Sanity Prevails

The FOSS community has been concerned about the difficulties, pros and cons of including Mono-built applications as a part of standard Linux builds. Both Pro and Con.

Most recently, the Ubuntu Technical Board posted to their Ubuntu Developer Announce mailing list their extermely pragmatic position on Mono applications.

Today Microsoft extended the Community Promise to the two underlying ECMA (and subsequent ISO) standards that cover the CLI and C#. These promises had already covered other EMCA standards such as OpenXML, so it was quite logical that the CLI and C# would follow. Well, in a sane universe anyway.

As the Mono project (and Moonlight) are based on these standards, the Community Promise would logically extend to these environments.

Hopefully now we can all just build cool software, not argue about licenses, patents and other distractions. Now let’s fix Outlook’s HTML rendering!. 🙂

(Thanks to John BouAntoun for the original link, Peter Galli for the original blog post, and Microsoft for doing the right thing.)

28 Weeks. 18 Weeks Down


18 Weeks

18 weeks and 735 emails ago, Gianpaolo green-lighted my involvement on an Andrew Coates flight of fancy: What if we gave every paid delegate of TechEd a Netbook running Windows 7? Ideas are easy, implementation is hard.

By involvement read “Project Management”. And, oh what a wonderful ride it has been.

18 weeks of discussions, negotiations and thought. Wrapping your mind around all the side, non-technical implications has taken the last 18 weeks to contract signature.

People management, Finance policy, legal agreements, terms+conditions, understanding internal policies. The funny thing is that I’ve done all this before during the last 3 years of my Adobe sales management life. The internal Microsoft “stuff” was just my previous Adobe experience, with a different consequence.

Big thanks to Jorke Odolphi for being my sounding board. A calm shoulder to cry on. And thinking of things I didn’t anticipate. Thanks, Jorke!

What is new is the Project Management aspect. Technical Integration is going to be relatively easy: 2000+ high quality Netbooks with Windows 7 is a doddle. Jeff Alexander is taking point on the image build. David Haysom and David Connors are the logistics and install team leads.

Project Management not so much of a doddle. David Haysom will assist here. Right, David?

10 Weeks

The funnest part of this project begins now: one aspect is the logistics of getting 58 palettes of Netbooks loaded for the TechEd delegates.

The other major aspect is what happens with the Netbooks. Here, it’s the Microsoft community aspect: what can we do, as a Microsoft community?

Microsoft and Web 2.0 Stuff

Like Michael Rees, Kathryn Greenhill asked me to list “web 2.0” things that Microsoft has available to provide some balance to a Murdoch University event.

By web 2.0, Kathryn meant: “To me, Microsoft plays really well in the large corporate ap space and is very good at that … but if I want to show people about the conversation, re-mix, open access, interoperable web, then MS is not the first port of call…”

I can only agree with Kathryn’s statement. Microsoft hides all its cool web 2.0 things under a bushel. In fact, the problem probably is that the coolness are hidden under many bushels, all over its web footprint. But hey, I am not from marketing; I am a mere Professional Geek. That is also why these listed are free. Some are even Free-as-in-Freedom, too.

I think it important that people get to hear, see and try alternatives before defaulting to “the known and safe.” And yes, I realise can work both ways.

Another perspective, and my own opinion, is that Microsoft should not seek to do everything on the web. For instance, creating a “Microsoft Twitter Ultimate Edition 2010” is stupid. Nor should Microsoft seek to purchase every cool company that pops on the web. Again, that is my opinion. And I am the lowest on the low of the totem pole; a.k.a Individual Contributor or Sacrifical Unnamed Ensign (ref: Star Trek)

Here is an edited version of my email response; drafted quickly and by no means exhaustive. If you have other cool examples, just post a comment and I’ll update the list.

  • for online mini-Sharepoint site for team collaboration. is a good place to start where people will use desktop apps for a full experience. Don’t forget other online app tools like EditGrid and Zoho.
  • Don’t forget & associated sites (including Photosynth, Virtual Earth) as viable alternatives to google. Librarians use all sources available
  • Live Is more than spaces ( – there are photo storage, file storage (skydrive, as mentioned by Michael Rees in his post), and integration into twitter, facebook and other online social media services.
  • There is a Creative Commons plugin for Microsoft Office 2007 to permit correct (cc) for remix stuff out of spreadsheets, word etc
  • Other remix things: is a single source for our desktop apps, including LiveWriter (don’t forget that Live Writer has a whole host of plugins: ) and video editing stuff, too. There are Wikipedia, FIickr, Twitter and all sorts of plugins. Office 2007 SP2 has both OpenXML and ODF (for OpenOffice) support.
  • Don’t forget that the most-used online conversation tool in Australia is Live Messenger (MSN) which does video + audio conferencing, too
  • RSS into outlook… hmm, possible but not something I’d recommend. Too clunky
  • Don’t forget IE8; with accelerators and webslices these use open formats to work
  • has some cool tools, including Oomph with is a Microformats toolkit (works in all browsers, uses jQuery) … I use it on my blog. Licensed under MsPL (open source,  OSI approved, BSD-like)
  • Another good, slightly techy tool for Windows users is with the Web Platform installer. Permits installations of PHP, WordPress etc on your Windows machine without being a rocket scientist

Microsoft and Open Source, Unhandled Exceptions. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane

Microsoft and Open Source, Unhandled Exceptions.

Microsoft and Open source? Isn’t that like cats and dogs living together? Discuss and learn what (where and why) Microsoft is embracing Open source. See which Microsoft technology can positively affect your Open source based projects, and how you can contribute. We would also like to hear your unfiltered feedback on how we should contribute, too. Come along, bring your colleagues, have some light refreshments and enjoy a relaxed conversation.

At the recent WebDU conference, Jorke and I sat down with two groups of attendees to hear warts-and-all, on the ground stories. Simple questions and deep answers provided an insight that a PowerPoint (or Keynote) presentation gives. Listening hurts, hard.

Extending this into open source evenings seems like a good way to go. No need to shill open source.

Register an pop along. Vent at us in more than 140 characters. See you there.

Using Webslice and IFrames in WebSlices

Testing only. If you are reading this, please ensure you are using Internet Explorer 8

Webslices are new consumer feature in Internet Explorer 8. You can embed simple HTML within a WebSlice that is a portion of a pre-existing page. To get IFRAMES and OBJECT to work there is a little tweaking required. Then you get Silverlight and/or Flash.

The IFRAME/OBJECT content is stripped (for security reasons) by the RSS engine in IE8. However, when displaying a unique page – things can get way more interesting.

In the example WebSlice below, I use an alternate display source. This alternate display is used as the content for the slice. This also permits smart styling in your slice; as used on‘s Webslice. The xxxx.html below is the page with the Webslice content.

<a rel="entry-content" href="xxxx.html" style="display:none;"></a>



Object Embed


Thanks to Michael Kordahi, Chris Bright and Greg Willis for the push to check this out.

To a Social Media Practitioner

Today was the last day I will appear as a "social media expert" on behalf of Microsoft. The internet and social media is mainstream, and it’s time to move on. And do my real day job: evangelising Microsoft’s developer tools.


Over the weekend, Channel 10’s Rove attempted to fist twitter, bringing in at least 1000 new Australian twitter users. A plethora of ABC celebreties are following Mark Pesce‘s lead and are joining twitter. There are 5 million Australians on Facebook. Politicians have realised the shift of power towards, and reach of the internet. There is no going back.

Over the last 2 years, and more-so with the departure of Frank Arrigo from Australia, invitations to speak at ‘social media’ conferences landed on me. Internal Microsoft teams came asking about social media asked for my advice.

None of these are a formal, measured part of my job. Sure, using the technology and being a social media practitioner will still important: but being a Social media expert is not.

So, with a little regret, from today I hand over the reigns of social media expertise and public representation to others at Microsoft.

The Future

I first met Stephen Elop during Macromedia/Adobe integration talks and subsequently in Punta Mita, Mexico. He is one smart cookie for a Canadian.

Now here is at Microsoft leading the business software side. Watch this video to get a glimpse of the future of technology in our lives. The key theme I can see is the importance of a User Experience that scales across different devices.

This digital life (version 2.0) May 2007

From Vista magazine, May 2007

This digital life (version 2.0)

Nick, a recent addition to Microsoft, is a long time blogger, presenter and geek. Read Nick’s exploits and stories at A part of Nick’s “job” at Microsoft is to collect and record Australia’s Geek Stories. Turn your web browser to To hear what Nick is doing almost on a minute by minute basis, catch Nick on Note: Twitter is the latest online success story, and no one who uses twitter exactly knows exactly why. Creating an account is easy, and adding Friends to watch and talk to is easy. Ignoring the tweets (singular noun of a posting) is tough. The web industry calls twitter “micro-blogging”

Thanks to the previous owner of this real estate, Frank Arrigo. Frank is the personification of “geek”, and the owner of the title as Microsoft’s local Professional Geek.

My personal geek story starts when I saw my first personal computer: an Apple II in 1981. Prior to this experience, I had only drawn on used computer punch cards. Seeing that computer changed my life, a whole new world opened up and career started. A small Seattle company had licensed a programming language to Apple, called AppleSoft Basic. That small company was Microsoft.

Continuing the language trend, the first programming language in which my parents purchased and in which I become fluent was Microsoft Basic 1.0 for the Mac. Friends still pester me for the project I started way back in May 1984: MacFarm. It never shipped, or at least is in perpetual development.

Leap ahead through time and various companies over employers such as Apple and Adobe – here I find myself at Microsoft. With the heritage in languages now extending into operating systems, applications, servers, Xboxes, online Live services – there is no shortage of fun things to install, experience and tell the world about.

Now my parents are now semi-retired in the Barossa Valley, still have that original museum piece Mac somewhere in their shed. Their primary PC is running Windows XP – and it and an internet connection changed how grandparents interact with their grandchildren. The use of webcams with Live Messenger, emails via Outlook and pictures back-and-forth keep my parents in contact with their Sydney-based grandson.

As memories move from physical to digital: photographs, music, snippets of video, blog entries and twitter tweets; the world connects and the tyranny of distance experienced by our ancestors disappears. A photograph can be uploaded into the “cloud” of the internet for all to see and comment on almost immediately.

Having read books such as Gibson’s Neuromancer and Stephenson’s Snow Crash, wonder where this always on, instant information world is could take us. It’s great to be here at Microsoft, being a part of helping Australians embrace technology – to get us closer together. My optimistic inner geek thinks the world will be ok.

Yes I admit it, I am a Professional Geek at Microsoft just like Frank.