000: NEXT T
    5 NEXT X
    RUN

    The computer screen would ignite into a display of wondrous colors.  "Look at that!" my family would say.  "Look at what Dave made the computer do!".

    Over twenty years of passed as I sit here now and write this.  Every piece of technology inside that computer has changed.  But that little kid inside me, that wonder I felt when I first turned it on.  That feeling has never left me.  That vast open field of possibility as one sits at the keyboard is still here today.  "Computers are the future" Dad would say.

    Well Dad, here we are.  It's time to change the world.  Let's just be sure to bring along a faster tape drive this time.

  • DaveDev

    Computer Club - Class of 1975

    • 1 Comments

    Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had a rare public conversation together last night.  Full article can be found here.  Transcript, highlight reel video, and more pictures can be found here !  The video is worth watching; it is a great history lesson mixed with their own personal experiences.

    Spending a lot of my childhood in the 80's, and being a Computer Geek to boot, these two gentleman are about as cool an icon as one could get.  I always enjoy the occasions when they appear together.

  • DaveDev

    My coffee table did what?

    • 2 Comments

    An amazing nextgen user experience from Microsoft Research!  Microsoft Surface.

    Popular Mechanics has a hands on Video. Check it out!  In the video they take a picture with a digital camera, place the camera on the table, manipulate the picture and then drag the picture onto another portable device.  All through natural human interaction with the device, instead of forcing the user to learn the interface of a program. 

    This video demonstrates perfectly a good user experience design.  Just because our program needs 3 variables as an input, does not mean we should put three dropdown boxes on a screen and force a user to give us those variables.  We should always hide the underlying plumbing and let users interact with software in a natural way.  Each of those devices required variables as input, the user sent them - it just happened naturally without them realizing.

    Give it a few years and we will see technology like this inside the home.  Maybe then my wife can move pictures off the camera without needing me.  =)

    Official Microsoft Site with more info can be found here.  Also, here is a video of Bill Gates on The Today Show this morning showing the device.

    Update: News.com has an article on the "Milan" Surface table PC project.  Check it out here.

    Update: Ars Technica has a nice writeup on the hardware used inside the Surface table.  Article found here

  • DaveDev

    Silverlight and PopFly now with 0 Carbs!

    • 0 Comments

    I was in the Microsoft Malvern, PA office on Thursday to give a presentation on Silverlight.  The goal was to not only show the power of Silverlight, but how easy it is to create using our product offerings (Blend 2 and Orcas).  These products work together to create a seamless Silverlight development experience for both the Developer and the Designer.

    As an added bonus I showed off Popfly (I was lucky enough to get an Alpha account) to those in attendance.  We created a mash-up site on the fly connecting a Flickr photoset with a Slideshow block in seconds.  We also grabbed some user submitted blocks (like the World of Warcraft guild data block) and walked through the members data using a PhotoTile block.  Popfly is an excellent example of creating RIA User Experiences run on Web 2.0 Data Service Api's  (Flickr, Twitter, Digg, you name it!) using Silverlight. Great stuff!

    Here are the links I showed, for anyone who missed it.

    Popfly site - www.popfly.com
    Popfly screencast - http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=91175
    Channel 9 Popfly video - http://channel9.msdn.com/showpost.aspx?postid=308460

    Silverlight Community Site - www.silverlight.net
    Silverlight Official Site - www.microsoft.com/silverlight

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