Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SQL Saturday #121 Observations

Last Saturday, I attended SQL Saturday #121, at Microsoft's Malvern location, which is just outside of Philadelphia, PA, USA. I enjoyed all of the presentations that I attended and I thought that the event was well-attended. Microsoft has a very nice facility and this is the first time that I've really seen all of it. I snapped a few quick photos, which can be found on my twitter stream, @dstrait.
 
I've been attending SQL Saturday (and Code Camp) events for many years. The most strinking thing (to me) that I noticed about this year's event was that there were only two or three laptops, but there were five different people carrying iPads and at least one carrying some sort of Android tablet. One person had an external keyboard bluetoothed to his iPad. There were too many smart phones to count.  In the past, there would have been a couple of dozen laptops and I would have brought my own laptop. Once, I actually lugged my eight-pound Thinkpad 770ED around all day. This time I brought a couple of pens, a pad of paper and my smart phone.
 
It's hard to detect whether a phone is iOS or Android from a distance, but I didn't notice any Windows Phone devices. I see that Nokia will be giving away Lumia 900 smart phones to college students. In 1984, when I was a university student, I bought an Apple Macintosh 128K at dealer cost through an Apple-sponsored program. Macs weren't selling too well just then, I presume that the Nokia smart phones aren't doing much better.
 
Like many other professionals, I'm looking at the forthcoming release of Windows 8 with trepidation. On the one hand, Microsoft needs to do something to address where the bulk of computing is going: phones and tablets. On the other hand, I'm worried about server, desktop (and laptop) users becoming second class citizens because of Microsoft's stance that Windows must run on everything, rather than tablets having their own special fork of Windows, and, worse, that the desktop experience will take a backseat to a Metrified tablet experience. I have VMs running Windows 8, but I have no intention of upgrading my workhorse machines to Windows 8. Windows 8 doesn't do anything that I want that Windows 7 doesn't do. For me, migrating to Windows 8 would make as much sense as migrating to MacOS or going back to Ubuntu or debian.
 
It seems that Microsoft feels that long-time users will be happy reducing their expections of what an operating system does. Microsoft isn't trying to sell us old wine in new bottles, it is trying to sell old wine in smaller bottles. This is a shame, but it should lead to a long, long career for Windows 7.
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