Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Some Cool New Things from Microsoft

I was fortunate to have been able to spend the past two evenings attending seminars put on by Microsoft here in Vancouver. Much of it was quite technical but here are two things that any computer user could benefit from and might not be aware of:

Internet Explorer 8
A new version of their browser is now available and it's absolutely terrific! You can download it for free here. For the time being my default browser will remain Firefox 3.0 but I use Internet Explorer a lot in my professional work so it's always nice to get Microsoft's latest & greatest! And if it proves to be as good as it seems, I may switch my default back to IE for the first time in about 3 years.

One of the biggest things in computing these days is the concept of "Cloud Computing". There are many definitions for this term but in general terms it means that your data is stored on one or more servers, somewhere on the globe, and instantly available to you from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection, be it wireless or wired. Also, with increasing regularity, many software applications will also similarly reside in the "cloud".

From the user's perspective this means that your data - your calendar info, your contacts, your photos, your music, your home movies, your documents, etc. - will be available anytime, anywhere, pretty much equally well from your desktop computer or your handheld mobile device.

From the software developer's perspective the biggest advantage is scalability. So if a developer creates a new social networking site that quickly becomes very popular, it's much easier to handle all the new users (ie. be scalable) than traditional approaches have permitted.

SkyDrive is one of the initial such offerings from Microsoft. In a nutshell, it provides you 25GB of space for free, which you can access from any device you have that has a browser.

One particularly nice feature of SkyDrive is its slideshow feature. Here it is, displaying two photos of mine. One really neat thing, which I've never seen before in any slideshow application is that it analyzes the colours of each photo and changes the background accordingly. Notice the difference in the two screenshots and then look at each photo to see why that background was chosen. Very, very cool!

1 comment:

Shippedout said...

Sorry Pelalusa

I went Mac and I will never go back :)