Daily Dose of Imagery has a nice picture of a shopkeeper in Tehran preparing for the Iranian New Years (Norouz). It's Friday evening. This is a big deal for Iranian families. My wife is preparing a big feast for her family down in Silicon Valley. Can't wait!
Linked in has a new toolbar for Outlook. Hmmm, social software is getting more integrated. Linked In is one of those that's survived the "seven day rule." I'm using it because the network is interesting. (If you use a service or piece of software for more than seven days, it's worth recommending to others -- my coworker Jeff Sandquist came up with that).
The email that I got says that during the beta their testers were able to double their number of connections and increase the size of their LinkedIn network by more than 50% because of this bar.
David Allen's new blog just showed up in Buzz Bruggeman's referer log. Man, that was fast.
ComputerWorld has an interesting interview with Microsoft's Bob Muglia. He talks about the server roadmap and admits that Longhorn server won't come before 2006.
Last night I had dinner with one of my ISV Buddies. David Johnson of Graphics Server Technologies.
What's an ISV Buddy? It's a way for us at Microsoft to build a relationship with companies that produce software on Microsoft's technologies. (I have a group of ISVs that I keep in contact with, and the program sends them some goodies when they sign up).
David's been doing components for Visual Studio for a long time (his company has been coming to VBITS/VSLive conferences for more than a decade and was involved in the Basic community even before Visual Basic was released).
He has tons of interesting stories. He told me some stuff that we needed to work more on (in some cases we do stuff that really pisses ISVs off and I might never have learned about them if I hadn't taken David out to dinner -- and I'll work hard at making sure that David's experiences with us are positive ones from now on).
His company is most famous for charting tools for Visual Studio. He told me that .NET tools are starting to sell, which is good to hear. It was a tough time for ISVs in the past few years.
He pitched me on his company (and I pitched him on doing stuff for the Tablet PC and Longhorn). Some things I learned about his company in that process:
1) His dev teams had a major corner turn when they started using their own components to build an end-user app (they are building an add-on tool, named Business Dashboard, for Intuit's Quickbooks). What happened? Well, they realized that their component wasn't what developers needed from a charting tool. So, they rewrote their components with their new experiences, making their component better for everyone.
2) He told me about coming out with a .NET version of their best-selling product (called Graphics Server .NET) and that they are looking forward to the richer graphics capabilities in Longhorn.
Some advice I had for him: do a blog about his products. I think component vendors need to do conversational marketing with their products, especially because they don't have big marketing budgets. Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords, yesterday told me that he got more downloads from mentions in weblogs than he did from a major article in USA Today. That's a MAJOR marketing trend that small companies (heck, even groups at Microsoft) need to take advantage of.
Plus, companies doing cool things need to get an RSS feed. I'd say that's priority #1. Why? Because influencers like me want to have a permanent relationship with companies like David's. Right now I need to visit in a web browser. That sucks. I'm not gonna do it. But, I would subscribe to David's (or his company's) blog (er, news page). I watched how Buzz works with his RSS News Aggregator. He has even scripted words for each of his feeds so he can go there fast from anywhere on his computer.
Do blogs sell products? I have more and more evidence that they do.
Any ISVs out there that want to have a conversation with Microsoft like this? Email me: email@example.com
Ahh, the project I've been working on, Channel 9, is starting to get talked about (Channel 9 was named for the channel on United Airlines where you can listen into the pilots in the cockpit -- we're trying to do the same thing for you at Microsoft. Coming soon). Lenn Pryor, my boss, teases. Jeff Sandquist, our program manager, posts a flair, Alan Griver talks about being interviewed today (Jeremy Mazner did the interview, I played camera monkey).
Microsoft employees: we're looking to interview anyone interesting who is doing interesting things. Fit the bill? Especially for developers or ISVs? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Maurone predicts that bloggers will soon succumb to pressures to add pop-up ads and such. He almost gets to the point of telling me that I should think about ads for my blog.
I'm not gonna do that. Why? Because it would create new pressures. Imagine hearing "Scoble's even more of a traffic whore now that he has advertising. He's sold out."
Personally, I don't agree with his thesis. Bloggers are self-interested. They want people to visit and don't want to repel their friends and family (which is what pop ups do). Plus, we know that the ads that work on the Web are text-based. Google figured that out. And many webloggers, you notice, have added Google's ads to their own blogs. I wonder why the rest of the advertising industry hasn't figured that out yet?
Brady Gaster says that he can't recommend the Code Highlighter at CSharpFriends.com highly enough.
Remember a few weeks ago when someone stole a part of the Windows source code and uploaded it to the Internet? I thought it was funny when people analyzed the source's comments to see if they could learn things like how many swear words appeared.
Well, someone has been tracking that in the Linux source too. Developers sure like to swear in source, don't they?
Scott Hanselman posted a bad problem with his SPOT watch and one of the Microsofties who work on the team fixed the problem (read the comments on Scott's site). Is the SPOT team watching the blogs? You decide.
Andy at Absoblogginlutely points to another Web-based RSS aggregator: Rocketinfo.
I haven't tried it yet. Anyone compare this to Bloglines?
Inc.com's Norm Brodsky writes about meeting JetBlue's CEO on a flight from New York to Oakland. But, he wasn't sitting down. He was working the flight.
That's an inspiring person to work for. Now I know why so many people I know rave about JetBlue.
Thanks to John at Inluminent for linking to that.
Sam Ruby, of IBM, announces that Tim Bray, of Sun Microsystems, has been made co-chair of the Atom project.
Steve Gillmor gets up close and personal with Groove's Ray Ozzie.
Groove just released a beta of their 3.0 release and my boss, Lenn Pryor, has been raving about it. I guess that means I'll have it installed in the morning.
Betsy Aoki is spearheading an effort to categorize Microsoft's weblogs. Now that there's several hundred, with more coming every day, time to plan for how to deal with thousands of employee blogs.
"herding bloggers is like herding very busy or reluctant mynah birds"
Engadget is going to CeBit. I went back in the mid 1990s with Winnov. CeBit is the largest exhibition in the world. One booth there, the German Telecom one, is as big as the entire convention center in San Jose. It's a massive affair that you really need several days to see (and that's if you don't stop at any booths to chat).
Rick Klau likes Mark Cuban's new weblog. Me too. Wow, imagine if all executives in the world had a blog like this.
If you don't know who Mark is, he owns a basketball team and made a ton of money back in the .COM boom days.