Monday, 15 October 2012

The stuff that dreams are made of.

This weekend I joined 8 million other people, sat in front of our computers, tablets, smartphones and TVs to watch one of the most inspiring things I, personally, have ever seen. Mr Felix Baumgartner's "Mission to the Edge of Space" was something I will never forget seeing, and that makes me incredibly glad.

It's funny, but starting from very young, throughout school, in cartoons, films and in so many books and other forms of media, one resounding thing is continually told to you; work hard, focus on your dream, and you will achieve it.

For me, however, that ideal was something I just heard. I didn't really take any notice of it, I just listened to it. The "not taking much notice of it" has only got pulled more to the forefront as I have got older. Life isn't as easy as all that, right? Working hard and achieving all of your goals is not as easy as it sounds.

Then you get to see something like this.

I am always inspired by great feats such as the one we witnessed this weekend, I think most people probably are. I have always had a passion for everything spaceward. Following missions, reading space-related blogs, watching NASA TV (an amazing, but pretty addictive pass time!), and every time I get to watch a mission such as this... I just get that feeling of awe at the fact that I am watching people achieving a dream that has culminated from life-long work. True professionals at what they are doing, yet clearly being able to truly love every second of it.

Felix Baumgartner's jump, however, just took this to the extreme for me. Whether it was made particularly poignent because of how all those years of hard work were unravelled in one, exceptionally exciting, 11 minute burst. After years, a dream was achieved - in 11 minutes. I think that is something I will always find exceptionally inspiring.

If you didn't see the jump, it is most definitely a must-watch! With records for the highest manned-balloon flight, highest jump and fastest free-fall speed (all unofficial currently, but pretty sure to be confirmed as true), Felix Baumgartner is a name that will not be forgotten in a hurry!

So, back to my original point. I think dreams are there to be achieved, and hard work and dedication cannot hurt in achieving them! Sure, I don't think I will be jumping down to Earth from space any time soon - however, next time there is something I really want to achieve, I will definitely be sparing Mr Baumgartner a little thought.

I hope the world remembers for a very long time to come the amazing feat completed on by him, Joseph Kittinger and the rest of the Red Bull Stratos team. A truly inspiring show for all.

"Sometimes you have to be up really high to understand how small you are... I'm coming home now." - Felix Baumgartner, The Edge of Space, 2012.

Image Credits: Luke Aikins, Redbull Photofiles

3 months as a “real-life” Software Dev.

Actually, by the end of this month I will have been a true, real life Software Developer for 4 months (albeit while still only halfway through my degree...) But hey, I would rather keep the title shorter - and thereby not advertising the fact it has been far too long since I last wrote a blog entry.

To be honest, this first 3 (nearly 4) months has been just crazy. I am living in a new country, I have a new house (that kinda makes sense given the new country thing, I guess...) and I have had my first few weeks doing the thing that I have been training to be for two years at University already (not mentioning the thing I have been dreaming and working towards a long time before that!)

Firstly, the new country! I am living in a lovely town called Höchberg, just outside Würzburg in Germany. Coming here as quite the newb when it came to my German language skills... I was excited, but very nervous. Those nerves, however, were abolished probably within the first 12 hours of arriving! I cannot put into words just how welcomed myself and my girlfriend felt, pretty much from Day 1. Everyone we have met has been kind, helpful... and very patient while speaking the slowest German possible (and helping me out with some English... but only from time to time, of course ;D).

The river Main, that runs through Würzburg.

So, after spending a week getting orientated (along with a couple of festivals, and a few beers), I got to meet the awesome people I was going to be working with, and get started with the real reason I am here: learning all I can about professional Software Development.

Meeting the people I would be working with was actually the first awesome thing I did, where I could really begin to learn. Not only did I make some great friends in them, but also talking to professionals in the field I love, has been a truly great experience so far. Whether it has been grabbing a coffee and discussing the best way to implement a solution to a tricky problem, talking about how they got started in Software, or even just chatting about the sports we like to watch - it's been a fantastic experience with an amazing insight into working in a dedicated Software Development office. While we are on the note of sports... I can confirm that F1 is indeed as popular as it should be in a country giving such names as Schumacher and Vettel to the sport! Being able to watch both German and English guys at the top of the field has meant we've been able to have some great fun :) Anyway... back to the serious stuff!

While working my first few weeks, I have most defintilely been able to clear up a few Software Engineering myths.

1. The coffee thing...

That's right, I've discovered that pretty much every programmerin the team loves coffee. In fact, it's pretty much the sole thing that powers the office. Upon walking in my first day, I was told that the most important machine here was not the development systems, or the myriad of servers. No, the most important machine in the office was most definitely the coffee machine. This was further confirmed to me after two weeks when that beloved machine had a breakdown... luckily (and after weeks of much moping and using a miniature machine to get by...) she is back on her pedastal and the coffee consuption can continue! So yes, myth 1 confirmed: coffee most definitely powers development!

2. There is no "I".

The second thing I was quick to learn was just how much teamwork is involved when working in an office such as this. There is no feeling of "they might think me inferior", if I ask about how to use that tool, or if I ask if anyone else has run into problems when trying to harness part of a certain API. I was told right from the off that it is "all about the client", and "all about the client" it most certainly is. We are a team, people are constantly able to ask questions and discuss best solutions, whenever it is felt necessary. This has been especially nice for me... feeling the freedom to ask questions, even if not directly related to what I am working on really has allowed me to learn so much in so little time! :)

3. Environmental issues.

The next one was quite a shocker for me, being a complete Linux/UNIX-based development junkie up until this point. The development system we use is completely based around Windows. And it feels really nice.

This taught me something really important. It isn't just what systems you are using, it really is how you use them. All of the tools we use work really well together on Windows. Sure, when developing some software, this might not be the case - but for this software, built to run on Windows servers, it really does make life... nice. A situationally-good environment is really important. I took the time to customise it just to the way I like it (as well as discovering some things I like and don't like so much along the way) and the whole system feels very pleasant to work on.

So I guess the myth I "busted" really was one I already new really: It is important to take the time to setup your system just right for you and the purpose of your work. If you're going to be spending 8-10 hours a day working with it, it's well worth it!

So, what now?

Well, I could literally ramble all day about my new experiences in the world of building software and the things I am learning (trust me, my girlfriend knows that only too well...), but that is not the purpose of this post! This was, sort of, a quick catch up and situational report of where I am at (just incase anyone is at all interested) and I thought I would enlighten you to some of the more light-hearted things I have learned.

Following this, it is my plan to release small (but hopefully regular) blogs containing some technical things that I am learning. Sure, some of them... well probably most of them, will be old hat for developers who have been working professionally for years. For some, however, they might serve as a little use! At the very least, they will serve me as a way to track my progress, and see what I have accomplished come August next year when it is time to get back to student life once more.

So, until next time. Bis gleich.

Chris :)

Wuerzburg marktplatz

The marktplatz, where I work. If you squint, you can see my office!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My texting prayers have been answered.

I know it sounds overly dramatic, but what I am about to tell you about is, for me, a literally life changing piece of technology. This evening I learned of Mighty Text, the service that allows me to receive and reply to text messages - using my web browser of choice (Google Chrome). Made by ex-googlers, it links seamlessly with my Google account, and with a very simple Android app setup it is ready to go in minutes. For Chrome users, there is a nice little extension that gives you nice little notifications, just as the Google Mail add-on does. Nifty.

It is, essentially, iMessage for Android. Except that it is browser-based, meaning no matter where I am, or what platform I am using to connect to the web, I can check my text messages. This, to me, is the first very stable reason that would mean I would never contemplate switching from Android.

I am not a fan of SMS. In fact last year I wrote a blog entry on the topic (sadly, I can no longer find it...), yet people still insist on using it. Using it a lot in fact. But for me, I find replying takes time and not something that is efficient and in any way enjoyable, especially not when I am sitting in front of a computer. If that person uses Twitter, or Facebook, and I am sure that they will get the message on their phone, I will always switch to one of those services. Nothing to do with cost or signal coverage, purely due to the fact that I can use my trusty keyboard and type a message in literally 1/100th of the time.

Mighty Text has finally offered me a way to do this. So, to all my SMS-using friends, this is great news... I will actually be replying in a much quicker fashion!

Screenshot of the Mighty Text app in action.

Of course, there are little things that need working out. It only syncs with the Google account, and only Google contacts. If you are like me, with many contacts on the Sim (from older phones, perhaps) or even using service such as Facebook to store contacts and numbers, those will not appear (they will always appear as messages, just names may be missing). There is also an issue of not being able to send group texts to more than 3 people (but the amount of times I do this is very small... New Year and Christmas?) It also isn't the nicest-looking of apps at the moment (it isn't ugly either), but it gets the job done - that is all I care about.

Oh, and it also shows you who is calling and allows you to dial number from the web app as well. All in all, I think it is safe to say... I'm a fan.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

An awesome day for Commercial Spaceflight.

Being a bit of a space-junkie, I naturally had to get up and watch this morning's launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, propelling the Dragon capsule, for the first ever time, into space to resupply the International Space Station.


A completely commercial company delivering supplies to the ISS. That's pretty cool.

I am not an American citizen, I am just a fan and on-looker from across the seas in the United Kingdom. I do, however, have a big belief that a fully functioning commercial space program is a very positive step for the American space industry. The Shuttle program demonstrated that it was possible to have routine trips, with relative safety. Now commercial players should be able to continue that work, all the time striving to take standards up and costs down.

Although we are a long way off from "2 for 1 Tickets to the Moon", this idea is of course what a lot of people think about when "commercial spaceflight" is mentioned. Commercial spaceflight can be much more than this, however that concept of private trips to space is nothing to shy away from. In my opinion getting more people excited and interested in space exploration is no bad thing at all. Anyway, wouldn't we all love a trip to see that view of Earth we've seen on TV countless times? I know I would.

There is another reason that commercial spaceflight is a huge step forward for the industry. It takes the "relatively mundane" tasks*, and allows government agencies such as NASA to get on with carrying out even deeper exploration into space and the universe we live in. Something I can't help but get excited about.

Although they have a long way to go with this mission, SpaceX have got off to a flying start (sorry...), I will be following the news avidly, and really wish them and their partners in NASA and the COTS team the very best of luck!

*By mundane, I really mean... "still breathtakingly exciting, but not quite as exciting as getting a human to mars" - just to be clear!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Internet World 2012: Lunchbreak

So, it's lunchtime here at Internet World 2012 in the London Earl Court exhibition centre.

It's been a fantastic day so far, with myself and friend/colleague Ben managing to see some really cool and interesting talks by representatives from some of the industry's "bigs".

The first talk of the day was by UK Cisco CEO, Phil Smith. He had some really interesting insights into the how the future of the interconnectedness of the United Kingdom will be shaped, as well as how the industry is crucial in the growth and expansion of the economy.

The second talk we attended was by Microsoft "Chief Envisioning Officer", Dave Coplin. Less about the technicalities, more about the human element of technology and how it we can push those boundaries.

Both of these talks had so much depth, and it was great to listen to people from right in the middle of the industry, on their outlooks to the future. While not all of what they said quite aligned with my thoughts, it just pointed out how everyone has differing views on what will, or will not be - no one truly knows where technology will take us - even those at the top, all everyone knows is that it will take us somewhere new. It is that resounding sentiment that really makes me excited.

I'm looking forward to some more great talks this afternoon, including a representative from Skype discussing how the mobile ecosystem is changing and what Web 3.0 really means for the future.

Once the event is over, I'd like to touch on a few of the sentiments that they offered, and turn them into a couple of blog posts. See you then!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Hackathon London: The Aftermath

Looking back over the last couple of days, I cannot believe how much was achieved in such a small amount of time. It was my first Hackathon, I wasn't quite sure of how these events go... but after the this weekend, I'm certain that it will be the first of many!

Firstly, I would like to send out a huge big thank you to everyone involved with the weekend, especially the people organising it! Even though it was the first event from Markco Media (, it was run impeccably. The generosity (so much free food and drink, let alone the chance to treat an amazingly cool office that is just a minute's walk away from Tower Bridge as my own for the weekend), the enthusiasm and the general fun-loving spirit of the people at the event was truly awesome. Nothing was too much trouble, and nothing was asked for in return.

There was also the chance to be utterly inspired and work with some of the great successes within the industry. Having those people on tap to give you advice and direction while you are creating is just something you could not get anywhere else, and it left me just itching to get out there and achieve!

The hacking itself was just so much fun. We created a tool which I genuinely think could grow into something useful that people would like to use - all based on the ideas of two entrepreneurs I was lucky enough to chat with. With out team of 3 developers and 3 multi-talented individuals in the areas of business, marketing and design, I was really pleased with just how far we got and what we achieved. OUr software also utilises the Pusher API to interact with their awesome service of pushing data, in real time, to clients concurrently - the chance to work with the direct support of one of their guys was great and helped us no end in incorporating their technology effectively into what we were building.

It wasn't only our hack which I got to get a good look at, either. There were a lot of other people developing other software which I found just as cool. Ranging from money management systems to music discovery systems based on colour, to a service ensuring 100% safe QR-codes - there was loads to look at and loads of great people behind the ideas! I'm really hoping to see some of these ideas develop into something great and being able to say - "I was there at the start!"

So after 3 days with 4 hours sleep, an unlimited supply of a hacker's favourite kinds of food, brilliant ideas, equally brilliant chances to meet new people with the industry and, probably most importantly, caffeine on tap, I really feel that this experience has been one of the greatest I've had in some time.

I really hope that Mark and the other guys at Markco Media decide to put on another event - I would be first in line to sign up!

(Also, I should be posting some photos of the weekend at some point when I'm not on a train!)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Hackathon London

This weekend I am off to my very first Hackathon. Along with 4 of my fellow computer scientists from here at Aberystwyth University, I am travelling down south to the Markco Media ( offices in Butlers Wharf, London.

I have wanted to go to one of these events for many years, with lots of like minded people to talk to, eat and drink with and most importantly - hack alongside! There will also be some really cool and interesting people to gain advice and insights from, from a range of fantastic UK tech companies. I am especially exited to get to meet them and listen to what they have to say!

The basic principle of the hackathon is that there are many groups all working on different projects over the course of 48 hours. Sleep is scarce, coffee is plentiful and hopefully there will be some awesome projects emerging from it.

Leaving tomorrow morning at 9.30, I will try (as long as there is time in the busy hacking schedule!) to blog on the progress of my group and about the project we are undertaking. Oh, and I'll be tweeting all weekend long as well, no doubt.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I love my new toy.

So, yesterday my new toy came through the post. It's not one of those "useless toys", or one of those toys that I will "use once and never use again". This toy was something that has real uses. Not only real uses, but useful uses too!

You've obviously guessed it by now; I got myself an Arduino.

Ok, so the stuff I have done with it so far hasn't exactly been ground breaking. Well, unless you call making a Red LED blink "Hello World" in morse code, with a nice Yellow LED blinking to inform you the end of each letter... but it had to be done, right?

Above: My new toy blinking "Hello World"

To be honest, I have always wanted to do some programming of actual hardware. Ok, so in a sense you are always telling certain pieces of hardware to do things, but there is just something really cool about actually seeing which circuits you are switching on and off and being able to see, physically, the result of your programatic statements.

So, so far I have managed to make a few simple sketches, just learning the very basics (I need to crawl before I walk, don'tcha know). I am however, really exciting about the things you can use this awesome little piece of kit for, though. I would really like to get it to do something useful in my car. Gather and display some technical data maybe? Or interact with the "entertainment system" in some way?

The thing I really love about this piece of hardware is the software that comes with it, and just how easy it is to setup and then proceed to get it working. There is nothing hard to understand (maybe a fairly basic knowledge of programming, but nothing harder than that), pretty much anyone could have a go at doing something cool with one of these - something which I think is awesome.

Fancy getting your plant to call out when it needs watering? Want to create that security system for when someone ventures into your cupboards? Maybe you just want to make something pretty with lots of little flashing LEDs - the Arduino is perfect for all of these (and obviously much, much more!)

I will keep you updated with all my latest and greatest creations, you can be sure of that!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The iPad... just a content consumption device?

So, recently I bought myself an iPad. And I love it.

Seriously, the iPad (contrary to my girlfriend's scathing belief) is a serious tool that any techy should own. Vital, in fact. I can read my daily tech news sites (in some really cool ways actually... enter, Flipboard), I can listen to my favourite tech-podcasts and watch my favourite review videos. If I'm on a train, I can catch that movie I keep trying to find time to watch or catch up on my favourite TV show. I can also read my email, read a book, check my Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus, check the Snooker results... honestly the possibilities are endless.

Actually, I say all of the above with utter sincerity. The iPad, to me, is one of the best ways to consume content. All of the daily content I would usually look at on my laptop, I actually choose to view on my iPad. It's nice, luxurious, and - most of all - has an element of fun about it.

Just the other day, however, (when I was out, killing time, with only my pad) I began to think... when, exactly, will I be persuaded to do things that are not just about consuming content on my iPad.

Could I do any serious work, using nothing else, only my tablet? I'm not just talking about updating my social networking status, or writing a little blog post, I'm not even talking about the odd time when I've taken lecture notes using nothing but the shiny little device (Evernote, by the way - I cannot recommend enough!) I'm talking real work. Could I actually do the same kind of work I could do on my computer, and more importantly - could I still be as productive?

Alongside being a student, I also work in software development. A lot of this development takes place online. At this time (when I was stuck with no laptop) I wanted to make some additions to a PHP script I had been working on... but how? Was it even practically possible?

Enter, Gusto.

Gusto, so I found out, is a fantastic tool for any web developer looking to do some work on the iPad. It's still work in progress of course, but it's really very stable. Packed with loads of great features, it actually allowed me to do what I wanted. It allows the browsing and editing of files. It highlights all code for easier development. Once the code is finished it has a nice "upload" feature, storing all of the connection details for all of servers on which I manage content. One click, choose the server and destination for my script - and I'm done.

So was it as easy? Well, in a lot of ways - yes. Of course, there is always the issue of it not being as easy to type, or as easy to edit script in general (as I cannot see as much of the code as I would be able to on an average sized laptop/monitor). However, the features built into this app meant that it was absolutely possibly to make small edits, and be productive.

This concept makes me very excited for the future of apps for devices such as my iPad. Developers are beginning to get applications out there on which you can actually do work. They are also packing apps such as Gusto with features that somewhat compensate for the harder typing and the limited viewing space. As long as these apps always remember the limitations of the device they are being developed for in terms logistical terms, I can really see people beginning to use them for real work.

So after all that, would I ditch my trusty Macbook? No, definitely not. However I do think that this year is going to be the 'year of productivity' when it comes to tablets. What is stopping, for example, a company developing an app that is completely specific to roles of work that they have? Nothing - and I'm sure there are a lot of them out there already that take advantage of this idea. Maybe, just maybe, the day will come when it is easier to be productive in certain things on an iPad. Exciting stuff.

'Tis the season...

Post migrated from previous blog. Written December 27th, 2011.

Well I don't know about you, but this year, for me, has gone super fast.

It seems only miniscule amounts of time ago that I was enjoying the last Christmas holiday. Sitting by the fire, watching old (and always over-played) Christmas films and generally over-indulging in all things that are bad for you. It might seem very little time ago, yet here I am again!

I think my favourite time of year is possibly that between Christmas and New Year. For me (being a student and working for myself around that) this is the time that to me where there are no time constraints, no pressure, and everyone is chilled out having had a nice Christmas break (of course the one year I write this would be the one year I actually have a work deadline for very early January, but the relaxing time between Christms and New Year definitely aids this, of course!)

In tech, I feel that 2011 has been an amazing year. Not only for the industry as a whole, but also for me personally. I have been able to watch the predicted "mobile boom" as well as so many stories develop about my favourite companies (I guess you could argue the particularly lawsuit-tactic year we've had has got old, but it's kit me entertained and my Twitter-feed stocked).

It has also seen the feet-finding of my new company. As we enter into 2012 I am beginning to really feel good about how far we've come, all the experiences I've had along the way and everything I am learning. Most importantly, I'm feeling good about where we're going.

I am hoping to get an 'end of the year' blog up, going into a little more detail about my techs thoughts of the year (this was, believe it or not, just supposed to be a quick 'Merry Christmas' rambling...)

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas holiday and has a great last week of 2011!

Oh, my New Year's Resolution is sorted, by the way. Much more blogging.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Will the 'Age of the Text Message' ever end?

Post migrated from previous blog. Written September 13th, 2011.


To be honest, I'm probably being too harsh. The SMS service has served me (and pretty much everyone else with a mobile phone since the early 90s) very well. It revolutionised the way we communicate remotely, and was so brilliantly simple that people everywhere were able to catch on pretty quickly.

That said, we're now 20 years on and the technology beneath this service has changed, improved, vastly. With smartphone owner statistics growing by the day, more and more people have a computer many times more powerful than a PC was when SMS was created, sitting in their pocket.

It's not just the hardware, either.

In recent years we've seen a boom in social media application usage - and, indeed, understanding. With most of the globe now connecting with each other via services such as Facebook and Twitter, people are truly beginning to understand what communication can be like on the web. Given the fact all these services are also available on our smartphones, will the SMS become redundant to a service such as one of these? Probably not... yet.

Reliability is king.

These services are not built as an "SMS replacement". With this in mind, I really feel that reliability is an issue. They can be slow in notification, and generally do not have the features allowing me to feel comfortable using them instead of a text (for one, I have no idea if the person I am messaging even has mobile access to the service).

Instead, I believe a service such as the newly released PingMe would stand a much better chance.

PingMe offers a lot that SMS doesn't. Whether we've just become blinded in what is lacking from the "service that has just always been there" or whether we truly find nothing wrong with SMS, I don't know. But what I do know is, when a service like PingMe crops up with media attachment capabilities, instant delivery and read reports, status updates and group chat - the weaknesses of SMS really glare.

This service was built to be a direct alternative to the text message. It runs in the background, uses your mobile number (automatically connecting you with other in your phonebook using it) and it alerts you when you have a message. Everything else on top of this is a bonus. If everyone else in my phonebook had it, would I have a use for SMS any longer? No.

So what exactly am I getting at?

Despite the fact that I would love it if everyone did subscribe to a service such as PingMe - it just won't happen. There is the obvious reason of "no smartphone" and the competition of services such as the likes of BBM and iMessage (both of which are native to their platforms and therefore obviously exclusive). There is also the fact that these services (excluding BBM) all use data transfer standards NOT in the form of GSM (mobile signal) - of which people have limited amounts, and problems receiving in some areas.

These reasons, though, are not why I think SMS will continue to live on, working further into what should be it's well-earned retirement. All of those problems will begin to see fixes long before the demise of SMS. The true reason is much more frustrating; that people simply will not want to change. SMS delivers the service they are used to. One that is very tried and very tested, one that works for them - however simplistic and featureless it may appear when lined up against the technology of today.

To Bing, or not to Bing?

Post migrated from previous blog. Written August 1st, 2011.

Bing. If you've not heard of it (you must be living under a rather large anti-tech rock), it is the latest attempt of Microsoft to pierce the search engine market. Launching in June, 2009, it included a lot of features not present in previous versions of Microsoft search tools and looked to be a more sharply defined and advertised tool.

Simply a vast, money sink-hole

If you're like me, you're probably thinking "why would Microsoft possibly be trying to play catch up, in this already advanced market, saturated by the biggest search-giant of them all. Google has grown from a small company, with an awesome product, into a massive one - with an even better product. When looking at the amounts that are being spent on Bing by Microsoft, I at first agreed with one writer's opinion. That Bing was simply a vast "money sink-hole", eating into profits. When you hear that last year it lost the company $2.56 billion, how could you not agree?

After reading this statistic, this got me thinking. Are Microsoft just being this dumb with money, or are they actually learning from other's successes and really being quite smart.

Too late for a makeover?

Microsoft, it seems to me, have been seen as this uncool, money-grabbing, company that doesn't mind delivering sub-par tools (I'm not bringing another IE6 rant into this, but you get my point). However, with the recent launch of Windows Phone 7 software, looks at the Windows 8 OS and, of course, the shiny new Microsoft stores that are opening, I think Microsoft are really beginning to be getting their image together (and hopefully their product-quality, too). Sure, they're late to the party - but come on... it's Microsoft, what else would we expect?

Despite the huge loss last year, Bing is actually gaining market-share. In the US, at least, is has moved to 27% (this is including Microsoft's latest deal, seeing Bing power the Yahoo portal). This is up from only 7% last year. Although I do not use it myself, nor can I honestly say I know people who do, clearly some people are.

One reason Google has done as well as it has is due to it knowing that a search engine that works well, can be the back-bone to many other products and integrate into devices seamlessly, producing powerful results. You only need look at the Android platform to see this theory in action. Allowing search features to integrate into navigation, news and weather updates, sports results and even voice analysis and search. Integrating this kind of tool on small, generally power-lacking devices such as mobile phones works well. Very well.

A limp extra tool, or a sturdy software backbone?

With this in mind, it strikes me that Microsoft might be aiming for something similar. Just selling Bing, and saving them that loss of money, has been the solution many have said Microsoft should be pursuing. But I think Microsoft might be smart in not heeding this advice, and trundling on - improving upon it's search quality and Bing user base. If the Windows Phone 7 continues to gain popularity, and the move into tablet territory that looks obvious after seeing the first look at Windows 8 happens, Bing really could come into it's own and be the backbone of Microsoft software on PCs and mobile devices alike.

Although many seem to think Microsoft have lost it, I think this is one small sign that they are actually very much serious about getting back as a forefront contender in the game. Despite my still-lingering scepticism about how they will do, I think this might be a little more exciting than I first thought.

My Return

Post migrated from previous blog. Written July, 31st 2011.

Well, it has been quite some time.

I decided to embark on the mission to get something up here, as stupid as it sounds, nearly a year ago now. After sitting through lectures explaining just how important getting yourself a nice web-profile was I dove right in, attempting to create one. While I continued a blog for a little while, I quickly lapsed back into my old, non-content-giving ways... and soon completely forgot all about it.

That is, until now.

I have decided enough is enough. No longer will I make do with hoping my opinions get heard through the 140 character medium of the micro-blogging superstar that is Twitter. I have decided to create myself a simplistic site, one where I can post a little about me, the work I have been creating and, of course, where I can blog - and continue to this time.

Over my first year of study, I have developed many opinions on the latest technology and where we are headed. I love to share these opinions and hear those of others - doing so on most of the social media applications I frequent. I hope that people can enjoy reading my insight and hopefully add their own, too.

If you happen to find my techno-drivel in the slightest bit interesting, please do check back - and any feedback is much appreciated!

Until next time (I promise!)