David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small.  

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  • I've been called something's before, but this is the 1st time I've been call the "The British Scoble(iser)"

    I was at a Citrix event last week. It was a good event with my role explaining to people that "no", Microsoft and Citrix don't hate each other and in fact our technologies are very, very complementary. I'll post on the Microsoft, Citrix, Virtualisation (Terminal Services, Application, Desktop and Server) later, but part way through I got talking to Jon Silk from Lewis and we discovered that we both blogged to communicate with the world and have a conversation. I happened to mention the fact that I had 1.5M page hits last month and about 65,000 unique people (excluding search engines) visit the blog every month and look what he wrote... The British Scoble(iser) I met David Overton, ISV Partner Account Manager at Microsoft, at a conference today. We nervously circled each other over the bad coffee making polite comments. Then he let slip that his blog gets 65,000 unique visitors a month and I realised I was talking to the UK's answer to you-know-who . Check out his approach to blog design....
  • BBC NEWS - Machines 'to match man by 2029' says Kurzweil

    I've mentioned it before - Dr Kurzweil is a very interesting man. Wikipedia describes him as: Raymond Kurzweil ( pronounced /kɚzwaɪl/) (born February 12 , 1948 ) is an inventor and futurist. He has been a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis , speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments . He is the author of several books on health , artificial intelligence , transhumanism , technological singularity , and futurism . The BBC has picked up on an interesting article about the future and the challenges facing humanity for which Ray contributed. Machines 'to match man by 2029' By Helen Briggs Science reporter, BBC News, Boston Tiny machines could roam the body curing diseases Machines will achieve human-level artificial intelligence by 2029, a leading US inventor has predicted. Humanity is on the brink of advances that will see tiny robots implanted in people's brains to make them more intelligent, said Ray Kurzweil. The engineer...
  • Intel chip pass two billion transistors milestone - Tukwila!

    I saw this and thought it was worth sharing - now that performance includes scaling "on chip", this 4 core chip is the next step. This chip is for servers, so I don't expect to see it on my desktop any time soon! Chips pass two billion milestone By Jonathan Fildes Science and technology reporter, BBC News The chip has four separate cores The first chip to pack more than two billion transistors has been launched by silicon giant Intel. The quad-core chip, known as Tukwila, is designed for high-end servers rather than personal computers. It operates at speeds of up to 2GHz, the equivalent of a standard PC chip. It marks the latest milestone in chip technology; Intel released the first processor to contain more than one billion transistors in 2006. "It's not revolutionary, it's another evolutionary step," said Malcolm Penn, an analyst at Future Horizons, of Tukwila. Lots more at BBC NEWS | Technology | Chips pass two billion milestone ttfn David Technorati Tags: Intel , Multi-core...
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  • Nano-tech to use old mechanical designs to implement technology rather than simply copying silicon

    One of my University lecturers help at the London Science Museum to build the Babbage difference engine around twenty years ago. Engines like this which is very mechanical based are obviously simple ways to implement functions of modern cpus in nano technology. It was a a nice surprise to see the article " Antique engines inspire nano chip " where we see that this is progressing. “The blueprint for a tiny, ultra-robust mechanical computer has been outlined by US researchers. ”What we are proposing is a new type of computing architecture that is only based on nano-mechanical elements,” said Professor Robert Blick of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the authors of the journal paper. “We are not going to compete with high-speed silicon, but where we are competitive is for all of those mundane applications where you need microprocessors which can be slow and cheap as well.” ttfn David Technorati Tags: Nano Technology , Babbage , Difference Engine
  • Star Wars art work from Celebration Europe

    While I was at Star Wars Celebration Europe I managed to spend quite a bit of my unearned bonus on bits of "art". Some I will put pride of place on my wall, others will go in a tube because I don't have enough wall space. Here is what I bought (I just photographed them and then used a tool to remove the perspective from the photos, but don't expect print quality images): From Steven D Anderson the "Dark Avenger" poster, signed by him and one of 250 (11 / 250) and the little post card of the two ladies with blasters. Next up was Joe Corroney - I love his work especially since he also does some of the Star Wars comics. He has a web site http://JoeCorroney.com and his Star Wars blog can be found at http://blogs.starwars.com/joecorroney/70 . As you can see from the pictures on the left, I was lucky enough to not only get number 20 of 250 from his collection, but also the ORIGINAL PENCIL drawing that made this great poster. WOW, amazing and top. This is my best treasure from this event....
  • Star Wars Celebration Europe - How I got to re-shoot the Imperial storming of the Tantive IV and the final movie

    OK, so still need to do a all up post, but before I do, here is how I got to re-make the video. One item at the event was part of the set for the Tantive IV. The nice director and actors explained how shooting from different angles and by swapping bits out the set could be made to look even bigger etc. They then asked for 6 volunteers to be the "rebels" who die in this shoot. I was lucky enough to be picked, so off I went to wardrobe (yes, a proper costume maker, costumes and props). I quickly put on my rebel uniform with my 5 hapless colleagues and off we went to be briefed. We had to shoot 3 scenes and then these were to be edited into the original film, Scene 1- Running down the corridor toward the place we expect the imperials to board. while we are running, an explosion will rock us back (you have to act the explosion) and then on we go. Scene 2 - Run into position, line up your sites, then look above and back as you hear a noise and wonder what it is, then focus again on the big door. We had all...
  • Star Wars Celebration Europe Photos on the site

    Hi, this is a quick note to say that I could not help myself - I went (sorry, I took my 7 year old daughter) to Celebration Europe. If you don't like Star Wars, then it is best you probably look away now. I got my (or in some cases Molly's) photo taken with all the stars and characters I could find including Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) , Anthony Daniels (C3PO) , Kenny Baker (R2D2) , Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) , Ray Parkes (Darth Maul) , Matthew Woods (Voice of General Grievas) and some of the leading artists down Artists Alley (picture is of Molly with Bonnie Burton and Tom Hodges) who wrote the book How to Draw Star Wars. I will post a long blog on the 2 days on "how I got to star in Star Wars", all the art we bought and a full run-down of what we did, but before that I wanted to share with the Star Wars fans out there my pictures - they can be found by going to http://uksbsguy.com/photos/starwars . I have not photographed the artwork yet, but will be doing so, so expect that to go up as well...
  • Green phone charging from Orange - designed for Glastonbury, but still useful

    Since I have been posting a few things on being greener, this is something that can help charge your phone on a beech, in the garden on anywhere else. Orange goes green for festival phone-fueling “Orange today launched a prototype wind-powered charger capable of delivering a constant supply of green juice despite “the unpredictable English climate”. How? The turbine charges a battery, and it’s from that power pack that the phone’s own battery is charged. It is, of course, a variation of one on humanity’s oldest devices, the windmill, though this time kitted out in suitable, sponsor-friendly colour. The windmil weighs a mere 150g - let’s hope it’s capable of being anchored against strong gusts - and is compact enough to be tucked into a rucksack.” ttfn David Technorati Tags: Climate Change , phone charging
  • e-Paper update

    Again from the Trends Blog . Big, color e-paper E-paper Still Coming Soon: LG.Philips LCD Teases World With A4 Color Electronic Paper “This is their all-new, world-first A4 electronic paper, a 4,096-color flexible 14.1-inch page made using “metal foil and plastic substrates rather than glass.” They only use power when the image changes and since they are reflective like real paper, they can be seen perfectly from any angle. Even under direct sunlight.” Slightly-flexible displays LOLED: Sony Flexi-OLED Screen Is Trouble Waiting to Happen “Today Sony showed off some 2.5-inch OLED screens that are capable of being slightly bent. It is made out of a glass substrate and is only .3mm thick. Supposedly the display has been created for lightweight, bigger and “softer” electronics” Interactive paper Digital paper with interactivity and sound “By combining paper with printed graphic codes and electronically conductive ink that is engineered to be sensitive to pressure. When the paper buttons are touched, the sound is played...
  • Sometimes I wish my brain was just 10% as capable as this

    I got this mail the other night that directed me to this video - it is of a Savant and the process he goes through to prove that he can "see" pi to 20,000+ decimal places and do amazing number feats (anyone do 37^4 in their head?). He was also able to perform other memory feats by turning what he saw into numbers. Bored, late at night having wound myself up with some programming issues, I decided to go stumbling through the web. The very first site was this Youtube video of a guy with an extra-ordinary brain. I think it’s ½ hour long, might be more – I just watched it from start to finish – but it is REALLY worth watching. Incredible. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4913196365903075662 I don't normally spend more than 5 mins on a site like this, but ended up walking through this video constantly amazed at his skill. Upon further investigation it turns out that this man, Daniel Tammet, has a book and blog site - http://www.optimnem.co.uk/ - possibly worth getting! ttfn David Technorati Tags...
  • Fantastic looking MiniPC's from Engadget - SA800 is stacked and ready to roll

    As is always the case, saw this and thought I would pass it on. Oh modular box of silicon affection, how we love thee. The latest -- the SA800 -- from MiniPC (Japan) is a DIY house of fun packing up to a Core 2 Duo T7600, 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 memory, 2.5-inch 40GB SATA disk, and an Intel 945GT chipset. Want more disk, no problem, stack a 3.5-incher in an extra slab above. Better video with HDMI-out or optical drives? Yup, they've got a stackable component for that and more. Have it your way starting early July in Japan. MiniPC's SA800 is stacked and ready to roll Posted Jun 29th 2007 8:57AM by Thomas Ricker Filed under: Desktops MiniPC's SA800 is stacked and ready to roll - Engadget ttfn David Technorati Tags: MiniPC , SA800 , Stacked
  • You know I like sailing, one day I might even own a big boat, but I hope this does not happen to it - ever!

    This is 110% off topic - http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/general-yachting-discussion/7055-splash.html shows how NOT to launch a multi-million pound boat. ttfn David
  • WOW!!! Microsoft Surface has just made me say - "I have to have one" and so does everyone else in the family too. This is seriously cool (and not really much to do for most small businesses)

    [updated 1:05 with more information and moving silverlight code to a 2nd page] I'm a difficult person to impress - Silverlight is one technology that impresses me seriously as to the future direction of media and web applications. Now however we have a new platform that I really like the look of - Surface . Have a look at the web site - see the possibilities of this touch and object sensitive device. Put a camera on it and the pictures poor out of it. look at photos and movies on it. It is just a wow, how cool is that type of device. Maybe I should run some form of competition on the blog and see if anyone wants to win one when they ship!! For more information go to www.microsoft.com/surface/ with the "Executive Q&A: What the new surface computing category means for Microsoft and consumers" found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/may07/05-29Surface.mspx and the general PR at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2007/may07/05-29MSSurfacePR.mspx . Finally you can see more...
  • BBC News Online | Technology | Decoys fix quantum key swapping

    As some of you might know, my background was in Security for a while and I studied how Quantium keys and security could be used while at University (RHUL for those who want to look it up, although for me it used to be called Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London). Anyway, quantum keys and entanglement were the talk of the days and how bullet proof they were. Well now it appears that they might not be quite so amazing, or at least our ability to use them without leakage. Anyway, I saw this at the BBC technology site and it is nice to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel :-) Decoys fix quantum key swapping British scientists have found a way to fix a vulnerability in quantum cryptographic systems. If left unpatched, the flaw would make it possible to grab information about the keys used to scramble information without being detected. The flaw emerges because of the way that laser diodes emit the photons of light used to carry quantum key data. Using decoy photons, researchers...
  • HD Photo Plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® Software (Beta Release for Windows) - The future after JPEG?

    I'm not really much of a photographer myself - all my cameras are snappers and the pictures I take are just that - snaps. Now Jo in the Office is a Pro and has sold many of her photographs. Every so often I ask her about Office Collaboration, SharePoint, Content Management to understand what can be used in the small biz space and then spend time talking about which camera I should get :-) I heard recently about HD Photo which is "and format for end to end digital photographers" (Press release " Microsoft Announces HD Photo, a New Imaging File Format With Advanced "). It is worth noting that to speed release there is a HD Photo Plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® Software (Beta Release for Windows) too. If you've ever paid close attention to your photos you will know that a "lossy" format means that you loose some of the detail compared to the original, but get much smaller files. Now "HD Photo fully preserves the original image fidelity with high dynamic range while still allowing for significant improvement in compression...
  • Korea sees robotics as a key future area and is pumping in R&D to build on it, Robots learning to walk, Robots helping the elderly and finally the Microsoft

    I really like to see robotics coming ahead leaps and bounds and also a bit of Azimov fear and the requirements of "ethical roles and functions". I have a lego Mindstorm kit that Mel bought me a while back, but somehow I don't think this is quite where they are. Having said that, if you are into robotics, it might be worth you having a look at http://msdn.microsoft.com/robotics/ ttfn David Technorati tags: robotics Robotic ethics Robotic age poses ethical dilemma “The South Korean government has identified robotics as a key economic driver and is pumping millions of dollars into research. “The government plans to set ethical guidelines concerning the roles and functions of robots as robots are expected to develop strong intelligence in the near future,” the ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said.” Learning to walk Walking robot steps up the pace “A humanoid robot is teaching itself to walk and eventually run around a California research lab. Dexter took its first tentative steps only a few days after it...
  • I'm sorry - I am not perfect and nor is Microsoft. Sometimes it is our fault

    I can be abrasive sometimes and whether it "is my fault" or not, I don't always understand others' point of views. To this I would like to say "It is my fault". Now, if you have got up off the floor, let me give you a few examples. I say "contact our customer support" and you say "I don't have time". Before I rant - OK, I understand this, if you could share the bug at some time, we will try to fix it. We haven't been able to identify it yet, so need your help I say "There is no OEM media, get over it" and you say "I need OEM media to do my installs". OK, I can't fix this one. I do understand where you are coming from. If I were to share the fact that in the UK, which is a low piracy country, our tests so far have shown between 10-15% of all copies of Windows are pirated and many come from Action Packs and other OEM keys, does that help understand why this is such an issue? I do wish I could give you back OEM media, but I've been told it is just not possible. While Microsoft did publish the changes coming, I now...
  • Did you know how the world is changing - where the business is and what the future holds - have a look to find out

    I saw this posted internally http://www.scottmcleod.org/didyouknow.wmv and it reminded me of a talk Ray Kurzweil he once gave giving timelines for many things. It is worth having a poke around his site - http://www.kurzweilai.net/index.html?flash=1 and also at some of his predictions - http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/business/features/future_perfect/trans6.shtml . By 2009, we won't be carrying around notebook computers or even palmtops you won't see the computers. The visual display's will be written directly onto our retinas from eye glasses and contact lenses so we'll either see a virtual display hovering in air or, even more compellingly, the visual display can overtake our whole visual field of view and create, basically, visual virtual reality. ttfn David
  • Problems with Girlfriend 1.0 (&1.2), Fiancee 1.0 and Wife 1.0

    Again, this was sent to me by my good lady. This was sent to me by my wife as 2 of 2. The other one can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/01/16/problems-with-boyfriend-5-0-husband-1-0-and-nagging-5-3-humour.aspx Dear Technical Support, 18 months ago, I upgraded to Girlfriend 1.0 from DrinkingMates 4.2 , which I had used for years without any trouble. However, there are apparently conflicts between these two products and the only solution was to try and run Girlfriend 1.0 with the sound turned off. To make matters worse, Girlfriend 1.0 is incompatible with several other applications, such as LadsNightOut 3.1 , Football 4.5 , and Playboy 6.9 .Successive versions of GirlFriend proved no better. I tried a shareware program, Slapper 2.1 , but it had many bugs and left a virus in my system, forcing me to shut down completely for several weeks. Eventually, I tried to run GirlFriend 1.2 and Girlfriend 1.0 at the same time, only to discover that when these two systems detected each other they...
  • Problems with Boyfriend 5.0, Husband 1.0 and Nagging 5.3 (Humour)

    This was sent to me by my wife as 1 of 2. The other one can be found at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/01/17/problems-with-girlfriend-1-0-amp-1-2-fiancee-1-0-and-wife-1-0.aspx Dear Tech Support: Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in the overall performance, particularly in the Flower and jewellery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0. In addition, Husband 1.0 un-installed many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5 and then installed undesirable programs such as: Football 5.0 , Rugby 4.3 and Cricket 3.0 . Conversation 8.0 no longer runs; it simply crashes the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, to no avail. What can I do? Signed, Desperate ************************************************************* Dear Desperate: First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an Operating System. Try entering the command: C:/I-THOUGHT-YOU...
  • How the iPhone is changing the perception of Apple

    I think Apple can do some amazing things with hardware and making some categories exceptionally sexy (can you remember MP3 players before the iPod) is one of their core talents. This has led to a large following who "ooh" and "ahh" after almost anything Apple make from a keen almost religious following. I then saw the iPhone and was amazed by the number of people who said "wow, all that in one device - why hasn't anyone else thought of this" - I almost spilt my cornflakes - this is not a new. Then there was the "what a nice device" - I like to feel my buttons, so nope, this, along with a whole host of other phones like it is not for me. Is the styling great... well, each to their own. I think Vlad summarised it well with the iMeToo , but for some people, all the previous messaging about phones has not hit the mark and the iPhone might just be what some people need to move on their thinking as to what a device might do for them. Vijay links to seth's blog on this very subject at http://www.iqubed.biz/blog/?p=193...
  • Seasons Greetings (Happy Christmas in my house) and throw snowballs at the UK Partner team

    Updated with game URL This is a simple festive one. The UK Partner team have a simple set of questions, which if you get enough right answers (of course you will all get 5 out of 5) then you get to throw snowballs at them. Fancy playing the quiz and game yourself? While they are all heros for the work they have delivered this year, including content for the SBSC members, the person I would personally aim for is Karl (suited on the left). I've only had a chance to play once, and I scored 17. Let me know how you do in the comments!! Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year from everyone at Microsoft, and from me!! ttfn David
  • Steve Job's Bloopers

    This happens to everyone - I've certainly had my demos die - especially at SMBNation in Amsterdam, so ho hum. However, so many people enjoy seeing others in pain, I thought I would share :-) http://soapbox.msn.com/video.aspx?vid=ac651701-cd09-4021-9008-bbc5950107f1 ttfn David
  • The UsefulTechnology Blog : The Joys of International Working

    The video on this blog is just amazing - this can be what it is like here, but a bit of planning and you can easily delay things to get time.. of course that delay might hit a product ;-) Link to The UsefulTechnology Blog : The Joys of International Working
  • Vlad Mazek - explains why Work Life Balance is so important

    I came across this on Vlad's blog - I think Vlad finally has a handle on Work Life Balance - have a look at his blog to see the picture and realise what he is saying when getting ready to walk down the Aisle and someone wants him to do just one more thing ;-) Congrats to Vlad as he is now a married man!! Dear Vlad, I am really running on a tight deadline here and as much as I can appreciate that you’re out of town I REALLY need an ETA on <SBS Show, Shockey Monkey, Vladfire>… I am running out of time. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is your ETA. Provided in 4MP resolution just in case you can’t see my ETA guarantee: Source: Vlad Mazek - Vladville Blog » Blog Archive » Can I have an ETA?

(c)David Overton 2006-17