Category Archives: Coding Outside The Box

Items that relate to my series on developing with connected and embedded systems.

“Just slip out the back, Jack. Make a new plan, Stan”

I’ve gotten a number of questions through the blog about BizSpark and various other Microsoft programs.  I’ve updated my info but haven’t called out explicitly until now – I’m unable to help with Microsoft programs these days as I’m no longer with Microsoft.  As a Startup Evangelist, my challenge was always to balance my enthusiasm with startup ideas with my loyalty to Microsoft.  As often happens, I found an idea that couldn’t be denied.  I moved from Microsoft in December of 2011 to manage the Labs group at Chaotic Moon (a startup here in Austin that has been rocking the mobile world for the last two years.)  If you’ve seen what we’ve done in the last 90 days (Board of Awesomeness, Board of Imagination, and the Smarter Cart ) you’ll see why I had to make the move. 

If you have any BizSpark questions, go ahead and shoot them my way – I’ll be glad to try to help you connect to the right people in Microsoft, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to respond as quickly as when I was an employee or get you to the specific person you need to talk to these days. 

Micro Framework 4.1 Beta, now with Open Source contributions

If you’ve been following the path of the Microsoft Micro Framework (and maybe talked with us at the ‘08 Austin Maker Faire) then you know that things have moved forward and open sourced a LOT.  Well, today we just announced that the beta for .Net Micro Framework 4.1 has opened up on  Take a look!  Some very cutting edge stuff going on there!

The revolution will be printed

This past week, for me the big news in consumer electronics wasn’t what you probably thought.  The big names all were all talking mobility of one fashion or another, but one of the companies that can make a claim to bringing printers into the home is now applying that same talent to 3d Printers.  Yep, that’s right HP is now working with Stratasys to bring 3d printing to a much wider array of people.  This has huge potential for localsourcing manufacturing and changing how economics work in quite a number of markets.

Smart for Who? Connected Devices and You SxSW Interactive Session

In the spirit of completeness, I wanted to make a few comments about my other session I submitted for SxSWi- “Smart for Who?”  This session really came out of looking around my office and working spaces and really noting not only how connected all those “impulse electronics” and “entertainment devices” have become, but how little most people consider what their full capabilities and purposes are.  As we’ve seen in the history of PC’s the best capabilities have come with networking and larger connectivity between systems, but that increase has also been paced by an increase in vulnerability and exposure to those connections being done with malice.

So as we connect more and more devices that we use every day not only to each other, but to the internet at large, we need to be aware of what’s going on between those.  PVR’s often report back not just what shows you watched, but how many times you rewound that halftime commercial or act.  The old days of “tracing a call” have become a Hollywood gimmick – the number is available even before the connection is made, and the call itself can be real time transcribed to text.  Your printer is network connected, and most embed unique numbers in ever item printed, your security system knows when you’re home and when you’re gone.  And they’re all able to talk with each other.

This session will be about how much control we have over this – how much is black helicopters and how much is actual productivity enhancement and personal customization that I WANT to be done.  Do I want my bedside alarm clock to check my schedule and know that it doesn’t have to wake me quite so early tomorrow morning because my first meeting got cancelled overnight?  Do I want the world to know I’ve put my house on power save mode because I’m going to be in Chicago for a couple of days?  The Yin and Yang of connectivity is that Identity, Privacy, and Security are key – and we’re having to find new ways of making those concepts easy enough that you don’t have to read another 300 page manual just to use your new remote control or VOIP phone!

If this sounds like something you would be interesting in hearing about, either at SxSWi or in the community after SxSW – please “Thumbs Up” my session either above on the link or below!

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