@JoshRoss: I'd say we kept on course given what was laid forth 9 years ago. The plane is larger and the number of destinations has increased. Hair is more grey by a factor of 2 (not 9, thankfully), then there's the physical manifestation of self (I'm twice the man I used to be...), etc.
Time is a jet plane. C
The last nine years have been rather rough. But the luggage seems to be more secure now, and I don't find myself looking up worried that something will fall out and split my head open.
I'm not sure what Windows will look like nine years from now, or even three. But, I'm sure interested in seeing. Perhaps, one day the cockpit doors will be unlatched. It's not like there is a hot dog factory up there.
I first came here in 2004 to ask a question about Monad (now Powershell) and MSBuild and got a response from a MSBuild Program manager, who also told me that the thread had been partly responsible for a meeting between MSBuild and BizTalk to talk about interop. It felt like I was properly interacting with Microsoft. Although there seems to be less direct interaction now, the videos have really taken off and I have learned a great deal from them. TWC9 is a great summary of the week's events in case there was something I missed.
The Coffeehouse has become a familiar place to chew the fat with whoever cares to have a conversation.
Highlights for me included The 'Phantom Book Buyer', who send several of us books from our Amazon wishlists after we discussed and compared wishlists in a thread. There was no name on the gift tag, so I labelled them with the Phantom moniker and I'm still not sure who it was. They made me realise that by being open and honest about who I am on-line I can make genuine friends, even if I never actually meet them.
It was also great to follow some of the regulars as they made their way into Microsoft as employees. Although I've never wanted to work there (to large a company) I have shared the excitement of people gaining their ambitions.
The big highlight was, of course, the trip to Vegas for Mix11. Not only was the trip a real experience, but just making it to the short-list was a complete surprise as I never though that just making stupid jokes was considered helpful. Meeting 9ers in 'meatspace' was a lot of fun. Also, I'm still wearing all the free T-Shirts I collected
It's hard to believe it's been so long. Channel9 started right after my father passed away and I had started at my second gig with Avanade, which was a Microsoft/Accenture joint venture. Dad was pretty proud that I'd finally made it into a company we both thought was going places. Channel9 really filled a hole in my life ... the interviews just reminded me of the way I'd go up to my dad when he was deep into something and ask him what he was working on, and we'd have a long discussion about whatever it happened to be - usually programming related, or philosophy or history or theology ... you name it..
The stand outs really bring me great happiness, challenging my very understanding of reality - too many to name, but the top 3 go to Beckman, Meijer and De Smet - for volume and quality. The fire control systems as shown by Beckman, analog computing, was one of the most profound AHA moments I've ever experienced.. That combined with An Eternal Golden Braid - the idea that any formal system of symbols, with a set of rules, can be a language ... that really is profound and to understand how analog computers work and how that must be how protein conformal changes and enzymes must work, just blew my mind.
As for the next 9 years: Consider Beckman's discussion on analog computers, consider monads as things that "change without changing", consider 3D printing custom, disposable computers, and programmable matter - i.e. how do you program a purely functional computer out of light emitting polymers, 3D monads, that's how, because it has to be purely functional. You cannot program matter with side-effects, that's not going to work. That's what is coming however, 3D printing will get so fast over the next 50 years, that we will indeed have holodecks. They managed to pull photons out of the vacuum just this year, and believe they can do it for any particle, once they are able to control things, so it may be even faster than that. The issue is how do you control and arrange these particles such that they make whatever you want out of thin air? BTW it isn't free energy, because you indeed must put in energy to push or pull (with magnetic fields) the particles out of the vacuum before they annihilate.
Anyways, quantum computing is just one aspect of computing that is already upon us. It will be awhile, but there is the possibility of making one out of off the shelf components, and if someone is successful at that ... watch out. Another aspect is sharing thoughts and minds - telepathy - and frighteningly, they've managed to hook up two rats and have one learn from another, remotely. So much so, that one rat starts to develop all the sensory signatures of the other within its own brain, as if it has two bodies. Seriously, not making this up. The news came out just this past week about it. The scientist believe they can hook up many animals to make a "brain-net", to solve more and more complex problems. "Organic computer", they call it. Well, I call it telepathy. Scary stuff, but also something that I would try - it's not that dangerous ... is it??? Hope not.
So, 9 years is enough time to change the world, and even for the singularity to happen. In the meantime, lets remember the simple things ... like getting together with friends and family and enjoying nature and the fresh air and water and BBQs and beer. I hope that the future means more of that, and more fun, and less pain and suffering. It's definitely not my intention to ruin the world, so if I hook myself up to a brain-net, it will be to try to solve some of the biggest and most terrible problems we have. Like cancer, heart disease, childhood illnesses and genetic diseases of all kinds, and perhaps ... death.
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