Speaker #1 – Bill Hilf, General Manager Platform Strategy
The main topic here was that Microsoft is in the business of selling software, open source is a means to an end.
Speaker #2 – Kevin Schofield, General Manager Microsoft Research The most memorable topic here was a vision recognition program, that failed as soon as he changed the background. I thought this was funny because I had the exact same problem a few weeks ago which I solved by using a background subtraction and light normalization algorithm.
Speaker #3 – Mark Baciak, Architect
The topic here is very close to Josh's discussion at the Central Ohio .Net User group talk last month. WS* and talks to the enterprise.
It seems like the tried to speak to the 3 main demographics here at the conference. The first one, community leaders, the second, academia, the third, the enterprise customer.
Of the first demographic, the community, which I think I see myself as most closely aligned, I still see my main question being, what do you do for the small group with great ideas and no money… Of course Microsoft is in the business of making money so this is not their target market (students & hobbist) people that could use Microsoft products and services if they could afford them, but because they can't they go to the free alternative…
Of the second demographic academia I can not really relate, however as a robot guy I research I am doing the same stuff but again because of the dollar cost and similar community demographic I will again, choose to use the free stuff…
Of the final demographic, the enterprise, they are talking about SOA. I think the missing piece is data ownership… Who owns what data, and how can you let different people access the same data? So this is just as much a political discussion as it is a software discussion.
Speakers #4 & #5 – Dynamic Languages and the CLR, Jim Hugunin, Architect and John Lam, Program Manager
The GIST here was that using dynamic languages are a means to an end, though there was some cool talk about Iron Python and the Ruby CLR, it's really about how can they sell more copies of Windows Server. And although they (Microsoft) makes money on Visual Studio, that's not really the point, it's to sell more copies of Windows Server that applications built with Visual Studio will run on….
There was a little talk on IDEs and PHP, which I found ironic because it was those two things that made me use PHP and Eclipse vs. .NET and Visual Studio. I think for the group this is a rather agnostic perspective than anything else because PHP does fine on it's own, and there are IDEs, though limited at the moment that seem to work for most people…. In going back to my main point earlier it illustrates why I won't switch to pay for something that I already get for free… They might be better trying to get new adopters to these languages, than those who already have to do without and are doing fine.
At the end of the talk I downloaded EasyEclipse for LAMP, it has Perl, Ruby, and Python included with it's distro because I want to play with Ruby and Python this quarter…
Speaker #7 – Kim Cameron, Architect
This talk was on CardSpace, a better version of Passport. I am not to into this talk though I think that at some point in the future it will become quite important. I think what's the most important is just to understand what the rules are and what you are getting yourself into. I wonder if it would just as cool to have your bank or CC company give you a false identity, then if it was stolen all that was stolen was something not real.
Speakers #8 & #9 – Don Box, Chris Anderson, Architects
The main topic here was: "How do we suck?"
The only topic that really made me pay attention was the conversation of the last 15 minutes when there was some contention in the room about Microsoft's drive to KILL GOOGLE. Later at dinner I found this more relevant in that it's really that Microsoft is looking to expand their business model from just software to more of a media and data business which is the real focus of Google. I found this acknowledgment curious, the acknowledgment that in the future Operating Systems and Office products will be commoditized and not really matter. It will be the applications running on top of OS whatever and the data and utilization of this data, eyeballs to sites and media, where you can get advertising revenue…
Dinner was nice. We had nice food and nice wine at "08/Seafood & Twisted Cork". I recommend this place to anyone traveling to Seattle, but I can't really speak of how much it cost because Microsoft paid for the event.