Rob Farley

Rob Rob Farley has been consulting in IT since completing a Computer Science degree with first class honours in 1997. Before moving to Adelaide, he worked in consultancies in Melbourne and London. He runs the development department in one of Australia's leading IT firms, as well as doing database application consultancy and training. He heads up the Adelaide SQL Server User Group, and holds several Microsoft certifications.

Rob has been involved with Microsoft technologies for most of his career, but has also done significant work with Oracle and Unix systems. His preferred database is SQL Server and his preferred language is C#. Recently he has been involved with Microsoft Learning in the US, creating and reviewing new content for the next generation of Microsoft exams.

Over the years, Rob's clients have included BP Oil, OneLink Transit, Accenture, Avanade, Australian Electorial Commission, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Royal Borough of Kingston, Help The Aged, Unisys, Department of Treasury and Finance (Vic), National Mutual, the Bible Society and others.

Did you mean to come here? My blog is now at

03 October 2005

Should Functionality via Web Services Mean Low-Spec hardware?

A few years ago (2002) I was at a Microsoft conference in London. It was a pretty big deal - the speakers included Don Box, Bill Gates, and even Dave Glover!

At the end of Bill Gates' session, there was a question and answer time. And a prize for best question (an MSDN Universal Subscription). I don't remember what the best question was, but I do remember the question I was going to ask, except that they ran out of time and I missed out.

The conference was all about web services, and how this was introducing a new level of distributed computing. I remembered from my "History Of Computing" class at uni that the advent of home computing was largely brought about by the "IBM-compatible" concept allowed because of MS-DOS. Now it seemed like the very person who decided that computing should happen in the home was saying that it should now happen at the other end of a SOAP call.

So I was going to ask if future versions of Windows would be designed for low-spec hardware with high-spec networks. Whether future versions of Word would make calls to web services to repaginate or add bullets.

I wish I had been able to ask my question. I wish that a version of Windows was coming out that could run on all those old machines that schools are forever needing to upgrade. Instead I find myself looking at the features of Windows Vista, wondering how long it will be until schools are using it, or even when government departments will be using it. My kids already whinge that their computers aren't good enough to run Windows XP, that they're stuck on 98 and 2000. I'd like to get them networked, and install Windows-via-WebServices, which could run on a 500MHz machine.

But it's late and I should sleep.