Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Monday, December 29, 2003

Niall Kennedy has a list of everyone who showed up to tonight's dinner. One cool thing about these dinners is the geek toys you get to see and play with. A SPOT watch, a Canon Rebel, a GameBoy Advanced SP, two Tablet PCs, several Macs were all passed around.

Thanks to all for coming. We'll do one in January in San Francisco sometime.

Tons of interesting people showed up tonight for the geek dinner. It's the first time I've gotten to speak at length with Wendy Seltzer. She's one of those "roaring women," as Tom Peters puts it. Far smarter than I am, and I'm not too proud too admit it.

She's a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that's out there trying to protect your digital rights. I'm far more impressed with the group now that I've heard Wendy's ideas.

What she told me about the state of the world is scary, but gives me hope. I'll let you get to know Wendy via her blog and by her work at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but I'm glad she's out there fighting for us.

Tantek isthe guy who wrote the rendering engine for IE for the Mac (and is one of Microsoft's guys who works with the W3C on Web standards) and he gave me a lesson on CSS tonight at the geek dinner and showed me several ways to make my weblog more accessible. Some things? Now I'm using "H" tags to denote my titles. Another thing? I've added titles back onto my weblog. Lastly? I'm now using the "id" attribute on my title DIV so that I'm a step further toward getting rid of anorexic anchors. I'm still playing around. You can see Tantek's ideas on improving your weblog here.

Sam Gentile talks about his blog decisions. He's already seen that blogging costs him money. Agreed. Leave the blogging to those of us who don't have more lucrative economic pursuits to pursue!

That said, Sam is one of the smartest developers I've met. I hope he keeps telling us what he thinks is important.

Dave Pollard has an interesting list of things that bloggers should do to save time. Blog less? Oh, that's one that I should follow.

Misanthropist asks Scoble, where's your individual item links? Um, they are called permalinks. My blog has always had them (Radio UserLand automatically generates them). Where is my permalink? Look under each post for the "#" symbol. Click on it. That's a URL that'll take you right to that specific post.

Sriram Krishnan corrects some of my other inaccuracies about offshoring and India.

Tomorrow Richard Caetano and Rob Fahrni are giving me a tour of the USA's largest Pistachio Processing Factory (almonds too). If you wanna go, let me know. We'll meet at 1 p.m.

Jupiter Media Analyst Michael Gartenberg wonders how Microsoft will get end users to upgrade to Longhorn in an era of "good enough" computing.

"So Iím struggling with where the benefits and gains are. If users donít start to understand the benefits of Longhorn in 2004 and what they will gain, really gain from upgrading, then the OS team in Redmond will begin to echo the old Pogo cartoon and the enemy they meet will be themselves when it comes time to get users to upgrade."

Michael has a good point. But, we haven't even begun to talk about the end user benefits of Longhorn. There's a reason for that. We're two years away (at least) and if we hype up Longhorn to end users then they'll stop buying XP and wait for Longhorn to ship. That would be a bad thing.

Much of the reason for people to upgrade to Longhorn will come from the people who read this weblog, though. New games. New business apps. New RSS news readers. New ways of communication. New ways to solve problems.

But, I know a lot of people think it's hopeless. That software is dead. That innovation can't come from this industry anymore and that we're all destined to have our jobs turned into commodities and shipped overseas. You can see the cynicism in the comment threads here.

The heck with that. The next few years are gonna see more change in computing than the past 10. But, let's meet in 2005 and see how it's going, OK?

I talk to average users and they are ready for a new kind of system. One with a different user interface. One that helps them find their files. One that takes advantage of the processor power and GPU power and hard drive space and new technologies (like LCDs you can write on).

The more "non geek" users I meet, the more excited I am. How about you?

Geeky Chick is coming to dinner tonight. So are tons of other geeks. 6 p.m. at the Cheesecake Factory on Univerisity Ave. in Palo Alto, CA.

I'll get there early and save a big table, but we'll probably need to split up into smaller groups. Getting a seat at the Cheesecake Factory can be quite difficult.

Everyone is invited. No reservations needed.

A few people are really offended by what I've written. One, Art, even claimed I wanted to take away his freedom of speech. Whoa.

First of all, this is a marketplace of ideas. In every marketplace you'll find a few rotten apples. How do you deal with that? By pulling the bad apples off of the shelf, and putting good ones up in their stead. Not by calling the farmer or market owner an idiot. But, with ideas, we must be free to discuss our ideas. Ad hominem attacks are corrosive. It tells other "wackos" (I'm a wacko, if you haven't noticed) to "keep quiet."

It's what I really hate about our state of discourse today. We get on TV and yell at each other. Call each other names. And aren't willing to listen and learn.

Second, I have comment areas here for a reason. I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF SPEECH. I will never delete a post here unless forced to at the point of a gun (and if that ever happens, I'll write about it).

Religion is an idea. Politics is a system of ideas. The way to argue ideas is with your intellect. Saying I'm arrogant. Saying I'm wacko. Saying I'm a jerk IS NOT arguing ideas.

If my ideas stink (and they often will) show why they do and put forth a better idea.

The C# Corner has a special corner for Longhorn info. Nice.

Raymond Chen is a Microsoft employee who explains why things work the way they do. I love his blog. Today he writes about why those blank taskbar buttons go away when I click on them?

Trudy Schuett is one of my nice readers. Here she lists the webloggers who've influenced her. Her list and mine are mighty similar. Well, except Trudy's on my list. :-)

Anand M, who is a .NET programmer in India, has his own view on offshoring. One of the things most people are not aware of is that not everyone in India is an illitrate person coding for peanuts.

Speaking of Xbox's, Andy Hopper has a great idea. Anyone from the Xbox team here? Any chance of giving Xbox users videoconferencing capabilities like what Andy's asking for?

XtremepaintballCanada brings us the nicest Christmas story I've heard. We need more people like that around. How about we start a religion like that? Give an Xbox to someone who's having a rough time?

German Readers might like the latest c't magazine (largest tech magazine in Germany). It says nice things about the Tablet PC.

Regarding religion and politics: sorry, had to get that out of my system. I had to be a wacko for a while to prove that this weblog is still mine and that I'm not just gonna do corporate PR work for Microsoft.

Dan Shafer noted that I was calling religious people wackos. He missed that implicit in that was that I was calling myself wacko too -- after all, my beliefs ARE wacky -- less than 20% of Americans are even in the same category as mine are. What's great about California is that all of us wackos can live together and no one gets to put our wackiness on the city hall lawn or inside our classrooms. Is my point of view arrogant, as Shelley Powers pointed out? Absolutely. But, then, you've gotta be arrogant to stand up to the people who see religion as a team sport and that if their religious symbol isn't in the classroom that then they are losing.

And, yes, as a person with beliefs that aren't widely held by many people, I do care about protecting minority opinions more than I care about helping the majority get their way. If that's wacky or arrogant, too bad.

At least you know I'm human. Heh.

Dave Rodgers just said "maybe you need to take a walk." Good idea! Just a few blog items first.


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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; 3:31:20 AM.