Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Wednesday, January 28, 2004

My brother Alex is blogging again. He's doing an IT Manager blog which is great cause he's the IT Manager at one of Silicon Valley's most significant law firms (Tomlinson Zisko). For instance, Tom Moore of the firm represents the Electronic Frontier Foundation and helped win the DeCSS case.

He's writing about converting the office from Wordperfect to Microsoft Office 2003.

Keep it up Alex!

11:49:38 PM    comment 

Note to Doc Searls (in response to this): The Howard Dean campaign hasn't been telling us the inside story for a long time now. I'm not sure it ever did.

The truth is coming out and it seems that Howard Dean never really cared about the Internet. Dean fired the Internet. I'll bet that he feels the Internet failed him.

The lesson for me is not to oversell the blog world inside Microsoft. Dare Obasanjo gets on me often about my enthusiasm for things bloggy and RSSy. There's a bigger world out there and sometimes I buy into the hype that we're more important than we really are. That's bad, particularly if it doesn't deliver what the hype says it will.

One question I have for Trippi, though, is why he couldn't put his ego down for a moment and taken one for the team? Sounds like he was offered a demotion and couldn't handle that.

Couldn't he hang in there a couple more weeks? Even after getting spanked? Now the campaign is totally in chaos and the chances that Dean will win anything are getting less and less every day. All cause it seems like Trippi had some sort of personal agenda and couldn't accept his public spanking.

Imagine if Longhorn ships and no apps are built for it. Wouldn't you expect me to take a demotion if that happened? Or even get fired? That's what I'm being judged on, after all.

Plus, Trippi didn't get it done. When you don't get a job done, bosses come running in with people who can help get it done. I've had that happen to me when I didn't execute on projects (even ones at Microsoft). Did I get upset that I was being helped? No. I admitted that I didn't get it done, and took my spanking and took one for the team.

Sounds like Trippi forgot who's name was on the front door. In not taking his spanking, he set back honest weblogging in politics by at least four years.

UPDATE: Oh, someone who doesn't want to be named, but that I know has good sources inside the Dean campaign, tells me that Dean actually fired Trippi. If this is true, then the Dean weblog not only is a PR machine, but it lies too. My source said "read the Register for a hint why he was fired."

My source says that Trippi didn't want to leave but was forced to because of those issues. Translation: Trippi is a scapegoat.

11:42:09 PM    comment 

O'Reilly's Alan Graham: Microsoft's Attention Defecit Disorder & The Music Industry.

I want you to stop talking about the future and start delivering it. You know how Apple NEVER discusses what they have in the pipeline before it is done and ready to ship?

To a Longhorn evangelist them's fighting words bub! :-)

If we're not working on delivering the future, then how can Ryan Dawson write an article like this one? He already has the future in his hands.

Alan would rather Microsoft not give Ryan a chance to build software for the next version of Windows. He'd rather we kept it quiet until we're all done. That's unrealistic on the Microsoft side of the fence. Why? Cause we need to work with thousands of people who, let's be honest, can't keep a secret anyway. Apple doesn't need to do that (most of its hardware is designed in house where Microsoft has thousands of hardware vendors that need to work with the OS before it ships).

Plus, our success comes from shipping platforms that have thousands of companies and individuals building stuff on top of. It takes time to do that.

He also recommends we do something like Apple's iLife. OK, but can you get us protection from not only the anti-trust lawsuits that'll happen when we go after Adobe's market and put that into Windows, but the hatred we'll get from a whole new generation of people who think Microsoft is being a bully with the industry?

Nah, instead, I like our current direction. Work with Adobe (and independent developers like Ryan) on the next version of Windows. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Or, in the case of what Alan's talking about, let 500+ Windows Media devices bloom and see what happens.

12:09:48 PM    comment 

Mary Jo Foley talks about Microsoft's product roadmap. Latest she reports? Longhorn client two to three years away. Longhorn server? Even further out than that.

11:20:46 AM    comment 

I was just over at MicrosoftMonitor and saw that we have a primer on what .NET is: Defining the Basic Elements of .NET.

Update: Heh, it was just pointed out in my comment thread that this isn't quite so new. Both Microsoft Monitor and me let that slip through. Yikes.

11:16:12 AM    comment 
11:12:01 AM    comment 

Robert McLaws points us to some cool WinForms controls for .NET types. "His controls add Office 2003 stylings to any app, and are completely customizable. I'd gladly pay $100 bucks a pop for these controls, but he gives them away for free. Awesome!"

He also hints that Martin Spedding is working on some kind of RSS app. Cool! Can I test it? I got 1227 feeds. Who else would be a good beta tester?

11:11:13 AM    comment 

Adam Field points us to the "TEC Sport Jacket" a sportcoat for geeks. Heh. "Not quite up to Phillip Torrone's Geek Gym but getting there, and smart to boot :)"

11:04:02 AM    comment 

Mark Cliggett is the guy who runs community evangelism for developer tools here. On his blog yesterday he admitted having lunch with me. He's pushing his team to get more involved with the community (the developer team has actually been out front -- look at how many blogs the C# team writes, for instance, or how they've worked with Bill Evjen to get INETA -- the association of .NET Users Groups -- started).

At one point during the lunch Mark told me he worked on the Windows 1.0 team. Wow. And he came back to Microsoft. He could easily go off and do whatever he wanted. I've met quite a few people in his position (and not just Gates/Ballmer/Allchin). That says volumes to me. People who don't need to work anymore for financial reasons, but believe in the mission of the company and its ability to change the world.

"People have always cared, but in growing big we lost some of the connection we had with developers. We want to strengthen the connection and enable our customers to be more successful." Mark says.

So, how can we make you more successful?

10:59:15 AM    comment 

Kent Tengels gives another example of why I need to pay attention to everyone. "Robert is just one good example of how much friendlier MS seems to be these days."

How do you turn around the perception of Microsoft as a big, bad, evil group? One weblogger at a time.

10:50:48 AM    comment 
10:46:55 AM    comment 

Don Park: "I think the next step in content-syncation markets is emergence and proliferation of OEM news aggregators for premium content service providers."

You mean like this Howard Dean aggregator (which was built in .NET)? I totally agree. If Microsoft were smart every product team here would start publishing its news in RSS, and then we could build a Microsoft-centric news aggregator like the Howard Dean one. How powerful a marketing channel would that be? Wouldn't your company like one of those?

10:44:25 AM    comment 

Jon Udell over at InfoWorld tells Microsoft to tone down the Longhorn hype (blame it on me, sorry) and writes a ".NET Reality Check" starter piece (he's working on a more complete version for InfoWorld).

10:39:29 AM    comment 

Can one person decide what the entire industry will buy and use? Anita Rowland points at one story (the Zamboni) where that seems to have happened.

That's precisely why evangelists like me pay attention to influentials so much. The problem is, now EVERYONE is an influential. Why? Weblogs. That's why I subscribe to 1227 RSS feeds. In the new world I have to pay attention to everyone.

Here's an example. One of my influentials, Ryan Dawson, is about 20 years old. Most other companies wouldn't pay attention to what he's doing. He's not important enough, right? He hasn't spoken at industry conferences. He hasn't built a business. He hasn't been noticed. Well, yet.

But look at what he's doing with the PDC build of Longhorn. He's quietly off in the corner building apps and writing about them. Will he influence others? I'll bet he will. Should I pay attention to him? Damn straight I should.

Anyone else I should pay attention to?

10:37:29 AM    comment 

Google's Orkut social software service is back online!

10:28:23 AM    comment 

RebelGeeks writes a public letter to Sun Microsystems' CEO: "What we are asking for is the creation of a new language like visual basic, making it java's younger brother, not to compete against it, but to complete one family under one Sun. To introduce us to the new world of linux...."

You might not know this, but I owe my career to Visual Basic and have been tracking its development since VB 1.0. Make no bones about it. Microsoft did screw old Visual Basic programmers. How? They did the same thing Canon did in the mid-80s when Canon changed the lens mount of their cameras. That screwed people who had invested thousands of dollars in lenses for the old Canon system.

Why did Canon do that? Because their old lens mount was its achilles heel. It was hard to use. It took more parts than Nikon's system. It wasn't flexible (adding autofocus to the old lens mount would have been very difficult).

So Canon said "the hell with it." And obsoleted their old customers. It pissed off a lot of people. I remember customers yelling at the Canon reps who came into the store I worked in: "I'm switching to Nikon."

But, changing the lens mount was the right thing to do. Why? Because back then no professional used Canon gear. Seriously. I sold cameras to the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle. They all used Nikons in the early 1980s.

Today the situation is reversed. Nikon is struggling to hold onto its professional customers and Canon has taken a huge amount of market share away from Nikon.

Was Microsoft's decision about Visual Basic the same thing? Time will tell, but I think it'll play out that it was. Already, my friends who used to hate Visual Basic because it wasn't object oriented enough, or because it wasn't powerful enough, have been quieted.

By cutting ties with the past, VB.NET is now on equal footing with C# and C++ in the next Windows world. I don't see that as a bad thing, do you?

That said, I do agree that now Microsoft should focus on helping VB6'ers make the leap over to .NET (you're seeing leaps in that direction in the next version of Visual Studio, code-named Whidbey). And they should focus on getting new programmers (like me) into the .NET world.

I talked with Robert Green over on the VB team the other day and he's very focused on just that. If you have any ideas/feedback, I'll make sure Robert sees it.

10:27:50 AM    comment 

Udi Dahan asks: Scoble, do you think that a quickstart accompanying the caching application block should contain about 10 relevant lines of code and over 1000 lines about the asynchronous block ? When I go and present to a user group how great the caching application block is, am I expected to provide the code showing them the proper way to operate it ? I can, and will ( seeing as I have no choice ) - and maybe should even send it to the Microsofties in charge of the block - but this seems a bit off. Of course I don't blame you, Robert, but you have made yourself so accessible ( Thank you, thank you, thank you ) that I feel you are the one that could catalyze the change. I mean, really - this block's been out for over a year !

I don't know. Anyone else?

10:06:44 AM    comment 

John Lam publishes a PDF-based newsletter titled "Practical Eye for the .NET Guy." The current issue has an excellent article on MSBuild.

10:05:13 AM    comment 

Good morning iPod fans!

You know, the past few days have really been interesting. More than 10,000 people have visited here. I'm getting links from the real A-listers, from Dave Winer, to Cory Doctorow, to Dan Gillmor, to Gizmodo.

Do we have a clearer example of Doc Searls' "markets are conversations?"

One thing you'll notice. The product teams aren't getting involved in the comment threads here but they are reading (and I'd bet that there's more than one Apple employee reading along too). Will that translate into better products and services, no matter which side of the fence you're on? I'll bet it does.

Anyway, enough about the iPod and music devices. Thanks for the interesting conversations. Despite appearances, I've learned a lot and I do appreciate it when people tell me I'm full of it.

Life wouldn't be fun if everyone always agreed with you.

10:01:47 AM    comment 

Dare Obasanjo, a Microsoft employee, owns up to owning an iPod. He's not alone. I'm getting a lot of ribbing from Microsoft employees who own iPods (one employee stopped me in the halls and showed me his iPod and said "wanna listen?"). I bet that outside of Apple Microsoft employees probably buy more iPods than any other group of people anywhere.

Dare continues: "Looks like religious support does win some markets, huh? ;)"

Oh, be careful there. Let's go back to 1989. Back then Apple looked unstoppable. Remember what Windows 2.0 looked like when compared to Macintosh OS 6? Go back and compare.

Remember back then? Apple had 30% marketshare, just like iPod has today. Apple was making huge margins. Just like iPod is today. But, they decided not to license the Mac OS. That proved to be a big mistake. Look at how the market is taking shape in music players. Microsoft has a sane licensing agreement (you gotta read it, it's a work of art). Microsoft has 500 devices (OK, many of them are ugly and don't compete with the iPod, but did Windows 2.0 compare with the Macintosh? No.)

The only question is "where's the music player equivalent of Windows 3.0?" Can we say "Portable Media Center?"

1:03:34 AM    comment 

One link before I go to bed. Nikon announced a new $1000 digital SLR today. DPReview has all the facts, as usual.

Thanks to Gizmodo for the link.

12:24:49 AM    comment 

Ryan Lowe: "it's kind of a shame to see [Scoble] giving into his readers so much."

OK, I'll switch gears. I do include my referers on the right, so you can see everyone who links to me, good or bad.

Just wanted to show that I'm listening to the conversation and not just playing Microsoft PR guy here. See ya in the morning with a bunch of links.

12:17:36 AM    comment 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:45:27 AM.

Robert Scoble works at Microsoft (title: technical evangelist). 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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