- NewsPad: Designing for Collaborative Storytelling in Neighborhoods (PDF) — Microsoft Research report about tests of a tool to address needs in community reporting.
- Burying the URL — makes you suspect that “users interact with the web directly instead of via Google” is the #1 bug in Chrome’s issue tracker.
- Web Fundamentals — Google steering developers to making responsive sites, showing workflow for styling such that you can get sites that look good on all screens.
- snabbswitch — open source packet processing for ISPs.
You might feel fine.
Humid, harmonious, and happy
People weren’t kidding when they told me New Orleans is humid, but the good news is the conference venue has great air conditioning. As expected TechEd is focused mainly on system administrator issues, but I’m feeling that even more so this year with BUILD right around the corner on June 26. However, that isn’t keeping the ASP.NET team from letting us in on what they’ve been working on these past few months.
I wrote a post a little more than a year ago on how Microsoft was starting to embrace open source. Well, it seems to be paying off with Web API 2: two of the new features, CORS and Attribute Routing, were initially contributed by community members and then perfected with the ASP.NET team. These two features are making writing code for your website more streamlined.
In other impressive updates, layout and styling are now based in Bootstrap and cross-browser testing is now much quicker with a tool codenamed “Artery.” We saw, Damian Edwards, Program Manager on the ASP.NET team, make a change in the code, rerun the program, and show us the updated website on local versions of Explorer and Chrome. In addition to upgrade announcements, a welcome change came in the form of a consistent toolset offering with Visual Studio 2013 that makes working across Web Forms and MVC much easier for developers. All new versions of these technologies, ASP.NET MVC 5, Web API 2, and Signal R2 will run only with .NET 4.5.
Sitting in the front of the packed room I kept thinking this is what Microsoft needs—an engaged audience that can work with a brilliant team to consistently update the technology and encourage change.
Oh, and Microsoft (in what I think is a smart move) is selling the Surface RT and Surface Pro, to full attendees, at deep, deep discounts, with the RT priced at $99 and the Pro at $399. The lines have been massive since the offer was announced. Hopefully this will provide Microsoft with more mindshare if not market share in the coming months.
And a note about Google Glass: I brought them to the conference in my continued social experiment to see how people would react. It has been a mixed bag of folks wanting to talk to me about them, those afraid I am recording them, and even a few that aren’t sure what it is. It continues to be good conversation starter as is the story of my eating my first crawdad—a New Orleans staple!
My day one experience
While there was no skydiving this year to show off Google’s new wearable Glass, there were plenty of attendees wearing them proudly including me. This year hardware, however, didn’t take center stage. The focus was on new tools and upgrades to existing products and platforms.
Android developers were thrilled to see new APIs and tools. The biggest cheers, at least in my section, were for Android Studio built on IntelliJ which from what I can tell is way better than Eclipse but notably not open source. The Developer Console got a substantial update with integrated translation services, user metrics, and revenue graphs, but what really made a big splash the beta testing and staged rollout facilitation. These along with new location and gaming APIs rounded out the new offering for the Android development crowd.
Chrome Tricks, Sins of Journaling, Icon Font, and Sweet PD
- One Tab — turn tabs into lists, easily. (via Andy Baio)
- Deep Impact: Unintended Consequences of Journal Rank — These data confirm previous suspicions: using journal rank as an assessment tool is bad scientific practice. Moreover, the data lead us to argue that any journal rank (not only the currently-favored Impact Factor) would have this negative impact. Therefore, we suggest that abandoning journals altogether.
- Genericons — useful straightforward icon font.
- Public Domain Review Fundraising — Over the course of our two years we’ve created a large and ever growing archive of some of the most interesting and unusual artefacts in the history of art, literature and ideas. Love the idea of some limited edition reprints of these gorgeous works!
Handmade Hardware, Tab Silencer, Surprise and Models, and Sciencey GIFs
- Your USB Sticks Are Made With Chopsticks (Bunnie Huang) — behind-the-scenes on how USB sticks are made.
- mutetab — find and kill the Chrome tab making all the damn noise! (via Nelson Minar)
- Visualization, Modeling, and Surprises (John D Cook) — paraphrases Hadley Wickham: Visualization can surprise you, but it doesn’t scale well. Modelling scales well, but it can’t surprise you.
- Head Like an Orange — science animated GIFs, assembled from nature documentaries. (via Ed Yong)
Mac git tool, Web Developer Tool, Bullshit Detector, and ISPs Join Devil For Baby-Eating Orgy
- Wing Man — Mac app for source control management with git, implements workflow rather than simply being a wrapper for git commandlines.
- CodeKit — Mac app for web developers, automates (invisibly, thanks to watching filesystem changes) much of the web site tools.
- LazyTruth — Chrome plugin for gmail that detects bogus forwarded email and gives you the option to reply with the truth. RoboSnopes for the win! (via The Atlantic)
- Verizon to Throttle Pirates (BBC) — unable to solve their business model problems though the courts, Hollywood “partners” with ISPs to extra-judicially punish alleged infractions. ISPs win when heavy downloaders are throttled, of course, because it lets them have higher contention ratios (sell the same upstream cable to many more downstream email-checking residences instead of just a few torrenters). These five ISPs are mall-cops, private tax collectors, and regional monopolists, all in one nasty bundle of evil.
A Google I/O puzzler, more sandbox mayhem, and Go prepares to take wing.
While we wait to sign up for two of the major conferences of the year, Google has released a brainteaser, Java suffers another security breach, and a new language prepares for takeoff.
Flash ditches Linux, a developer faces death, and we get a peek inside Foxconn.
If you use Linux, either start using Chrome as your browser or get ready to give up Flash. A developer faces execution in Iran because of how someone used software he wrote, and the world gets to see what it's like to build iPads and iPhones.
Android Fragmentation, Hosting Technologies, Face Recognition, and Data Design
- Fragmentation is Not The End of Android — full of trenchant insights, this post considers the many implications of the Android value chain. Only Apple directly profits from being an OS provider in the mobile ecosystem. For Google it is a cost center particularly struck me. Anyone know whether Google offers to (for money) maintain branded carrier- and/or device-specific versions of Android? Seems like a natural business model given their development pipeline and desire to ensure availability of updates. (via John Gruber)
- Chart of Y Combinator Companies’ Hosting Decisions — just what it says.
- Muststache — fun Chrome extension using face recognition to add mustaches to faces in pictures. Ten years ago, almost every kind of face recognition was a dark art requiring many computrons. Today it’s a toy.
- Stamen’s 2011 — frankly astonishing year of beautiful and meaningful visualizations and design. They continue to provide the benchmarks for designing with data.