Archive for the_time('F Y')

15 billion dollar Facebook valuation
30 April 2008 in Blogging & General & Google & Mindscape & Windows | Comments (5)

facebook logo

Boy am I sick and friggin’ tired of hearing about how Facebook is worth $15 billion dollars! A lot of the business blogs I keep up with keep throwing this figure around and it is becoming quite an annoyance.

I’ll say this just once: Microsoft’s “investment” in Facebook does not extrapolate to a $15b valuation because it included the international advertising rights.

To put this in perspective, Google paid $900m for the advertising rights to MySpace (the #1 social network that still absolutely spanks Facebook in terms of unique visitors despite being the ugliest site in the world).

Granted, the details of the deals between MySpace+Google and Facebook+Microsoft are rather different, but it helps establish my point that advertising is big business. Facebook certainly did not give away the advertising rights for free so you can be sure that part of the $240m was in consideration for gaining the international advertising rights – not just to buy a 1.6% stake.

To give an indication of how big of a business advertising is – Google paid more for the advertising rights to MySpace than News Corp paid to buy MySpace months earlier (details here).

Sure – it might be in Facebook’s interest to say the advertising deal was provided for free and that it really does stack up to just buying a cut of the pie however if that really was the case why not get the Microsoft investment and then make more money by selling the international advertising rights?

</rant>

So what do you think? All comments appreciated.

I’m sure some cheeky bugger will find this post in 5 years when Facebook actually is worth 15b and tell me I’m wrong :)

John-Daniel Trask

Reflections on Bangkok
29 April 2008 in General | Comments (6)

Over the past few days I have been in Bangkok attending a training event hosted by Microsoft about Windows Live Services. It’s been an interesting event not just for the content but because this is my first visit to Thailand. I thought I’d take a moment and share some of the things I found there.

  • The service is fantastic – almost to the point of being scary. For example, I’ve called for a lift, it has arrived, and a staff member is inside so they get out of the lift and wait for me to depart to the floor I want to go to before calling the lift for themselves again. Initially I thought I just looked scary or was smelly but this level of service appeared everywhere :)
  • The contrast is amazing – One minute you are in a modern wealthy city where school children are doing their homework at Starbucks on their Mac Book Pro’s, the next minute you’re trying to squeeze past street stalls where it is smelly, polluted and dogs are wandering around freely on the road.
  • The cost of every day items is very very cheap. It’s effectively 25 Baht for every $1 NZ dollar and one article stated that a female construction worker started on a salary of 150 Baht per day, roughly $6 NZ.
  • Transport systems are both fantastic (the subway, sky train etc) and absolutely dysfunctional (using any roads). It appears that most traffic lights and zebra crossings are more “suggestions” than law.
  • At no point did I ever feel threatened or like I couldn’t get help/directions when needed. I generally felt pretty safe which is always good when you’re traveling
  • One comment on the smog from the US based presenter – “At least it’s not brown smog like in the states”

It was also interesting traveling with Kai – he’s the local Adobe Guru in Wellington and was very enjoyable to travel with. His keen eye helped avert disaster before we left NZ (My flights had been reserved in the incorrect order, different to what the itinerary stated). If you need any Flash/Flex/Air work done I’d strongly suggest you contact him.

I met a couple of Australian gents – Hugh and Darren. I’d met Hugh before and it was nice meeting Darren – both are super friendly guys who I’m sure I’ll run into again.

I also tried a “Traditional Thai Massage” which seemed to be popular with everyone in the group. The key is to state you want it to be “Traditional” or they think you mean sex. The massage was excellent and I’d strongly recommend one to anyone visiting. It cost about 20 NZ dollars for an hour long massage.

It was bloody hot in Bangkok! People who know me are already aware that I’m usually the guy in shorts + t-shirt in the middle of winter so 35 degrees and very high humidity meant I tried to spend as little time as possible outside while in Bangkok. Thankfully most stores and shops have air conditioning which must cost the country huge amounts in electricity usage.

Speaking English did not present much of a challenge – most people seem to know enough for you to get by without problems.

I loved this picture of the phone/power lines:

Bangkok Power lines photo

The photo, to me, is somewhat of a metaphor of Bangkok itself – it can be a bit messy and really hard to follow but it works, everyone just gets on with what they need to do (albeit quite slowly as our 1 hour drive around the block highlighted!)

I’ll post more in the coming days about some of the Live services that were covered as part of the training.

John-Daniel

Mindscape WPF Elements has shipped!
10 April 2008 in General | Comments (0)

We’ve just shipped a new suite of controls for WPF developers that we have called “WPF Elements”. This is a collection of what we consider to be “essential” controls for developing line of business applications with WPF.

WPF is an amazing framework however all the spinning 3D cubes in the world cannot make up for tried and tested controls that end users are used to (by all means though, you can put our controls onto 3D spinning cubes, I just wouldn’t recommend it :-) )

So what have we included in WPF Elements?

Some of these controls are not the most exciting things in the world however they do enable end users to actually do work – which is obviously pretty important. We’re confident this suite will help developers deliver the solutions their end users demand.

For more information about WPF Elements, Click here.

John-Daniel

Amusing feature requests
7 April 2008 in Code & Mindscape | Comments (2)

It’s always interesting getting feature requests for our products at Mindscape. For one, it’s interesting just seeing how users are trying to use the products you have built – often in ways you never imagined. I got one such request a month or so back which made me smile so I thought I’d share it.

I received the following diagram:

Effectively the diagram states:

  1. Query box takes a query
  2. Take the query and “do shit, fast too”
  3. Do some “dynamic stuff”
  4. Return to the query box

After having a good chuckle and discussion with the user about this request I eventually worked out that he wanted to be able to execute queries without having to run up the application (so, for example, you’d write a LightSpeed query with either the built in LightSpeed querying functionality or the LINQ-to-LightSpeed feature and see results within Visual Studio).

This is a good idea – it means you can quickly test out various queries and we certainly believe in helping developers be more efficient so it was added to our feature backlog.

Hopefully other developers will relate to odd descriptions for features – feel free to leave a comment about any amusing requests you’ve had :-)

John-Daniel

PN User Group + MVP Award
2 April 2008 in General | Comments (13)

Last night was the final presentation on the MVC Framework that I have been delivering around the country and it was nice that the last place was Palmerston North – my original home town :)

The event was enjoyable, the number of attendees was about right for the space that we had available and hopefully everyone went away having discovered something new. The Palmerston North user group is well run by Katie – we had everything set up 30 minutes early and she was very friendly and helpful.

I wish the group had existed in Palmy when I used to live there! If you’re interested in finding out more about the Palmerston North user group click here. It’s free to attend, pizza and drinks are provided – what could be better?

MVP Logo

I was also delighted this morning to receive confirmation that I had been awarded MVP status for ASP/ASP.Net for 2008. I haven’t received an MVP award before so I’m very pleased to have been selected :)

– JD