Scobleizer Weblog

Today's Stuff Saturday, February 22, 2003

A personal note to Alan Meckler. I wouldn't brag about "getting weblogs" before your competitors have. You still haven't gotten the concept. You haven't linked to a single site that's not on Jupiter's domain yet.

Weblogs are all about sharing, not about taking. So far Alan wants all the attention, but doesn't want to share with others. I'm unimpressed.

Conferences should be all about sharing, not about taking. Will CDXPO be any different than Comdex? I don't see it yet. Starting a weblog and calling your competitors clueless isn't gonna win me over.

What I want to know is: will there be people there I can do business with? Will they be in a sharing mood, or are they gonna be in a bitchy greedy mood?

Alan's old conference, Internet World, did a lot to build up the "bubble." Alan, in a lot of ways, is responsible for the negative things about the Internet.

Now he's proud that he's started a weblog. But, I'm not sure he gets the new world. The new world isn't about taking. It's about sharing.

Why did I hate Comdex so much? Cause it was all about greed. As an exhibitor, the first thing you had to deal with was the extremely high prices they were charging for booths and space. Understandable, since back then there was a very limited supply, and almost unending demand.

But, then, when you got on site, you met the Las Vegas union folks. They had their hands out. Big time (we saved Winnov thousands of dollars by hand-carrying in every piece of our booth. The union had funny rules. As long as you didn't roll things on their carpet, you could carry them in. So we did).

Even the airlines and hotels got into the act. Hotels routinely charged $300 for a room that'd normally go for $39. Airlines raised their rates, and God forbid if you were one of those Silicon Valley types that were bumped off of a Comdex flight. I saw this happen once. From then on, I decided I'd just drive and save myself the trouble (and my company money).

One thing I totally agree with Alan on is his comment here: "We are building cdXpo backwards! My personal belief has always been that the foundation of a great trade show is the seminar program." Yes, that's true, but why is it true?

Because, if you do this part right, you'll have all the industry leaders in one room. What makes people want to go to a conference? To visit with industry leaders!

Everytime there's a deadly fire I think back to the first story I wrote when I got to San Jose State University. There had just been a deadly fire in the dorms there, and I decided to "follow up" on the event by learning how to protect yourself during a fire. I'll never forget the advice that the fire chief gave me then "always have an exit plan, no matter where you are."

Last night I watched the video taken inside the Rhode Island nightclub as 96 people perished in a night club. It's clear that most hadn't thought about how they'd get out of the club in an emergency. Exits at the back of the club went unused while the front exit was overcrowded.

Watching the video, I'm not sure I would have behaved any differently, though. When a fire happens, it usually takes you by suprise and often times you don't behave properly.

The San Jose State University students, for instance, would have been safe if they had just stayed in their rooms. They had a fire door between them and the fire and the fire department would have been able to get them out in time (obviously not the case here).

Wow, when I was talking with Ingo Rammer last week I never expected him to run out and buy a Tablet (I don't recommend the Compaq one, by the way, because its digitizer isn't pressure sensitive and I believe that's a HUGE disadvantage). Taking off my NEC hat, I would have gone with the Toshiba, or the Motion tablet if I couldn't have gotten the NEC. But, maybe those aren't available in Australia yet either (Tablets are VERY hard to find -- demand has been way outstripping supply for almost all models).

Anyway, he says he still likes his paper pad better for some things.

Well, when you can email me your paper notes, let me know.

When you get 10 paper pads' worth of notes, let me know if you can find the notes from that meeting that happened two years ago? (If your notes were in journal, you'd be able to search them, because when you write in Journal, it also converts your handwriting to text -- this happens on the fly "underneath" the ink). Ingo: try it, use the "find" feature in Journal. It's pretty amazing.

Also, what happens if you write four points on a piece of paper, and then you want to insert a new point between #2 and #3? With the Tablet, you can instantly make some space. With a pad of paper, you write really really small, or draw an arrow in, which makes your notes messy and harder to understand.

Oh, and Ingo, if you think Journal is cool, wait until you see OneNote. OneNote takes Journal (which is just like a pad of paper) and turns everything you write into an outline. Draw four bullet points, and OneNote converts them to wedges that you can drag around (Dave Winer eat your heart out!)

Even better, with OneNote you can record audio from a meeting and then as you write, it'll put an audio icon next to each outline point. Whoa. Now you can instantly play back the audio from any point of a meeting.

This is really going to freak out journalists. It will instantly be my first tool of choice for doing meetings and interviews.

Oh, and OneNote works just fine with non-Tablet computers as well (you can type into it, or write with a pen). Read more about OneNote here.

This is the first really innovative software I've seen from Microsoft in years. It's going to change how we all participate in and record meetings.

Scott Johnson is skeptical about what Microsoft is doing for the future. You should be Scott. Don't accept what "fans" like me are saying. Personally, no one in the industry has a clue about what Microsoft is doing. No one has even gotten close to guessing yet. So, yes, be skeptical. Hold my claims to the heat of the flame of reality. Of course, on the other hand, hold these analysts to the fire of reality too. Let's meet in 2005 and see how you think Microsoft dealt with the problems outlined by Scott.

Regarding that last item, yes, you can bitch and moan about Microsoft being a "huge, evil, borg" but that really won't help you get better products. If you're a Mac fanatic, what do you want Microsoft to do for your platform? If you're an Xbox fanatic, what do you want Microsoft to do for your platform? If you're a Windows user, what do you want Microsoft to do? Hey, even if you're an Open Source person, what do you want Microsoft to do?

Some of you might say "I don't really care" but is that taking your own best interests to heart? Microsoft isn't going to disappear and you'll need to deal with them whether or not you like to or not. So, while you have their ear, you might as well tell them how you'd like the future to look from your perspective.

You know, they just might listen. And if they don't, I'm sure their competitors are checking this place out too. Remember, I've gotten more Apple-centric traffic in the past week than I've gotten from most every other website/weblog combined.

Wow, what a difference three years makes. Three years ago Microsoft was attempting to close its MVP program. This year the size of the program is about double what it was a year ago, and product managers left and right are really listening to the members (Ronald Pihlgren, one of the VC++ guys at Microsoft explains his own personal corner turn on dealing with MVPs). Oh, and think they are only listening to me? Top execs at Microsoft have been reading every comment posted here on my weblog (and visiting every link I point to from "anti-Microsoft" folks). I haven't seen this level of listening from within Microsoft since before Windows 95 came out. Now's your chance. What would +you+ like to see Microsoft do between now and, say, 2005?

Sam Gentile has been pointing to lots of gems like that last link lately. Thanks!

Lots of people who watch Microsoft are wondering "what is Microsoft going to do about open source?" The first thing that comes to mind is that Microsoft will use its patents. So, it's very interesting to see what the folks who invented technology within Microsoft say about their inventions and the role of patents. Here's a note from one of the guys who built the .NET CLR (Common Language Runtime).

Hey Alan, why all the anti-Comdex noise? Heck, chart a path and go for it! I'd love to see Steve Ballmer face off against Linus Torvalds in a mud wrestling competition, or something like that.

Seriously? I've been talking with quite a few people in the conference business and they all would love to work for Meckler. So, Alan, you hiring? Speaking of which, my wife is looking to join an awesome conference team -- just keep her out of the casino, OK?

Oh, man, is Alan Meckler (CEO of Jupiter Media) a crackup! Remember, this is the guy who started Internet World. He's starting a "Comdex beater" conference. Now he's trash talking: "By the way, Fred Rosen, CEO of Comdex (Captain Edgar Smith) is still trying to get a definition of a Blog."

Wow. I wonder if my boss or his boss would ever try this?

Now that I'm officially "Microsoft's ho" (Erik Barzeski named me that yesterday) I wondered what I should do next? I did what any self-respecting geek would do in Silicon Valley on a Friday night. I took my wife to Krispy Kreme and then went to Sunnyvale to listen to a garage band (actually pretty good, although it was hard to tell cause the band had their amps turned up louder than the Who used to play their stuff at).

Across the street from where I was listening to the band was the "historic Del Monte building." Yet another reminder of Silicon Valley's agricultural past. Most of the geeks probably don't notice that. Ahh, I do miss the apricots of my youth.

Back to the "ho" comment: why do Apple folks drop down to the ad hominem level? If you have superior hardware, no need to sling the mud, right? I guess Erik hasn't read my stinging comments about Microsoft. I remain one of the only ones who is taking a public position that Microsoft should voluntarily break itself up. And why don't you search Google for my comments on Smart Tags. Oh, and Wired Magazine two weeks ago quoted me about my tour of Steve Wozniak's house. I've never been inside Bill Gates house.

Oh, and I guess Erik didn't know that I used to be a Mac fanatic (from 1987 to 1993) and I guess he didn't know that I actually helped my mom build several hundred Apple II's in the late 1970s.

But, I'm not bitter. As long as you get my URL right, I'm cool with that. It all helps my Google rank. Heh.