Altabel Group's Blog

Archive for May 2011

Computer software giant Microsoft has bought Skype, which is currently the world’s largest phone company for international calls via the internet, hosting a quarter of all international phone calls last year. With a giant corporation such as Microsoft now in charge, we can expect to see the integration of Skype into many of Microsoft’s software packages, with the aim to bring even greater inter-connectivity between a single user and the whole world.

And what else?

«I feel that we’ll see the end of MSN Messenger as it now on the Windows platform, it will be re-worked into Skype. On the Mac platform, I expect that Microsoft will keep the product going as it is now, as its well established product and has a very good name and it will also be added into the Office for Mac for suite within time.»
Neil Hobbs
Microsoft Infrastructure/Solutions Architect

«Most likely, Microsoft will integrate Skype in to IE through bing and make calls free or give free subscription for a certain time to all the new customers who buy office or Windows or other product licenses. Other thing they might look in to is integrating Skype in to Xbox and introduces better video calling in to it…»
Vivek Vemuru
MBA Candidate

«Predictions, huh? Looking at what the world is going through: the Internet it self is gonna change to keep it’s free and “unregulated” character. If I had any stocks in a regular phone company…I’d sell. All regular communication providers are doubling the costs for 24/7 data transfer at the moment. MS is not investing in cables and masts. A few satellites will pay off. Making a wireless Internet. Suited for mobile devices and humans to go cyborg. Augmented reality is here to stay. Skype to MS is just a small part of the coming changes. Futurists taking over the world:-)»
Nay Lin Maung
Student at the Silicon Valley

«Pitch 1
– For every Microsoft Office license purchased, get $10 credit worth of Skype free
Pitch 2
– Buy $1m or more in Microsoft Dynamics licenses, get a lifetime access to Skype
Pitch 3
– Skype sponsors FIFA matches, Microsoft plants cookies in every TV in the world
Pitch 4
– Buy $10m or more in Microsoft Dynamics licenses, you get the actual company Skype
Pitch 5
– Hold on to Skype for 2 years, re-sell it to EBay for $2.6bn after a huge write-off or trade it to Cisco for FLIP»
Alvin Hosanna
at IDC Asia/Pacific

«An exodus of most of the top line talent and coders. Most of these guys work for entrepreneurs, and will not work for a stifling corporate culture like exists at MS in Redmond.
Lack of support for Android and iPhone.
Slower development cycle.»
Greg Poulos
Audiovisual services for Corporate Events

In my opinion, the news that Microsoft has bought Skype could be just the start of an exciting new visionary future in inter-world communication.

BR,
Kristina
Altabel Group

Mac or PC? Who is winning the battle? I gathered some information from LI professionals and would like to share it with you.

«I would say Windows is still dominating, especially in the business world. Mac is a great platform but lacks some of the flexibility of Windows. This debate could go round and round but it comes down to feel. I personally like the feel of Windows but would rather not deal with the spam and security loopholes. Mac feels tighter but is a bit more challenging to customize or extend if the software doesn’t exist already. My take on it is, I love my Windows XP Pro laptop for work and I love my iPhone 4 I think they are both brilliant. So maybe combining both systems in the short run is the optimum way to go. Also, I don’t believe Macs have domination in the creative market for any specific technical reason. I just tend to see creative people liking the stylish and trendy Mac look and feel, but they run the same programs like Photoshop, Aftereffects, etc on both platforms. So don’t be fooled when making your choice that for some reason using Photoshop on a Mac is far superior to using it on Windows, it’s the same…»
Mike Taylor
Senior SAP Consultant

«It depends on your needs. Mac still holds ground on creative software. If you are use to Windows or have low on budget the Windows base computers typically cheaper. I personally would be buying Mac laptop but Windows base Desktop.»
Yuliya Skripchenko
Coordinator

«I use the Windows PC for playing games, the Mac for things that require lots of reading (beautiful fonts), the MBP when I have to work at clients and to write on the balcony, the Windows PC to program (My development setup and everything is already there). PCs are cheaper and you can get higher specs for the same price, but Macs have gorgeous design and really high quality screens and don’t seem to crash too much. I’ve become really multiplatform.»
Irune Itoiz
Experienced PHP contractor

«Apple’s products are hip and fun to use, but can be very lacking in basic facilities. Especially in the business world. I guess it depends on your needs. If you’re a person using a lot of multimedia, watching a lot of movies, wants to connect your iPod to the sound system in your car, and so on, Apple products are amazingly easy to use and compatible with each other. However, for technical people, it has a lot of limitations. I’m a software developer working mostly with .NET technology. For starters, I can’t even use a lot of applications I need daily without running some sort of virtualization which enabled me to run Windows on an Apple machine (which is hypocritical in the first place if you ask me). Then there’s pricing. It still baffles me how a perfectly fine laptop from, let’s say, HP or Asus, is twice as cheap as a Macbook variant with the exact same hardware specifications. If a Macbook or iMac breaks (which DOES happen, I’ve seen it too many times), no way in the world you’re going to be able to fix it yourself. You’ll be relying on an often tiring customer service process which may even cost you a lot of money, should your warranty be expired. And last, but not least: bugs, viruses and security holes. Aside from my early computer days in the Windows 3.11 and a bit later the Windows 95 eras when I was little, I’ve yet to get my first virus in Windows. It’s a matter of usage. True, Macs might be EASIER to use than Windows. It depends on the person using it. I’ve fixed too many computer which were infected with spyware, malware and even viruses, simply because its users open every stupid e-mail they get, download and open everything they see and click that ‘Execute’ / ‘Trust’ / ‘OK’ button a little bit too often for comfort. Yes, there are vastly more malicious programs for Windows machines, but that’s only because its creators know that it’s the biggest audience. Should the market share of Mac users ever grow steadily, OSX too will become a more tempting target for virus writers.»
Leroy Gerrits
Managing Director

«As a professional web developer, I have to say Windows. In order to best serve all of our clients I use Windows 7 as my main OS. I am the most flexible developer in our shop and can perform the most tasks. Not to mention my PC is many times more powerful and reliable compared to everyone else’s iMac. When something goes wrong with my PC I can fix it cheaply and quickly, something you can’t really do with a Mac. If you look at it objectively, PCs are light years ahead of Macs. Macs are for fan boys and posers. There is nothing in a Mac that makes them “better at multimedia”. And people, please stop saying Macs don’t get viruses, that is completely inaccurate and you are just making yourself look foolish.»
Chris Putnam
Web Developer

In my opinion this question really only has one answer: consumers. With that being said, what is your favorite? Who do you think is winning? I’d love to hear your comments!

BR,
Kristina
Altabel Group

Decompiler is a must-have tool for .NET developers. For quite long time Reflector has been a point of choice for the vast majority of .NET community. Initially, Red Gate promised to keep the product free. However, they implemented a registration process that required you to give them your email and other information in order to download the product. Moreover, the product seemed to time out after a while, requiring you to download the latest version, ensuring that Red Gate had your latest information J. And now the product has become a paid-for one. While costs start at pretty reasonable $35, some folks are missing the cool resource they once had.

Naturally as demand creates supply new players on the stage appear, and this is where .NET development community owes a word of thanks to Red Gate – all that happens is for the best J: “Their moves with Reflector have kicked the .NET dev ant hill and have caused a wave of development”, in particular JetBrains and Telerik have stepped up and released free .NET Decompilers. So seems like developers “mourning” the loss of the free .NET Reflector may definitely stop doing so J.

Currently JetBrains’ dotPeek is rapidly gaining popularity among the geeks. Moreover, they are open to any suggestions and actively collect feedbacks on what their target audience is willing to see in the product. Many foresee that while Reflector is continuously losing its ground dotPeek may soon claim to become Reflector’s substitute, and if the quality of dotPeek is equally good then RedGate Reflector will soon be forgotten.

So, what’s cool about dotPeek:
-decompiling .NET 1.0-4.0 assemblies to C#,
-quick jump to a specific type, assembly, symbol, or type member,
-effortless navigation to symbol declarations, implementations, derived and base symbols, and more,
-accurate search for symbol usages with advanced presentation of search results,
-overview of inheritance chains,
-support for downloading code from source servers,
-syntax highlighting,
-complete keyboard support,
-it’s free.

Those who already tried it out say: “Just the navigation around with R# like shortcuts is worth trying it… Or surprisingly adequate decompiling even of non-C# code…Or much better interface than in Telerik’s decompiler…”

Also it looks like many things are planned to be added further based on developers’ claims:
-integration with VS 2008-2010,
-inclusion into ReSharper 6 and up,
-debug based on decompiled code,
-possibility of IL-code viewing,
-possibility of renaming of decompiled classes, methods, properties as it’s possible in IDA, etc.

And what would you like to see in the list?

Been released the first, JustDecompile byTelerik offers the following in beta:
-innovative code navigation and analysis,
-side-by-side assembly loading,
-better decompiling accuracy,
-powerful free tool by a leading commercial vendor,
-auto-updating and regular updates,
-professional Support,
-it’s free.

One more that looks very promising is ILSpy, which is open-source and provide the following possibilities:
-assembly browsing,
-IL Disassembly,
-decompilation to C#,
-supports lambdas and ‘yield return’,
-saving of resources,
-search for types/methods/properties (substring),
-hyperlink-based type/method/property navigation,
-base/derived types navigation,
-navigation history,
-BAML to XAML decompiler,
-save assembly as C# Project,
-find usage of field/method,
-extensible via plugins (MEF).

Besides the abovementioned main players there are even more options that include products such as Dotnet IL Editor and Monoflector and others.

Have you already tried them out? What is your choice and why?

One thing is obvious – Reflector is definitely losing, even its loyal fans. So far according to many .NET guys dotPeek is a leader. As the French say: “Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!” But let’s see how the game will go J.

Look forward to hearing your comments.

BR, Helen
Altabel Group
Software development services

There is quite much rush about Team Foundation Server: some say it rocks, others think it sucks. Recently one interesting issue has been widely discussed in .Net community:
the next TFS (TFS 11) will be ported to the Azure architecture so TFS could be seen as a cloud service.

Some predict: “…just imagine how easy it will be to
– Install TFS (20 sec will be the time needed to activate the service)
– have TFS able to scale to hundreds and thousands of developers
– have TFS available to any developer in the world. Regardless of the countries where your teams are, they will all have access to the same TFS “
Sounds to be “pure good” :)

Others object: “ Yeah, right …
… and all of your sources become suddenly the property of who knows who.”

Opponents claim: “The data in the Microsoft cloud (Azure) are not the property of Microsoft but a platform you can use. It’s up to you to decide the best way to support your activity, if moving TFS to the cloud is a good option, then you should do it”.

And what’s your point here? Will it become popular or is it just a buzz topic to talk over?

Look forward to hearing your comments.

BR, Helen
Altabel Group
Software development services

The concept of a cloud as the paradigm for abstracting the complexity within traditional data center operations and computing began with network administrators. They used a cloud metaphor to document the details of large local and wide area networks. Therefore, the cloud metaphor was used to show abstraction from physical or logical resources within a datacenter or throughout an organization. This is an apt metaphor for one of the enabling technologies of the cloud: virtualization.

We know the concept of cloud computing is not new. During the frantic days of the dotcom era, many startups that wished to provide goods and services over the Internet could not afford to build the required infrastructure to provide those services. This need caused a dramatic surge in new offerings by other startups. These companies embraced the entrepreneurial spirit by providing outsourced services for IT. They were dubbed as SaaS (software/storage as a service) providers or application service providers (ASPs). Those were heady days, and many of the large hardware and software vendors joined the party.

Then the bubble burst. Many of the over-leveraged small startups that provided goods and services over the Internet went out of business. The demand for outsourced infrastructure, application and network services dropped dramatically as the economy shrank. The small Internet providers whose sole revenue stream was advertising folded. Those who invested heavily in ASP and SaaS providers lost their shirts, as many of the companies also went under.

The moral of the story here is the concept of utility/service/cloud-based computing was a good one, but the business model was too fragile. And today, the cloud’s time has finally come. Have any thoughts why?

Please find the full text of the article at Computerworld.

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group


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