Speaking of kids, my son Patrick is learning the bass guitar amazingly fast. He's only had it a month and he's already starting to play riffs. It's amazing how fast kids can pick things up when they are motivated. He had a concert all arranged for me when I arrived. I was most impressed. I really am lucky to have him in my life. He's such a great kid and is always well mannered. I drag him to a lot of geek lunches and dinners and he's always well behaved even though he's bored out of his mind.
We finally got his computer setup and finished today so I can use MSN Messenger with him (he has a video camera so I can watch him play his guitar over the Internet now).
He's running around with Maryam's niece and nephew. It's always fun to watch them interact.
I can't believe he's already 11. It seems like just yesterday when I was holding him like Lenn is holding his new son.
My boss, Lenn Pryor's wife had a baby boy last weekend. The blog announcement post is now up. Very cute kid, congrats Lenn and family!
Alright, Lenn, aren't you taking Microsoft's love of everything "blue" a little far here?
Here's another blogger story I missed in the past week. Jeremy Wright got stopped at the US/Canada border because the guards there didn't believe that you could get a job as a blogger. Heh. I'll have to remember not to tell them that when I come back in the country.
Anyway, some people are apparently giving Jeremy grief. That sucks. If you've ever been through the US/Canada border you know just how much a pain in the behind that experience can sometimes be. Usually it's smooth, but I've heard some horror stories. It seems they want to keep out people who are moving here for economic reasons. If you're moving here for economic reasons make sure you have all your papers and a good story to tell when coming through the border.
And, Jeremy, as an American, I'm sorry for my countrymen's behavior. Welcome to America.
Tony Chang, who works at Google, brags about Google's 20% time. This is an interesting thing about Google and it sure sounds like a tempting benefit. Employees there get to spend 20% of their time working on whatever they want to work on.
He thinks the reason that other companies can't implement 20% time is because other companies don't have information sharing that Google has.
That's hogwash, at least in Microsoft's case. You should see the kind of information sharing we have on our intranet here. I'd be happy to give you a tour Tony. You might be shocked at the internal information sharing that goes on here. And, yes, I do have access to a lot of killer stuff over at MSN Search even though I don't work on that team and, even if that info isn't up on the intranet, you can always email a list to find the PM on the team you want to work with and then email him or her. I've done that a lot.
So, why doesn't Microsoft have 20% time? Well, speaking for myself, if Bill Gates told me I could have 20% time I'd say "that's nice Bill, but I'm already working on what I want to work on." Maybe I'm a rarity at Microsoft, but I don't think so. If any employee isn't happy where he or she is, there are lots of opportunities to move around.
The thing is I need 20% time to do all the work I hate to do. Like expense reports or other corporate proceedures and processes. Now if someone could take those kinds of chores away then THAT would be an employee benefit I'd really like.
One of the guys I really like at Microsoft, John Porcaro, reported that he suffered some serious burns a few weeks ago. He works in Xbox marketing. I totally missed this. Has pictures and stuff that are quite scary and painful looking.
I just showed this to Maryam and she said "oh my God." John was at my birthday party back in January and we both really like him. He always has a positive attitude that is endearing.
John, glad to see you're doing better and glad to see your sense of humor survives. Love the title of the post "burn baby burn."
Wanna learn more about the AJAX development methodology? There's the Ajaxian blog.
In 2004 lots of us got sick of hearing about the term "blog." Will 2005 be the year that lots of us get sick of "AJAX?"
Chris De Herrera has built RSS feeds for the Tablet PC newsgroups. That's cool. Now I can watch what people in those newsgroups are saying in my aggregator.
And, Stephen, as to your other wishes, (he wants Dave's beach house and Joi's computer bag, among other things) well, I can't grant those.
By the way, a latte at Peet's still cost me more than $2. So much for the value of all those hits. But, if they make you happy I'm happy.
Doc Searls: I won't write another thing about podcasters until I'm doing a podcast myself.
Hmm, is a Doc Searls podcast coming soon?
Josh Ledgard is blown away by our customers. He posted his team's logo and asked for help making it better. Some of the entries (particularly from Jamie) are awesome.
The first edition of "Sound Policy" with Denise Howell on IT Conversations is now up. This is an audio show. First one was arguing about linking technologies like Microsoft Smart Tags and Google's Autolink. Cory Doctorow, Marty Schwimmer, and I had a pretty intense debate. Hope you like it. Reminder that this was recorded on 3/9/2005, which was before I modified my beliefs about linking technologies a bit.
Keep in mind that I did not take Microsoft's side in this one. I took the content producer's side (Cory hated that term, by the way).
By the way, debating with Cory is a very intense experience. Listening to the conversation it's pretty clear he beat me in debating skills.
I wish Dave Winer was on the conversation. It'd be fun to hear those two guys go at it.
To my Iranian friends around the world, Happy Nowruz!
The New Year starts tomorrow morning. We're having a big party here in Santa Clara with lots of family and friends to celebrate. Lots of goodies and great food.
By the way, the link above shows just how much the blogosphere has changed in only a year or two. Last year there were hardly any comments about the Iranian New Year. This year? I can't read them all.
Josh Ledgard has a great blog today on Shared Source stuff inside Microsoft. Yes, Josh, they need an RSS feed.
Dave Winer today tells a story about seeing someone floating by his beach house window who waved at Dave.
I had a, um, geekier experience. I walked into Peet's coffee in Petaluma. There a really tall guy kept staring at me like he was trying to figure out who I was. I stared back. Eventually he said something like "I think I've met you before." Then it dawned on him: "you're a blogger." Heh. Yup. Guilty as charged. "You're the Scobleizer."
Yeah. But now I was in the embarrassing place of having someone recognize me that I didn't recognize back.
"What do you do?" I asked, hoping to figure it out.
Turned out it was Doug Cutting. Developer of Open Source search software.
An honor meeting him. We had a nice chat about the projects he's worked on (Lucene, which was the engine in LookOut, a desktop search tool I used in Outlook before Microsoft bought it and rebuilt it for MSN Toolbar Suite), his new project, Nutch, which is an open source search project being done with Apache.
We also chatted about the Apache license and various business models that can be used in the open source model. He wants Microsoft not to be afraid of the Apache license. His business model is a consulting one. He gives away the code, but charges companies (and he's worked for many of the big companies) a consulting fee to integrate his software into companies' other systems.
Oh, Doug wasn't the only open source guy I met today. After leaving Petaluma (I was there to pick up my son) I had lunch with Joe Hewitt, one of the developers of Firefox. Shel Israel and I wanted to get the inside story of how Firefox got the large adoption it has gotten.
Joe's a really great guy. Shel took notes and will post those over on the Red Couch later next week.
It's great to get to talk to these two open source leaders. I have a feeling you and I will both be hearing more from them.
Oh, you think they are working to bring down Microsoft, right? Well, both made the point that that isn't driving them at all and that both wondered if there were a way for Microsoft to work with the open source community in the future.
That's an excellent question and one that I've been hearing a lot this week thanks to having the Linux and Java folks on campus. By the way, JavaLobby posted a report of the last day of the competitive influentials summit.
One thing I came away from is that there's a lot that I need to learn from the larger community. These two guys opened my eyes to the open source world and hopefully these relationships will grow stronger. How should Microsoft work closer with the open source community?
Even deeper: how can we help the open source community?
Matthew Gertner: Why Autolink (and Greasemonkey) is evil.
"They may provide fleeting satisfaction, but anything close to widespread adoption is going to create a big mess."
Agreed. I still wish we wouldn't do a series of linking technologies (even though I don't see linking technologies as inherently evil anymore -- at least as long as they follow my rules for being user centric). There are so many ways to add links to a page to be helpful to users that don't require trying to mess with (or confuse users) over the links on the page. Now that most users have high resolution screens why not open a new pane up where you add "helpful links?" Why do you need to add the links onto the page itself?
Washington Post: More PR than No-Holds-Barred On Bosses' Corporate Blogs.
The neat thing about blogs is that if bosses don't really pull you into the corporation and give you transparency into their processes, thinking, or anything else, you can always unsubscribe from their RSS feed and ignore them.
I just loaded more than 100 different blog posts to my link blog and I'm only about 60% through my feeds. I fell behind this week. Hope you enjoy.
Mary Jo Foley: Could AJAX Wash Away 'Smart Clients?'
Obviously AJAX is pretty cool. Look at Google's Maps. Pretty damn cool.
But, I just spent part of yesterday over talking with the Avalon team. AJAX is definitely cool for a whole raft of things, but it isn't the end all and be all. AJAX falls apart when your Internet connection goes down, for instance, and it also falls down when you really want the best user-interaction experience.
You should talk with Billy Hollis. He has clients that switched from Web apps to Smart Clients and saved millions of dollars.
Why? Well, it isn't hard to see how an app that runs locally would be able to make users more productive.
But, comparing the two approaches just seems wacky to me. It'd be like comparing Onfolio to Bloglines. They both have their advantages, but at the end of the day I'd rather have Onfolio or NewsGator.
Oh, wait a second, NewsGator is using both a SmartClient approach and a Web-based approach.