Marc Canter takes us to task about the new Media Centers that were announced yesterday: "where's the blogging? Social networking? Mobile gateways? Videoblogging, Podcasting? RSS Reader?
My answer: Um, did you miss that Greg Reinacker is already shipping NewsGator for the Media Center? Did you miss that Media Center is a full version of Windows XP so that you can run any Windows application on it? Hint: you can do BitTorrent and run iPoddder.
I love Chris Pirillo. He plays around with new memes. The other day he emailed me and gave me a phone number to call and leave a message. It was added to a podcast. Wild. He writes about the details here.
My boss, Lenn Pryor, is on Engadget doing another podcast with Phillip Torrone.
Adam Curry and Dave Winer: I think I found the perfect Podcasting device. It's the OQO. The thing is almost as small as an iPod. But it opens up to reveal a screen and small keyboard. It has a built in microphone (or you can plug in an external one). You can put a Webcam in (it has a USB and Firewire port). It has built in WiFi and Bluetooth.
It supports external monitors and keyboards, among other things. It runs full Windows XP. Has about six hours of battery life. Has a 1GHz Transmeta processor (should be good enough for audio processing, might choke on high-end video stuff). 256MB of RAM. 20GB Hard drive.
Paul Holman, director of software at OQO tells me they'll sell for about $1900, and will start being available next week sometime in limited quantities.
He also says that Engadget, among others, are working on reviews. Can't wait to see what they say.
Oh, cool, new theme for Tablet PC users. Very cool looking.
Hells Bells! I hear that later today we're announcing that AC/DC's entire music catalog will be available for the first time ever online, only at MSN Music.
Just want to note that no one asked me to post any of the items tonight. I got this news off of one of the email aliases inside the company.
Why is MSN getting music from artists like Metallica, Linkin Park, Dave Matthews Band, Madonna, and Red Hat Chili Peppers that aren't available on other music services?
There are several top name artists that only want to sell their music online if they can sell an entire album as a discrete unit (aka, not break it up into individual tracks).
Is this important to music lovers? Well, if you look at the top downloaded albums in MSN Music, which shows real customer behavior, there are four Metallica albums and two Madonna albums in the top 30.
Eric Norlin has a bit of fun when he announces that Ping Identity is planning a hostile takeover of Microsoft in 2050.
Erwin van Hunen says he's been working hard on Doppler Radio for the past couple of days and that release candidate 1 is available for download. He thinks he's created the most flexible podcast client for Windows. I'll try it out soon, I'm having trouble getting to his site. This podcasting thing is white hot. It was a major topic of conversation at our dinner party tonight. I was a guest at Linda Stone's house -- Lance Knobel was guest of honor. It was quite an honor for me to finally meet Lance. His blog was among the first five or 10 that I read.
Thanks Linda for inviting me. That was an amazing dinner -- my mind is still buzzing and keeping me up at 4:06 a.m.
Oh, the horror. A music player that has, gasp, a Virgin label on it? Oh, it plays .WMA and MP3 files? Alright! My music collection is safe. (I use Windows Media because the files are smaller than MP3, but have better sound quality).
Robin Good came to MSN Search Champs last week and wrote it all up. Every darn last bit of it. Well, except the parts that were under NDA.
Steve Jobs, you've gotta tell those guys over on Engadget to stop innovating. They are telling folks how to subscribe to podcasts on a Portable Media Center and other Windows Media Devices.
That's heresy. Oh, and what could a podcaster do with that cute little video screen? Hmmm. How about a Channel 9 podcast? Heh!
Roman Zatsepine of Scanbuy sent me a link to their optical intelligence SDK. Basically it lets developers turn camera phones into bar code scanners. Very interesting!
Sudhakar Sadasivuni points at Nasa's Smart Client Application, World Wind 1.2. Written in .NET.
Move along, that's not innovative either. After all, who would want to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth, while using high resolution LandSat imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) elevation data to experience Earth terrain (or any planet with the data) in visually rich 3D, just as if they were really there?
Just another boring .NET app. Heh.
Hauppauge announced a new Dual Tuner board today for use with the Windows XP Media Center Edition.
I'm buying one for my new Media Center PC.
Steve Jobs of Apple says, in BusinessWeek, Microsoft sucks. Oh, OK, he didn't really say that, but he implied it.
The funny thing is that he's right. We do suck. We suck at not getting credit for the really cool things that Microsoft has been kicking out left and right.
Steve, you might have missed yesterday's product announcements. We announced a new system of devices, Windows Media Center and extenders, that will get me to unplug my Tivo (I'm going to give it away on my blog when I do unplug it later this year). Today 14 different brands of Media Center PCs were announced.
Or, visit Paul Holman, director of software for OQO. His company has a little device. About the size of one of your iPods. Only it's better than an iPod. It has a Bluetooth antenna. It has a real operating system (Windows XP). It has a pen-based digitizer. It has a VGA screen. It has Firewire. It has USB. It has WiFi. It has a keyboard. It has a microphone. This is the most amazing little PC I've ever seen. It launches officially next week. Is that innovative? Well, it doesn't have an Apple logo on it, so I guess not.
But, what do I know? I'm just a failed Tablet PC evangelist.
This conversation has been rattling around in my head for more than two weeks, which tells me I gotta get it out and see where it leads.
It happened on a Southwest Airlines flight on September 24 from Seattle to Oakland.
I was sitting in the exit row when an older gentleman walked on and sat next to me.
Dangling from his ears were the telltale white wires that led to an Apple iPod.
Half hanging out of his carryon bag was an Apple PowerBook.
I take note of these things because I'm always interested in what technology people use. It often makes for interesting conversations and this flight was no different.
Eventually the pilot came on the intercom and asked everyone to turn off their electronic devices. The gentleman and I made eye contact when he pulled the white earbuds out of his ears and started to put away his iPod.
"What do you like about the iPod?" I asked.
He told me that he listens to books on tape (he's sells books to bookstores up and down the West Coast). Unfortunately I didn't write down his name. He told me about the engineering he liked, and fingered the controls on the front while demonstrating it for me. He even told me a few things he didn't like (the controls on front, he said, were hard to use at times).
"I ask because I work at Microsoft and am interested in the technology people use."
This new information was a conversation stopper. He stared at me for what seemed like minutes. Probably was only a few seconds. Then he said the fateful words:
"I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but your products suck!"
Hmm, do they teach how to handle this kind of interaction in business school? I don't know, cause I was a journalism major. So, I turned to instinct.
I agreed with him.
Then I stared back at him and dug in.
"How do they suck?"
He spent the next hour detailing just how they sucked. The crashes he's seen and experienced over 20 years of computer usage. The viruses. The spyware he has to clean off of friends' machines. The spam he's seen. The problems he's seen people have doing various things.
At some point I pulled my Tablet PC out of my backpack and started taking notes in OneNote.
Eventually he ran out of things that sucked. We talked for almost two hours, so it was quite a list. At some point we started having a conversation about how cool computers were and how they are continuing to change our lives. He kept watching me use my pen in OneNote to take notes.
"What is that thing?" he eventually asked.
"A Tablet PC, wanna try?"
"Sure, if it can recognize my handwriting I'll be amazed."
I handed him the Tablet PC. He tried a sentence or two. "Wow."
I showed him a few other things and was about to show off ArtRage, but never got the chance to. The pilot had come on and told us to put our electronic devices away.
As I put the Tablet PC back in my backpack he told me "that is the first thing that Microsoft has made that has caught my attention in more than a decade."
I tell that story because for the past two weeks I've gotten quite a few people to tell me just how our products (or our company) suck. The thing is, there's a group of us at Microsoft who are tired of being told this and who are going to turn around the world's perception of the products we build. This group is growing in size.
So, I'm looking for other Microsoft employees (and executives) who are looking to work to make the world of technology better. I figured I'd do this on my blog, since it's obviously so much on a lot of people's minds -- enough so that people continually stop me in airports and over dinner (like happened tonight) to tell me how Microsoft could improve their lives.
So, I'm looking for more people who think our products or processes or services suck. Tell us why. Either here, or on your own blog. Just link here and I'll see it show up in PubSub or Feedster or on my referer log.