I've just finished reading this article, Brain Power, from Spectrum.

It's about some strange new science such as neuromorphic-engineering, which stands for biologically inspired electronics. The whole ideea is mixing digital and analog computing to achieve improoved processing speed and power-saving, as mother nature does. Think of this, for instance:

Consuming about 50 watts, that game console throws off enough heat to bake a cookie, whereas the inner ear uses just 14 microwatts and could run for 15 years on one AA battery.

This must be something we'll se a lot in the near future.

There must be... fifty ways to lose your data, or at least that's what Billy Hollis is thinking. You you think so you can help him on competing his list.

Micosoft detailed a new image format at WinHEC. Windows Media Photo will be supported in Windows Vista and also be made available for Windows XP, Bill Crow, program manager for Windows Media Photo said in a presentation.

In his presentation, Crow showed an image with 24:1 compression that visibly contained more detail in the Windows Media Photo format than the JPEG and JPEG 2000 formats compressed at the same level.

Microsoft has finished the first official version of the "porting kit" software needed to build support for Windows Media Photo into devices and platforms other than Windows. It should be available soon, Crow said.

Microsoft added live traffic overlays to its maps on Windows Live Local. It also lets you create collections of pushpins and share them with others. Live Local’s Bird’s Eye View, which provides multi-angled photographs from low flying aircraft, has now expanded to include large parts of the UK.

More on this topic at TechCrunch: New Features at Live.com Local Maps.

Here's a new Ruby implementation on .NET from Wilco Bauwer. He has posted samples for IronRuby, for the .NET Common Language Runtime.

Bauwer's post includes the typical "Hello, world" example -- in this case, it is for the February CTP of Windows Presentation Foundation -- along with downloadable binaries and Ruby scripts. Bauwer also covers how to derive from a .NET type and implement a .NET interface.

Best IDE

Visual Studio 2005

A unified, end-to-end, role-based toolset that extends the IDE's reach in all directions.

The 16th Annual Jolt Awards were presented at this year's SD West 2006 Conference and Expo.

This was a good year for Microsoft, which garnered Jolt Awards in the categories of Database Engines and Data Tools; Development Environments; and Libraries, Frameworks, and Components. Microsoft also received a Productivity Award for its Visual Studio Team System, and was joined the ranks in the Hall of Fame for its Visual Studio Professional Edition.

For a complete list of awards see this article on Dr. Dobb's Journal: 2006 Jolt Awards

A recent article from MSDN Magazine got my attention to this new operating system from Microsoft Research called Singularity.

Singularity is a new operating system, written almost entirely in C#, which executes only verifiably safe programs. Singularity's kernel and runtime libraries are the only parts of the system containing unsafe code and, even in those sections, most code is written in safe C#.

For more info you can read An Overview of the Singularity Project.

Microsoft has released the first preview version of its much-anticipated Microsoft Expression Web Designer (aka "Quartz") product.

The Community Technology Preview (CTP) is available for download on Microsoft's Web site.

CodePlex is an online software development environment for open and shared source developers to create, host and manage projects throughout the project lifecycle. It has been written from the ground up in C# using .NET 2.0 technology with Team Foundation Server on the back end.

CodePlex is a community site for hosting projects that are available via Microsoft Shared Source, the GPL and a host of other licensing mechanisms.

Requirements Authoring Starter Kit (RASK) can help software development teams collect, interpret, distribute, and synchronize project requirements in a structured Word document using Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System and the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Editions.

Download at Microsoft downloads - Requirements Authoring Starter Kit

Details on how to use this add-on can be found in this article: Using the Requirements Authoring Starter Kit - Part 1 and Part 2

In his new blog post Martin Fowler is evaluating the Ruby programming language.

If you like a non-biased opinion on the language's future read it. It may clarify some things for you, as it did for me.

Just a link for all of you interested: http://www.devx.com/vstudioextensibility

It has some incredible sample content including Iron Python language integration and WinForms Designer integration. By examining the Iron Python source code (not included in the SDK, but free at download center) you can see how a language can integration into VS in a rich deep way.

Updates include changes to VSTS Samples for RTM compatibility and signing of VSTA bits; DSL Tools remains unchanged since the Jan CTP. New samples include Editor Reference sample in both C# and C++, CustomSearchProvider ( C#) and RegExLanguageService ( C# ), and continued improvements to the IronPython end-end language integration sample with much better Winform Designer integration. New MPF sources; adding to the source for Package.Project the SDK now includes the source for Package.Shell and Package.LanguageService.

You can download the software at the VSIP site (login required).

Gunther Lenz and Christoph Wienands published a new article on Software Factories explaining the basic concepts, the theory behind it, as well as the basic building blocks.

Read more on .NET DEVELOPER'S JOURNAL: http://dotnet.sys-con.com/read/204797.htm