Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Saturday, August 16, 2003

Werner Voegels has the first idea for Jeff's PDC contest (here's an update from Jeff). I was just talking with Jeff on IM, and he reminded me that he doesn't have the tickets yet, he's going to take your ideas and pull together a pitch to the powers that be after this week. If anyone can pull together something like this, Jeff can, though.

Robert Cringley equates shipping IT jobs overseas with age discrimination. Makes some really good points. Thanks to Fred Sampson for pointing me at this.

Dan Shafer points us at a Flash animation for you to send to all your friends and family who insist on sending you stupid emails for various things. You know the ones where people think they are gonna get rich if they just forward all their friends some email?

One of my life's most fun events was when I spent several hours driving with Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords, to the Pop!Tech conference. Sadly I won't be going again this year. It's a week before the PDC and I'm needed for PDC preparations. Buzz has a new weblog, by the way. He's an interesting guy (is on first-name basis with Bill Clinton, for instance) and can't wait to see what he writes.

One thing he's already written about are his Etymotic headphones. I got a pair a couple of weeks ago and I'm addicted. These suckers are amazing. They block out all the external noise (I can't even hear myself typing on my keyboard) so that you can play your music at a lower level too, which makes your ears happier. They are simply the best I've ever owned. Ken, in my comments, backs up my sentiment, although he says he uses Sennheisers too.

Glenn Reynolds, keeper of the really great Instapundit, has a few links to photojournalism, done by bloggers, of the blackout.

Tim Sneath tells us that C# programmers have some "pre-PDC reading" to do.

Gizmodo turned one year old the other day. It's amazing this thing is so young. It's already my favorite toy site.

PocketFeed is an RSS/RDF news aggregator that runs on the Pocket PC 2002/2003 PDA's. Uses OPML too!

Jeffrey Randow is writing down his wishes for Longhorn. Interesting idea. During the PDC, definitely remind me of these again and we'll talk about them at length.

For those of you coming to the PDC, help design the Birds of a Feather session (Keith Pleas link).

Here's a good site for learning about various security problems on computers: Security Tracker.

I'm signed up to help answer phones at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Microsoft is also asking employees and others (MVPs, etc) to help out on the security newsgroup.

Someone over on Dan's comments made the point that security issues aren't costly to Microsoft itself. That's absolutely NOT true. We see that eBay's stock has gone up by 70% so far this year, but our stock has gone down in the three months since I've joined Microsoft.

The marketplace +is+ penalizing Microsoft for its security (and other) issues.

It's directly hurting me where it hurts most: in my pocketbook.

Employees will get hurt again next year during reviews. If we can't get customer satisfaction to go up, execs won't get raises/bonuses (and their options will remain under water). Think that's conducive for rank/file employees like me to get rewarded? Heck no.

That's what's great about the capitalist system. The system itself tells employees where to focus our efforts.

The marketplace has spoken: security is important.

For those who don't know, Dan Gillmor works for the San Jose Mercury News, and is one of the nations top technology-focused journalists.

Dan Gillmor: "Robert Scoble is a good guy, and he's good for Microsoft. But there's some kool-aid seeping out of this piece." and "The monopoly is safe for now. Customers are not, and the world's wealthiest and most powerful monopoly should care more."

Dan: all of our executives are now compensated based on how many and how happy our customers are. Translation: they don't get raises or bonuses unless we have BOTH 1) Happy customers and 2) A lot of customers. Right now our customers aren't happy. Our execs aren't happy. We're motivated to fix this security problem (and enabled -- you should have seen the recent internal security fest).

Yes, Dan's right. A corporation's #1 job is profits. Our investors (read millions of people who own stock in us) demand that we show more and more profitability.

The question we're always asking ourselves is "what should we do now to increase profits?"

Security wasn't always important to investors (er, the average person that invested in Microsoft stock didn't care). Now they care a lot -- and the fact that Dan and other journalists are writing tons of articles about security underscores that fact. So, you're already witnessing a huge corporate shift. Microsoft, last year, took a month off and reviewed every single line of code. Obviously that wasn't enough.

So, Dan's right. We should care more. Our investors demand it. Our customers demand it. We took a month off coding last year. Maybe we should listen to Dan and take a year off and worry about security issues even more. I'm not an executive, though, and I'll let them decide that priority. I can tell you that on my team we argue about the security and trustworthy aspects of nearly every new feature we design into our project. It's a BIG deal for average rank and file employees (we hate having to read articles like the one Dan wrote this morning).

The problem is, at some point you'd have to ship new products. Our investors demand that too (new products are where new revenues come from). And, then, you'd be shipping new code with potential new vulnerabilities. Any code that does something interesting is a potential security problem. Think about that for a minute.

For instance, Microsoft just shipped OneNote. It doesn't have an API. Why? Because of security issues. But, it really limits the functionality of the app. I'd love to have Radio UserLand talk to OneNote, so I could use OneNote for blogging. I can't do that today because of security concerns.

Also, anything I do on Microsoft's defense is gonna sound like "drinking the Koolaid." Heh, you should hear the heck that I get from Microsoft's employees (one guy called me "Microsoft's cheerleader)." That doesn't take away from the fact that we're working hard on a whole raft of new security initiatives. Let's get together in a year and see if we've lived up to Gillmor's, er, our customer's, demands.

Software Development Times: ".NET's 18,000 mile checkup."

Microsoft released its SmartPhone SDK the other day.

Randy Holloway is confused by WinFS in Longhorn. We'll talk a LOT about this after the PDC. It's one of the key pieces of Longhorn and makes it a lot easier to store, find, open, save, move, copy, and retrieve your files.

Interesting discussion on Slashdot about cost of RedHat Linux.

Personal note to Beth Goza: My son says he can cure your Xbox problem. Just give him the game and your problem will disappear.

Jeff Sandquist: "send me your ideas on what you think would justify a free ticket to the PDC."

Here's a hint: Jeff actually has the capability to get you a free ticket.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 2:55:02 AM.