Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Hmmm, I'm invited to the Google office house-warming party on November 18 in Kirkland -- I guess that makes it official that they are opening an office there. My answer back to them was "mind if I bring a few thousand of my friends?"

So far I haven't heard an answer.

10:54:44 PM    comment 

My favorite Apple evangelist, Adrianna Tan, writes: "One more cheap evangelical shot: OS X is good for productivity."

You know, a good evangelist simplifies the message. Five words. How much simpler does it get?

Of course, if I add on "except if you work while standing up and holding a computer" (like Peter demonstrates) then I can use the simplicity of her message to get across the simplicity of mine.

Back in your court Adrianna! By the way, if Apple ever doesn't treat you well, you know my cell phone number!

10:38:19 PM    comment 
10:21:57 PM    comment 

Today I went over to see Peter Loforte, general manager of the Tablet PC team. He showed me a new Motion Tablet PC with Bluetooth and a screen that works in both indoor and outdoor conditions. He's holding one in this moblog picture I took of him. By the way, I'm moblogging now on Channel 9. We never used that feature much before, but I'm going around campus with my new cell phone taking pictures. If there's something, or someone, you want a picture of at Microsoft, let me know. Sorry, no, I can't sneak into BillG's office.

Oh, since I'm on my Tablet PC kick again, if you're going to the DevConnections Conference, make sure to say hi to the Tablet PC team. I hear Lora and Loren Heiny are going too.

While I was in Peter's office, he showed me the new Fujitsu Tablet that was announced today too. Has a fingerprint reader for security. Nice!

10:19:02 PM    comment 

Does your company ban blogs? How about because of a "no stars" policy?

A friend told me his boss discouraged blogging because he didn't want to see any stars born. Business is a team sport, this guy told me his boss said, and his boss didn't want one person to get credit in public for other people's work.

I answered back "then have more than one person blog." Sorta like how the IE team has several members blogging.

I think we should start a Wiki of "excuses my boss gave me of why he doesn't like blogs."

What are the biggest excuses you've heard?

9:39:38 PM    comment 

More birthday celebrations for Flight Simulator. Here's the rest of the tour with Steve Lacey and Mike Gilbert (Mike gives us a demo and shows us how the DC-3's navigation panel was used in the simulator).

For fun, go back and compare the first Flight Simulator to the modern-day one. We've come a long way in 25 years. Imagine what Flight Simulator 2029 will look like!

9:26:41 PM    comment 

Ever wonder how teams decide what bugs to fix? Well, I attended a bug triage meeting to find out.

Usually I'm not invited to these kinds of meetings. But Channel 9 started with a goal: make all of our meetings open to the public. We're not even .0001% of the way toward that goal, but how do you change a culture? Inch-by-inch. I think we got three inches on this one video.

Where's the next inch?

10:21:54 AM    comment 

Dave, I'm sorry for if I've ever done anything to make you question our friendship. Just wanted to assure you that you're always welcome in my home, at my geek dinners, or at my private events.

In fact, tonight we'll have an open-to-everyone geek dinner at the Crossroads at 6:30 p.m. in Bellevue. Another friend of mine, Dana Epp, who is a security expert, is our guest of honor. Why is it open to everyone? Because I believe strongly in the principle that you should be willing to hear from your staunchest critic (who often is your best friend anyway). It's why my cell phone is on my weblog. It's why my weblog has comments. It's why my email address is on my weblog.

10:14:31 AM    comment 

Do geeks ever sleep? It took Nick Bradbury less than two hours to email me in response to my blog post below. I posted that, at what, about 3:30 a.m.? He wrote me at 5 a.m.

5:54:00 AM    comment 

While most of the blogosphere is consumed with thoughts about Google vs. Microsoft or Bloggers taking advertising money, the Japanese have been innovating with robots.

The HRP, co-developed with Kawada Industries, is absolutely stunning. Here's a page with a bunch of videos.

5:29:21 AM    comment 

I love my readers. Joe Grupping, who is a Flight Simulator enthusiast told me something I didn't even realize. That Flight Simulator is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

He sent me a video showing all the various versions through history. I'm trying to get permission to link to it, or host it for him (video bandwidth is a real problem). In the meantime, he posted a picture of all the boxes through history.

He told me that Bruce Artwick was the guy who created Flight Simulator and did it as part of his masters' thesis. The first version could only draw a crude few lines on the screen to approximate the horizon and a few controls.

5:24:46 AM    comment 

It's interesting that now that companies are trying to figure out how to use bloggers to get their messages out it causes concerns about the purity of bloggers.

I don't mind if bloggers get paid to present commercial messages. Heck, even though I blog on my own time, I still see that I'm getting paid to do it.

I just hope that as bloggers play around with getting paid for writing that they DISCLOSE that fact.

Why not put an advertising link around content that you're getting paid to write? Something like:


Halo 2 rocks!


That way, your reader will know that you're getting paid to write. They'll know that your claims might not be unbiased by the impact of financial gain.

But, I don't see anything wrong with it. Producing content for people costs money. If you get Slashdotted, for instance, your bandwidth bill can go pretty nutty. So, why not come up with an advertising model that works for blogs? Let's just disclose that clearly. If you don't, your readers will start figuring it out and will cause you trouble.

4:57:47 AM    comment 

Put this one in the weird knowledge base article files.

Koi and the Kola Nuts? Sometimes even I'm amazed at the kinds of things Microsoft does.

Gives me another chance to tell you about KB Alertz. That's done by Dave Wanta, not a Microsoft site at all, but I really appreciate what he's done. You can even build an RSS feed there so you'll always know what the latest knowledge base articles are.

4:18:52 AM    comment 

Jenni Patten: Moving Images.

"The Archos AV-480 Pocket Video Recorder (AV400 Series) does everything your iPod can, and most of what your living room can to boot."

Sounds cool, along these lines:

My 512MB Mini-SD memory card is coming Wednesday for my new cell phone. Once that's here I will be able to watch movies on my cell phone. Sounds stupid, right? But then I'll be able to show you Channel 9 videos anywhere and I'll be able to carry around about 25 hours of video, depending on the compression.

Think that's not an evangelism tool? If I meet you in the plane and you want to know about what MSN TV 2 is, I'll be able to show you a short video demo.

Of course, I won't be able to use it on a flight, as Stephen Speicher points out. He just got an Audiovox too (loves it as well, read his "not a review")

4:12:18 AM    comment 

Adrianna Tan is gonna be famous. She's working at an Apple store (in Singapore?) and writes a passionate blog. I wonder what she thinks of Microsoft Office for the Mac?

"I tell potential switchers I really donít give a damn if they close the sale with me there and then, or if they buy anything from me at all Ė as long as I know Iíve done my job in sharing the good news, it doesnít matter if I get the sale: and usually, they come back to me because of that."

She is Apple's next great evangelist.

Thanks to my coworker Howard Lo, who is the community program manager for Southeast Asia, for telling me about her.

3:58:33 AM    comment 

Marc Hedlund, on O'Reilly's weblogs: How to lose Treo 650 customers, by Sprint.

TreoCentral is reporting that the Sprint version of the Treo 650 doesn't allow you to use Bluetooth for dial-up networking through your computer. Apparently other carriers will, but not Sprint.

3:43:14 AM    comment 

Fry's is taking pre-orders for Halo 2 for $39.99 (US).

3:40:50 AM    comment 

Reuters: Microsoft revises anti-spam standard. This is really great. Glad to see that there's a possibility of forward motion on this again.

3:39:02 AM    comment 

Ever play Flight Simulator? Well, here Steve Laskey takes us on a tour of the Flight Simulator team (he's a geek, um, software architect, on the Flight Simulator team). Tomorrow we get a demo, the one where Mike Gilbert shows us the clouds.

About 4/5ths of the way through there's a story not to be missed about how the team found a DC-3 navigation panel on eBay. You'll see that panel, and in the demo tomorrow, you'll see the part it played in the simulator.

3:34:42 AM    comment 

Nick Bradbury, please email me. I have an extra ticket to BloggerCon and would like to get you in.

Speaking of BloggerCon, I'm leading a discussion on "information overload."

I wish that David Allen or Jason Womack were there. They do more thinking on how to manage high information and task flows than anyone else I see on the blogosphere.

Unfortunately David doesn't share much of his knowledge on the blog. I'm sure that's partly cause that's all he talks about with audiences world-wide all day long. I'd get tired of talking about one thing too, so that would make me post about my vacations too (and, it sort of is subversive -- he's hinting that if we all follow his system that we'll have enough success and time left over to head off to Paris for a week or two).

But, the Getting Things Done system that he invented is a life saver. I have a goal of getting my email box cleaned out by the end of the week.

Why? This weekend I'm taking off with my wife for our second wedding anniversary and I don't want anything hanging over my head.

Anyway, back to Bloggercon, I'm looking for interesting people who have something to say about how we'll deal with the information glut that's washing all around us.

If you're gonna be at Bloggercon, I'd love to have a conversation with you before we get there.

3:29:24 AM    comment 

David Weinberger says Microsoft pisses him off cause we're forcing him to use Passport to register his copy of Windows XP.

Hey, David, you missed a great opportunity to "bring down the man."


Easy, just get one of those Gmail accounts that all the bloggers keep handing out. Then register for a Passport account using the Gmail account.

I don't get what the big deal is here. Passport isn't a big data collector. All you need is one email address. It doesn't collect your life story or anything like that.

Am I missing something? Heck, when I bought my Nikon camera, I needed to fill out a whole form on, gasp, paper, and send that in. What's worse? Getting a single email account and signing up for Passport (which, now, will help you get onto Channel 9 as well) or filling out a paper form and sending that in?

3:15:20 AM    comment 

I had a Jon Stewart moment tonight.

I've been thinking a lot about stop energy and how corrosive it is on all of us (cause we have to deal with the flow of wrong beliefs and/or energy that's against any new idea -- I remember back around 1990 that there were guys running our computer labs who I'd show the Macintosh to would say "who needs a mouse?" Well, wouldn't the industry have been a better place if they got on board earlier?) Dave Winer wrote about that a while back.

But tonight it crystalized for me. There are people on the Internet who do nothing but spit stop energy at the world.

Some of them are quite famous and write for industry magazines. One such guy, who I won't name cause I don't want to give him more publicity, is on the attack again. Not against Microsoft (this time) but against a developer who came up with a new idea and who got this idea noticed.

Attacking new ideas is part of our industry. It has been ever since I was a little kid growing up in Silicon Valley.

Now, a good critical comment is important to the industry. It helps weed out weak ideas, or at least helps reshape those ideas so that they are applicable to more people.

But, I'm tired of people who do nothing but criticise. I'm going to stop linking to them or mentioning them on my blog. I want to help people who actually try to do great things to help people with technology. Let's get some forward motion going.

I also noticed that I'm far more likely to listen to critical commentary from people who actually DO try to ship their own ideas and/or software too. Do you notice that as well?

My "anti-stop-energy" philosophy is why I link to people who've built cool stuff with products that are competitive to Microsoft (like this cool map program built with Java). I've learned that a rising tide lifts all boats.

So, I'm looking to help out developers. Got a new idea? Can't get it past the stop energy that exists in this industry? Drop me a line.

By the way, I did put up the post that crystalized this thought for me up on my link blog. Can you pick it out? Can you see the productivity it sapped out of the industry because someone needed to take half an hour to answer it?

3:06:16 AM    comment 

Jeremy Zawodny, Yahoo's best-known blogger, says that Microsoft's MSN Search Team tried to hire him again. Ahh, fun, I'm glad to see that we still can recognize talent!

Heh, funny enough even when you're inside Microsoft the job pitches don't stop. If you have a skill that another team needs, you'll get those kinds of calls. I know, my coworker Jeff Sandquist got one and took a new job.

But, Zawodny also told us that Yahoo had a debate internally about whether or not to put phone numbers or email addresses up on their Website. Seems there was some concern that competitors would use that information to recruit their employees.

Yeah, even here at Microsoft that's a concern. When I was over interviewing the XBox Live team, the program manager there wouldn't say the name of his best programmer on camera. Why? He was scared that this guy would get recruited.

Me? I deal with it a whole nother way. I put my email address and phone number out there (my personal cell phone number is up on my blog now permanently). I find that making myself accessible has increased my value to Microsoft. Now I have employees and customers from around the world giving me information and talking with me and, yes, even working with me on business opportunities. Those wouldn't happen if I tried to hide from recruiters.

I think the right way to deal with this is make your work environment great. If your employees are happy and in jobs that are great, they'll be unlikely to be swayed by recruiter's calls.

On the other hand, if you don't treat your employees well, be careful. Funny enough, I had a call from an executive at another company a few months back. He said he was considering taking a job at Microsoft because his current employer didn't let him blog.

Finally, as in Jeff's case, there are times when a hot job opportunity comes along that's going to be better for you in almost every way. Why try to hold your employees back from expanding their careers? I notice that Zawodny just got a new job inside Yahoo. Why was that a bad thing for either Yahoo or Zawodny?

Along these lines, Adam Barr, a Microsoft employee, gave me a little heck in my blog comments, for pointing out that Google is opening a local office up here. He was scared that Microsoft employees would start jumping ship.

I say that's hogwash. First of all, I start with the assumption that Microsoft employees are smart. If they are smart, they already knew that Google was hiring (heck, their fun recruiting engineering challenges have been emailed around here a lot lately -- we have fun solving the puzzles you see on billboards and in tech magazines. Of course we email those around to each other).

Second, if you aren't smart and only find out that there's competitors who are looking to hire Microsoft workers by reading my blog, well, then, I don't want them working at Microsoft anyway.

Third, if there are some smart people who aren't happy here, and knowing that Google (or other employers) are out there looking to hire gets them to talk with their managers about why they are unhappy and how they'd like to restructure their work lives, well, then, that's a great thing for Microsoft too!

To wrap up this post, hey, Jeremy, if Yahoo ever starts treating you bad, you know my phone number! :-)

2:42:10 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; 12:58:09 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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