Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Saturday, May 22, 2004

Joshua Allen, Microsoft's first blogger: RSS politics.

Joshua gives interesting insights into Atom vs. RSS, the W3C, and Microsoft's approach (or lack thereof).

"First, be very clear. The “debate“ over Atom vs. RSS is a complete non-issue for Microsoft. We use RSS to serve thousands of customers right now, and most of the people setting up RSS feeds have never heard of the political “debates“. RSS works for them, and that's all they care about. On the other hand, if Atom ever reaches v1.0 and we had a business incentive to use it, we would use it. No need for debate.

11:52:27 PM    comment 

Ronaldo Ferraz: So, how do you guys keep up with so many feeds? What techniques do you use to keep up with the deluge of information?

First, he got something wrong. I don't read 1435 RSS feeds every night. I only read the feeds that have actually published something in the past 24 hours.

In the past 24 hours there have only been a few thousand messages, and only about 30% of my feeds have published anything. Still a lot. But now you understand why RSS is so much more productive than reading in a Web browser. If you wanted the same information I get, and you wanted to do it in a browser, you'd need to look at every page.

My workflow after that? I scan the headlines for interesting stuff. I don't read items with headlines that say something like "my cat photos." I only read headlines like the one Ronaldo posted "keeping up with RSS feeds." That's interesting to me.

If it's interesting, I drag it over to a folder named "weblog this." Usually in one night I end up with 200 things that are worth reading more in depth. Still a lot, but you can read 200 things in one evening.

Then, I read them and comment on the best.

Do I miss things with this system? Yes, but if it's something really good other webloggers will point at the same item, so I'll see it anyway.

Yes, there are certain webloggers that I read everything in their feeds cause they are so interesting. No, I won't tell you which ones they are. :-)

11:21:54 PM    comment Steve Ballmer, in Israel, says Microsoft must work harder.

Damn, does that mean no more Xbox Live on Saturday nights? :-)

The article gives quotes from SteveB on topics from Google to source code leaks.

11:00:59 PM    comment 
9:35:47 PM    comment 

Robert McLaws demonstrates why Microsoft should talk more with its MVPs, not less (he discusses a conversation he had recently with Microsoft's data team and gives some insight into the ObjectSpaces decision in his post "the real reason behind the ObjectSpaces furor").

8:37:21 PM    comment 

If you wanna join us, Major Nelson is now online on Xbox Live. We'll start Links up shortly. Either contact me, or contact Major Nelson and we'll start playing!

8:03:26 PM    comment 

The Xbox Live is started up. I'm online. Links is ready. My name is Scobleizer.

I'm also on MSN Messenger. is my IM.

Yeah, I'm a geek.

7:52:09 PM    comment 

ClassyDee: "I still can't understand at all how Scoble sleeps at night. Having an organisation that is conversationally open is good. Working for that organisation and using, seemingly without any reservations, your own personal identity to market the organization is not."

Hmm, I can't understand why ClassyDee doesn't put his/her name on his/her weblog. ClassyDee, are you ashamed of yourself? Why the anonymity?

Why do I use my name to market my company? Someday I'd like to take him on a tour of Microsoft and introduce him to some of the 56,000 great people who work here and then maybe he'd start to understand why I do it.

But, it comes down to my car wreck. After getting whacked like that I decided to do something positive with the rest of my life. I looked around at which industry is changing the world for the better faster than any other industry. I couldn't name one that's doing more to improve the human experience than the software industry. Then I looked around at the companies in that industry and one stood out as being in the position to change the world more than any other.

So, ClassyDee, I don't see any problem doing as much to help the software industry out as possible. And, I don't see any problem doing as much to help out Microsoft as much as possible. But, I guess, I don't expect someone who doesn't understand the power of signing their own name to their own ideas to understand.

7:12:59 PM    comment's Kendall Grant Clark: The courtship of Atom.

"As with every great romance, and most notable marriages, it's not entirely clear here who's courting whom."

7:02:42 PM    comment 

Neil Enns, of the SmartPhone team, asks "did you see the Stinger Bee behind me?" (it was in his Channel9 videos). Stinger was the code-name for SmartPhone 2002.

6:53:51 PM    comment 

Wesner Moise talks about one of Microsoft's failed ideas: Active Desktop.

Why do I think Active Desktop failed? Easy, it was buggy and its performance sucked. Whenever I turned it on my system started crashing and everything started going slower. So I turned it off. I suspect that's the real reason why people turned it off.

I still would like something like replaceable wallpaper. Here's what I'm thinking. I'd like an RSS reader to scan all my feeds, build a series of wallpapers (BMP files) and swap those in occassionally during the day. That way everytime I go to my desktop (which is often) I could see my news.

Or, I could subscribe to a moblog and have it automatically post in a new photo from that every day (or series of photos).

The problem with Active Desktop was that it was over engineered. All we need is swappable BMP files. Some way to throw a new BMP file in a folder and have that redisplayed on the desktop. It doesn't need to be clickable. It doesn't need to have some sort of complex COM object model. Just a simple BMP.

But, I have a feeling we'll never get that because we didn't understand why Active Desktop failed to get adopted by people.

6:45:53 PM    comment 

My co-worker Jeff Sandquist just built a favlet for Technorati. This is awesome Jeff!

Read his post, follow his instructions, and then you too will have a button on your links bar that reads "Technorati this." Very useful. Why didn't I think of that?

4:11:00 PM    comment 

Jon Udell, on his InfoWorld blog, saw Ward Cunningham, inventor of the Wiki, show up on Channel9. It's nice to see the reactions of people to Channel9. Yesterday, Lenn and Jeff went riding around Microsoft with Eric Rudder. I can't wait to see what they learned.

More from Ward is coming.

Marc Canter: OK I admit it. I haven't spent hours in front of my machine watching Channel9. I hope Scoble doesn't hate me.

I don't hate you Marc, but most of my video clips are a couple of minutes long. And, you can subscribe to an RSS feed of just the videos, so you can pick out the ones that sound interesting and listen to those.

4:02:06 PM    comment 

Doc Searls on what he heard and was thinking when he was listening to Bill Gates' speech:

It's like, blah blah networking blah blah storage blah blah tablets, blah blah RFID, blah blah templates, blah blah RSS, blah blah spam, blah blah MSDN... Huh? wtf? Rewind....

3:52:02 PM    comment 
3:48:11 PM    comment 

Shel Israel, on celebrating his 10,000th viewing of his blog: "There’s probably about one million bloggers like me. We aren't posting for the masses. We aren't uber linkers. We get 50-100 hits-a-day. Collectively, we comprise a significant portion of an ever-growing decentralized network of distributed information and commentary. It’s liberating. It has impact and it's disruptive to more traditional centralized publishing."

He's absolutely right. It's not about having a large audience. It's about having a large network. The network is getting bigger, and more efficient, every day.

I'm supposedly on the A-list and I don't have that many readers (about 2,500 visits yesterday). In an age where millions of people watch even a crappy TV show, that's really insignificant.

I know lots of marketers write off the weblog world because they only see small numbers. But, they are missing the whole point. It's decentralized, networked, readership that is building very efficient ways of passing around information and ideas.

Channel9 discovered just a small part of the power of this network (when we had 100,000s of thousands of visitors -- all from word-of-mouth marketing).

Go and look at how Google built its business. It paid attention to this network and used it very effectively.

Oh, and Shel, if you have 100 readers, but they all have 100 readers, and those readers all have 100 readers, and so on and so on, how many readers do you really have?

Remember, ICQ was released November 1, 1996 to 40 people. 40 people! By the time I got it, six weeks later, already 65,000 people had downloaded it.

Or, put another way? Which would you rather have? 100,000 readers today? Or a reader doubled every day for a month?

3:42:53 PM    comment 

Want to know more about Google's PageRank? Here's some good sources:

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Google's PageRank Explained and how to make the most of it

A Survey of Google's PageRank: The PageRank Algorithm

3:26:53 PM    comment 

One of my high-school buddies, Steve Hastings, has compiled a page of Seattle secrets. If you're visiting Seattle, or Microsoft, this is a good list of things to do. Of the things we've visited in our first year here, this list is right on. Gotta get to the rest of the list now.

3:11:55 PM    comment 

Dave Taylor's weblog shows other webloggers how to get free Web money.

2:14:16 PM    comment 

Jon Stewart's commencement address at Williams and Mary is getting passed around quite a few places. It's a good read.

2:03:50 PM    comment 

I should have credited Major Nelson (aka Larry Hryb, program director of Xbox Live) with coming up with the Xbox Live game night idea. Read about his R&R Nights here.

He'll be joining us tonight for some fun and games. He designed R&R Nights for the casual gamer who doesn't want to play against some 14-year-old who has already memorized every move in a game (and has the time to do that). Larry tells me the program has been extraordinarily successful, since there's a lot of old farts like me who don't play games very often (since getting my Xbox last year I've played it maybe eight hours so far).

1:58:56 PM    comment 

Steve Gillmor, of eWeek, has been busy. He's doing "the Gillmor gang" (audio panel discussion, part of Doug Kaye's awesome IT Conversations).

And he has an interview, published in eWeek, with Google's Evan Williams, where Evan made the controversal statement that Atom is RSS (that kicked off a few blogosphere comments, I'll let you do the Feedster searches). I like how Steve hints to Bill Gates, on his blog, that we should pay attention to Technorati. Hmmm, Steve, actually the guy you need to get to pay attention to Technorati is Christopher Payne. He's the guy who runs MSN Search.

1:44:03 PM    comment 

Some news that is coming out over on the Microsoft blogs: Objectspaces will be rolled into WinFS (that's Franz Bouma pointing to Alex's revelations. That pisses Jesse off.

I don't know enough either way, so I'll let the professinals handle this one.

1:35:26 PM    comment 

Alex Barnett has done a fabulous job of detailing RSS vs. email.

1:27:57 PM    comment 

Eric Gunnerson is keeping track of the best C# blogs.

1:26:04 PM    comment 

John Dowell, my favorite Macromedia blogger, disagrees with my RSS-should-always-have-the-full-content-inside-the-feed stance.

He says it's a waste of bandwidth.

Jonas Galvas disagrees. So do I. I've watched people read my feeds on mobile devices (there are some nice RSS readers for PocketPCs, for instance) and having the full content there saves time and bandwidth. Why? If you click on an item, it pulls up the Web page. If all you want to do is read one item, say, on Doc Searls blog, why do you need to pull down the entire page? The page has all sorts of wasteful HTML design items (and, even, indents in his HTML code). Plus, you need to redownload all the other items on the page. Wasteful wasteful wasteful.

Not to mention that now you've hit the server many more times than if the full content was just in the feed.

The answer to this is to have news aggregator producers change their defaults. My suggestion? Pull down feeds when you turn the aggregator on, and then only once per day after that if it's left on. If the user wants feeds more often, then make him change the default. Hitting sites every hour is lame. I can't read all my feeds every hour. I should pull them down only when I read.

1:23:40 PM    comment 

The DataGrid Girl, Marcie Robillard, wants Ballmer and Gates to start blogging. Me too! But then I dream of a day when every human being blogs. Imagine that.

1:16:47 PM    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; 12:52:49 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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