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June 4th, 2009

At Google IO last week I got to be part of a press round table attended by Sergey Brin, one of the search engine's founders. He spoke candidly about why Google is creating its own browser, on the future for newspapers (and how that relates to the history of Google), and the future of Google's search engine.

Here's the piece I wrote for ZDnet on the session:

In a conversation at Google's I/O developer event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Brin pointed out how software gets twice as slow every 18 months — an effect he named 'Page's Law', after his partner Larry Page and in an ironic reversal of Moore's Law. Brin committed Google to bucking this trend: "I want to break this law. I want to make software increasingly fast," he told an audience of reporters.

Brin, whose company launched the ambitious Google Wave collaboration platform a day after his remarks, looked back at how things have changed for web-application development since the early days of Google. Describing the development of Gmail as a web application, he discussed the internal debate inside the company about building it as a JavaScript application, and the arguments about whether it was even possible. Now he thinks the debate is over, and the web-development model is becoming dominant.

"Clearly browsers have been improving, and programming models have improved too. Nobody asks today 'Can you have this on the web?' But we still have a long way to go, particularly in respect to performance," he said.

Read more.



One of my favourite parts of Maker Faire is the fire art, where metal and flame come together in a symphony of heat. This year the highlight was a spinning chimney in the heart of a metal flower, lit by propane roses. Every so often it would erupt in a gout of flame, a fireball of beauty.

The flames and the heat distortion made it an ideal subject for photography, dropping the shutter speed a little to capture the spinning heat driven motion of the sculpture's central chimney.

Flaming Spinning Flower

In the iron hand of god

Maker Faire 2009, San Mateo, California
May 2009

Living la vida beta

Folk have been asking me what I think of Windows 7, and whether it will be ready by the October 22nd release date. It's probably easiest to point you all at the piece I wrote about the RC code for ZDnet:

Windows 7 has entered the home straight, with the appearance of what looks likely to be its one and only Release Candidate (RC). Microsoft's VP for Windows Platform Strategy, Mike Nash, is confident enough to suggest that users and businesses should "Treat the Beta like a RC, treat the RC like a final product". He also expects that the RC will be used to test deployment and applications, so that businesses can jump straight to Windows 7, without the traditional wait for the first service pack. It's something that Nash felt that Microsoft "Had to earn the right to do — by making the process more predictable".

With a feature-complete Beta release, and remarkable transparency on the Engineering Windows 7 blog, there are very few surprises in the Release Candidate.

Read more to discover that yes, I do like it. In fact it's running on most of my machines already.