Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Friday, September 05, 2003

Jupiter Analyst Joe Wilcox's kid is into Neopets too. What's up with that site? I can't peel my niece off of a computer when she's able to go there.

News.com's Charles Cooper: Longhorn and the Battle for Web Services.

Jas Bains was an intern at Microsoft over the summer on the Sharepoint team. I had an interesting lunch with her (about what else, blogging of course). Definitely someone to watch.

Scott and Sean talk about NDAs -- they posted various information (gathered from public sources) about Whidbey, Yukon, and Longhorn.

Chris Anderson wants me to invite him to the next party I'm hosting.

Well, he's invited and accepted to a weblogger dinner at 6:30 p.m. at Bellevue's Crossroads on Wednesday, September 17. This one will be a real wild one. Gary Cornell from APress already told me he'll be there. So has Matt Carter of MSPress. So has Joshua Allen. And we haven't even started yet. There's gonna be a LOT of really interesting geeks in town that week.

Steve Maine says his boss motivates him by buying him some good Scotch. Heh, alcholics annonymous here we come. Did anyone miss that my boss has the very cool DrinkBoy website?

Mickey Williams takes me to task on Usability vs. Beauty. I disagree, but understand his point. I think more beautiful designs are simply more usable. Why? Because they are more pleasing to use.

GotDotNet has a page for comparing J2EE to .NET.

More pre-PDC studying from Eric Gunnerson: A few generics terms.

Microsoft has released a new SMS sender for Windows XP (GSM cell phone and a direct modem connection also required). Free.

Other ways to send messages:

SMS.ac lets you send messages from a web service.

SendSMS allows you to send an SMS through a Smartphone or PocketPC phone device that is connected to your computer.

TechDirt's Mike Masnick: PR People Discover Blogging. Thanks to Dan Gillmor for the link.

Real interesting pro and con about RSS News Aggregators over on the Shifted Librarian weblog today.

Paolo Valdemarin wishes we had better intranet aggregators. I do too. Yeah, we have internal weblogs at Microsoft (ones that are hidden from public view) and yeah, I use NewsGator to keep track of them all. Paolo's onto something here.

Fast Company: "The Art of the Anti Apology."

On behalf of all Microsoft employees, I'm sorry for anything we've done wrong. Just blame it all on me.

Zhanbo Sun says Microsoft's TechED is coming to China this month. I wish I were there. Shanghai is one of my favorite cities in the world. Too bad it's so far and so expensive to get there. Guess I'll have to settle for watching the TechED blogs.

A Krispy Kreme wedding cake is simply going too far.

LinuxJournal compares OpenOffice.org Writer to Microsoft Word. Even says it's better. Hmm. It's not how good your word processor is. It's how well it integrates into everything else. But, can we move beyond documents yet? I use my weblog tool about 200x more often than I use Word (and I use Outlook 10x more than I use my weblog tool).

Rayne Today messes around with AOL's Blogging (er, Journal) Service

Dave Winer wants companies to announce products at the BloggerCon. Sorry, can't move the Longhorn launch from the PDC.

Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I'm playing with Linux. I even bought a legitimate copy of Lindows. Yeah, I know, helping out the competition by doing that, but a good platform evangelist knows the good and bad of all platforms. What should I play with next? Sun's Mad Hatter?

I just learned that Carl Franklin will be recording a session of .NET Rocks at the PDC in front of a live audience. Hmm. I remember the first time I saw Carl speak. He was the first one to show me the Internet. VBITS 94, I think.

USA Today points to a guy who is a candidate for stupid criminal of the year.

Russell Beattie points to a "must have" plugin for Mozilla.

Jeffrey Zeldman about a patent suit against Microsoft: "Eolas, the patent holder, staked its claim in 1995. Geeks and academics immediately pronounced it worthless, but this year a US judge disagreed. Thatís good news for the patent holder but rotten news for the universe."

The Washington Post called me last week and asked me to be interviewed for an article that it is working on about Steve Ballmer. I did the usual thing. Told them that I'd need to check with PR, and that I'd get back to them after getting some PR advice.

No one told me I couldn't talk, but after finding out that the only people who've been interviewed for this article so far are high-end executives I decided to turn down the request. Why? Cause I've only worked at Microsoft for four months and I really am not an authority on how Microsoft has changed under Ballmer's watch.

That said, Ballmer's regime hired me, so I love the guy! Not to mention he gave me a signed dollar back in February at the MVP summit. Gotta frame that as my "first Microsoft buck."

More seriously, Ballmer has been doing several things that I notice. He's implemented a code of ethics. He's changed executive compensation to reward execs only if customer satisfaction improves. He's changed it so that we won't get option grants anymore, but rather straight grants of stock.

He told the MVP group that I attended that he's working to fix Microsoft's legal troubles and work to regain developer and customer trust. He also told us that he goes to work every day to make people's lives better by getting them better software.

All of these things are things that I like. So, from my view, he gets high marks.

The Inquirer makes up some more about Longhorn. Dang, is this journalism? Your average weblog has more journalism on it than this. Now I know why Dave Winer started weblogging. If this is how journalists operate, it really would infuriate a small businessperson who was trying to get some informed news out about his/her products.

How much do you want to bet that someone "legitimate" repeats this as fact?

Epicor's Microsoft strategy: beat it at its own game.

Are you a world traveler? ZoneTick is a cool utility that'll help you stay in touch over multiple time zones.

My friend Kathleen Dollard has a cool editorial in Visual Studio Magazine: "I love VB.NET."

14 minutes. That's how long it takes to pitch a project to an exec (in my case I pitched to Vic Gundotra this morning) and get an approval. Whew. Things move fast. I can't imagine what it'd be like to be an exec here and have to do this on the hour every hour.

I can't talk about the project yet, but we'll talk at the PDC.

Thanks to coworkers Jeff Sandquist and Lenn Pryor for helping me get prepared. Let's rock and roll!

I went to my first Friday morning brown bag breakfast training today. Turns out Microsoft has open-to-any-employee training every Friday morning. Free Krispy Kreme's and training on one of the company's products. Done by a vice president no less. You know, I've been part of several companies from seven people up to 115,000 employees, and none do anything like this.

Today I learned about Exchange's instant messenger. Every Microsoft employee now has instant messaging. We've come a long way from the ICQ days. Now we have encrypted IM and nice integration with Office. I also got an answer to why there's two separate IM clients (MSN and Exchange). MSN is going to rev once or twice a year and have lots of features aimed at consumers. Our enterprise customers don't want to see revs that often, and want different features. So, we have two separate teams who are trying to do similar things, albeit for different customers.

I'll be going every Friday morning, great idea!

OK, hiring managers, I'm gonna take you to task. You all have GOT to do a better job of setting expectations. My wife has been on half a dozen or so interviews and she's just had her hopes raised to too high a level only to be dashed later. One interviewer told her "oh, we have got to find you a position here, we don't want to let anyone with your qualifications go." Yeah, you can guess the answer. After three weeks of runarounds, they decided to hire someone internally.

Yesterday she interviewed at Microsoft for a temp position. The guy hiring her, and the temp agency, both said "we'll get back to you tomorrow." Sure enough, no calls. No emails. Why set expectations when you aren't gonna follow through? Far better to say "we'll make a decision sometime over the next week." But, the message seems clear: no job.

Put yourself in the candidate's position and treat them the way you'd want to be treated. Think my wife's view of Microsoft went up today? You can guess not.

I'm ragging on Microsoft a bit here, cause it's my company and I want us to always be the best in the industry on treating people well. There are a lot of people out there looking for work right now, and they'll always remember how you treated them when they were down on their luck.


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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 robertscoble@hotmail.com. Last updated: 1/3/2004; 3:02:19 AM.