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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Google Earth, meet Flickr...

Google's latest offering looks very impressive by itself, but it gets even better with this little hack.

In short, you can move the camera around the globe, and each time you stop at a particular location, it'll fetch 50 images from Flickr that are closest to the place you're currently looking at, within a 2,000km radius. Virtual sight-seeing! Now that's sweet! :)

I'm planning to play with this over the weekend when I'm on a better internet connection.

posted at 11:46:00 PM
[ 3 comments ] [ Permalink ]

Making WMP11 podcast-enabled...

Scoble writes: "Since my comments are down, come on over to Channel 9 and tell us what you want in Media Player. What kind of podcasting support do you want? Or, do you think podcasting is just a fad? Or, write on your own blog. Or talk on your podcast. Or shoot on your vblog."

Interestingly enough, looking back at Microsoft's RSS platform announcement at Gnomedex and Apple's implementation of podcasting in iTunes, the first thing that actually came to my mind (and I doubt I'm alone) was - Microsoft is building the platform already; podcasting support in WMP11 (aka "Polaris") should be a no-brainer!

To elaborate, WMP11 could leverage the new RSS platform in Longhorn to tie in with the Common RSS Feed List and the Common RSS Data Store. This would give the user the flexibility to subscribe to a podcast feed through any application, including their standalone aggregators, or through their web browsers, and the feed would immediately be added to the system's (or rather, the user's) data store. The sync engine would then automatically download enclosures in the field using BITS, the Background Intelligent Transfer Service, currently used by services like Windows Update, and you wouldn't even need to have WMP open to have new podcasts downloaded as they become available.

It would also be a great way for Microsoft to demonstrate the capabilities of the RSS platform in Longhorn to the developer community. In fact, any existing media player could potentially become "podcast-enabled" if developers just leveraged the platform that is being built into the system.

Besides that, Apple's implementation in iTunes 4.9, although an excellent first step (and one that's almost sure to take podcasting mainstream), has a number of problems. Rather than reiterate what's already been said, here are links to some good points that Dave Winer, Edd Dumbill and Robin at PodNova bring up. The first two are concerns with the underlying implementation itself, while the PodNova post brings up some valid points that directly affect end-users.

Microsoft suprised the community last week by (1) making their extensions to the RSS specification available under the Creative Commons license, and (2) working with key people to ensure that they are doing the "right thing." The first point demonstrates the willingness to open up and share, and the second shows that they are willing to take constructive criticism and actually implement proposed changes, as they did with Phil Ringnalda's suggestions. If this same attitude carries over to podcasting, they could quite possibly come up with a more flexible and more standardized extension to the specification, which would really help to bring up Microsoft's image in the RSS/podcasting community.

But that'll appease only the geeks. To make podcasting appealing to the average user, the whole experience needs to be completely seamless, and I really think that the RSS platform in Longhorn is capable of making this possible. Apple already comes very close with iTunes 4.9 for the most part, especially for iPod owners, but there's always room for improvement.

posted at 11:26:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

PDC '05, here I come...

Guess who's going to the PDC! :)

Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2005
11th & 12th of September 2005 - Pre-conference Sessions
13th to 16th of September 2005 - Conference Dates

Location:
The Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California 90015

Dear Registrant:
Thank you for registering for the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2005. We have received your information and are currently processing your registration. Please expect additional event details via email from PDC05@microsoft.crgevents.com within five business days.

A shoutout and big thanks to my friend Stephen Chapman, and to the folks at Waggener Edstrom. Like last time, expect a detailed log with lots of information, pictures, and possibly even video clips. I'll set up a PDC blog at OSNN and post the link closer to the event date.

It's three months away, but I'm already excited. WinHEC '05 was awesome, and I'm expecting PDC to be even better. :)

Some PDC Info and Resources:
Official PDC '05 Site
PDC '05 Promotional Site
PDC '05: Tracks and Sessions
PDC on Channel9
Official PDC '05 RSS feed

Technorati tags:

posted at 10:37:00 PM
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Monday, June 27, 2005

DownloadSquad - a blog for software junkies...

Thanks to Marc for the heads up.

DownloadSquad is the latest addition to Weblogs Inc., the same great network that contains notable blogs such as Engadget, The Office Weblog, The TabletPC Weblog, TUAW and so on. As many of you might know, I'm a software-junkie and I love to try out new apps. DownloadSquad covers software for various different operating systems and platforms, and even has separate RSS feeds for each OS and category.

Subscribed! Go check it out. :)

posted at 11:25:00 PM
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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Why the Gnomedex announcement is significant...

...or why it's not just about IE7. The motivation behind this post came after I read a number of posts on Neowin from people who saw a couple of poor-quality pictures of IE7 and decided to ignore the Gnomedex announcement altogether.

I don't know how many people actually took the time to watch the C9 video before posting, but it seems like many people are missing the point of the announcement by a mile. This isn't about Microsoft playing catch-up, although a brief glance at two IE7 pictures from someone's digital camera makes it seem like that's the case. Sure, RSS support has existed for a while in Opera, Firefox and Safari. IE7's implementation looks quite a bit like Safari's. Agreed there too. Why reinvent the wheel when there's already a great implementation available? Besides, there are only so many ways you can present an RSS feed to a user in a coherent manner.

In any case, what's really significant about the announcement is the platform model for RSS that's being built into Longhorn. That's the really cool stuff; that's the stuff that hasn't been done before - the concept of a single data store for all your subscribed feeds that's tied to your user profile, and that's freely accessible through a set of available API's by any third-party application that wants to be RSS-enabled.

The Gnomedex keynote presentation and the C9 video highlighted some of the scenarios that are made possible by this framework -- so you're surfing the web and you subscribe to a bunch of feeds that contain a variety of enclosures, including photos, music/podcasts, lists of events, etc. Your subscription list instantly becomes available to any RSS-enabled app installed on your system. So your screensaver could pull images dynamically from a photoblog's feed; your media player could pull media files embedded into feeds to enable podcasting support; your PIM could pull events and meeting times from a feed and automatically add them to your calendar and todo lists. Due to the very nature of RSS, it would even reflect any changes that are made, so you're always in sync. And of course, your standalone news aggregator could pull regular text feeds from your favorite news sources and blogs, just like they do today. The beauty of this approach is that it's one single, common data store for all your feeds. It does away with redundancy, and since it's easily accessible via an available API, any third-party software can tie into it.

Then of course, there's the extension to the RSS standard for lists, which are similar, but work slightly differently from regular feeds. I won't go into that since there's plenty of information already available on the web from some authoritative sources, including Dave Winer, who (for those of you who don't know) was essentially responsible for the pioneering work in blogging, syndication, enclosures/podcasting, OPML and aggregators. The point is, even people like him are impressed with the work that Microsoft is doing here.

So a word of advise...or rather, a request, to my fellow forum-dwellers and bloggers - before you jump in and post something negative (really, it gets tiring after a while), stop, look around the web, watch the videos, listen to the podcasts, read the reactions of Gnomedex attendees, and get a clear picture of what's going on. Then post. And whatever you do, please don't pollute the web with useless one-word posts like "pathetic." Please? If you really think it's pathetic, spend a few minutes telling the rest of us why you think it's pathetic, and what you would do to improve it. It makes your post much more useful and lends more credibility to you as a person. There's enough garbage on the web already. Don't add to it. :)


Technorati tags: , , , , ,

posted at 1:44:00 AM
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Friday, June 24, 2005

Longhorn (heart) RSS...

The details are coming in at

Microsoft Corp. today announced support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication) in the next version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, code-named "Longhorn." The RSS functionality in Longhorn� is being designed to make it simple for end users to discover, view and subscribe to RSS feeds, as well as make it easier for developers to incorporate the rich capabilities of RSS into their applications. In addition, Microsoft announced Simple List Extensions, a set of extensions to RSS that can be used to enable Web sites to publish lists such as of photo albums, music playlists and top 10 lists as RSS feeds. Microsoft is making the specification freely available via the Creative Commons license, the same license under which the RSS 2.0 specification was released. ...

The RSS support in the Longhorn� platform includes the following:

  • Common RSS Feed List. This core feature of Windows maintains a common list of the user's subscriptions across all applications. This allows the user to subscribe to a feed once and have all RSS-enabled applications able to access the common list to view the subscriptions.
  • Common RSS Data Store. A common data store will provide a single location where applications can access content that has been downloaded to the PC via RSS, including text, pictures, audio, calendar events, documents and just about anything else. All applications will have access to this content for creating rich user experiences.
  • RSS Platform Sync Engine. The sync engine will automatically download data and enclosures for use by any application. The engine is designed for efficiency, using idle network bandwidth whenever possible to limit the effect on the user's Internet experience. Developers can use the platform to get RSS data without having to manage details such as synchronization schedules or subscriptions.

The level of integration really sounds awesome! I can't wait to get back home this evening and check out the Channel9 video that was posted a while ago. More thoughts later...

In the meantime, also check out pictures from Gnomedex, many of which show IE7's RSS capabilities, and other neat stuff like ICS enclosures in Outlook. Wow...

posted at 12:42:00 PM
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Internet Explorer 7 and RSS...

During a keynote presentation by Dean Hachamovitch at Gnomedex on Friday, Microsoft will be giving attendees a demo of IE7. Dave Winer seems impressed by the work that they're doing with RSS:

The first clue that something weird was happening at Microsoft around RSS was when Sean Lyndersay picked me up for dinner on the first night of my visit. I asked what part of Microsoft he worked for. He said he was on the RSS Team. I gulped. You mean there's an RSS Team at Microsoft? Yeah there is.

On Friday you'll see how deeply integrated RSS is in the architecture of the browser. But that's just the tip of what may turn out to be a very big iceberg. The people at Microsoft noticed something that I had seen, only peripherally -- that there were applications of RSS that aren't about news. Like Audible's NY Times Best Seller list, or an iTunes music playlist, or lists of Sharepoint documents, or browser bookmarks. Lists are all over the place, and people are starting to move them around via RSS, and they are not the usual kind of data that has been carried by RSS in the past.

Anyway, there's a lot more to what they're doing, but I wanted to say in advance that I think what they're doing is cool.

Hmm...interesting. A public beta is also expected sometime soon. :)

Update: Scoble has just finished interviewing the RSS team, and a video should be up around 10:30AM PST tomorrow. Keep an eye on Channel9 if you're interested in having a look.

posted at 9:33:00 AM
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Monday, June 20, 2005

The first day at work...

Just got back home a while ago from my first day at Symantec. :)

The day started off with a meeting with my manager in the morning. We got my security access and intern ID cards done, then headed down to the office area to take a look at where I'd be working from.

To my pleasant surprise, I got my very own cube! And two computers - one is my main dev machine, the other is a test system (which hasn't been set up yet). The dev machine is fast...crazy fast. It's a 3.8GHz P4 Dell Optiplex with 2GB of RAM, and it's hooked up to a dual 18" Sony LCD display setup. :D

My cube at Symantec

Dual 18" Sony displays


So once that was done, my manager took the whole team out for lunch - apparently a customary thing that happens everytime a new person joins. That was great...I got a chance to meet and talk to everyone else on the team. They're all cool, friendly, helpful people. There are also a few restaurants right in the building itself, which is very convenient. Once we got back, all of us had the weekly telephone conference meeting with a dev in the Minnesota office.

One of my team members then gave me an overview of the whole build process that they have in place, and I spent pretty much most of the afternoon and early evening working on a simple little build-fix, setting up a VMware image on my system (for testing, until that test machine is up), and familiarizing myself with the code structure, the source control system, and all the other nifty little tools that they use. Fun stuff.

The area outside the office buildings is actually quite pretty too. I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow.

posted at 9:22:00 PM
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Batman Begins rocked...

As I mentioned to some of you, I went to watch Batman Begins in an IMAX theater on Saturday. Totally worth it. I had been waiting for this movie for quite a while, and I'm really glad it lived up to my expectations. In fact, I'd say it's one of the coolest superhero movies I've watched so far.

Christian Bale was awesome as Batman, and Michael Caine was just perfect for Alfred's role. Even Cillian Murphy, who played Dr. Crane (and Scarecrow), did an awesome job.

The movie was a little more than two hours long, but it was fast-paced and the plot never felt like it was being dragged along pointlessly, which sometimes tends to happen in longer movies. In fact, several scenes were totally gripping.

Go watch it. Highly recommended! :)

posted at 9:12:00 PM
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Yup, one of the best superhero movies. :)
Bilal, 06.20.2005, 11:35 pm
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Problem solved...

Thanks for all the bandwidth-usage-reduction suggestions, everyone. :D
Geffy's tip, especially, seems to have made quite a difference. Many page sizes have dropped down by almost 80% after compression, which is really cool.

In any case, we don't have to worry about the site being taken down anymore. I looked into it, and even if it does exceed 5GB, the overage charge is just $0.49 per extra gig. Not a problem at all. :)

posted at 9:07:00 PM
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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Reaching monthly bandwidth limit...

I just got a mail from 1and1 informing me that I have already used up 90% of the monthly traffic of 5 GB that I have with my current plan. I'm in the process of checking the logs to see what caused the sudden spike this month. For now, I have disabled image hotlinking (should have done that a long time ago) and removed the PDF file of the Windows Desktop Search review. The HTML version is still up. Let's see if it helps.

If I start to incur overage charges, I might have to take the site down for some time. Hopefully it doesn't come down to that...

posted at 5:59:00 PM
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FeedLounge looking for more alpha testers...

The folks developing FeedLounge, the web-based feed reader I posted about earlier, are looking for a few more people who are willing to test it and provide feedback.

"If you are a daily reader of feeds, and are willing to switch completely to FeedLounge (with the caveat that it is alpha software), and are willing to post a lot of feedback in the forums, come on in."

All you have to do is leave a comment here before comments are turned off. Go go go! :)

Update: (1PM) Closed now.
Update: (4PM) Sweet! I'm in! :)

posted at 11:41:00 AM
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Friday, June 17, 2005

The fourth quake this week...

Another earthquake occured earlier today just off the coast of Northern California. This one had a magnitude of 6.7. It's the fourth one this week - two up north, two here in the south.

posted at 11:55:00 PM
[ 2 comments ] [ Permalink ]

MSH ("Monad") Beta 1 released...

I was expecting this to show up on Tuesday next week, but an just email popped up this afternoon:

After nearly nine months, the Monad team has released Beta 1 of the Microsoft Command Shell. Although initially promised for release at the end of the month, the Monad team has worked hard to release Beta1 to BetaPlace ahead of schedule!

To download the new bits, please visit BetaPlace at http://beta.microsoft.com

The Monad team and I look forward to your feedback!

Thanks for all of your support,
The Monad Team

If you haven't heard of MSH before, take a look at this page on Wikipedia. There's also this video demo of the capabilities of this new command shell that was posted on Channel9 last year. Hopefully Scoble will re-visit Jeffrey Snover's office to give us a tour of what's new in Beta 1. :)

If you hadn't signed up to test the earlier build, it's not too late. You can login to BetaPlace (link above) and use mshPDC (case-sensitive) as the GuestID.

posted at 3:29:00 PM
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Thursday, June 16, 2005

California rocking...

There was yet another earthquake here 20 minutes ago. It's the third one since Sunday. The first one (magnitude: 5.2) happened on Sunday with the epicenter in Riverside here in Southern California. It happened sometime in the morning, so I just slept right through it. My parents didn't wake up to that one either.

The second one started up in Northern California on Tuesday and it was much stronger with a magnitude of 7.0. That one actually raised a tsunami warning, but thankfully nothing has happened.

Today's quake had its epicenter in the San Bernardino County, just east of LA. This one again had a magnitude of around 5.3, and it was definitely very noticeable. I was downstairs microwaving some food and I saw the glass doors to the patio shaking and rattling for a few seconds.

Wonder what's going on...

posted at 2:26:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Two years gone by - hello summer...

That's it. Another academic year has finally come to an end, and summer break is just about to begin. So what lies ahead? :)

As some of you who talked to me during the last week or so already know, I have accepted a software development position at Symantec. The internship assignment will last for about three months, with standard 8 hour workdays, 5 days a week. The southern California branch happens to be right here in Santa Monica, which is a 20 minute commute by bus from where I'm currently staying. I start off this coming Monday, and I'm really looking forward to finally gaining some valuable experience in the industry.

During the little bit of time that I have after work hours, I'm just planning to take it easy. I'll be back home on weekends to relax, as always. My brother will be coming down here for about a fortnight, so that should be fun too (P.S. Bring the Xbox along).

The Microsoft Student Ambassador program also has some very interesting training opportunities opening up in August to keep me on my toes. According to the program invitation letter, signing an NDA will give us access to the MVP Academy, focusing on stuff like Longhorn, Whidbey, Yukon etc, along with some certification opportunities. I really don't know how much time I'm going to be able to devote to everything, but it's nice to know that I won't be getting bored for the next three months!

So yeah...that's looking at the picture a few weeks from now. My immediate plans include lots of sleeping, watching Batman Begins (hopefully, the IMAX Experience!), and other such less geeky stuff. :D

posted at 8:10:00 PM
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Saturday, June 11, 2005

FeedLounge - new web-based aggregator...

There's a new web-based feed reader on the block, and it looks very impressive with clever use of AJAX throughout the interface. It's almost like a standalone, rich-client feed reader in terms of the feature-set and the controls (with keyboard shortcuts and the like), but like Bloglines, it's web-based, allowing users to access their feeds from any computer anywhere.

FeedLounge

Check out the site for more screenshots. It's currently in private alpha testing, and an invite-only public beta is coming up soon. I've submitted a request to help test it. :)
[Via Scoble]

posted at 3:37:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Microsoft Student Ambassador for UCLA!

Microsoft Student Ambassador


The 2005-06 U.S. Microsoft Student Ambassadors list has been posted. Chris Guillory, one of my fellow ACM officers, and I will be UCLA's MSAs next year! I'm really excited, and I'm hoping to plan some great events with Chris for the CS student community here. We will be meeting our local Adademic Developer Evangelist from Microsoft over lunch this Friday to discuss some of our plans for this Fall. With stuff like the Longhorn betas and Visual Studio 2005 in the pipeline, I'm sure we're going to have a great time and lots of stuff to talk about.

As an added bonus, the benefits of the award are really cool too - a one-year MSDN Universal subscription (hell yeah!) and other software, access to .NET dev books from Microsoft Press, and a bunch of other freebies.

Check out the Student Ambassador site for more info.

posted at 8:27:00 PM
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Custom calendar views in Outlook...

I just saw a link to this very handy little Outlook add-in posted on the Useful Technology Blog (the post appeared in my TechNet Blogs feed, actually), and I thought I'd share the information.

The Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Calendar Views Add-in makes it easy for you to view your Outlook Calendar appointments through a filter that is based on Outlook labels and categories. For example, you can create a view that shows you only the appointments on your calendar that are labeled Must Attend, or are categorized as Important.

All my assignment deadlines that I post on the Outlook calendar are assigned to a category based on the course name/number. Critical items like midterms, finals and project submissions get the bright red "Important" label. And of course, there are other colored labels for meetings, holidays etc. This is how I've done things since my first year of university, and it helps me keep everything super organized.

With the add-in, I can set up filters that only show items belonging to certain categories on the calendar and hide everything else. This is really cool! :)

posted at 4:48:00 PM
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Monday, June 06, 2005

A return to normalcy...

That frantic surge of posts and updates is over. Apple's platform shift is, no doubt, big news and something that's bound to have an impact on the industry if the cards are played right from this point on. It's going to be interesting to see how everything works out when the transition phase begins next year.

Finals begin this week and go on until the middle of the next. My plans for summer are almost set, and I'll be writing more about that sometime soon, along with another interesting bit of news. ;)

posted at 10:29:00 PM
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And so it begins...

Steve Jobs: "We've been through many transistions. 680x0 to PowerPC, Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. Today we begin a third transition. It's true; We are switching to Intel."

Bam! Right on! :o
Watch Neowin's live coverage of the WWDC keynote for all the juicy details on the transition.

Updates:
"10:46 am While most software is just a recompile away, some will remain PPC-only. For that, there's Rosetta. Binary instruction translation, in real time. Runs PowerPC code on Intel-baesd Macs. Transparent to users. Pretty fast. Jobs demos Rosetta used to run PowerPC macs on Intel-based Macs. Jobs shows Microsoft Excel/Word running on Intel-based Mac (without any porting and/or recompiling). Jobs also shows Photoshop CS2 with all plugins that are translated and run on Intel-based Mac without significant speed decrease." [Via Neowin]

Sounds hell of a lot like QuickTransit, doesn't it? ;)

Official press releases are now up from Apple and Intel.

According to a report on CNET, Apple will not officially allow the new x86 version of OS X to run on anything other than Apple machines. Not unexpected at all, but the real question is, how will it be restricted and how long will it take for it to be reverse engineered to work on any x86 machine, if at all possible?

After Jobs' presentation, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller addressed the issue of running Windows on Macs, saying there are no plans to sell or support Windows on an Intel-based Mac. "That doesn't preclude someone from running it on a Mac. They probably will," he said. "We won't do anything to preclude that."

However, Schiller said the company does not plan to let people run Mac OS X on other computer makers' hardware. "We will not allow running Mac OS X on anything other than an Apple Mac," he said.


posted at 10:38:00 AM
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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Apple on Intel - is QuickTransit the answer?

The pieces of the puzzle are finally fitting together. All signs are now pointing towards Jobs dropping the bombshell during the WWDC keynote tomorrow morning.

Here's an extremely interesting bit of information. So let's assume Apple does, indeed, move OS X over to a new architecture. What happens to the thousands of third-party applications available for the PPC platform today? We all know an OS without solid third-party software support is as good as dead. Well, a certain company called Transitive Corporation claims to have the answer - a product known as QuickTransit.

QuickTransit software allows software applications that have been compiled for one processor and operating system to run on another processor and operating system without any source code or binary changes. QuickTransit’s breakthrough hardware virtualization provides full functionality, transparent graphics and interactive performance, near-native computational performance and allows virtually any processor/operating system pair to be supported. QuickTransit allows computer companies to rapidly increase the number of user-written and ISV (Independent Software Vendor) applications available on their platforms; it enables ISV's and internal software development groups to eliminate porting costs; and it allows IT services companies to migrate their customers’ legacy applications to modern platforms at a fraction of the existing cost.

This could be the initial migration path. Sounds too iffy, doesn't it? But wait. There's another sign that ties things together, and it's here on this lawyer's portfolio. Scroll all the way to the bottom and you'll notice something that stands out:

"Represented Transitive Technologies in a co-development and licensing agreement with Apple Computer."

Is this the key? :)

posted at 11:21:00 PM
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Friday, June 03, 2005

Apple switching to Intel?

Apple
Apple Computer plans to announce Monday that it's scrapping its partnership with IBM and switching its computers to Intel's microprocessors, CNET News.com has learned.

Apple has used IBM's PowerPC processors since 1994, but will begin a phased transition to Intel's chips, sources familiar with the situation said. Apple plans to move lower-end computers such as the Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in mid-2007, sources said.

The announcement is expected Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, at which Chief Executive Steve Jobs is giving the keynote speech. The conference would be an appropriate venue: Changing the chips would require programmers to rewrite their software to take full advantage of the new processor.

Source: CNET News.com

I first heard this "rumor" from a couple of prominent people at the WinHEC back in April. The WSJ then posted a report on the topic sometime towards the end of last month. And now we have this.

Guess we'll find out soon enough...

Updates: Robert Scoble (one of the people I was referring to above) is confident that the news is, in fact, true. "It's for x86 chips," he says in the comments box.

The WSJ is now confirming the story in an article available only to paid subscribers. Here's an excerpt:
"CNET on Friday reported that Apple would announce the transition plan June 6. It reported that Apple would move lower-end computers such as the Mac Mini to Intel chips in mid-2006 and higher-end models such as the Power Mac in mid-2007. An industry executive familiar with the matter, contacted Saturday, verified that schedule." [Via Spymac]

The Inquirer has now picked up on the story as well - "Talking to AMD too," they claim.

And now The New York Times too. Looks like this is, indeed, happening folks.

posted at 8:32:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yahoo! Mindset is cool stuff...

Yahoo! Mindset is a new beta service that allows users to sort search results for queries into commercial or non-commercial (informational) results, based on whether they're shopping or looking for information.

Thanks to Nikhil for the heads up.

I tried a search for the keyword "routers". You can see the results here. Now if you move the slider to the shopping side, results like Amazon.com and tigerdirect.com move to the top. On the other hand, if I move the slider towards research then the top results are a few RFCs and Wikipedia.

And it uses AJAX too. Very cool stuff, and it works quite well! :)

posted at 9:44:00 PM
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The Catch-22 of the Computer Science world...

Gretchen Ledgard, a Sr. Technical Recruiter at Microsoft, writes about what she calls the "catch-22 of the computer science world."

I couldn't agree more with the points she makes. Don't believe people who try to scare you away from majoring in something you're passionate about. When you run away from something you love because someone else paints a bleak picture of your future, you're only making the situation worse.

A similar topic came up on the OSNN forums last week, and I'm going to re-iterate what I said there.

It all depends on the individual and how motivated he or she is. If you go through your four years just doing the bare minimum, you're probably going to have a hard time finding a job. It's an extremely competitive field. You have to go above and beyond basic curricular requirements to get an edge over everyone else. It's hard work, and you do end up making sacrifices, but in my view, it's worth it in the end.

I can give you more than a handful of examples of people who graduated recently with CS degrees, and they've all got well-paying jobs, doing great work in top-notch companies like Microsoft, Google, IBM etc. as well as big international investment banking firms in NYC. Some of them even read this blog. ;)

Anyway, the key is building a solid foundation - get your core concepts absolutely clear, get involved in student groups on campus (shameless plug for ACM here...haha) and work on projects that go beyond the classroom curriculum, look for research work with professors who are doing stuff that interests you, look for internships during summers etc. There are so many things you can do that make you stand out from the crowd.

I'm going to be completely direct and honest here - if you graduate with a CS degree from a good institution and you can't find a job, you still have work to do. There's nothing more to it than that. There are thousands of companies out there looking for bright, young individuals...especially fresh graduates. It's your job to make sure you stand out. There's no such thing as a free lunch. The people that got jobs weren't lucky. They just went one step further...

The bottom line is - if you genuinely have a passion for computer science and software development, just go for it, and don't let anything stop you. Be motivated. Work towards developing your abilities. Just do your best, and watch as everything works out in the end. :)

posted at 4:43:00 PM
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