Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Alan Reiter's CameraPhoneBlog talks about how Camera Phones are on track to becoming the most rapidly adopted new technology ever.

He's not the only one. This morning I had breakfast with Doug Rowan, former CEO of Corbis (one of Bill Gates' companies). He's now on the board of directors of several companies aiming at the photo space (PreClick is one of the companies he's invested in, for instance).

In between me evangelizing him on weblogging and RSS (he says he is going to tell all of the companies he's investing in to start an RSS feed) we talked about the "PhotoGlut" that is happening now that people are using digital cameras.

We have too many photos and don't have good enough ways to organize them. He's very interested in Longhorn's WinFS because it'll let him build tools to really make photo storage interesting. But, he says his companies need to make money now, so he's looking to do similar kinds of things on Windows XP. Metadata. Friendly user interfaces that let mom and dad handle their photos easily. New print technologies that clean up images (he says this is really important with the new cell-phone-based video cameras).

One other factoid I learned: HP makes almost all of its printer-division profit on photopaper and print cartridges. He says that he's really gotten good at printing his photos, but that he still has about 25% wastage from trying a photo one way and not liking how it prints out, so he'll make an adjustment and reprint it. He imagines that people who aren't quite as sophisticated with Photoshop might waste two to three times more than he does.

We also talked about what Kodak could have done to reposition itself to take advantage of the new digital world. If you haven't been following the news lately, Kodak has been laying off lots of people and has been struggling in the new digital world. Rowan believes Kodak should have started a new company back in the 1980s and given them total autonomy to go after the new digital world.

I remember helping out in a Kodak booth in 1989 at the Photo Marketing Show (I believe that was the first PMA show where a digital camera and Photoshop was shown off). The Kodak people weren't really enthusiastic about the new digital world. The rest of the industry was even worse off. They didn't get that the entire world would be digital within 20 years. It's hard to think that far ahead.

That's why employees at Microsoft remain so darn paranoid. We know that markets can change and that when they do you really only have a small timeframe in which to react. Kodak's fate was really sealed by 1995 when it didn't have a significant lead in digital imaging technology.

Even in hindsight, though, I'm not sure that Kodak would have done very well -- they had the deck stacked against them. Apple had the first digital camera I ever used (I was among the first to post a digital photograph in a CompuServe forum -- of Old Faithful in Yellowstone). And no one thinks of Apple today when they think of buying a digital camera.

Oh well, there's all sorts of new things coming from Rowan's companies for cell-phone-based cameras. Can't wait.

You know what? I succumbed to my laziness. I didn't add titles to my RSS feed items tonight. The heck with it. Meta data has got to be easier than this. It interferes with my posting workflow and slows me down. I hate it. Sorry. I know it makes my feed less useful.

I was over on Kottke's feed and saw these pictures of a "rock, paper, scizzors" championship. I thought I'd seen every lame human activity there could be. I guess not.

Larry O'Brien says he beat Microsoft with his own ink blog technology.

Darrell Norton points to Jason Bock, who's writing a series of articles on "investigating .NET."

O'Reilly is annotating the Longhorn SDK. Cool.

Speaking of Longhorn, over on my Longhorn blog, I point to some comments made by Sun Microsystems. Glad to see we're both focusing on making life better for our customers.

Yes, that's my sinister, sarcastic, smarmy attitude sneaking out again. :-)

Paul Vick talks about the new flow control analysis in the next version of Visual Basic.

Man has VB come a long way or what?

Many of my newer readers don't know that Dori Smith is the one responsible for getting me into weblogging (she was a speaker at the CNET conference that I helped organize). Today she points us at mezzoblue's CSS Best Practices site. Very cool.

Robert Levy astutely picked up that Microsoft is planning something surrounding Moblogs.

Oh, I see Loren found the Microsoft "ink log." I'll be doing an ink log for fun there in December starting after a short vacation next week.

I woke up today to find my first Seattle snow. Only half an inch or so, but looks very pretty. Very cool. In Silicon Valley we don't get snow. I'll try to make it to the Seattle Weblogger Meetup tonight.

I was just over at MicrosoftMonitor, the Jupiter Media weblog about Microsoft, and I saw that Microsoft has opened up the schemas for Office formats. The Monitor has some good commentary about the importance of doing that.

Remember those pictures I took of the $700,000 Mercedes McLaren SLR? Well, turns out that Jay Leno has bought the first one in the US. Here's his review of the car.

It must be fun to be a rich guy like that and drive a prototype around a track at 208 miles an hour. And that isn't the fastest car that Leno has driven!

I've done 150 on the autobahn in a top of the line BMW. Not mine, mind you. My salary has no room for toys like that.

I love Jay's quote here though about the brakes on this animal: I remember a guy jumping on the brakes coming into the pits, and fire was coming out between the wheel wells. I looked in and those discs were bright orange. I said, "I think we've got a little fire goin' here." One of the German engineers said, "Dat is fine. Do not vorry."

I wonder how we could do the equivilent to Longhorn?

Oh, that reminds me. We judged the Avalon Screen Saver Contest today. Some really great entries for only having a few hours to code at the PDC. We'll announce the winners by the end of the week. Gotta check with them first cause I wanna put their screen savers up for everyone to look at.

Kasia is fed up with Microsoft software. Her friends are getting hit by the blaster worm. I feel your pain Kasia. We're working on it but the issues you bring up aren't easy to fix. It took 20 years to get into this hole, now it's gonna take a while to dig our way out of it (there's a major new security fix coming in XPSP2). That said: memorize this site: That site will help you out -- it should be the first site every PC user visits.

We're all frustrated by this stuff. Sorry for the troubles. Here's a hint: turn on the firewall and the blaster worm will stop working and the messenger spam will stop happening (by the way, that messenger service has nothing to do with the MSN Instant Messenger application/service. Can't we pick different names for these things?)

After you turn on the firewall, you'll still need to clean off the machine (since it'll have a virus that's trying to execute) and you'll still need to go to Windows Update and download all those patches. But, at least the darn thing won't be rebooting every two minutes.

By the way, the folks on the support lines have the schtick down now for the blaster worm.

Coincidence? Last night I went to another user group meeting. This one was for Windows Mobile. Well, I went to the first part of it, at least. But there I met Robin Young. She is responsible for all the sites. "Funny meeting you tonight," I mumbled. "I just ranted about how I wished all of Microsoft's sites would publish an RSS feed."

Turns out she's all for it. But. There's always a but, isn't there. The infrastructure that publishes with is like an old dog: it's hard to teach it new tricks.

So, getting features like permalinks and RSS feeds is gonna be difficult. But, at least the execs want to do it. Hey, how about bootstrapping it? Why not start with a site that doesn't have many pages. Doesn't have much history. And make it work on that site. That's why I used the Spot Watch team as an example. That's a new product. Not many users yet. Why not play around with new technology on the spot watch site? Then, as everyone gets comfortable, move more stuff over?

Anyway, it's wacky who you run into at user group meetings.

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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; 3:20:01 AM.