# Friday, 04 January 2008

Everyone sends me Facebook requests. I don’t reply since I am not a member of Facebook. I am not a member of Facebook because my sixdegrees, Friendster, MySpace, Plaxo, LinkedIn and countless other memberships have went nowhere. Just because Facebook has a few added bells and whistles, why should I join?

Let’s say that Richard Campbell wears me down (who sends me more requests to join Facebook then my 17 year old god-daughter) and I join Facebook. If I joined I would want to be cool and have 300 “friends” or whatever they call them over there on the first day. It would be cool if I can press a button and my LinkedIn contacts would be imported automatically, or from Plaxo, etc.

Well uber blogger Robert Scoble was trying to do something like that. He was running an alpha feature of Plaxo Plus that went up against Facebook to scrape your contacts. Facebook banned him. Scoble authorized Plaxo to log into Facebook and get his data. It is HIS DATA, yet he got banned for trying to access it via Plaxo. Facebook does not own the data, Robert Scoble does.

This is not the way to start the new year, closing your site to your own users who just want to export their data. Facebook’s api should allow this (it does not allow the export of an email address.) Scoble has since had his account reinstated, but not before comparing himself to Gandhi (please!).

I am sick and tired of not having profile and data portability on the internet. Google has supported the OpenID but that just gets you in the door, what about bringing my data with me or interoperability between different sites. If Richard Campbell is a member of Plaxo and LinkedIn and is my business “pulse“ on Plaxo, he should automatically be my “contact” on LinkedIn if we both agree in a semi-automated way.

So, Facebook should open up! Allow the masses to have data portability. Earlier today Chris Saad from the DataPortability Work Group issued an open invitation to Facebook to join with them in working towards data interoperability. (Note to Facebook: Yahoo, Myspace,  and several others are already onboard. )

Data portability will force the social networking sites to differentiate themselves based on features and functionality. It will make the web lots of fun, creating a platform for apps. Facebook can compete not on the data it holds but on its API and how many developers it attracts to create third party apps on the Facebook platform. I have always said that Web 2.0 is web sites as a platform (Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook’s APIs) much like MS DOS was a platform. Web 2.5 is the platform with open data portability standards and single sign-on.

Time to free up the data on the internet. It is yours to begin with.

Bring on Web 2.5!

 

posted on Friday, 04 January 2008 18:22:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Wednesday, 02 January 2008

At the start of a new year we have an opportunity to be reflective and think about the experience of the past year and how we can spot trends and apply any lessons learned in the new year. At the start of 2008 I am equally reflective on the past year and what it has taught me. A lot has happened in the last year: I completed 75% of my MBA degree, I sold my company Corzen and find myself mired in a new startup, I traveled so much that the government had to give me a new passport, and I attended many weddings and unfortunately a few funerals of friends and loved ones.

While a lot has went on, I find myself looking at the impact of technology on my life and the world in general. In a year where blogs have helped shape the presidential debates and VOIP has made communication so much easier, the world has gotten smaller. Microsoft released new versions of Windows, Office and Visual Studio, and as usual I got to travel the world to explain it to developers. In the past year I got the pleasure to visit many countries and several parts of the United States.  As I visit these places, I develop close friendships. I seem to attend more weddings overseas then at home!

Because of technology, the world is smaller. You realize just how small the world is when major news becomes personal. For example minutes after Benazir Bhutto was killed, I received several text messages and emails from my friends and colleagues in Pakistan. A bomb goes off in Hyderabad, India, and Kim Tripp texts me that she is ok since she knows I know she is there.

Why I Love Technology

My career in technology is completely accidentals. I was studying for a PhD in History when I went to Wall Street after I graduated University to earn some money before I went to graduate school. I was in my managers office and he just wrote 20 reviews in a MS Word template and kept hitting “Save” not “Save As..” He asked me to retrieve the documents (but asked me not to read them since they were my and my colleagues annual reviews and bonus. I told him it was impossible since he overwrote them all. He told me to go report to the IT department the next day for a new (and better) job.  My knowledge of Save As in DOOM games got me my first technology job!

I love technology because technology is a great disruptive force. It levels the playing field. It creates new business models. It breaks up monopolies.  It makes the world smaller. Think of life 20 years ago in the United States. A political leader in another country is killed. What do you do? Turn on TV and get the “official” version of the story at 6pm or 11pm. In 2008 we get instant stories from local sources with videos of the event almost immediately on blogs from folks on the scene. We also have CNN and other networks. What if you want to call your loved ones overseas to see if they are ok? AT&T will charge you $3.55 a minute to connect to Pakistan. In 2008, there is no more AT&T as we knew them and it is free on Skype, or just $0.02 cents a minute on VOIP.

Take the music industry.  In the past you had to deal with the big, evil, monopoly RIAA. In 2008, artists are promoting their own music on MySpace and their own web sites and MP3 files are available for  $0.99 on iTunes or free if you are willing to break the law, but I still download free music to protest the RIAA. But now Radiohead broke the mold and bypassed the RIAA and record labels and posted their new album on the web and said that you can name your own price to download. How is that for a “strategic inflection point” for an industry?

The list goes on and on. Just try looking for a job today, who uses the newspaper anymore? Or the Yellow Pages? Technology creates a new opportunity for us all.

Do you believe that software can change the world?

I had the pleasure to work on a project in a small way that can greatly help society. Microsoft sponsored a project to be built by InterKnowlogy for The Scripps Research Institute. The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, is one of the largest private, nonprofit biomedical research organizations in the US and a world leader in the structure of biological molecules.  Scientists at Scripps Research wanted a better way to organize biological research information and share it with their colleagues.  InterKnowlogy developed an application built on .NET 3.0 with WPF, and Windows Vista giving scientists a powerful tool to visualize and annotate research results.  This application allowed for faster scientific collaboration, easier access to data and a dynamic development process.  (You can read the full case study on Microsoft.com.)

I came across this application about 18 months ago. It used technology to break down barriers in Cancer research. In the past if a doctor was looking at a sample, they would annotate it and then mail it to other doctors who would look at it and mail it to more doctors. This is called “peer review” and is very important, but it takes a ton of time. InterKnowlogy built an app that used SharePoint, Office 2007 and WPF to make this collaboration instant and permanent. The application is speeding up the peer review and collaboration to levels not imagined just a few years ago. It was so impactful that Tim, the owner of InterKnowlogy got to help Steve Ballmer in New York with the Vista launch. I was invited to hang with the big boys since Tim, via technology, is a good friend of mine.

I then suggested to someone at Microsoft that they should help pay for phase II of the application. They liked it so much that they “hired” me (for free!) to recruit a virtual team of four developers overseas to help Tim with Phase II. I put out a call for developers on my blog, nothing else. I got hundreds of responses. Ultimately I referred four developers, one each from: Egypt, Mexico, Poland, and India. Microsoft paid their salaries and Tim gave them tasks to do. They worked on it for six months and came up with an amazing application. We went on .NET Rocks this summer to talk about it.

Later this year I met the Polish developer in Bulgaria at a conference. Tim hired him and now he is working full time at InterKnowlogy. When he met me he told me point blank that I changed his life. I was moved by that and realized the power of technology. Not only did we work together to cure cancer by empowering doctors and researchers, we were helping people in other countries get new jobs that make a difference and more money, all from home.

How Technology Will Change the Future

This is the tip of the iceberg. This is what little old me could accomplish in 2007; I was able to put together a team of developers from three continents and really help cure cancer (the doctor from Scripps will probably get the Nobel Prize) without leaving my house. What can you do?

posted on Wednesday, 02 January 2008 18:44:35 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Monday, 17 December 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007
An Introduction to Scrum

Subject:  You must register at https://www.clicktoattend.com/invitation.aspx?code=122285 in order to be admitted to the building and attend.

One of the most popular Agile project management and development methods, Scrum is starting to be adopted at major corporations and on very large projects. After an introduction to the basics of Scrum like: the Scrum Master, team, product owner, and burn down, and of course the daily Scrum, Stephen shows many real world applications of the methodology drawn from his own experience as a Scrum Master. Negotiating with the business, estimation, and team dynamics are all discussed as well as how to use Scrum in small organizations, large enterprise environments, and consulting environments. Stephen will also discuss using Scrum with virtual teams and even an offshoring environment. The session will finish with a large Q&A on best practices.

Speaker:  Stephen Forte, Corzen, Inc.

Stephen Forte is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and co-founder of Corzen, Inc, a Manhattan (USA) based provider of online market research data for Wall Street Firms. Corzen was recently acquired by Wanted Technologies (TXV: WAN). Stephen is also the Microsoft Regional Director for the NY Metro region and speaks regularly at industry conferences around the world. He has written several books on database development including co-authoring Programming SQL Server 2005 (MS Press). Prior to Corzen, Stephen served as the CTO of Zagat Survey in New York City and also was co-founder and CTO of the New York based software consulting firm The Aurora Development Group.

Date:  Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time:  Reception 6:00 PM , Program 6:15 PM

Location:   Microsoft , 1290 Avenue of the Americas (the AXA building - bet. 51st/52nd Sts.) , 6th floor
Directions: B/D/F/V to 47th-50th Sts./Rockefeller Ctr
1 to 50th St./Bway
N/R/W to 49th St./7th Ave.

posted on Monday, 17 December 2007 09:53:45 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 05 December 2007

I have spoken at many user groups over the last 12 years. The last time I was the speaker at the first meeting of a user group was when I founded the predecessor to the NYC .NET User Group, the NYC Access & VB Users Group in April 1995.

I am honored to be speaking at the first ever .Network.org user group in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday December 11th.

 

posted on Wednesday, 05 December 2007 22:45:26 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 11 November 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007
Silverlight 101: What, Where and How

Subject:  You must register at http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=120984 in order to be admitted to the building and attend.

This session will include an overview of Silverlight – What is it? Where did it come from? and how do I develop for it. Topics will include the current state of Web Development (customer expectations, developer view, designer view), Coding with Silverlight (XAML, C#, JavaScript), Silverlight Development Tools (Expression Product Suites/Visual Studio) as well as some live demos/ and hands on coding. Both versions of Silverlight(1.0 & 1.1) will be covered.

Speaker:  David Isbitski, Industry Platform Team, Microsoft

David is a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft working on the Industry Platform Team covering both Financial Services and Health/Life Sciences Industries. He has over 12 years total IT experience and has been creating enterprise solutions with Microsoft Products since Visual Basic 5. He enjoys talking about technology and has taught full day courses on various Microsoft topics as well as being a presenter at numerous Microsoft Events including MSDN RoadShows, Code Camps and Remix.

Date:  Thursday, November 15, 2007

Time:  Reception 6:00 PM , Program 6:15 PM

Location:   Microsoft , 1290 Avenue of the Americas (the AXA building - bet. 51st/52nd Sts.) , 6th floor
Directions: B/D/F/V to 47th-50th Sts./Rockefeller Ctr
1 to 50th St./Bway
N/R/W to 49th St./7th Ave.

 

posted on Sunday, 11 November 2007 08:32:47 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 31 October 2007

I am speaking next week at TechEd in Barcelona, Spain.

DAT302 Database Design Patterns: Architecting the Right Data Model for the Right Application
Mon, Nov 5 17:45 - 19:00 Tent 1


Architecting an application starts with the database. Different applications need different data models. Fifth normal form is great for an OLTP database, but reporting databases need more of a flat denormalized structure and different Web sites need several different types of data models: eCommerce sites need different data models than traditional publishing sites. You need to optimize your data model for your application's performance needs. Concurrent users, data load, transactions per minute, report rendering, and query seek time all determine the type of data model you will need. See how different applications and different parts of an application can use different data models and how you can architect your database to fit into your application's needs and not the other way around.

DAT315 T-SQL Querying: Tips and Techniques
Tue, Nov 6 17:00 - 18:15 Room 117

Take your queries to the next level! This highly technical, yet entertaining session focuses solely on advanced querying techniques to get the most out of your SQL Server 2005 database. See a series of real-world examples to extract data from your databases in ways you've never seen before. Techniques demonstrated include an ultra-fast way to do crosstab queries in SQL Server, running totals and ranking. Along the way you'll get some insight into how SQL Server works and we’ll preview some of the new capabilities in SQL Server 2008 (“Katmai”).

WEB02-IS Top Ten ASP.NET Scaling Tips
Wed, Nov 7 15:45 - 17:00 Room 112

This interactive session pulls together the best methods for improving the scalability of your ASP.NET Web site. See a variety of techniques, including caching, pooling, paging and asynchronous processing. But more importantly, learn a method for ranking each of the techniques according to the benefit to your Web site. By comparing the potential benefit of a technique with its cost to implement, this interactive session will give you a plan for what to do next to most improve your site’s performance.

posted on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 13:10:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 22 October 2007

Topic: Database Design Patterns: Architecting the Right Data Model for the Right Application

Architecting an application starts with the database. Different applications need different data models. Fifth normal form is great for an OLTP database, but reporting databases need more of a flat denormalized structure and different Web sites need several different types of data models: eCommerce sites need different data models than traditional publishing sites. You need to optimize your data model for your application's performance needs. Concurrent users, data load, transactions per minute, report rendering, and query seek time all determine the type of data model you will need. See how different applications and different parts of an application can use different data models and how you can architect your database to fit into your application's needs—not the other way around.  The presentation will include 5 demos that cover:

1.      A Slowly Changing Dimension

2.      Fact Tables

3.      Horizontal Partitioning

4.      Table and Index Partitioning

5.      Vertical Partitioning

To find out how to design the right database structure for the right situation come to the meeting.

Presenter: Stephen Forte.

Stephen is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and co-founder of Corzen, Inc, a Manhattan (USA) based provider of online market research data for Wall Street Firms. Corzen was recently acquired by Wanted Technologies (TXV: WAN).  Stephen is also the Microsoft Regional Director for the NY Metro region and speaks regularly at industry conferences around the world. He has written several books on database development including Programming SQL Server 2005 (MS Press) and is working on Programming SQL Server 2008 (MS Press).  Prior to Corzen, Stephen served as the CTO of Zagat Survey in New York City and also was co-founder and CTO of the New York based software consulting firm The Aurora Development Group. He currently is the co-moderator and founder of the NYC .NET Developer User Group. Stephen is also an MBA candidate (June 2008) at the City University of New York (Baruch College).  

Location: The meeting will be held at Microsoft, 1290 Avenue of the Americas on the 6th floor starting at 6PM. You must RSVP to wzack at microsoft.com in order to be admitted to the meeting and so that we will know how much pizza and soda to order. J 

Sponsor: Our sponsor for the meeting will be Sogeti USA. If you know of any other companies who would like to sponsor a meeting in the future please let us know.

posted on Monday, 22 October 2007 20:12:09 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 14 October 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Using Blend and Visual Studio 2005 to Build Distributed WPF Applications



Subject:  This session will provide an overview of the .NET 3.0 framework with special focus paid to Windows Presentation Foundation. The demos will show the new IDE, user controls, and data binding with tiered architecture to demonstrate WPF as a rich user interface technology for developers using Visual Studio or Blend.

Speaker:  Asli Bilgin, Microsoft Platform Strategy team

Asli Bilgin is an industry recognized speaker on the latest advancements with Microsoft technologies. She currently serves on Microsoft’s Platform Strategy team for Financial Services. In this role, she advises the leading banking and capital market companies on the best practices for technology strategies. Asli is a well-respected speaker at international technology conferences, and serves as a contributing editor to various technical publications. She recently worked with CNET to host the video series: “At The Whiteboard” – an overview into Microsoft’s latest developer tools including Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team System, and Internet Information Server 7.0. She’s also created and hosted DVD box sets for training series sets covering Visual Studio and ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX with Total Training. Her book “Mastering Database Programming With Visual Basic.NET," (Sybex) has been translated into six languages and serves as the curriculum for college and post-graduate institutions in the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, and India.

Date:  Thursday, October 18, 2007

Time:  Reception 6:15 PM , Program 6:30 PM

Location:   Microsoft , 1290 Avenue of the Americas (the AXA building - bet. 51st/52nd Sts.) , 6th floor
Directions: B/D/F/V to 47th-50th Sts./Rockefeller Ctr
1 to 50th St./Bway
N/R/W to 49th St./7th Ave.

posted on Sunday, 14 October 2007 21:36:20 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback