Thursday, November 08, 2007

Synch This With Gears

So, Microsoft has come out with a Community Technology Preview (CTP - just another fancy name for "beta") of it's new Synch Framework.

This ball of magic and wonder is supposed to allow developers to synchronize anything (contacts, drives, RSS feeds, relational databases, etc) to and between anything and over any protocol for online/offline goodness.

The framework contains a runtime and several pre-built "providers" that allow Windows developers to call Windows APIs to handle synch stuff. It's going to be built-in to Visual Studio 2008 which should go to the duplicators at the end of the month.

Where Google Gears is mainly targeted at developers who want to bring their online applications offline (with data) and then synch them up in the background, the Microsofties are billing the Synch Framework (really just an extension of ADO.Net) as an end-all-be-all answer to synch - covering multiple services and devices.

To be fair, I have not seen the Synch Framework personally. However, whenever I hear the word "runtime" in the same sentence as "Microsoft" - I begin to involuntarily shutter. I can just picture the 15,000 security alerts, patches, and other goodies just waiting to happen. Now picture when "services and devices" have the ability to synch anything to anything over any protocol... can you say Apocalypse?

Not that Gears is any less of a security nightmare waiting to happen, but at least with Gears you can screw yourself cross-platform!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Time Machine - OOPS!

Apple is getting a black eye over it's new Time Machine backup utility unveiled in it's new Leopard release. From the postings on the Apple Support site - the majority of users are wishing they had a time machine of their own - to go back to Panther!

Many are complaining that they are getting 90% done with the backup - only to hit the dreaded "An error occurred" dialog. Others are complaining that certain drives are not even being recognized at all by the Time Machine application.

Apple is pointing the finger at certain drive makers - saying that the user should just re-format the drive before trying to use Time Machine. Helpful.

The Mac fans are also really pissed off at LaCie - as they have been a prominent Mac drive maker for years - and users are having to re-format those drives as well. The other problem with various flavors of LaCie and other drives is that there are some Mac folks on the other end of them that don't really understand what they are doing - and some of them are losing their manually copied backups.

Isn't this the type of user that Time Machine was intended to "help?"

Either way, Apple has taken some of the shine off their terrific app by not making it really, really easy (and bulletproof) to connect and use it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Open (Anti) Social

Social Networking... yawn. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr,, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING and 100 more "networking" sites - *sigh*.

Now Google has plans to "open up" a new single API so that developers can create their own mashup applications built on a bunch of social networking platforms.

The new API thingie is called OpenSocial and Google is pretty excited about it: " The web is more interesting when you can build apps that easily interact with your friends and colleagues."


I always thought that's what IM, email, web forums, wikis, the telephone and (gasp!) Friday nights at the bar were for.

I mean, really! Here's yet ANOTHER way you can avoid face-to-face contact - and now it's even cross platform! Clearly this was invented by geeks for geeks. I mean with all the places (above) you can create "profiles" and link to other people and it's hard enough to update this blog - forget about constantly adding "friends" to link lists and tracking their RSS feeds. Unless you're a predator - who has the time to monitor all this virtual "interaction?"

I barely find the time to do my normal work, my take-home work, keep up with the kids' activities, say hi to the wife every now and then, and work on my "honey-do" list. Do most people really have that kind of time? If you are one of those people who love these social networking sites and keep up with multiple online profiles and subscribe to your friends Twitter RSS feeds - please let me know. I need to get a job like yours.
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