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Markus on Development and Publishing

This is Markus Egger's professional blog, which covers topics such as development, publishing, and business in general. As the publisher of CoDe and CoDe Focus magazines, and as the President and Chief Software Architect of EPS Software Corp., Markus shares his insights and opinions on this blog.

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Friday, February 12, 2010
DevConnections 2009 (Las Vegas) Slide Decks

Here is some older stuff I never had the chance to share before. This ZIP file has my slide decks for all my session for DevConnections 2009 in Las Vegas. This includes the following sessions:

  • Graphics Design for Developers
  • Interface Design
  • iPhone Development for .NET Developers
  • REST and Data in Azure
  • All day WPF Business Application pre-conference session.

Enjoy!



Posted @ 6:32 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (437)


Friday, February 12, 2010
Presentation Materials for my C# 4.0 Dynamic Presentation at HDNUG

Last night I did a presentation at the Houston .NET User Group (HDNUG) on .NET Language developments, with a focus on dynamic languages, and C# 4.0’s dynamic features in particular.

You can now download the slide deck I used for that presentation (here), and the samples (here). Enjoy!



Posted @ 6:11 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (211)


Friday, February 05, 2010
Thinking about Google's Chrome OS and Similar Offerings

So how about Google’s Chrome OS? Interesting idea, isn’t it? (Although not very original and certainly not something Google invented). Create a device with a closed OS that launches straight into the browser as a pure web device. A solid state drive will make booting a very fast operation. No software installs mean no hassles (at least in theory). One is always online anyway, or so the theory goes, so why ever install a rich client app?

For many users, this may be pretty close to the truth. However, and that much is clear, HTML apps are not really great apps. From a UI design point-of-view, they outright suck. Sure, we have come a long way in making HTML UIs better, and we sure are pushing the limits with AJAX and advanced client-side scripting, but at the end of the day, we are still stuck in a fairly outdated world of HTML that was never all that great, even when it was new. Even simple Windows UIs often provide much better user experiences, and they are much less labor intensive to build. But I digress.

So for many scenarios, users will be happy with web browsers, but at the same time, they are losing the ability to do anything on their machines. No Word documents to create, no Outlook, no games to play. Will users really be happy using Google docs and Outlook Web Access? Personally, I know I wouldn’t. Nobody I know would. But then maybe I just don’t know the right people. I am sure some people really value not having to install anything as it also brings the benefit of not accidently installing viruses locally. (Although Facebook shows that viruses and other malware can also make it into online offerings, and Chrome OS won’t be immune to those sort of attacks either. And neither will any other system for that matter. Take that, Mac!).

I really do wonder about the user experience though. I can’t see myself using just HTML-based apps. Sure, HTML may improve. After all, HTML5 is on the horizon and there is hope of adoption of those new features. Especially on Google’s side (who is behind HTML5, after all). Although in general, pushing a new HTML standard is a very difficult undertaking, as there simply is no way to force all the clients to update (which now include anything from Windows machines to mobile devices such as phones and Kindles). So it will be a very long time before HTML5 really becomes significant. And “oh by the way”, how are you going to get a new browser with HTML5 support onto your Chrome OS Netbook? Well, there will be some update ability, which weakens the “no install” story considerably. How much you can update the OS and its components (such as the browser) will probably depend on the OS vendor (as Google is not the only one playing in this market), but the situation is clear: Either you allow (update) installs and are more susceptible to security problems (with a weaker advantage on the maintenance side), or you can’t update, turning the machine into a brick every time something new is coming out. (Perhaps with the ability to re-flash the device at the original vendor, similar to the situation with some phones today).

Of course the no-install-story also means very poor support for technologies like Silverlight and Flash. After all, how are you going to get that technology on your device, and how are you updating it? And forget about running any offline apps, no matter how great those features are in Silverlight 3 and 4!

One of the biggest question in terms of Google’s success with the Chrome OS is “how will they build customer affinity”? If you are a Windows user, you identify with that OS. Same if you are a Mac user. Your next PC is likely going to be a Windows or Mac PC again, unless you have a really good reason to abandon that platform and your investment in it. If you are a pure web-OS user on the other hand, then who cares what OS you are using? You might go from Chrome OS to some other vendor of a web-OS. You will probably hardly know the difference. Or you might go to Mac or Windows as you grow tired of not having a strong offline story. Anything that installs on the client ties the user to that platform. If it wasn’t for all the apps, I might have long tried a phone other than the iPhone again (as there are now offerings with similar feature sets to the original iPhone), but the apps keep me there. “What if there isn’t an equivalent of Shazzam”? I often think. Substitute the app(s) of your choice. You get the idea.

If you have something client-specific, you care about the client. Otherwise, clients become interchangeable, which is bad news if you are the company invested in creating the client technology/device.

Frankly, even if Google’s idea with the web-OS flies, I would have much higher hopes for someone like Apple to capitalize on it. After all, Google is an advertisement company, not a tech company.

What about Microsoft? Could they compete in this arena? Fundamentally, yes. In fact, I think Microsoft is in a great position to re-purpose some if its OS assets in combination with Internet Explorer and put that into a scale-down version, perhaps with some rich-client capabilities (and Silverlight pre-installed). In short: Microsoft would be great to put out a very competitive offering that is much superior to whatever Google and (hypothetically) Apple could put out. Whether that will happen is a completely different story however. After all MS’ track record in the mobile device arena is plastered with unrealized potential…



Posted @ 4:15 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (39)


Thursday, February 04, 2010
Social Media Pet Peeves

I like social media. I think especially Facebook and Twitter is the way to go and for individuals and businesses, it is as important to establish a meaningful presence on these sites as it was in 1998 to have a web site. I also like other social media outlets such as Xbox Live. I have tons of friends and I care about what they do. I am also interested in tons of businesses and products and want to be connected with them, but I’d never have the time to go out of my way to visit their web sites all the time.

There are some things people do on these sites however, that drive me nuts. Here is a list of my top gripes:

  • Pick a name I can recognize! If you friend me and I can’t tell who you are, I am not going to friend you back. And even if I can find out who’s behind a silly name initially, I will probably forget it and not recognize you when you post a status update. Besides, many social networks will make it very hard for me to search for you if you use a silly name!
  • Upload a real picture of yours! This is very similar to the name issue. I (as many people) are not all that good with names. I meet tons of people at various events and other occasions. I make an effort to remember names, but I still have a much easier time to recognize faces. So use a photo that allows me to recognize you!
  • Put up a short and concise bio (especially on Twitter). If you friend me, I will follow you too in all likelihood. But I go through lists of people fast. Just today, I weeded through 200 followers and I have probably less than 1 second for each of them to decide whether I want to follow them back. So I glance at the bio and make an on the spot decision. If I do not find anything that interests me, I will never follow you. This is a one-chance deal.
  • Before you friend a lot of people, add some substance. If someone follows me on Twitter I will look at their page, and if there is nothing there for me to look at tweet-wise, then I will not follow you back as I have no idea what kind of stuff you post online.
  • If you are a business, you need to change the way you present yourself. Post a single stupid marketing message and I will unfriend you. Post something that has substance.
  • Don’t protect your tweets. If you do not want your tweets to be seen, then Twitter is not the place for you. I will never go out of my way to follow you if I have to request the follow. You can always block someone you don’t want to see your tweets.
  • DON’T SHOUT AT ME! If you write in all upper case, you are annoying a lot of people.

Well, that’s the short list anyway. I could go on and on. What are your social media pet peeves?



Posted @ 4:41 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (223)


Monday, February 01, 2010
Dynamic C# 4.0 Presentation from the Munich .NET User Group

Geee! I almost forgot to upload this: I recently (January 2010) did a presentation at the .NET User Group in Munich (http://munichdot.net/). Here is a link to the slide deck I used for that presentation.

Note that this slide deck (and presentation) is in German. I will however present the same talk at the Houston .NET User Group soon (www.hdnug.org), and I’ll upload the English slide deck after that event.



Posted @ 12:25 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (37)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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