It all started with Microsoft's innovative idea, the Windows Home Server (WHS). As the word spread so did the need for specialized software. Once more and more home users and small business invited the Windows Home Server into their realm, the WHS Add-ins craze took off. They are small and specialized software that began pop up from all corners of the globe. In the last two years many things around the WHS have changed and the improvement in the add-in quality is significant as well. With every new add-in the functionality, stability and style are better and stronger then in previous versions. It makes one wonder what is the force that pushes all that enthusiasm and the creativity? And what is behind all these add-ins?
Many people were having those same questions and we at Home Server Land (HSL) realized that there needs to be a common roaming/reading ground where those questions can and will be answered. That train of thought is how we arrived at a new Blog series, "The Interviews". The interviews blog is my no means exclusive to the add-in authors. We also ask and invite hardware and software OEM's and as well as Microsoft employees to join in. In this blog the discussions are open to everything concerning the Windows Home Server, no question is too dumb and no idea is too small.
Our official first guest is an Windows Home Server Add-in author, Daniel Buschke.
- Mike: Daniel welcome and thank you for giving us a glimpse into your WHS world.
- Daniel: Hello Mike, thank you for the invitation. OK, let us start.
- Mike: Daniel, if you don't mind, what is your full name and how old are you ?
- Daniel: My name is Daniel Buschke and I am 29 years old.
- Mike: Where are you from?
- Daniel: I am from Germany and I live now in the capital city Berlin.
- Mike: Daniel, do you have an avatar?
- Daniel: Normally not, but in some forums I use one.
- Mike: What do you do for a living?
- Daniel: I am working as engineer by NTeam GmbH, with around 25 colleagues. We work on Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office Share point Server, short MOSS. MOSS is my specialty. I develop the Web, Site definitions, Timer jobs and so on, specially to customize the Share point.
- Mike: Daniel, do you have any hobbies?
- Daniel: You know I am work as engineer and it is something that I enjoy and really carry over to my free time also. I'm also interested in framework, and I try to find new solutions to make it better. Apart from that I attend to my family (girl friend and my daughter).
- Mike: How long have you been using computers?
- Daniel: Oh, that's a good question. I think I had begun in 1995.
- Mike: What was your first computer (make, model, specifications)?
- Daniel: My first experiences were on my father's C64. He bought is the C64 at a cheap price and it was his toy that he locked up in the cabinet. But one day I picked the lock with a similar key, and from that day on I whenever he was not home I would play a little bit with the computer. Later, I had a 386 computer, which was a slowpoke compared to today's models. As I started to earn money on my own I would buy different computer hardware.
- Mike: Daniel, do you remember the first computer program that you coded?
- Daniel: Not only do I remember but I have a little story to tell about that. I have started very late with coding, some scripts here and there, but I really didn't start until about 2001/2002. At that time I was employed by Siemens AG in Berlin. It was there that a friend of mine gave me the final boost that I needed to start programming. He was a friend and a colleague, and he was evolved with Visual Basic 6 little Windows Forms. At this time I was very busy with research and therefore I had to do many analyses for a lot of applications and with the help from my friend we have transformed the tools with VB6 and VBA for my excel charts. From there I started to experiment with coding in different directions (Windows Forms VB6, Scripts (VBS and Batch) and websites with php). I worked on a lot of different things and because no project was ever 100% completed, I can't really say which one was really the first.
- Mike: Daniel, how or why did you decide to use the Windows Home Server?
- Daniel: It was actually an employee from Microsoft that turned me on to WHS. I was working on a team that also had someone from Microsoft. You can imagine what happens when you are working so close with the source to Microsoft, you get to be the first to see every new gimmick. One day he showed me the website template from his private Windows Home Server and explained to me the functionality of the whole thing, which was like music in my ears, and I decided to buy all the needed components to build one of these systems, a WHS.
- Mike: Please tell us about your WHS setup?
- Daniel: It was running without any problem.
- Mike: Really?
- Daniel: Yes, only some clicks and that's it. Fast and easy, everyone can do this.
- Mike: Which add-ins do you use on your Windows Home Server?
- Daniel: Actually only my own. OK, that's a joke, but really I use the standard like everyone, my Web Cam add-in and the Samsung Photo Frame add-in. That's all.
- Mike: Daniel, why did you make this add-ins?
- Daniel: As sample: the OnlineControl add-in happened because of self interest. In that time there was nothing out there like I wanted, so I made it. I spared no effort to code something that saves me money. As I was working on it, I heard that someone else was working on a new add-in that that would do what I need and more. The add-in I'm referring to is LightsOut (a different author), so I stopped working on mine. It also made me think about what else would be useful (idea for an add-in) for the community and me.
- Mike: How would you improve or change the WHS platform?
- Daniel: Oh, I think from the beginning there was more stuff and information needed, when I think in the developers direction. The SDK needs more flexibility. For example: one of my wishes is that the context menu in the tray icon of the console would be changeable. Apart from that, the server does all what I have expected. The central data management and accessibility overall is actually a great.
- Mike: Daniel, do you have new projects or what else are you working on?
- Daniel: Yes I have. I am working on the update for the Web Radio add-in, and then there is also the Web Cam add-in, but it is not 100% clear where the journey goes. So that add-in is a little bit open, but never say never.
- Mike: Well, we would like to conclude this with a great big thank you to Daniel from HSL team. Daniel thank you for your time and the interview and we wish you all the success for your add-ins and applications on the WHS.
- Daniel: I have to say thank you to the Home Server Land Team that I was the first one for the interview series.