Update: Dave Winer wrote about what kind of day he's had. We talked on the phone as he was sitting in a plane.
He had literally 30 seconds or so to talk before the plane's crew asked him to turn off his phone. It was frustrating for me to wait for the OK too. Then, I was stuck in traffic of my own (took more than an hour to get home tonight, and then we had dinner guests) so I couldn't blog about it, either. Even though my cell phone had already shown the news that VeriSign had confirmed the deal.
It's nice to see Dave make some money since so much of what he's done for the Web 2.0 world has gone without any (or much) financial remuneration. His inventions and evangelism have had a huge impact on the world. Can't wait to see what Weblogs 2.0 brings us.
Hopefully they'll find a way to clean off spam pings (most of the blogs I visit there are actually spam blogs, not blogs with any real content -- since that's the central clearinghouse for Google, MSN, Yahoo, Technorati, Feedster, Pubsub, and many other search engines and blog services they get a lot of spam. Clean it off there, and it makes every service better.
The companies that feed off of that service should help pay for spam cleaning, by the way. That'll be a differentiating feature for a raft of resources.
Maryam is arguing with me, so she wondered what my readers would say. Should we get a wood stove or a new HDTV?
The wood stove would keep us warm. But you can guess which way I'm voting. ;-)
How do you vote?
Danny Sullivan, on Search Engine Watch, says that Yahoo is the most virulent threat to Google.
I'm sitting with Nate Grigg, musician for Monolith. Don't know Monolith? They have some killer games coming out.
He wrote the music and sound effects for F.E.A.R, which won the best action game of E3.
He also was bragging about the game Condemned, which he said he just finished that game's effects and music. He says it's the best looking game that Monolith has ever produced -- it's an Xbox 360 game. You can hear Nate's music by watching the video trailer on Sega's site.
So, how did he do the "weeerrrreeeerrrr" sound? He was using a really old sampler that he had since college. It lets you take speech samples. And mess with them. Take a loop and crunch it and expand it over time.
It's crazy, he says. It's like taking a snapshot of a sample and changing its position or its length.
He does all his production on PC. "The PCs do what I want them to do," he says.
I sure am getting excited about Xbox 360. I'm hearing it's already sold out at most stores so if you want one for Christmas you've gotta hunt around.
Reuters has a list of Xbox 360 games that'll be available at launch. Monolith's Condemned isn't on that list, but will be available "soon."
VeriSign confirms the acquisition of Dave Winer's weblogs.com.
We always hear about rich folks who just aren't nice. Or, worse.
But over lunch I went over and met with Michael Murray, chairman of Unitus.
You might have heard of him. He worked at Apple on the Mac team and at Microsoft was Vice President of Human Resources for a number of years.
He told me about his non-profit organization and how they are helping entrepreneurs in super poor areas in the world. He started the meeting by pulling $2 out of his pocket and explained that more than half the world's population (billions of people) live on less than $2 a day.
I can't even buy a latte for that.
Anyway, he's found a way to help bootstrap communities with simple microloans. I video'd the interview, I'll have that up next week. It's inspiring.
Can you make a difference in the world? He told me about how a $100 loan (not a donation, but a loan) can totally transform someone's life.
Half of an iPod Nano. Think about that for a moment.
He's starting a blog today to tell more. I'll link to that when he gets it up, but http://www.unitus.com has more details on how this works.
Oh, don't remember Mike? He wrote the famous Shrimp and Weenies memo that became famous in the early 1990s.
Mike will speak on Microsoft's campus next Monday on Microsoft's campus in building 118 at the Mt. Si room at 11:30 a.m. so Microsoft employees can learn more about this concept (as part of our annual Giving Campaign).
Jamie Buckley, over on the MSN Search blog, replies to my PLAYing with search results.
Note: this is different than weblogsinc.com, which WAS sold to AOL yesterday.
Dave Winer is my friend, so I can neither confirm nor deny this rumor (he owns weblogs.com and is in the air traveling right now). It sure will be interesting to see what happens in this space, though.
Weblogs.com is an important (and often ignored) piece of blog infrastructure. It's a ping server. When I post on my blog, it pings weblogs.com and tells it "something was just published." This lets search engines like Google/MSN/Yahoo visit. It also lets a whole raft of services be built on top of it. Most of the Blog Search engines watch this server for pings.
Lots of people at MSN Search have been writing me back explaining why PLAY doesn't pull up a stock quote chart on MSN (query result here). They pointed out that most stock symbols will pull up a chart. Here's MSN's result for searching for AAPL, which is Apple Computer's stock symbol, to demonstrate.
But why not for PLAY? That's PortalPlayer's symbol.
Well, they say that most people searching for Play are coming there for some other reason and they want to make sure that their engine always returns the most relevant result.
On one hand this explanation makes me cheer. It's what I have been wanting to hear for a long time. That we have a PHILOSOPHY! Here's the philosophy in algorithms. That relevancy should be sacrosanct.
But, on the other hand, I'm not sure that this is the best philosphy to have. I'd rather the engine be consistent. I often search on stock symbols. Why? Cause I watch money shows and they use the stock symbols on the screen and that's how I learn more about the company that is going by.
Anyway, this demonstrates just how difficult it is to make a great search engine. Those pesky users always wanting more.
Oh, and neither Google, nor MSN, have a stock chart when you search for "PortalPlayer, Inc." Shows that there's still more to do.
Oh #2. Watch Ask Jeeves for another trend in search engines: providing answers to questions. Ask it who the inventor of the cotton gin is, for instance, and you get a Web answer in bold.
Update: there are more details on instant answers and PLAY on the MSN Search Blog.