Coalface Tech: Episode 1 (Microsoft PDC 2008)

Coalface Tech podcast graphic
Last month, James Bannan and I released a pilot episode of a new podcast called Coalface Tech – the idea being that IT Pros should have a slightly different take on IT industry developments to the professional journalists that cover this.

We’ve taken on board the feedback that we received and, whilst it’s still a bit rough around the edges, Episode 1 is now online at the APC Pro magazine website.

In this episode, we look at some of the major announcements from Microsoft’s 2008 Professional Developers’ Conference – Windows Azure and Windows 7 – as well as some interesting things to come out of Microsoft Research.

PDC may seem like old news now, but our aim is not to report the news – like this blog the intention is that we provide a commentary from the perspective of those who actually implement the technology.

If you like what you hear, then you might like to consider subscribing – there are two podcast feeds available (MP3 and AAC) – if you use iTunes then I recommend the AAC version as that’s the enhanced podcast with chapter markings and context sensitive links but MP3 should work for just about everyone. We’ve also submitted the AAC feed to the iTunes store (it’s still under consideration but will hopefully be in the index soon).

Coalface Tech (MP3 podcast) Coalface Tech (MP3 podcast).
Coalface Tech (AAC enhanced podcast) Coalface Tech (AAC enhanced podcast).

If you don’t like it, please tell us why. We’re still learning how to do this podcasting stuff and there’s a lot to take on board but we really would like feedback – including suggested topics for discussion.

Going forward, James and I hope to get an episode out every month. They are time-consuming to produce though, so please bear with us if the schedule is not as regular as we’d like.

Finally, here are the show notes for episode 1:

  • 00’00” Introduction (agenda) and summary of feedback from the pilot episode (excuse the ums and ers, we do get more confident after a few minutes; Mark should remember he’s not an Aussie; hopefully we’ve improved the production a little in this episode).
  • 02’23” Windows 7: James’ first view of Microsoft’s forthcoming OS release (he’s also written about Windows 7 for IT Pros); no massive changes between Vista and 7 – slicker and some new features but not a major release; touchscreen – a real possibility or just a niche technology?; Conchango/Tesco prototype WPF front end for online groceries; boot from VHD; Application compatibility is just as key to a Windows 7 deployment as it is to Vista – even the 6.1 version number is to maintain application compatibility!
  • 15’53” Slight diversion to discuss Mark’s plans for Windows 7 on Lenovo IdeaPad S10 netbook; and it turns out that James has been running Vista Enterprise SP1 on an Acer Aspire One; if you’re using an SSD drive then consider the NTFS partition alignment.
  • 19’25” Windows Azure: James interviewed Greg Stone (Microsoft Australia CTO); Azyure or Azuuure? (or Red Dog!); a hosted services platform to provide a flexible infrastructure, leveraging from existing development tools; watch out for spiraling bandwidth costs; not buying infrastructure looks attractive – as does rapid provisioning; a lot of the details are still to come (support, costs, etc.); usage-based billing may represent a challenge for some organisations; KPI-based model; this model will not suit everyone but Software plus Services is a little more realistic that software as a service; Microsoft Online Services are already competing with partners – what’s the impact on our jobs if the infrastructure goes into the cloud; Microsoft has proved that it does have a strategy for cloud computing.
  • 33’07” Microsoft Research: Surface becomes SecondLight; you can build a primative surface table with a cardboard box, a sheet of paper, a sheet of perspex and a webcam; heat sensors used to control building environmental systems; Microsoft Research is more interested in academic computer science than in new products.
  • 41’06” We want your feedback!
  • 41’37” Closedown: how to find James and Mark; a thank you to our sponsors – Australian Personal Computer, Internode and Sun Microsystems.
  • 42’36” End

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