At the Atlanta Leading Edge Microsoft User Group (ALEMUG), we typically set aside some time at the beginning of each meeting to discuss the hot topics related to software development – with a particular slant toward the Microsoft world – that have come up in the previous month.
The web of cross-conversations on blogs, YouTube videos, and software announcements makes up and propels the culture of the software industry. To be a software developer, in some degree, means being current on these ephemeral Internet happenings. The purpose of the ten minutes we set aside at the ALEMUG meetings to discuss them is simply to make sure everyone is caught up on current events, so to speak, so that we have a common vocabulary when discussing technology and software methodologies. After all, communication is the most difficult thing about developing software. Many of us know how to get things done, but the hard part – explaining why we do things the way we do and sharing our technical knowledge with others – is elusive. Programming knowledge is always fragmentary, at best, and trying to bring it all together through best practices and even some historical perspective is a constant struggle.
These monthly wrap-ups also serve as a time capsule, however. A peculiarity of working on the cutting edge of technology is that there is very little awareness of the passing of time. Software development usually occurs in a bubble of hyper-focus that inevitably destroys our sense of time. For instance, how long has WPF been around? How long has twitter been around? On a resume, what is the longest amount of time a developer can legitimately claim to have worked with .NET?
With the goal of restoring the sense of the flow of time – what Kant called inner sense – here is a list of matters momentous and trivial to the software industry in the middling period between September and October, 2009:
A renewed debate between Morts and Architect Astronauts was started by Joel Sposky:
This was mirrored by a similar sort of debate concerning software methodologies started by Ted Neward:
Microsoft started a new series of ads for their operating systems: Win 7 and Mobile 6.5, that did not quite hit their mark:
As the Gartner group weighed in on Win 7:
In hardware, solid state drives got the seal of approval from Jeff Atwood while Barnes & Noble finally came out with their alternative to Amazon’s Kindle:
Interesting new software and services were released, including a tool for writing iPhone apps using C#, Google Wave (does anyone have an invitation they can send me?), and Yahoo’s alternative to Twitter:
An indication that the cold war between Microsoft and Google is beginning to heat up:
And some insights into the world of publishing software books: