Minecraft + Frustration + GeekFame + NotFinsihingWhatYouStarted = Angry Squarhead.

I’m a massive fan lately of minecraft, it’s quite an addictive game (even has my 8yr son hooked on its crack). It’s a game made by a swede named “Notch” who basically by all accounts slapped the game together during some off time he had.

The game now has millions of subscribers all paying their once-off fee to buy and the part that really threw me for a loop was he made it in Java…. Oh Java, how I often reflect on your greatness (pre-Microsoft that was my drug of choice).

So what's the overall problem? Let me vent a little.


Apparently Notch is caught up in both his new found geek celeb status and attention is focused elsewhere on a game called Scrolls which is pretty much a hexagon magic battle game that reminds me of chess - Sorry I Snoozed off.

To be fair, he made his mark and he’s now off doing other things and has left Minecraft in the hands of some new found employees he’s made in the company whilst he continues to also hang in some influential circles mainly the valve software guys - (Hey I know Robin @ Valve to, I used to play TF/Quake in Oz with them, and I’d pop in for a visit or two at Valve when I was at Seattle..).

That did sound a bit venomous, I guess for me the reason I’m frustrated as this game has so much more potential ahead of it but poor Notch has suffered from the dreaded curse of “Shiny object syndrome meets geek celeb install” where the attention is spent on vNext not vNow? (he’s got a company to grow I guess, so it makes sense).

Problem is this game is unfinished and now when you look at the mod community around it you can’t but help stare at all the failings of the game – that are forgiven provided you embrace the mods that occur on servers that allow them.  This is why Quake failed in the end, they forgot the reason why people played the game, its why Teamfortress team couldn’t also go further given the license issues of Quake 2 Engine (which was geared towards charging the mod community for usage).

I also watch the various staffers of Mojang via twitter and I can’t but help roll my eyes at some of the stuff being said, Its mainly due to me thinking “oh dear, they’re still coming to grips with fame… this one’s going to take a while..

As someone who’s seen a few geeks turn into the geek-celeb status, I almost want to email them “this is what you’re going to experience, here are the things you need to avoid and you should never forget what got you in the door in the first place – minecraft”.

Today we stare at the game, waiting with drool hanging down from our lips at the slightest hint of an update, and I’m the first to line up for it as well.

Curse you Mojang for starting something that you clearly aren’t enthusiastic in finishing to which I would simply say this (since it appears he’s a massive fan of Valve/TF).

In the early days of Teamfortress, Robin and the guys made a mod of Quake, it took the game to new heights outside id Softwares initial imagination, to be blunt, TF made Quake fun. Robin, John and the others were able to ship and they had talent and fame to match. Its what created the fusion between them and Valve and they’ve both since changed the landscape of gaming industry today to which one would be proud to say “hey I know that guy”… but the point is, they stayed focused and they created and Robin is quite a shy guy in person, but has insights into how the industry and its people function – deep insights that make you walk away and shake your head “that bastard was so right..”

Notch the CEO should probably spend a few more sessions with Robin and the guys on how to finish a product like Minecraft, I think we the audience would gain a huge amount of entertainment and fun from such a fusion of talent.

I am frustrated minecrafter because I want more…. Its an awesome game and Notch despite this attention span failing, deserves the success and riches that come with them. Sadly, we want an encore and I don’t’ think Cobalt and Scrolls will give him the equal amount of attention (sure you’ll get fan spillage happening, but seriously..)

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The Likes & Dislikes of Microsoft in 2011

The calendar increments by 1 year now and as it does I think about the last year and ponder what I liked and disliked in my sandbox that I call the Microsoft ethos

Windows Phone 7

  • I liked Nokias approach to branding the product; they really took what they saw and made it the focal point of what the experience for consumers should be. That is, they did what I asked at the start of the year; make the metro design your familiar face in the crowd.

  • I liked the WP7 Design contest; I rarely ever give an endorsement to contests as they are a desperate response to bad marketing, in this case though the designs that came back were actually tidy and immediately wanted you to explore the apps. Now to see if they make it into the appstore.

  • I disliked WP7 marketing from Microsoft, it was chaotic, it lacked depth and $500million in marketing spent later, I still can’t put my finger on one message that you could hang your hat on. Compare Apple iPhone / Android marketing to Wp7 and it baffles me as to what is going on in that team – I think they just carpet bomb SeaTac / LAX airports with it knowing that Microsoft Execs travel through there and hope that’s enough to convince them they are “everywhere” – reality is, Bus shelter ads aren’t putting the wp7 logo on the bottom of their “get our apps” signage – which is a fail.

  • I disliked the WP7 app store pricing model, fact is they are charging the same rates as iPhone devs or there about and in the end you have a marketshare that Samsung is even beating. I agree with Laurence MoroneyReality check for two please and can we have that to go.
  • I disliked the compete b.s that came from Staffers at Microsoft around WP7, fight the internal metrics and rise above the whole “heh did you see that, Apple just copied us!” mentality. Its very weak and if you are to beat the competition then you need to stop watching their every move hoping and praying for a weakness to occur. If Apple copy you, great, internalize that victory but keep it internal and instead move the bar higher as the best way for people to absorb that reality is when someone who doesn’t have an MVP or Blue-badge says “Did Apple just copy Microsoft?”.

Windows 7 and 8

  • I liked the intent for Microsoft to bring balance to the UX force, which is a consistent looking brand / feel across all products from now on.
  • I disliked the execution of the consistent branding. I wished they would keep all design decisions in a central team, which is everything from website design to UI design(s) for products. Allowing individual teams within Microsoft to interpret Metro outside of the central team at this early critical stage is clearly not working. If you want to attract a design enriched audience that want to take inspiration from your work, stop farming it out to agencies who nickel/dime their way through design creation and instead double down on providing a central experience.

    Hate it when Microsoft gets a hold of a design concept..and then just sodomises it #badmetro #bldwin
  • I liked the energy that the Windows teams have around device development, we’ve asked for this way back in the days of Surface birth. I think that’s healthy for the industry and will put touch enabled devices into more and more people’s hands sooner rather than later.
  • I disliked the artificial inflation of the metrics (Windows and Wp7). Inside Microsoft you gauge success based on your ability to ignore qualitative data and instead focus on quantitative given it looks bigger. This often spills over into the marketing engine(s) at Microsoft resulting in just bad reality checks thus creating more distance between the ability to trust anything the brand states.

  • I disliked the development experience required to get access to the touch enabled world. A friend of mine sent me this break down of tag trends over at Stackoverlow, basically if you are working with Silverlight and/or WPF the chances of you not using Stackoverflow in some form of way is next to zero. WPF and Silverlight dead? Can I have an extra order of reality check for team Sinofsky please?


  • I liked the notion that Windows 7 is on the rise over Windows XP, the growth you have is great, and the sooner we can stomp on the neck of Windows XP the happier my development sandbox will be.
  • I disliked the fact that Windows 7 has a huge market share right now, today, that I can’t access and instead am told to “chill” until Windows 8 AppStore comes online via Windows 8. It’s like the Microsoft team decided “How else can I really fuck my customer base over” then some clown in the back puts his hand up and tells them of an idea to hold back AppStore whilst everyone just sits there nodding like he’s telling them that touch will be the future for Microsoft back in 2007 – oh wait… has anyone seen JJ Allard lately as that guys going places.

Silverlight / WPF.

  • I liked the fact we got some releases for these products, shows there is still someone within the company stoking that release fire.
  • I liked Silverlights new 3D capabilities, it hints at what could have been possible had we had it sooner. We back in the early days would often discuss how 3D would be our next frontier of innovation for the product and my hat goes off to the engineering efforts for pulling it off – they worked hard.
  • I dislike that Silverlight release was late and I especially disliked the way it was done. Microsoft phoned in the release, let it happen in the dark of night instead of the grandeur we’ve been used to in the past. That for me sent a clear signal to the developer base – it’s time to move on, finish up your creations and wait for next shiny object to come to a install near you.
  • I dislike WPF feature list, it was less than we were promised (technically it was more tease / flirt) and lastly the release itself was more of an internal upgrade spilled over onto external HDD’s – that is to say, the features were more derived from internal needs than external. MIC check, is this thing on, WPF is dead in the eyes of Microsoft but its far from dead in the eyes of your average .NET code jockey.
  • I dislike the energy spent on HTML5 is the future, I’m yet to meet a developer who uses Silverlight/WPF get excited at the idea of abandoning this for HTML5. It must be the other developers I don’t’ see who want it – well that’s what we may be assuming amongst each and everyone one of us “must be the other guy needs it” (ie “Pretty girl syndrome”).


  • I liked the SDK experiences that come with this ….product? … I think it is much easier at times than people give it credit for. I’ve used Amazon quite extensively this year and often will grow impatient that its not like Azure.
  • I dislike the pricing models for Azure. I’m a fairly intelligent guy but even today I’d not say I can for certain grasp the pricing model needed for me to respond to a work order request from some of my clients (mining companies who pay very large sums of money may I add).
  • I dislike the fact Scott Guthrie is running this only. In the short time he’s been the custodian of this product its gotten better, great, but Scott should be a higher power across all products. Steve Sinofsky you suck the life out of Microsoft development.
  • I liked the way Bizspark program is breaking down the pricing barrier of entry for Azure, I was skeptical of this program when it first started (My office was near the creator of this program back in the day, wand watched its birth). I think this program is what stands between adoption and non-adoption but at the same time it has really piss poor marketing behind it so unless you know someone who knows someone, it needs more help (See Catherine Eibner in Microsoft Australia, she’s got her head screwed on tight around how this should work going forward. Promote her to lead the charge here).

Internet Explorer.

I liked the fact IE6 is hated in a more formal fashion at Microsoft, but overall I just wish this product in its entirety would just die. Everyone else is embracing Webkit, stop fighting the obvious and bend over accept you lost proprietary way of life and jump into the stagnant waters of Webkit FTW.


  • WCF team can rot in hell. I think there is enough issues around this product to simply state, stop what your doing and think about its effects on your audience. Until then, rot in hell.
  • Entity Framework team, make a decision and stick with it or at least promote the reasons why you change APIs and their pro’s / con’s.
  • Zune. Great idea, pitty it never left Redmond zip code.
  • Surface 2 – Great idea, pitty it never left Redmond zip code.
  • Bing. I googled Bing, enough said but the fact you didn’t have a Santa Tracker at Christmas – you are dead to me.

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Silverlight huh, bit of a …hot topic..wouldn’t you say?

So.. I did a bit of a video post on it; I think it was a balanced on what my thoughts where around how the current release was dumped in what West Wing used to call “Take out the Trash Day” It still leaves you wondering though, so what is it you are missing from this entire Silverlight story as surely by now you’ve read enough rants and blog posts that centre around the notion “..but you’re a .NET developer man…pull yourself together, you have skills, you have knowledge now get back out there and make something of this Windows 8 way of life…and don’t do it for me, don’t do it for your country, do it for that little orphan named Annie, the ginge, the one who dreamed about having a parent and sang that tear jerking song – the sun will come out tomorrow... Go get em tiger” *pant* Ok, bit dramatic yes, but when I read these posts I can’t but help giggle at what I have dubbed the “orphan syndrome” whereby you have the author giving you similar speech above on how their father is going to come for them one day, you just wait and see.

The reality check.

Will you be able to take your skills to the new Windows way of life, sure, Microsoft are often lazy to execute if not at times paralyzed with fear of taking a risk – but they aren’t completely incompetent although I would favor mandatory drug testing on executives though. The numbers rubbery, but approx. 6million .NET devs exist right now hitting “Tab dot Ship” via Visual Studio so that number is your army and for them to completely abandon them is out of the question. It’s not to say they won’t shelve them when it comes to marketing spend or evangelism efforts, but they won’t just cast them aside. They will focus on HTML5, that IE 10 Metro crack needs addicts and they need to find them early and get them to double down on producing Glow in the Dark Twitter Applications that have Angry Birds built in for extra kudos. This needs to occur because this needs to entice the consumer to stop buying porn online with their credit card(s) and instead switch over to the Microsoft Windows 8 AppStore that works like ITunes AppStore but different (just like the phsycial stores but different, cause Microsoft use Oak wood instead of Birch). C# skills transference though is never really be a dramatic issue, its akin to saying “Don’t worry guys, you know Winforms, here’s WPF, Go!” … oh wait, we did that to and yeah, didn’t quite work out that well. We also tried ASP.NET with Silverlight, again, did not work out so well. This time, though its different because you have more options to choose from and just for extra added confusion, Microsoft aren’t going to confirm or deny whether technologies you have today will be around – sure they show a few strong hints here and there but to actually come out and give a Caesar style “thumbs up” vs “thumbs down” death blow – no, forget about it. Its not like they came out and formerly cancelled MIX either, the conference that let you all know what was coming out for the web and etc. etc. Sadly, Bob Mu former executive let it slip the last time that event was close by that “our strategy has changed” and then after that slip, he was never heard of again.

So what is all the fuss about?

Why is everyone getting all caught in knots about Silverlight being alive or dead, nobody’s really volunteered an exhaustive list of features that are missing right? Well maybe Uservoice but who listens to that stupid website anyway.. oops, did it again didn’t I. I think real fuss is more about the concept of patronizing the developer base with yet another executive we probably care less about talking about a technology that we still haven’t figured out why it exists over the old whilst then asking the devleopers to “trust” them and yet not confirm or deny the pre-existing technology that they originally trusted them will continue to exist. I think that’s the core fuss point, I think the PR folks are out to lunch most days and Microsoft probably need to rethink their relationship with WaggEd (the de-facto outsource PR firm) around how they are handling the messaging. In my experience, they can be quite conservative and treat the brand in many ways like it’s a Presidential campaign – cagey, artificial and lastly “good enough” but never quite “great”. Windows team will eventually turn the lights out on the current permutation of Silverlight, specifically on the Windows Phone 7 as when there is a fairly high profile leadership change out, things aren’t good internally. Something is going a miss and Andy Lee’s isn’t known internally imho for his brilliant strategic thinking, so for him to be swapped out and some other yet to be on stage for us all to ignore VP will now take his place. That to me says one thing “We have a change in strategy..err I mean tactics..” Journos and bloggers will hold your hand and reassure you that Silverlight as you know it today will continue and sure, C# and XAML still has a future but its never really been about that its more and always has been about making applications, quickly and without performance or bugs. What the fuss is all about now is do we have to re-pave an old road, where sure Silverlight/WPF have issues there’s no denying that but today, we all collectively have a fairly well rounded knowledge base in and around what they are and how to avoid them. Does that all now have to be reset? Does that mean our Google searches for answers that often get a mix between Silverlight, WPF and CTP/Beta APIs that have breaking changes get that much more polluted resulting in extra hours of wading through rants to get answers? Sadly yes. I’m a programmer and designer, I have over 9 languages under my belt and can use majority of the 3D and 2D design tooling that the planet has managed to cough up. Personally my issue has never been around learning stuff, it’s always been about learning stuff to get stuff done. Nothing personally pisses me off more is having to go backwards when we should be going forwards. Windows 8 going to HTML5.. really… that’s the answer? Does anyone not get the concept that if all browsers were equal then why make them? What’s the differentiation? Answer that question and now you are back in the game of circa late 90’s early 2000 where Browser wars an API forks were all the rage. Oh wait most of the devs that use HTML today were probably dancing to Power Ranger Intros to notice.

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Windows 8 –Trust me, we got this covered this time I promise…


Yesterday the VP of Web Services at Microsoft showed us the upcoming future of Microsoft AppStore me to thanks for playing Apple iTunes clone but not quite because its metro style of solution delivery….*gasp*… (try saying that without pausing)

Side riff: Microsoft, try and pick one person to be the face of Windows.. I get VP’s want to be geek celebs, but really who is that guy anyway and why should we care about his existence?..sorry carry on reading…

I care less on who copied what and where, the fact that there is an AppStore in the Microsoft ethos for us WPF/SL developers to capitalize on and make some bank – count me in!

Oh wait, we don’t get an invite actually because in order to actually make some cash on this idea you have to kind of wait for Windows 8 to be more ubiquitous and outsell the current Windows 7 adoption curve that we have before us today.


Let me show you a big circle that has 500m attached to it and compare it to other devices and operating systems to give you a sense of scale and illusion around which is a smarter platform to target. I should also point out in September Microsoft also stated it was around 450million

Here it is.


Now, don’t ask too many questions (like how is Windows Phone 7 market share fit into that graph?) around how that number came to be, just bend over and accept its existence and let it soak into your brain mass that Microsoft have your back and we are the future of the interwebs.

Still not buying it? Well let me see if I can rustle up some insights for you from a Microsoft staffer, what about another VP at Microsoft – lets here what he has to say on the matter.


Comment: “ I thought I did, but to be honest, I’m not even sure what was said”


Comment: “…But the graph…it said…500m… and you guys also said 450m la…you know what, you are banned from using numbers”



Comment: I’m doing the math and I’m also including world population growth, projected device market sales targets and and and and… did you just tell me to start coding and stop whinging …..I am coding, I do it daily, but the problem I have is you’re co-workers interrupting that sales pipeline with a whole bunch of question marks about the future of what I’m actually coding on…so that is to say, I’m doing my part, what are your guys doing? …sorry back to the numbers.


Comment: OH snap.. no he didn’t….


Comment: Target what again… and you just said 500million earlier…what…what are we talking about again… and if Win8 launches today are you saying we should stop targeting Windows 7 and now focus on Windows 8?……. WHAT THE FU…


Comment: Which one? 500million, 450million or 300million… or….

Fair enough, he is not into the whole questions thing and regards it as being a case of being a whining and what I also found interesting was the implication that one should “shut up and code”

Only problem I find there is actually I have been coding, pretty much for the last few years and that’s the problem because I have been coding on the last set of promises they / me made to the community around Silverlight and WPF. I remember it clearly, we got up on stage and we gave the same formula you have before you yesterday, we drowned you in copious amounts of “We caught a fish this big” graphs, painted a bright and happy days future, then told you “trust us, we have this covered” story.

Fast forward today, Silverlight 5’s future is in question and WPF is well, dare I still say dead? In fact Silverlight 5 was scheduled to release last month and that was told to you by a Microsoft staffer but yet no sign of the product that describes another way of saying the word “Flash” (aka Silverlight).

Ok, well I guess we’ll all have to sit tight, hold onto the .NET …err I mean WinRT…err I mean .NET …C++?...HTML5?... Ok whatever it is we are supposed to hold onto, write some killer applications and wait for further information from Microsoft on how well Windows 8 will sell and to which verticals its likely to excite the most.

Its clear it will beat iPad / iPhone to death as once Windows gets onto a tablet like device, it will be unstoppable – well that’s what MVP’s at Microsoft tell me and why on earth would they be biased – crazy talk.

Sarcasm aside.

Look, I think Windows 8 is an opportunity for all to prosper, I think it has the potential to excite and increase the cash in everyone’s wallets. I honestly don’t care whether or not the developer story gets reset, what I do ultimately care about is how one can take the concepts of Windows 8 and use them in today’s Windows 7 upgrade environments.

Call me crazy but based on historical data and simply getting my fill of the Microsoft internal culture I honestly don’t think Windows 8 will replenish the market the way Windows 7 has today. I think its going to be mostly a tablet device story only and even then it’s got question marks above its head on what you can and can’t do when it comes to development.

Furthermore, Microsoft cannot seriously expect developers to trust them anymore as the amount of broken promises…. I won’t go down that path, I’ll simply leave it at “no, you haven’t earned the trust” so instead of throwing down metrics onto the table like they actually resonate with developers instead of making that team look artificially successful – why not answer some hard questions with that time.

Paint a detailed picture on what you think is the future of Windows specifically on areas where you think it interconnects, lets talk about how Windows Azure is the preferred server side engine for your Apps in the AppStore or more importantly lets talk about skill transference in more detail, how does a Silverlight / WPF card carrying .NET diehard fan transition over to the new Windows RT way of life.

How do they work with Designers in this new space? Whats your thinking around the tooling story and how they interconnect.

AppStore sounds fine, it looks good but why can’t we start today, why do we need to hold off for Windows 8 or is this your idea of a forcing function that will drive consumers to buy Windows 8 instead of Windows 7 – because of the Appstore?

That may work for new devices called tablets, but what about that 500m install base just sitting there waiting to be fleeced with my Flashlight glow in the dark Twitter application?

Stop whining and build? Build with what, who for and which platform?

So far there is less that 50,000 developers world wide targeting Windows 8 and that’s assuming that MSDN downloads indicate  one developer per download ( I know I downloaded it 4x times since BUILD… so make that –4).


Never fear though, as you can now watch the developer uptake increase due to brilliant strategies like the Build Windows Contest featuring weird beard guy in front of a bicycle wheel? (WTF)


Catch is you have to be a US resident only and use the new secret stuff from Microsoft …actually I have no clue what the hell this contest is really about and lastly a VP at Microsoft once told me in a meeting “Contests are the last desperate refuge for bad marketing”… enough said.


Co-worker shares his thoughts after reading this blog post

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Agile reality check–what if Jesus was female?

Twitter stream caught my attention, as the conversation came up around how Agile maps to the doctrine meets reality.

What the..

I like to think I’m a guy who’s travelled around to a lot of teams and tried many things, I’ve been in quite a number of teams world wide and have seen some great projects succeed others I dare not mention for their curse alone may bring bad karma.

Throughout my travels, the concept of Agile has always been this mutated religion that often gets thrown about but really doesn’t cement the virtual “it should be done as this” to “this is how it maps to reality”.

In all the teams I’ve been in one thing always was consistent, that is there is usually one or more person(s) in that team that are often the weakest link – you know, the one that if we were playing survivor they’d be the first to go.

That person often is also one that has a degree of influence and whilst a democratic philosophy is one we should aspire to in an agile setting, reality is usually there’s an alpha in the room and they often are the ones who approve your timesheet – thus, you suck it up and give way even if it’s a dumb decision.

I’ve heard often that “Well the reason that failed is you had the wrong person” followed by how the role was given to a jackass who typically had no business making decisions other than “would you like one or two biscuits to go with your hot beverage?”

That’s the problem though with this whole agile philosophy, we aspire to working with a gang of people that make you feel as if you’re coding along side a crew that have similar skills to Oceans 11. Yet when you look around often the case is you’re dealing with a crew that came from Billy-Bobs 12 and its often the 12th man is usually the cousin twice removed but was forced to be in the team due to Billy-bobs wife being a royal pain in his redneck side.

Ok, that metaphor fell to the wayside but my point is I often find the reason why agile/scrum fails is simply due to the aspirations around the said doctrine not mapping to the reality of a commercial environment.

The amount of customers I’ve had to create solutions for often have no clue as to what they are doing and its usually why they hit the panic button, allocate budget and socket in a development team to solve the said problems. If you’re lucky you get the business ownership in a place where they feel competent enough to say out loud “I actually understand my business problems and desire software to solve them” …if you’re lucky.

Do you as a developer look at the said impending car crash and simply yell “we should really stop what we are doing and look at who’s driving this car and why” or do you simply lock onto the weakness that which is a business out of control but with a really big wallet thus as a contractor exploit this until the wheels come off. Once the wheels come off you simply throw your hands in the air and do what everyone does when agile fails “You had the wrong person….”

Here is my creative thinking on a way forward.

What if you had your team divided into two parts, that is you have TEAMA working on the grind, as per design think on your feet reactive feature development whilst TEAMB looks at iteration two, figures out the weak/hot spots and devotes more time to just R&D (spiking the big issues).

Once they have that mastered or time boxed them then switch gears, own iteration two and then iteration three is then put into R&D mode followed by a rinse/repeat formula.

Would this not also include user experience?

Anyone tried this? Or did I just declare Jesus was really a female and not a guy after all thus a war breaks out and I’m likely to be crucified for challenging the status quo.

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WP7 Developers! Developers! Devel…wtf is the designers?

I just noticed something about the overall Windows Phone 7 community outreach story. Well I’ve noticed a few things, but the main thing I noticed was the designer haven is non-existent. Looking at the Create.MSDN site which for me appears to be the front-door to “getting-started” with Windows Phone 7, there appears to be no upsell or solicitation in anyway for the “design” community to pay attention to Windows Phone 7.

Huge mistake firstly.


The reason this is not a bright start to the phone, is if you look at all the successful apps on the iPhone and even Android market-places, there actual apps clearly have someone with design muscle flexing their wares proactively. Inside the Windows Phone 7 ethos, it’s admittedly paint by numbers style design (Metro) but still there is potential vein of richness here should you but show some bread-crumbs.

The major selling point for Windows Phone 7 is metro, folks inside the WP7 marketing team can flog “apps” all they like, but in my opinion I’d declare the phone having apps as hygiene (i.e. Well? I expected you to have them so what? you want a high five?..what else you got?). Metro is the differentiator, despite my grievances with User Interface experience(s) I do recognize that pushing these bitter points aside, the phone needs to focus on this and this alone when it comes to the consumers?

Sitting down and having designed a UI for this phone for an upcoming (reveled later) I’m a little frustrated at the amount of Googling (Yes, I said Google, not Bing. Bing is an ass backwards Search engine imho) I’ve had to spend in finding vector icons, inspiration (design stealing) and lastly techniques / resources others have framed when it comes to handling design related issues.

For instance, I’m not a fan of accent colors inside the phone – in that I like certain amount of colors but Red, Green and Orange are imho off-limits. The reason being is most situations that call for “state” often rely on a stop-light palette. If you have your entire UI Green and you have “You’re now connected” green highlight somewhere, well..it gets lost in the accent theme.

On top of that the dark/light auto-inversing is a funny beast to tackle. I get that it inverses the color palette's in a fairly smart way at the same time it catches you a little off guard when you sit down to design. As now you have to keep that in the forefront of your mind whilst designing and at the same time accommodating for foreground and accent color adjustments as they occur.

To a developer this is simply state flipping in and out but for an average designer that’s a lot of conscious palette planning / thinking going on there and not a lot of resources around hinting at that either (Try googling that now, tell me what you find!).

These are the typical scenarios you’re likely to face as a designer, the techniques that go beyond “Look mah, I used the default color palette and I managed to ship! gimme my $1million app store sales now mkay!” moments.  It goes deeper and you can’t rely on external blogging threads to carry this workload. As they also have a habit of becoming out dated mixed with spam sites re-gurgitating your blog feeds as their own in order to sucker punch you with Google ads.

My point is simple, the designers are clearly not part of the conversation here and whilst developers, developers  and developers is the normal mantra of Microsoft it’s also the major reason you’re failing at the products. If you want proof, go check out he MSDN metrics around Expression sales and uptake of Silverlight solutions that go beyond the default theme(s) created by either Microsoft or Telerik, ComponentOne, Infragistics etc.

Paint by numbers gets you the default positioning of your product and nothing is wrong with prescribed UI. That is until you scope out the iPhone AppStore reviews long enough to see that your application now needs to do something beyond Tip Calculators / FlashLights and Twitter feeds. If you come up short on Function then you better at least deliver on Form.

Microsoft’s AppStore is filled with overloaded function it now needs personality and it needs more design focused bloodlines to underpin the Metro differentiation. If Microsoft can’t factor this into the outbound marketing today, then at least make a start as this will also set Microsoft up for a stronger position for when Windows 8 arrives (given Metro seems to be full steam ahead).

Point and case. Try for giggles, re-create the Office UI inside Wp7 today without leaving Create.MSDN.com and using the default Icons out of the directory found buried inside Program Files (which somehow we’re supposed to inherently know)?

How about Brandon  (Marketing Director for Wp7) take the $1k ransom for Scott Adams (Dilbert) and put that towards the funding for hiring a designer minded person to run the wp7 community outbound initiatives. There’s a lot of people who could lift that burden and if anyone in Microsoft want some recommendations, ping me, I’ve got a list of candidates.

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Please welcome the XAML platform team to Windows!


I got word of a leaked email early yesterday that confirmed what I had been told in passing gossip – the XAML team being disbanded.

This morning I awoke to not just one email but five of them from my various sources all attached with mixed opinions on what it means. Here is my famous (internally in Microsoft, I would send these style of emails about Adobe and their competitive threats) "What Just Happened" response.

We're pleased to announce the transition of the XAML
platform team from the Developer Division to the Windows team.  While the
team has been working side-by-side with the Windows team for the entire project,
this step brings them into our team formally. 

It is time to start moving the battleships into the attack formation. In that time to start the consolidation into the new ux platform we are about to remake again.

On the upside it means you have a consolidated outcome likely to hit our hard-drives in the next 2-3 years on the downside you have what I would call a technology freeze in effect. If the new iteration of WPF or Silverlight does not comply with the vNext vision, do not hold your breath for a new announcement anytime soon that does not involve Windows 8 future(s).

The team will continue their work on Windows 8 as planned
and will join our Developer Experience (DEVX) team. This transition allows us
to bring together our platform development team in a single-management

That doesn’t sound to bad, I mean on the surface its just a single management restructure. A day in the life of a Microsoftee where every fiscal year or often more than once you are given new managers because the strategy - scratch that – tactics have changed. That in itself is probably your biggest hint of all around the word commitment, this is not just a case of waiting for a restructure to occur once every 5 years – it happens often.

To clarify, do you keep swapping your generals around in war to the point where the troops effectively stop caring who they are reporting to? Probably not a smart idea but nonetheless.

The dev, test, and pm leaders who will be leading the
team reporting to AlesH, YvesN, and LindaAv are:

• Sujal Parikh, Development Manager 
• Eduardo Leal-Tostado, Test Manager 
• Joe Stegman, Group Program Manager

The leads and individuals joining our team are receiving
this mail and have received communication on next steps.

If most of you who have been involved in the Silverlight ethos are reading then the name, Joe Stegman will probably stand out the most. Joe’s background in the .NET space goes back a ways but in the end Joe’s really been one of the guys under the hierarchy crust of commitment pledges keeping things in the development side of things in check. Officiating his role further in this equation for me is a bit puzzling as it’s kind of the same thing different org tree?

These changes in leadership and organization are
effective today.  For the purposes of finishing out the fiscal year and
the performance review process the team will operate under the existing
management structure.

That is a swift maneuver. Nothing surprising though.

Now onto Soma’s email to the troops which kicked the previous email off (Notice how VP’s etc all pile on from one another with "what he said was.." like somehow being apart of the thread is being seen as a role of importance. Classic Microsoft Victory Email formula, just once I’d like them to send out just one email outlining the change. This is what I’m talking about when I say Microsoft Culture is retarded.

I digress.


Over the last couple of years, our Client and Mobile team
has done a fantastic job of building a number of XAML related technologies that
have been a huge value add to the Microsoft client platforms and an
instrumental part of delighting our developer customers.  The agility and
customer focus that the team has demonstrated over the years has been a
pleasure to watch.

Ooops. Btw this was supposed to be confidential. So do not tell anybody.

Over the last couple of years? From memory, I recall WPF being around for more than a couple of years? Never mind, I keep forgetting everyone internally has forgotten about WPF.

Soma is kind of saying, "thanks for the hard work troops, you managed to outpace most products in Microsoft with your constant brilliance around the word agility, which being said here comes the but to that placating statement.

Today, we are making some organization changes to bring
our platform technologies under a single management structure.  These
changes are centered around three focus areas:

• The team working on XAML technologies for Windows will
move to Windows.

• The team working on XAML technologies for Windows
Phone, Xbox and browser plugin will move to Windows Phone. 

• The Client and Mobile tools teams, including Windows
Phone tools and XAML tools, will stay in DevDiv.

These changes are all effective immediately.  From a
performance review perspective, we will do this year’s performance review under
the DevDiv organization model.

"Today marks a new day troops, for we storm a new beach" is kind of the response to that next piece.

Firstly you have parts of the XAML team(s) parked inside the Windows organization. First impressions on twitter are that "Way to go! Means XAML and Windows are finally going to get along and create awesome XAML experiences"

Have I not shown you the Annie video? Moreover, have I discussed the Orphan Syndrome? "My dad’s going to come for me, he’s rich you…you..you just wait and see"

To me that read as being a case of cherry picking parts of the team to socket into the windows division and their new coding charter will come next. If it involves XAML it will be based around what XAML vNext is likely to be – HTML5 meets Jupiter.

Same with the Phone team, it is what I would call "please standby for further orders" moments.

As for the tooling teams, well you got Cider and Expression Blend team is what that really comes back to. Given most of the Client employees have left, I am not sure what that means suffice to say I am not holding out for a new release for Sketchflow for starters and I am guessing that the Blend teams are not exactly getting high fives for poor sales and download rates to date. If I were in that team, I would be updating my LinkedIn account quickly.

I want to thank Kevin Gallo and the team for all the
great work that they have done over the years.  Moving forward, I'm very
excited to bring the client platform efforts closer to the platform
teams.  There is a lot of very exciting and critical work underway as part
of our next wave of platform releases and I am very eagerly looking forward to
seeing the team’s work in the hands of our developers and customers.

Remember when Mary Jo posted a while back on how Kevin Gallo would be taking over the reins of Scott Guthrie. That’s probably the quickest promotion and I’m not ready to say demotion but I’m not ready to say continuance either – that I’ve seen?

The positive part there is the "next wave of platform releases" that sounds a lot like a continuation of what we have in front of us. Make no mistake there will be a Silverlight 5 and a WPF vNext released next fiscal, its already got most of the code done and it would be foolish to not release those when they can – especially after MIX2011.

Releasing those two would also buy you time for the next 2 fiscals at most. As by doing this you create this calming effect around "see, we’re still working on it..honest" to placate the developer hordes.

That is up to you, you can buy into that sure, and it is hard to debunk given there is not much visibility behind what we are likely to see next – especially given this is tradition within the Microsoft roadmap(s).

For me personally, I’d like to corner Microsoft If I could into giving more concrete assurances that whatever the next wave of bets are that they are either backwards compliance or have parity around what we have today in terms of conceptual features today.

Features for me are not will I be able to still hit F5 without changing code. Features for me are the concepts that are on the table today, around how one manages the out of browser and in-browser functionality – everything from casual gaming through to enterprise ready features (printing, isolated storage, data binding etc).

Going forward.

I think what has happened in this email is the equivalent of me saying "I really like this car, now can we take the wheels and put them over there. In addition, can you take the steering wheel and dashboard and put it over there. Lastly, can you take the engine and well. Just leave it in place for second; I’ll get back to you later on where we can put that next"

It’s clear there is a consolidation happening that I think we can all agree on early. How will the consolidation impact the average .NET developer is likely to be dramatic enough to warrant some applications having to have code refactored down the track – you will not escape that sorry.

Does this mean .NET is dead? Who actually knows what .NET vNext will be so it is hard to simply say "yes" and it could very well be a reset of .NET to fix a lot of pent up frustration in the way it sticks together today.

What I am certain of is WPF is definitely officially done. The chance of WPF going beyond what it is today is slim. Some journalists etc. will gloss over this as its not news but let me be clear in saying at Microsoft we really had no clue just how deeply seeded this product became.

In Australia it’s used quite heavily and it’s something I personally noticed whenever I used to travel around the country meeting Microsoft customers (both as an Evangelist and Product Manager). I used to send emails internally stating "I think we underestimated is usage, as it definitely appears to have more devs using than Silverlight" which was later brushed aside as being "Not realistic".

I think post September the announcements that are to follow will give these warnings probably some second thoughts around what parking WPF in the retired bay is likely to mean for Microsoft when it comes to the words "trust" and "commitment"

The product and developer satisfaction surveys for the last few years haven’t been something you’d brag about internally which for me indicates a strong sense of "fatigue" within the ranks of our beloved .NET developer communities.

It’s now one thing to announce what the next version of .NET will be its entirely different thing to convince and sell these fatigue customers that this is defiantly the bet this time. Silverlight, WPF and WinForm are available today and millions are shipping software solutions using them.

Microsoft now has to figure out a way to convince the millions that the "Windows 8" wave of vNext will fix all of these problems and more – and – will not require a reduction in feature parity along with extra boost in tooling.

If I know, my Microsoft and I like to think I do, good luck J

Full email below:

From: Julie Larson-Green
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 9:35 AM
To: Grant George; Jon DeVaan; Julie Larson-Green; John
Cable; Yves Neyrand; Craig Fleischman; Bambo C. Sofola; Scott Herrboldt; Greg
Chapman; Julie Bennett; Jeff Johnson; Ales Holecek; Mohammed El-Gammal; Chuck
Chan; Michael Fortin; Eric Traut; Jensen Harris; Linda Averett; Alex Simons
(WINDOWS); Gabriel Aul; Dennis Flanagan; Iain McDonald; Samuel Moreau; Dean Hachamovitch;
Michael Angiulo; Antoine Leblond; Tami Reller; Chris Jones (WINDOWS LIVE);
Jonathan Wiedemann; Ulrike Irmler; Adrianna Burrows
Cc: XAML Team; Kevin Gallo; S. Somasegar; Terry Myerson;
Sharman Mailloux Sosa; Brad Fringer; Steven Sinofsky
Subject: Please welcome the XAML platform team to

We're pleased to announce the transition of the XAML
platform team from the Developer Division to the Windows team.  While the
team has been working side-by-side with the Windows team for the entire project,
this step brings them into our team formally.  

The team will continue their work on Windows 8 as planned
and will join our Developer Experience (DEVX) team. This transition allows us
to bring together our platform development team in a single-management
The dev, test, and pm leaders who will be leading the
team reporting to AlesH, YvesN, and LindaAv are:

• Sujal Parikh, Development Manager 
• Eduardo Leal-Tostado, Test Manager 
• Joe Stegman, Group Program Manager 
The leads and individuals joining our team are receiving
this mail and have received communication on next steps.
These changes in leadership and organization are
effective today.  For the purposes of finishing out the fiscal year and
the performance review process the team will operate under the existing
management structure.

There will be an informal Q&A session today to
welcome everyone and answer any questions that folks might have.
• XAML team welcome – 2:00-3:00 in building 37/1701

Please join me in welcoming these folks to our


From: S. Somasegar 
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 9:16 AM
To: Client and Mobile Team
Cc: Developer Division FTE; Steven Sinofsky; Julie
Larson-Green; Terry Myerson; David Treadwell
Subject: Bringing together client platform efforts


Over the last couple of years, our Client and Mobile team
has done a fantastic job of building a number of XAML related technologies that
have been a huge value add to the Microsoft client platforms and an
instrumental part of delighting our developer customers.  The agility and
customer focus that the team has demonstrated over the years has been a
pleasure to watch.  

Today, we are making some organization changes to bring
our platform technologies under a single management structure.  These
changes are centered around three focus areas:
• The team working on XAML technologies for Windows will
move to Windows.
• The team working on XAML technologies for Windows
Phone, Xbox and browser plugin will move to Windows Phone.  
• The Client and Mobile tools teams, including Windows
Phone tools and XAML tools, will stay in DevDiv. 

These changes are all effective immediately.  From a
performance review perspective, we will do this year’s performance review under
the DevDiv organization model.

I want to thank Kevin Gallo and the team for all the
great work that they have done over the years.  Moving forward, I'm very
excited to bring the client platform efforts closer to the platform
teams.  There is a lot of very exciting and critical work underway as part
of our next wave of platform releases and I am very eagerly looking forward to
seeing the team’s work in the hands of our developers and customers.  

The follow-up emails will provide more details on the
changes to those impacted.  Please join me in wishing Kevin and the team
all the very best as we move forward.  If you have any questions about
this change, please let your manager or me know.


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Windows Phone 7 – Can we get 200k signatures to highlight the marketing teams’ fail?


Frustrating point needs to be made. I personally love the fact that a fan - yes there is one or two out there - of Windows Phone 7 took the time to create what I would call a fresh perspective on what the phone has to offer via  what I call a delicious amount of pixel candy.

Watch these video(s).

Original – What kicked all this off.

Follow-up – MIX11 Version (I’m guessing someone in Microsoft said “more app focus!!!” – DUMBASS!!).

It simply is punchy and simply zeroes in on the Metro User Interface that I hate, but at the same time am willing to live with provided it has seeded to the audience differently than it has today.

The current media in play around the world for the Windows Phone 7 is all over the place. Just last night I saw a new show in Australia that is sponsored by Windows Phone 7, the advertisement that accompanied the TV show was lack luster at best. It did little to draw out the selling points on the phone and more to the point, it had no personality.

I can honestly say that about all the commercials I've seen for the Windows Phone 7 they simply lack personality and are more along the lines of an Adult version of Barney & Friends (everyone is smiling, everyone looks plastic and it represents unreal situations that maybe if you're in Upper Suburbia it would make sense?)

The author of the above video has to audition for a spot in today's TV advertisement. He's got to get around 200k hits on this video before the wisdom of that which is Windows Phone 7 marketing agree to put that into your local TV station (assuming they'd agree to let it go beyond the online advertising where its much lower risk).

Here is why it is stupid to do that:

  • Free PR. If when they first saw it simply grabbed it, did some minor editing and then put it out into online campaigns it would have been a Lotto style good work story. If you had the right PR ingredients, you could have spun a bit of good will in most art magazine / websites etc. - headlines like "Single Intern designs Microsoft's biggest TV Ad". It is a fresh interruption for one, it is NOT Microsoft's style and lastly it is something you can get media agency style talent worldwide to read about (Designers are the future people remember that).
  • Better Differentiation. I am on record for my dislike for WP7 version of "metro" that aside, if that is the selling point on why this phone is different from the iPhone or Android. Then freaking sells others on it and I am not talking about a single screen with the usual tiles. Provide an audience a visual inspection in the comfort of their own homes on the said UI, highlight that its different - the phone hardware looks like an iPhone rip off but the UI is different. That is realistically the main differentiator and focusing in on features or apps the phone has in this early stage of the game is not going to get your users hooked.  Reason – They expected that anyway!!
  • Avoid Metrics. I feel like slapping the WP7 Marketing Team upside the head. You have a phone that is new and I want you to learn a harsh lesson from the entire Silverlight vs Flash experience. STAY AWAY FROM NUMBERS - that is to say, until you have a large mass of people adopting your product keep the hell away from any mention of any numbers.

    The last time the team put out the numbers around adoption of the phone, it didn't take guys like me long to do the basic math and come to the conclusion that while the numbers initially look impressive the reality is the adoption rate from downloading the SDK to selling an application is significantly quite low.

    Asking for around 200k in visitors to click "I heart Ad" for Wp7 is stupid as it is clear that the video will not get the hits in time and lastly it just told the market "not that many people care". The only people that are likely to know about this audition are developers firstly (thanks to MIX11 etc). So now you have just told us all that approx. there are less than 150k developers out there who care about Wp7. It's a loose number yes, but it's another piece in the establishing a baseline of what the sizing of the mindshare is around this phone.




    (Note: Notice the personal response vs. “You’re wrong, the math means blah”.. focus on the point not the person!)

If the video had gotten 500k+ in the first two weeks, boom you have a great story and the bet paid off. The reality is the original video has more hits than the follow-up, which is when it is likely at its interest peak.

Brandon has unique eye for the phone and in my opinion, this video should have gotten legs from day one. Microsoft failed and the moment has passed.

My frustration is this is a constant theme with Microsoft - they are given these rare opportunities and they constantly ignore the obvious signs of success.

I am looking at you Courier Tablet.

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How much would you invest in a pixel?

I am a massive fan of World of Warcraft again; yes, it is sad isn't it? Last night I was playing my usual allotment of time watching pixels update on a screen vs. interacting with real humans and something I witnessed struck a chord with me.

The 'flash of genius' for me was when I was playing a typical Player vs. Player (PVP) round of Battleground(s). This is a part of the game that essentially randomly aggregates a group of people spread throughout the entire WoW realm(s) into a 10vs10 etc match.

It's basically unbridled chaos and it really highlights some components for me that I find fascinating as to watch the herding mentality of us humans in an avatar driven game is kind of predictable. For instance, I was the first out of the gate when the match started, I rode my horse towards a spot that was the second closest and because I was the party leader, many other players followed me. I arrived at the spot and just waited. Out of the six other players, three stayed after 20sec has or so of making decision whilst the other three grew what I can only imagine as being bored and rode off in search of a fight.

imageWhat is so profound about this is how easily I convinced others to wait beside me in a place that had no real plan other than "well, if the sh*t goes down, we defend with our lives" as the core plan. We had no vision of what was about to happen beyond that and we had no clue as to how we would all work together as we just met each other in game only 5mins beforehand. Here we are armed ready to fight and hoping we can figure it out as we go.

We died.

This is much like most teams I've been in over the past few years, I keep hearing about a good team is one that is in sync with one another but in the end that only lasts for the first flag/waypoint as beyond that a lot of variables occur that in turn causes a de-synchronization from occurring. 

In the above example had I been paired with a healer and another tank/dps (tank or dps are basically characters whose sole job is to hit hard and often as a healers job is to keep everyone alive while they do so) we may have stood a chance of survival. As we all had a role to play and whilst the plan was distilled into a core class structure, we still have a series of objectives that must be upheld.

A healer must be protected at all cost, as well that character is your tipping point between living and dying but at the same time a healer must keep back from the fight - as much as possible. A tank/dps job is to draw fire and get deep into the melee as much as possible and the more you can tie up your enemy's focus the greater the chance of a win.

In software, this concept has not entirely lost, as a UX/UI person(s) job is to figure out how to keep this software from dying of bad usability death. The coder's jobs are to underpin it with large amounts of code to keep structural integrity intact if they do not do their jobs rights, it can in turn create more work for the UX/UI person to go fix. If the UI/UX person does not do their jobs, right they can in turn suffocate the work of the coder - so it is a partnership.

A great software release respects this partnership to the end. Good UI/UX and Good Code = Good software.

If you randomly put together a team of mixed classes and pin your hopes on the agile a way of life then well you are no different to my WoW example. An assumed leader leads a group of you into a spot that has no agenda or plan other than "don't die please".

How you live or die is based purely around how fast you can communicate with one another about what tactics you can deploy to uphold this basic principle of preserving one's life.

All it takes however is one person to break ranks, to be the Leroy Jenkins (See Video below) and well it comes unstuck and fast. We all die of a horrible humiliating death - (aka miss our deadlines etc.).


Agile is not enough, is my overall point. I think agile works if you are solely focused on being a tank/dps class (coder). If you mix in UX/UI then that is where it keeps coming back with mixed results, there appears to be no right or wrong formula here.

The one concept I think - and it's only a theory - is that you need to at times stop fighting the code and give enough time for the healer (UX/UI) person to catch their breath, to drink some mana potions if you will to figure out how to navigate the next fight.

Lost in my metaphor?

What I am trying to say is that UX/UI in a sprint equation needs to occur every other sprint, meaning at some point in the process you need to arrive at a point in time where you the coders will have to refactor your UI / UX to accommodate the new direction in the design.

It sux.

It is however, the realistic way to accommodate the reactive design you have put in place and to be clear it has little return in investment other than user efficiency and satisfaction levels.

Now comes the question - how much do you invest in a pixel?

Answer that and you will have a better understanding of Agile, UI/UX + Code than I currently have.  As you now need to think in terms of how it all comes together and what value you place on the UI/UX component. Agile won’t necessary work in the way you think when it comes to intgerating your healer (UX/UI Person) into your battle group. At times you may not need them – that is until your hitting a wall and soon realize it would have been better to have them at the start of the fight vs end.

I can think of some rebuttals here - 'well you are doing agile wrong' or 'your team sounds like it wasn't assembled correctly' to which I simply respond - welcome to reality. Sometimes you have to play the game with a randomly aggregated team and it is not always a case of Greenfield project management.

Now, your move, how do you accommodate these variables.

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HTML5? Ok, so let’s also deploy Microsoft Silverlight onto Android then…

imageAfter finishing a podcast discussing  Microsoft fumbled future developer story, has sparked a few threads in my warped perception of all things developer platforms.  Please go out on a limb with me here and let this one swirl around in the ol noggin for a moment or two (it's Friday). Let's for arguments sake state that Microsoft bets quite large on HTML5 / JavaScript as being a pull-through for net-new developers of tomorrow. It is an easy asks, as most developers on the planet can code in HTML or JavaScript without an issue per say - whether they like to or not is a different story. Assuming this is correct and assuming you have a solution where developers can conjure creations under the wing of ye olde HTML/JavaScript then my question to you all is this. Why not put Silverlight runtime on Android. I know it's been a question above most people's heads inside Microsoft as to why they shouldn't put the mutation of that which is a x-browser, x-plugin and x-device original story onto a competing phone platform? You are about to do this anyway the moment you unleash the HTML5 & JavaScript story unto the world. Developers will hack your garden walls and find ways to push out to the multiple devices so at best all you can really do as a company (Microsoft) is retain Tooling and Server Share(s). Operating system share is going to obviously tank because of a unified development platform such as the ye olde web browser on steroids - aka Windows 8 Covershow – aka Sidebar Gadgets on steriods – aka..wtf do you call it?. That is until you decide to fork the HTML5/JavaScript story and start introducing your own additive components to the equation that allow developers to touch deeper into the Operating Systems thus bolting down the developer base back onto your platform. Ok, so assuming that was the guess of all guesses, then why abandon.NET as a preferred approach? As now you not only have to keep the .NET oxygen flowing in a healthy direction to 6million+ .NET devs world wide - but - you also need to put in place sugar pragmatic coding trix such as JavaScript/HTML translative (is that a word?) instructions to a common language runtime....ie CLR???? The upside by putting Silverlight onto Android is you get to part of the two horse race - let's face it Android and iPhone have the developer markets attention more so than WP7. Enabling developers to play in both streams could energize your base more and you can potentially regain net-new developer share the other way. If you are going to give your farm away, at least fight for a good price is my thinking. The reality is this, the Silverlight teams are grabbing some pine right now, they've been benched until further notice so we are unlikely to see Silverlight move past version 5 until the dust settles on Windows 8 that is code-named Windows 8 (brilliant marketing guys, seriously, brilliant). Its' that stalling posture and that sense of "hang on this equation doesn't add up" that is ultimately causing ripples in the Light-force (ie Silverlight/WPF/WinForms etc Communities). Just my thoughts - but what do I know, its not like i use to Product Manage Silverlight...oh wait.. doH!

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