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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Abandoning Chrome until it supports WSR

I use speech recognition a great deal – and I recently switched to Windows Speech Recognition on Vista.  And I’ve been using Chrome exclusively for Google Apps, because I think it offers superior performance for JavaScript apps.

Unfortunately, Chrome doesn’t support WSR.  According to Rob Chambers this would be easy for Google to do, and I suspect it is just an oversight on their part (both in terms of making their software more accessible as well as following Windows best practices).

Google:  when are you going to put the effort into this?  The Chrome 2.0 Beta doesn’t do it either.

Rob Chambers: how easy is this really?  You also said that Firefox does support WSR – maybe it does, but not in Google Docs.

So now, I’m using IE8.  Google Docs with WSR works great there.

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Ballmer @ MIX08

A little late, but here are my notes on the Steve Ballmer keynote at MIX08.

The Q & A format was certainly better than having Steve Ballmer just talk for an hour, though I got a little tired of Guy Kawasaki’s cracks at Ballmer — about his wealth and method of travel, how Microsoft “should have hired” him.  It got better when he stopped that.

I thought the best questions were from the Audience:

On .NET being baked into IE

Why isn’t IE built on .NET.

This has been a common theme, that is, the lack of .NET adoption for some major Microsoft products.  Part of that is dog-fooding, but a bigger part is that the developer stories for these products are harder for lack of deep .NET support.  For example, Office and IE are not based on .NET.  Connecting between their unmanaged, COM, BHO worlds and the managed .NET world is more than a little painful.

Anyway, his response was that .NET wasn’t expected to be as proven and as far along by the time Vista shipped.  Fair enough, but I would have been happier if the delays in Vista were related to a real WinFx in the OS than the reasons given.

The iPhone

What about Silverlight for the iPhone?

Steve Ballmer responded (paraphrased) . . .

Would love to get it on everything;

Can’t say we’ve been having talks about it; and

Licensing model not so good.

Right.  The licensing model is not so good.

Maybe Microsoft can pay Apple a bunch of money so Silverlight can run on the iPhone.  Then developers can build the apps for free?

Sounds good to me.

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IE8 @ MIX08

This is the second of three posts on the MIX08 keynotes.  This is like live blogging without the live, since I’m writing this in Oakland.  You can follow my comments at

IE8, Dean Hachamovitch, GM IEimage

Focus on standards compliance.  This will be a great productivity boost for web-site developers.

1. CSS 2.1. 

  • Good. 

2. CSS cert. 

  • Funny that Microsoft is claiming that ambiguities in the specs make it hard to prove correctness.  They are correct, but it sounds a little like whining.  It also reminds me of the Server 2008 test. 
  • Test cases from Microsoft, good. 
  • IE 8 transition might be painful.  For users.

3. Performance.

  • Script performance. 

4. HTML 5.

  • Back button can work with AJAX.  This is a very big deal for improving the consistency of the browser user experience.   
  • Connection events in HTML 5 / DOM storage, re-connect, “make content available” later.  Cool.

5. new dev tools

  • Cool script debugger in IE8.  Looks like the developer toolbar has gotten much better. 

6. Activities

  • User activities added to browser by users (kind of like smart links). 
  • Activities are defined in XML.  Kind of cool, though I can see the browser becoming hard to use as a user adds a bunch of activities; however, that is up to them to manage.   
  • This format is the OpenService Format Specification.  Share/Share-alike spec.

7. WebSlices

  • Users can subscribe to parts of web-pages (driven by sites providing this as a service).  
  • This is the WebSlice Format Specification.  Public domain spec.

8. IE8, Beta 1 for developers

  • Released today.  Cool.  I will be checking this out.  At first in a VM.  I hope IE7 can live along side IE8.  Since they didn’t mention this, my guess is no.

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