Fourteen years is forever…

You know a blog is pretty much dead when its author misses said blog’s fourteenth birthday by almost three weeks. Chortle! Oh well, happy birthday little website: you’ve done well!

Perspective on the loss of a Prince

Quite rightly, the world has gone nuts over the loss of Prince Nelson Rogers last week. Hell, I’m listening to some of his music right now, and I’ve had some insanely sad moments this weekend pondering his death, whilst also thinking about the other entertainers we’ve lost so far in 2016 (Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, David Bowie, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Daniels and many, many more).

But this stuff happens. We need a little perspective as people lament the passing of genius. No, we won’t see the like of Prince again, but that doesn’t mean that the world is a poorer place. Consider: we have a massive backlog of superb music, and we have myriad other artists past and present to listen to. It salts my spuds when I hear people wail about there being a lack of decent music nowadays. It’s the myopia of nostalgia: just look around. The media won’t deliver the good stuff to you on a plate, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there.

And if you won’t take my word for it, read a very splendid take on all of this from another musical giant, Steve Lawson:

There’s a shit ton of music out there, way more amazing music than you could ever imagine. So please stop trying to tell me that all the good stuff is dead. Try harder.

Read more: Steve Lawson, It’s 2016 And We’re Looking For Magic In All The Wrong Places.

Microsoft just got even more interesting

Over the past few years, I’ve had cause to tinker with Visual Studio and its stable-mates more and more. Quite a few corporates have laid their eggs in the Microsoft basket, and the tooling is better than ever. .NET, Entity Framework, Web API, MVC .NET… some Good Things have been happening, all spurred on by intitiatives like “coding-by-convention”, the rise of node.js with its simple approach to the server runtime.

I was mildly interested when Microsoft announced Visual Studio Code, and the ability to build stuff on OS X, but the really good stuff is happening now:

Microsoft Graph
This is billed as One endpoint to rule them all, and is all about providing a single API endpoint for access to everything in the Microsoft cloud: data, business intelligence, organisational relationships, files, email, and so forth. Very cool (read more Microsoft Graph website).
Cortana & machine learning
The Cortana Analytics Suite looks interesting: Microsoft’s answer to Siri has now morphed into Microsoft’s answer to Watson, with support for myriad languages inclyding R and Python. Read more: Microsoft machine learning.
Ubuntu userspace on Windows
This is rather cool. A joint project between Microsoft and Canonical unveiled its secrets at the Build developer conference a couple of weeks back. Imagine running a bash shell natively on Windows 10: that’s what is coming. A kind of “Wine in reverse”, whereby Ubuntu binaries are running directly in Windows thanks to a syscall translation layer called “Windows Subsystem for Linux.” If you’re a Windows 10 Insider, you can start with this now: Dustin Kirkland, HOWTO: Ubuntu on Windows.

All good stuff. However, if the last two weeks have taught me anything, getting into the Microsoft cloud (i.e. Azure) and developing stuff is a massive pain in the arse thanks to their byzantine web sites, myriad sign-up screens with lack of SSO and the ridiculously complex MSDN / Azure set-up that Microsoft have (it’s up there with IBM Partnerworld). Still a lot of work to do.


I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.