Tech Hero Lost at Sea

Last year, I became so interested in how Microsoft researchers worked with scientists that I wrote not one, but two cover stories. One Microsoft researcher's name came up again and again: Jim Gray, founder of Microsoft’s Bay Area Research Center. My new friends from Visual Studio magazine, which we took over in December, know Jim well, as he spoke at their popular VSLive! events.

Unfortunately, as I write, Jim is lost at sea, having left on Sunday to spread his mother’s ashes off the coast of San Francisco. The good news is he may just be found safe and sound.

Gray has a resume that makes all of us look a little dim. An expert in multiprocessing, transaction processing, databases and data mining, Gray has used these skills to help build commercial products such as ATMs and SQL Server 2005, and humanitarian endeavors like trying to cure cancer and understand the heavens and the earth. Pretty amazing work.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a terrific profile of Gray here. Gray’s home page is here.

And my two stories are here: "Can Microsoft Save the World?" and "The Science of Software."

Vista’s No PS3, It’s Not Even a Wii!
Even a month past Christmas, some gamers are showing up to Wal-Mart at one in the morning to get a Nintendo Wii. It took me a month of constant visits to finally score my son Nick his Christmas present (sorry, dude!).

And the hunt for the PlayStation 3 was even tougher.

So, how did it go the night of the Vista consumer launch? Windows fans weren’t exactly breaking out their tents and thermoses, as the lines for the OS were shorter than a Vin Diesel haircut. I guess most consumers are still trying to find a Wii!

Bill Says TV Is So Last Year
Just days before his Vista launch, Bill Gates told a European audience that television is still in the dark ages, and five years from now we won’t even recognize it. The real revolution will come from the Internet, making the Gates speech sound more like an ad for Steve Jobs’ new iTV. In Gates’ world, on-demand video from the Internet will make today’s DVRs look like they came from the Flintstones.

In fact, this was a key topic that Gates addressed when handling softball question after softball question from the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart Monday night.

What do you love and hate about today’s world of television? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Microsoft Tosses Firefox a Bone
I didn’t even know that Microsoft has a browser plug-in that takes reams of 2-D photos and turns them into a 3-D image, but now Firefox users can take advantage of this neat little trick. Stuff like this reminds me of the old Amiga days (old guys like me will get the reference, you youngsters won’t!).

Virtual Iron Pushes Prepacked Apps
Virtual Iron, a server virtualization concern, has a new concept: Virtual Appliances. These aren’t the dedicated hardware appliances we are all used to. Instead, these appliances are similar to the way some apps have been built for the VMware player. The app is already virtualized and can simply be installed and run alongside all your other virtualized apps.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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