* Posts by Tim Anderson

44 posts • joined 10 Apr 2006

Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre

Tim Anderson

An url that works

More info on this is now available here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/cloud-platform-system/

Tim

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Influential scribe Charles Petzold: How I figured out the Windows API

Tim Anderson

Re: Hungarian notation

There was, but couldn't fit it in. Just for you though: "there was a style of identifying variables known as Hungarian notation that I imitated and perhaps propagated more than was desirable (laughs)." Almost a confession :-)

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Bigger, fiddly to manage: The second coming of Windows Server 2012

Tim Anderson

Re: "Most" enterprises "want" hybrid cloud??

Another way of putting this is that enterprises are not busy closing their datacentres. So to the extent that they have any interest in public cloud, it is hybrid.

Tim

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Windows 8.1: A bit square, sure, but WAIT! It has a Start button

Tim Anderson

Re: Right click admin options

OK, so you are beating me up because you can right-click the bottom left corner in Win 8.0 too for the admin menu (or press Win-X).

True, but the reason I mention it is that I most often right-click the Start button in Win 8.1 for the "Shut down or sign out" option which was added - it is not in Win 8.0.

The right-click menu is also more discoverable in Win 8.1, which does not matter once you have discovered it, but that discoverability is improved is also important.

There is another thing you should know about this review. After discussion we agreed not to repeat everything that we had already said about Windows 8.1 Preview, which was reviewed here last month:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/12/windows_eight_one_review/

Hence the focus on some of the business features. We should have included a link to the earlier piece though, so apologies for that.

Tim

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Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

Tim Anderson

Re: Have you got the right date?

The date was for the Unix version but I couldn't find that one easily, so made do with Windows.

Tim

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Visual Studio 2012: 50 Shades of Grey by Microsoft

Tim Anderson

Re: "Microsoft’s all-encompassing IDE loser"

It's a typo for "closer".

Tim

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Tim Anderson

Re: Opening Sentence

It's meant to be "closer".

Tim

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Petaflops beater: Nvidia chief talks exascale

Tim Anderson

@ArmanX I believe Nvidia is thinking along these lines - a GPU with some cores based on the ARM CPU rather than simpler GPU cores. That's what Tesla CTO Steve Scott told me anyway.

Tim

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Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 - what's in it for you?

Tim Anderson

Office Web Apps not in the box

Just to clarify - while Office Web Apps works on SharePoint 2010, included in SBS 2011, it is not in the box - it is a "free" download if you have an Office volume licensing agreement.

Tim

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Microsoft trips on Visual Studio Lightswitch

Tim Anderson

re Promo Alert

"Some two years in the making, it aims to simplify the building of business"

... the clue is in the word "aims". I'll add that I'm not sure any tool which generates 4500+ lines of code gloop can be described as creating a best-practice design; but it may still be better than tools like VB which positively encourage bad design.

I still think it is an interesting effort. One of the points not brought out in the article is that LightSwitch does model-driven development under the covers; it is even conceivable that some future iteration might target different platforms - HTML 5 for example - from the same model.

Whether it will survive long enough to get there is an open question though.

Tim

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Windows 95 to Windows 7: How Microsoft lost its vision

Tim Anderson

Preemptive multitasking

@Geoff

Yes, Win 95 had pre-emptive multitasking, for 32-bit apps:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/117567

"In Windows 95, all 32-bit applications are scheduled preemptively. Preemptive multitasking allows Windows 95 to switch between 32-bit applications whether those applications are prepared to lose control of the CPU or not. No cooperation between the application and the operating system is required for 32-bit multitasking."

Tim

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Microsoft's Office Web Apps - a long way from here

Tim Anderson

Printing

@Greg

Well, PDF is in effect the print engine. Since Silverlight doesn't print (yet) and browser printing is not precise enough I doubt Microsoft had much choice. The fact that it uses Adobe technology wasn't mentioned in the press briefing :-)

Tim

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Tim Anderson

In-house hosting

@Richard 102

Yes, you can host in-house; the web apps are a feature of SharePoint 2010.

Tim

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Tim Anderson
Stop

Printing support

> BUT, a word-processor that doesn't print? Gee, that' IS only something that MS could come up

> with.

It is Excel Web App that can't print in the preview. Word prints; it does so by converting to Adobe PDF. This caused me some confusion at first, because printing prompted me to download a file. The reason is that I have Acrobat browser integration turned off. I imagine that Excel will work in the same way eventually, but who knows?

Tim

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iTunes swallowed a quarter of US music sales

Tim Anderson

Walmart not so strong in download sales

As far I can tell from the release, Walmart is only ahead of Amazon in overall music sales - the 14% is for download + physical combined. In downloads, it is iTunes 69%, Amazon 8%, and Walmart not stated but around 3% by rough calculation.

Apple's share of the download market seems steady at around 70% for the last three years, despite Amazon's efforts.

Tim

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Silverlight 3: closer to what client-side .NET should have been

Tim Anderson

Microsoft, Moonlight and Linux

Microsoft doesn't care about Linux, but want to tick the box. That said, the Mono guys are working hard on this.

Tim

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Visual Studio 2010 - reading the Redmond runes

Tim Anderson

Runtime libraries

@Tony Hoyle you don't have to install to the app directory, you can install to System32 which I believe will be the preferred approach - as I understand it, it is "like VC 6". Yes, there is a risk of DLL hell.

Tim

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Tim Anderson

VS and the Microsoft platform

@Anonymous Coward No, I wasn't referring to the way the pre-beta is delivered; I like the use of the VM.

Tim

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Tim Anderson

perpertrated vs perpetuated

@Neoc you are correct: perpetrate first, perpetuate later :-)

Tim

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Chrome: A new force for web applications?

Tim Anderson

About .HTA files

Windows can run an HTML file in a chrome-less IE if you rename it to .hta - stands for HTML Application. Same as Chrome's desktop shortcuts? No. The idea of .hta is to let you run desktop applications build with HTML and script. The idea is the Chrome shortcuts is to run web applications that look like desktop applications. One of the problems with .hta is that it runs with high permissions - good for admin scripts, bad for web apps.

What Google is doing here is trivial on a technical level, but when you combine it with the Gears API and the possiblity of clicking a web button to "install" a browser app on the desktop, it becomes interesting.

Tim

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Tim Anderson

Debug clarification

<blockquote>

... are you suggesting that this is better than the way you can code most other web languages, that is on any platform with a text editor, or using a common IDE that is available across platforms like Eclipse.

</blockquote>

Not all all; you can write your web pages / apps however you like. Chromium gives you the source code of the browser, so you can trace why some particular feature doesn't work as it should, or runs slow. Most developers won't bother - advanced coders only!

Tim

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Shine on Silverlight and Windows with XAML

Tim Anderson

Ambiguity in XAML

@nobby

You're right, you could set a property twice, once as an attribute and once as a property element.

If you do, you get an error:

(in your example) "The property Fill is set more than once"

This is messy. On the other hand, if the spec did not allow the shortcut attribute properties, XAML would be considerably more verbose.

Tim

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Small, awkward and looking for love: Delphi for PHP 2.0

Tim Anderson

Yes, try the trial

@Steve

I agree with your recommendation: download the trial and try it out. You are right; there is a lot that cannot be said in a short review.

Some of what I said applies equally to Delphi for PHP 1.0, but I have the impression that many are not familiar with the earlier version.

I realise there is some Zend integration and mentioned this in another comment; but it is very limited at the moment.

> And Tim seems to conflate the open source VCL for PHP effort with the

> CodeGear IDE effort.

Well yes, that's the product. You could use the IDE without the VCL, but if you do you lose the distinctive feature of the product, RAD visual development.

> The announced but never released qadram IDE has long been morphed

> into D4PHP

Yes, I said this is its only incarnation. I think its origins are important though; it explains why it has a dedicated IDE, rather than using RAD studio. The VCL is open source, but I'm not sure this works to the advantage of the product at the moment, mainly because insufficient resources are put into it, and the open source community doesn't appear to be large enough to thrive.

I agree that the product has good potential. I spent a relatively large amount of time with it. Unfortunately it is also a frustrating product, thanks to inconsistency, limited documentation. Further, I don't much like the generated code.

But yes, I'd encourage anyone to try it. If a real community can form around Delphi for PHP and its VCL, or if it gets the investment it needs to deliver on its RAD promise, then it could still come good.

Tim

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Tim Anderson

Zend integration

> Zend Framework recently annouced they would be integrating with the Dojo

> Ajax/Widget library - If the VCL was built around them then this would simply

> rock

There is actually a degree of Zend integration - but very limited at the moment.

Tim

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Silverlight 2 beta 2 - Go Live if you dare

Tim Anderson

Silverlight does not require the full .NET runtime

> Don't forget the 1 Terabyte install for .NET

Just to be clear: I didn't forget it, it is not required. The cut-down .NET runtime is within the small download, less than 5MB.

Tim

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Tim Anderson

Sample data

> The astute person with knowledge of San Francisco area

> codes will note that MUCH of the example is WAY out of date

The astute person with knowledge of SQL Server will recognize the pubs database that is indeed ancient - but that was my choice, not Microsoft's; I just picked the first data that came to hand :-)

Tim

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Is Google Gears safe?

Tim Anderson

SQLite

Gears uses SQLite, but not solely SQLite. It also enables a local resource store/server for other types of data.

Tim

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Silverlight 2.0 data and web services explained

Tim Anderson

It's all about the networking stack

The issue is that any plugin only has access to what comes over the wire to the extent that the browser's plugin API exposes it. This is only a subset of what actually comes over the wire, hence these limitations. The workaround would be for the plug-in to bypass the browser's networking stack, but that would cause other problems, like needing a separate login.

Tim

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Cut to the Web Server Core: Windows Server 2008

Tim Anderson

re .htaccess

Re .htaccess - that's the point, really. IIS 7 is meant to have the convenience of .htaccess without the perf. penalty.

Tim

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How to speed up Windows Vista: official and unofficial tips

Tim Anderson

32-bit Vista and RAM

> system can only address 3GB, and the

This is a typo. Vista can address 4GB. However if you install 4GB then in many cases the BIOS will not present that much RAM to the OS. This was exactly the case on an Intel board I have just swapped out - 4GB installed, 3GB visible to Vista. A better-designed board can remap the memory to overcome this problem.

Tim

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The day Microsoft 'embraced and extended' Java

Tim Anderson

JavaScript vs Java

> JavaScript is not Java's "little brother".

> It has nothing to do with Java.

The relationship is that Sun embraced JavaScript as a way of scripting Java objects within the browser, hence the name. Otherwise, I agree with what you say.

Tim

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Vista vs XP performance: Some informal tests

Tim Anderson

Quantify the hardware

I put the details of the machines used in the comment to the post here:

http://www.itwriting.com/blog/?p=430

> Either way I'd like to know which one of your computers

> you would use for Vista and its current hardware configuration.

The lowest spec machine spends most of its time in XP or Ubuntu. The best spec machine runs great with Vista.

Tim

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Tim Anderson

Optimising XP

> Vista was optimised for speed in every possible little

> obscure way (because the regular install was being

> massacred in other tests, if I understood correctly).

> XP was left alone. And XP was STILL faster in general.

That's correct, though I ran the test with non-optimized Vista as well. The reason was twofold:

1. I was sceptical about the claim that XP is 2x faster.

2. Given that Vista is slower, I'm interested to know where it is slower, and what is most effective at improving its performance.

I agree that more tests would be interesting.

Tim

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Microsoft lifts Visual Studio usage restrictions

Tim Anderson

New rules

> e.g. Phar Lap ETS

Another factor is that Microsoft sometimes allowed this kind of integration on a case-by-case basis, if you asked nicely.

Tim

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Tim Anderson

Mono

> Isn't the main goal of Mono to allow you to run .NET applications unmodified on a non-Windows platform?

That is a goal; but how about a designer for Gtk#, for example?

Tim

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Considering Microsoft’s 'rift with the web'

Tim Anderson

Title

> try to find out how COM interop works.

Ha! you need Adam Nathan's book .NET and COM, only 1500pp. I've been there...

Tim

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Inside Amazon's web services

Tim Anderson

Is it cheap?

> I must be missing something in the mathematics... Storage

> costs $0.15/Gb plus $0.20/Gb in transfer costs. So by my

> reckoning, to copy say 500Gb to them and read it back

> once will cost me $0.55 x 500. Which is approximately

> what a 500Gb SATA II drive will cost.

Hardly the same thing. No data transfer costs for the local hard drive, for starters.

Amazon is cheap relative to the competition. For example ibackup.com sells online backup space from $1.00 per GB (Economy plan). No additional cost for data transfer, but you have to pay whether or not you actually use the space. Amazon is pay-as-you-go.

A cheap hosting provider might get you online space for less, but bear in mind that S3 is scalable, decentralized, authenticated, and fault-tolerant.

Photo site Smugmug moved part of its online storage to S3 and said it was cheaper than the drives in its own data center.

I spoke to a couple of ISPs at a recent conference, who wanted to provide similar services to their customers. They told me that Amazon's pricing is hard for them to match.

Tim

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Delphi - or not Delphi

Tim Anderson

Confusing name

I couldn't agree more. After trying to persuade us that Delphi is a language (I still think of it as Object Pascal), Borland/CodeGear is now using it for something quite different - "inspired by" Delphi?

Tim

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Borland takes battle to Eclipse with JBuilder 2007

Tim Anderson

Is this really JBuilder?

> The IDE is arguably the biggest update to JBuilder in years

The "arguably" is not about the extent of the update, but rather over whether this is really JBuilder. I'd say it is really Eclipse with some new CodeGear extensions. I've put some notes on the subject here:

http://www.itwriting.com/blog/?p=57

Tim

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C# pulling ahead of Java

Tim Anderson

C# vs VB

> Didn't you forget the question mark in the title?

The title is intended to refer to Anders Hejlsberg's *claim*, but I see your point.

> Also from the Visual Basic programmers I know, it is

> still way more popular that C#.

The piece refers to professional programmers; it's hard to measure such things but C# is consistently and significantly ahead of VB in advertised job vacancies, which is one indicator.

Tim

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Developing for Vista

Tim Anderson

There will be early adopters

> Honest. Millions and millions of eager Windows users

> (and corporate sysadmins).

Fair point, but new PCs will come bundled with Vista soon after its launch which means there will be home users and SME users among the early adopters. It is worth paying attention.

Tim

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Subversion v. Perforce. Collabnet replies

Tim Anderson

Completeness of reviews

Harry,

Many thanks for your feedback and taking the trouble to comment.

I should think on that basis all reviews are incomplete. Even the comparison charts you mention, while they can be helpful, are flawed insofar as they reduce each feature to a tick or a cross, disguising important differences of implementation.

Subversion is free and Perforce is free for up to 2 users, and I'd encourage you to try them out if you have unanswered questions.

Tim

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