Uncertain over .NET
I’ve written a lot about the evolution of the .NET Framework in the last two issues of SD Times. The .NET Framework, while imperfect, is good technology. In fact, .NET can be more productive than Java, depending on the context of the application that is being built.

.NET wins on the client-side, but the Java ecosystem overtakes that difference on the server-side, according to author Ted Neward, who works with both platforms. .NET has evolved rapidly, and so does any platform during its early years. The criticisms are justified, but Microsoft has been fairly responsive to developers’ requests.

It has, however, been too Windows-centric in its vision for the .NET platform. I’m convinced that the framework would have achieved greater success had Microsoft taken a many-platform view and not created enormous uncertainty about using its intellectual property. With the emergence of cloud computing, it again faces the choice of placing its bet on Windows.

I’m not certain that it will be successful in the cloud without having great tools for Linux. Maybe its recent indemnification agreement with Amazon, which gives it access to some of Amazon’s technology for Linux, will shed some light on its strategy.    — David Worthington

Make your Web app stand out
To ensure success, Web applications need to be fun, fast, easy to navigate and instantly useful for the end user, said venture capitalist Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures. He explained to the audience at this year’s Future of Web Apps conference in Miami Beach that in order to keep a user interested, applications should have their own personality that distinguishes them from the myriad of other apps out there.

Let us listen to Wilson here; some of Union Square Ventures’ early-stage investments include successes like Twitter, Delicious and Boxee. The application must be built from the ground up with speed in mind, Wilson said, and the layout must not be cluttered or “busy on the page,” otherwise user interest will surely dwindle. An app also needs to be optimized for search engines and social media sites, he said, adding, “A new Web app is a needle in a haystack.”    — Katie Serignese

Keep it software, stupid!
Every time I visit the headquarters of some hot new startup, I can’t help but be reminded that the Silicon Valley is a place quite removed from reality. I know that if I were a venture capitalist, I would not approve of the way most startups spend their investment money.

We are now in an era where offices, swanky new laptops and hot sports cars are no longer needed to start a successful company. Instead of spending all of those increasingly rare startup dollars on status symbols and luxuries, start-ups should focus their money on whatever problem it is they are trying to solve.

The path to glory is littered with the discarded remains of companies that were too stupid to live, from a financial perspective. But I’ve been finding that this mentality is not limited to the Valley. Some startups well outside of California are just as guilty as our homegrown variety. I can think of one startup in Chicago, specifically, that is now on the ropes. They spent most of their venture money on lavish booths at trade shows, an expenditure that is at least somewhat reasonable. Unfortunately, they spent said money long before they had a compelling product to sell at those trade shows. Oops.    — Alex Handy

NBC hasn’t learned a thing
It’s been two years since the Beijing Olympics and, yup, NBC is still unable to even begin to broadcast the Olympics online properly.

Skipping the issues with delayed broadcasts and polar bear human-interest stories, NBC’s online presence for Beijing was woeful. What was supposed to be a showcase for Silverlight ended up being a tangled mess of cable subscribers being shut out of content they were supposed to have, thanks to irritating decisions made by NBC’s upper brass.

The complaints were made back then, but apparently NBC didn’t listen. Coverage of the Games is still sporadic at best, and any live or “premium” content is locked behind a cumbersome firewall where you have to prove that you are indeed a subscriber to cable television. Good luck fishing those credentials out of your cable bill.

If I were Microsoft, I would try to downplay my involvement with the Olympics as much as possible, lest people think that Silverlight is exclusively for events that nobody is allowed to watch.    — Adam LoBelia