This is one of the reasons I like corporate blogging. Adam Barr works on the Monad team. So, when Monad recently was drug through the dirt (a report claimed it was virus prone and would be an attack vector in Windows Vista) Adam was able to correct the public record and give our customers more information.
Lee Holmes has more on the issue too where he further corrects some inaccuracies.
Finally, Adam reports on how his team responded to Slashdot and other reports on this issue.
Here's one place I got uncomfortable. In the past Microsoft astroturfed its way into issues. I always told myself if I saw astroturfing going on I'd point it out and oppose its use. So far I've been happy that no one has tried those tactics that I know of lately (they caused a lot of negative PR when they were reportedly used in the 1990s). First, from Wikipedia, here's the definition of astroturfing, just in case you haven't heard its use before:
"In American politics and advertising, the term astroturfing pejoratively describes formal public relations projects which deliberately seek to engineer the impression of spontaneous public reactions to a politician or political grouping, product, service, event, etc. by many diverse and distributed individuals acting of their own volition, when in fact the efforts are centrally coordinated."
I'm not saying Adam and Lee crossed the line here (they didn't), but I wanted to point out what they did so that we can have a public discussion about it. I think what they did was OK simply because it was in the spirit of getting the facts out.
But, what about you? How would you have gotten the facts out on an issue where your team or company is involved?
Poor Steve, the Mac Comedy site did the Steve Ballmer remix. (They mixed a couple of his famous videos together).
Another thing that happened on my week off? My son, Patrick, got his iPod (a 20GB color one). It's interesting to watch him discover a new technology. Today he was having problems with it (it wouldn't respond to touches to its circular input device). So, we headed off to the Apple store in Bellevue. Met a nice guy named Joey. What was the first thing he showed Patrick? How to reboot his iPod. Says "that solves 95% of all problems." The trick? Hold down the middle button and the menu button at the same time.
Hmmm, where have I heard THAT advice before? ;-)
Other things we've learned? The plastic on the iPod scratches very easily. Patrick doesn't like that and already bought a case to try to protect it.
The inscription he put on his? "Be happy."
He just ran up and said "hey, Dad, Dawn and Drew talked about me again!" Oh, the joys of being a parent in 2005 (Dawn and Drew is an explicit podcast. Of course that makes it interesting to an 11-year-old. Now that that genie is out of the bottle I have no idea how to put it back in again.) My advice to parents? Setup iTunes and block explicit stuff before your kids see what you're up to. One problem, though, is that they trade iPods at school, so blocking this stuff isn't enough.
One other thing he learned? Apple makes it very difficult to share music among multiple computers. Here's what's going on. He has one computer he's using at my house, but his main computer is 1,000 miles away at his mom's house. So, he wanted to spend the summer ripping his music while he stays with me (turning it into files so he can play it on his iPod). Problem is that now that he's done that, he can't just copy the songs onto his iPod and then back off onto his computer at his mom's house. So, he'll have to re-rip his music back when he's at his mom's house again.
That, and I'm already getting tired of him begging me for money to buy iTunes songs. He's already spent $40 of his allowance money.
Oh, I missed another fun flame fest during my week off. Paul Thurrott caused a furor when he called IE a "cancer." Robert McLaws has the in-case-you-missed-it post.
Steve Rubel has yet another way you can fire Microsoft. Well, except if you work in an airplane a lot, like I do. Then you need to store your stuff locally (and your Web browser ain't gonna do it). Or, except if you play video games. Or, or, or, or...
Ahh, Silicon Valley has been predicting the death of the thick client now, for, what, three decades?
We should bring Steve to the PDC so he can see that while Web applications have, indeed, been getting better (AJAX and all that) the rich client isn't going away anytime soon.
Speaking of the PDC, I hear we're almost sold out (only hundreds of tickets left and we've been selling hundreds per day so you do the math).
Update: fixed my typo. I meant to say Silicon Valley has been predicting the death of the thick client for decades.
Joe Clark says that I don't deserve the credit. He's right, albeit not for the reason he gave. Why don't I deserve the credit? I didn't do the hard work. People on the ASP.NET and IE and WaSP teams did. They deserve the credit, not me.
While I was away there seems to have been lots of angst in the blogs. Maybe we all should take an entire week off every year? It sure is good for the soul.
Anyway, Jeremy Zawodny is telling us to all lay off of Google. Seems Google is not talking to CNET. What's funny is that by having Jeremy say not to pay attention to something he got me to pay attention to it. Reverse psychology works on me, I guess.
The Security Response team is now blogging and has as one of its first ones a refutation of a news article that said that Windows Vista already has a virus. Totally wrong. I agree. That was bad reporting all the way around.
Oh, Maryam's ready to go now, be back on later...
Steven Levy from Newsweek wrote me and said he just wrote a column on Windows Vista where he points out that the biggest selling point is security.
Yup, I'm thinking of doing a honeypot computer running Windows Vista. You know, a computer where you visit the absolute worst sites you can find on the Internet and see if you get infected with stuff.
I've already visited the sites that my friends got spyware and malware from. So far so good. But, that's a small set. Anyone have a good up-to-date list of places that put nasty stuff on your computer?
Update: I changed this post to make it more accurate.
John Montgomery has fun with screaming kids. I totally grok that. We just dropped off Maryam's brother's family at the airport. Whew, no more screaming kids here! Just Patrick. Oh, and Maryam, who is gloating over figuring out something with Patrick's new iPod that we couldn't figure out (how to use two computers with iTunes). She read the manual. We're geeks, we don't read manuals. And now she's having quite a bit of fun with us. Am I glad Maryam doesn't have a blog? Damn straight. :-)
Back to the screaming kids. I love Kian (Maryam's brother's seven-year-old son), but am glad to have a quiet house again. Talk to you later...
Ben Fulton, on online credibility. Hey, Ben, I'm not holding my breath either. That publication hasn't responded to any inquiries about its libel and lies. That's the way you can tell who is lying. Very astute reading.
It's great to take a blog vacation. Thanks to everyone who sent nice notes. Just saw this in the Guardian's blog: "Whether or not you agree with his views, the blogosphere is a less interesting and less intelligent place with a silent Scoble."
I did a lot of thinking about my blog and the feedback I've been getting about my direction lately. Jeremy Wright, for instance, said he unsubscribed. I told him I unsubscribed from myself. Heh.
See, a good blog is passionate and authoritative. Lately I've been going through the motions. Just blogging to keep blogging.
Over the past week I focused on rediscovering myself. What do I like to do? This is my blog. It better be fun. For me. Or else I'll stop doing it.
So, I went back and made a mental list of why I do this. A few of the top reasons? I like talking with smart people. Particularly those who build things. Whether it's a radio station or a driver for a video card.
On Friday night I was with my brother-in-law at a nightclub in Vancouver. Where was I drawn? Toward the DJ who was using a computer. Why? He was building experiences for his audiences.
I then turned around and looked at everyone else. There were pretty girls. Alcohol. Sports on TV. Lots of other things to do. But I was drawn to the guy using a computer. I was watching him work, trying to figure out if there's a way to help him do his work better.
There were other experiences this week. Hanging around with a variety of people inside Microsoft.
I also find I write to get things into search engines so I can pull them out later. I also write to learn something from my readers.
The world of blogging is changing, though. It's faster and there's no way I can keep up with it all. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to try. I'm giving that one up. There are tools coming that'll keep you on top of this world (and I'll point to them and use them).
I also rediscovered this past week another passion: playing with new technology. I am now using Windows Vista and will start writing about that again too.
As to the comments. I thought hard about just turning them off. Or censoring the ones I don't like. But, screw that. It's good +for me+ to have open comments where even jerks are allowed to post. It's a true marketplace of ideas. My challenge is not to eat the metaphorical rotten strawberries. Lately I've been trying to argue with everyone, even those who really don't deserve even being acknowledged. Mostly cause I got off track, but partly cause I just enjoy ratholing once in a while.
I won't do that anymore.
More to come later. I'm off to hang out with Maryam and Patrick and take another day off of blogging.