Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Sunday, February 22, 2004

Tejas Patel looks into whether or not I'm evil (along with a bunch of other popular bloggers). I'm 31% evil, he found.

Hey, Tejas, do you have permalinks hiding out on your blog somewhere? I couldn't find them.

9:45:28 PM    comment 

This is something I want to check out. Anyone get to play with one yet? It's the Roku Soundbridge which lets you play your Mac or PC digital music files anywhere in the house.

9:16:02 PM    comment 

My mentor and co-worker Jeff Sandquist moved his weblog from Radio UserLand to Clemens Vasters' "Das Blog" (which was written in .NET) over the weekend and writes about the experience.

8:58:09 PM    comment 

I've started a photoblog over at TextAmerica. There you'll see images I shot tonight with Maryam during sunset. Also images from O'Reilly's Emerging Technology conference and the Demo 2004 conference.

TextAmerica really rocks. They recently rewrote their system in .NET and it's rocking fast now. How fast? Before I even had a chance to post this to my blog I got two comments on images I uploaded.

This is a lot of fun!

8:30:43 PM    comment 

Geek Dinner alert! Tuesday night. Mick Stanic from Australia is our guest of honor. At the Crossroads in Bellevue. At 6 p.m. You're invited, even if you're not a geek.

7:50:06 PM    comment 

Stuart Henshall points us to news that Skype now allows for conference calls -- for free. Awesome. I'm more and more impressed with Skype. They are doing it right. Making sure the experience out of the box is great.

7:20:12 PM    comment 

Alan Reiter told me today that his SPOT watch helped him get a news scoop for his camera phone weblog. Here's the scoop, about Kodak betting on photo albums in Europe. Here's more on how Alan uses three devices to stay on top of the news.

7:07:27 PM    comment 

Roy Osherove has a PowerPoint feature request: give us a bigger "continue from this slide" button. Oh, that one has bitten me too.

6:58:37 PM    comment 

Oh, oh. I still have the ability to piss off designers (well, at least Paul Scrivens). Or, did I really? He comes to the conclusion that people come here for my content. Ahh, content is king! That was my conclusion too. It's just that so many people put design before content. I say put content first. Then if you get around to creating a good looking site it'll make it better.

Look at the Wall Street Journal: it's what I'd rather read and look like. Ugly, but good content. That's the best compliment you could pay a weblogger.

6:31:27 PM    comment 

Grr, I won't be able to make BloggerCon. Microsoft has 1900 MVPs on campus that week and I'm already scheduled to help out with that. Dave, you gotta give us more than six weeks of warning! :-) (I'm already planning out parts of my calendar into 2005).

6:23:31 PM    comment 

NewsGator users: check out Greg Reinacker's blog. He has several new extensions that the community developed that will do all sorts of wild things. I gotta try them out, but first Maryam and me are going out to enjoy what should be a glorious sunset.

Extensions include a cool calendar extension that takes feeds and ads them to Outlooks calendar. Also one that looks at feeds that don't push down all the content (lame lame lame, if you're one of the feeds that does that) and lets you slurp up all the content. I love THAT!

3:36:39 PM    comment 

Bill Burnham: RSS: A Big Success in Danger of Failure.

Oh, Bill, this isn't like the push hype of the past. You also clearly haven't discovered sites like Technorati and Feedster. They help you find clusters of RSS feeds fast.

I gave a talk recently and said "let's find a community I have no idea whether or not it exists. Let's look for, say 'quilting'." Off to Technorati I went. Within minutes I found hundreds of weblogs discussing quilting. Thanks to trackbacks and referer logs (and Technorati's cosmos feature) I was able to figure out who had the best quilting-weblogs. I'm not gonna display them here, but you can figure it out for yourself.

I believe this scales. Technorati is already watching 1.4 million blogs (far more than Bill thought in his article) and is growing by 12,000 new blogs PER DAY. Most blogs have RSS or Atom feeds now.

Push died for a few reasons that blogs and syndication have been able to avoid. For one, individuals are in charge, not some big corporate system. Pointcast died cause they kept me from pointing my coworkers to specific articles (you couldn't get the equivilent of a URL, or copy any text out of the system). RSS is completely anti that kind of control. Look at it. My blog's ENTIRE CONTENT comes to you via RSS. You can do whatever you like with it. Some of my friends import my blog into Visual Studio and put it back out on their own blogs. Bloglines, for instance, does just that too. And that's fine with me!

See, that's why RSS is so revolutionary. The producers of the content have given up control to the users. The users like that. Maybe the music industry should learn this lesson.

3:25:41 PM    comment 

Martin Spedding has a good feature request for Longhorn: make it easier to set the language when setting up a computer. Many of us are multi-lingual. Windows setup really isn't nice in that scenario.

3:13:37 PM    comment 

I've done a few dozen more Yahoo vs. Google comparisons. I'm convinced that Yahoo squandered a good chance to overtake Google. Here's my view on how to overtake Google:

Give users access to the variables.

What do I mean? At O'Reilly's ETCon two weeks ago I saw Google's Nelson Minar, Google's senior software engineer speak. He told us that Google tracks 100 variables that they can play with to move around results.

It's clear that Yahoo has something like the same kinds of variables. Yahoo, for instance, clearly ranks individual's sites (er, weblogs) lower than Google does.

What if the user had control of that? I want a search engine that lets me control the variables. I might never want to see any results with webloggers included. I might want to have results that have only webloggers included (yeah, today I could use Feedster for that). But, what about the other variables?

A search engine that would let me control the variables would be instantly the one I'd use. Imagine if you could use such an engine via a web service? I could display results here. That kind of engine would instantly be the geek's favorite. Why? Cause they could tweak it to give better results.

Even better, why not provide hooks into such an engine so we could come up with new variables that would provide even stronger results?

Anyway, Yahoo will keep its current market share (which is sizeable) but won't convince many people to switch with its current engine. Why? Cause it is isn't demonstratably better.

I think it's possible to make a search engine that +is+ demonstratably better. And, no, I haven't seen MSN's engine yet. I doubt it'll give users the kind of control over variables that I'm asking for too.

I think the innovators will be the small engines like Technorati and Feedster. It'll be interesting to see if any of those open up their variable tables for us to play with.

3:04:58 PM    comment 

Lars responds to my "weblogs should be more readable" post. And he made his font darker. Much more readable. But, all for naught (in my case, anyway). Why? Cause I've subscribed to his feed and am reading it in NewsGator.

He makes a good point that my feed gets better looking in XML. Hey, you can even make it prettier in HTML too. Just change your browser's default font. My co-worker Jeff Sandquist did that and everytime I see my blog on his screen it looks so pretty. But, if I tried to manually set the font, I'd mess it up. Most CSS instructions for font setting make it impossible to override the size in the browser. I'd rather go for usability and readability.

One thing, though. Now that I'm using CSS I can make this site pretty just by changing one file. That's a huge advantage to my templates over the older Radio UserLand templates that use font tags and table layouts.

Not to mention that ever since I redesigned my Google traffic has been noticeably higher. Methinks Google's spider likes my HTML a lot better now.

1:43:19 PM    comment 

I totally agree with Dan Gillmor's latest rant on anonymity on the net, San Jose Mercury News' tech columnist. I respect opinions more if I know the person is willing to sign his/her name to them. But, I'll leave my comments open to anonymous rants. There's a place for those too, but they definitely don't have as much pull with me as someone who has their own blog.

1:25:50 PM    comment 

Sorry for changing my blog's title a few times in the past 24-hours. I was playing around. Consequences? Everytime I change it creates a new folder in News Gator. I'll stick with "Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger" for a while. Why the change? Cause I realize that the title you use drives traffic.


Well, go to Scan for three new blogs that you'd visit. Most have really lame titles. But, some titles grab you. I'll click on anything, for instance, that has "geek" in the title. And, I'm interested in Microsoft stuff, so I'll click on anything with Microsoft in the title.

There are tons of blog directory sites springing up now (I linked to some of them yesterday, like over at Technorati or Feedster). Same thing there. If you only have five minutes to read blogs, and you scan the top 100 lists on those sites, what are you most likely to click on? Something with a descriptive title, right? But look at most people's titles. They aren't descriptive at all. Why should I click on a title of "Annie?" What will I be likely to find?

So, everyone, write some more descriptive titles. Put two words in it that will help me guess what kinds of things you'll be passionate about.

1:15:50 PM    comment 

Good morning! I've changed my blogroll link to point to my subscription on Bloglines. I've been getting more and more traffic from Bloglines, so know that it's getting to be quite a popular News Aggregator. Anyway, hope you like that. 1290+ feeds.

12:58:01 PM    comment 

I'm starting to build a blogroll on the right side of my page. Right now I've linked to my favorite sites that cover Microsoft. Are there any I should add?

My "blogroll" link takes you to a list of all the RSS and Atom feeds I watch. 1296 right now. Are you using a News Aggregator? Why don't you upload your feeds so we can all benefit from the feeds you're watching too? Here's a list of the top 100 feeds, if you're looking for some to subscribe to.

Here's the top 100 over at a different site (

And another top 100 list over at Technorati.

12:01:27 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; 12:46:37 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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