Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Archive for July 2009

Windows Live and Office converge

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Techcrunch have posted an overview of Microsoft Office 2010 which is due to be announced later today and as you would expect from TechCrunch it talks a lot about the new Office Web Applications which is basically Excel/Word/Powerpoint hosted in a browser. Their interest is warranted, Office Web Apps is by far the most intriguing part of Office 2010.

One particular quote from the article grabbed my attention:

Office Web applications will be available … through Windows Live, where consumers will have access to Office Web applications at no cost

Wow, if that’s true then its a great leap forward. Many people (including myself) have complained about Microsoft’s various web applications saying that they are too disconnected, that they don’t integrate together. One of the popular examples put forward to support that point of view has been the fact that the current Office Live Workspaces service didn’t allow you to save documents in Windows Live SkyDrive. I suspect that will change with the advent of Office Web Applications.

Time to look into my rather murky crystal ball and speculate as to what other goodies await us in the consumer market:

Admittedly this is a mix of predictions and a wishlist and is all pure speculation. I have no access to information other than what is available in the public domain so take this with the pinch of salt that it deserves.


UPDATE: This video from Robert Scoble with Office GPM Chris Bryant :

Powerpoint broadcast

explains how we will be able to broadcast Powerpoint presentations from our desktop to the web via Windows Live! Cool!.

Quote from Chris: “the web applications will have a Technical preview later this summer on top of Windows Live”. Even more intriguing!

Update 2: Another Windows Live nugget from Chris Bryant. In the following video he says: “this [Excel spreadsheet] is publishable to Excel Services running on top of Sharepoint or eventually on top of Windows Live” (fast forward to about 5m10s):

Office Web Apps


Update 3:

“Office Web applications will be available … through Windows Live, where more than 400 million consumers will have access to Office Web applications at no cost” – http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2009/jul09/07-13Office2010WPCPR.mspx

Update 4:

My suspicion about SkyDrive from the top of this blog post has been confirmed:

“This iteration of Office brings great collaboration tools and a web client that you’ll be able to use simply by keeping your docs up on Skydrive.”

Update 5:

A good juncture to link back to a related blog post from January of this year:

Some thoughts about the convergence of Windows Live, Office Live and Mesh


In the clubhouse: clubhouse, story, office, skydrive


Written by Jamiet

July 13, 2009 at 10:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Silverlight 3 is out, now for 4!

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Silverlight 3 has just been released to much hoopla and razzmatazz and from what I’ve heard there is a lot in the box for developers in the guise of new capabilities and performance improvements.

That’s all well and good and doubtless will make for better applications but I can’t help thinking there isn’t much in the box that I would call explicit new user features. Yes, developers can build better applications and that is obviously of benefit to users but other than being able to take applications out-of-browser there isn’t much here that users will see different from Silverlight 2.

I’m sure that will change with Silverlight 4; for example its strongly rumoured that Silverlight 4 will enable apps to interact with peripherals such as webcams and another one I heard was that right-click context menus will start to be supported. All good stuff.

There’s one feature though that I believe could be a knockout blow, namely Live Framework support!

For those that don’t know, Live Framework is a programming interface that allows a developer to interact with a sync data model called the Live Operating Environment (LOE) – it enables developers to store data from one device and have it automatically sync to any other device that the user owns. Does that sound at all familiar? If you are using Live Mesh then it should do because Live Mesh is simply an application that sits on top of LOE and it uses the Live Framework to interact with it.

So what capabilities would Live Framework support in Silverlight provide for users? Well here’s one example; Silverlight enables an application to persist data into an area called Isolated Storage, this is typically used for storing usernames and passwords to save the user from typing them in every time. Unfortunately the user has to enter those usernames/passwords on every computer on which they have the application installed which is a bit of a pain however this is exactly the sort of scenario that Live Framework is intended to alleviate. If the application developer chose to store those usernames/passwords in LOE rather than Isolated Storage then they would be available on any machine on which the application runs thus saving the user from having to type them in again. Pretty cool!

Another ability provided by the Live Framework is the ability to cache data offline and for that data caching to happen “behind the scenes”. Silverlight 3 enables applications to run offline but frankly there isn’t much use in doing this because of the miniscule amount of storage available in Isolated Storage. Imagine if your Netflix movies automatically appeared on your computer and you could watch them while offline, in Silverlight. Perhaps even on your mobile phone. That’s another capability that could be provided by the Live Framework.

Anyone on the Live Framework Technical Preview will know that we can already build Silverlight applications on top of the Live Framework however some additional steps are required – it would be much better if this support were native to Silverlight. I’m inclined to believe that this is exactly why the out-of-browser feature has appeared in Silverlight 3 – its a precursor to something much bigger and better in the future, namely the convergence of Silverlight and the Live Framework.

Here’s hoping!


Written by Jamiet

July 12, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A thought about Google Chrome OS

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The EU are caning Microsoft for bundling Internet Explorer inside Windows and they don’t accept Microsoft’s argument that the browser is now a fundamental constituent of the operating system. Doesn’t Google Chrome OS kinda negate the EU’s stance?

Like I said, just a thought.

Written by Jamiet

July 8, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized