Actually, speaking of sharks, this afternoon we went to Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, where we walked through a shark tank. Lots of fun, rode a monster rollercoaster for the first time in years (seven loops). Coasters sure are faster and wilder now.
Tomorrow we'll be hanging out in Sony's Metreon having sushi. It's one of our favorite things to do in San Francisco.
We've been posting book stuff over on Naked Conversations fast and furiously.
Chapter 12: How not to get Dooced (I rewrote my corporate weblogger manifesto and we worked on covering the major areas that bloggers get into trouble and how to avoid those).
Foreward by Tom Peters. Nice words from Tom, but one thing I would like to get changed is that my coauthor, Shel Israel, actually has done much more writing on this book than I have, and he's been teaching me more than I've been teaching him (he's been a PR guy in Silicon Valley since the early 80s).
Our book is now halfway written, and Shel and our editor are working hard to get it in shape.
The process of posting the raw content up on our blogs is quite interesting too (and quite humbling, since our content gets ripped apart and criticized harshly very quickly). That criticism is making the book dramatically better than it would otherwise be (although the process for an author is not fun or easy).
Everyone who rips us apart, though, does make the book better. In fact, we invited one blogger, Trevor Cook, who had some constructive criticism to write a part of a chapter. That wouldn't have happened if we had just waited until the end to publish the book.
This process is going to be used in products too. You just watch.
Bob Wyman links to someone who reported a problem in one of Microsoft's products. How did I hear about this? On one of our internal mailing lists we're talking about this message. So, yes, message received!
And, yes, blogs are changing how customers talk with us and thanks to PubSub (which is the company Bob Wyman founded) and other blog search engines we can watch for customers having troubles.
I'm so thankful there are others keeping track and using these tools. That makes me very happy cause I can't keep up with everything.
Feature request for RSS News Aggregators: I want to be able to "clean up" my feed subscription list. I want to remove any RSS feed that hasn't published in the past XX days (default to 30).
Or, someone could write me a service. I upload an OPML file and it checks to see if anything was published to each of the feeds included within in the past XX days. If not, it deletes the feed and lets me download the new, cleaned, OPML file.
While we're thinking about such things, how about this? I import an OPML file with a list of feeds, say 1000 feeds. Then it looks at my list of feeds and finds me the 100 most common links from those feeds. That probably would give me a list of new feeds I'd like to check out.
One other problem with RSS? If someone changes their URL of their feed, like Albert Tanutama just did, why can't our news aggregator notice that that feed hasn't updated, look at the last post and look for the words "move/moved" or "change/changed" or "updated" or "new feed" and offer to let you delete that feed and/or add a feed at the new URL?
Speaking of moving on, if I want to switch aggregators, OPML is definitely great. You export the OPML from one news aggregator and import it into your new news aggregator. One problem, your reading data doesn't move. For instance, in my aggregator sometimes I leave things as "unread" because I want to come back to them later. It'd be interesting to see if I could also export my readership details.
Do you have any ideas for how to make news aggregators better?
I just loaded a couple of fun videos over on Channel 9:
1) Microsoft this week released a beta of its new Speech API and we got a demo of how that works.
2) Recently Microsoft released a free refactoring tool for Visual Basic 2005 beta 2 and the video shows how it works.
Question: how many Heiny's blog? I've lost track. Here's the latest, Robert Heiny is blogging on the Tablet PC Education Blog. This family is all Tablets, all the time.
Robert McLaws has the first blog post I've seen about IIS 7 (Microsoft's Web server).
My son is a lucky duck and you can tell he's still trying to impress me. Last week his mom got him into a presentation by some Lucas Film engineers about how Star Wars was made. I wish I could have been there!
But, when he was telling me tonight about the presentation he said "and, dad, they used Windows!"
Funny, a coworker had sent me this article about AMD and Lucasfilm from bit-tech.net saying the same thing.
My son keeps saying he's not a geek, but only geeks notice what kind of computers people use. Hey, maybe he DID pick something up at all those geek dinners I drag him to.
Lately when I've been speaking I've been talking about how much more efficient the word-of-mouth network is. Eric Peterson, at Jupiter Media, gives us another example, as he links to a book author who used the word-of-mouth network to get onto the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller lists.
Hey, Shel, we gotta tell our friends to pimp Naked Conversations the same way! ;-)
Cork University Press' blog reports that Google has improved its book search tool.
John Robbins writes: "Want to review a debugging book?"
Is that THE John Robbins? Yes, it is! Dang, all my conference speakers from the 1990s are gonna blog someday if this keeps up. John's a talented presenter and coder. Works at Wintellect.
Ole Eichorn got an intern, great to hear! Anyone else hiring .NET programmers? I wanna get you all great developers.
The marketers are studying us. John Bell works at Ogilvy (a famous and respected advertising firm) and blogs about how he's studying digital influence. His blog title? The Digital Influence Mapping Project.
I've been studying this too, from the inside. I find that marketers pay too much attention to the head of the tail and not enough to the bloggers who have maybe five readers, but are highly trusted by those five readers.
In the groups I'm putting together now I'm making sure there is a good mixture of head of tail and long tail types.
And, I am slowly moving my attention further and further to long tail stuff.
Joe Wilcox, for instance, really woke me up when he attacked my Team 99 plan for focusing too much on too small a group. He is right.
The real interesting action will not be in the blogs everyone has heard about already.
John Bell, by the way, is the head of the Creative Studio at Ogilvy PR, among other things.