Why fnDisruption?

I started a new medium publication called fnDisruption -- function of disruption. Hope you find it interesting. Here is why.


How to build your own deep work lab

Here was a super fun project. The story guides you -- starting with a tour and then how we built it including the bill of materials, construction tips, and sourcing.

I, originally, did the design and blogged about it in 2011. It was a popular post, so I always intended to post an update, but decided to use a web-based Sway presentation instead. It brings it to life and is more effective way to show you around the lab.

My hope is that you find it helpful, interesting, and entertaining.

How to design your own your own deep work lab: https://bit.ly/DeepWorkLab

To support deep work. Deep work is valuable and increasingly rare. As Cal Newport says, "Deep work is performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate."


No silver bullet -- 30 years later

Here we are -- 30 years later.

In 1986, Brooks wrote "No silver bullet." Brooks argues that there is much as a 10x difference between "good" designers and "great" designers. This was later shown to be closer to 20x in two different studies.

Among other things, he postulates that as programming is a creative process, some designers are inherently better than others. He advocates treating star designers equally well as star managers, providing them not just with equal remuneration, but also all the perks of higher status: large office, staff, travel funds, etc. Here is the original paper:


Design sessions: why and how?

A design session is used to focus on one or more design items to achieve business objectives with a group of designers. This technique could radically improve the dynamic of your team and the outcome of your project. The technique is best used when you have a three or more talented developers. 

10 reasons to conduct design sessions 

 1. Keep the team engaged and motivated
 2. Tap into the creative potential of the team
 3. Bring the team together on a decision with a common understanding
 4. Separate the designer from the design. You are not your design
 5. See with new eyes
 6. Learn from each other
 7. Close gaps (reduce distance between team members)
 8. Keep it simple
 9. Improve and simplify your process
 10. You think that you know it all

How to conduct and structure effective design sessions?

Here is an effective way to conduct and structure design sessions for your team.

How to Conduct a Design Session
A design session usually consists of two to three design items to help reduce time and consolidate our moves. A design item typically takes about 15 - 20 minutes. A design session should separate the “what we want” from the “how we want to do it.” It provides a venue to consider alternative solutions that could be simpler, clearer, easier, more secure, and more extensible.

Session Goals
The goals for the design sessions are to be…

        Encourage and allow others to contribute

        Be respectful

        Make your point

        We need to quickly understand, justify, and agree on an approach (the how)

    Interesting (not boring)
        Innovative solutions are a side-effect

What’s in it for you?

    Your idea gets used in an area that makes a difference

    Learn from others

    Gain a common understanding

    Have fun 

Attendance is optional. There are probably a few different reasons to join a particular design session:
    You are passionate about it

    It directly impacts your work

    You are interesting in learning more about a particular area

Design Item Template

 Description: {Describe the problem statement}
 Alternatives: {List out alternatives provided by team with pros and cons}
 The Action, Next Steps (such as a spike solution), or Decision
 Rationale:  (A is important, so we chose B, accepting downside C): {There is always a downside; no decision is perfect}

Challenge Questions

Can this be deferred?

Is this the right item to consider?

Is there a way to simplify the problem/solution?

Does the item imply the what we want to do?

Does this help us deliver on-time?

This same format can also be used for process items.


The results of these sessions should be kept in a journal. The journal can be quite helpful to review decisions and to stop history from being rewritten. I have used this technique with bigger teams  including the redesign of www.bmwusa.com. The journal should be comprised of notes for each design item (design item template) and the overall structure described above.

Often, you will still need to make a decision to resolve a team deadlock, but by using the design session technique, there will be fewer deadlocks and members will be able to accept and follow the direction.

These sessions can be fun and effective. Team members want more of them. One key to success is to have the following team values: respect, collaboration, communication, and simplicity.

I would like to know what works for you. Is your team engaged or zoned out?


Build 2014

[Build 2014] Day 3: Final day

I could definitely have one more day here at //build/. Catching sessions, lunch, and airport later. Many good sessions available today.

Grateful to be here.

Great weather. No fog is good on a day when you are in or out of SFO.

11:00 AM
Exhibit hall. Gave New Relic a new feature idea. TPS Report: Total Production Stacktrace report. It provides the top stacktrace occurrences. We used it during redesign of www.bwusa.com. When you get millions of page views per day, this kind of report is important. Oh, don't forget the cover sheet.

Selfie at Nokia #SpaceSelfie. Fun. Looking forward to Nokia 1520 waiting at home. Got the red one.
Also, got freeze dried ice cream for my daughter. Fun exhibit.

All the //build/ 2014 keynotes and sessions are available on channel 9. Plan to watch a few this weekend that I missed. I will update with a list of my favorites.

Cortana and Windows Phone 8.1 were a hit with everyone at //build/ 2014. It has a 3rd party app integration point via XML file.   

[Build 2014] Day 2: Scott Gu's keynotes, sessions, and Microsoft party

7:20 AM
Scott Gu's keynote this morning. Sessions this afternoon. Microsoft's party this evening.

8:30 AM Keynote
Scott Gu.

11:30 AM Exhibit area
Cortana demo.

4:21 PM Migel de Icaza
Presenting "Go Mobile with C# and Xamarin"

5:30 PM
In line to get Xbox.

6:30 - 9:30 PM Microsoft Attendee Party
At the Metreon across from Moscone West. Microsoft has reserved the entire place.

Most theaters hosted different Xbox One games. This was my favorite part. Command center style with bartenders.

Need to buy Titan Fall.

Best build party for providing the right environment. The MC/Announcer for the  Forza Motorsport theater was the best. Ridiculing drivers and pretty much everyone that showed up. It became the best demo room.

My daughter could have beat most of those drivers driving sims in  Forza Motorsport.

11:20 PM
Packing Xbox will be a challenge. Might have to document since 5,000+  people will get to experience it.

Going to break down box. It must weigh 25 lbs. Maybe a little less.
I pack minimally, but have ops on my side.

Here is a creepy picture of the hardware. Got rid of cardboard.  Xbox "I know you." Xbox "select -- suite case."

Not fitting.

Put most in backpack and console in suitcase.  

[Build 2014] Day 1: Keynote, sessions, giveaways, and more

6:33 AM PST
//build/ 2014 has already been interesting and it hasn't even started. Join me today with live blogging of the keynote, sessions, giveaways, and more. The keynote starts at 8:30 AM.
Here are my expectations and predictions along with Day 0.

8:01 AM

 Moscone West keynote line

8:10 AM
Moscone West this year. Got seat for keynote.

No empty seats.

8:14 AM
Massive keynote stage.

8:30 AM: Keynote Day 1
Time for keynote.

8:31 AM
Terry Myerson taking stage.

8:35 AM
Going to be about Windows Phone 8.1 and its convergence with WinRT.

8:38 AM
Joe Belforiore, CVP, Operating Systems Group, takes stage.

Announcing two things:
1. Windows Phone 8.1
2. Windows 8.1 Update

Prestigo phone.

Growing ecosystem for phone: htc, nokia, lg, Samsung, presigio, zte, Lenovo, Karbonn, Huawei, Gionee

8:42 AM
New action center. Nice looking. Lock screen personalization. Highly interactive. Background images for tiles as previously leaked. Looks cool.

8:45 AM
Cortana. Awesome. Glad they stuck with the name. Very cool.

8:47 AM
Cortana looks like a hit. Personalized digital assistance. Think Siri and Google now combined.

8:50 AM
Cortana notebook -- a way to personalize Cortana: interests, remind me, quiet hours, inner circle, places, music searches, settings.

Looks like he is holding a 1520. Could it be the giveaway?

8:59 AM
"Wake me up at 7:00 AM tomorrow"

"What is on my calendar for Saturday?"

"Put dentist appointment on my calendar for Friday August 1st at 10:00 AM"

She knows previous context.

Cortana in beta.

9:05 AM
Type or talk with Cortana.

Cortana has people reminders.
"Next time I talk with my sister, ask her about her new puppy."

Cortana has integration with other apps. Very interesting to me.

9:14 AM
Cortana is the first truly digital assistant.

Nick Hedderman, Senior Product Manager, Windows.

Showing off policy control for Windows Phone 8.1 for corporate users.

Enhancements to the Windows Store:
+ Featured apps
+ For you (personalized suggestions)
+ Categories (same as on Windows 8)
+ List

New calendar:
+ Weather
+ Swipe right to get to next day
+ Other views: week view with day expansion
+ 3rd party API

Improved performance

WiFi Sense

Storage Sense

9:25 AM
Word flow keyboard now for Windows 8.1. Shape writing. Looks good.

Now worlds fastest keyboard.

Available to consumers next for months.


Available on brand new phones late April.

"For all of you developer... Have to wait for David Tredwell."

9:40 AM
Universal Windows apps. WinRT is now on phones.

GridView control that works across different form factors.

9:44 AM
Universal apps are based on WinRT. Same way as for Windows 8 apps: C#/XAML, Javascript/HTML, C/C++ XAML/Direct X

9:48 AM
Update to VS 2013 that allows one to develop universal apps.

9:55 AM
Store apps are now 50x faster through process.

10:04 AM
100's of new features added to Windows Phone 8.1
+ Triggers for background tasks

Cortana's complex grammar capability is now at our disposal. Very cool. XML.

10:11 AM
Side-loaded apps now seem to have access to all of Windows and .NET capabilities.

Great for enterprise apps.

Has to be wrapped in a windows runtime component.

10:15 AM
3rd major theme. Enabling cross-platform apps.

Going to announce Xamarin acquisition?

Cross-platform frameworks.

WinJS now open-source and available across platforms: web, phone, windows modern UI apps

10:20 AM
Windows 8.1 update available on MSDN today.
VS 2013 update 2 RC available today.
Windows phone 8.1 preview available today.

10:24 AM
Now talking about future roadmap.

Universal apps running on Xbox One in future.

10:42 AM
New start screen for desktop users. Has live tiles too.

10:43 AM
Jeez. Free Xbox one to everyone in the office.

$500 gift card to the Microsoft store.

I totally guessed wrong.

10:49 AM
Announcing Nokia Lumia 930.

Wireless charging for 930.

630 has great price point $189 for most expensive with dual sim.

11:17 AM
Satya answering questions. Doesn't look like Xamarin will be acquired. Looks like I owe Mike Kush $5.

11:20 AM
The closing is coming. Is there one more thing?

11:25 AM
Bizspark program. 75,000 startups leveraged it.

Build platforms...

11:30 AM
That's a wrap for the keynote. Heading for lunch then sessions. Plan to attend the Xamarin party tonight.

1:31 PM
Unboxing won't be the same since Xbox and gift card.

3:39 PM
Hall 1A: Super long line for Ander's TypeScript talk.

4:00 - 5:00 [Session] Anders Hejlsberg on TypeScript
He's a tech rock start -- no doubt. Used his Turbo Pascal compiler -- a very long time ago. It was lightening fast and affordable.

Top 10 Reasons why TypeScript will be widely adopted that I wrote when it was initially announced in 2012.

Now 1.0.

TypeScript uses "Structural Typing" also known as "Duck Typing." If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.

5:25 PM: We're all connected...
Luckily, ran into a couple of people that I know since surrounded by 5,000 people that I don't know. Appu Saigal, a minimalist designer that helped me question dogma, and Jeremy Ruggaber now at www.match.com. Jeremy and I worked on the BMW redesign at www.bmwusa.com and financial services integration together. Both guys are the best of the best.

Going to Katanya for noodles, then Xamarin party at 8:30 PM. Might post some photos of Xamarin party. I guess there is still a chance for the Microsoft acquisition announcement tomorrow during Scott Gu's keynote in the morning. If not, I lose $5 to Mike Kush. Knew it was a risky prediction.

5:37 PM
Was completely wrong about the giveaway. Microsoft gave away an Xbox One and a $500 gift certificate at Microsoft store to buy whatever device you prefer. I already used my cert to get the high reviewed Nokia 1520 -- a beautiful (6" phablet) Windows phone.

This is my second Xbox One, but very grateful and my daughter even more since it will go upstairs with her. She's used Windows a year before it came out. I don't think that anyone is ruling out the possibility of computer science degree for her.

I really thought that they would giveaway a phone since Build is focused on the release of Windows Phone 8.1 this year, but ultimately I guess it was a giveaway for me.

6:44 PM
Best Ramen at Katanya's. If Ramen noodles tasted this good in college, I would have never left. Very small place but always a wait.


8:30 PM
Clean demo area connected to dev challenge. Nice lighting. Casual but great Kinect 2 out front. Tech girl in sound proof box asking questions to Cortana -- well done.

8:38 PM
Poor photographer, but shows dimensions of Nokia 1520 against a larger display. Beautiful glass. 1080p.

8:55 PM
Line for Xbox. Normally I would be trying to assist the line, but this is the front of the line.

9:25 PM Xamarin Party
Captured best moment. Talked security guy to get a photo with a guy with Marvel potential. The freak show begins -- not completely unlike Comi-con. 

 //build/ 2014: expectations and predictions (#bldwin)

//build/ 2014 is the fourth build event from Microsoft (April 2 - 4). Like last year, Build is being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Despite never having a real agenda for the conference, build always sells out fast; last year within a few hours.

Why attend Build?

Each Build that I have attended (2011 and 2013) has been a week of fun — the best ever. Build gives me a week to come up for air to learn new technologies, share ideas, get new gear, and attend a few parties. Ultimately, it is a geek week for me. The key: fall in love with your work.

My expectations and predictions for Build 2014
The expectations and predictions below are based on the same information that you have available: tech news and previous conferences.


Satya Nadella Vision Keynote 
First keynote for Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO and a true tech geek, will be about his vision for Microsoft. Beware: the geeks are running Microsoft again. Looking forward to it. This new vision should include mobile first and cloud first as a big part of the strategy.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 Released 
Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be released at Build initially to at least MSDN subscribers (Source).

Windows Phone 8.1 
Windows Phone 8.1 is going to be a big part of Build 2014.

Cortana is named after one of the main characters, an A.I., in the Halo game series. Originally, Cortana was the codename for Satoria knowledge repository powered by Bing, but it seems that the name will remain. I really like the name and that it associates some Xbox cool with Windows Phone. Perhaps, I will have her call me Master Chief and post some recordings of her in the live blog of Build 2014 for Halo fans.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 Download
Likely available to MSDN subscribers for the first few days, then soon after available via Windows Store. It is free.

SQL Server 2014 
Including big data enhancements (SourceSource)


One additional expectation: do not expect all of these predictions to be true. :-)

Microsoft announces the acquisition of Xamarin 
Perhaps, I am projecting what I really want to happen and it will only be a co-marketing and integration deal; either will be good for C# developers and give momentum to a great cross-platform development approach that is already a great solution (Source).

One example: asynchronous design and programming is the next software development paradigm shift in my view, and no other language supports it better than C#. I will be attending the Xamarin/Microsoft event next Wednesday evening at Mezzazine and blogging some of the details. See "Live blogging of Build 2014" section for more details.

Anders Hejlsjberg said about Xamarin last year at Build, “I’m a great fan of their work." Xamarin could really fit with Microsoft's new mobile and cloud first strategy. We should also hear more about the strategy at Build.

Visual Studio 2014 Preview
Developers will get a preview of Visual Studio 2014. The Visual Studio team now has yearly major releases. One of the big enhancements for VS 2014 will be Roslyn (a rewrite of the C# and VB compilers in C# instead of C++ — enabling not only dynamic compilation, but also more meta-capabilities for the future). It could be too early, but we will see.

Windows 9 Roadmap 
The roadmap for Windows 9 will be provided likely from Satya Nadella. No bits will be provided. I predict that Microsoft will go deeper this year into the strategy compared to previous Builds.

C# 6.0  / C# 7.0 
Expect C# 6.0 to be available along with Roslyn via VS 2014 CTP and vision for C# 7.0 presentation by Anders Hejlsjberg.

JavaScript / TypeScript for Windows Phone Development
We should see Windows Phone becoming much more common with WinRT including JavaScript/HTML bindings that we have today with WinRT.

Xbox One Development Kit
We should expect to see the software development kit for Xbox One with more in common with WinRT and Windows Phone. WinRT (Modern UI), Windows Phone, and Xbox One with more common API Platforms are more common — hopefully, with a simple developer licensing model.

Giveaway Predictions
Microsoft has a long tradition of treating developers well. Microsoft understands developers are key to its current and future success. The emphasis on developers should only increase with Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO and a true tech geek.

Code is real, it runs the world, and it helps to have good gear and tools to create it. Even if you are not that materialistic, it is still all about the gear.

Previous Build Giveaways 

Build 2011: Quad-core 11.6" Samsung tablet running a preview release of Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11
Build 2012: Surface RT and Windows Phone
Build 2013Surface Pro and Acer Iconia W3

This year, I predict that the giveaway will include a phone and Surface. Given the expected focus on Windows Phone 8.1 (blue) and the Nokia acquisition, a Nokia phone should be included in the giveaway. Previous Build conferences have included a tablet in the giveaway so makes it likely this year as well.

2014 Phone Giveaway Predictions

#1 Nokia Lumia 930
Rumored to be a slightly larger version of the Lumia Icon and international (Source)
#2 Lumia 1520
Lumia 1520 is a 6" phone; with a phone like this, there is much less of a need for an 8" tablet; just a phone and a large tablet
#3 Lumia 929
Currently available but built for Windows phone 8.1

2014 Surface Giveaway Predictions

#1 Surface Pro 2
Not likely to have LTE
#2 Surface Mini
Microsoft's rumored 7-8" surface. More likely to be released in June; otherwise, I would have made this #1 prediction, but rumors indicate a later launch.
#3 Surface Book
A long rumored 13-14" ultra-book addition to the surface line.

While I correctly predicted the giveaways for Build 2011 and 2013, a possible upset to this year's prediction could be some larger announcement and giveaway from Nokia via Microsoft — a wearable for example. Granted any combination would be fantastic as a conference attendee, my preference would the Lumia 1320 and Surface Book, although seems the least likely to happen given supply chains. One thing is for sure: it would be nice to get a phone with Windows 8.1 pre-loaded since it will take a while for the carriers to push updates. I could be cool for a couple of weeks at least within a small group.

See you at Build 
Look forward to seeing you at Build. If you are not attending, check out my upcoming live blog of Build 2014 below.

Live blogging of Build 2014 
This year, I will be live blogging keynotes, giveaway unboxing, sessions, parties, and more.  I will provide links to key streams and resources for you as well. You can follow the live blog at pursuit of great design. I am excited and ready.


Update: Microsoft just posted the agenda via Channel 9. It validates the expectation that WinRT will be available for Windows Phone 8.1.

Screw best practices and dogma

The term "best practice" is naïve, condescending, and quite dangerous. Why? Because it implies it can get no better and used regardless of your context or situation. You (and your team) live in a temporal context. Given your context, some practices are helpful and some are harmful. If you think about it, best practices do not even exist.

What should you embrace instead of best practices? Certainly consider practice patterns. A practice pattern is a practice that only makes sense in a particular context for a reason. Know your context and your practices will become clearer. The same is true for design patterns and you would not blindly use a design pattern no matter the context.


Dogma is a set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

5 problems with dogma (and principles)
1. Like best practices a design principle leaves no room for improvement and only makes sense in a context.

2. Combining design principles often works against your real and honest goals. 

3. Design principles are often in conflict, which can only increase complexity. 

4. Design principles come with a downside. This also reveals the truth about dogma: dogma lays down negatives as incontrovertible truth.

5. Design principles that worked in the past will not necessarily work in the future. Dogmas eventually collapse.

Why is dogma even more dangerous than best practices?
Dogma is even more dangerous, because dogma is much harder to refute, and teams can base even more value on dogma since it is an entire set of principles driving an entire architecture. Challenge one principle and you challenge the dogma and architecture as a whole.

"Don't be trapped by dogma --which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."

Steve Jobs (1955 - 2012)

What should you embrace instead of dogma?
Simply embrace design rationale and empirical data:

      A is important, so we chose B, accepting downside C.

Design Teams
Design teams can easily be locked in best practices and dogma. These often times divide a team in dysfunctional and irrational ways. Blindly following the dogma while losing sight of core goals.

Empirically, I have seen some of the most successful (and profitable) teams refute best practices and dogma, so there has to be something to it.

The main point: any design team should challenge best practices and dogma. As Alan Kay said, "Point of view is worth 80 IQ points."

In my view, best practices and dogma do not lead to great design  more often, they lead to poor over-abstracted design which can be even worse than an under-abstracted design.


[Build 2013]

What to expect at Build 2013 (#bldwin)? Knowns and unknowns.

What is Build?

Build is a Microsoft conference that started in 2011 that replaces the PDC (Programmers Developer Conference), and combines MIX. The main idea: combine developers, designers, and hardware partners to create a new platform and a unified ecosystem around Windows 8 and related technologies. Build 2013 is the third in the series.

I live blogged Build in 2011 when Windows 8 developer preview was unveiled at event live. This year I will be live blogging keynotes, giveaway unboxing, hackathon, sessions, parties, and more. You can follow the live blog here.

What do we know about Build 2013?

The following have been announced for Build 2013 and available to everyone:
  • Windows 8.1 preview: available June 26 (Windows 8 and RT)
    • Boot to desktop
    • Start button
    • You will have to install and update that makes it 8.1 appear in the store
  • Visual Studio 2013 (Blue) preview
  • Outlook RT preview
  • SQL Server 2012 R2
  • SQL Server 2014 (Blue) preview

    What do we not know about Build 2013? 

    Like many other developer conferences such as WWDC and Google I/O, we do not even know what keynotes and sessions will be provided and who will be speaking. In a way, developers sign up blindly for these conferences.

    Keynote Predictions

    The keynotes will likely include the following people:
    • Steve Balmer, CEO
    • Jensen Harris, Director of Program Management
    • Julie Larson-Green, VP Windows
    • Tami Reller, Chief Marking Officer, and CFO, Windows
    • Satya Nadell, President Server & Tools Business
    • Joe Belfiore, VP Windows Phone Program Management
    • Terry Myerson, VP Windows Phone Division

    Will Larry Elson make an appearance since a new partnership will be announced on Monday? Doubtful. Bill Gates? Doubtful.

    Session Predictions

    There will likely be sessions around the following topics:

    Windows 8.1 (Blue) including new APIS {link}, Azure, Xbox One,  MVC, .NET 5.0, Entity Framework, TypeScript, MVC, SQL Server 2014, and WPF. Like previous years, there will be sessions for hardware, drivers.

    I wonder if there will be Xamarin sessions -- probably unlikely but we could be surprised.

    Giveaway Predictions

    Microsoft has a long tradition of treating developers well. As Steve Balmer says, "Developers, developers, developers." Microsoft understands developers are key to its current and future success.

    Microsoft has given away tablets at the last two Builds in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, they gave away a quad-core 11.6" Samsung tablet running a preview release of Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11. In 2012, they gave away a Surface RT and Windows Phone. Since they gave out a Surface RT last year, it would be an unlikely giveaway this year since many of the same people attend. Here are the predictions in order of likelihood (all will be running Windows 8.1 preview).

    Prediction #1: Surface Pro and Acer Iconia 8-inch tablet
    This one is the most likely since it is based on recent rumors (Source).

    Prediction #2: Surface UltraBook
    Microsoft is due for the next rev of their Surface line. There is a rumor that they will have a 13" and 15" Surface Pro Book similar to the MacBook air except with touch. The attractive one for developers (Source). I am hoping for this one, but probably not due out until later this year.

    Prediction #3: Surface Pro 2
    The Surface Pro 2 line is expected to include a 7-8" tablet, 11", and potentially a 14" tablet. Again, this is probably due out later in the year so more unlikely to be the giveaway (Source).

    What to bring?

    • Energy: You are going to need it. 

    • Laptop: Even if you do not plan to be competitive in the hackathon, bring your laptop. This way, you can experiment with Windows 8.1 and related technologies between sessions and interact with other developers and Microsoft engineers. It is a cool scene (from a developer's perspective). Dinner and late-night snacks will apparently be provided.

    • Layered Clothing: San Francisco has microclimates. Warm in the city and quite cold by the water this time of year.  The temperature can vary by 5 degrees Fahrenheit just from block to block.

    Follow the keynotes, sessions, giveaway unboxing, hackathon, parties, and more here. Live posts to follow with a promised real and unique perspective.

    Enjoy. Hope to see you there.

    [Build 2013] Day 1: Keynote, sessions, giveaway, & hackathon

    [7:05:AM PST]

    Getting ready for day 1 of Build 2013. Day 1 is always the best. It has all the announcements in the keynote. Check back at 9:00 AM PST for live details.

    Check expectations here.

    [8:23 AM PST]

    Keynote line

    8:48 People filing in.
    Finally seated.
    9:04 keynote is running late. Bandwidth is quite bad. 

    Keynote starting

    6000 attendees. Lots to show.

    9:13 The new norm: rapid release. 

    9:14 http://preview.windows.com

    9:15 Balmer says attendees will get an Acer 8" tablet

    9:18 Workhorse two in one tablet. Thinking he might announce Surface 2

    9:22 Apps rising: Clipboard, Facebook, NFL Fantasy Football

    9:26 Refined blend: Desktop/Modern

    9:27 As expected, adding start button and boot to desktop

    9:30 Julie Larson Green coming out

    9:31 She's talking about 8.1 changes such as keyboard gestures. Very cool. 

    9:35 Updates to modern apps. Looks much more powerful. Nice. 

    9:38 Nice, powerful, on the fly pretty app, bing results

    9:40 Dell all in one 27"

    9:41 Skype call with Jensen Harris -- great designer

    9:43 SkyDrive and picture editing built into 8.1

    9:44 All built in apps have been improved and new ones

    9:45 Touch less gestures 

    9:46 Much smoother transition from desktop to start

    9:47 Any size split and multiple apps on the screen. Now metro on multiple monitors

    9:48 Star screen much tighter. New PowerPoint looks sharp

    9:50 8.1 upgrade is free as expected

    9:54 Now Visual Studio can monitor and diagnose battery usage

    9:56 Better debug support for async. Preserves a sync call stack

    9:59 Wizard for push notifications

    10:02 Windows store enhancements: apps updated automatically, better organized, better merchandising

    10:05 Improvements on the desktop: multi-monitor with different resolutions

    10:08 8.1 now supports 3D printing natively

    10:15 New PCs and tablets: Samsung  12 he's on single charge. Showing Lenovo detachable, Acer touch laptop under $400, Dell with 18 he's battery arm under $400

    10:18 Julie Larson Green giving surface Pro as giveaway too. Yeah! Crowd is going wild. Two tablets as give always. Was my #1 prediction in giveaway predictions  

    10:22 Bing now available as development platform including speech!

    10:24 Really nice but I hope there is no cost to the app to use

    10:32 OCR capabilities available too 

    10:33 New developer portal

    10:34 Apps can now have ears, eyes, and a mouth. I want to give them a brain

    10:35 Balmer back and closing. In am excited about the bing SDK. I don't think that many of the devs have grokked it yet

    10:38 Tomorrow: Azure and tools

    10:39 Project Spark is am open world digital canvas

    10:41 Available on Xbox One, 360, and Windows 8

    10:45 Cross platform gaming

    10:49 Balmer: One experience on every device

    10:50 High volume, high value

    10:51 Naturally transition of types of devices

    That's a wrap for the day 1 keynote!

    [2:00 PM PST] Hackathon

    Back at hackathon. Only about 1 in 15 developers are in it. 
    2:45 Looking forward to Anders Hejlsberg's TypeScript talk. Bet it will be crowded. 

    2:53 Exhibit hall is well done

    3:43 Got interviewed by a nice guy from Information Week

    5:19 In line for goodies. Starts at 6:00

    5:23 Now giving out ice cream, hot dogs, and more. @benheymink from England is happy about Haagen-Dazs. Making the wait more fun


    [Build 2013] Day 2

    Getting ready for Day 2. The keynote will be focused on Azure and the cloud. Yesterday, I helped a conference facilitator with her network

     connection problem. Later, she told me that she got very nervous when I started typing commands because she has tomorrow's keynote on it.

    Later I will share my unboxing photos from the giveaway. In my view, the best conference giveaway ever including a 128G Surface Pro with Type Cover and the Acer 8" with keyboard docking. Other items included 16G USB drive with all the bits, 100G free SkyDrive upgrade, and $25 Windows Phone App card (for my daughter).

    My plan for today: keynote, sessions, hackathon, and a Microsoft party at the pier. I will be live blogging the keynote today below.

    Day 2: Keynote

    8:53 Found a spot on the end so I can take some photos too

    8:58 About to start

    9:02 www.azuredevs.com

    9:03 Satya Nadella, President & Tools Business presenting: The Cloud for Modern Business

    9:06 100+ major update releases

    9:07 Diverse workloads. 50% of fortune 500 companies use Microsoft's cloud

    9:10: Azure: PaaS and Iaas. Here is why I think cloud computing is unstoppable

    9:11 Windows Azure Stack

    9:12 20% of Azure compute is IaaS

    9:15 Full async support for Entity Framework

    9:15 Scott Hanselman demoing ASP.NET

    9:16 Now just one ASP.NET project; not a separate MVC or WebForms project

    9:17 Now you can have more than one default browser such as IE and Chrome; when launched show up in VS

    9:21 Visual Studio 2013 now supports a peek feature; it will just throw up a method for viewing

    9:22 It feels wrong to me to have the solution explorer on the right; every other IDE has it on the left; the left  edge is important -- left to right

    9:23 I know you -- easily changed

    9:26 CSS editor; hover now shows which browser supports which feature; applause

    9:28 Using Azure incremental publish

    9:29 Satya back

    9:30 130,000+ Azure web sites

    9:31 GA of Windows Azure web sites

    9:31 Visual Studio 2013 + .NET 4.5.1 Previews

    9:32 Windows Azure Mobile Services: provides an easy way to build out a back end for mobile devices (including Android and iOS)

    9:33 Josh Twist now demoing mobile services

    9:35 It is easy

    9:38 20,000+ Windows Azure mobile services

    9:40 New server explorer in 2013

    9:45 Scott Gu takes stage -- VP Windows Azure

    9:46 Talking about scale -- Skype

    9:47 And peak capacity; Skype > 40% cost savings

    9:46 Autoscale now baked into Windows Azure

    9:49 Looks really nice; you can put upper thresholds and triggers

    9:50 Per minute billing and will shutdown based on limits; this is nice for the little guy especially

    9:51 Autoscale available today (I do love Azure -- an OS of OSs)

    9:52 Talking identity; Active Directory in the cloud; on premise AD can be synchronized into the cloud

    9:59 SaS apps can be easily added such as ADP, Concur, Yammer, DocDesign, even Google Apps. All with single sign-on with AD

    10:03 3.2 Million business; 68 million active users synced AD

    10:04 Aaron Levie, co-founder + CEO box

    10:05 He's not doing well

    10:08 Integration (in my view, the most difficult part of software development)

    10:10 B2B EDI processing in the cloud; EA integration; integrate SaaS apps with on-premise systems

    10:20 B2B bridges -- important but not too sexy

    10:27 Office 365

    10:33 Some nice new features for CI in VS

    10:38 Getting some strange errors in IE 11

    10:39 DOM Explorer in IE11 looks incredible powerful

    10:48 Adobe cloud free for one year for attendees

    10:54 Bing as a platform

    10:55 A lot of new apps coming to the phone including mint, viper,  today

    10:56 60 day registration for $19 to develop Windows phone apps -- the summer of apps

    10:58 More open source

    11:02 Unity integration -- mobile services plug-in

    11:04 Partnership with Unity/Microsoft -- have the ability to ship in MS stores

    11:05 $100K contest

    11:06 More games available today -- Monsters University, etc.

    11:07 Halo 4 is so cool; used azure to handle the live multi-player backend

    That's another wrap. Heading to Hackathon!


    Totally packed today. Can't find a table.

    Got to check out an 80" Pixel Sense. Missed it yesterday.
    Would be great for the command center, but would definitely blow out the budget at $22K.

    The Giveaway from yesterday

    Here are some snapshots from the gift bag from yesterday. The Surface Pro is beautiful. The Acer's screen is not very crisp and the overall design is lacking, but should make a great test device. The smaller form factor is great, but this design does not compare to something like the Nexus 7". In defense of Acer, they had a great little touch Ultrabook for $399 in the exhibit. Would definitely recommend the Ultrabook.

    Very nice packaging for the Surface Pro

    The Surface Pro 128G. Great display 1920x1080

     Acer Iconia W3 side-by-side with Nexus 7. The Iconia W3's display and build quality just does not compare to the Nexus 7. The Iconia might be the first, but doubtfully the best for long.

    One nice thing about the Acer is that it attaches to the keyboard with screen side down to protect it.

    Got Windows 8.1 installed on both last night. Would have posted these last night, but my got texted a few times that I should go out to see the city.

    The Surface Pro will probably become my day-to-day machine. Even though it is much smaller than I am used to, the display is beautiful and crisp. Using a USB 3.0 docking station, you can attach up to 3 1920x1080 displays.

    Party at the pier

    Chilling in the exhibit hall before the party.

    The party is at a cool venue just south of AT&T Park. Food trucks. Very industrial. Going to have a band?

    Approximately 2 orders of magnitude of guys to girls like most build parties not that it matters to me, but it is still strange

    Might be 3 orders of magnitude. But still interesting people. Trying to inspire devs as usual. 

    Finally made some friends that understand my jokes. They are the only cops here. I think they can handle it.

    The most intelligent person that I have met so far was at the party is Gina. She is strong, confident, and intelligent. The qualities that I hoped for when my daughter was born (my daughter has them too). I guess it is not "how many", but which ones. I hope she sends me a linked-in invitation.

    The Microsoft party was a blast.

    [Build 2013] Day 3: Final day

    The final day of Build 2013. Just some sessions today until 3:00. There is some amazing hardware at the exhibit hall. I really like the larger screens. This could be the $399 ultrabook from Acer. If so, a great machine for $399.

    More to follow today.

    Here is where I used to work a long time ago: Post & Market. The Net with Sandra Bullock was filmed there and surrounding streets. A Lexus commercial too (where a Lexus SUV drove up the side of the building).

    Got to get some Dim Sum today at Yank Sing -- the best (but expensive).

    Here is a link to the video of the keynotes and sessions: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013

    It takes them about 24 hours to get the sessions ready for download so a day behind.

    Lots of 3D printers around in the exhibit hall since native support now in Windows 8.1.

    Exhausted, but made the most of Build 2013. I will update will resource links once I recover.

    UpdateVideo and slides for Build 2013 keynotes and sessions.

    I am really enjoying the Surface Pro giveaway. It has now become my primary machine. The build quality is excellent. I am even impressed with the cabling and accessories.

    During the hackathon and judging, Microsoft supplied many touch displays to attach to the Surface for demoing. Interacting with them changed my plans for the command center. Instead of dual panels for each workstation, I decided for one large touch display. I chose the highly rated Acer T232. The current street price is $449 and will certainly get cheaper. Really loving it. The larger the display, the more fun to touch.

    The touch display standard requires that you connect to the display via HDMI, DVI, or VGA. I chose the mini display port to HDMI adapter to connect (so that it transmits sound too). In addition, it requires you to connect a USB cable (for transmitting the touch information). 

    Here is one of my workstations with the Surface Pro driving it. Also bought another Apple keyboard.