Got a Visual Studio 2008 “Thank You” Cube

Uncategorized December 30th, 2007

When I came to the office today I had a package waiting on my desk with its content marked as “crystal cube”.
I was surprised to open it and find a “Thank You” note and a crystal cube from the Visual Studio 2008 team for “lasting contribution you made to Microsoft Visual Studio”

I wonder what exactly did I do to deserve this “Ship-It” award…

Here are some pictures:


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Working on my Haduken Skills…

Gaming December 15th, 2007

Some games are timeless. Street Fighters is one of these games. I can probably dub it as my favorite game as a kid, spending hours at the arcade or on my friend’s Nintendo.

Capcom, unlike other companies who just loose customers by letting their games die , was aware of the game’s popularity and re-released it for Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE® Arcade platform adding HDTV graphics, achievement and more… Way to go Capcom!

In fact, since its initial release, the game has been one of the best selling games on the LIVE® Arcade:

Sunnyvale , California—Capcom® today announced that Street Fighter® II’ Hyper Fighting, the company’s first title for Xbox Live® Arcade, has seen a phenomenal record of downloads since its debut on August 2. Within the first 24 hours of its unveiling, Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting has become the fastest selling Xbox Live Arcade title to date with hundreds of matches being played every hour.

This proves the point I was trying to make in the post about LucasArts quests emulation for the iPhone. You don’t need top graphics and a Hollywood budget for a successful games. People can (and want) still enjoy the good old arcades and quests etc. and all companies need to do is to find the right channels that can make these games successful again.

Back to Street Fighters, I’ve been playing the game’s demo and being ass kicked by my Xbox opponent for the past hour or so. Its definitely more fun and challenging than playing it on my laptop using emulation but I’m finding the controls a little hard to get used to. Maybe I need to get a special fighting games arcade joystick for my Xbox…

I will definitely buy this game as soon as I get a decent internet connection that I can hook my Xbox to (which will probably only happen once I get back to Israel…)

I guess I need some practice and get back in shape…
I guess the game’s characters already did:

Hilarious… (you can find all parts here)

Sega also released its new Virtua Fighters 5 title for the Xbox. Oh I remember playing the first version of this on the arcades…
Have to get this one too…


Link Blogging Using Google Reader Just Got More Interesting…

Technology December 15th, 2007

googlereaderfriends I’ve mentioned before my Google Reader Links Blog.
I can easily share links from blogs I read on Google Reader instead of filling my blog with link posts.

Today, the Google Reader team added social networking features!
Here’s the help page describing how to use the feature:

So join up! My Google name is ekampf AT
Add me as a friend, particularly if you are also sharing items in Google Reader.
Still link blogging the old fashion way? Time for you to seriously consider switching to Google Reader too…

Too bad this doesn’t integrate with my Google Apps account which kind of makes me own a GMail account in addition to my Google Apps mail.

Update (via Scoble):

Apparently, the new Friends feature in Google Reader doesn’t handle duplicate posts.
Kinda make it useless doesn’t it? Oh well…

Anyway, I probably don’t have as many “Reader Friends” as Scoble has, and it doesn’t create more clatter than subscribing to my friends shared feeds – which I do anyway.
Therefore, my call remains the same: share good stuff and add me as your friend :-)

Update #2: Workaround for Google Reader’s Suckage

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Get a PC for the Holidays

Technology December 14th, 2007

I just like this cute new “Get a Mac” ad. In case you wonder, its done using stop motion animation by LAIKA/house


Sexy Enterprise Software?

SAP December 13th, 2007

Robert Scoble started a debate over the weekend when he wrote that enterprise software isn’t sexy.
I guess Scoble struck a nerve as his post caused a frenzy in the enterprise blogsphere, and on a Sunday…

Here are some of the comments:
Michael Krigsman, Nick Carr, Jason Wood, Dennis HewlettEd Hermann, George Ou, Ross Mayfield, Susan Scrupski,
Ian Joyce, Anshu Sharma, Craig Cmehil, Sadagopan, Vinnie MirchandaniStowe Boyd and Alan Patrick, and Thomas Otter. (see Techmeme for more)

I think the Damn proud to be “un-sexy” post by Vinnie Mirchandani exposes the root problem in SAP and in enterprise software in general:

..Yes, we will never have the glitz of  following a Facebook or Twitter or an iPhone, but the software and other technologies we cover cut checks, invoice customers, design products, manage supply chains, keep the wheels of commerce turning.

Aren’t you glad some of us find that sexy -)”

I have to side Thomas on this one. So what if enterprise software runs complex business processes and has to support standards, laws and regulations? Does it mean that the interface to these process has to be complex?

Why do I need a PhD in economics to be able to fill out an SAP expense request? Or a dedicated HR person that will file my vocation and attendance information into the ERP because its too complicated for the untrained to do so (and I’m a tech guy, imagine what its like in low-tech companies)? How can we let “enterprise” be an excuse for over complicating even these simplest processes?

Google is a great example for hiding complexity. I can’t even imagine the cloud computing hell, the algorithms and the army of computer science PhD that make Google work, and yet, all that complexity is hidden behind a simple text box where I just need to write my search term and get instant results. Simple, effective and usable by anyone without the need for special training.

Amazon too, have a simple, friendly interface tailored per customers needs. Behind this interface Amazon has to process and store a huge amount of data and manage complex business scenarios – supply chain management, invoicing, etc. – in a reliable and secure manner, etc.

Even look at personal banking applications like Mint and Leumi. They provide reliable banking expertise wether you’re a simple user, a day trader or a professional broker.

So what makes enterprise software different? If the above companies can make engaging and intuitive software while still enabling execution of complex business processes in a reliable and secure manner.
New business software disrupters, like, are taking advantage of the simplicity and ease of customization features we see in consumer applications.
Enterprise software makers like SAP, still stuck somewhere in the 80s computing age, need a serious change of mindset in order to be able to continue competing. The current way of doing things doesn’t lead to anywhere…

So, maybe Vinnie is proud to be “un-sexy” but I’m damn tired of getting the evil eye (at best) whenever I tell someone I work for SAP…

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Duet: An Enterprise S+S Offering From Microsoft And SAP

Duet, SAP December 12th, 2007

The Strategic Architect Forum (SAF) conference was hosted at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond over three days during November 2007. All the keynotes and informational sessions are available for download at the SAF recorded sessions site.

Be sure to check out the Duet: An Enterprise S+S Offering From Microsoft And SAP session”:

Duet: An Enterprise S+S Offering From Microsoft And SAP
Chris Keyser (Microsoft)
Burra Gopal (Microsoft)
Adi Kavaler (SAP)

[Video] . [Slides] . [Transcript]

Other topics include:

  • Changing the World with Software and Services
  • Project Astoria: Data Services for the Web
  • Anatomy of An S+S Application
  • Unified Communications: Breaking VoIP Barriers
  • Composite Application Architectures Using the 2007 Office System
  • A Data-driven Approach To Distributed, Concurrent Software
  • A Look Into Microsoft Research
  • Claims-Based Identity Layer For The “New Internet”
  • The Reality Of The Cloud And The Future Of The Datacenter
  • Mining Lightning For The Cloud
  • User Experience for Architects
  • Windows Live Platform: Making Better End User Experiences
  • Dynamic IT
  •’s Simple Storage Service, Elastic Compute Cloud, and Simple Queue Service
  • Lessons Learned from the Web’s Edge: MySpace
  • Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead People Who Deliver Technology
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    Is Microsoft an Imitator?

    Technology December 6th, 2007

    Well, Bill Gates doesn’t think so
    Fake Steve Ballmer has something to say about that too (you though only Steve deserves a fake?)

    What do you think?

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    Don’t Ask What Vista Can Do For You…

    Technology December 3rd, 2007

    CNet revealed that Windows XP SP3 has twice the performance of Windows Vista, even with its SP1 bits.
    Microsoft’s response:

    Microsoft admits that the launch has not gone as well as the company would have liked. “Frankly, the world wasn’t 100 percent ready for Windows Vista,” corporate vice president Mike Sievert said in a recent interview at Microsoft’s partner conference in Denver.

    It’s nice to know that its actually the world’s fault…

    Apple’s are obviously making fun of this in their new I’m a PC. I’m a Mac commercial (which I just saw on TV) entitled “Don’t give up on Vista” and changing Kenned’y “Don’t ask what your country can do for you…” to the hilarious “Don’t ask what vista can do for you. Ask what you can buy for Vista”.

    Will Microsoft PR strike back? So far, it doesn’t seem so…

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    My Takes From the Silverlight Firestarter Event

    Programming, WPF December 3rd, 2007

    • Silverlight is pretty cool for doing interactive web apps.
      • I think they concentrated on Video too much on version one and I would have wanted the features in Silverlight 2.0 (WPF controls etc.) in 1.0 and video added later on. Comm’on, how many of us really set on developing another YouTube clone?
      • Leverages developers .NET and WPF knowledge for web apps. This is what I like most about Microsoft’s offering they have one basic platform that requires one set of basic skills which can later be applied to multiple platforms and kinds of applications.
    • I hate the fact Silverlight 1.0 works with JavaScript codebehind.
    • I hate JavaScript…

    I think the most interesting session was Adam Kinney’s, who demonstrated the development process of his XBox Live! silverlight gadget. After getting some gamer tags from the audience and realizing that all would probably be offline as they’re in the event, one person had a “1 minute ago”… hmm…

    And for other notes, as in any Microsoft event they have giveaways:

    • I missed the Silverlight T-Shirts giveaway at the beginning of the event and when I came to the organizers later they sadly said that they  only have Small size shirts left. If you haven’t shopped for clothes in the US, size Small is pretty much like Large… and they usually don’t have Small… I was expecting an XXL size shirt and got a small which is just my size so I’m happy :)
    • Microsoft Research were giving out cool bags for filling a form. By the time I filled the form they were out of bags and I got a “Microsoft Research” rubber ball :\
    • I almost got a book at one of the lectures
    • As usual, I didn’t win anything at the raffles (I never get lucky in raffles)

    When I was leaving the Silverlight event there was some Zune marketing\analysts\team\?? meeting in the next room.
    Microsoft are planning a PR effort on Zune for Mother’s day and Christmas focusing on the wifi capabilities which are Zune’s differentiator.

    Not convinced. But to be fare, I don’t really like the new iPod video or the shuffle… Nothing like my good old iPod Shuffle.

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    Play LucasArts Adventures on Your iPhone

    Gaming November 30th, 2007

    MonkeyiPhoneFollowing a Nintendo DS port and various PDA ports, ScummVM now has an iPhone port too…

    While it was announced on the ScummVM website, its still not an official port and currently still in beta.
    Here’s what Gizmodo had to say about the interface:

    After trying it I can tell you that if there’s a platform designed to play these kind of games,it’s the iPhone. In fact, these are the only games that truly feel at home on the iPhone, thanks to its great touchscreen support, even better than Apple’s native software:

    ScummVM fully supports multi-touch to simulate the behavior of the mouse using gestures. With a single tap you left click, but for a right click you hold one finger and tap with another. To toggle click and drag, which is necessary in some games like Monkey Island 3, you “hold one finger on screen, swipe another up from bottom to top.” Then you can drag something, lift your finger to drop it and it will automatically switch back to normal. Quite ingenious and easy.

    Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert, who is an iPhone user, also seems to be pleased with this new iPhone emulation.

    And there’s clearly a market for such old games on new devices (iPhone, Nintendo DS, XBOX Arcade…) it really makes me wonder why the owner companies would let these games be pirated as abandonware rather than make use of them in the new gaming platforms we have today.

    While such games do not have the graphics and sound to compete with games like Halo 3 on today’s leading gaming platforms. They can still take advantage of the computing power mobile devices have these days which is probably stronger than the PCs these games used to run on.

    There’s a whole market of mobile casual games where such games can have success these days, if companies are not smart enough to commercialize on it, at least I’m hoping to see many more emulations like these supporting old games on new platforms.

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