As a kid I remember spending one summer with a TI994/A hooked up to the kitchen TV. While I would be typing in code in front of the air conditioner, mom would be making lunch. Some days the code would work and we would eat tuna salad and potato chips – those were good days. Some days the code wouldn’t work and we’d eat tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Those were good days too.
I also remember how “the community” around the TI (and later I had an Atari ST) would wring every last drop of value out of the software and the hardware. Every few months someone discovered a little hardware quirk or invented a clever hack to make animations move faster or shave a few bytes off a routine.
No, I don’t want to go back to the days of trying to optimize out one more machine instruction of a loop. It’s just I spent most of the afternoon catching up on flagged items from RSS feeds which included demos of the Visual Studio 2005 Team System, a whitepaper on XML Support in SQL 2005, code samples of programming Outlook with C#, and channel 9 videos of XP SP2 features. (Scoble: I hope the whining about lighting, focus, and other amateurish video making problems does not deter you in the least, the videos are great, keep 'film' rolling.)
By the time I finished I was thinking just amazed. Look at all this new stuff we will have to work with. Let’s not even talk about what Longhorn will bring. How far will we get with this stuff? In the days of the TI99 we never knew what was coming down the road. Necessity was the mother of invention and we had to make do with what we had.
So what would happen if all the developers from Microsoft and all the engineers from Intel and AMD made the following announcement:
Effective tomorrow we will be out of the office on a manned mission to Mars. See you in 5 years.
Just how far could we take this technology? How far could we push limits? Where are we on the efficiency curve today with the current tools and current hardware? With all of the extensibility hooks in VS.NET and Office, I’m certain there is plenty of innovation we could pull off. It’s just I now cannot imagine service oriented architecture taking off without Whitehorse.