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It's been far too long since I've blogged and probably few people read this feed anymore.  Time to share some lessons learned and journeys taken!

 

First, I'm now officially a teacher... of sorts.  Last spring I recorded my first online training course, Windows Phone SDK Essential Training for the Lynda.com Online Training Library.

If you're new to Windows Phone, check it out.  It's a pragmatic step-by-step class in how to build 4 useful Windows Phone apps.

Today, I started recording my next course.  The topic is still under NDA but I can say that it will appeal to a much wider audience: everyone who creates digital assets.

I'm also in the progress of negotiating a contract to create another SDK-focused course for a different online library which I plan to complete in December... this year.

 

Since I left Microsoft, I've been building Macintosh desktop apps, created more iPhone/iPad apps, with the latest, NoteZtoSelf, just available in the App Store and more to come before the end of this year.

I've also created some cross-platform hybrid native/web apps for a big name in retailing (can't say who quite yet) and helped a cutting edge museum upgrade its video capture system (can you say Fun with DirectX Filter Graphs?)

Ok, time to get back to work as "teaching" an online course is a give-and-take between recording and tweaking content day-by-day and I've got to get ready for tomorrow's session!

In addition to the daily delight of driving our new consulting/mobile app venture, DreamTimeStudioZ, forward, I am exploring other software-related but not software-producing consulting opportunities.

To prepare for this new adventure, a full-on, comprehensive CV including every single project I've ever worked on was required.  After 40 years of projects it turned out to be a non-trivial effort and I'm happy to report that it's now done!

If you're interested in one person's wild journey from punched cards to iPads check it out here:  CV of Michael G. Lehman

Episode #1 of the OnPC (On-Person-Computer) Developer's Podcast is now live at http://onpcdev.com

If you develop for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry, webOS and more, it's what's hot, what's new and what's next in your world!

Follow on Twitter: @onpcdev

Enjoy!

Ok, want to follow on Twitter?  http://www.twitter.com/onpcdev

Want to comment about OnPC Development?  Use #onpc and/or #onpcdev hashtags.

 

As readers of this blog probably already know, I was one of the very, very early podcasters back in 2006.  I've been itching to get going on a new podcast and just found my inspiration!

I recently read an interesting article on CNNMoney.com entitled "The numbers don't lie: Mobile devices overtaking PCs". 

In one of the comments, Jeff Cuneo of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, said: "My OPC (On Person Computer) is an apple iPhone and regardless of brand--the proper use of an OPC I have found is in its infancy and not understood by 99% of users ...  An OPC is life altering--and pays for itself many times over in work and living situations..."

I agree with Jeff and, after a bit of research, coined the term "OnPC" to describe phones, tablets, and any other type of computer you can "carry in your pocket".  The acronym OPC is already in wide use describing industrial open-connectivity systems ( http://www.opcfoundation.org )

I'm starting a new podcast which will launch next week focusing on OnPC Development.  You'll be able to listen/subscribe at www.onpcdev.com.  Each show will run 5 to 10 minutes and there will be 3-5 shows per week with at least one featuring an interview.  The podcast will be technology agnostic and will cover, at minimum, the iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 platforms.  WebOS and MeeBo may come along later when/if they gain significant traction in the marketplace.

If you build tools for OnPC development, are an OnPC developer or offer services targeted at the OnPC developement community, let me know as I'd love setup an interview (done by phone or Skype).

See you on the interwebs shortly!

Gnomedex 10, the next, and perhaps final, annual gathering of the facinating and interesting, hosted by fellow ex-Iowan Chris Pirillo, starts tomorrow (August 19th) here in Seattle.

I'm looking forward to catching up with old friends and making new ones.  Drop me a line here or on Twitter (@Michael_Lehman) if you'd like to (re)connect.

I am very, very proud to say that my team at Microsoft shipped Feature Builder 1.0 - a Power Tool for Visual Studio 2010 which enables developers to create Visual Studio Extensions which incorporate templates, guidance and tools.

This "1.0" release is the work of 6 years of development and organizational journeys I began when I joined Microsoft back in 2004.  It's hard to imagine how complex an organization Microsoft really is, especially when you combine it with complex scenarios built on top of a 10+ year old product (Visual Studio) and it's myriad customer demands.

I hope you'll head over to http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/FeatureBuilder and check out the introductory demos and download the bits for a test drive.

It’s been nearly a year since I posted this: “Since February, I … have [started] spending my time working more closely with the Visual Studio team and am looking forward to seeing what comes from that collaboration.

Today, I am finally able to talk about what I’ve been doing since last February:  the Feature Builder Power Tool for Visual Studio 2010!

Feature Builder is a completely re-thought implementation of the automated guidance + tools + templates work I’ve been doing for nearly 6 years here at Microsoft.  Some of you may remember Project “Glidepath” and the two versions of Blueprints which were released between 2006 and 2009.  Feature Builder tops them all in terms of functionality, integration within Visual Studio and most importantly product group alignment.

Working directly with the Visual Studio Architecture Team (from whom this release originates), I’ve had the pleasure of participating in a serious effort to turn conceptual theory and 5 years of “incubation” within DPE into something very cool: product group power tool bits!

I’ll be posting hints-and-tips as well as keeping the Feature Builder FAQ post up-to-date during this preview period.

For an overview of the Feature Builder and step-by-step screencast how-to walkthroughs, head over to Channel9 where you’ll be able to find all things Feature Builder:  http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/FeatureBuilder

Note:  What we are releasing today is a “preview” which requires Visual Studio 2010 Release Candidate (RC) and the Visual Studio SDK for RC.  Bits compatible with VS2010 RTM will be available later.

If you are a startup I think you'd find www.onstartups.com very worth your time.

They have a post relating most startup plans to those of the South Park "Underpants Gnomes" who's business plan is:

  1. Steal Underpants
  2. ?
  3. Make Profit

Always a good idea to have a good #2 step in mind before you leap!

You can also follow them on twitter.

 

Just ran into BrowserMob a cloud-based load testing tool based on Firefox and Amazon EC2.

It allows you to throw hundreds or thousands of "virtual users" at your web site simultaneously.  Unlike most load testing tools however, it uses actual browsers (Firefox) to do the work which can give you a more realistic experience than simulation.

I'll be trying this on my next web app.

Joe Wilcox over at Microsoft Watch today wrote a piece entitled "Operating Systems Don't Matter".

As I wrote in the comments to that post, I was a partcipant in a concrete example of his thesis: Digital Research, Inc.

DRI wrote and distributed operating systems starting in 1977, beginning with CP/M and then MP/M, CP/M-86, MP/M-86, CP/M-68k and Concurrent CP/M-86.  I was the director of Research and Development at DRI from 1981-1984.

Each of these were state-of-the-art for the time and contained more functionality than the competition (PC-DOS/MS-DOS).  However, as Joe points out, end-users don't buy operating systems, they buy tools that help them have fun, do their job or save time (at best all three!).

Digital Research and Microsoft were of approximately equal size (~200 employees) in 1983 with Digital Research leading the way with a broad range of "ISVs" or independent software vendors.  We even held our own trade show CP/M-83 in January 1983.

Gary Kildall who founded DRI had a strong philosophical stance that would, eventually, be the downfall of DRI:  "We write operating systems and languages but we do not write applications.  We don't want to take market share from our ISVs". 

Microsoft, on the other hand, started writing applications shortly after PC-DOS was shipped and that made all the difference.  The pull through for MS-DOS, and eventually Windows, was driven, of course, by applications and Microsoft wasn't afraid to participate in the application side of the market.

That, in my humble opinion, made all the difference.  Digital Research never went public and by 1991 had been bought by Novell and eventually faded into computing history.  Microsoft went public, kept buidling applications and, to my continuing bemusement, I now work there (not building applications mind you but creating tools for those that do).

It was 30 years ago today that I started, in earnest, to build Pascal/MT [wikipedia link], the first source-code-to-binary Pascal compiler.  In those days one could either use UCSD Pascal (a P-code compiler/interpreter) or Pascal/Z which compiled to Z80 assembler code with then had to be run through the Zilog Z80 assembler.

Pascal/MT, which was written entirely in assembly language, also auto-linked the run-time so that the end result of a Pascal/MT compilation was a single running .COM (CP/M executable) file containing the application program compiled to native 8080 assembly language.

I sold the first copies in a ziploc bag with a "xeroxed" manual at Computerland of San Diego in July 1979.

Later that year we won a contract from Atari to build a Pascal compiler for the 6502 but retained the rights to re-target it to any other environment *except* the Apple-][.  We built Pascal/MT+ using Pascal/MT and in September of 1980, we shipped this compiler as Pascal/MT+ for CP/M.

In January of 1981 we won a contract, competing against Microsoft, for a version of Pascal for Intel's RMX-86 operating system and in October 1981, we sold the whole company (MT MicroSYSTEMS) to Digital Research (the makers of CP/M).

The nice folks at Seattle 2.0 webcast the Cloudcamp sessions.

It was a great day with brilliant people and awesome energy.

Recorded versions should be available soon.

Just signed up for Cloud Camp Seattle which is tomorrow Feb 28.

There are 34 free tickets left and it looks like it's going to be very interesting.

 

“CloudCamp is an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. With the rapid change occurring in the industry, we need a place we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged you to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.”

 

Tomorrow, I am going to start podcasting and blogging regularly again.

My day job (at Microsoft) has been consuming every spare cycle that I didn't need to eat and/or live but many things are converging which have inspired me to, once again, be attentive to (both personally and professionally) independent innovation and podcasting.

If you sell and/or give away your digital content and are interested in an interview, drop me a line using the email link.

Here's to a mighty fine 2009!