I have left Microsoft and this blog is no longer under my control. All of the content should remain for some time however and any new updates can be found at http://davedev.net.
-Dave, September 2013
Do you have passion for technology? Do you want to make a difference? Then try out a SQL Server 2008 Community Technology Preview (CTP). The SQL Server development team uses your feedback from CTPs to help refine and enhance product features.
Lots of June CTP Improvements, including:
· Table Value Parameters
· MERGE SQL Statement
· Star Join Query Optimizations
· Declarative Management Framework (DMF)
· Change Data Capture (CDC)
· AS Dimension Design: Improved Supportability and Integration of Best Practices
· VSTA Support for the Script Task and Component
Please visit the Sql Server 2008 CTP Site today!
One of my roles is working with scientists in the field and helping them be more productive. Most people are shocked to find that the average scientist today spends over half his/her time doing non scientific tasks. These tasks are things like copying data, editing an excel spreadsheet, etc. All repetitive tasks that can easily be automated; that is what computers are good at.
Collaboration.. Visualization... Communication.. these are the common themes that flow through out the scientific research community. Once you begin to understand that, you begin to see that it is all about people, and not the technology. It is hard sometimes to wrap your head around that. I know as an IT guy I imagined there being these huge "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" style machines calculating cures and running scenarios. But, more often than not, all the scientific research breakthroughs we see come from the human factor.
The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, is a world-renowned cancer and biomedical research facility where scientists and doctors from a variety of disciplines work together to link cancer treatments with the latest research on cancer-fighting drugs. They wanted a better way to organize biological research information and share it with their colleagues. An application was built using .Netfx 3.0, Windows Vista and Microsoft Office Suite that allowed them to better visualize and collaborate together to find a cure. I have seen similar tools before, but what struck me was the idea of actually annotating on the molecule models themselves. This allowed scientists to see the notes of their colleagues while viewing the models that help spur new avenues of thought. I like to call this the "lightbulb" factor. It is also important to note that this application was built by only two developers and in six weeks time.
Please watch this heart warming video of a patient's story and how Scripps is helping.
Full Case study can be found here.
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.
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 .