Undoubtedly by now you have heard of AzureFest, with any luck you have been out to one of the events [if you live in the GTA]. For the rest of you, that haven’t been able to experience the event, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to what AzureFest is and why you might be interested in the event itself.
What is AzureFest?
At it’s core AzureFest is a talk that focuses on a few barriers to Windows Azure Adoption including Pricing, Registration, Platform Confusion and Coding/Deployment. This is not your Grandma’s Windows Azure Presentation, It includes both a lecture and a hands on component which is rare for a Community Event.
Why Talk Pricing?
Simple, pricing is the first question that I get asked at the end of every presentation that I’ve done to date, so why not talk about it first? Pricing goes hand-in-hand with the Platform, which means not only do you get to understand what the Windows Azure Platform consists of, but you also get an understanding of what it will cost as well. Finally, It would be rather irresponsible not to talk about the costs of Windows Azure when the first Hands-on-Lab is a walkthrough of the registration process.
What Will I Learn?
Besides the Overview of the Platform and the Pricing Strategies, each attendee who participates in the Labs will learn:
How to Register for a Windows Azure Platform Subscription
How to Create, Manage, Configure and Leverage a SQL Azure Database
How to Create and Configure a Windows Azure Storage Service Account
How to Create & Deploy a Project to Windows Azure Compute
Attendees will also learn some of the gotcha’s around the Tool Installation/Configuration Process and some strategies on how to debug your cloud based solutions both on premise [using the Compute Emulator] and “In The Cloud”.
Bonus… We’re giving it away!
In the spirit of growing adoption of the Windows Azure Platform within Canada [or any country for that matter], ObjectSharp is releasing the content as an Open Source Presentation. This means it is FREE for anyone to download, learn and/or deliver.
If you are interested in doing an AzureFest presentation in your area, download the Resources for AzureFest. The resources include:
- An AzureFest Slide Deck
- Hands-on-Lab Kit [Ready to deploy cspkg and cscfg files]
- Modified NerdDinner Source Code for Hands-on-Lab
If you have specific questions about delivering an AzureFest presentation, or need clarification on the content, please direct your questions to me via twitter.
A few minutes ago I just finalized my first CodePlex project. While working
on the ever-mysterious Infrastructure 2010 project, I needed to integrate the Live
Meeting API into an application we are using. So I decided to stick it into
it’s own assembly for reuse.
I also figured that since it’s a relatively simple project, and because for the life
of me I couldn’t find a similar wrapper, I would open source it. Maybe there
is someone out there who can benefit from it.
The code is ugly, but it works. I suspect I will continue development, and clean
it up a little. With that being said:
It needs documentation (obviously).
All the StringBuilder stuff should really be converted to XML objects
It need's cleaner exception handling
It needs API versioning support
It needs to implement more API functions
Otherwise it works like a charm. Check
This morning I saw an interesting post on Twitter. Which in-and-of-itself is
kinda amazing, but that’s not the point. The post was on something called the Windows
7 Sins site. It is a campaign created by the Free
Software Foundation to highlight everything that is wrong philosophically with Windows
7. Now, I’m all for philosophical debates, but this is just plain batty.
So what did I do? I acted! I emailed the FSF people at firstname.lastname@example.org the
Ya know, if you sold software, you wouldn’t need to keep asking people for money.
Basic principle of economics. Just sayin.
Also, a widget provides functionality and interaction. An image doesn’t. See the Windows
7 Sins “widget”.
Now, what I don’t get is this whole Boston Common thing. Is this an attempt at recreating
the Boston Tea Party, except with (what I hope is) more regard for the environment
and not tea, but software, as the “widget” proposes? If this were the case, in order
to get a hold of said software, legally, you would need to buy it. Sounds counterintuitive.
Unless you are proposing people illegally obtain, as per license agreements define,
the software and do what they will with it. Which is pretty much just plain ol’ illegal.
“So was the Boston Tea Party” is an excellent counter argument. However, the Tea Party
was about rebellion from a Government, not a company. The government makes laws, a
company does not. The rebellion was against unfair taxation, something the Government
controls. Unless of course you are rebelling against the government too. Which I guess
is ok, except the government has already ruled against Microsoft in many cases regarding
such topics as anti-trust, anti-competitive nature, etc. They don’t like ‘em either.
Well, the justice department doesn’t anyway.
I just don’t get it.
Software Developer and/or Architect Guy
I wonder how many people I annoyed with it. We shall see.
It’s been a long week, and it’s only Monday. It all started with an off-the-cuff
comment. It was of the petty nature, and it certainly wasn’t accurate.
It seems that is usually the case with petty comments.
I was berated for suggesting SharePoint Services as a replacement for our ageing intranet,
and the commenter responded with a quick “SharePoint? Microsoft makes that,
it’ll cost too much. Our current java site works just fine, and it’s free.”
Or something of that nature.
How do you respond to a petty comment? It’s pretty damn hard:
While Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 does cost money for licensing, Windows
SharePoint Services 3.0 (which MOSS is built on) is free. Not free as in speech,
but free as in beer. Always has been.
Java is a terrible language for websites. It’s slow, and none of the developers
in the company know Java. We all program with .NET languages.
The current intranet is running on an AS/400.
The bulk of the stuff we do on our current intranet could very easily be done in SharePoint,
without any development. And, we can also increase productivity with the added
features of team workspaces and free templates for other departments.
The only cost will be in man-hours setting the server up, and migrating content.
Those have been my main arguments since I started working here. We are a Microsoft
shop, but very often choose non-Microsoft products. Hmm…
The main reason we don’t use Microsoft products is cost. Plain and simple.
Ironically, that is also the same reason WHY we use Microsoft products.
We use SQL Server, Windows Server 2008, Active Directory (finally!), IIS, MOSS (soon),
and program in C#. We don’t use office 2007, only Office 2003, some computers
are still on Windows 2000 and XP. Only one computer is running Vista, and two
are running Windows 7. But then again, we are a Not-For-Profit company.
Budgets are tight.
This post is NOT a comment on our current state of technology, because like I said
in a previous post, we do a pretty good job of staying on the cutting edge in a few
This post IS a comment on the people out there who think cost is the only thing to
look at when evaluating a product. For the love of god, STOP bitching about
price. START bitching about quality.
I can’t stand bad software. People don’t pay for good software, but then complain
about its quality. Come on! There is a formula out there that calculates
the cost of a piece of software over time. It takes into account initial cost,
and the cost of the updates that follow. It’s a simple y = mx+b formula.
Now, when you have a higher initial cost, you tend to assume it’s of higher quality.
Put this into the equation, and the number of updates, and the cost to implement these
updates goes down. Over the life of the product, it’s cheaper to go with the
software that is initially more expensive. This is basic business.
What this basic business formula doesn’t show you is the added headaches you get with
crappy software. You tend to end up with silos of systems, and silos of data.
You don’t get integration. This is where the cost sky rockets. Or more
accurately, this is where productivity decreases.
SharePoint Services 3.0 is free. It doesn’t cost anything to use. It’s
easy to use, and integrates with most of our internal systems. I just ruined
my entire argument. Sorta. SharePoint is a quality piece of software,
and over time, it will cost less to use and maintain than any of the other intranet/middleware
applications out there. Most people don’t realize this.
I’ll probably get flack for this one: Most people don’t complain about software
expenses. They complain about Microsoft expenses.
“We give Microsoft too much money, and don’t get enough in return.”
“There must be better software vendors out there than Microsoft that are cheaper.”
“Why bother upgrading; XP Works fine.”
Have you seen the cost of a friggen Oracle license? What about
IBM’s iSeries? Novell’s Groupwise? My jaw dropped when I saw the cost
of these things. I can’t say a single nice thing about Groupwise. It’s
a terrible product. IBM’s iSeries is pretty good, but it’s limited what you
can do with it. Oracle knows databases, but has a higher license cost than a
good chunk of a department’s salary.
Microsoft gets most of our money because it has quality products, at a good price.
Look at a few competing vendors products and compare cost and quality as well as the
ability to integrate across platforms. Revelation is a wonderful thing.
You might think twice before settling on cost.
Some days you just have to shake your head and wonder. As it turns out, I'm a
little late to hear about this, but nonetheless, I'm still shaking my head.
It turns out that Windows has gone open source. And (!!) it's not being made by Microsoft
anymore. Well, Windows™ is still made by Microsoft. Windows is now made by a group
under the gise of ReactOS.
ReactOS® is a free, modern operating system
based on the design of Windows® XP/2003. Written completely from scratch, it aims
to follow the Windows® architecture designed by Microsoft from the hardware level
right through to the application level. This is not a Linux based system, and shares
none of the unix architecture.
So essentially, these people are taking
the Windows architecture (based on XP/2003), and redesigning it from scratch. Or rather,
are re-coding it from scratch, because redesigning would imply making something different.
Sounds vaguely familiar to, oh, something called Vista. Except uglier.
Now, that nagging feeling we are all getting right about now should be visualized
as a pack of rabid lawyers. Isn't this considered copyright infringement? They outright
define the product as a copy.
And what about the end users? Are all programs designed to run on Windows supposed
to be able to run on this ReactOS? Why bother with testing? The XP architecture is
now almost 8 years old by now. That means anything designed to run on Vista, or soon
to be designed to run on Windows 7, wouldn't stand a snowballs chance in hell, running
I would love to see how a .NET application runs on it.