Mozilla’s developer evangelist, Christian Heilmann, is perhaps the last person you would expect to be an advocate for Microsoft, especially given the long rivalry between Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Yet in a recent blog, that’s precisely what the open source purist did:
Microsoft has a massive part to play to do good in our world. And they are not cocky any longer, they are repentant. Not all departments, not all people, and it will be easy to find examples, but as a whole I get a good vibe from them, without being all marketing driven.
And this to me is the main point why Microsoft matters. They are the only ones that really reach the “dark matter” developers… The ones that don’t read hacker news every morning and jump on every new experimental technology. The ones that are afraid of using newer features of the web as it might break their products. The ones that have a job to do and don’t see the web as a passion and a place to discuss, discard, hype and promote and troll about new technologies. And also the ones who build the products millions of people use every day to do their non-technology related jobs. The booking systems, the CRM systems, the fiscal data tools, all the “boring” things that really run our lives.
We can moan and complain about all our great new innovations taking too long to be adopted. Or we could be open to feeding the people who talk to those who are afraid to try new things with the information they need.
As an interesting aside, this week Microsoft revealed that 20% of the virtual machines on Microsoft’s Azure cloud hosting service run Linux.
It seems like the open source movement might be finally burying the hatchet with Microsoft.
A guided tour of the world’s biggest ship
The Titanic? Compared to this beauty, it’s a tugboat in a bathtub.
In a fascinating blog post, Wired photographer Alastair Philip Wiper takes a look at the Maersk Triple E. When completed, this marvel of modern engineering will be the biggest ship in the world:
The Maersk Triple E is the largest ship ever built, the pride and joy of the largest shipping company in the world… Each Triple-E class vessel is 59 metres at its widest point, three metres wider than the previous largest vessel, the E-class Emma Maersk. A U-shaped hull design allows more room below deck, providing capacity for 18,000 six metre shipping containers arranged in 23 rows – enough space to transport 864 million bananas. The Triple-E is constructed from 425 pre-fabricated segments, making up 21 giant “megablock” cross sections. Most of the 955,250 litres of paint used on each ship is in the form of an anti- corrosive epoxy, pre-applied to each block. Finally, a polyurethane topcoat of the proprietary Maersk brand colour, “Hardtop AS-Blue 504”, is sprayed on.
As Philip Wiper explains, the super ship is under construction in a shipyard in South Korea:
The Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) shipyard in South Korea is the second largest shipbuilder in the world and one of the “Big Three” shipyards of South Korea, along with the Hyundai and Samsung shipyards. The shipyard, about an hour from Busan in the south of the country, employs about 46,000 people, and could reasonably be described as the world’s biggest Legoland. Smiling workers cycle around the huge shipyard as massive, abstractly over proportioned chunks of ships are craned around and set into place: the Triple E is just one small part of the output of the shipyard, as around 100 other vessels including oil rigs are in various stages of completion at the any time.
Will Apple’s next iPad copy the Surface?
Apple’s iPad sales are sinking.
Over at Bloomberg, Leonid Bershidsky suggests that, just like Apple gave the iPhone a sales boost by copying Samsung’s Galaxy Note, it could be about to do the same by cloning Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 series of two-in-one convertible laptop/tablets:
This time it isn’t a Samsung product Apple is watching, but Microsoft’s Surface Pro.
Microsoft hit on the idea of producing a tablet-laptop cross in 2012, incurring losses and writing off inventory as it refined the concept. This year, it finally produced a device that reviewers liked — the Surface Pro 3. It’s reasonably convincing both as a laptop and as a tablet, albeit a large and heavy one. Microsoft has not released numbers, saying only that the Pro 3 was its fastest-selling tablet yet — the company underestimated demand, creating shortages in some markets.
And final, some fighting robots
Finally, scrawny engineers are perhaps the last people you would expect to compete for the heavyweight championship in any form of combat sport. However, as Melia Robinson at Business Insider explains, that could all be about to change, thanks to the advances in the field of robotics:
Two engineers scaled the support structure and disappeared into the copper-coloured body. The pilot closed a front-facing gate and took hold of the joysticks. The Megazord-like structure rumbled to life and its right arm, its only arm, swung to take aim at the crowd. It seemed angry; the crowd was loving it.
This is MegaBot, the first of its kind. Its creators are three engineers on a mission to usher in the next generation of major sports leagues: Robot SmackDowns. Co-founders Andrew Stroup, Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein envision a serialized, possibly televised competition in which these colossal bots fight to the death.
“Is this the evolution of WWE, UFC, and NASCAR? Giant, fighting robots?” Stroup asks, seriously. “We think so.”