Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Sunday, June 06, 2004

Harry Pierson writes that his dad is blogging. That's significant for two reasons. One, Harry is among the smartest people I've met at Microsoft. Two, Harry's dad was on at Bell Labs and was around during the Unix and C's beginnings.

Harry, yeah, Blogger doesn't publish RSS. In default mode it doesn't publish any syndication feed (a real shame, in my opinion) but your dad can turn on an Atom feed. I'd really like to subscribe to that.

12:51:00 PM    comment 

Sometimes I drag things onto my experimental aggregator blog that I'm hoping one specific person reads. For instance, for Dave Winer to see, I published an item there that Alwin Hawkins wrote about HubMed: RSS feeds of Literature Queries.

Why not just send Dave Winer an email? Cause I wanted Google and MSN and Yahoo to see it too.

It's a useful writing device, if you're hung up on what to write on your blog, to write to a specific person. In my aggregator blog's case, it helps me focus my content choices (I have ignored dozens of nice memorials to Ronald Reagan, for instance, because I want to focus more on interesting technology posts).

12:42:04 PM    comment 

While I'm asking for tech support, the Renaissance here has a computer down in the bar. Connected to the Internet. Very cool. But the resolution on it is set improperly. One problem, they've locked the sucker down (all you can get to is a Web browser). So, I can't change the resolution on it. Anyone know a way to do it on a computer that's locked down (I can't even get to a C-prompt, says that isn't allowed)? It's driving me nuts.

The computer at Bucks restaurant in Woodside has exactly the same problem.

It's very important that you set your LCD's resolution properly. If not, everything is blurry and ClearType can't work.

12:27:33 PM    comment 

How do you create an icon for your weblog that shows up on Bloglines or Technorati? Halley asked me that, and I couldn't find an answer quickly on Google.

12:22:10 PM    comment 

I was just reading Kevin Burton's blog, and see that Sun Microsystems, tomorrow, will turn on employee blogs at blogs.sun.com. Cool. I'm subscribed! RSS feeds everywhere! (They are up already).

Ahh, let the best blogger win!

12:13:10 PM    comment 

Marc Orchant reviews NewsGator. Totally agree. If you don't live in Outlook, you won't get NewsGator. By the way, you can review your favorite News Aggregator here. Ones that deserve reviews? FeedDemon, SharpReader, RSS Bandit, Net News Wire, News Monster, BlogLines, what others? There are so many News Aggregators coming out now that I'm losing track.

11:56:57 AM    comment 

Larry O'Brien, former editor of Computer Language and Software Development magazines (translation: if he says something about programming I listen) says on his Knowing.net weblog: "Pedagogical quibbles aside, Code Complete 2nd Edition deserves to be the most read software development book of the year, a distinction which it almost undoubtedly will achieve. Buy it now, because itís going to change the conversation."

11:55:26 AM    comment 

Andrew Grumet points out that LegalTorrents has legal music for BitTorrent, and an RSS feed. That's cool.

11:52:15 AM    comment 

It's sad when I see people like Alex Campbell considering buying a notebook that doesn't have the Tablet PC technology included. I think that's a major mistake, particularly if you want to use it as a portable computer.

Here's a yet-to-be-posted Channel9 video, where Susan Cameron, of the Tablet PC team, gives a tour of the Tablet PC. Maybe he'll see the usefulness now.

Here's another one, from Peter Loforte, general manager of the Tablet PC team, that shows off some of the high points.

What makes the Tablet better? Well, for travelers it's a no brainer. I've sold half a dozen Tablet PCs just sitting in coach in an airplane. Why? The Tablet PC is far far far (I can't say far enough) more comfortable to use than a regular notebook.

Plus, ever got stuck in a one-hour security line? I have. All the airports now have WiFi. If you had a Tablet PC, you could read email, or do other tasks, while standing in line. If you had a regular notebook that'd be so inconvenient you'd never do that.

Not to mention, if you're a developer, you'll want to get into the Tablet PC and start building apps to take advantage of the pen interface. The growth rate in Tablet PC sales is quite high. As the hardware and software get better (major new release coming with Windows XP Service Pack 2 this summer, and the new Toshiba has a high resolution screen and plenty of horsepower to run Visual Studio) sales will go up and within a few years this will be a big market. 500,000 were sold in the past 12 months, I've been reading, so that's nothing to sneeze at anyway.

11:49:02 AM    comment 

I should have linked to this in an earlier post, but it's so cool that I think I'll call it out separately: Learn to build your own digital picture frame. That's part of a new feature we started on Channel9 named "Citizen Engineers."

11:36:56 AM    comment 

Seth Godin: "You're not in charge of the conversations any more."

How true that is, how true that is. It's my goal to stay part of the conversation.

I wish I were going to Seth's workshop in New York next week. He's doing some of the most interesting thinking about marketing lately. I highly recommend his new book "Free Prize Inside."

11:33:18 AM    comment 

Fred, over on A VC blog, dives into BitTorrent. If you are wondering what BitTorrent is all about, this is a blog post you should read.

The first thing I'm gonna do, when I get my Windows Media Center, is setup BitTorrent and Greg Reinacker's new NewsGator for Media Center on it.

11:28:29 AM    comment 

A penny for: I want it now! "Advice to companies: People want to know about your products NOW and after they make a decision to purchase, they want them ASAP."

Tell me about it. Last night at the bar my brother-in-law was given the third-degree by a friend of ours who wasn't happy with being forced to wait 16 weeks for his new iPod. Turns out that two of the colors on the iPods are very popular: pink and silver. Girls want pink. Guys want silver. No one wants the green and blue ones (you can get those in less than a week, I learned during this conversation).

The other thing I'm keying into? That people want to have a relationship with companies: on their terms. That's why RSS traffic is going up. You can subscribe to someone's feed and you never need to tell the company that you subscribed. Compare that to joining an email mailing list: you gotta give your email address to that company. Guess what a lot of companies do when they get your email address? Yes, they sell them to spammers (one of the companies I used to work for did just that, they got $.05 to $.08 per email address).

It's why I'll never subscribe to another email mailing list again. If you don't provide RSS, you're telling me that I'm not important to you. Sorry, I will not let you make another $.08 off of selling my name to some porn provider.

11:25:19 AM    comment 

I was just talking with my brother-in-law (the one who works at Apple). He was telling me that Apple is so secretive that he can only get access to the buildings that he's allowed to work in and in one of the labs he works in he's only allowed access to part of the lab (the really secret stuff is stored behind curtains). Plus, he says, it's bad form to ask other people what they are working on unless you have a need to know.

Compare that to Microsoft: I'm able to visit any building with my key card (at least I've never been denied access to any door I've tried, except for the back doors to the conference center).

Not only that, but many teams have been inviting us over to do Channel9 interviews. We're meeting with the Xbox Live team on Friday and at the end of the month Kevin Schofield is giving us a tour of Microsoft Research.

Someday I should write a book: "The day Bill Gates gave me the keys to his kingdom." Or something like that.

If you have any questions for these two teams, I'll do the same thing I did with the WinFS team: put them in front of a monitor and have them answer your questions.

11:10:39 AM    comment 

Not every news aggregator treats RSS the same. For instance, over on Channel9 you can subscribe to the discussion forums there (each forum has an RSS feed, and, indeed, each thread has an RSS feed too).

One problem: these forums are threaded. My favorite news aggregator, NewsGator, does not show these threads. But, RSS Bandit and SharpReader do.

So, now, I'm running two news aggregators. I use RSS Bandit for watching Channel9 information, and I use NewsGator for everything else.

Has anyone else noticed things that one aggregator does better than another?

Why do I still use NewsGator? Because I live in Outlook and love keeping my data there. Plus I like emailing items around to people inside Microsoft. But, I'm very tempted to move my entire life over to RSS Bandit just because of this. Shows how important it is for news aggregators to keep up to date on all the latest formats and make sure they stay best-of-breed displayers of such.

10:38:34 AM    comment 

I'm probably the last one to point to the OJR article on RSS, but the traffic graph there matches the ones I've seen. RSS traffic is doubling every month. And has been for the past year.

Dave Winer is saying now that new innovation is needed to really take syndication to the next stage.

Imagine a digital camera with Wifi built in, and with something like Radio UserLand built in. Now that'd be crazy, huh? Take a picture, have it automatically thrown up to a weblog whenever there's connectivity (which is quite often now -- even the San Francisco Giants' baseball stadium has WiFi).

Nikon has a camera with Wifi built in (quite cool, but quite expensive -- a Microsoft engineer used that at the recent WinHec to take pictures and automatically display them on a new picture frame. You can see Ivan's notes on how to build your own digital picture frame here on Channel9. All you need is an old laptop you aren't using anymore. I got a demo of this and it's crazy awesome.)

10:26:28 AM    comment 

Yesterday's wedding was in a Dallas home. Really nice house. In Silicon Valley, if this home were in the right neighborhood, it'd go for $2 million or more. Here? $200,000.

Same house in Seattle would be $500,000.

Since I've married into a newly-immigrated community (most of the time the language spoken yesterday was Farsi) I get to see how a totally different group than the one I'd usually hang around with lives.

One thing looking around the home is how little technology is in the home except for one place: the audio/video system. Every home I've been in lately tries to keep up with Bill Gates in this one area.

Now that screens are getting bigger and sharper, we're going to see a whole raft of new devices try to get a bigger share of the market here. I note that even though they had a 50-inch big screen they didn't yet own a PVR or a Windows Media Center.

No Tablet PC sitting on the coffee table like you'll find in my house.

No computers in the kitchen. None in the bedroom. One computer is in the home office (every home lately that I've been in, from the poorest to the richest has a home office).

So, lots of growth areas for technology. Even in a middle-class home in America (which supposedly is a "mature" technology market).

One other trend. At my wedding 18 months ago only a couple people had digital cameras. Yesterday? Dozens. More digital cameras than film ones. Someone had the new Nikon D-70. That's a sweet camera. I lust after that in the worst way.

The professional photographer is using digital (Canon 10Ds). And tons of little pocket digital cameras from Sony, Olympus, Canon, Nikon.

Digital photography is huge, but there's something missing: the ability to instantly share photos.

If I were getting married today, I'd setup a laptop or a Tablet PC with a universal jack. Then I'd make sure everyone at the wedding knew to come over and put their pictures on it. Then, I'd have someone picking the best pictures and building a live photo album for all the guests to have access to.

Something big is going to happen in the next few years in digital photography. I just feel it. Too many people now have digital cameras not to.

Any ideas?

10:18:32 AM    comment 

Brian Bailey invited me to church this morning. Had a pitch that a geek would love (come check out our technology). The churches in Dallas are huge.

But, alas, can't go check out God's SQL Server this morning, got other plans (the day after an Iranian wedding is most fun: everyone gets together with the bride and groom and parties!)

By the way, I saw Brian's weblog before I saw his email. I haven't checked my email this weekend, so missed that, but I did check my RSS News Aggregator. Lesson? If you want to send me a message, blog it!

Now, if he said they had Longhorn running...

8:24:42 AM    comment 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
rscoble@microsoft.com
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
5/11/2005; 12:54:06 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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