Microsoft ambitious about the Azure Cloud!

Remember the famous Windows 98 boot screen and wallpaper? The windows product name etched in a background of bright blue clouds. I am not sure who was behind that idea, but definitely he would have never thought the cloud, would mean so much to Microsoft over a decade later.
Azure as it has been christened, the next generation of Computing is getting ready for take off. The Microsoft Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie was all excited to announce the possibility of a Windows that runs inside Internet. Azure will go beyond the existing paradigms and create a Distributed Operating System Model hosted under Microsoft's Data Centers. And the services could be accessed through existing protocols like HTTP, REST, WS* and Atom.
The Azure platform will provide various Azure Services like Windows Azure, .NET Services, SQL Services and Live Services. Developers can write applications on the Azure platform and make it available to the users all around the world.
With Azure, Microsoft also makes a genuine Openness Promise, to support all technologies impartially over the Azure cloud. This means an Azure app could be running on a PHP application or use OpenID authentication.
Other Azure highlights are the possible subscription model of licensing that Windows Azure and the hosted apps may follow. The Azure network's fabric controller that manages the services and the ready availability of data which is spread over many data centers.
Azure seems to be the Logical evolution of Operating Systems, and when the leader of Operating Systems is initiating it, expectations are running high.
Though this looks like a promising step ahead, Azure is still in a very nascent stage and there is a long way to go until we get something that has a business value. For now, Microsoft has a limited Developer preview and some SDKs for the developers to play with. PDC 2008 also witnessed some small sample applications developed over Azure.
"It's a transformation of our software and a transformation of our strategy" Said Ray Ozzie, in the PDC speech. He was probably right, as web is the next home. And we will have to wait and see who will be the first to conquer this kingdom.
Azure Home
Azure Coverage on CNET


Mozilla sets up Minefields to blow away other browsers!

For the past few months, the browser war has reached new exciting levels, with Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Opera, all releasing new versions, providing drastic improvements to the older versions. Also, Google joined the party when they announced their own Chrome.
There are long running argument threads in the internet on which is the fastest.
Chrome had a dream start, first the comic book leak, then the sudden release, and public curiosity and all that. Initially Chrome did unsettle the browser community for a while, soon it proved to be just another browser.
Now, firefox is projecting its future Firefox, with the Minefield brand name. Minefield refers to all the alpha, pre-release builds of firefox which you are free to download and test. [Also, it is upto you to survive the crashes.] Though not recommended for normal users, the Minefield will give you daily and even twice-a-day updates, for whenever there is a new build, you get them. But, most of the standard firefox plugin go unsupported in Minefield.
But, the reviews have that Minefield is lightning fast and the javascript rendering of the new bomber browser beats all the browsers without doubt. So, firefox is not done yet. In fact they are getting stronger and better. Anyway things are rosy for users as we have options to choose from.
Minefield gives you the nightly builds which can be obtained from the Mozilla's ftp. You can see the future of firefox with Minefield builds. So if you are upto it, go ahead and download Minefield. One more thing, Minefield installations can be kept separate from the firefox installation. So go ahead and play!
Minefield Home
ftp Download page