Is your company proud of you?

James Governor, an analyst. talks about how the WS02 guys cherish their developers.

What a nice change from the norm- where corporate web sites only have bios for the most senior execs. We'll be keeping an eye out for more about pages citing devs. Can you suggest any?

It shows guts to provide email addresses and links for to one of your most valuable resources - developers. But these days if you don't turn your colleagues into stars someone else will.

I can remember when I once interviewed at Virtusa, Keith Modder, an MD there, said something which went a long way to impress on me how much they valued their engineers. To paraphrase him “Everday at 5.00pm when the guys leave work, the value of this company goes down to $0. Bottom line we know our priorities.”

Talking of WS02, it’s  good to see the faces of some of the guys I’ve had an opportunity to work with in the past including Thilina, Ruwan, Ishan and Chamil.

BTW: Chamil, you need to fix the link to IT Ambalama from your profile.

Google Reader – Design Simplicity

Joe Wilcox of Microsoft Monitor joins the ever growing group that keeps raving about Google Reader.

He touches on one of the key aspects in product design where many software products falter.

Little details matter, when evaluating the simplicity and complexity attributes. Unlike other readers that generally require users to mark or set preferences to mark feeds read, Google Reader automatically marks them read as the reader advances from one retrieved post to another. When the user scrolls down to the end of the page of cached feeds, Google Reader automatically refreshes the browser with new feeds.

These functions work by default, without the user setting preferences. I see this as sign of Google designing for common tasks. By contrast, I see Microsoft often overly focused on customization. That's fine if the customization is a layer removed and the fundamental design principle is providing the most utility for the most people.

When developing a product it's always easier to simply add dialogs and let the user decide than taking the time and effort to figure out how your product is going to be actually used by the end user.

The Office and IE teams at Microsoft seem to have learnt this lesson and have gone the whole hog and removed even the menus.

[Posted using Microsoft Word 2007]

Bye, bye SmartClient, hello WebApp

Well I never thought I would say this but I’ve just bid goodbye to RssBandit my feedreader for the last three years and completely switched over to Google Reader.

The deciding factor was that I could read all my feeds from home. Google Reader is way fast over dial-up than RssBandit simply because the heavy lifting is done on the server.

If I had better bandwidth, would I have switched? I think it’s time someone wroteup a serious WPF XBAP that does feed reading. I’m betting on Newsgator to do this. Wait, that’s a super cool project to work on…

Robot employees

Robotemployees

An excellent post by Kathy, here’s an extract:

In an earlier post I said, "If you asked the head of a company which employee they'd prefer: the perfect team player who doesn't rock the boat or the one who is brave enough to stand up and fight for something rather than accept the watered-down group think that maintains the status quo (or makes things worse), who would they SAY they'd choose? Who would they REALLY choose?

In his book Re-imagine", Tom Peters says, "We will win this battle... and the larger war... only when our talent pool is both deep and broad. Only when our organizations are chock-a-block with obstreperous people who are determined to bend the rules at every turn..."

So yes, I'm thinking Mr. CEO of Very Large Company would say that their company should take the upstart whatever-it-takes person over the ever-compromising team player. "If that person shakes us up, gets us to rethink, creates a little tension, well that's a Good Thing", the CEO says. riiiiiiiiiight. While I believe most CEOs do think this way, wow, that attitude reverses itself quite dramatically the futher you reach down the org chart. There's a canyon-sized gap between what company heads say they want (brave, bold, innovative) and what their own middle management seems to prefer (yes-men, worker bees, team players). "

I LOVE Google Code Search!

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This is wicked cool! Check out google code search to find out how various commands are being used by developers.

Say you want to figure out how to use the File.ReadAllText method from C#, it’s as simple as typing lang:C# File.ReadAllText and this is what you get. For VB use lang:basic File.ReadAllText

What’s cool is that it even looks up code inside zip files. Wait, it gets better, drill-down into a hit and you see a list of all the other code files in that zip/project. 

No more downloading code samples to figure out how a command is being. To keep things clear the license under which the code is published is displayed as part of the result.

I’ve been living on Live search for the past four weeks, but I’ll definitely be relying on Google for code search.

Check out the Advanced Search to figure out what the options are.

One feature that should be added though would be color coding. I’m sure it must be in the works though.

Introduction to .NET 3.0 slides and links

Thanks a lot for all the positive feedback I’ve been hearing from you guys on yesterday’s presentation. I need to make a public apology to Manzi though, sorry man for cutting into your presentation time.

As promised you can download the .NET 3.0 Overview Presentation [10MB]. Ed saved my day but had to fight the devil himself to get this presentation across to me.

Julie Lerman has a good post that clarifies .NET roadmap and word soup. If you missed my session yesterday check out the video of a similar session from Tech.Ed Australia at Charles Strelings’s blog. I spent a whole night poring through the presentation to figure out the demo script and I’m glad you all enjoyed it.

FYI: The official .NET Framework 3.0 site is at www.netfx3.com

Whatis

Hold your horses, Vista RC2 on Friday

Hold your horses, Vista RC2 on Friday, say Paul.

Microsoft this Friday will ship the final pre-release version of Windows Vista and, unexpectedly, will name the release as Release Candidate 2 (RC2). Previously, Microsoft had publicly asserted that it would not ship an RC2 milestone release of Windows Vista. But don't let the name fool you: RC2 is really just a standard interim build of Vista and will not be given out to millions of users as was RC1.

The RC2 build is 5743, and Microsoft is currently testing it internally. As with the previous interim build, 5728, RC2 will be given out to beta testers, MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and a random, limited selection of Consumer Preview Program (CPP) members.

Dang and here I was painfully downloading 5728 for the last three days.

Lyrics Plugin for Windows Media Player

Lyricspluginlogo

Lyricsplugin

from Lifehacker: Lyrics Plugin is a piece of software tailored for music fans. To put it simply - it is an add-on to view lyrics in WinAmp or Windows Media Player. No more searching for lyrics. Just start listening to your favourite songs and lyrics will be displayed automatically. Oh, and if lyrics is not found, you can add it yourself :)

[Download]

TNL Rocks with Podcasts

Last weekend I heard about the podcast while listening to the radio. Somewhere at TNL is a geek whose into some really wicked cool stuff. The station that pioneered internet broadcasting now offers podcasts at http://www.tnlpodcast.com/.

What’s better is that my favorite radio station is powered by my favorite platform.

.NET rocks and so does TNL 101.7!

<IMG alt=Tnlrockspodcast src="http://www.merill.net/wp-content/uploads/contentbinary/tnlrockspodcast.jpg" border=0>

I dunno if it is the WMP 11 Beta, but the audio played super fast sounding mostly like Alvin of the Chipmunks.