Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Ted Leung compares the .NET and Java blogging communities.

His findings are basically that Microsoft has stronger employee bloggers, but weaker community bloggers.

So, what do you think? How can we make the .NET community blogs easier to find, and stronger in both quality and quantity?

11:58:47 PM    comment 

Matthew Mullenweg unsubscribes from the Lockergnome newsletters. Why? Because he doesn't like their coding approach. Ahh, web design format wars. I'm more pragmatic. Can I look at the page in my browser? Can I subscribe to the RSS feeds? If so, why does it matter whether the code underneath was done with tables or CSS?

Call me a fool, but I judge web sites by whether or not they have content and experiences that enrich my life, not whether the code underneath them fits my expectations.

11:50:21 PM    comment 

Paul Stubbs points at a PocketPC app that looks a whole lot like Apple's iPod.

11:43:53 PM    comment 

Neil Macintosh reports that Nokia is working on a blogging app.

11:40:45 PM    comment 

Rory wants to uninstall an old MSN Messenger. Oh, I SO agree with this one. I had the same problem and it didn't go away until I clean installed.

11:35:53 PM    comment 

Edward Tufte is one of the leading thinkers in how to visually present information. His latest stuff, on Sparklines, is showing up on lots of the feeds I'm reading tonight. This is meaty reading, so gotta come back to it this weekend.

11:24:03 PM    comment 

Martin Fowler is going to Japan and wants some hints on what to see. JapanInYourPalm is a great guide (done by my friend Al Nevarez).

By the way, Al is a real interesting guy to talk with. He used to program cars (if you have a Lincoln Mercury, you probably have his work in your car). And he spent a year or so in Japan, which is why he started his guide.

11:17:35 PM    comment 

My college friend Nick Parades points to Consumer Reports 2004 car report. I'm thinking of buying a car. Well, for Maryam. We can only afford something under $20,000. I'd love your feedback. The Ford Focus is looking better.

11:08:12 PM    comment 

My boss Lenn Pryor takes to ActiveWords. I am starting to play with it again. One of David Allen's time saving tricks is to use the mouse as little as possible. ActiveWords makes that possible.

11:05:42 PM    comment 

If you're using Office XP, they released a service pack today (#3). Includes all previously-released security patches.

11:03:37 PM    comment 

Marc Orchant writes about the Outlook 2003 plugin designed to complement David Allen's teachings on getting things done.

10:55:53 PM    comment 

InfoWorld's Jon Udell: the accident of geography. Excellent view on offshoring.

10:53:33 PM    comment 

Iran's loss, my gain. Yeah, Iran has the largest brain drain. I get to see that up close. My wife, Maryam, moved here in 1986 and went on to graduate from UC Berkeley with honors.

10:51:02 PM    comment 

Joi Ito is now working with Technorati's team. Joi is moving and shaking through the social software scene like no other.

10:49:47 PM    comment 

David Weinberger brings us an amazing musical performance from TED. You have to read the blog to see why it's amazing. Thanks David and TED for this!

10:43:02 PM    comment 

Wow. Check out this search engine: Kartoo. It shows you results with a Flash-based front-end. Lets you see relationships.

Hey, Dave Sifry: this is what we need for Technorati!

10:29:10 PM    comment 

The BBC says that Sony is gonna kick Microsoft's behind in the next console game competition. One problem. The competition hasn't even started yet. But, agreed. Sony is a tough competitor for the living room space.

10:18:45 PM    comment 

Jeremy Wright: "I'm sure I'll never get invited, but hearing these real people talk in real ways is fantastic. Keep it up ITConversations!"

I agree. Doug Kaye is onto something here. He called me up and we just started talking. I'm listening to the other interviews he's done and I like the format. It's just like many of the conversations we have at geek dinners.

10:16:11 PM    comment 

Craig Burton (about my snarkiness toward Sun yesterday): I think it is common place but ridiculous to see OS vendors sparring over a data format. Gentlemen, its a data format....My prediction? RSS will continue to make lots of headway long before anything specific from Sun or Microsoft see the light of day."

OK, I messed up yesterday in getting snarky with Sun. Let's turn this around. What should Microsoft do with RSS? I get asked that question several times a day. I have my own answers, but know that the stakeholders are reading here. So, in a perfect world, what would you do with RSS if you were an exec at Microsoft?

Another interesting RSS item to consider is Dave Winer's olive branch to the folks who are spearheading the Atom syndication format.

10:05:36 PM    comment 

InfoWorld's Chad Dickerson says InfoWorld is now getting more requests for its RSS feed than for its home page. He thinks that's significant. I do too.

9:51:59 PM    comment 

BoingBoing points to Steve Ballmer's iPod ad. Ahh, all sorts of funny stuff on the Net tonight.

9:46:22 PM    comment 

Funny poke at Microsoft. Microsoft XP Reloaded: The Cartoon. Thanks to Leslie Orchard for that.

9:33:30 PM    comment 

In a past life Brian Sullivan and I were NetMeeting MVPs (we had competing websites about NetMeeting). He still IM's and emails me interesting NetMeeting info. For instance, here he blogs about NASA's Space Station use of NetMeeting.

8:36:30 PM    comment 

Here's an interesting phenomenon. A weblogger says he's frustrated with Microsoft. I point to him. Within hours he has a solution.

Heck, is this the new way you'll get support? Yet another benefit of getting Scobleized. :-)

Thanks to my readers for helping out. That rocks!

8:33:43 PM    comment 

Ali Parvaresh said he cracked up when he was reading his Iranian newspaper today cause he saw my name and quote Associated Press article on RSS and Blogging in Iran's best newspaper.

8:30:36 PM    comment 

Jonathan Hardwick: Introduces himself and the Microsoft Management Summit. Anyone going? I'm not, but sounds interesting. Steve Ballmer is speaking. Ahh, can't wait to see the video from that!

8:28:11 PM    comment 

Ed Brill has an interesting discussion of the possible downsides (and upsides) of corporate transparency. Yeah, airing your dirty laundry in public is risky. But, I really hope we take a customer centric approach instead of a "protect our PR" approach.

8:24:06 PM    comment 

Wow, Google's Orkut yesterday turned on new "friends" functionality. You can now accept a message from someone and tell Orkut "I haven't met" this person. Nice and makes me much more willing to come back and spend some time adjusting my list.

I wish I could use Google as a PhotoBlogRoll, though. It's amazing. Almost everyone has entered their photo in my Orkut.

8:13:44 PM    comment 

Robert McLaws' Patch Day Review is a great place to come and get the latest on Microsoft's various patches and security updates. He just sent out a bunch of alerts. Good thing to subscribe to.

8:04:13 PM    comment 

What do you look at on a computer more than anything else, but rarely think about? Fonts!

Today I got to interview Bill Hill, the co-inventor of ClearType, and the head of the typography team here at Microsoft. Several hours later I'm still pinching myself.

Mike is an awesome storyteller. I can't wait to give you access to the video. Just a few snippets:

1) He has a 200 dpi IBM monitor in his office. Wow. You haven't lived until you've read a weblog on such a high resolution screen. He spent a good part of the time explaining how coming screen advancements are going to really increase readability.

2) He says he designs software, not for Windows, but for "Homosapiens 1.0." He spends a lot of time understanding how humans perceive things. In fact, the idea thread that led to the development of ClearType started when he was tracking a Coyote in a forest (he does that for fun -- he belongs to a club of people who read animal tracks to try to understand more about the animal world).

3) He spends a lot of time studying how humans perceive color and how they read. And what causes them pain when reading on the screen. His team is working on new fonts that'll increase readability and productivity (he was the one who commissioned Georgia and Verdana).

4) He's studying how to use multiple screens. In his office he has a second monitor -- a projector on the wall -- running full time. He uses this second monitor differently from his main high-res monitor. In his studies of human perception he learned that the periphery vision is more attuned to movement. So, he puts his email and his alerts on this second screen.

5) Why wasn't ClearType on by default? Because they weren't sure how well it'd work on non-LCD monitors. And because some video cards had troubles.

6) Why do some people hate ClearType? Because ClearType relies on how we perceive color. Some people, he says, have a heightened perception to some colors which makes ClearType less useful to them.

5) He answered for all time why you should never put two spaces after punctuation: extra spacing slows down readability. He explained to us why that convention was started for typewriter fonts, but he says that there is no professional typographer in the world that'll put two spaces after a period with a modern proportionally-spaced font.

I asked a good number of the questions that were left by you in my comments area. Thanks! I'll try to get to those soon (and have sent Bill them in email too).

Some tips from Bill?

1) Make sure your LCD is set to the native resolution. ClearType won't work if you don't have your resolution set properly.

2) Use the ClearType tuner. For many people this makes ClearType much better.

3) Small fonts (the 8 pt style that's the rage on many weblogs now) are far less readable than, say, 11 pt fonts. He does say, though, that readability starts going down at sizes bigger than 11 or 12 pt.

Anyway, thanks Bill for the interesting insights. I know I'll never look at my fonts the same way again. When our Channel 9 project turns on, I'll let you know more.

8:00:51 PM    comment 

I'm going for total overexposure -- sorta like the Britney Spears of the tech blogger world. Heh. Today Doug Kaye interviewed me for his ITConversations site.

1:46:59 AM    comment 

Simon Phipps told me about another few RSS channels (a bunch of Sun ones are here). I think I'm reading more than 1350 feeds now.

1:46:02 AM    comment 
12:23:08 AM    comment 

Hey, Loren, don't worry, I won't give away Lora's secret either.

Oh, I'm not NDA'd? Heck with it! Nice Tablet PC software site Lora!

12:21:12 AM    comment 

Jim Fawcette asks "Is Longhorn too fat?"

I think the question really is "is Longhorn fat enough?"

"Whoa Scoble, you're smoking some of the wacky weed again," you're probably saying. But, I've been hearing the "it's too fat" argument for 20 years. And, for 20 years, Microsoft proves the "it's too fat" naysayers wrong.

Why is that? Moore's law. Look at hard drives today. A 100GB hard drive is less than $100. OK, naysayers, tell me what it'll be in 2006/2007? Now, plot out the cost of all the other things that go in your computer. And, the speed/capacity.

Nah, I'm actually very worried that Longhorn won't be fat enough. That it won't put enough capabilities to take advantage of all the new horsepower that's coming.

Yeah, I know other companies are trying to push the "thin client" vision again. We've been down that road many times before. What will make this time any different?

Oh, and Jim, Larry Ellison's company is named "Liberate." How did he get that name? He wanted to "Liberate" the world from Microsoft.

12:08:47 AM    comment 

Oolon Colluphid (admittedly anti-Microsoft and pro-Linux): Windows Longhorn -- beginning of the end?

"Longhorn is yet to be officially named. I'm thinking "Windows Terminal 2005" might be the best name. Your computer is no longer a computer: it's an obnoxious webpage that lets you see only what's linked, and none of the underlying beauty of your computer. No thanks. Take a cue from Linux, Microsoft: let your users choose between "user friendly" and USER FRIENDLY. (There's a difference.)

Hmmm. One thing in reply: the UI you've seen isn't done yet and what we've shown so far is the APIs and the internals, the one thing Oolon doesn't want to comment on.

12:00:36 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; 12:47:31 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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