In general I thought WWDC was pretty lack luster. To be clear I also think MSBuild and Google I/O were also pretty lack luster. We are in some form of a lull right now in the tech industry. It is apparent Machine Learning is here to stay and there are a few different approaches between the big three right now. Augmented Reality is also here to stay but there needs to be better hardware to the market to make it a reality. The platforms continue to advance though. So what are my take aways from Apple’s presentation?

Well My first thought is iOS is stabilizing, watchOS is maturing, tvOS is growing, and macOS is getting more iOS like sprinkles on the top. The one thing Apple truly has over the competition is a unified platform. The seamless ways everything works together is a great selling point. The demos of taking a photo leveraging your iPhone to put a picture into a presentation or document shows how you can leverage your tools together. There really isn’t any way Windows or Google can approach this today due to the scattered nature of their experiences.

It was very interesting seeing Apple start off by talking about ARKit 2. I didn’t really expect that out of the gate. I would have expected more talk about other features like Siri Shortcuts or Machine Learning to keep up with the Google Factory. I still have a strong belief that Apple will solve the hardware problem through an accessory glasses that leverages wireless communication to your phone as the brain. We will have to wait and see though. To bad they are not showing any early hardware even yet. I don’t think the right approach is holding an iPad up to use it for AR.

Apple’s other big push I thought was note worthy is their continued pressure on being the platform for privacy. Apple can ride this for quite a while. Even their Machine Learning strategy is unique and focused primarily on device. Time will tell if they can continue to push their Machine learning platform. I’m hoping to get some time with it soon to see what it can actually do versus the other platforms.

Siri Shortcuts brings some options to the table to really allow App developers the opportunity to create new unique experiences, while putting the power in the hands of the users to do their own automation. I can’t wait to play with that either but I need to get another device to use so I have a primary device that is not running a developer build.

The rest of the presentations around animojis and memojis while entertaining don’t seem like something I want to use daily. Even FaceTime updates don’t scream out to me. My best hope now is new hardware later this year for the platform although I don’t think we will see much for Macs only iPad updates.

Image result for github images

So there has been a lot of media coverage as well as banter all over social media today regarding Microsoft Acquiring GitHub. I thought I would quickly post my thoughts on the topic.

I’ve been working in the tech industry formally since the late 90’s. I’ve been back and forth from an Open Source developer to a Microsoft .Net Developer to an Apple iOS Developer. I’ve leveraged tons of different open source platforms over the years. Most of the negative banter I hear is directly related to Microsoft taking this over. Some folks literally calling for an exodus from the GitHub platform. I don’t really get this stance since the Microsoft of today is nothing like the Microsoft of the past. I recently attended MSBuild and majority of the presentations I went to were literally ran on OSS or fully developed with OSS. The Microsoft of today doesn’t care if you use Microsoft stack. They primarily care that they enable you to leverage their cloud today.

The way I look at this is Microsoft is here to invest. They are a much more open company than they ever have been in the past. I actually see a lot of parallels to Redhat today for Microsoft more than Microsoft of old. At the end of the day the world revolves around $$$. We have to accept that. No Open Source solution or platform can live on forever without some version of financial influence. I for one hope to see GitHub grow into an even larger ecosystem with many more features.

What are your thoughts? Is Microsoft the devil to you? Do you think this is the end of GitHub? Are you running to Gitlab?

So I finally attended Microsoft Build for the first time.

It did feel like a lot of other conferences I’ve been at. It was great to be able to chat with developers that directly work on the products I leverage. It is clear that we are in a Machine Learning and AI battlefield. Both Microsoft and Google are fighting to be the king of this territory. One big difference is that Google is fighting two battles where is it appears Microsoft is really only facing one. In Google’s case they are chasing Machine Learning and AI as well as the dominant mobile platform in which the are battling Apple.

Both Google and Microsoft have cloud services that provide Machine Learning or AI capabilities. A lot of them are very similar. It really feels like they are all playing from the same playbook. Even when it comes to specialized hardware. Google has it’s TPUs while Microsoft is running FPGAs.

Another area that Microsoft and Google share is digital assistants. Amazon owns this space today but now Microsoft is partnered to get Cortona on their Assistant. The two companies see the play that all digital assistances can play in the same world. Each will have their specialties making one better for something than another. Google is not in that mix of sharing at this point. They are making major leaps forward by leverage their AI/ML capabilities. Their demo of Google Assistant calling to make an appointment via Natural Language Processing shows an interesting world were digital assistance can really carry out many tasks. I think it is just a matter of time before these digital assistants turn into robotic assistants. I for one am ready for my R2D2 unit. Bring it.

Google of course has the one market of mobile that Microsoft does not directly have. Google announced their Android P Beta which will be the next wave of Android. I actually thought it was interesting seeing them take a lot of Apple’s gestures and take them a step further. Microsoft though does have a mobile play through Timeline and their Android Launcher. They also have integration with Android which allows them to bring SMS messages into Windows similar to iMessage for Apple fans.

This competition over AI as well as other areas will only benefit us all as we move forward. If we didn’t have these kind of innovations going head to head there wouldn’t be any incentive to do more. I am very excited to see where this goes. I wish there was more to be honest but I’m alright with the way things are being released frequently as well.

So today I am heading to Seattle for my first Microsoft Build Conference visit. I’ve been to a couple of larger conferences in the past like WWDC and AWS RE:Invent, but I’ve never made it to Build. I figured I would post my first thoughts before the conference on what I expect to hear from Microsoft and see how it turns out.

I have high expectations that a lot of the discussions and announcements will center around Data and AI. This will range from tools and services to make it easier to ingest data from your sources where ever they are. This will be followed with more tools around Machine Learning and the like. Microsoft’s past endeavors in this space have been about democratizing AI and Machine Learning.

I would like to see information about HoloLens 2 personally and where the direction of that platform is going along with more mixed reality stuff but that is more of a personal interest than work related for me.

I expect to see more cross platform tooling to follow the moniker of “Any Developer, Any App, Any Platform.” The fact that I jump platforms on a regular basis this is very beneficial. Visual Studio Code has became my default visual editor (with vim bindings of course). I’d like to see more tooling around building Progressive Web Applications. Based on the session list there will be some content on this topic. I feel that this platform has some potential as long as the vendors can all get along and make it happen correctly and not diverge.

I’m going to be trying to travel light this year. I’m only bringing my iPad Pro and my iPhone. The goal for me is to see if I can do any development through virtual machines in Azure if I want to play with anything. I want to see how light I can travel. I tend to bring a laptop with me all the time and barely use it. We shall see how well I can do this on this trip.

If you are at Microsoft Build this year and want to catch up ping me.

As promised I’ve created a little video tonight on me learning to use blender. Tonight’s model is a Low Poly Tree. I show some techniques I would have normally used but I’ve learned some things from another YouTube person Grant Abbitt that I share as well. Grant definitely deserves a lot of credit as he does a great job on his channel. Please check out his work too as he is a true professional versus me who is just dabbling and learning currently.

And with here you are my first Blender video in my series of learning Blender.

 

Have an idea of something I should try to create? Leave me a comment and maybe you will see that in my video later this week or next week.

When I was in High School I happened to take a course in drafting and eventually Computer Aided Design. I even landed a job for a while learning and doing 3D CAD. Over the years I’ve dabbled in 3D from time to time whether it was creating something for a video intro for my kids theater performances I burned to DVD or for building a simple game. I’ve decided it was time to dust off my skills again. Especially with the project I’m working on my boys to create a digital game.

Wow the world has and hasn’t changed much.

The tools I’m using at this time range from Blender (Free) to ZBrush Core (Paid). I’m trying to focus on Blender which is a crazy tool that can do more than one trick. It can be a 3D Modeling tool or a Sculpting tool or even a game engine.

Blender

Blender 2.79b

Blender can scare people off really quickly. You need to come to it understanding it is in “Expert Mode” out of the gate. The tool is full of keyboard shortcuts you really need to memorize to improve your speed. The mouse will feel backwards off the bat but if you get used to it you will understand the thoughts behind it.

I’m going to start to make screencasts over the next few weeks covering everything from the basics to stuff I’m just playing around with. My goal is to force myself to learn the tool to share with others what you can do with it and how. Just like doing a presentation if I don’t have a deadline it won’t happen. So starting today I’m going to be posting a video 2-3 times a week. My first video will land by Wednesday this week.

See you again soon.

The Beginning

I have decided to start a project with my two younger boys Camron and Curtis. The journey we are going to go on is to create a digital game from ideation to completion. We will be doing this all while live streaming the experience. I am currently working on a schedule in which we will stream the different parts of the process.

This will be quite an experience. I just recently starting streaming on Twitch under my handle CorvusNite. I’ve already learned a lot and will continue to evolve my Twitch content between gaming myself and building the game my sons come up with.

The Game – Episode 0

What do I expect my boys to want to build? Well based on the fact that they love to play Minecraft I have a gut feeling that is where their ideas are going to start. I’m going to push them though to create something completely unique instead. My first session will be myself, and my boys sitting around a table and literally drawing up ideas on paper. We will have open discussion of our ideas and between the three of us we will land on the game concept. From there is where the creative process will really get going. We will have to do everything from game mechanics to design aesthetics. If the game has characters we will have to work through character design principles. Next we will have to discuss our strategy of how we attack building our first MVP.

Development Begins – Episode 1

The next step for us will probably be starting the rough game development. I’m not sure at this point where we will start. It will either be jumping right into a game development platform and starting basic game concepts in code, or it could be starting on the development of graphics for the game either way this will be more of a screencast. I’ll do commentary as I go. I will discuss the decisions I’m making and why. Occasionally I will have to consult with the game designers (My sons).

Crowd Participation

I am hoping to get a community around this project and they will have input as we move forward through the design of the game. This will come in the way of polls as well as just people contributing through chat in Twitch or commenting on the archived YouTube videos I post. If people would like to directly contribute we would find a way for them to join us. The goal though is that majority of the development of this project is streamed to show the process and the work that goes into building software.

Conclusion

I hope this project will be a success and that others will enjoy watching the process. Please feel free to give some suggestions if you have them as well as feedback.