Scobleizer Weblog

Today's Stuff Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The Gadgeteer (Julie Strietelmeier) writes about her experiences coming to Microsoft (for a small event named Mobius) to see the latest and greatest Microsoft mobile devices. Dang, sounds almost as good as that O'Reilly campout I went to last week.

GooSystems makes paint that turns into a great projection surface. Excellent for home theater systems.

VARBusiness (The 2003 Annual Report Card Winners -- How Microsoft Climbed to the Top): "Used to be that when folks weighed the leading enterprise operating systems, they instinctively thought Unix. Yet this year's VARBusiness Annual Report Card winner, Microsoft, is decidedly un-Unix. Its win serves to underscore a rapidly changing market where perception doesn't necessarily match reality. Microsoft, with its Windows 2000 Advanced Server, jumped from third place in last year's results to the No. 1 perch in the category. The Redmond software king beat out its Unix-based rivals, including last year's No. 1, Hewlett-Packard, which most notably fared poorly in the area of partnership. Partners knocked the company for not being easy to do business with and mismanaging channel conflict. For its part, Novell, and its once-dominant NetWare OS, continued a downward slide from second to third place in the overall rankings.

RandyRants links to a bunch of offline blog writing tools for PCs and PocketPCs.

Scott Guthrie lays out his demo at the recent VSConnections conference.

Ever wanted to try Visual Studio.NET for free? Here's your opportunity to try it online.

Oh, Chris Anderson makes me laugh. He says he's "mediocre at presenting." Give me a freaking break. He might not measure up to Don Box (but I think he's a quick study) but he did just fine in front of the audiences I saw him in front of.

Some advice for PDC speakers, though:

1) Enthusiasm. Nothing beats it. You're showing us the product that eventually hundreds of millions of people will use, for gosh sakes.

2) Hook us. Journalists learn to write in a "inverted pyramid" style. What does that mean? All the important stuff goes into the first paragraph. Don't hold back. Start the first 30 seconds with your elevator pitch. If I need to leave the room then I should know pretty much what I would have learned in the next 59.5 minutes.

After the first 30 seconds if all I see is PowerPoint I'm gonna shoot you. Show me a demo, darn it. Only have 10 minutes of demos? Show them up front. All of them. Shoot your wad. Then pull out the PowerPoint and give us the code samples and explain what we just saw.

3) Slow down, breathe. Getting in an extra 10% of information just won't help. Why? Cause most humans will only be able to remember three or so things from your hour talk anyway. The trick is to get them hooked so they are interested in learning more later on.

4) If something crashes, don't crash yourself. Everyone in the audience knows that we're showing off early code that often has problems. So, if something goes wrong, keep talking. Keep your cool. Keep giving info. I've seen a lot of speakers just freeze up when their machines do, not good.

Any other tips? Maybe we should have Nathan Gold, the Demo God, come and give some tips. (Nathan's my personal speech coach -- he's really good).

Anyone have extra PDC tickets? I know someone who needs one.

Microsoft released a new Windows XP update rollup today.

Ben and Mena Trott (founders of weblog tool producer SixApart) respond to Andrew Orlowski.

My former employer, Winnov, has been shipping some real interesting video streaming hardware lately. Here's a board, Videum 4400 AV that captures four video streams -- all on one board, all in one computer. Dang, these things will revolutionize streaming video from conferences. Now, someone like Kevin Marks could bring one machine, plug into ethernet, and stream one room in 56k; 100k; and 300kbps streams -- all at the same time on the same box.

And their new Cbox communication appliance lets you give a class from your office and your students can be anywhere in the world. They get to see video, whiteboard, and more. All automated. All delivered to a Web page.

Who said innovation in tech industry is dead?

By the way, Sean Connery is the major investor in Winnov. Any wonder why they are doing cool things with video and .NET (all of their interfaces run on .NET and they had the first video capture drivers for Windows NT)?

There's some new Yahoo mailing lists starting up for Longhorn, Whidbey, and Yukon. Personally, I think the weblogs and the newsgroups are a better way to go. But, I know lots of you like mailing lists.

Shhhh, want a new browser, Mozilla and Firebird both shipped new versions today. So says Kent Sharkey.

Jason Tucker points us at Vibrant Media's new bad idea: IntelliTXT. Haven't we seen this before? Oh, yeah, SmartTags! I'm on a SmartTag hunt. So far that idea has NOT turned back up in Longhorn that I've seen. Great idea for Office docs. Stupid idea for Web, er, Internet, content. Give the content producer control over what gets linked, thank you very much. Grrrrrr.

OSNews wants you to vote for your favorite tech icon. Hey, I'm on the Longhorn team, so I'm partial to Dave Cutler, but I'm not gonna vote. Too many people will accuse me of astroturfing.

Andrew Watt wanted to watch the SQL Server Reporting Services Webcast and he ran into a bunch of problems. I'll slap the marketing team in the morning with a wet noodle.

Laura John is right. Lately my life is separated into two buckets "before" and "after" the PDC. Luckily Maryam and my first anniversary is "after."

xThink released its new calculator for Tablet PC today. I wonder if there's a Tablet app coming that'll do chemical equations? Man, would I have killed for something like that in college.

Denise Howell is at Digital ID world and is doing her usual excellent job of writing up many of the sessions. Dang, I wish I sat next to someone like Denise in college. How she takes such good notes I'll never know.

Chris Sells gives away his secrets for obtaining "inside" information. Great tips for preparing for the PDC. So few people think of just asking.

Sun Microsystem's CTO says to expect the microprocessor to be extinct by end of the decade. Interesting theory. One problem though: video gamers will always want to tweak their systems to get the ultimate in performance. That means having separate components. For instance, the audio industry hasn't been able to figure out how to combine everything into one unit. Why? Cause people want to choose the best components for their lifestyles. Why does a secretary running Excel need the same computer (and components) that a gamer in college does?

Over on Garrett Fitzgerald's blog I saw something that made me crack up. The devs are reporting bugs on the new milk cartons on campus. Oh, dang, I gotta add a bug report there. They do suck. You gotta basically cut them open with a knife. Whatever glue they are using makes it impossible to open the darn things.

The ASP to ASP.NET Migration Assistant is designed to help you convert ASP pages and applications to ASP.NET.

Speaking of college, my friend (and former boss at San Jose State) wrote "is Quark losing the edge in education?"

What I found even more interesting is the school is starting to get students to buy their own laptops to bring to class. Wow, that's a change. Just put in 802.11 everywhere. If that trend continues then Apple is really gonna get hurt. Why? Tablet PCs baby. They are a lot more useful for taking notes than something that forces you to only use a keyboard (please note, my Tablet still has a keyboard).

I just saw a Mac iPod commercial on TV. That is the first Apple marketing in a long time that makes me want to buy an Apple product. Is there any wonder why Apple's selling tons of these things while they have the highest price of any MP3 player?

Full disclosure: in college I was in an Apple advertisement pitching portable Macs. How about that?

Sasha Corti uses his Tablet with Bill Gates on stage.

Want a chance to see the latest Pocket PCs or SmartPhones? The Mobile group is going on a tour of user groups.

Ever look at your site rating by Alexa/Amazon? Here's mine. It says my traffic is going down. Interesting. That doesn't match my referer logs.

Webloggers, start your aggregators!

Jeremy Mazner learns that CNET reads weblogs (they ain't the only ones -- I've gotten tons of inquiries from media outlets lately) and he clarifies the CNET article about WinFS. Ahh, this is exactly why weblogs are powerful. We can now add more information onto what our execs say. The picture gets clearer for everyone. Does anyone lose by having more information? Jeremy wins my "conversational marketing" award of the day. This is a breakthrough. In the past Microsoft's execs would make a statement and then it'd be up to the marketplace to fill in the gaps. Now, execs just start a conversation and webloggers can continue it. Thanks Jeremy!

Danny O'Brien has the last word on O'Reilly's FooCamp (talks about perceptions of events, interesting read).

Actually, there is no such thing as getting "the last word in" in the blogosphere. Simon Phipps amplifies Danny's points.

Chris Pirillo says Outlook 2003 sucks. I disagree. I use Outlook 2003 more than any other application. In fact, I use it more than all other applications combined. For me it has greatly improved. They got rid of some huge bugs (in older Outlook's, for instance, if your PST file got bigger than 2GB the system would just stop and your data would get corrupted). Also, this one now works in offline mode all the time, so it doesn't hang anymore when your net connection disappears (really frustrating if you're using a Tablet PC and walking between wireless access points).

Also, if you have an Exchange server you don't need to dial into your VPN anymore to get your email. It now uses HTTPS. That's huge. But, Chris doesn't work for a large corporation, so many of Outlook's features are lost on him.

About the interface: yeah. I do somewhat agree with Chris there. I wish it were more customizable. But, I believe they took away the ability to perform some scenarios to make it more secure and more reliable. But, on the other hand, this version lets me look at my email in whole new ways and search folders are a work of art.

Sean Alexander has more on the Plus pack on his weblog.

The new Microsoft Plus! Digital Music Edition is really cool. If you are a Windows XP guy you should check it out. I've been using the photo story here and it's really a step beyond what comes built into XP.

Underscoring the fact that there still are a lot of people coding on old Visual Basic, here's the top-10 downloads on MSDN.

Man, the weekend and the PDC pressure really have taken my blogging energy away. In the meantime, my blog folder continues to build, so one of these nights I'm just gonna unleash a huge blog.

Got some quick things before I go to work. 1) A Microsoft MVP is looking to share his hotel room at the PDC to reduce costs (let me know if you're interested 2) Another friend can't make the PDC, and is looking to unload his hotel room. Again let me know if you're interested.