Some things caught my attention:
- Expression Studio V2 - there will be a new version of the Expression series pretty soon
- Microsoft Tellme - this can be really cool.
- Windows Server 2008 Update Release and Service Pack 1 - wonder what nice stuff they have in the pipeline for these releases...
- Microsoft Surface - it will be a real product and is not just a showcase!
It's worth browsing through the whole PowerPoint by Steve Ballmer.
Microsoft Windows Vista has a whole lot of new and exciting stuff and some things that may be disturbing (at least when you're starting with Vista), like the new structure of the folders; X:\Documents and Settings has been shortened down to X:\Users which is good but then everything you are used to are changed (well almost anyway), My Documents is now called just Documents and this folder does not longer contains for example My Music, which is moved to a new location, one step up, with the new name Music.
There are also some new and interesting folders like the X:\Users\%username%\Links\ folder, se my previous article about that folder, AppData for application data and Searches for your saved Vista searches.
How do you as a developer use these folders, where do I store application data etc?
All of these questions are answered in a recent published great whitepaper from Microsoft called Namespace Usage Guidelines for the Windows Vista File System. It's available for download as PDF or XPS.
Here are some interesting links on the (summer) hot OOXML vs ODF discussion.
- INCITS issues a ballot of "yes" with comments by Doug Mahugh
- South Africa votes No with comments on the standardisation of Open XML
- Brian Jones comments on Setting a New Standard by Jason Brooks
- Wouter van Vugt announces his pocket-sized Open XML book and tells us about the Dutch ISO/IEC standardisaton of Open XML
The OOXML versus ODF discussions are getting more intense and either side lays out the same arguments why the other one are better than the other. Some arguments are valid - but some are definitley not!
Why do the ODF side always use the "it's to much to read" argument!? Just take a look at Andrew Updegroves open letter to the state of Massachusetts, two of his five points is about this argument!
The Office Open XML format (ECMA-376) covers about 6.500 pages and the Open Document Format (ISO/IEC 26399) about 700 pages. Yes, 6.000 pages is a lot to read during a fast-track process, but I still don't think it's a legal argument for turning OOXML down.
Let's take a closer look on the page count. OOXML is divided into five parts which covers it all:
- Fundamentals - 165 pages
- Open Packaging Conventions - 125 pages
- Primer - 466 pages
- Markup Language Reference - 5.766 pages
- Markup Compatibility and Extensibility - 34 pages
As you can see most of the pages are in the markup reference, and it's a rather big document. But if you take a closer look to it and compare it to the markup reference of the ODF document you will see that the OOXML reference is much more rich in it's description of the markup used than the ODF and it contains more samples and illustrations, which of course occupies more space but instead gives the reader better information.
When you are there looking and comparing the documents, put the documents side-by-side and you will notice that the OOXML uses more whitespace and another line spacing - which also affects the number of printed pages!
ODF with one 706 page document uses and references the SVG standard for vector based graphics - and that's a document with another 719 pages, then you have the MathML specification with another 665 pages and so on with all the other external references.
Some other points that is of interest in this size matters argument is that OOXML covers the spreadsheet forumlas more extensive than ODF. This is what Miguel de Icaza wrote in january:
OOXML devotes 324 pages of the standard to document the formulas and functions.
The original submission to the ECMA TC45 working group did not have any of this information. Jody Goldberg and Michael Meeks that represented Novell at the TC45 requested the information and it eventually made it into the standards. I consider this a win, and I consider those 324 extra pages a win for everyone (almost half the size of the ODF standard).
Depending on how you count, ODF has 4 to 10 pages devoted to it. There is no way you could build a spreadsheet software based on this specification.
If you start counting and taking all aspects into consideration I think that the amount to read is about the same - so there goes the size matters argument down the drain...
Let's just end this stupid discussion. I think there is room for two standards in this area right now and what is your opinion?
It has been awfully quiet from the Windows Vista Ultimate Extras team; no new Extras, no new hints on upcoming Extras...no nothing...
Yesterday we finally got some
goodnews, nothing exciting really but a sign of life from the Extras team. Their current plan is to ship the remaining lanugage packs and a non-beta release of DreamScene, but not until they all meet the quality requirements. There are nothing said about the upcoming extras, only that they "plan to ship a collection" of extras "over the next couple of years".
For now there is no reason at all to invest in Windows Vista Ultimate, the Extras are not worth that much:
- Language Packs - who uses more than one language on their machine?
- Windows DreamScene - fun for five minutes, then annoying!
- Hold'Em Poker Game - why? There are so many good online poker sites or why not skip the computer and get a deck of cards and play with your buddies!
- BitLocker and EFS enhancements - a good one, but should be made available to Vista Enterprise or Business users.
Come on, show us some real extras that we all get excited over! Currently I don't recommend anyone to get Vista Ultimate.
Since the news broke out that XML Paper Specification was submitted to ECMA International bloggers and authors has gone wild, here is a collection of reflections and reactions on it. Most reactions come from the say no to Microsoft team.
Microsoft and ECMA: Together again, doing it again by Bob Sutor. He has a point; ECMA should not have the primary focus of getting the ECMA standard to be a copy of the XPS specification. Pretty stupid and non-diplomatic statement by Microsoft and ECMA, this is what the wolves are looking for...
Hurray for ECMA TC46 - John Obeto praises ECMA.
Why do we have to settle with the standard that was submitted first, why can't we have the option to choose the one fitting our needs best. Isn't it the most important thing that we have well-known, well-documented and controlled standards? I'm getting quite bored on this constant battle between the different communities...