Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Vindicated by Vista

In 2003 I wrote an article in ZDNet that basically said that Microsoft was going to struggle over the next few years as Web services technology takes hold and Microsoft's hold on the desktop will begin to erode. I expected to get pummeled by Redmond loving fans worldwide but when the death threats started coming in (seriously), I realized that there are a lot of people dependent on Microsoft to survive and unwilling to consider that change might be coming.

Back in 2003 the code-name for Vista was Longhorn and at the time it was forecasted to be released sometime in 2004. I had no idea that my criticism was so prophetic, the product didn't release until 2006. The underlying point I was trying to make back then was that the PC desktop platform is going to become less and less relevant over the next few years.

There has been three significant events in the shift of thinking at Microsoft over the past few months that lead me to believe they have begun (perhaps kicking and screaming) to embrace the idea that there is a world beyond Windows. First, Microsoft joined the odd alliance with Novell to provide a "license" for the Novell Linux user. You might think this was an attempt to co opt Linux (and it was!) but there was a subtle admission that Linux matters in that move. Secondly, The Vista Genuine software program that required users to accept updates and validate their copies of Windows was modified to no longer disable the OS if a copy of Windows wasn't certified "Genuine" within the specified time period. (side note: what about not registering the license made the code fake? Just wondering) Finally, Today I learned that Microsoft has admitted defeat in the desktop wars. What do I mean? Back when Vista released, Microsoft first declared that Vista Basic and Home editions could be put on a Virtual Machine then reversed itself. The only version of Vista that my be used in a virtual machine was the Ultimate edition for $499. Today Microsoft recanted that position and has reversed their reversal to allow any edition of Vista to be put onto a VM. This is significant. In the months and years to come I believe we will look back on today and view this as the beginning of a shift in thinking at Microsoft from being desktop bound to becoming a technology innovation company again.

Will this make me run out and buy a copy of Vista to replace the XP I have running on Parrellels on my MacBook Pro? Probably not but I feel better knowing I can do so.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We are getting coverage!

DigitalChalk just got picked up by Forbes Online. Hopefully this is the beginning of some good coverage!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

DigitalChalk Winter 08 goes live!

I'm sitting here waiting with some anticipation while Troy and team roll out or Winter release to production. This codebase is a radical departure from the system we went live with last spring.

Some of the more obvious features from the customer point of view is a completely rebuilt chalkboard viewer for students. On the instructor side, the Chalkboard Editor is now all integrated into a single view and several new slide types are supported. You can now include slides in the lesson using:

  • Websites - display as a slide image or as the live site
  • WYSIWYG HTML slide
  • PPT converter to Images
  • Upload zip (images)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Check out the new DC!

For those of you have not seen the new look of DigitalChalk, I thought I would post a screenshot of our new Chalkboard view.

Falling behind in the fall... fresh start in winter

This past fall was like drinking water from a fire hose. We started getting some traction on the web marketing and it took most of the fall to find anyone to start helping with sales. I couldn't have done it without a lot of patience from Laurie & the kids.

I'm going to make every effort to start making weekly postings on Chalk Talk. Thanks to Jacob Abshire, we have a first rate marketing website taking shape. take a look at www.digitalchalk.com.

and team have the Winter 08 release done and it's looking really sharp. We flipped the switch and started pointing our demo link off the website to the new release. You can visit that directly at the DigitalChalk demo site.

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