PDC 2009 Day 2 & 3: Silverlight 4 and IE 9

Greetings Readers!

For those of you who missed my PDC 2009 adventures for Day 1, you can check those out here because now it is time to talk about the rest of PDC.

Day two started off identical to the first except I didn’t have to register.  I immediately headed toward the keynote hall and waited in line with everybody else for the keynote, a keynote which I found to be more interesting than the first keynote.

The day 2 keynote consisted of announcements such as Internet Explorer 9 being in the works for just a couple of weeks and already is making considerable progress on the Acid 3 test.  While that is good to hear, I was most impressed with the fact that according to their very early benchmarks, it has nearly caught up to all of the other major browsers in terms of speed.  They are also bring GPU acceleration to IE 9 to help take some of the computational burden away from the CPU which is something I have been asking of basically every internet associated software for a long time now.  For only 3 weeks worth of work, they are making some amazing strides in the new version of the browser.  As impressive as that may be, until I get to play with it and test it out, I will still refer to it as Internet Exploder and point people to Firefox or Opera.

The announcement that I was really excited about was Silverlight 4.  As many of you know, I have a hatred for Flash and pretty much anything created by Adobe so it is easy to see why I am so excited about Silverlight 4 and the new features it brings.  What are those features?  Silverlight 4 is twice as fast as Silverlight 3 and has a 30% faster start time.  Silverlight 4 can now access your webcam and mic so now streaming sites like Ustream or Justin.TV have the option of moving to a platform that I believe is faster, more efficient (especially with the GPU acceleration) and more secure than Flash.  They showed off some of the awesome things that Silverlight 4 can do including  basic DVR functionality on live streams which I can’t way to get my hands on.  I was also impressed to hear that Silverlight is now available on 45% of all internet connected devices.  I can’t help but wonder how high that would be if Apple would allow Silverlight on the iPhone/iPod Touch but since it won’t even let Flash on there, I don’t see it happening anytime soon.  While that is a great number, I think it can be greatly improved with some strategic partnerships.

The rest of day 2 and 3 were filled up with sessions although I didn’t go to very many on day 3 just because there wasn’t much that was in my fiend of interest.  I did go to several sessions related to Windows 7 which were quite interesting.  A couple of the sessions had to do with DirectX 11 in Windows 7 and how programmers could use it for parallel computing and how it worked to improve graphics in games and stuff.  Probably the most interesting Windows 7 related session was about changes to the kernel.  Although I was interested in most all of the changes whether they were for security or performance or whatever, I was most interested by the changes made to help battery life.  It was interesting to find out how unused cores would be put into a sleep state when they aren’t being used as a way of conserving power.  I was also fascinated by the fact that since most processes don’t need the precision being checked every so many milliseconds, that processes would be group to fire  around the same time so that there can be a period of rest in between the process check-ins which also saves battery life.  There are truly some great changes with Windows 7 and since I am told video of the session(s) have been uploaded to the PDC site, I will likely link to them at a later time since I can’t now because the PDC site seems to be offline.

I was going to talk about the GeekFest that took place on the night of day 2 in this post, but since I have video to go with it, I will make it a separate post that I will post later this week.  I might also write another post on a couple of other topics but for now, this will be my last PDC related post that doesn’t have pictures or video which will likely be in posts of their own once I get around to editing the video.  It was am amazing experience and I look forward to sharing more of it with you in the videos to come.