Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I am watching a Discovery Channel show on the first flights done by the Wright brothers and I just saw a Flight Simulator 2004 advertisement. Now, that's Microsoft marketing I like! Show me the freaking product!!!

Update: no one pointed out that I liked the Apple iPod ads too, which really don't show the product. But, the iPod does only one thing. Our software does a lot and we don't do a good job of showing off the things our software can do for you. Plus, the "our passion, your potential" campaign is a bit arrogant. It's like "we know better than you do" but that's not really what's good about our software. I'd rather focus on what you can do with our software. Hey, last week I met with a guy (who doesn't want to be named) who heads a team at Verizon. He uses our software to automate Verizon's cell phone bills. I'm a Verizon customer. I never imagined that my bill was done by .NET.

I like Dylan Greene's view on this. He wrote an essay of things Microsoft should do in 2004. Mostly focused on marketing improvements.

I'm bummed I missed Nova's special on the Wright brothers. The Web page has tons of interesting things, though.

I didn't give Rob Fahrni credit for pointing me to the PowerBlog. Thanks Rob! I still want some pistachios! Hey, maybe we should do a geek dinner the week between Christmas and New Years. I wanna get a picture of that Tablet PC and .NET app that runs the US's biggest pistachio processing plant.

Here's a patterns and practices article on J2EE and .NET integration.

Lots of Fawcette news today. I probably should have just batched it all into one entry, but oh well.

The other news is that they just announced their new conferences in San Francisco, March 23-27.

Included are conferences on Mobile, Speech, Visual Studio, .NET (ASP.NET, C# and VB), and SQL Server. Bill Gates will keynote.

Fawcette's competitors, DevConnections, are also planning a series of conferences. I really want to go to the Windows Connections conference, but I need to be here on campus for an event in early April. Bummer.

Hey, are you an Office Zealot? There's a blog for you then. Useful stuff for Office users.

In other office news, Microsoft is working on a new Office Accelerator that will help companies comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. So says

David Blatner keeps showing up in my life. I attended a Thunder Lizard PageMaker conference in the early 90s and David was a speaker then. Today he shows the depth of his knowledge of the desktop publishing industry in his "QuarkXPress 6 vs. Adobe InDesign" review.

In the review David states that he was a hard-core QuarkXPress lover (and was suprised to find he likes InDesign better). I know what he means. I won a few newspaper design contests in college on Quark. InDesign is getting a lot of kudos from my design friends. Sounds like Adobe has a winner. I can't wait to see what Adobe does on Longhorn. Of course, Quark could come back with a killer Longhorn version!

Here's another .NET-based blog tool (PowerBlog). This one looks pretty good.

Here's a site your teenager will probably visit when you send them a "crappy present." It's a good look at why teenagers look at the music industry as something to be avoided.

Gary Conroy points to info about Longhorn's new help (er, user assistance) system. For those who didn't know, this is a major change for how Windows help systems will be built.

I've been looking at weblog designs since I'm still not done with my redesign. This blog (SimpleBits by Dan Cederholm) is one of the nicest looking blogs I've seen out there.

He talks about Fixed vs. Liquid design. I hate the fact that I'm really forced by the state of browser to go with a fixed-width design. Why? Because I want maximum readability.

What makes text more readable? A short and fixed column width. The standard for maximum readability is to have a column width of 59 to 70 characters wide. Any shorter than that and text becomes too choppy. Any longer and your eye really has to work to read across the line.

So, I made my blog have the same "Fixed" design on all resolutions. Try it, stretch out your browser window. It stays the same, even on screens that have 1600x1200 resolution (which is how I run it at work).

If you don't like that, then you can use a news aggregator and view my RSS feed. Then your news reader is in control and you can have whatever column width you want.

What's the problem? If you maximize your browser window on a 1600x1200 screen, about 2/3rds of your screen is unused white space.

This is a problem that Longhorn will solve by having a page layout engine that will properly fit the screen. In fact, I'll bet that someone will write an RSS news aggregator that will use the new engine.

Randy Holloway: "Too many of [the blog communities] are unfocused and don't end up leading to any decent conversations."

Charles Carroll: "I can hardely find my favorite non MS bloggers for all the noise [on .NET weblogs]."

I agree that the .NET weblogs have gotten less useful lately. The MSDN crowd is working on it.

By the way, GotDotNet's blogs were not moved for traffic reasons at all. It was moved because the GotDotNet blogs were started as someone's experiment and they never expected to have more than a handful of bloggers. Translation: the architecture sucked.

Scott Watermasyk ".TEXT" engine had a far better architecture, so MSDN moved everyone over to the server they had running .TEXT.

That created a new problem (one of noise that Charles points out). Now we're working to separate the Microsoft people out again.

It looks messy and it is.

The Lord of the Rings lived up to the hype. Well worth the three-hour investment. Best movie I've seen this year, but that's not saying much cause I haven't seen many.

Ali, who's a .NET programmer in Tehran, told me on IM today about an Iranian family who needs financial help so they can afford expensive medical treatment for a child with leukemia. And we wonder why people wait overnight to get US citizenship papers.

The geek in me loves learning facts like these about the Space Shuttle's engines.

Harry Pierson: "I think Scoble should be asking how syndication will evolve in the face of Service Oriented Architecture in general, not Longhorn specifically."

While over at Don Box's weblog I found Marc Miller's blog, where he talks about the shortcomings of the new keyobards that Microsoft has recently released.

Dan Shafer's tool that he uses to publish his blog lets him schedule his blog posts to appear at specific times. Interesting. I could use that. Then I could hold all my blog posts to all appear at the same time, instead of as I post them.

Are you looking for some Web Service examples? Aaron Skonnard, in MSDN magazine this month, has a list of publicly-available Web services here at Microsoft.

Oh, I forgot to tell everyone. I'm back to learning how to program. I compiled my first C# app (little more than hello world) at 35,000 feet somewhere between Oakland and Seattle on Friday night. It's frustrating to learn to program. Yes, Don Box, I used Notepad. It's so exciting to compile a .NET app and get an .EXE that you can run. Now to get to something useful.

Speaking of useful, Gary Devendorf has a demo of MS Office 2003 using Visual Studio to run VB.NET code at the click of a button on an Excel spreadsheet.

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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; 3:27:22 AM.