The Pew Study on weblog usage is gonna be very popular material to discuss for the next few hours. Jim Moore has a great analysis of both it, and the Associated Press article that came out with the study (Jim links to all the relevant articles, so just visit his analysis). Ahh, everyone has a spin on stuff like this. "No one's weblogging" the AP says. "Weblogging getting more popular by the minute" other people pick out of it.
I think it's all good. A large percentage of people who own computers use them to publish stuff to the Internet. I bet these numbers go up across the board over the next year.
This is a MUST READ report for anyone evaluating blogging or online content creation industries.
Tom Miller likes XBox's Dance Dance Revolution game. I should probably get that. It'd be a good way to get back into exercise.
Tech sales people: you ever need to cold-call a CIO and try to sell him something? Here, Agent Smith, who is a CIO at a major shipping company, gives you some tips. Every salesperson at Microsoft should read these.
Thanks to Paul van Brenk for pointing me at that.
Niall Kennedy saw that I changed the title of my blog and points out the reason: I did that cause I want to have the top result for "Microsoft Tech Blogger" or "Microsoft Blogger." He said I should beg bloggers to link to me with the link being "Microsoft Blogger" and then I'd move up on Google for that specific term. Interesting thing to try. But then people would start saying I'm a GoogleLinkWhore. Oh well.
Update: the title changed worked. Before I changed the name of my blog, I wasn't even on the first page of "Microsoft Blogger." Now I'm #3. Just because I changed the title. Shows that Google looks at the title of your Web pages as one of the 100 variables it tracks.
Tech journalists: I have a friend, who doesn't work at Microsoft, who showed me something cool at the recent Demo conference (it was the coolest demo I saw at Demo). He asked me not to talk about it. But, I know he's been wanting to show it to the press (Walt Mossberg, are you still reading me?). I've been using his beta for two weeks now, and I am excited about it. I'd love to put you in touch with my friend and get you in on it so you can write about it. Launch is in mid March. Interested? firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, his PR firm told him not to show it to a blogger cause we'd screw up their PR plans. He didn't listen to them. :-)
Smart cause I know a ton of journalists are reading here. Is this the new PR? Hmmm.
Russell Beattie: "All Microsoft needs now is that one hit phone - the MPx100 may be it for them."
Here's a utility that lets you measure the link popularity of your site or blog.
Nick Bradbury had a cool illustration that he had drawn for his FeedDemon news aggregator. Last night I got a demo of the latest version of FeedDemon. It really has come a long way. I like how you can apply custom CSS themes to your RSS feeds. See, designers can play a part in the RSS world.
Hiwatha Bray, technology reporter for the Boston Globe, has a blog that I really enjoy. A number of items there are things I'd point to, but why not just send you over to see the whole thing?
Marc Orchant points to (and talks about) a cool tool, Lookout, that adds Google-style search onto Outlook.
John Bristowe: "I just finished watching the latest rev of The .NET Show, which featured John Shewchuk and Steve Swartz talking about "Indigo". Best episode ever."
Cool, something to do in the plane on the way back to Seattle tonight.
One of the key reasons weblogging has taken off is the referer page (mine is to the right). Using it you can see who has pointed to my weblog (and how many readers they have sent here). It's one reason why weblogs are conversational where "old style" websites aren't.
My coworker, Jeff Sandquist, who uses a tool that doesn't have a public referer page, shows there's a new service that lets you build a public referer page so your readers can see who links to you.
Dan Gillmor, of the San Jose Mercury News, is looking to have a blogger get together in Tokyo over the next few days.
Clemens Vasters is continuing his discussion of software development economic models. I love his quote: "selfish is not the one who wants to get a tangible reward for his work. Selfish is the one who denies that reward."
Jeff Jarvis is right. The word "consumer" is a nasty word and should be removed from corporate dictionaries. Our customers are really more like partners anyway. Think about it. It's why we focus so much on building "platforms" here. We only succeed if you build stuff on top of our platforms. That's what makes the complete product.
Look at the Pistachio factory I visited. Yeah, it's run on Microsoft platforms (Windows is all over the place there) but if our customers didn't build software to run the factory (we didn't do that) then we wouldn't be there at all.
It's a partnership. Not a one-way push channel.
The faster we can figure that out, and enable our partners to build cool stuff, the better off we'll both be. That's why I like .NET so much. It helps our partners build cool stuff (like the NewsGator news aggregator that has completely changed my life).
"At Microsoft security is a fad" this article in MCP magazine states. Hmm, Charles Torre and me are interviewing Microsoft's security chief Michael Howard tomorrow. I'm gonna bring this article along.
Charles and I have been going across campus with our hand-held video camera interviewing people for a project we're calling "Channel 9" (after United's in-flight channel where you can listen in on the cockpit). In every interview security has come up. Every team is working on it, from a variety of different angles. Will we nail it? That I don't know yet. But, you've seen what happens when Microsoft focuses on things in the past.
Is corporate transparency important to customers? Here, check out this story about Channel 9. Note that this guy flies United more often because of Channel 9. Now, can we do that here at Microsoft? If we do, people will stop saying that what we do is just concentrate on the latest fad.
Brandon Wirtz says that Apple's customer loyalty comes from the hardware (he says that Microsoft's usage of the IBM chipset for Xbox 2 might disrupt Apple's business plans). I disagree. Apple's loyalty comes from the overall experience. You gotta stand in line during an Apple store opening to get this. Why do you think Apple is investing hundreds of millions in getting its own retail store chain going? Because now Steve Jobs is in charge of the entire experience from walking into a store, to everything else.
Apple's new retail stores are brilliant. This guarantees that Apple will have a channel to market its products no matter what anyone else in the tech industry does. It also guarantees that the Apple customer loyalty won't die anytime soon. Heck, walking into one makes me want to buy a Mac. That's very powerful marketing.
Anyway, Brandon, Apple has really turned a corner. They might only have 2% of the marketshare right now, but I expect that will start to climb soon. In fact, I think the industry is wrong about Linux. If Microsoft has a desktop competitor, it's OSX. Not one of the Linux desktops.
To see why, all you have to do is walk into an Apple store.
Personally, if I were in charge of Microsoft marketing, I'd break bread with Steve Jobs, hand him a bunch of cash so he can open up even more stores around the world, and buy a corner of Apple's stores where I could present things like the Tablet PC, SmartPhones, SPOT watches, and Microsoft's Macintosh software (a good percentage of the Macs sold in the Apple stores walk out with one or two pieces of Microsoft software already). Steve Jobs is onto something, and we should figure out how to work together.
Want to grow your business? Harvard Business Review's Frederick Reichheld says there's one thing that's dramatically more important than anything else: are your customers willing to recommend your product or service to a friend? If they are, he contends, your business will grow. If they aren't, it won't.
Williams Moore's "Brand Autopsy" weblog for that link and commentary on that article.
This rule even applies to Microsoft. Expensive marketing can attempt to overcome this trend, but in this day of word-of-mouth networks that are very strong, if you don't have the best product in a category, word will get out very quickly.
Shaan Hurley, of Autodesk, snapped a photo that shows that gas prices in California are soaring. More than $2.30 a gallon for regular unleaded. Of course, in Europe, gas is about $5 a gallon, so it definitely can get worse. In Bothell on Friday, gas is running about $2 a gallon. Definitely higher than it has been for some time.
Andrew Grumet is working on a way to deliver videos via RSS (using BitTorrent). That could really be disruptive!
The XBox 2.0 SDK runs on a suprising platform: Mac G5. Thanks ActiveWin for that link.
If WMA Pro takes off, this would make a Windows Media Center PC far more compelling. Why? Because I have a decent surround sound system at home and MP3 files just don't do it for me on that.
Anyway, if you have a decent surround sound system hooked up to your computer, check out the clips on this page.
Interesting discussion that every corporate blogger should read.
Slate has an article on BitTorrent and its founder, Bram Cohen.
Want a cool looking 3D desktop? Try 3DNA. I haven't tried this yet, but will went I get back home to my test machine.
Mark Ayzenshtat says that companies should acknowledge their competitors (he uses Microsoft's C# as an example). I agree. You did note that I visited the Apple store today.
Luke Hutteman has released a new version of SharpReader (an RSS News Aggregator done in .NET).
Mack Male asks Microsoft NOT to release a "Windows XP Reloaded."