April, 2008

  • Steve Clayton

    ComputerWeekly.com IT Blog Awards 08


    Well I was quite surprised to find a few incoming links to my blog today from ComputerWeekly.com. It turns out my name has been mentioned as a potential candidate for their IT Blog Awards 08. I’m honoured (and surprised). I’ve no idea who suggested me or if Rebecca read my blog but nice to be even mentioned in this category. 

    If I make the list I’ll be sure to point you over there but with other great blogs like Andrew Fryer's or Tim Anderson’s ITWriting it’s not a given. Plus there are plenty of other great blogs out there that I look up to – just check my blogroll for examples.

  • Steve Clayton

    Managing Information Overload


    from The Joy of Tech comic. Of course you will be doing this anyway on May 3rd – Shutdown Day

  • Steve Clayton

    Live Mesh - First Look whitepaper



    Noah Edelstein has a good post up on the Live Mesh blog titled - What's a platform experience (and why do I care?). You may not have noticed nestled in the text is a link to The Live Mesh First Look whitepaper which provides a good overview of the platform experience. For those not familiar with Microspeak that means what you will see as a user of Live Mesh as opposed to the Live Mesh developer platform. If you’re not on the Tech Preview this is probably the best document to take a look at – along with Noah’s Channel 10 video of course.


    Live Mesh

  • Steve Clayton

    Microsoft’s Software Plus Services website goes live



    During a big week for Software plus Services we slipped the external S+S site out today on Microsoft.com - which as you'd expect is a Silverlight based site. At the moment it's largely a set of links to other sites on Microsoft.com for specific products and services but that itself shows the span of S+S.

    It also has a page titled Software plus Services Overview that's worth a scan for the uninitiated and a very cool Windows Live video.

    I'm happy the site is up as when people now ask me what I do around here I can point them to the website for some explanation :)

  • Steve Clayton

    Ray Ozzie’s latest memo – Software plus Services strategy


    Hot on the heels if the Live Mesh announcement, the full text of Ray Ozzie’s Live Software plus Services strategy memo is now available. Here’s my advice – read it once. Then walk away…come back a while later and read it again. Ray has a different style that a few commentators over the last week have alluded to – a bit Zen mystery that requires you to make some assumptions and read between the lines at time. He’s also not one for hyperbole in my experience and if you read the Wharton interview I link to below, you’ll hear him pretty much say that.

    Jack Schofield has some commentary on the paper that I would largely go along with. He also picks up the point that Ray and his team are very open and standards oriented and whilst many thought Mesh would just be a half baked Groove it’s quite a lot more. Whilst Techcrunch laments the Windows only experience of Live Mesh right now and use that as a simple tool to say “same old Microsoft” they will be proved wrong. The Mac client is coming per the Add Device page on the Live Mesh device ring (below)



    Jack goes on to say


    Either way, it's going to be interesting to see how the "cloud computing will kill Microsoft" camp will cope with Microsoft becoming a major supplier with an advanced cloud infrastructure, superior PC integration and the ability to undercut it on price.


    …and this starts to get to the real story here. We could have come out months ago and talked about Live Mesh and related projects but that’s not the Ozzie way. He bides his time and then delivers – or his team does to be more accurate.

    If you want to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together, go back to the Financial Analyst Meeting presentation Ray gave back in July 2006. That’s right…way back then he started laying out the story and over the last 24 hours you have seen another piece of it. Let’s review what he said back then:


    “How can we best accomplish the experience we want taking advantage of the ability of centralized services to enable seamless end-to-end experiences for the user? We know that a centralized service can be a great place to store or cache things so they can be accessed anywhere on the Net, and to organize things and share things with others.”


    …in developing applications and solutions in this new era, we use an experience-first, service-centric approach—a holistic approach across the Web, the PC, and other devices, an approach that uses the Windows Live services platform to kind of bring it all together.


    Some years from now, as you look back on this time, this time I've referred to as being a services transformation, I think you'll view it as the beginning of a period where your view of software and servers and services became enmeshed and intertwined


    I would also strongly suggest a review of the April 2007 Wharton interview with Ray. Here’s one choice quote:


    “I am not one to believe that suddenly you snap fingers and everything that you do on the PC is doable on the web. You shouldn't just take things [you do on the PC] and put them [on the web]. You should figure out what they're good for [on the web] and what they are good for [on the PC] and weave them together. Based on my experience, I believe that this represents more opportunity than risk.”

    Then go look at the 2007 FAM presentation where things start to get even more concrete. Some notable quotes:


    "The datacenters are of massive scale. There's a number of them. They're built with commodity components, and that's how you get the cost down, and they achieve reliability through redundancy, not the fail-safe nature of any given component within the datacenter. Our expansion continues at this layer around the world."

    “Microsoft's own services in the cloud, in our datacenters, where our services will likely be much more horizontal in nature and where we'll take a platform approach to it and offer the lowest, lowest possible cost that we can.”

    “The first one is that the services transformation, this transformation from software to software plus services, is a very, very big deal for our company. It'll be a very critical aspect of all of our offerings over the next few years. We're building a platform to support our own apps and solutions, and to support our partners' applications and solutions, and to support enterprise solutions and enterprise infrastructure. We are the only company in the industry that has the breadth of reach from consumer to enterprises to understand and deliver and to take full advantage of the services opportunity in all of these markets. I believe we're the only company with the platform DNA that's necessarily to viably deliver this highly leveragable platform approach to services. And we're certainly one of the few companies that has the financial capacity to capitalize on this sea change, this services transformation.”


    The last quote there echoes the closing sentiments of this new memo and brings things full circle. For now :)

    As you can probably tell, I love watching this new Microsoft emerge. I guarantee there will be mistakes and mis-steps along the was but I suspect fewer than before. You’re witnessing a more open Microsoft and whilst changes of this magnitude take time I think I’ll look back on this era and consider myself very fortunate to be able to see some of this up close. For the parts I can’t I’m out here with you, decoding Ray :)

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