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16.3. ATLAS

ATLAS is Microsoft's answer to Ajax. Talk about a group that suffers from the "not invented here" syndrome. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this syndrome, it goes something along the lines of this:

  1. If we didn't invent it, then it is evil.

  2. If we can sell a knock-off, then the original is evil and ours is innovative.

  3. In a product this innovative, there are bound to be some bugs, but we're not at fault.

The first time that I encountered this syndrome was in a computer terminal that was manufactured by the company I worked at. It had a detached keyboard that must have weighed 20 kilos or so, but it was considered superior to those terminals with keyboards that could be placed on one's lap, which is, in my opinion, the purpose of a detached keyboard.

Over the years, I've encountered the syndrome in various locations, usually associated with some kind of kludge. Usually it was a software kludge, either a homegrown procedure or utility that might have filled some kind of need, probably back during the Pliocene. Nevertheless, whatever it was, it was created locally and was, therefore, better than anything from any other source.

Of course, there is an alternative reason for Microsoft creating ATLAS beyond the "not invented here" syndrome. Perhaps Microsoft intends to either Balkanize the technology by creating incompatible alternatives or attempt to seize control by having their own flavor. There is, however, the additional possibility that they have allowed themselves to be blindsided again. Personally, I am most fond of the last possibility because it is kind of reassuring to think that the company that some consider to be "The Evil Empire" has once again missed the bus.

16.3.1. A Picture of ATLAS

Unfortunately, to use Microsoft's ATLAS technologies, it is necessary to have a machine running Windows and a copy of Visual Studio 2005. Although my laptop does run Windows XP Professional, I don't have a copy of Visual Studio 2005, and with a price tag of $549 for the Professional version, it isn't something that I will be purchasing in the near future. After all, $549 will buy a large number of seasons of Stargate SG1, Gummi Lab Rats, and turkey club sandwiches. For mad scientists, it is all a matter of priorities.


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