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Amazon SimpleDB: a database server for the internet

Amazon has announced SimpleDB, the latest addition to what is becoming an extensive suite of web services aimed at developers. It is now in beta.

Why bother with SimpleDB, when seemingly every web server on the planet already has access to a free instance of MySQL? Perhaps the main reason is scalability. If demand spikes,

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Another pro musician gives up on Vista audio

I occasionally highlight interesting comments to this blog, because they are less visible than new posts. This one for example:

After months of struggling with Vista, I have now completely removed it from my quad-core, purpose-built audio recording PC. With all the same hardware, XP 64 bit edition is working as I had hoped Vista

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450 fixes in Office 2007 service pack 1

Microsoft has released Office 2007 service pack 1. But what does it fix? If you go to this page you can download a spreadsheet which lists around 450 fixes. It is a little misleading, since many of the fixes reference pre-existing knowledgebase articles, which I reckon means you may already have the fix. SP1 is

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Wired votes for Zune over iPod

Wired Magazine, home of Cult of Mac, has declared the Zune 2 a better buy than the iPod Classic.

This may prove any number of things. One possibility is that Microsoft has a winner. After all, it the company’s modus operandi. Windows 1.0, rubbish. Windows 3.0, word-beating.

Then again, perhaps articles with unexpected conclusions just

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Live Workspace: can someone explain the offline story?

I showed the Asus Eee PC to a friend the other day. She liked it, but won’t be buying. Why? It doesn’t run Microsoft Office (yet – an official Windows version is planned).

It reminded me how important Office is to Microsoft. No wonder it is fighting so hard in the ODF vs OOXML

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Microsoft Volta: magic, but is it useful magic?

Microsoft has released an experimental preview of Volta, a new development product with some unusual characteristics:

1. You write your application for a single machine, then split it into multiple tiers with a few declarations:

Volta automatically creates communication, serialization, and remoting code. Developers simply write custom attributes on classes or methods to tell Volta

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Mono and C# on an Asus Eee Pc

I am having a lot of fun with the Asus Eee PC. In its way, it is a game changer. I wondered if it would run Mono applications, enabling support for the open source version of Microsoft .NET. The news is partially good:

Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to do much more than that

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CodeRage sessions available for download

You can now download the content from last week’s CodeRage, the virtual developer conference laid on by CodeGear. The downloads use Camtasia and Flash and work well.

A few that I recommend are Ravi Kumar’s session on JBuilder Application Factories from Day 5, and Joe McGlynn on 3rd Rail, an IDE for Ruby on Rails,

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Eee PC vs Origami UMPC: D’Oh

I loved this comment to Kevin Tofel’s post on the Asus Eee PC:

You kinda get the feeling that the Origami team is saying “D’OH” right about now.

So it should. Origami (officially known as Ultra Mobile PC) is an attempt to re-define the ultra-portable market. It uses a touch screen, no keyboard. It is

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Fixing Webcam black screen on an Asus Eee PC

I’m reviewing the Asus Eee PC, running Linux. I was not the first user of this machine; I guess it was reviewed by someone else and then the OS was restored before it was sent to me. No problem with that; except that the webcam did not work. If I ran the webcam app I

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