October 1st, 2009
Microsoft recently announced a program called WebsiteSpark. You can read more about it on Scott Guthrie’s blog. It’s a variation on their Spark program which is intended to give people that have an idea for a business or web site an opportunity to use Microsoft technologies for free to develop and deploy their ideas for 3 years.
Personally, I think it is a brilliant program that finally shows a desire from Microsoft to embrace a culture of open-source without having to sacrifice their business model of making software to sell to people. If you let someone use your technologies for free, support them making something amazing with it and add that to your portfolio of successful projects, it just fosters positive connection to the community that ultimately will drive success in the future.
Microsoft products can be extremely pricey. A windows server license alone can cost near $1000 per processor. With this program you get 4 licenses for free for 3 years. Talk about offsetting the start up costs. You can have a solid, supported, industry standard technology in place while you build your business.
The WebsiteSpark program joins the other two successful “Spark” programs previously launched – BizSpark for startups, and DreamSpark for students.
While I was in school back in 2005, the only technologies we learned and used were open-source because we couldn’t afford to use anything Microsoft. I can only imagine how many fun, off the wall, projects I could have created in school with access to some of the products available in these programs.
I’m sure a lot of this sounds like I’m spitting cool-aid out all over the place, but I honestly believe that this program is a good thing for everyone. Microsoft got this one right, and I’m giving credit where credit is due.
Now go out and bring your ideas to life!
November 26th, 2008
I was recently directed to The MossyBlog Times because apparently the “Is Microsoft or Adobe better” discussion (I use the term loosely, it more of a flame war if you’re familiar with that) has become fierce as the season of tech conferences is underway. MIX vs MAX, Flash/Flex vs Silverlight, .NET vs ColdFusion, Creative Suite vs Expression Studio…etc. The first in this list MIX and MAX are two of the largest technology conferences in the world. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend either of these conferences and have to respond to hear/say summaries by actual attendees. It’s unfortunate, because I believe both would be valuable to my job as a web developer, but I digress.
Here is the issue as I see it. There are plenty of strong opinions on both sides and plenty of blog posts for and against everything from Flash’s market penetration to support for the growing number of software developers moving into the web space. The twists and turns this industry takes was right there among them, however in the original wording there was a claim that Microsoft’s core competency was design (which it isn’t). However, the author has since reworded, but I wanted to post my comment on my blog since it hasn’t found it’s way onto the comments section of the post itself (yet).
Here was my response to Scott Barnes post about his experience at Adobe MAX this year.
“As a user of both Adobe and Microsoft technologies I was interested in this post mostly because I heard some people claim that MS was saying their core strength was Design. That was laughable at best, but now actually showing up to read this post I find that it was taken out of context. Microsoft has give me (a web developer) a very rich set of tools to do my job with VS2008, Silverlight, .NET, LINQ…however, they have yet to hit the mark with tools to help me deliver rich animations/displays. I’ve been working for the past two months on a WPF application that has shown some serious limitations to animation and code based manipulation of elements on the stage. Bottom line, we had to change our designs to address the limitations of the MS software. However, the WPF application made it extremely simple and efficient to deal with large amounts of data on the back end. Large data sets, sorted, processed, parsed, all at the blink of an eye and easy to access it was the display that kept us from reaching our goals.
My opinion, Adobe has built their technologies with Designers in mind, and MS has build theirs with Developers in mind…the race is now who can get their products to the middle first. I have to give the edge to MS here because in my opinion, dealing with versions, and data and the complexity of supporting it is much harder (as Adobe is finding out) than getting that data to display in slick ways.
If I had to build a complex RIA today, I would likely use .NET for my back end and Flash/Flex for my front end plugin…so there you have it.”
Adobe Air is awesome, Windows Presentation Foundation is really slick…only time will tell.
October 28th, 2008
I work at PBJS a creative agency that does a lot of work as a vendor for Microsoft. As a creative agency we do a lot of design work on Macs. The entire Art Department has Macs, I have a Macbook Pro laptop, our editing stations are Mac Pros. You get the idea. This is nothing shocking, the majority of creative agencies I’ve seen have Macs as their primary workhorse machines.
Since I do a lot of development I have a PC as my primary work machine, along with my fellow Interactive developers. I use Visual Studio for a lot of my coding. I’d even say “I’m a PC” on one of those ads. The fact is, I use them both to do my job depending on the given task.
Right now we are doing an installation for the new Microsoft Company Store. This week myself and the art director are going on-site to tweak in the space. Since we need to have our work computers with us, we needed to find a way to sneak a Mac Pro into Building 92. A picture is worth 1000 words!
MacPro box, turned inside out with Simon, our logo, and the words “I’m a PC”. That should do nicely!