Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Gnome and the Pixies

Hmmm, somehow the decorations were magically fixed over the weekend... the gnome tried to blame the pixies. Can you spot him?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Drooping Holiday

Remember those nice photos of management decorating the nsquared office a few days ago? Hmmm, over the last few days the results have become a bit questionable... ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More nsquared Holiday Party

nsquared Holiday Party

Happy Holidays to nsquared! It was so great to see the entire team together. Just watch us as we grow over the coming year! Special thanks goes to Greg and Sue Preston, Andrew and Sam Coates, and Catherine Eibner for joining us to make this event special.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Neil at Microsoft Mix-it-up

Team members Dr. Neil and James demonstrated the holiday spirit last week at Mix-it-up in Singapore while talking about nsquared magic.

Be sure to stay away from the angry gnome's food!

nsquared founders decorating the office

Thursday, December 11, 2008

nsquared welcomes Craig!

nsquared is excited to announce that Craig Bailey has joined the team as the Australian Development Manager.

Craig comes to us with 18 years experience in the software industry, including his most recent role as Technical Director at Elcom. With a degree in Software Engineering, Craig has worked in various roles, such as developer, software manager, CTO, and Technical Director – mainly with a Microsoft focus, and has experience with databases, desktop, and web development. He has been a Microsoft MVP for three years and runs the Sydney Business and Technology User Group (SBTUG)

Join us in welcoming Craig to nsquared!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Windows Live Jumpstart Training continues...

We had a great turnout yesterday in the hands on labs for the Windows Live Jumpstart training in Sydney. It is awesome to see the attendees taking advantage of having the trainers to help as they get started with building applications that use the Windows Live Services. Off to Singapore tomorrow...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Put maps in your web apps with managedmaps

nsquared is proud to announce the release of The site allows you to easily add a full color interactive map to your own web site for only $10 per month via your Windows Live ID. Use the map to view communities worldwide in Road and Aerial view, and add pushpins to locations of your choosing. It’s fun to use and easy to add a map to your site. Check out managedmaps!

Jumpstart Windows Live in Sydney

As you know, nsquared has been helping present the Live Services Jumpstart tour around the world. This week, James and Dr. Neil are in our hometown of Sydney for two days, then off to Singapore to continue their presentations introducing the Live Framework.

In conjunction with the Live Services Jumpstart tour, nsquared is proud to announce the release of ManagedMaps allows you to easily add Windows Live Virtual Earth maps to your web site.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Live Services in Berlin

Over the last two days nsquared’s James McCutcheon has been presenting with Mike Shughrue from Microsoft on Live Services as part of the "Live Services Jumpstart" tour. The Live Framework is one of the most exciting technology advancements we have seen for a long while - Microsoft has really nailed this SAAS model.

James and Mike have a "Hands on Lab" travelling with them in the Live Services Jumpstart tour so that developers can listen to the presentation and then walk into the lab room afterwards and try out what was discussed. James is busy developing some additional examples which we promise to share, so watch this blog over the coming weeks.

James and Mike will next move to Warsaw where they are looking forward to meeting more developers and spreading the Live Services love. Feel free to grab James and say hello, and tell him what you think of Live Services. To see when they are moving through a town near you, check out the website, and come and say hi!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cool Toys

nsquared is working with some exciting technology this week that we’d like to share with you (well, at least we can share some of it)… ;)

First, take a look at Windows 7. There are a number of user experience improvements and some brand new innovations to explore. A new task bar includes hot links on the icons for easy access to recent and frequently used documents. The desktop has a new Personalize option that allows for a desktop backgrounds slide show – use the Windows pictures or combine them with your own and control them to rotate on a fixed schedule. When you float your pointer over the task bar, it now shows a mini of every open item, even if there are multiple screens in an application or multiple web page tabs open in the same window.

Next we are working with multitouch screens. These fantastic display screens allow navigation without interaction with the mouse – use your fingers instead! There is even an option to open a keyboard and type right on the screen. If you have a multitouch screen combined with Win7, you can resize the desktop icons by growing them with your fingers, and you can have more than one person interacting with the screen at one time.

We are also working on some projects for Microsoft Surface. nsquared built the Surface hands on labs for the PDC which were very highly rated. The Surface simulator works on the HP TouchSmart multitouch screens allowing us to test some of the multitouch features of Surface at our desktop.Sneak Peak: we are working on some cool proof of concepts for Semblio on Surface , can’t say any more than that for now…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Busy Week!

nsquared is expanding! After filling up the offices on Level 6, 109 Pitt Street, we have acquired offices on Level 8 to accommodate our growing staff. Last week the developers moved to the new space, and apart from some minor difficulties with the whiteboard (a big thank you goes to Luis of nsquared services for his tenacious assistance), everything went smoothly.

The new office is a wide open area with the developers situated in a large rectangle facing one other. They are enjoying their new space. “More open space allows the team to have better interaction,” says Dimaz, Software Design Engineer. He also appreciates the larger desks that the area affords.
In addition to the new space, nsquared brought on their first technical writer, Maridee O’Day, from Seattle. Maridee started with the company four weeks ago in the Kirkland office, and with the addition of the new office space she was able to join the team in Sydney almost immediately. Maridee brings five years of experience in writing technical documentation for Seattle based Costco Wholesale and John L. Scott Real Estate.
nsquared needs to keep filling our new office space - contact us to join the team!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

nsquared Welcomes you to Liberation Day!

Join us today at Liberation Day to bring in a new dawn for developers with the freedom of software + services! nsquared will be there and we’re hiring!

Liberation Day 2008 presents Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as the key speaker in A Live Web Rally. Steve B will specifically address the subject of Cloud Computing. He is joined by Gianpaolo Carraro (Microsoft Senior Director) who will guide attendees through the Microsoft Azure Platform realities and possibilities, and Tim Sneath (Microsoft Director) who will speak on how you can use liberating technologies such as Windows 7 to build application for Windows and the web.

nsquared contributed to Liberation Day by building a WPF application just for this event. If you aren’t able to join us at the event but want to watch the live stream, read the speakers blogs or participate in a real time chat, go to the main Live Rally site and follow the links under Enhance the Experience section.

The download and install link will ensure you have the minimal dependencies installed (Client only components of the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1), before installing and launching the Event Client.

Once downloaded, you will see the window for the web stream.

· Click the MORE link in the window to change the resolution or view additional videos.
· Click on the CHAT button at the top of the screen to start chatting.
· Supply a nickname and away you go!
· Click the button to see who else is online.
Look out for the nsquared crew either in the chatroom or at the event.

See you at Liberation Day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PDC: Celestial Afterthoughts

If not at the opening address, PDC wreaked tangible excitement by the end of Day 4. Developers left upbeat and charged, ready to start grappling with the new concepts and tools at home. Though there was much pre-release content, we can expect to see more tools emerging in the next 6-12 months around these.

Windows Azure, interesting if not quite new, left me begging for an answer... What will they charge for it? Will it prove valuable and worth the cost no matter what they decide? The market will determine the value – but which market? The price, in fact, will determine the market.

The overall opinion of the Microsoft Directors seems to be that Windows 7 is a strong offering. While Vista was a nice change and brought many enhancements to Windows, I agree that there are definitely places for improvement. Windows 7 looks like it will do at least one trick by reducing the drag on system resources.

Microsoft Surface will have people creating a business need for it where there wasn’t one before, if only because it is so cool. The Day 3 Keynote (absolutely magical) demonstrated some research technology transporting Surface into the 3D world. Amazing.

By the way, nsquared built the labs for Surface which were well received at the conference. nsquared also contributed by acting as the technical advisors for the Windows Live Framework and Windows Live Services, 2-sided poster, and working on the Visual Studio Tools for Windows Azure.

All in all, the conference delivered on its promise and reputation, that of being the champion gathering of developers and architects worldwide...on the surface... and in the clouds.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day Two PDC Keynote - Rock and Roll to the Epic Saga of Misunderstanding

The initial pump and excitement was certainly there this morning as opposed to yesterday’s slightly lackluster performance.

It should not be surprising that Windows 7 gets the rock star treatment on stage. It is the bus that drives the cash to Microsoft's front door every day.

Ray's introduction to the session was a perfect pull back and setting to the scene. Explaining the history of Windows, positioning the PC, the phone and web platforms from Microsoft's perspective was perfect. This is the theatre you need in a keynote, and the scene was set for Steven Sinofsky to get on stage and start showcasing Windows 7 and the features being improved.

It is clear that a lot of work has gone into the user experience for the client, and there is an understanding that Windows is now (and has for a long time been) a consumer operating system not just a business operating system.

Windows 7 is about much more than the user experience. The core technologies have had some great improvements at a power management and networking device management level. Goals for Windows 7 have been around performance and responsiveness; Windows 7 now supports 256 processors, boots faster, uses less memory and reduces the power consumption on the device.

Today all attendees get a copy of the win7 pre-beta (milestone M3 ) build. Beta will be delivered early CY 09.

This is where the keynote should have ended but Microsoft VPs rather appreciate long-winded tales, so it must have made sense to them to continue telling stories. Feedback for anyone putting together a presentation - tell one story, create a beginning, middle and an end. Perhaps learn from theatre and movie makers – please keep it short and simple next time, folks.

The next story was presented by the great Scott Guthrie. The new features in WPF, .NET 4 and VS 2010 were briefly covered by Scott, and the developer focused audience loves the fact that now more average developers can write code. Again a democratization of software development continues, allowing more mediocre software to be built and shipped. You have to hand it to Microsoft for enabling software development to be done by unexceptional members of the world’s population; leading to even more rubbish software in the world. Personally I think this may be great, it will allow the people that really know what a computer is doing to build fantastic software that will really differentiate from the rest.

Two hours in and the Day Two PDC keynote kept going and the audience got restless, the exodus started from the keynote room as David Treadwell came on stage to disclose information on how to build software using the Live Services. David discussed the concept of the internet as a bridge to allow users to see the same data and share data between users and devices. Mesh is now a key component of Live Services, mesh is the experience built on top of Live Services. The Live Services is now a platform for S+S, making it easy for developers to build applications that utilize the Live Services via the Live Framework.

Live Operating Environment is akin to the CLR in .NET. A set of open, consistent interfaces are provided in the Live Framework. Live Framework comes with a set of API kits including a .NET API kit making it easy for .NET developers to build Live Services enabled applications. Now your applications can tap into the user data, devices and social relationships.

Dr. Neil

Monday, October 27, 2008

PDC Keynote Day 1 – Developer View

During the PDC2008 Keynote this morning, the secret about Microsoft “Cloud OS” was finally revealed. The platform, called Windows Azure, offers scalability and on-demand resources to host and manage Web applications on the cloud. Along with these platforms, they also announced a few other Microsoft Online Services that utilize the Azure platform.

The most exciting news about the Azure platform is that developers can use their existing skill set to take advantage of it right away. There will be a SDK released in a few hours which contains a new Visual Studio project to create and deploy Web applications to the cloud. All of the configuration files use XML-based syntax so that, for instance, if you need to scale up the computing resources of your application, all you need to do is make a one-line change against the xml. They said, “Even a CEO can do it”. However, if you are not comfortable with XML, there is good news - Microsoft will be shipping a GUI to make this configuration process even more seamless. Azure platform supports SOAP and REST protocol for communication purposes. The fact that it is an open platform which is targeted for both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages (e.g.: Java, Ruby, Python, etc) makes it even more compelling.

Moving on, I was thrilled to hear the announcement of the first Online service - .NET Services. This service addresses most, if not all the hurdles and issues that Enterprise application suffered from. Federated Authentication has been a nightmare for Enterprise class hosted solution. Traditionally, it requires the Service provider to maintain a set of client credentials on top of the ones that the client already has in their Active Directory, resulting in duplicates and painful maintenance. With .NET Services Access Control, the authentication can be federated with options to use either Enterprise Directories or Web Identity System such as Windows Live ID. Then, the authorization decision can be made based on the set of rules and claims that can be changed easily. No hassle at all!

The next component of the .NET Services is the Service Bus. They demonstrated a product to manage the product recall. Traditionally, to accomplish this task, each consumer and publisher needed to have a dedicated connection (e.g.: VPN) to manually connect the 2 networks together. Using the Service Bus, as developers, we can lift those boundaries by having our centralized services available at internet-scale without any corporate restrictions, and yet automatically get the scalability and on-demand benefit of the Azure platform.

The last component of the .NET Services is the Workflow Service. This service provides a mechanism to construct, deploy, and run workflow on the cloud platform. It uses XML –based configuration file to build the action flow. Microsoft promised to have it integrated with the Visual Studio 2008 Workflow Designer soon.

The last service they announced was the SQL Services. As the name suggests, it allows you to store data (using SQL Data Services), run reports, and do analytical processing on the cloud. However, at the moment, they only have SQL Data Services up on CTP release. I had a play with SQL Data Service since it was on the Preview mode. I admitted that there are a LOT of improvements from back then. I’ve just browsed the latest SDK on MSDN and now they’ve supported the JOIN and ORDER BY feature. Although these features might be far from new for developers who work on the on-premise SQL Server, this proves that Microsoft took feedback from developers and implemented it. The other new feature from SQL Data Services is the support for external Authentication Services. By default, it will use the Token Service, but alternatively, developers can pass on the Authentication endpoint to the SQL Data Service.

Personally, I am glad to see the improvements and vision from Microsoft for the months ahead. The cloud services indeed will benefit the majority of businesses, from small, medium to enterprise. Looking forward for the announcement for Day 2, which I’ve heard will be mainly around Live Services (including LiveMesh). :)

Dimaz Pramudya

Sunday, September 21, 2008

nsquared press announcement

The nsquared group has announced the acquisition of the staff and client pool of Cybner Pty Ltd which will increase its offering in the growing Microsoft business dynamics market.

nsquared solutions delivers leading edge software in a way that helps identify the most value up front and deliver on it. The nsquared development team utilises a responsive approach to deliver solutions to meet the most pressing needs first and then works through the value chain to always remain focused on what adds the most value now.

Cybner provides innovative solutions to the CRM product space and has grown to be a recognised name in dynamics space. nsquared’s goals have been focused on the technical challenges faced by software businesses to overcome the hurdles of delivering high quality solutions to tight time frames.Catherine Eibner, CEO of Cybner Pty Ltd, said she was excited to pursue some new opportunities while Cybner’s clients will be able to have the ongoing support of the great nsquared development team.

“Working with nsquared ensures that our customers are able to take advantage of the amazing wealth of knowledge nsquared already has in the industry, as well as their proven and consistent approach to deliver value to their clients” she said.

James McCutcheon, co-founder of nsquared, feels this new addition to the nsquared development offering is an exciting opportunity and looks forward to continuing the Cybner tradition of quality solutions to the Microsoft business products market.

“This new acquisition allows nsquared to increase its development offerings to the market and I am excited with the new opportunities this will bring”.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

CXC Global and nsquared partnership announcement

A new partnership between two dynamic and growing Australian businesses is expected to yield combined revenues of AU$200m within the next 10 years.
nsquared solutions and CXC Global have worked together for many years on solving the challenges faced by today’s IT and software businesses.
CXC Global provides innovative solutions to logistics and human resources challenges and has helped businesses work smarter with their global contractors and employees. nsquared’s goals have been focused on the technical challenges faced by software businesses to overcome the hurdles of delivering high quality solutions to tight time frames.
CXC Global will provide its full backing to the nsquared services project teams as an internal administration, payroll and management service, whilst nsquared will be providing the leading edge technology and applications behind the CXC online products and services.
Ingrid Webber, CEO of CXC Australasia Pty Ltd, said being world leader in Contractor Management Services was an ongoing challenge that could only be maintained by deploying the world’s ‘best practice’ solutions.
“Working with nsquared ensures that CXC will have a huge technology advantage over any potential competitors,” she said.
Dr. Neil Roodyn, Director of nsquared and a Regional Director for Microsoft Australia, feels the partnership will help both companies grow through better value add for their clients.
“This new relationship allows both companies to focus more energy on bringing value to clients while supporting each other to increase the energy each company is able to focus on their core business. By joining forces, both companies expect to accelerate their growth to achieve the significant targets they have set for the next five to 10 years. .”
nsquared solutions delivers leading edge software in a way that helps identify the most value up front and deliver on it. The nsquared development team utilises a responsive approach to deliver solutions to meet the most pressing needs first and then works through the value chain to always remain focused on what adds the most value now.
CXC Global provides salary packaging, accounting, payroll and administration services to the global contract market and has built a solid reputation for honesty and integrity with a commitment to friendly, efficient and prompt service. CXC Global has offices in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, USA, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore and South Africa with affiliations around Europe.