5 Reasons Why Microsoft Won’t Be Building Its Own Tablet

5 Reasons Why Microsoft Won't Be Building Its Own TabletThe latest rumor making the rounds on the Internet is that Microsoft is considering building its own tablet PC. Rumors have it that Microsoft has been in talks with some of the major hardware companies in Taiwan, though no one knows exactly what the discussions entail. However, I believe that Microsoft will not build its own tablet computer and here are five reasons why it won’t:

When Microsoft built its first Xbox, the company acknowledged there were hardware issues — mainly overheating — that it had to deal with. Microsoft extended the warranty repair period, which allegedly cost the company over $1 billion.

The Zune media player was a flop. This was Microsoft’s attempt at competing with the Apple iPod.

Microsoft’s Kin was another hardware failure that Microsoft would soon forget. The Kin was overpriced, lacked application support, and the timing of its release was poor. There were too many smart phones on the market that did much more than the Kin could do.

Microsoft is coming late to the party where Apple is the host with the most. Tablets are not about the operating system alone. Tablets consist of support by application developers and this is where Apple and Google already have a commanding lead.

Microsoft is not going to alienate its hardware partners. Microsoft makes its money from licensing fees, which is the bulk of its wealth. Building its own tablet and competing with its partners would be suicide.

The bantering of words between Microsoft and Apple is just that. Microsoft is the world leader when it comes to the desktop and laptop operating system market. Apple has a sizable lead in the tablet arena and its iOS is superb. Google and its Chrome OS is an unknown and we will have to wait to see how well this new OS is accepted by consumers or by businesses.

Though I do believe that Microsoft is facing stiff competition from Apple, Google, and now HP with its webOS, Microsoft is not foolish enough to compete against its valued partners.

App Dev Receives Call From Steve

We’ve been seeing reports of upset iPhone users or frustrated Mac enthusiasts complaining to Steve Jobs via email and as luck would have it, he’d respond. This is hardly new. But what about app developers who have dumped their whole world into an iOS application only to find that a specific revision needed to be made before Apple would accept it? It happens but one thing that doesn’t happen often is Steve Jobs calling you in response to the app rejection. Keep reading.

So apparently Seattle based app developer Ram Arumugam sent a frustrated email over to Steve Jobs. A short time later Arumugam received  a phone call from someone who wanted to offer some advice regarding the problem. His name was Steve Jobs. Now every geek has their geeky rock star. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Linus Torvalds, Larry Page — you get the idea. So to receive a call like this is enough to make an application developer’s heart skip a beat to be sure.

Jobs spoke with Arumugam and they talked about the rejection of the app due to a non-allowed API regarding the keyboard interface. After the call, Arumugam removed the API and resubmitted the app. It’s now approved and as of today, sits in the #1 slot for the finance category. Apparently talking to Steve on the phone is a little bit like finding a four leaf clover or some other lucky superstition. In the end, Steve was right and life is good.

Now comes the big question. If you could receive a call from a geek-like idol you admire, who would it be? One of the people above or perhaps, someone entirely different? Also, what questions would you ask them first? Hit the comments; let’s see who has the most creative line on questioning.

Tips For Receiving Feedback

Feedback is a two-way process. However, many people often focus on developing skills in providing feedback but forget that knowing how to receive feedback is just an important as knowing how to provide it. When it comes to professional development and fast tracking your career, knowing how to receive feedback can help you get where you want to go much faster.

Even under the best circumstances, receiving criticism about your work is difficult. However, here are some tips you can use to handle the feedback more gracefully and use it to your advantage.

  • Avoid the urge to become defensive. Remember that providing feedback can be just as difficult as receiving it. If you are known for being defensive, you are less likely to receive the feedback necessary to improve your own performance.
  • Listen carefully and summarize what your feedback provider is telling you. By doing so, your feedback provider will know you understand what is being said and it will provide opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings.
  • If you are unclear about any of the feedback, ask for clarification and examples.
  • If you feel yourself becoming angry or emotional, which is understandable particularly when if you are not receiving constructive criticism, take a few moments along with a few deep breaths to gain your composure.
  • You will not always agree with the feedback provided. In such cases, be sure to let your feedback provider finish speaking instead of interjecting to defend yourself. If your emotions are in check, respond to the feedback in a respectful manner. Otherwise, I suggest re-visiting the discussion after you have taken some additional time to put your emotions aside.

Above all, remember that, although it is difficult to listen to constructive feedback, it is essential for continuous learning and improvement.


Application Development Made Easy

Up until a few months ago, I was under the impression that you really had to be an application developer to create applications that people could actually use and enjoy. Today, I am seeing growing indications that this may not be the case at all. Anyone willing to get their heads around a bit of a learning curve can create basic software.

My first example is a tool called QuickFuse. The idea behind QuickFuse is that you can develop VoIP software reasonably easily and without the need for actual programming skills.

What makes QuickFuse really compelling is the fact that the development of said software is possible right from within your browser. This makes development of your latest creation completely cross platform.

Speaking of cross platform, however, it should be noted that the simple to develop tools go beyond those simply for VoIP apps. This is where Radical Breeze’s Illumination Software Creator comes into the picture. Available for all three popular platforms, Illumination Software Creator will allow you to create just about anything you can put your mind to.

Both tools are designed to allow the user to create applications using a building blocks like method. So have it, give it a try, and share what you come up with!

[awsbullet:application development]

Intel Atom Processor Developer Program For Mobile Devices To Spur New Wave Of Applications

To encourage the creation of innovative applications for Intel Atom processor-based products, Intel Corporation today launched the Intel Atom Developer Program for independent software vendors (ISVs) and developers.

The program provides a framework for developers to create and sell software applications for netbooks with support for handhelds and smart phones available in the future. Through the program, developers seeking to reduce overhead and streamline the creation of new applications may also license development tools and application modules directly from other independent developers and ISVs.

“We want to fuel the growth of Intel Atom-based products designed for the mobile lifestyle,” said Renee James, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel Software and Services Group. “The netbook has become one of the most popular consumer devices in the market today, but its true potential has been limited by applications that are not optimized for its mobility and smaller screen size. The Intel Atom Developer Program provides a great opportunity for developers to create useful and inventive applications that will unlock a netbook’s potential while opening a new sales and distribution channel.”

To provide the broadest choice of applications across platforms, the Intel Atom Developer Program will support multiple operating systems and run-time environments. Run-times enable developers to use a single code base to support multiple device platforms and avoid extensive reprogramming, thereby reducing development costs and time-to-market. Run-times such as Microsoft Silverlight allow developers to access multiple classes of customers and deliver rich applications for Windows and Moblin-based environments using a single toolset, Visual Studio and the .NET Framework.

“Using Silverlight’s cross-device, cross-browser, cross-platform technology, developers will be able to write applications once and have them run on Windows and Moblin devices — expanding the reach of Silverlight applications to more consumers, regardless of whether the device they’re using is a PC, TV or phone,” said Ian Ellison Taylor, general manager, Microsoft Client Platforms and Tools.

“The Adobe Flash Platform enables developers to create and deliver the most compelling applications, content and video to the widest possible audience,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Adobe Platform Business Unit. “We expect the Intel Atom Developer Program will be a great way for the flash platform community developing on Adobe AIR to monetize their AIR applications and we are working closely with Intel to deliver the necessary technology to enable this opportunity on the Atom platform in the future.”

The program offers a streamlined and transparent process that will take the developer from application creation through testing and, finally, to the go-to-market stage. Intel is working with netbook original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other partners to create application storefronts through which validated applications will be sold.

“Customer adoption of our Intel Atom-based netbooks is exceeding our expectations,” said Jim Wong, president, Acer IT Products Global Operations. “Acer is excited to see Intel’s effort in bringing new and innovative applications to netbooks and will use the Intel Atom Developer Program framework to open an application storefront.”

“The Intel Atom Developer Program is an integral element of providing a holistic netbook experience for our customers,” said S.Y. Shian, vice president and general manager, Asus System Business Group. “Asus sees this new development model as an opportunity to encourage developers and ISVs. Asus plans to offer an application store based on this framework in order to make exciting applications available to our customers.”

“Dell is passionate about providing value for developers,” said John Thode, vice president, Dell Small Devices. “The Intel Atom Developer Program will open a new world of innovation and business opportunity for developers and we look forward to working with Intel to foster the creation of exciting new Windows and Moblin-based netbook applications.”

Developers can learn more about the program, APIs, validation process and application store framework through appdeveloper.intel.com. Applications for ISV and software developer memberships are currently being accepted. Members will be given access to tools and resources that will aid the pre-development process. The Intel Atom Developer Program software development kits will be available to members in late fall.


Java Is Far From Dead

There should be an image here!Any thoughts of Java being killed off or toned down have been snuffed out recently as Oracle has made it clear that they intend to provide heavy investment into Java technology. And believe me, this is important on many fronts.

So while Sun’s hardware business seems to be pretty much up in the air, it appears that there is no question that Java is going no where but up. It’s safe and then some.

Java netbooks. Man, it seems like everything these days is about netbooks in one form or another. And if Oracle decides to go through the process of bringing Java to the netbook realm, we might see yet another option in an already crowded market place.

Adobe And Facebook – Match Made?

Better Flash development for Facebook developers. This seems like a great idea and at first pass, I cannot think of one thing that would be a problem here. But despite this otherwise great news, considering the growing malicious acts taking place on the social media landscape, I cannot help but wonder if adding in this new Flash functionality is actually opening up a potential Pandora’s box of problems?

Yet on the flip side, this translates into new opportunities for Flash devs using Facebook as their platform of choice. What with the Web 2.0 being all the rage these days, any security concerns with new functionality may very well fall onto deaf ears.

Rich, fun to use apps for Facebook thanks to Adobe’s efforts. What do you think, are we on a task to many new good things? Or instead, should we be concerned? Speaking for myself, I have serious reservations about adding new functionality with a platform that has zero real security to prevent potential abuse, but this is just me.

Web 2.0 Is Due For A Legal Name Change

Web 2.0 – seems like a weird name for the next generation of web design. Yet despite this title being rather silly on a multitude of levels, here we are. The idea behind changing the name of Web 2.0 is much like the desire to be done with the term “Podcasting”. Neither term does very well as a descriptive term. But unlike Podcasting, Web 2.0 encompasses such a wide berth of web sites and companies that simply referring to these entities as “Web 2.0” web sites really does not do anyone justice.

It wasn’t until the Web 2.0 Expo someone of importance boldly tossed out the idea of changing the term Web 2.0 into something that might potentially be a bit more functional…at least for the time being. One of the ideas that happened to come up was put simply as Web Squared. Now, not to poke holes in anyone’s dream of a new Web 2.0 name here, but that is actually worse as far as I am concerned.

According to Wikipedia, the 2.0 in the term used today is supposed to represent the historical context of web businesses coming back after the collapse of the Dot-Com bubble bursting. There are other reasons surrounding the reasons according to the article, but that first one is what struck me the most. And it is with that understanding that I take that logic and submit the following – Post-Web 1.0. Hey, don’t knock it. At least it is just as accurate as Web 2.0 if nothing else, right?

Growing Software

There should be an image here!For engineers who suddenly find themselves in charge at a small growing software company, the change in responsibilities can be daunting. With dozens of new responsibilities to juggle and the never-ending pressures of building and growing software, technical managers can’t take time to ease into their job — they need proven strategies fast.

Growing Software provides practical, hands-on advice for software managers trying to juggle the challenges of running an engineering team. Drawing on his more than 20 years of successful management experience, author Louis Testa offers readers a wealth of practical guidance that readers could only replace with years of on-the-job training, with advice on how to define and sell products, build and lead an effective team, work with customers, and choose effective development tools.

“Engineers promoted to management are often used to coding by themselves,” said No Starch Press founder William Pollock. “They’ve got the technical side of things down, but they don’t necessarily know how to effectively manage a small team, or define processes to ensure the release of high-quality software. Growing Software is a mentor-in-a-book, guiding new managers through the tough decisions they’ll invariably face.”

Testa combines big-picture advice, specific solutions, and real-life anecdotes to teach readers how to:

  • Work effectively with a CEO and executive team 
  • Improve development team efficiency and enthusiasm
  • Evaluate a company’s software methodology to improve effectiveness and safeguard against failure
  • Use product prototypes to bridge the gap between marketing and engineering

Detailed templates and spreadsheets round out the book, helping readers put concepts into action. Whether they’re new to their positions or experienced managers just trying to do a better job, Growing Software will save managers precious time and help them avoid major mistakes that will block growth.

Google To Facebook – Drop Dead!

Google is taking on Facebook after the social network refused to allow Google’s Friend Contact on their site. Now that Google has their new phone, it seems that the search giant is not going to allow Android development of any software that can be used for Facebook users. Google may be trying to get back at Facebook in their decision and this could impact the social networking site. Or is it Facebook that is ignoring Google’s Android and their new phone?

Over at TechCrunch their article states that:

So why no Andoid app? The official reason is that Facebook is looking to others to develop these applications. Joe Hewitt pushed the iPhone app internally, a spokesperson says, and RIM built the app themselves (but Facebook lent engineers). Google or third parties are free to use the Facebook API to build apps using Facebook services, the spokesperson said.

But the off record discussions I’m having with others at Facebook tell a different story. One source derisively called Android “vaporware”. Another source at Facebook says “Android sucks, it doesn’t matter.”

Sounds like they’ve reached their decision.

So now the question is how will this affect you the user who chooses to purchased a Google phone? Do you care whether Facebook is supported or not? Share your thoughts.

Comments welcome.


Google Chrome – What Does This Tell You?

Over at the Chromium Developers Documentation web site, there is some interesting information for you to read which Google has provided. In this one statement, we could be seeing what Google may be offering us in the future.

The tab is our equivalent of a desktop application’s title bar; the frame containing the tabs is a convenient mechanism for managing groups of those applications. In future, there may be other tab types that do not host the normal browser toolbar.

Have you noticed how plain Chrome is? How there are few menu’s compared to other browsers? How Chrome almost appears invisible when using it compared to other browsers?

Though some consider Chrome as ‘just another browser’, the basics of Chrome is that Google is designing it to run web applications. Applications that already will incorporate their own shortcuts, menus and status bars.

Instead of concentrating on more features for the browser, Chrome offers simplicity instead which makes the Google browser less  of a resource hog plus makes it faster bringing up sites. Advanced users may not appreciate the simplicity of Chrome.

Comments welcome.


Ubuntu Linux To Improve User Experience

Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical, promises that their Ubuntu Linux is set for a large improvement. His thinking is that Ubuntu needs to develope a better user experience and with this in mind, has hired a group of developers to work on the project. On his blog he states that that the companies goal is to deliver a user experience similar to what Apple offers and that these changes will occur in the next two years.

This seems like a huge undertaking for the company, but if anyone can do it, Mr. Shuttleworth stands the best chance. He further states that:

 There’s also recognition for the scale of the challenge that faces us. When I laid out the goal of “delivering a user experience that can compete with Apple in two years” at OSCON, I had many questions afterwards about how on earth we could achieve that. “Everyone scratches their own itch, how can you possibly make the UI consistent?” was a common theme. And it’s true – the free software desktop is often patchy and inconsistent. But I see the lack of consistency as both a weakness (GNOME, OpenOffice and Firefox all have different UI toolkits, and it’s very difficult to make them seamless) and as a strength – people are free to innovate, and the results are world-leading. Our challenge is to get the best of both of those worlds.

If Canonical is able to pull this off, it will be a shot in the arm for Linux and may just convince some Window users to make the switch. But we will have to wait and see just how well Ubuntu will compare to Apple’s flagship operating system. I must admit that this does look promsing.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Mozilla Labs Announces Add-On Winners

Over at Mozilla Labs, they have announced what they call the Extend Firefox winners, which list add-ons voted as the best by a team of judges. Some of the add-ons are still under development but as Mozilla Labs states are still powerful news tools for Firefox 3 users to take advantage of. Some of the new prize winners include:

Pencil by Dương Thành An

GUI prototyping and diagramming that everyone can use.

The Pencil Project’s unique mission is to extend Firefox 3 to an opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use. Pencil makes uses of the SVG support in Firefox 3 to implement all the shape rendering and scripting.

Tagmarks by Felipe Tassario Gomes

One click bookmark tagging

This add-ons adds a set of icons to the quick bookmarks, allowing you to quickly add tags to your bookmarks by clicking on each icon.

HandyTag by Rémi Szymkowiak

Automatic bookmark tagging

HandyTag simply providing a complete set of most relevant keywords in the bookmark’s edition panel. These keywords are retrieved from many different sources.

There are many other award winning add-ons that came in as runner up, but also may be useful to you. May I recommend you take a look  at the Mozilla Lab web site for additional information. There appears to be something for everyone.

Mozilla Labs.

Yahoo Opens Up Search – Will It Matter Though?

When I first heard about Yahoo opening up access to its search engine to outside devs, I laughed. I mean really, it must be like opening up the doors to the intensive care ward, right? But after I had a chance to ponder the significance a bit more, I was shocked when I read the following line – Google did this about six years ago.

Man, how did I forget that? Regardless of my own memory lapse, let us not forget that it was Netscape that also did this with their browser code back when Microsoft Internet Explorer seemed to be unstoppable. Years later of out of the Mozilla mines, Firefox was born.

What is unfortunate is that Yahoo’s approach is not going to be good enough. APIs are awesome, but only when the API is connected to something that people actually want to use. As badly as Yahoo is doing right now, Yahoo needs to completely rethink its search business. Instead, they are basically opening up their really lousy product for people to integrate into their websites? Seems confusing to me. They are providing people with the ability to use inaccurate search queries on their own websites? Seriously, do I need to spell this out. Listen and learn, after all you have no other choice right now.

Your company is about to eat itself. The last resort is to COMPLETELY open up your search engine, allow for spin offs and then provide services to those spin offs. Either that or abandon search altogether and simply become a content company like Netscape or AOL.