October, 2007

  • Steve Clayton

    Flashing your iBrick



    I have some sympathy for those folks who have "bricked" their iPhone. Back when I worked in the mobile group I received one of the early Windows Mobile Smartphone prototypes to test along with a new software build to flash on to the phone. I consider myself pretty proficient with software upgrades having probably built a few hundred PC's in my time but phones....now that is a different thing altogether.

    I followed the instructions diligently, flashed the bootloader, flashed the OS and the radio stack and prepared to power up the latest build of our shiny new OS. The device registered a charge but that was the only life it showed. I franticly checked the instructions, removed the battery, re-powered it but all to no avail. With no Ctrl Alt Del to be seen I resigned myself to the embarrassing fact that I would have to call my US colleagues the next morning and tell them I was a dummy. I left the phone on charge for the night and skulked off to bed.

    Next morning, I had a quick glance, optimistically pressed the power button and to my surprise, delight and relief the unit powered up and worked a treat. The gadget gods had smiled on me and not for the first time. I've since had similar experiences with numerous iPAQ's and several other Smartphones,.

    One thing remains though - these devices are quite simply small supercomputers of their time but with that size and power comes massive complexity underneath. Home phone flashing isn't for the faint of heart and I envisage a still bumpy road ahead for iPhone and other gadgets like them. Still, it'll keep folks like Jason and I in a job for a while :)

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  • Steve Clayton

    Microsoft powers up for change


    [photo credit, me - hence why I do this job and not photography]

    I haven't got my head around that headline from The Telegraph today following their interview with Steve Ballmer yesterday but this quote caught my eye

    "We are a software company, and yet in a sense, the very form of our core capability is changing. We need to change our capabilities so that we are not just good at writing bits that you put out on CD and deliver, but rather writing this thing that is a living, breathing, dynamic, organic thing."

    The engines are really starting to whir and at yesterday's Web 2.0 event that Steve presented at here in London, people seemed pretty wowed by some of our moves in this area such as Popfly, Silverlight, Photosynth and Seadragon. Sam Sethi who isn't the biggest Microsoft fan I ever came across suggested to me that we need to do more of these types of events and I agree. Sam has a pretty good writeup at Blognation though I don't agree the Office Live Workspaces competes with Google Docs - they're too different for me but maybe we just haven't positioned it well enough.

    In hindsight I wish we had also demo'ed Windows Live Writer for the many bloggers in the audience but I heard Marc Holmes did some of the best demos people have seen in a long time from Microsoft so hats off to him. Top work old chap....now, can I have that SeaDragon demo off you? :)

  • Steve Clayton

    J'aime Microsoft Surface



    Surface showed up in London and Paris this week - it was on ITV here in the UK last night which is pretty big coverage and also at imagine07 in Paris which Hugh is attending. Seems like he fell in love with Surface too - it's hard not to when you see it in action.

    Man I need one of these. Our buildings all need one of these...


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  • Steve Clayton

    "Microsoft Online" unveiled...and more



    It's great to be able to finally talk about Microsoft Online as it's what has been consuming most of my time lately and the reason for my recent Redmond trip. It's the next pillar in our Software + Services strategy and has literally just been announced so here's what's what:

    We’ve announced plans to deliver a wide variety of new solutions during the coming months under two key families of service offerings: Live and Online. Live is known to many though has been the source of some confusion with an array of offerings but with the introduction of the Online brand it helps to bring clarity. Allow me to explain:

    • Live denotes services designed primarily for individuals, and virtual work groups. With that in mind, they span across entertainment, comms, and productivity. Examples would be Skydrive, Photo Gallery and Office Live. Their focus is simplicity and make most sense where there isn’t professional IT support at hand – largely as they don’t require that level of expertise.


    • Online services on the other hand are for organisations with more advanced IT needs. The keyword here is choice – the world of so called “on premise” servers doesn’t go away, nor do services hosted by 3rd parties but added to that mix now are services that reside in Microsoft owned data centres. As of today, those services are Exchange Online, Office SharePoint Online and Office Communications Online.


    I’ll be following up with more details during this week and the weeks ahead. There are some other interesting announcements today as well

    • Microsoft Office Live Workspace -- a new web-based feature of Office which lets people access their documents online and share their work with others.
    • Microsoft Exchange Labs - a new R&D program for testing next-generation messaging and unified communications capabilities in high-scale environments.
    • The renaming of Microsoft Office Live to Microsoft Office Live Small Business.
    • Microsoft BizTalk Services -- a building block service that enables developers to more rapidly and cost-effectively build composite applications. IMHO, this has the potential to be huge as it has the potential to help unlock the long tail of commerce, especially small business in emerging markets.

    Later today (or tomorrow actually) I’ll annotate these announcements on top of the recent Ray Ozzie's Financial Analyst Presentation and you will begin to see the Software + Services story coming to life. I know Scoble and others have lamented what they’ve seen as slow progress since Ray joined but this stuff takes time – not just the technology but the business relationships too and that’s what has been keeping many of us busy. Today is just the start of a shift.

    There is a tonne of questions this stuff brings to life and it’s what makes working at Microsoft a buzz after 10 years. I sense another series of changes afoot and it’s great to be involved. I’ll be posting a LOT more about this stuff from here on and you can find more at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/default.mspx and www.officelive.com

    Initial coverage - lots of people have gone for the Google compete angle. Inevitable I guess

    Game on.

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