Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Sunday, January 30, 2005

Ahh, now the pundits are predicting that Microsoft is doomed (thanks Dan Shafer for the link). Hey, I guess it's fair. They used to say that about Apple. I remember. Late 1990s everyone was writing Apple off.

So, now it's Microsoft's turn. We're doomed.

Oh, don't know who Dan Shafer is? He's the guy who was running the CNET Live Conference when I got into blogging (I was helping him find sessions and speakers). He's always been a Mac guy (even back when the pundits were saying Apple was doomed).

Anyway, there's a lot of truth to what Farhad Manjoo writes. Microsoft is doomed. Well, it is if desktop computers are the future of the industry.

I don't buy into that vision for a minute.

See, the future of home computing is portable. Not stuck to a desk. How do I know this is the future? Well, McDonalds has wifi now.

So, when the average consumer (not the wackos who write the blogs like me or Dan) decide to buy a computer, will they go for a $500 desktop? Or will they go for a $550 laptop?

Also, where does Farhard do his shopping? He really discredits himself when he says, and I quote:

"It is still possible to buy a Windows machine that costs less than the Mac Mini, but you'd really be scraping the bottom of the barrel, and even if you got something with comparable computing power -- as fast a processor, as big a hard drive, as much memory -- you still wouldn't be getting what you get with the Mini.

It makes this author look just as bad as the people who said Apple was dead back in the 1990s.

Please. Do me a favor. Go to Dell. Price out Dell Dimension 3000. It comes with a monitor (the Mac doesn't come with one). It comes with 512MB of RAM (the Mac comes with 256). The Dell comes with an 80GB drive (the Mac comes with 40GB). The Dell comes with keyboard and mouse (the Mac doesn't include those).

But, despite having that glaring incorrection the article is a must read and certainly will be rotating around Microsoft.

Oh, and Andy Hertzfeld pulls out the usual "Scoble's employer is evil" line again. That's a line I can riff with. It's why I wear black and why my business cards are black. I'm all into the evil mojo. :-)

11:54:09 PM    comment 

Dan Bricklin grooves on Dave Winer's guilt. Oy. I've felt that guilt too. Back when I had 18 readers I tried categories. You know, posting to different URLs. That lasted a month. I hated it. Now I have one tag and one category: scoble.


I can't even keep up with my book. Yes, the guilt of not working on the book is there.

11:11:25 PM    comment 

Dale Wolf: Customer Love is Good Business.

This is where the Web is awesome. One link. One post can demonstrate listening behavior. It's why I started my link site. Every link there is to someone saying something interesting.

11:08:13 PM    comment 

Bl Ochman says "edit, edit, edit" to write better posts.

Hmmm. I say "talk like a human" "talk like a human" "talk like a human."

Hint: I very rarely edit my posts. I type them exactly as these bits come to my brain.

The best class I took in college was typing. If you can type fast it really helps you write well. Why? Because your fingers can have a chance of keeping up with your brain.

If I have an advantage it's that I'm really not that smart so my brain moves slower than a lot of the folks who work here at Microsoft (for instance, you should meet Eric Horvitz -- his brain spits out ideas nearly every second -- he'll be on Channel 9 soon).

My recommendations for writing well? Be fast. Be interesting. Be credible. Be human. Yes, I know that's no help. I read all of Ansel Adams' books and I still couldn't take pictures like he did.

Another way of looking at it? Be yourself darn it! I'll link to you even if you have a few typos. As long as your humaness comes through my aggregator.

11:00:08 PM    comment 

Jake Wilcox wants Microsoft to give away Windows 98 for free.

Sorry, I can't agree there. The whole industry is better off if we get people to use the latest operating systems -- that's true, by the way, whether or not you're on Windows. There are a whole raft of reasons why trying to get more people to use older OS's would be just a bad idea all the way around.

Do I need to go into why this is a bad idea? I'm linking to this because I love people who take the time out to try to come up with an interesting idea -- Jake gets kudos for that. I've seen in the past how ideas can change the world.

But, this is an idea that I can't get behind.

10:39:59 PM    comment 

Chris Locke, one of the four guys who wrote the Cluetrain Manifesto (I've been trying to catch the train for the past five years but always seem to arrive at the station five minutes too late) says his alterego, Rageboy, is going to West Point.

Now, that's over on Chris' new site: Chief Blogging Officer. Which means this post cost me another $5. Oh, well, it's for a good cause.

One thing is that Locke's writings are so advanced that I can't understand them before having a glass of Merlot and staying up for 24 hours straight. Only then does his stuff sorta make sense.

But, it is entertaining. At least, entertaining enough to stay subscribed. Maybe it's the Merlot. Hi Chris, glad to see you're having an impact on the world.

10:29:07 PM    comment 

Andy Orlowski, over at the Register, wants me to stop "massaging my RSS" to address a serious issue in the Tablet PC OS.

The Tablet team tells me they have identified the bug and are investigating a fix for it. I'll probably learn more next week when we're all together for the Windows Anywhere conference.

Why haven't I hit it? I shut down my Tablet PC most evenings and start it up from a fresh boot. Why do I do that? Because I've been using computers for 20 years and have learned that's the best way to work.

This was a behavior I learned on System 7.0 back in 1992 when I was a page designer at San Jose State. It takes an extra minute in the morning to boot up, but that's why I never hit this bug.

By the way, fixing these kinds of bugs isn't easy and even if they were, deploying the fix isn't easy either. Someday I'd like to introduce Andy to some of the developers here so that he can see the process that changing one line of code would take.

I'll let you know if I hear more.

Update: Jonathan Hardwick has more on this here.

7:42:28 PM    comment 

Want a Microsoft security blackbelt? Joe Stagner is starting a webcast series on just that topic this week.

5:23:04 PM    comment 

While at the Blog Business Summit last week I sat down with Stowe Boyd to talk more about the business of blogging. You can listen in. It's all part of Corante's new "Get Real" audio show.

5:14:48 PM    comment 

You know, now that I've had a Mirra machine for a couple of months, I've seen that there's room in my home for a server. My Mirra machine does one thing: it backs up my systems.

It's quiet. Low-cost ($400). And it makes backup easy, painless, and in the background.

Now, this is a dedicated machine. I'm thinking, well, what if such a server was actually running Windows Media Center Edition? Now what else could it be made to do?

But, one advantage of the appliance (Mirra) approach is that it's easy and you don't use it for anything else so that nothing will get loaded or deleted from it.

I see Charlie Kindel is linking to people (Rick Hallihan) who are talking about a home server.

I'd like to buy something like what Rick lays out. How about you?

5:11:04 PM    comment 

Monday night, on Microsoft's campus, the .NET Developer Association is having a "bring your own laptop" event.

On Tuesday, in Redmond, there'll be a geek dinner. Anita Rowland has the details.

5:01:25 PM    comment 

John Gossman, a few weeks back, wrote an interesting post titled "Maxi-Microsoft." He argues that Microsoft should grow bigger.

I wonder if the MBA schools are teaching this stuff in their strategy classes?

Me? I keep wandering the halls at Microsoft with my camcorder looking for interesting teams. The ones that I like tend to be the smaller teams. On average they seem to ship faster, are more profitable, have better morale, do better work, and are more open and closer to the customer. They tend to visit newsgroups and chats and websites more often, for instance.

So, I'm finding that I'm becoming more and more a fan of small teams.

How about you?

4:57:16 PM    comment 

Brandon Paddock: I love my M200.

But he wants a better slate. I'll be leading a panel discussion at the Windows Anywhere conference in about a week with a bunch of OEM manufacturers. I'll get the skinny on the state of Tablet PC hardware there.

3:40:24 PM    comment 

Buzz, you have it all wrong. You're the LEADER of the cult, not a member. The cult's name? Buzznovation.

Oh, and thanks for recommending the Etymotics. They blow away the headphones that come with any of these portable music players.

Buzz is widely credited with talking Etymotic into releasing white headphones too. Guess which color is their most popular seller? By far? You guessed it.

3:20:49 PM    comment 

It's funny, that EPIC video (the one where Google takes over the world) keeps getting mentioned on sites. Here's Andy Lark talking about it today.

I believe I was the first one to link to it. Back on November 17. Since then I've seen it mentioned hundreds of times and even during speeches at conferences.

Interesting how some things just keep getting passed around. I've had at least 20 people email me it too, even though I linked to it first (my friend Larry Larsen, who works at Poynter, sent it to me).

3:16:24 PM    comment 

Rod Paddock: Avalon Adventures.

Rod's the editor of Code Magazine. Knows his stuff.

3:00:23 PM    comment 

Since I've written a bit about David Allen this week, here's a few more:

Frank Meeuwsen has an excellent site named "What's the next action?"

There's a whole bunch of blogs now talking about "low-tech productivity wear." You know, Moleskine notebooks. Here's posts on that topic by Omar; JK; and Marc.

Dave Allen himself carries around a cute little wallet with a pad of paper and a small pen in it. Why not a PocketPC or a Palm? Well, he has one of those too, but finds that there's lots of times when he doesn't want to carry his geekwear and finds himself just wanting to go out with a wallet. What happens when you get a great idea while on a date with your wife? Do you pull out your iPaq? Not smart, right? That's why you need low-tech stuff to keep track of your life.

I found another solution. I carry my Audiovox. Cell phones are acceptable in almost all situations now. At dinner the other night someone gave me a URL. Instead of writing it down, I sent myself a voice message on my cell phone. When I got back home that reminded me of the conversation and I posted it.

See, the whole point of David Allen's program is to free your mind from having to remember or worry about stuff.

Why don't I use a Moleskin? For a few reasons:

1) I want to have a shared calendar. My wife, for instance, needs to be able to see my calendar. If it's in my pocket, that isn't possible. My SmartPhone adds calendar items to my shared calendar nearly instantly so we never get messed up (it syncs them up so my wife and coworkers can have access to my calendar).

2) I don't like transcribing notes to my task list. I am a lazy lazy person. I don't want to do things twice. I'd rather carry my Tablet PC or Smartphone everywhere.

3) When I'm making commitments to people I wanna make sure I add those commitments to my system right there (and so I can show them just how busy I am and the likelihood that I'll complete their task). For that, my SmartPhone is better too. My entire task list is displayed on my Smartphone.

4) I'm getting the plugin for Outlook that was designed with David Allen's system in mind, so I'd rather live in Outlook as much as possible.

But, that's all not the point. The point is that if you're really busy (and if you're not, you probably will be someday) you need a system to help you squeeze more productivity out of the day and to keep you from going mad. The days I get burnt out are the ones when I don't have a system to fall back on.

It's interesting, but the folks who really try David's program out (hint: you don't need a seminar, just need to read his book and really give it a month) swear by it. Most, like my boss, can't imagine living without it. Here's Omar again talking about it.

2:55:41 PM    comment 

Dave Ciccone just emailed me and said "you have got to check out this Bluetooth virtual keyboard." He has a review on his site. That looks very cool. I wish this worked with my SmartPhone (from the looks of it it'll only work with PocketPCs). Costs $225, so a bit pricey as well.

2:34:11 PM    comment 

Carter Maslan is building a traffic application for the San Francisco Bay Area for the Microsoft SmartPhone.

There's already one being built for Seattle (I've been dogfooding that, it's from Research and you'll see more on Channel 9 this week -- it saves me hours every year).

Glad to see that Carter likes the Audiovox (er, Scoblephone): the best consumer purchase I've made in years.

2:30:00 PM    comment 

Michael Kaplan's blog readers report a bug with CharNext/CharPrev.

With that, I think I'm up to $135 for the Tsunami Relief Fund. It's really hard to blog without talking about blogs.

Yeah, it's an obscure bug, the kind that only a developer could appreciate, but it's these little things that make a platform better. I'm seeing more and more of a conversation taking place between devs and customers.

Oh, and thanks to Larry Osterman for telling me about this. While we're at it, head over to Larry's place and read his observation about "robustness."

2:23:46 PM    comment 

On KFI Dave Cicconne (he publishes "Dave's iPaq" site) was complaining about Microsoft's treatment of him.

I'm working on his behalf now too. Anyone else?

Personally, Dave, I'm very sorry. You have an awesome site. I greatly appreciate what you've done for Microsoft and our customers. We really need to treat our fan sites better than this. I don't care what the content was, we should call first and work on relationships with our fans first.

12:49:24 PM    comment 

I'm listening to Dave Ciccone on Leo Laporte's show on KFI Radio (one of the most listened to radio stationsin the world).

I haven't been in a Leo Laporte chat room for years. Takes me back (I used to help run his chat room back when he was on KGO radio).

11:54:13 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; 1:02:45 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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