Monthly Archive: June 2005

Auto updating software

ClickOnce_thumbThere is a recent trend for software to auto-update, and if you are logged in as administrator then it works pretty well, and hopefully with Longhorn and ClickOnce the experience will be good for non-administrators as well.  What’s surprising is that its taken so long for the auto-update model to become popular.

About 13 years ago I developed my first distributed system on PC’s that was going to be widely deployed within an enterprise.  The first thing I did (initialy just to make testing easier) was to write a stub that checked the currently installed version of the program, against the manifest file version on the server defined in the last version of the manifest.  If the version was different, the stub downloaded the installer programme defined in the updated manifest and ran it, otherwise it started the application.  The stub was so simple that we hoped it could cope with any update scenario and of course the stub could be updated anyway.  Using this system we were able to keep thousands of PC’s up-to date without any manual intervention, other than publishing a new manifest and associated updates to the distribution points.  Of course there is nothing clever in …

Find what you love

Stawberries2I am still on a journey of discovery to try and “find what I love doing”,  I am fairly content in my work, find it interesting and challenging, but I don’t feel I make a difference, at home I spend most of the time with my family – which is great – but very internal focused.  I would like both work and home life to change over time to be more community centred and to feel that I am giving something back to the world and that I live in a more natural and sustainable way.  My relatively poor health is currently the excuse I hide behind that stops me taking the risk associated with change.

I do however continue to be on the lookout for advise in this area and I recently cam across these two articles, one by Steve Jobs – You’ve got to find what you love and the other my Dave Pollard ‘Business’ Advice for Young Adults (and Their Parents & Teachers).  Check them out if you ever think about your work or worry about how you are preparing your kids to help them make good choices about their future work choices.

The new world of work

WORKI recently listened to a lecture by Thomas Malone on the “New world of work”, I enjoyed the lecture although the material in it was not too surprising.  That said the implications on IT are considerable as the old concept of a single infrastructure for all of an enterprises employees starts to collapse as those employees become a fragmented mix of oursourced, contractors, suppliers, small isolated teams in internal markets etc.  Tom describes 4 models for the future of the distributed workplace:

  1. Loose Hierarchies — with flat organisation structure and substantial autonomy granted to individual business units, subject to overarching principles, review and budget control (e.g. consultancies, universities, technology developers)
  2. Democracies — where all employees, or all managers, get an equal vote on some or all key corporate decisions
  3. External Markets — where most of the non-executive jobs are outsourced to independent businesses and contractors, so all ’employees’ essentially become ‘suppliers’, with the commensurate rights and autonomy
  4. Internal Markets — where each business unit, and even individuals within business units, contract with each other as if they were dealing at arms’ length, so, every business unit and every employee acts much like an autonomous business

To get a good overview …

Microsoft and RSS – a dream coming true

I have been writing about RSS for about a year now and my vision for RSS is highly congruent with Microsoft’s.  However I have only learned that this is true today, as I have seen Microsoft’s RSS strategy unfold.  Whilst I am not surprised by the announcement I am relieved as I truly believe that making RSS a subscription protocol that supports many different application types will revolutionise the way we work, and make all of our lives just so much easier. 

I can see Microsoft themselves going wild and RSS enabling everything, especially everything in Windows SharePoint Services,  SharePoint Portal Server search, Windows event logs, Exchange Email and Calendars,  Exchange Public Folders, Windows File Systems etc etc and the opportunities for an event driven interface to a myriad of business applications is mind blowing.  In addition Microsoft make a good point that our feeds will also be a great source of information to the machine learning software that runs on our PC’s and acts as virtual agents on our behalf on the Internet, and will be even more powerful if they actually track which feeds we read.  The potential for agents that really help us prioritise the information overload will …

Great interview on Longhorn

Longhorn logoThis is a great interview on Longhorn.  Some bits I liked:

better security with application compatibility!

As you well know, most users on Windows XP run with administrative privileges, and this is because the system didn’t partition itself well. This is one of the legacies that were inherited from Windows 95. Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP all have the security built into them, but the problem is that in many of the applications that were designed to run on Windows 95, you have to relax the security in order for them to run, which meant that the people had to run as administrator. We’re just getting rid of all the user level classifications in Longhorn. We have shimming and other capabilities that we’ve done with our applications like file virtualization, registry virtualization and other characteristics that allow applications that want to write to administrative parts of the system to think they are writing to those parts, while all along keeping those parts isolated and virtualized to the instance of that application.

Search done right, like apple,  I particularly like the fact that they are doing desktop search in a way that makes sense on the desktop, rather than …


I recently came across the company AES.  I don’t know much about them, but I was very impressed by their values.  I wish more would emulate them!  Most impressive they appear to actually live by them as well!

Fairness – We work with people in a way that’s fair and just. AES people intend to treat fairly our customers, suppliers, stockholders, governments, the communities in which AES operates, and other AES people.

Integrity – AES people strive to act with integrity. Our people accept responsibility for their actions, and are expected to act with integrity in all circumstances. They honor their commitments to customers, to partners, and to the shareholders who make the company’s efforts possible. They develop or access the right knowledge and skills to make informed, balanced decisions that advance the interests of the entire enterprise.

Social Responsibility – AES people strive in all cases to act in a socially responsible manner and believe that working to fulfill AES’s mission is one of the important ways to do this. In addition, we are committed to being involved and constributing corporate citizens in the communities we serve.

Fun – AES people desire that fellow employees and those with …