G G Gerard Marshall Vignes

Niner since 2004

Software developer living in the University District of Seattle, WA. Graduated from the University of (Southwestern) Louisiana, Fall 1994. Relocated from Lafayette, LA to Raleigh, NC in early 1996. Complete several in-house software projects: an N-tier distributed system for the NC Department of Agriculture and a web-database system for a major client of Travel Management Partners. Relocated from Raleigh to Seattle in early 2003. Launch MarketBlaster, a collection of Windows/Linux web services t...


  • Iain McDonald - More stories from the Windows War Room

    This points out something interesting.

    The features we need in an operating system (and peripherals) depend on what we want from a computer.

    Working in a small business/govt. environment, I can say that cost management and reliability are very, very important.  Playing games and overclocking devices does not fit in with that culture.

    I won't argue that it may not be such a good idea for Microsoft to produce its own devices (peripherals). I have, in the past, been referred to the HCL to look for vendors who go through the trouble to make their devices work properly with Windows (and verify it).

    The problem with poorly supported drivers does exist. I realize that Microsoft is making a real effort to educate driver writers. I also realize that Microsoft has the clout to advance the state of the art in driver MAINTENANCE.

    If Microsoft won't put it's brand name on devices (other than Mice and Keyboards), then at least Microsoft can enhance its logo requirements to the point where vendors will HAVE TO MAINTAIN GOOD WORKING DRIVERS for all current versions of Win32---even those which have not yet been released.

    It means a lot to me, to be able to distinguish between (2) vendors who CLAIM their device has the appropriate drivers for a particular group of Win32 Operating Systems and (2) vendors who actually KEEP their devices working with all current versions of Windows Operating Systems.

    If I have to replace devices every time I upgrade to a new operating system, then I need to factor that cost into the total cost of the operating system.

    I was an early adopter of WindowsXP.  I had lots of video capture, television and other devices. I took a real beating, replacing a number of devices---some of which appeared to not work properly with WindowsXP (even though they had the XP logo on the box).

    After a year, I switched back to Windows 2000. I would probably not use WindowsXP again, but I am looking forward to Longhorn.

    This time I am preparing to be an early adopter.

    I am going to kiss everything I use today goodbye and start from scratch.

  • Iain McDonald - More stories from the Windows War Room

    After seeing your video, I can appreciate the magnitude of Windows as a software product.

    I would like to point out something about 3rd-party drivers which are associated with off-the-shelf devices that attach to a PC.

    The device drivers are often released for a particular group of Operating Systems.

    The devices themselves tend to be replaced by new versions every year or so.

    When a new OS is released,  the device vendors sometimes release updated versions of the drivers---often late and buggy.

    After going through Windows NT, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows XP, I realized that I was often (but not always) being presented with two options: (1) remove the device from my computer or (2) buy a new version of the device that the vendor claims is intended for the new operating system.

    After five years of wasting money away on off-the-shelf devices, I have radically changed my approach to PC add-ons.

    I rarely buy add-on devices for my PC. I have already removed everything that is not absolutely essential. For necessary devices, I now try to buy generic, inexpensive versions such as those sold by COMP USA.  If the device does not work with a new OS and I need it, then I can usually afford to replace it.

    I have happily been using Microsoft mice and keyboards for the past five years, with no problems. I would like to see Microsoft provide a line of Sound and Video Cards. That way, I know I can get drivers which work. Everything else I can either get from a reliable vendor, or I can live without.

    I don't blame Microsoft for these driver problems. I do blame vendors who produce add-on devices which they have no intention of properly supporting.

  • Pat Helland - IT shops have evolved a lot like cities

    Pat, that is an awesome post.

    As Developers, we have been quitely neglecting this issue out of self-interest.

    The day of reckoning is coming, and our profession will forever change.  I only hope that the change happens first in the USA, and that American developers lead the way.

    Remember what happened to those poor people who got left behind in the technological revolution that actually began during the European Renaissance. They became colonies.

    There is one issue I would like to raise: the growing shift from Applicative to Declarative programming.

    As a business programmer, I would like to focus on turning Requirements (a declaration of what the users want) into a declarative programming language (a declaration of what the computer must do to satisfy the user).

    I want business software (as with SQL) that allows me to specify the results I want. I want business software that then goes away and does it, reporting on any problems it encounters.

    THere are an infinite number of ways to re-invent the wheel. I just need something that rolls properly.

    Herein lies, I believe, the key to the problem of interchangeability.

    Of course, I could just be drinking too much caffine and watching too much television. It wouldn't be the first time  Smiley