When Yahoo came out a few weeks ago I noted that it messed up an opportunity to come out with a cool feature that'd get it noticed by Google. Well, today, Google adds personalized chat. I notice that after you personalize Google, you can adjust a slider and get a different result set. That's exactly what I asked for.
Now, imagine that you had a Google with 100 sliders (Google's engine has 100 variables). Don't want to see any weblogs in your result set? Slide a slider and they are gone.
Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, is interviewed about the EU decision, Longhorn's roadmap, open source, and other interesting things by Information Week.
OK, here's one back on the .NET side of the fence. Sam Gentile, who's one of the most talented C++ guys I've ever met, blogged what he's been working on for the past 10 months: bcgi Mobile Guardian. It is a .NET-based service that lets you manage wireless phone usage and expense. For families. Groups. Or even just yourself. Congrats Sam on getting this baby out!
"As a parent with children, I feel proud to have designed the architecture of a product that will help parents manage their children’s wireless phones balancing concerns safety, usage management and financial restraint; a product that will matter in the world."
A friend said "hey, too much social and weblogs and lunches and stuff. How about something about technology?"
Well, right now I'm passionate about weblogs and social aspects. I'll get back to talking about, and linking to, cool stuff shortly.
Really technology is social. Why do I say that? One of the bloggers who I've gotten to know a bit, Roy Osherove, is desperate for an answer on a BizTalk problem his company is having. He blogged it. And now I'm trying to find him an answer. Technical? Sure. Social? Sure.
Eric Meyer hates the reverse-chronological view that weblogs bring. I do too. I'm taken back to the interview I did with Bill Hill. He theorized that writing is just a way to tell a story. He came to that realization of following an animal's tracks. He thinks that was where we started our writing history. The tracks of an animal tell a story.
Let's say you come across some animal tracks in the forest. First you can tell whether the animal is big or small. Then you can get an idea of her habits. Is she nervous? Hungry? Thirsty? In a rush?
The tracks tell a story.
But, weblogs force you to start the story where the rabbit got eaten by an eagle and work backward.
Yes, a news aggregator lets you fix that problem, but it still isn't good.
On the other hand, often in blogs I just want to know that the rabbit got eaten and I want to skip the rest of the story. That's one reason blogs are interesting too.
I've posted some pictures from Microsoft's Social Software Symposium on my photo blog.
Dare Obasanjo links to MSDN's new XML Developer Center. Jeremy Wright emailed this to me and said it's great.
Jeremy Wright: How Microsoft could get into RSS
Joshua Allen: Microsoft and RSS?
Joshua seems to disagree with Steve Gillmor's rant that Microsoft needs to do more with RSS. I don't see it that way. I see it as a disconnect. Microsoft employees know that the way to get things done is five levels down from Bill Gates. But the outside world thinks that the way to get things done is to talk Bill Gates into doing them.
I fall into this trap too. "If only I could get an hour with Ballmer I could change the world." That's really hogwash. Although I certainly wouldn't turn down the hour. :-)
OK, let's look at it differently. Soon Microsoft will turn on Channel9. Now, Channel9 will have an RSS feed. Did the five guys who work on that team need to check with Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates before doing that? No.
Now, take that further, does the SPOT watch team need to check with Gates or Ballmer before turning on an RSS feed? No.
Does the Outlook team need to check with Ballmer and Gates? No. Sharepoint team? No. MSN team? No. How about the Researchers here? No.
So, what's the problem? It's a people problem. We need to do the hard work and evangelize RSS to everyone. That's not easy. Believe me, I'm on a team of guys who are trying to evangelize .NET and Longhorn. There is no shortcut. It's a people business.
On the other hand, Steve knows that the way to get the guys who are five or six levels down from Ballmer or Gates to do something, he should write a letter to Ballmer or Gates and put it in eWeek.
That's called applying social pressure. It's a tool of evangelists. You think our PR department (and me) isn't going to do the same thing with Longhorn?
Remember when I first started working at Microsoft? I told you how it's more like an ant hill than a tank? Well, I notice there's quite a stream of ants checking out syndication lately. All Gillmor is trying to do is tell the ant hill: "hey, there's a pot of honey over here." I appreciate that.
So, let's go get it!
Adam Kinney gives his experiences using Feedster.
DayPop is another good engine to go to when looking for what bloggers are talking about on a specific topic. Here's a search for Social Software Symposium.
I also built a PubSub search, in addition to my searches on Feedster and Technorati. It'll be interesting to compare all of these services and see how they differ over the next few days (and, of course, to Google, MSN, and Yahoo).
So, here's the list of searches for "Social Software Symposium":
Here's a "Stack" from PubSub.com. This is a cool feature if you want a list of links that discuss a specific topic:
eWeek: What is Bill Gates thinking?
Scott Heifemann, founder of Meetup, is talking about the meetings that have happened in the past week. 1400 meetings.
See, I'm not the only one having a social life cause of this little box that I type into. You all are meeting up too!
Not just people, either! He shows that there are even meetups for dogs.
OK, for a geek who sits in front of a computer all day long blogging, my life is pretty social. How about yesterday. I get out of my car in downtown Vancouver and hear "hey, Robert Scoble." Heh, it's Stewart Butterfield, the guy who is doing Flickr, an app for people to use digital photography in a social way. (I've gotta use it more, Stewart tells me he's been adding more features to it).
So, I tell him "hey, I'm having lunch at 1:30, why don't you come?" He did, and several others, including Tim Bray did too.
Then I drove down to the Social Software Symposium, which is where I'm typing to you right now. I'm sure that as the day goes along we'll have some blogs on that.
Anyway, last night I was sitting around talking with various people and Linda Stone and Tim O'Reilly and a couple of others said "why don't we go for a walk around Bellevue?" Well, that turned into a fun car ride, where we took a tour of Medina and Seattle (Linda had me take a wrong turn, we were just trying to get to Kirkland), and then went for a walk along the waterfront in Kirkland. Linda told me about the experiences she's had since her home burned down. She told me that everyone should visit "Bad Faith Insurance" before they buy any homeowners insurance. She's had a lot of trouble trying to collect from insurance companies. That, in a nutshell, is why blogging is so good. It helps us pass on word-of-mouth information, based on real-world experiences, to a global audience.
Who knew that this box of plastic and silicon would get me such wonderful experiences?