Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Saturday, October 09, 2004

Maryam has been calling her relatives and friends and proudly telling them that I was on the BBC.

"If my dad were alive he'd be so proud of you."

When she lived in Iran, she told me, they couldn't trust the Iranian-run media. "I remember that when Iraq would bomb us we'd go into the basement, sitting in the dark, and listen on a transistor radio to the BBC," she just told me, which explains why the BBC is something she trusts.

I can't even imagine.

11:47:29 AM    comment 

Thanks to Chris Pirillo's better half (she's known as "Ponzi") for encouraging my wife to have some fun at the party the other night. Read all about it. I totally agree with her characterization of Maryam, my wife, by the way. It's why I married her. Every day I spend with Maryam is special in a whole lot of ways.

11:31:05 AM    comment 

I believe Steve Rubel, our favorite PR blogger, is getting married this weekend (or is it next weekend?). Hey, Steve, don't you dare try to blog from your honeymoon! Yes, Hawaii has WiFi now, but don't bring your computer or wireless devices. Trust me on this. :-)

Congrats, Maryam and I love you both, wish we could be there, but are in spirit! May your marriage always be good PR.

11:23:49 AM    comment 

Good morning from your local "chubby marketer." Heh, if the BBC says it, it must be true. (My wife says it is true, oh, oh, need to go to the gym).

You know, lately, the number of experiences per day I've been having has been going up. Watching Sting I realized he's not a musician. He's a guy who builds experiences. And what an experience!

Concerts are undergoing change too because of technology. How? Video panels. Sting had about a dozen moveable screens behind him. Really high resolution. The set looked 3D at some parts of the concert. I loved how they put cameras on the neck of the guitar and let you watch the guitarist fingering his instrument. I loved the dancer they had in videos at various parts. I loved the way they arranged the panels and used them to compliment the lighting. Man, it must really be fun to be a set designer for Sting.

Hey Mac fans, there was a 17-inch Mac powerbook in the center of the stage! The keyboardist was using it -- I assume that he was using it to pull samples and MIDI voices for his instrument off of its hard drive.

How many more iPods did that PowerMac sell? I don't know, but Apple sure has branding whuffie going on here.

Microsoft was present at the concert pavillion too. Xbox ads were visible to all concert goers. Smart marketing!

Anyway, what's the experience on tap for today? I'm hanging out with one of Boeing's top outside lawyers, John Dillow, and Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords (they were classmates at Duke University back when they were learning to practice law). We're going to go to Fry's. Engadget's Phillip Torrone told me to do a podcast. We'll see if we can do something fun.

Another experience I thought I'd talk about here? Yesterday a co-worker, who I won't name for reasons you'll figure out in a minute, asked:

"Did Frank Shaw give you permission to talk about his phone call with you?"

"No he didn't."

"Man, I'd be pissed if you ever did that to me."

"Yeah, I should ask before I do that," I answered meekly, while realizing I was in the wrong on this one.

I've been thinking about that conversation ever since. My life is an open book. I write about almost every experience I have (except those in the voting booth and the bedroom) and that really pisses some people off. I don't mind, by the way, if people ask me up front "can you not blog this conversation?"

But, I shouldn't put the onus on them to ask for that privilege. I'm sorry Frank, and to the others that I've brought onto my blog without them being willing partners in that.

I'll ask from now on "can I blog about this?" The problem is, with Frank's conversation, I didn't think I was gonna blog when I was having the conversation. His conversation threw me into a flow state after I hung up where I just wrote fast and furiously. I +had+ to get that one out. And, based on the posts that it generated around the blogosphere, that one conversation got lots of you to think differently too.

Anyway, onto the next experience. What kind of experiences are you building for yourself?

11:13:59 AM    comment 

I told a friend "Google's Gmail could change my email habits quickly."

Whoa, how?

Well, because of Podcasting I need to be able to email around large files. Many email systems won't accept files that are bigger than 2MB's in size (and, many corporate email systems limit you to about 200MB of files, which is pretty useless if people from around the world are emailing lots of content to you).

So, I find that my friends with Gmail accounts are forcing me to also get a Gmail account so that they can email me large files (I believe Gmail allows you officially to email, and accept, files as large as 10MB, but unofficially Chris Uhlik from Google told us at FooCamp that you can email, and accept, files as large as about 15MB).

Are you finding that your email usage is changing because of this too?

One other thing: did you know Gmail has an email rank? The more you use it, the more invites you get, for instance. Those are generated by the ranking algorithm. Again, according to Uhlik from Google.

2:38:28 AM    comment 

Looks like CocaCola is doing some new internal marketing blogging and Steve Rubel found it before they closed access to the public.

1:57:48 AM    comment 

I spoke to a group of Microsoft employees yesterday morning. How did I start the session out? By playing the opening bit of one of Adam Curry's podcasts. Why? Podcasting is inspiring. The local news channel, KOMO, is already podcasting. My boss, Lenn Pryor, hooked up with Phillip Torrone at Engadget and just posted another podcast.

I love that guys all over the world, like Dave Slusher, who podcasts "Evil Genius Chronicles" can play around with audio now on a world-wide scale.

People keep asking me: "isn't this just another stupid weblog meme that'll go away soon?"


"This will never make any money, right?"


"How will anyone afford the bandwidth for this?"


"Come on, who can listen to more than one or two podcasts per day?"

I say this all just doesn't matter. It's already big. And getting bigger. Maybe not in dollars. Maybe not in users. But in terms of the people doing it. It's changed their lives. Forever. It's changed my life, as a consumer of podcasts. Forever. No matter what happens that can't be taken away from me.

Yeah, it's only a three-week old product cycle. There are lots of things to be worked through. But I'm now consuming one to four shows per day. And some guys like Adam Curry's show, actually includes snippets from many more Podcasts. People are emailing Adam content from all over the world. I find it interesting to listen to, even though I bet that 99.99% of people won't listen again.

It's not just about iPods, either. Here at Microsoft there is a hobbiest group that's being built right now. (Right now means, this week, not last month, not next month). What do they do? They pimp out their cars with PCs. JP Stewart showed me his car on Thursday. It's freaking awesome. Has WiFi built in. And uses his cell phone via Bluetooth to get on the Internet. He just finished it, but he's gonna start Podcasting down to his car.

You know, if you were around in 1976 at the homebrew computer society, would anyone say "where's the business in all of this?" F+++ no! Give me a freaking break! Wozniak, even 30 years later, tells people that he didn't expect to see such a big business in the personal computer market.

What's the translation? Sometimes you just gotta do what you love and let the money (and whether or not it really is socially important) figure itself out later.

We are watching the birth of something so exciting. Is it hype? Well, get involved. If you try podcasting and autocasting and TabletPC casting and blogging and reading RSS feeds and building Flickr photoshares, etc, and you still think this new content-creation-trend is hype, then OK.

We need some opposition voices. I still remember the Unix guys back when I was in college telling me that "no one needs a toy user interface and a mouse."

I'd rather hang out with people who just have fun building stuff, trying stuff, and seeing if they can make it work.

Adam Curry is leading the charge. That's why I played his audio show at my presentation today. He's my inspiration. Everytime I listen to him he reminds me to do what I love.

Aside: tonight Sting (who was outstanding, by the way) sang over and over in one song: "be yourself, no matter what they say." Same message. Have fun. Change the world. Podcasting, and Blogging, and Artraging, and Garagebanding, and Flickring, and Photostorying, and CarPCing, rules and no matter what happens no one can take that away from us.

Go out and create. The rest of us will figure out how to deal with it.

1:46:58 AM    comment 

Today Steve Lacey of the Flight Simulator team gave me a tour. Turns out they just released an update to Flight Simulator 2004 today, so people were scurrying around putting the finishing touches on the Website before heading off for a ship party at about 5 p.m.

While getting the tour we ran into Mike Gilbert, lead program manager, for Flight Simulator. I asked him if he could give me a demo?

Now, if you were giving a demo of Flight Simulator, what do you think you'd show off first? The planes, right?

He didn't.

Instead he typed a command to take me up to about 10,000 feet and said "look at the clouds." He took me through the clouds. Around the clouds. He changed the time of day. Sunset made the clouds dramatically lit.

He explained the work that the artists had put to make sure the sky always has a aesthetically pleasing color which matches real life as closely as possible. When you see the demo in a couple of weeks you'll see that it really is stunning. DirectX rendering techniques have gotten so advanced in recent years. I hadn't seen Flight Simulator in the past three years and I could see the advances everywhere I looked.

Moral of the demo? If you wanna show off the realism of Flight Simulator you gotta get your head into the clouds.

One funny story? The DC-3 wouldn't have been accurate if it hadn't been for eBay.


The team couldn't find a DC-3 cockpit control panel anywhere. The team got very lucky and found one on eBay. It's sitting in a testers' office. You'll see both the real panel that was purchased off of eBay, and the simulated one that's in Flight Simulator. The attention to detail in this product is quite amazing.

Anyway, I had an inspiring afternoon on the Flight Simulator team. I can't wait to show you the videos.

1:19:04 AM    comment 

OK, this is just getting wacky. The BBC is saying I saved Microsoft. Start at 8:47 into this Real stream.

I'm so honored. But the credit really should go to Steve Ballmer, Eric Rudder, Sanjay Parthasarathy, Vic Gundotra, for encouraging the webloggers. It took a lot of corporate courage that not many corporate executives have.

I remember listening to the BBC on a radio my parents bought me (I forget if it was on shortwave or AM). I found a way to get it at night. I strung a long wire the length of our home's roof. Made for a killer antenna and I'd get stations around the world. I remember telling my parents I had gone to sleep. But then pulling the radio close to me in bed, plugging in a headphone, and tuning in the world.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple computer, last week at Gnomedex recounted similar (albeit far more geeky) experiences in his childhood.

I'm embarrassed to say that my brothers and I did some really stupid things in my dad's garage. What? Well, for instance, my dad would get bulk electronic parts from work. Things they were throwing away. Capacitors. Transistors. Resistors. Plus, my mom built motherboards for Apple Computer at home, and so we always had lots of weird electronic gear hanging out on our workbenches (my mom got us to stuff Apple II motherboards to earn our allowance. If I remember right I'd get $1 per board, which would take an hour to stuff while watching TV).

Anyway, my brothers and I discovered that capacitors would explode if you plugged them into the wall. In hindsight that wasn't that bright a thing to do. But we had a system to do it and it was entertainment for the neighborhood kids.

Back to the BBC. I don't deserve that kind of credit. All I do is write about what I love.

1:08:36 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; 12:57:43 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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