Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Sunday, November 21, 2004

One of the reasons I read so many blogs is so that I can spot news trends before almost anyone else.

This one is only hours old, but already is buzzing through my RSS news aggregator.

It is, simply, one of the most powerful pieces of blog writing I've ever read.

Kevin Sites is a cameraman for NBC news, covering the war in Iraq. He shot a controversial piece of video coverage and this is his story, as told in an open letter to Devil Dogs of the 3.1.

11:50:41 PM    comment 

Tonight I had dinner with Dave Winer and I noticed his screen was a little blurry.

Turns out his screen was set to a non-native resolution. This is a common thing I see on LCD screens. Most LCD owners don't realize that there is only one resolution that their screen should be set to. Unfortunately Windows doesn't tell you what that resolution is and the tools to let you control your resolution are confusing at best.

Why is this bad? Well, for one, if you don't run an LCD screen at the "right" resolution then the ClearType font sharpening technology won't work (it'll actually be even worse on a screen that isn't set to the right resolution).

So, I asked Dave if I could set his screen to the proper resolution. "Sure."

After I did, I showed him the screen and he promptly said "I can't read that, it's too small."

"How old are you?" he asked.

"Almost 40."

"In another 10 years you won't be able to read that screen either."

Unfortunately I didn't have the right setting for making everything on the screen appear bigger while retaining the sharpness of a well-set screen. So, when I got home I played around.

If you find things are too small on the screen, here's the right way to make them bigger:

1) Right-click on your desktop.
2) Choose "Properties."
3) Click on the "Settings" tab.
4) Click the "Advanced" button.
5) Change the DPI setting to "Large size (120 DPI)."
6) You MUST restart before you'll see the changes. You might need your Windows XP CD too.

After changing this setting, you'll need to rerun the ClearType tuner as well to make sure you get the sharpest fonts possible.

By the way, for application developers, you'll find that Avalon lets you serve users on high-resolution screens much better. Why? Because you'll be able to make everything on screen totally independent of resolution.

As Longhorn goes into beta next year we'll follow this up again because the settings that are built into Windows XP today really are inadequate to deal with high resolution screens. Even now, some things on my page are way too big and others are way too small.

The truth is that we haven't done enough to make Windows flexible enough for the various kinds of screens it's being run on. It's time to change that.

When Dave gets back from New York, I'll see if he likes it better this way.

11:20:43 PM    comment 

I've also been getting lots of emails about the Tablet PC. Seems a lot more people want to buy them lately. So, here's links to the comparison charts I know about. Any others?

Tablet PC Talk's Comparison Charts

The Tablet's chart

Tablet's chart.

The Tablet PC I have is the Toshiba M200. It has the highest resolution monitor of any Tablet PC. For some, though, everything is too small on the screen. Other ones that people seem to like: the new Motion and the new HP. The Motion works indoors/outdoors and the HP works in slate mode or a keyboard plugs onto it.

4:39:50 PM    comment 

I've been getting a few emails about my new Comcast cable box. Lost Remote has screen caps and more. Jeff Sandquist has links to the forums where you can learn more about how to get yours (only available in Seattle area right now). Thanks for Thomas Hawk's link to Lost Remote.

4:29:00 PM    comment 

The MSDN Webcasts weblog is reporting that Sun Microsystems will be doing several weblogs during the Interoperability Month. Cool. I wonder if my wife will be hosting any of those?

4:23:15 PM    comment 

Lots of interesting stuff over on the link blog.

Lots of controversy continues to swirl around patents.

Here's a look:

Dan Gillmor: "The patent system is a broken mess, and now Microsoft is looking to use it as we've all been fearing."

James Robertson: "In this arena, Scoble just doesn't get it."

Paul Vick (he's the author of note on a recent controversial Microsoft patent): "In the wake of the IsNot patent brouhaha, aside from the "you are scum" comments, people have had several reasonable questions about my own feelings about the situation. So let me pause and talk about software patents for a moment."

Kevin Burton: "If I were Microsoft I would just try to compete head on with Linux and not worry about throwing their weight around. Everyone always hates a bully!"

Karsten Schneider: "To Scoble: If you look at the big picture, then software and business method patents are bad for business, and if itís bad for business, itís bad for your future employment prospects.

Groklaw: "MS is a big fat patent FUDster."

Slashdot: "Author of Linux patent study contradicts Ballmer."

4:22:02 PM    comment 

Ford Focus update. I passed 10,000 miles the other day. It's a great car. Not one single defect.

3:29:25 PM    comment 

Heh, email breaks and what do I do? Blog it. Simon Phipps just sent me an email. I responded. It bounced back. Simon, what's up? I can't respond to your email for some reason. The error message says the problem is on your side.

And people wonder why RSS is getting people to switch from email newsletters to RSS-based newsletters.

Update: it took him 45 minutes to see my blog entry and respond to it.

3:23:07 PM    comment 

Steve Novoselac: "I am surprised that Scoble hasn't piped up about this at all."

He's talking about Mark Cuban, owner of NBA's Dallas Mavericks who was fined last week for a blog post that he did about the NBA's opening night.

Sorry, it was funny, but I learned about this minutes before Doc Searls went on stage at BloggerCon. I mentioned it to him as a way not to make money with your blog and then forgot about it.

I think we'll see more people fired or fined for their blogs in the next year as companies and organizations figure out how to deal with the pressure that blogs bring to bear.

On the other hand, I'm now a Dallas Mavericks fan and I love Mark's blog. Is that worth a fine? I don't know, but Jason Calcanis tells me I'm not the only one who feels that way.

3:11:01 PM    comment 

Jim Fawcette, founder of Fawcette Technical Publications, did an online survey of his readers and found that 26 percent thought that blogs are overhyped.

Ahh, still fighting blogs, huh Jim?

You missed Engadget's numbers. They have 250,000 readers PER DAY. Millions per month. And that's a blog that's only been around, what, eight months?

How long has your magazine been published? More than 10 years, right? And you're only at 100,000 per month? Hmmm. If I were you, I'd worry about those trend lines.

Also, look at Channel 9. We were only open for two days and had more than 100,000 visitors. We did no advertising. No PR. Where did those readers come from? Blogs.

Well, and blogs readers. See, Steven Levy of Newsweek told me he reads my blog often. So, is that one reader, or is it millions?

I know of 15 venture capitalists who read me (I have their emails telling me they do). Is that 15 readers, or is it billions of dollars in available capital? You decide.

Is blogging overhyped? Absolutely. But, if you buy into that belief, you've gotta ask yourself, how did it get to be overhyped? And why?

Personally, it really doesn't matter either way. Blogging has brought me great friends, great experiences, great content to read every night, and a great career. It gives me a way to share my life and what I love with the world. And that's just fine with me.

But, that's looking at Jim's writings the wrong way. Look at it the other way and 73% of his readers thought blogs were either "interesting" or "innovative and invaluable."

That's an amazing stat, seeing that just four years ago no one even knew what a blog was (or, worse, they called them "self-referential rantings" or "the typing of trolls" or "a fad that'll go away soon.")

Oh, one other typo. Microsoft has now more than 1,000 employee blogs.

2:08:36 PM    comment 

Why is it that Evan William's blog has gotten more interesting since he left Google than it was before when he worked there?

It's fun to see Evan discover France. I was talking with John Dillow last night about his favorite places in the world (he does a lot of law work for Boeing, so gets to travel the world quite often) and he was saying that Paris is his favorite city.

By the way, John is not a guy you want to know if you are afraid of flying. Last night he told me about how one nut that stripped was what caused one plane to crash. One nut that probably cost a couple of bucks. OK, now I'm freaked out.

On the other hand, out of all the hundreds of people I've met, John has the most interesting stories. He graduated top of his class at Duke University. Here's a picture of John and his wife Allison last night.

Whew, what an interesting weekend so far. Hope you're having a great weekend too.

Anyway, Evan, have a great time in France. Blog more, I love it!

1:47:06 PM    comment 

How to get PR here.

I'm now at the email breaking point. I'm getting more email than I can handle. So, I'm letting things fall on the floor. Deserving companies aren't getting PR. Things aren't getting tested.

Some people and companies (and groups inside Microsoft) now think it's important for me to write about them.

Now I understand why when I worked at Winnov that it was so hard to get the press to pay attention to what we're doing. There's just TOO MUCH to pay attention to. Just look at Engadget if you don't know what I mean.

But there's a little PR trick that works with me.

Get five of the bloggers I read to write about you. Even three, if you're lazy. Find a way to do it. I read more than 2000 blogs now (957 RSS feeds). So, finding five out of those 957 isn't difficult.

You get five, and I'll see that as a pattern when I do my reading, which is what I'm doing right now.

In fact, the Avalon team did this without even realizing it. So far I've seen four people write about Avalon. That tells me that it's something that I should pay attention to. Not many things get that level of attention among the blogs I read.

So, there you have it. Your PR tip for the week.

1:38:45 PM    comment 

Chris Anderson's blog has been going nuts. I think he's done more postings in the past 48 hours than in the past 48 days. He's an architect on the Avalon team and on Friday he announced that Avalon has shipped a new developer preview to MSDN subscribers.

I've seen several demos of this and it will change development on Windows -- it especially makes building great-looking managed-code applications far easier than before. Before I worked at Microsoft I saw a early demo of Longhorn and most of what I saw was really Avalon. Now Avalon is going to ship on Windows XP, Windows 2003, AND Longhorn. That makes it a much more interesting development platform.

1:23:38 PM    comment 

Sean Alexander is one of the guys I emailed at the company after ABC's Home Makeover called me last Saturday. He got a team in place in hours and writes what he can on his blog (ABC has us all under NDA now until the show airs).

Thanks Sean for doing a great job. Hope you're getting some sleep this weekend.

1:17:51 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; 12:59:29 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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