Who Wakes Up and Notices the Technology Quakes?

by Todd Ogasawara

todd-oldstuff.jpg
A powerful 6.8 earthquake struck near Hachinohe, Japan earlier this week (USA Today: Earthquake hits Japan, more than 100 injured). My wife and daughter happened to be about 200 miles south-southwest of the quake when it struck shortly after midnight (my daughter is participating in a sporting event there). Everyone there is safe, btw. But, a curious thing was noted when everyone gathered in the morning: All the parents accompanying their children felt the tremors and woke up. None of the kinds (between 6 and 13) noticed the tremors and slept through the night.

Bryan Kirschner (Director of Open Source Strategy at Microsoft) in his blog item titled...

Participating Actively

...responds to Infoworld's Rodrigues & Urlocker commentary...

Microsoft at OSCON

...who wrote: Brian Kirschner pointed out that Microsoft has 400 open source projects. Most people would struggle to name even a handful. (Ok, at MySQL we use WiX, the Windows Intaller (sic), so I know about that one, and also IronPython sounds cool.) Kirschner, Sam Ramji and others are helping Microsoft develop a better understanding of open source, but Microsoft still has a long way to go towards putting it into action..

I think Rodrigues & Urlocker make a good point. And, while I can't name many of the 400 Microsoft open sourced projects either, I can think of two that could make a huge difference: IronPython and IronRuby. Back in the old days, PC-DOS (IBM) and MS-DOS (everyone else) came with BASIC or GW-BASIC and a couple of sample apps. I'd bet a lot of people started programming with one of these versions of Microsoft's BASIC interpreter and made their early computing days more productive by writing little apps to get a few things done. That is one of the aspects of computing that has nearly disappeared because Microsoft Windows doesn't ship with a simple programming environment anymore. Mac OS X, on the other hand, not only ships with a bunch of Open Source development tools like Ruby, but also provides their XCode and Automator to let anyone develop anything from little toy utilities to full blown applications. Microsoft has both PowerShell and Visual Studio Express Editions available as free downloads. But, PowerShell is mostly aimed at system administrators while Visual Studio Express Editions are a bit heavy for even casual programming.

I think Microsoft should include IronPython, IronRuby, and some lightweight (but relatively powerful) editor like Notepad++ in every copy of Windows 7 when it is released. It would not only provide a strong message of Microsoft's support of interoperating with Open Source products (in this case, their own), but might restart the casual programming movement that fired up the computing revolution.

I've been cleaning up and re-organizing my home office this week and found all kinds of stuff that didn't survive into the 21st century for one reason or other. In the photo above, you can see an OS/2 binder, a 5.25" floppy, a digital tape labeled 350 but was actually a 170MB (not GB) tape that might get near 350MB with compression, a 56Kbps PC Card modem, a font cartridge for the HP Deskjet, and one of the manuals from Paradox for Windows. In many cases, it appears to me (as an outsider) that many of the entities behind these products simply didn't notice the various technology quakes shaking the industry and became irrelevant. It should be interesting to see which of today's products and technologies are irrelevant in 2018.

Now, back to cleaning up my home office. Any suggestions what I should do with a couple of hundred CDs from beta tests and ancient MSDN subscriptions? Some sort of giant artwork? :-)

1 Comments

Jenna
2008-08-01 04:30:33
"Everyone there is safe" nice to hear and god thx that noone of your family was injured.


your picture makes me smile it remembered me at the "old times" i also have some really old stuff (msdos, ibm,...). if you don´t touch it the last month (or years) i would simply put it in the trash can (thats i do with everything which i don´t touch after month). you will never need it anymore. i wish you success with cleaning up your office and i hope u dont have to "deep dive" ;o)
Jenna - MyHP: Tanzen - mostly "trash free" :o)