I have recently installed Windows Vista Beta 2 and started playing around with it. First impressions are good….although as a developer the security features like UAC are pretty in your face (probably good for end users). I immediately disabled that by editing the local system policy by running:

 secpol.msc ->  Local Policies -> Security Options -> Disable the policy “User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode”

That definitely made those annoying messages go away! I had to install Visual Studio 2005 and I was thinking of playing with Atlas. Once I got that installed and tried to create a sample website Visual Studio was barking back at me saying: 

Error HRESULT E_FAIL has been returned from a call to a COM component

Now what? Well supposedly vista will not start application in admin mode even if you are logged in as an administrator.  The fix: Right click on the shortcut to studio and click Run as Administrator and it works like a charm.

Here is a link to Microsoft KB which shows how to configure specific applications to always run as admin.

-Nikhil

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During the dot com boom I used to fly to Florida a lot from NYC, thats when I discovered jet Blue. Hands down it has to be the *best* airline in the country. I moved to Houston about 3 years ago and one of the things I hated was I had to fly these other airlines everytime I went back to New York. Well no more….starting September 7th jetBlue is going to start servicing Houston’s Hobby airport! Jet Blue brings low cost flying with a fresh attitude and great staff to top it off.

5 reasons to fly jetBlue:

  1. Live DirecTV in every seat with 36 channels (yup watch the news Live in the air)
  2. 5 paid movie channels (for long flights) and XM Radio – 100 channels
  3. Great snacks and to top that Dunkin’ Donuts® coffee! (don’t get to see too much of that here in Houston)
  4. Great airplanes – youngest fleet with mostly all new Airbus A320‘s
  5. Everyone is a first class citizen – No first class cabin!

My UMPCI went down to frys electronics on Friday [since they told me they had a unit on display]…and i made the terrible mistake of asking if they had any in stock! They had only one in stock…i had to buy it!! Watching all those videos on jkOnTheRun and getting up to speed with all da buzz on umpcbuzz helped convince me that i needed one! I have been using it over the weekend to browse the web, check the latest scores for World Cup Matches, check email etc. and its working out great till now.

The dialkeys onscreen keyboard is simply awesome! If you learnt to type using a typing tutor software then you should have no problems adjusting. The only awkward thing is the enter key is for the left hand….I wish that was customizable. I would however like the guys from jkOnTheRun maybe do a piece on setting up the Q1, talk about things like what programs are safe to uninstall (since the system tray seems to be overflowing) and also maybe list out a few 3rd party software programs that are a must have. I know they have something like that for the tablet pc but tailor it more for the UMPC. Also I’d like to know about accessories, specifically more on GPS connectivity.

Tomorrow I’m going into work and I need to setup my umpc so its totally optimized for taking notes and generating tasks. Do any of you out there use some 3rd party utilities? I have put OneNote 2007 on it. Let’s see what happens tomorrow at work when the rubber meets the road. I know scoble said he would buy one, did you drop 1G on this toy yet scoble?

That's right folks…let me introduce to you the latest ground breaking innovation from all the Phd's at Google – Google Spreadsheets! And yes you guessed it – it's in Beta (yup just like almost every other product they put out). If you have'nt figured it out yet – this is a browser based spreadsheet application. I am not sure what Google is thinking here..are they really thinking they can go up against Microsoft Excel & Office with this? Or maybe Don Dodge is right and they will only eat into the market-share of the freebie's out there like OpenOffice. Why do i think its useless? more on that later.

Well…when i need a spreadsheet application I need: Features, Responsiveness and ease of use. Sorry but the browser can't compete with the Win32 platform. I see blogger's going nuts about this and touting the fact that you can access your spreadsheet from anywhere. Well that's kinda cool..but you still have to save it locally to access it offline and the fact that I can access it from anywhere doesn't offset the fact that it is tremendously lacking in features. Take Outlook as an example – it has an excellent Web Interface [Exchange 2003 OWA] but if you look at the stats people will use the Win32 fat client whenever possible.

Also in the next few years hopefully my long time dream will come true: storage abstraction. I used to work for bigVAULT – an online storage company and there are many more that are emerging as part of the Web 2.0 wave, see here [via TechCrunch]. So the idea here is that one day I will just save my files to my storage device and it will make sure it goes to my online drive and all other places I want it to be replicated to. Maybe once bandwidth permits I will have only one central storage place – my online drive and it will be completely abstracted to the end user. I am particularly impressed by OmniDrive which allows:

the ability to read/write directly to the file with local applications like Office, on the remote server. This last feature speeds the process of writing to files significantly by skipping the requirement to download the file to the hard drive first

So Storage abstraction will pave the way to all kinds of cool apps. That's my theory. But Scoble on the other hand has a different one, check it out.

So why do I think its useless? When I am talking about useless, I am referring to how this is going to be useful in helping Google bring revenues in. I don't see that part of the picture yet. As of right now the only revenue stream Google has is Search, AdWords and maybe some from Gmail (which I like a lot). How is this app going to get them revenue?

I like google a lot, I use their products. When google gets ready to release a product I am expecting something innovative. Spreadsheets have been around for a long time…nothing innovative there….yet.

Hmmmm……UMPC?

June 7, 2006

I took a look at the project oragami when it came out first and thought that it’s just another failed attempt from Microsoft at launching a tablet pc, i think this was also microsoft’s first attempt at viral marketing. Well since then its been renamed to a new hardware category called the “UMPC” and has a dedicated site now here. I was surfing through the site and looked at the hardware and software features and to my surprise they are actually pretty impresive! This might actually work!

It is small, lightweight, portable and ink enabled. Its running the full blown Windows XP Tablet PC edition and the inking capabilities of the OS are pretty impressive. I saw a video on jkOnTheRun which walked through a couple of usage scenarios including handwriting recognition and I have read tons of reviews on it and I have to say I am pretty impressed.

I think the most important features to me are:

  • 7” Touchscreen
  • WiFi (roam freely at work and home) and Bluetooth (pair with my cell phone)
  • External VGA port (to hook to a projector)
  • Good multimedia support

So now I am thinking is this something I can really use? I dont plan on using this as a desktop/laptop replacement, but rather an extension to my desktop when I am mobile – be it in the office or at home. Granted I wont be able to blog such lengthy posts while inking but thats why I have all my desktops for.

With that said the UMPC does have multiple input capabilities including a real funky on-screen keyboard [pic on right]. It also has pen input using ink and the regular keyboard that ships with tablet pc edition. My needs are to be able to:

 

  • Read my email and write short replys, Create Task lists, Digitize my notes and make them completely searchable
  • Do all my web reading while watching TV (laptops overheat on my lap!)
  • Stay connected all the time!

So….. i do think the UMPC might be a great addition to my toolset! I am really tempted to get one now. It is a little pricey (~ $1100) but considering I paid 400 bucks for an iPod (which is a flimsy, fragile, flakey piece of junk) I guess this wouldnt be that bad, and if thats not enought Microsofthas a great video that will talk you into it.

So as promised here are some pictures we took at the Poster Session, this is where the judges and attendees were allowed to come take a deeper look at the solution we built and the product itself. I personally had a great time at the conference and enjoyed meeting all the people that came to the summit.



From Left to Right: Pamela Szabo, Anjaneyullu Tamma and Me standing by the poster we had setup



From Left to Right: Me, Gretchen Weis and Anjaneyullu Tamma

I have a few more pictures up on my Flikr page, click here.

Disclaimer: I am a little emotional right now. Bottom Line: we did win an award [not 1st place] and I will post details/pictures about it soon.  For years I have believed that the best technology should always win. When I was in college i worked with the JDK 1.1 (Java Development Kit) and I loved it. I had worked with VB 3 and 4 before that and I thought that Java was going to rule. I couldnt have been more wrong. I wrote my “real”
business application in Java and realized the performace as a fat client was a far from real world! It simply didnt respond. I talked to some engineers at sun that I knew during college and told them give me a native interface to windows (something like ngen.exe)….they didnt listen. I knew the write once run anywhere …was worth nothing to me….95% of the world runs windows..so the run anywhere was meaningless, all i wanted
was run on windows! That was 7 years ago….today I realized that as good as the .net platform is and robust our technology all that didnt matter…all that the judges cared about were if we were JAVA!! I was handed a paper today with the recommendations from the judges at the Global Integration Summit and it said the following:

Too much dependency on Microsoft and no support for open source.

The last time I checked web services and SOA were platform independent! (this was an SOA
challenge) in which we smoked out competitors! But hold on a second aren’t the other vendors too dependent on Java/Sun!! I am not anti-java or sun, I admire the innovations that come from that side, but I dont understand why the other side is not able to do the same! Well enough of that….I guess people will be people and their bias will always get in the way! We did win an award at the Global Integration Summit….I am happy about that and I will post
some pictures when Gretchen gets them to me. The real question is how many of the vendors (of the showcase participants) have the kahunas to make their software available to the public to download and evaluate for themselves? The answer….

Stone Bond , AboveAll and BEA!
[see previous post on participants]

– Nikhil Roy

Update: It was ponted out correctly that AboveAll also offers downloads on theier website, I added them to the list.