elastic windows

Amazon has done it’s thing and you can now order Windows based machinery based on EC2. That’s great news for us since we’re definitly planning to make our software also available on EC2.

“Amazon EC2 running Microsoft Windows Server® 2003 is a fast and dependable environment for deploying applications using the Microsoft Web Platform, including ASP.NET, ASP.NET AJAX, Silverlight™, and Internet Information Server (IIS). Amazon EC2 enables you to run any compatible Windows-based solution on AWS’ high-performance, reliable, cost-effective, cloud computing platform. Common Windows use cases include website and web-service hosting, high-performance computing (HPC) and data processing, media transcoding, distributed testing, ASP.NET application hosting, and any other application requiring Windows software. Amazon EC2 also now supports the SQL Server® Express and SQL Server Standard databases, and makes those offerings available to customers on an hourly basis.”

Source: http://aws.amazon.com/windows/

When did RAID became independent?

Once upon a time I was told about that cool technology that lets you take several hard drives and glue them “together” to a single big volume. This technology was called RAID – Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks – and that it was. It brought us greater levels of reliability and performance – and it was inexpensive compared with other technologies and since hard drive prices are falling for years and storage space is growing along with that it’s getting even cheaper than anything else you could use to store data securely. Some of us even backup to a independent RAID system.

In the beginning of this all there were several hard drive interface technologies used – mainly it was Parallel ATA and SCSI. It was widely accepted that the SCSI drives are specified for 24/7 server usage and were almost everytime faster than their consumer PATA relatives. It was accepted that if you want to build a reliable industry grade RAID you would want to use SCSI drives – the SCSI bus system even had advantages like up to 7 drives per bus compared to just 2 drives with PATA or hot-swap capabilities.

Over the last years it turned out that SATA is the new interface technology that replaces the old SCSI and PATA. There are several server grade SATA drives available now – these drives are getting cheaper, faster and bigger by the minute. So there’s not a real purpose for anything “more server than server-SATA” you might think. Again if you want to build inexpensive and redundant storage arrays there is nothing cheaper than standard or even server SATA drives. They are fast, reliable and huge.

So some years ago the industry presents: the SAS interface. It’s called “Serial Attached SCSI” and is the “new cool thing in hard disk storage”. There are some niche features that may or may not justify the existence of SAS. A fact is that SAS hard drives of the same size and speed are more expensive.

“SATA is marketed as a general-purpose successor to Parallel ATA and is now common in the consumer market, while the more expensive SAS is marketed for critical server applications.(Wikipedia)

It’s getting worse: The industry started to offer fast hard drives (15000 rpm) only for the more expensive SAS interface. The few 15k rpm SATA drives are not slower in any way than their SAS versions – but they are not widely available and all of a sudden the same price like the SAS version.

But back to the definition of RAID:

So over the years the technology made a giant leap forward and all of a sudden you find yourself using very expensive hard drives while glueing them together to giant volumes (it’s now terabytes…petabytes…). While consumer hard drives are available for about a third (at least) the price of the server version of the same drive. It seems that the widely accepted definition of inexpensive is replaced by independence. I do know that there are use cases when you want to use the fastest spinning drive available regardless of the price – but I also think that there could be affordable fast spinning drives if we shouldn’t be bothered to pay the marketing-fee that SAS brings. It’s plain marketing to make new 15k rpm drives only available for SAS and not for SATA. Marketing and nothing more.

As it turns out many industry (marketing) brains (hey, even wikipedia) are switching to a new definition of RAID. It’s now a Redundant Array of Independent Disks – which I think is a definition that could not be worse. It’s not independence we gain with the new definition.

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID#cite_note-1
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_Attached_SCSI

Photosynth is open for the public

Believe it or not – it’s been 2 years since I first wrote about Photosynth technology. Today Microsoft made it available to the public. It’s not a tool (yet) – like I wanted – right now but it’s built into this website – so you have to upload your pictures, they are processed and then you can browse on this website… well it’s a start for a really great technology.

“We’re pleased to announce the first full release of Photosynth, available now at photosynth.com. Photosynth takes a collection of regular photographs and reconstructs the scene or object in a 3-D environment. For those of you who have seen the videos or tried our tech preview, you could experience synths that we made in the lab and get a feel for what Photosynth is and how it works. But now, for the first time ever you can create synths from your own pictures and share them with your friends. Explore great synths from others or create a few of your own.”

halo3photosynth

It’s not going to work on anything different than Windows. So stick to the movies if you’re on anything else. But as far as I know it’ll run o

Source 1: http://photosynth.net/Default.aspx
Source 2: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,fdc3d1fb-4966-418b-83ea-1e0c12aae833.aspx

Vote for us! Stimmt ab für SONES

Ich hatte ja darüber berichtet dass unser kleines Startup “SONES” von der INTERNET World Business zur Wahl der besten Businessidee 2008 nominiert wurde. Nun sind wir unter die ersten 20 gekommen und jeder der es möchte hat die Chance uns bei dieser Wahl zu unterstützen:

Für uns kann man unter diesem Link voten :-):

vodeinternet

Vote-link

Source: initial article

German Microsoft Student Technology Conference 08 announced!

“Das Datum steht fest: Unsere STC 2008 findet am 15.05.2008 statt!

Wir laden Dich herzlich nach Berlin ein und freuen uns auf einen tollen Tag mit Dir! Es erwartet Dich eine tolle Location, spannende Vorträge und Austausch mit Microsoft-Experten und –Ansprechpartnern, so dass Du ganz im Sinne des Networkings Deiner Karriere auf die Beine helfen kannst.

Zudem hast Du hier die Chance mit zu verfolgen, welches Imagine Cup Team im Software Design die deutsche Fahne beim internationalen Finale in Paris vertreten wird. Der Imagine Cup ist der weltweit größte Technologiewettbewerb für Schüler und Studierende – alle Infos zum Wettbewerb findest Du unter www.imaginecup.info.”

stc08

Stattfinden wird die STC dieses Jahr in der Kalkscheune in Berlin.

Source 1: http://www.studentconference.de
Source 2: STC 2007
Source 3: http://www.kalkscheune.de/

TechFest 2008: Turning Ideas Into Reality

I told you, I would write about the things I am working on for the past months. And last week TechFest 2008 took place in Redmond/WA at Microsoft. Almost the whole team I am working with was there – I haven’t spoken to anybody yet personally but it seems to have gone well:

Rick Rashid, Microsoft Research senior vice president shows a prototype device with a Web-service interface developed by Microsoft researchers that runs an energy-management application that saves energy by actively monitoring the weather and energy variations. This is one of 40 exciting emerging technologies on display at Microsoft TechFest 2008 which brings researchers, customers, academics, dignitaries and employees. Redmond, Wash., March 4, 2008. Robert Sorbo/Microsoft/Handout

“Microsoft Research’s TechFest is an annual event that brings researchers from Microsoft’s labs around the world to Redmond to share their latest work with the product teams. Attendees will experience some of the freshest, most innovative technologies emerging from Microsoft’s research efforts. The event provides a forum in which product teams and researchers can discuss the incredible work occurring in the labs, thereby encouraging effective technology transfer into Microsoft products.”

research 
fast forward to minute 24…one of the interesting bits starts right there!

Source 1: http://wm.microsoft.com/ms/research/events/TechFest2008/TF08Keynote.wmv
Source 2: http://research.microsoft.com/techfest/
Source 3: http://www.schrankmonster.de/PermaLink,guid,cf5f2c46-60d2-4bb6-b58b-c50f5f3ce4d8.aspx

sones flyer are ready to fly

For the last year and something I am affiliated with a startup called “sones“. The website already launched, the products are buyable and now the marketing machinery starts to roll.

Today three flyers came from the print shop… take a look to learn more:

contentplatform ecommerce socialnetwork

There will be more articles about sones in the future… depending on the time I will have :-)

Source: http://www.sones.de

On my way to Cambridge…

Since two of my colleagues wrote about their work at Microsoft Research I wanted to write at least something about it…just like Andreas said:

“One reason I recently don’t blog too much is the fact that I am a bit restricted in what I can tell. Being involved in some exciting projects, the confidentiality of these projects does not allow much publicity.”

So really the only thing I can write about is that I am honored to work with these great people and being part of the process of creating great software.

So – for now I am on my way back to Cambridge – the next article will be written from there…

a320

Of course I will write about all the things when I am allowed to do so…

Source 1: Martin Calsyn
Source 2: Andreas Heil
Source 3: http://research.microsoft.com/ero/

Team Foundation Server 2008 final Feature List

vs2008

The Team Foundation Server 2008 Feature list is finalized and available… read it here:

“Administration, Operations & Setup

  • Share Point 2007 support
  • Enable use of Sharepoint on any server and any port
  • Support for MOSS 2007
  • Enable support for Reporting Services on any server and any port (new) (RTM)
  • Support for SQL Named Instances – This will allow customers to share a SQL server between multiple TFS instances, or with other applications. This has been a commonly requested feature by enterprises.
  • “Longhorn” server support – TFS will support the next version of the server (and corresponding new version of IIS) that is currently under development.
  • Sync Large Groups – This is a set of work to improve the performance and robustness of TFS’s handling large groups of users (~30,000 or more) granted permission to a TFS instance. Today this can result in a support call to recover from it.
  • Non-default ports – We’ve gotten a bunch of feedback from enterprise customers about TFS’s limited support for alternate web sites and ports running afoul of data center policies. We are going to be improving TFS’s configurability in this respect in Orcas.
  • Simplify installation – In Orcas, we will be doing a variety of things to attempt to make installing TFS easier and quicker than it is now. Improvements include eliminating the separate data-tier installation, simplifying the requirements around required domain accounts by supporting the built in machine accounts (like Network Service) where we can, etc.
  • Official testing and support for more configurations – This includes clustering, mirroring, log shipping, Virtual machine deployment, and more.
  • Support for client certificates
  • Upgrade from TFS 2005
  • Support for SQL 2008 (aka Katmai) (new) (RTM)
  • TFSDeleteProject now permanently deletes (destroys) version control content (new) (RTM)
  • New role for many operations activities (new) (RTM) – You don’t have to be server administrator to run many of the admin utilities any longer.
  • Enhancements to tfsadminutil (new) (RTM) – New capability to configure accounts, connections, etc on both TFS and the TFS proxy.

Build (more detail)

  • Support multi-threaded builds with the new MSBuild.
  • Continuous Integration – There are many components to this, including build queuing and queue management, drop management (so that users can set policies for when builds should be automatically deleted), and build triggers that allows configuration of exactly how when CI builds should be triggered, for example – every checkin, rolling build (completion of one build starts the next), etc.
  • Improved ability to specify what source, versions of source, and other build properties.
  • Improved extensibility of the build targets – such as ability to easily execute targets before and after each solution/project is built.
  • Improved ability to manage multiple build machines.
  • Stop and delete builds from within VS.
  • .NET Object model for programming against the build server.
  • Simplified ability to specify what tests get run as part of a build.
  • The ability to store build definitions anywhere in the version control hierarchy.
  • Scheduled builds – You can schedule builds to happen at specified times.
  • Improved build agent communication – We replaced .NET binary remoting with WCF web services, simplifying some configuration and security aspects.
  • Ability to run GUI tests as part of a build – Automated builds used to run tests in such a way as to prevent access to a GUI desktop.
  • New checkin policy for broken CI builds – Preventing checkin while the CI build is broken.
  • Support for HTTPS communication to the TFS server (new)
  • Continuous Integration build checkin policy (new)
  • Support for incremental gets and builds (new)

Data Warehouse

  • Add support for checkin policy overrides to the warehouse – an oversight from V1.

Migration

  • Migration toolkit – A toolkit for building conversion and mirroring solutions between TFS and other systems. In addition, we will release one or more new tools to integrate with popular alternative systems.

Version Control

  • Annotate – This is based on the TFS Annotate Power Tool but includes numerous improvements.
  • Folder Diff – Also based on the TFS Tree Diff Power Tool with numerous improvements.
  • Destroy – The ability to permanently delete version control files/folders from TFS. It can also be used to destroy the file contents while preserving the change set history.
  • Get Latest On Checkout – There have been many requests for this feature (which was a change in behavior from SourceSafe). There is now an option that allows you to specify that you want TFS to download the latest version of files when you check them out.
  • Workspace improvements – Workspaces will now support mapping a folder or file under a cloaked folder and wildcard mappings so that you can map all files in a folder without mapping sub folders. Based on experience with large projects, this will simplify workspace definitions for many people.
  • Performance improvements – A variety of Version Control performance enhancements that will improve virtually all aspects of version control performance. The gains for smaller servers/projects (< 10,000 files) will be modest. The gains for larger projects (particularly where the file count approaches 100,000’s) will be substantial.
  • Scale improvements – Fixed out of memory problems on the server when operating on more than a few hundred thousand files at a time.
  • Offline improvements – We’ve signficantly improved the experience going offline and integrated the tfpt online capability into the IDE for going back online.
  • Extranet support for the TFS Proxy – allowing you to access a local TFS proxy with a different set of credentials than the TFS server.
  • Command line help – You can now type “tf command /help” and get a console dump of the usage of that command. This is much more convenient than always being launched into the richer GUI hypertext help when you just want to remember what the options for a command are. You can still launch the GUI help by running “tf msdn”. You can get a console dump of available commands by just typing “tf help”.
  • Source Control Explorer refresh improvements – This includes less redrawing and reloading but even more important it enables updates based on changes made in other instances of TeamExploror or the command line. That’s right, if you checkout a file from the command line, any instances of TeamExplorer you have running on the same machine will automatically refresh.
  • Async loading of the Source Control Explorer (new)
  • The SCE local path can now be selected and copied (new)
  • Merge improvements (new) – Improved the logic that detects merge conflicts to generate fewer false positives and handle more scenarios.

Work Item Tracking

  • Performance & Scale improvements – A variety of improvements that will make both the work item server and client faster and able to handle larger servers.
  • Query builder usability improvements – Drop down filtering based on current project, better MRU lists, column drag & drop, shift-click mouse based multi-column sorting, etc.
  • Attachments improvements – Save button, drag & drop for adding an attachment, multi-select for attaching files.
  • Tooltips on field names contain the field name used for querying
  • Server side support for deleting work items & work item types – We didn’t have time to do client UI support for it but we plan to release a Power Tool that will take advantage of the new server side feature.
  • Support for security on the iteration hierarchy (new)

Web Access

  • Adding Web Access UI to TFS – As you’ve seen many places, we acquired devBiz and their TeamPlain Web Access product. We are releasing it as a Power Tool in the next few months and plan to release it as an official product in the Orcas timeframe. We have not figured out how the release date will line up with the Orcas date but it will be in the same general timeframe.

Bug fixes

  • In addition to all of the feature work, we’ve spent months testing the product and fixing any bugs we’ve found. We expect Orcas will have even better stability and robustness than TFS 2005.

Compatibility (no change since last time)

As Orcas is an adoption focused release, we have put a lot of emphasis on compatibility with VS2005. We are striving for near 100% compatibility. The Orcas client will be able to work with a VS2005 server and a VS2005 client will be able to work with an Orcas server. There are only a few compatibility issues.

  • Client side VS add-ins will need to be recompiled (or have policy changed) because the TFS OM assembly versions will change and add-ins will need to bind to the new assemblies. The APIs themselves are generally not changing, so we don’t expect much in the way of code changes – just recompilation.
  • Build is the only area where we plan to have some compatibility disconnects. In general, most build operations – listing build definitions, starting and stopping builds, examining build reports, etc. will work both with 2005 client -> Orcas server and Orcas client -> 2005 server. However, here are a few caveats:
    1. An Orcas TFS server will only work with an Orcas build server – so you’ll need to upgrade your build server when you upgrade your TFS server.
    2. For an VS2005 client to start a build on an Orcas server, the build definition needs to be stored at $//TeamBuildTypes/. In Orcas, you have more flexibility as to where to put them.
    3. Changes made to properties in the .proj file that are in the database in Orcas will not be updated in the database and will no longer be in sync.
    4. VS2005 will be able to start a build, but it can’t queue a build, see the list of builds in the queue, see the list of build agents, etc.
    5. An Orcas client will not be able to create a new build definition on a TFS2005 server.
    6. When starting a build, an Orcas client will not be able to change any parameters in the dialog for a TFS2005 Server.”

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/bharry/archive/2007/08/08/final-tfs-2008-feature-list.aspx

Visual Studio "Orcas" 2008 Beta 2 is publicly available…

Hmmm… yummy.

“Orcas” represents a major evolution for Visual Studio and our suite of .NET languages. Who better to talk about what’s new in “Orcas” than our friends S. Somasegar (Everybody calls him Soma), VP of the Developer Division (the group that makes all of our development technologies), and Scott Guthrie, General Manager and one of Microsoft’s most prolific employees (now a senior manager, but he keeps his hands in the technologies he and team build and innovate).”

Get the video and all here.

Source 1: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vstudio/aa700831.aspx
Source 2: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=329443#329443

sitting on the Roundtable…

FeM is in need of a decent conferencing system for years now. And it seems that there’s something really cool showing up in the next days. As of now Microsoft is going to put it’s Roundtable on sale.

“Microsoft RoundTable is a very cool videoconferencing system featuring 360° panoramic views powered by its 5 built-in cameras.”

“The RoundTable actually installs two USB camera devices. The first is the Active Speaker which uses the RoundTable’s 6 microphones to locate where in the room the active speaker is and then focus one of the 5 cameras onto that person. I suspect it may actually use 2 cameras to focus on a person, since it always appears that the speaker is “centered” which probably would require at least 2 camera images and then the images are “spliced” together, processed, and then transmitted over the USB cable. The second USB camera device is the panoramic camera which combines the 5 camera images into a single panoramic image.”

Source: Roundtable Review

Student Technology Conference 2007

We spent the last two days in Duisburg attending the Student Technology Conference 2007.

“From Software Architecture, User Interface and Robotics to Games Development with the XNA framework: in use and brand new technologies of the IT – industry will be presented and demonstrated at technologically advanced level. Microsofts Student Technology Conference is the perfect opportunity to engage with potential employers and to get in touch with Microsofts .NET technology. Additionally the German Finals in Microsofts premiere technology competition, the Imagine Cup 2007, will have its final in the Software Design invitational right here!”


the keynote


view from our hotel room…nice, eh?

Source: http://www.studentconference.de

interested in next-gen coding for mobile devices?

For those of us who want to write software for phones/pdas there’s also something new available for download. The Windows Mobile 6 SDK!

“Using the Windows Mobile 6 SDK you can test your application using the emulators in the Windows Mobile 6 SDKs. The SDKs together with Visual Studio 2005 mean you have everything you need to build and test applications for both Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows Mobile 6. Read the “What’s New” guide to learn why your Windows Mobile 5.0 application should work on Windows Mobile 6, what to expect from new screen resolutions and why Windows Mobile 6 makes it easier to build and deploy Line of Business applications.

Don’t forget that around May 1st we’ll release the Windows Mobile 6 SDK Refresh featuring new documentation, the latest emulators, support for basic AJAX applications and links to Line of Business frameworks, samples and documentation.”

Source: Download

take a look at how far virtualisation will go on the next window server operating system

In this demo you will see:

  • Windows Server Virtualization running on Server Core managed from another Windows Server Longhorn box
  • 64-bit hosts and 32-bit hosts and a Linux running on the same server core box
  • An 8-core virtual machine
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Operations Manager
  • Monitoring the VMs on the Server Core box
  • Fire off a PowerShell script to hot-add another NIC to a SQL VHD Image

9.6 kbit/s video conferencing for Windows Mobile 5

“Microsoft Portrait is a research prototype for mobile video communication. It supports .NET Messenger Service, Session Initiation Protocol and Internet Locator Service on PCs, Pocket PCs, Handheld PCs and Smartphone. It runs on local area networks, dialup networks and even wireless networks with bandwidths as low as 9.6 kilobits/second. Microsoft Portrait delivers portrait-like video if users are in low bandwidths and displays full-color video if users are in broadband. In low bandwidths, portrait video possesses clearer shape, smoother motion, shorter latency and much cheaper computational cost than do conventional video technologies. Microsoft Portrait pursues providing presence notification, chat/voice/video functions anytime, anywhere, on any device.”

Source: http://research.microsoft.com/mcom/portrait/

next dotnetcommunity event is coming up [german]

Heute um 18 Uhr findet das zweite .NET Usergroup Treffen in Ilmenau (Campus, Haus F, Rechnerlabor) statt.

Agenda:

  1. Begrüßung, Neuigkeiten bzgl. der Usergroup (Nico Orschel, Microsoft Student Partner)
  2. .NET Compact Framework (Daniel Kirstenpfad, Microsoft Senior Student Partner)
  3. Mobiles Web mit ASP.NET 2.0 (Nico Orschel, Microsoft Student Partner)
  4. Networking und gemütlicher Ausklang des Treffens

Die Teilnahme am Treffen ist kostenlos, unverbindlich und nicht anmeldepflichtig.

Das ganze kann man auch nochmal auf www.dotnetcommunity.de nachlesen. Dort und hier wird es dann auch nach der Veranstaltung die Slides geben.

want to get Windows Vista + Office 2007 for free?

“You’ll have to sit through three Microsoft webcasts or virtual labs on the products, but that’s a small price to pay considering you’ll actually learn about the software features. There are some relatively minor restrictions, however this is an offer you just can’t refuse. These packages can cost you upwards of $300 or more out-of-pocket, so I’d consider this time well spent.”

Oh and there’s the downside: only for US residents… well…

Source 1: http://www.powertogether.com/
Source 2: jkontherun

currently uploading to MSDN AA servers of Ilmenau, Weimar, Erfurt

Since Windows Vista will be available on the 1st of December I am uploading the newly available 2007 Office Application Updates.

The following products will be available within the next hours/days on the maniac/MSDNAA download servers of TU-Ilmenau, Bauhaus Universität Weimar and Fachhochschule Erfurt. Enjoy!

Sharepoint Server 2007 eBook for free

“Ahead of the release of the 2007 Microsoft Office system, Microsoft Corporation has fre- quently referred to what it calls the “new world of work” – a business environment and econ- omy characterized by mobility; a worldwide network of customers, partners, and suppliers; new compliance and regulatory requirements; and a need for broad visibility into business processes and the information that supports and governs them. Together, factors such as these drive the need for organizations to integrate business applications, documents, and workflows and transform the content of documents into business information they can act on. These factors make plain the essential link between knowledge workers, business informa- tion, business processes, and software. This free 236-pages ebook focuses on a critical element of Office development – Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, plat- forms that developers can use to create collaboration applications as well as applications and features that support business intelligence, workflow, data calculation, team workspaces, document life cycle management, content management, knowledge discovery, and project management.”

Content:

  • Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
  • Building Solutions with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
  • Building a Basic SharePoint Site
  • Organizing Lists and Documents with Site Columns and Content Types
  • Working with Features in Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services
  • Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services Core Developement
  • Creating Worklfows …

Source: eBook Download

Vista hits 30 November

“ActiveWin is reporting that Windows Vista launches on Nov. 30 along with Office 2007, confirming that Microsoft is going to hit their promised delivery of Vista in 2006.

That being said, the consumer versions of Vista are still planned for a January 2007 release, with ActiveWin saying it will likely be Jan. 30.”

Source: http://www.activewin.com/awin/default.asp