Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Sunday, January 04, 2004

$800 million dollars.
16 years spent dreaming, planning, building.
Six-month trip to planet 78 million miles away.
Getting webcam on Mars? Priceless!

Chris Sells has more on Longhorn and Avalon: On Genghis, WinForms, and how to move toward Avalon

Chris is the guy who runs MSDN's Longhorn Developer Center.

Scott Watermaysk has a new .TEXT blog design. Very nice.

While I was there I saw a link to Drew Marsh's "Avalon Dissected" article. Avalon's the APIs for graphics and multimedia on the next-generation Windows (Longhorn) platform.

It's interesting to watch developers as they discover Longhorn's APIs.

I'll be traveling in the morning tomorrow, so will work late. Probably won't be back blogging until tomorrow night, or possibly Tuesday night.

I have a ton of email to answer and projects to get going on.

Thanks so much for making the past two weeks a lot of fun. Now back to work.

Have a great week!

Already some good comments on where my blog has gotten off track. Here's some responses to some of the points made.

Thad says you are a bit too argumenative in some of the anti-MS posts. I am NOT too argumentative! Oh. :-)

Dan Lyke says I want to be seeing stuff I'm not stumbling across elsewhere, and stuff that's actually got a chance of making it to market in the next year or two. This is really tough to do when you work with Longhorn guys all day long. But, I do need to get around to people who are doing stuff for current users more. I dropped in on Sara Williams two weeks ago, for instance. She saw me walking the halls and said "I'll show you a demo if you promise not to blog it." Grrr. That gets my interest up. But, looks like MSDN will have a cool feature coming later this month. Be sure to watch Chris Sells' weblog (unlike me, he doesn't argue and he works for Sara at MSDN).

Alfred Salton says Not enough focus here. Is this blog about personal experiences, Microsoft directions, Microsoft products, community development, or something else entirely. Publish a short description of the web-site's objective and re-read it occasionaly. That's really tough because I have such a diverse audience (and a diverse set of interests). I only post stuff that's of interest to me, but it's really hard to keep focus. Do I focus only on Longhorn, which is my work? Do I focus only on operating systems? Do I focus only on developer stuff? Maybe categorization is the way to go, but I really hate doing categories. I'll think about this some more and get back to you. Suggestions are appreciated!

Perhaps limit to one or two posts per day.

Oh, that would be VERY hard.

Arcterex says Lately though, honestly, it is starting to sound more like a PR outlet for MS marketing. and John Robb says You have mentioned before that you had to change the way you write since you took the job at Microsoft. Why the claim that you haven't changed?

First off, I have changed. In ways I haven't even really thought about. But, first of all, no executive inside Microsoft has asked me to change. Seriously. And, even though my coworkers sometimes give me suggestions, they are suggestions and not things I've been forced to do. But, something happened when I got hired by Microsoft. The press started calling. My traffic went from 18 readers a day to thousands. And I see that people who are involved in court action against Microsoft are hanging out here too.

I started realizing that no matter how much I protest it on my blog (I added a disclaimer a few weeks ago) that I +am+ seen as not only a "human face" for Microsoft, but also as someone who might be able to help Microsoft's enemies and competitors.

But, it goes deeper than that. I've started living the "royal we" too much. I've started getting defensive. My readers are right. I see Microsoft attacked from so many angles that I try to stick up for it. I like Microsoft. I like its products. I, gasp, like most of the management and people I've run into. I like its mission and where it's going in the future. It's why I took this on. I think most Microsoft employees feel the same, which is why our management has let us blog. Personally, if I didn't like Microsoft, I would not be able to blog because that dislike would come out too often to be healthy to my career. I'm very happy working where I am right now. It's the first time in a while that I am happy.

Please note. Again. I have not had any management tell me what to write. Or not to write here. When I've asked for guideance from the general manager who runs our group he says "I'd rather not screw up a good thing." In other words, he wants me to write what I want without being messed with from upper management.

But, I do acknowledge that the pressure from my new audience has changed what I write.

Looking at the past few weeks, I realize I've gone too far overboard and I appreciate the help from my readers. We're in this for the long haul. Feel free to kick me if I get off track again.

Loren has an ink blog named "inkineer3."

Mobiform has a XAML browser out.

The problem is, the power of XAML (at least when run on Longhorn) isn't the language, but the API that is designed for it. Er, framework.

But it'll be interesting to see where this goes.

Roger Benningfield disagrees with me that a decentralized community is better than a centralized one.

Roger makes a good argument. I've been a member of tons of online communities, from BBS's in the 80s to Prodigy, then AOL, then CompuServe, then NNTP newsgroups, to Web forums, to now weblogs.

I like weblogs the best so far, probably BECAUSE it's hard to join. You gotta open a blog. And write something interesting.

Most communities end up getting noisy. I haven't seen one that hasn't gotten noisy. Unless they are moderated, and even then, you get noise, albeit only the noise the moderator likes.

But, one of those centralized communities just got removed (DevX's off.ramp). Is the content I wrote there over the past eight years available anywhere? Nope. It's gone. Too bad. So sad.

Scott Davies tells .NET evangelists like me to stop blogging and start helping him deploy .NET apps. "Are Microsoft really interested in real .NET deployments?"

Scott: drop me an email at and let me know how I can help you get going with .NET. Looks like we missed an opportunity here and that's not good.

What do you need?

Doc Searls talks about me using good judgment and he counts that as prior restraint. Well, that about proves that Doc doesn't read me all the time, cause I certainly don't have good judgment all the time -- just ask my coworkers or Gentoo. ;-)

But, when it comes to prior restraint, no one other than me can call me an idiot before I publish. Now, after I publish? You should see my email. Heh.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm back to work. Look for the blogging to slow down and become a bit more informed than my holiday rantings have been lately. Being around smart people does help my quality level of my blog.

Who knows what idiotic things I'll do this year. Last year I started out by telling Bill Gates he should distribute Linux with Longhorn. Stay tuned and please do keep the email coming. My coworkers love it when I post "you're an idiot" emails in my office.

Oh, speaking of which, I've gotten several cards from bloggers around the world (I asked people to mail me cards about two months ago). I really appreciate those. I'll write about those this week and am taping them to my office door. Feel free to write messages to Microsofties like "Linux Rules" on your cards. :-) Or, put your favorite feature request on them too (you never know when execs might come by my office). I'll take pictures too.

Send your "blogger postcards" to:

Robert Scoble
c/o Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA USA 98052

eWeek has a 64-bit desktop challenge between Apple's Power Mac G5 and AMD's Athlon.

Shaan at Autodesk told us yesterday at lunch that the AMD machines are wickedly fast with his company's product.

Nick Bradbury: You never know what you're getting when you download warez. Folks, if you're downloading pirated software, you're trusting EXEs hosted by people who brag about being criminals.

Along that topic, I see there's some supposedly new screenshots of Longhorn being put online. They don't look accurate to me. I won't point at them, though.

Someone I know, who works at a big software company, not Microsoft, told me how they stopped people from leaking screen shots. They would encode a color pattern into the pixels of their screen. Not visible to the human eye. But, when a screen shot would get leaked, they'd know which build it came from and who leaked it. My friend, who doesn't want to be named, said that after doing that they reduced their leaks to zero. Be careful out there!

Toms Hardware Guide's Conference Review: Making Hardware Pay in 2004.

Slashdot on Open Source: Mark Webbink, Red Hat's general counsel, has written an informative article explaining free and open source software. Geared towards attorneys, he explains the various licenses and addresses several myths about OSS.

A person I respect a lot who works inside Microsoft says my blog has become a parody of how my blog used to be. He didn't give me reasons, but wanted to meet for lunch this weekend to give me feedback. Reading in between the lines, I'm guessing he's disappointed I've started taking on "the Microsoft viewpoint" in too many of my opinions here.

He's not the first one inside Microsoft (or outside Microsoft, for that matter) to show disappointment with my blog's direction lately. So, learning opportunities ahead!

I'm listening. Has my blog lost it? What would you like to see me do more of this year?

Eric Albert visited the Mars Center at NASA Ames yesterday at my suggestion and says thanks for the advice. Yeah, I hear that I post too much. But I'll try to increase my signal level this year and reduce the noise.

I'll be there between noon and 2 p.m. today, if you wanna drop by.

Carl Franklin's .NET Rocks interview with Don Box is now online. They talked about Indigo, which is Microsoft's next-generation web services and protocols.

Good morning! Susan Kitchens continues to give us awesome blogs about the Mars Rover. I won't permalink her, there's too many.

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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: 1/5/2004; 11:12:47 PM.