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Let’s have some fun and make a basic assumption or two: –

    1. Today most computers are connected via Broadband (fast) internet.
    2. Many of these computers are connected from the moment you boot and login to your OS.

The paradigm of the stand-alone client desktop might still have a place in the home but with more home users having multiple computers connected via wireless routers the concept seems to be fading into obscurity.

Live

Windows Live (formerly Live.com) provides a series of services that either supplement or replace large parts of the Client OS Desktop infrastructure: –

Live service What does it do? What could it replace in Windows OS?
Live.com Login Gives user access over services / data Windows Login
Live Sync Sync: Live to one or many Computers ActiveSync and or SyncToy
Skydrive online storage: cloud hard disk My Documents
Live.com Home page Aggregation of Live services Windows Desktop
People Contacts for services and network Address Book
Mail Hotmail web or client app Outlook Express
Calendar Handling schedule / events  
Messenger Instant Messenger
Photo Gallery Create / Add / Collaborate Photos My Pictures
Movie Maker Windows Vista/ 7 Movie Suite Windows Movie Maker
Live Writer Blog publishing tool 3rd party applications
Toolbar Enables browser shortcut access to Live services
Live Favorites Favorite URLs stored under your Live account Favorites
Family Safety Permission based web experience filtering / monitoring 3rd party applications
One Care Combined safety / cleanup / tune-up tools 3rd party Antivirus / Anti-spyware or Windows Defender, Disk Cleanup, Defragmenter
Spaces Personal / shareable landing page
Office Live Workspaces (Apparently) Sharepoint like collaborative workspace for Office documents Sharing folders in Windows Explorer within a Workgroup or Domain
Live Mobile Live services via Mobile web browser with SMS enabled alerts in many countries

As you can see from the table above the list is extensive of services that are offered for free. The 3rd column in the chart "What could it replace.." is based on my belief that if Microsoft insist on branding Live services as Windows Live then the following should be true or at least optional to the Windows user: –

    1. Windows Live Services should be fully integrated into Windows Client OS – the user should have the option of selecting this integration on first installation of Windows and the services that are Live should fully replace those locally. (for example)
      1. Login to the PC should be the Live login which brings the local and Live services online.
      2. My Documents should map to the user’s Skydrive which should replicate the folder structure of local My Documents.
      3. Internet Explorer should display Live Favorites as default maintaining a synchronized local backup copy.
      4. etc.
    2. Windows should then provide a bandwidth monitoring system that moderates the proportion of bandwidth being used by Live services e.g. frequency of sync.

The key for Live to fully leverage its benefit as a core part of any Windows OS is allowing seamless collaboration and  sharing.

The user will benefit from the following: –

    1. Easy scalable shared resources.
    2. Take anywhere data, documents, settings, permissions etc.
    3. Less CPU and Memory resource usage for various services within the OS instead of which this load is placed on the Live web application server. This being Windows one can assume this is built on IIS technology.
    4. Integration between mobile devices and desktop computers.
    5. The ability for any user to create Domain / Workgroups on the fly and assign access / permissions easily.
    6. and others …

This has been an idea that has been permeating in my head for several years starting with Favorites. It was always a source of something between bemusement and frustration why your Web browser stores Favorites, Contacts or Events by default locally. To use your browser you need to be online!

What will it take for Microsoft to take this leap? The event in question may have occurred when HP purchased Palm and their proprietary Web OS. However, will the EU and other regulatory bodies see this as another opportunity to slap Microsoft with antitrust / antimonopoly lawsuits if this technology comes pre-installed as part of Windows?

webos HP

I guess if Steve Ballmer agrees with me then time will tell. Do feel free to let me know what you think; do you want your next Windows OS to be Live?

The Missus and I have been discussing the need for some rearranging in the house.

I have been shifting boxes and discovering undiscovered pockets of dust and pollen in our storage shed. However, my allergies aside we decided that some of our rearrangement would require a visit to Ikea.

Ikea is like a trip abroad for me but not just because Ikea in Netanya, Israel looks the same as Ikea in the North of England (Warrington if I remember right). For me the whole Ikea visit is a pleasure.

If you haven’t guessed let me tell you a secret I love flatpack. Not just the concept or the idea of it but the whole process of choosing, buying, getting it home and then assembly. The coffee and muffins at Ikea are just an added bonus.

I have been known to drop everything an pop over to assemble something for a friend once in awhile. However, I do understand the frustrations some feel with flatpack. The instructions can be poor and Ikea has a graphic concept for their instructions that doesn’t always make it easy for the end user to see what connects to what.

Yesterday, I saw a case of this online which led to me tweeting my top 10 Ikea tips. I decided to blog them too (in reverse order, copied from my tweet feed): –

My #Ikea tips: 10. On completion do bask in the feeling of a job well done and the admiration of your family and most important enjoy

My #Ikea tips: 9. Ikea is like #Microsoft once u get your head around the 5-10 types of screws and bolts and flatpack philosophy u r golden

My #Ikea tips: 8. Ask at the store for advice or tips for assembling the product u r buying. Ikea has great customer support

My #Ikea tips: 7. Don’t start if u don’t have all the tools they recommend u need 2 get the job done

My #Ikea tips: 6. Another pair of eyes helps. Don’t be afraid to ask for help the instructions ARE confusing #asinlife

My #Ikea tips: 5. Keep the catalog open so u always have your end result in sight

My #Ikea tips: 4. as in life if u really have to force something it might be wrong

My #Ikea tips: 3 (should have been 1) When u r at Ikea take a close look at the display model and see how it’s put together

My #Ikea tips: 2. Open instructions and see which parts belong to which stage

My #Ikea tips: 1. Layout all the parts from the flatpack and check everything is there

#1 Is probably one of my favorites. I used to do this with those airplane models and then take a few moments just to see if I could understand how everything fit together.

One extra I remembered right now is bolts and screws don’t over-tighten them but also don’t close them until you absolutely are ready to move onto the next stage.

I think that this whole methodology is probably an extension of my professional philosophy in testing, QA and Project Management.

Anyway, happy flatpacking. Enjoy.

Last week I had an interesting and thought provoking experience, I received a phone call from an acquaintance who like me is recently unemployed, in hi-tech and wants to find gainful employment.

We met up and discussed our respective situations having worked together for awhile in the past. During our chat I asked to see their resume and likewise my acquaintance politely asked to see mine.

We more or less at the same time began to offer suggestions and ideas to each other, brainstorming how we seek jobs, interview techniques, books and blogs we look at and people to network with.

Then it occurred to me that this kind of mutual mentoring, critiqueing resumes, cover letters, offering suggestions and guidance to each other was immensely beneficial.

I won’t suggest this comes close to using a professional career or resume coach or benefiting from input and direction from a Headhunter/ Recruiter however our shared experiences and knowledge were certainly greater together than apart.

Simply put this was an application of a previous idea http://clanrossconcepts.blogspot.com/2008/12/shared-knowledge-or-skills-is-power.html that I had written of in this blog.

I want to expand on this idea and see if we can’t build a strong and vital community/ network of professionals who even after they find their next job find a way to mutually mentor and contribute to others in this way. If you have ideas on the subject then do contact or comment. If you want to meet up then let me know too. Sometimes it might just be enough to help someone see things in a more positive light when the job search looks tough.

So now I one more thing to fit into my schedule but what could be better than an idea like this?