John Porcaro points at "Blogging Dos and Don'ts" by Catherine Rubin. I don't follow any of the don'ts either. Bah humbug. Lawyers: always trying to manage risk.
It's good to know where the land mines are, though. I told a friend the other day, I enjoy entertaining you all by dancing around on a field of landmines. That's what weblogging is when you work for a big company, particularly if you're gonna be interesting.
Of course, I only have 17 readers today because one of them thought I wasn't interesting enough. I guess Timo will come back only after I actually get a leg blown off, metaphorically.
Heath Row has the best set of notes I've seen from the weblogger conference. Wow.
Ben Hammersley calls the parody I posted from a friend "perhaps the funniest thing I've read all year."
My wife got her own dig in this morning. She said "that's not a parody, that's true!"
My former boss at San Jose State, Steve Sloan, is one of the most Mac-centric guys you'll ever meet. So, what the heck is he doing with a Microsoft Certification? Congrats! Hint: Steve's one of those rare guys who picks things up fast. Knowing both OS's will take him far in academia.
I love weblogs that teach me something. Tommy Williams gives me an IE tip that answered a problem I was having -- I couldn't view source.
Julia Lerman answers my question about "what happened at the women in technology session at TechED?"
In there I learned that only 750 attendees of the 9000 at TechED were female. This is a good topic for webloggers to take on. How do we get women more interested in technology?
This is a time when I wish my wife had a weblog so she could give her side of the story.
One of my favorite weblogs is Loren's because it's nice and clean and because Loren loves the Tablet PC as much as I do.
Ahh, I've lost one of my 18 readers. I guess I pissed Timo off yesterday when I tried to point out that Word is better than Word Perfect (and always was, in my book). He says I've turned into Microsoft's PR department. Fair enough. By the way, Word was NEVER bundled with Windows.
Ahh, there are a lot of myths about Microsoft. I have a lot of them in my head too. Myth #1: Microsoft has abandoned Visual Basic. Yeah, Thomas Warfield, I do check my referer logs.
Actually, this one is not a myth -- sorta. Microsoft did abandon the old Visual Basic. Folks like Karl Peterson yelled and screamed and whined and kibbitzed for years. And are still doing so.
The reality is, old VB code won't run on .NET. It needs to be rewritten. Yup, that's correct.
The reality is, VB (and all .NET apps) need a 20MB runtime. Yup, that's correct.
Will it get better in the future? Yeah, but that doesn't help you today. If I were doing shareware today, I'll be honest, I'd probably not choose VB either. Use the right tool for the job. This argument isn't a new one. Nick Bradbury and I had this argument five years ago. He's the guy who wrote Allaire's HomeSite (and did it in Delphi).
Nick has a killer RSS Aggregator coming out, by the way.
So, where's the myth? I'm seeing a resurgance in VB.NET stuff lately. There are many developers, both inside and outside of Microsoft, who like VB.NET a lot. It's a very productive language, they tell me. Runtime issues? Not a big deal for these guys (they are mostly enterprise developers building custom apps).
I hear the VB.NET team will have a few things to talk about at the PDC in October as well. Hope to finally put the "VB is dead" myth to bed.
Let's see, yesterday I whined. Yesterday I was parodied. Today Jupiter Media invited me to speak at next year's weblog conference. Cool!
Lugh3D is a game engine for managed DirectX games on Microsoft's .NET platform. Got that? Heh. Coming this fall.
I see that Jason Shellen of Google is saying that Google definitely won't remove blogs from its index. OK, but I keep hearing stuff from folks who know folks inside Google that Google's engineers are very concerned about "blog noise" and will try to tweak the algorithm to cut down on that problem. But, I'll stay out of this. One thing I've learned at Microsoft is that everyone has their own opinions on how to make their products better, but in the end all that matters is the final implementation. The rest is noise. I can't wait to see how they improve their index. I'm sure Danny over at Search Engine Watch will report on any changes coming.
Think webloggers don't have editors? You haven't met my wife.
"You sounded cocky today," she announced. "I think you're getting into 'the royal we.'"
Oh, great, everyone is a critic. "Hey dear, why don't you write a weblog?"
Christopher Coulter's uncle is a photographer too. He shot most of the pics that you see at Disneyland's California Adventure.
Fortune Magazine: "What's good about Microsoft?"
Since I was talking photography with the Corbis folks, I asked them how an amateur could get his images sold by Corbis. For instance, look at Bill Storage's pictures. He's good enough to turn pro. (All these images were shot with a Canon D60 digital SLR, by the way).
The Corbis folks tell me that it's pretty hard to get represented by Corbis. They basically have to notice your work. (Translation: you gotta win awards or be commercially successful). I wonder if there's a way that guys like Storage could get noticed by the weblog world?
Good night, gotta get some sleep.
My friend Dan Shafer is back to anti-Microsoft bashing. He rails on Word for Mac. Then he asks "Hey, Microsofties! How can you look yourself in the mirror when you work at a company that has a history like the one Dave Farquhar outlined and that produces crap products like this one and gets away with it only because it's a bully?"
Um, maybe Dan you forgot the early days of the Mac. I haven't. In the late 80s we had something called Word Perfect. Maybe you remember it? Why did Word win over Word Perfect in my shop at West Valley Community College? Cause it was better. Way better. Not even in the same league better. Want me to enumerate all the ways Microsoft products were better in the 80s than other products on the Mac? Does that mean that Microsoft was a bully? Nope. It simply shipped demonstratably better products.
The truth of the matter is that Bill Gates was one of the first people and Microsoft was one of the first companies to invest in the Macintosh -- way before Word Perfect did. Microsoft wrote quite nice Macintosh software for years before other companies finally "got it." (And even then, Word Perfect made Word look like a Yugo makes a Mercedes look).
Oh, and Dave has his facts a little wrong. Did you realize that Bill Gates SENT IBM to DRI Research to buy CP/M? Gates didn't want the operating system deal (at least at first). He thought DRI had a better OS. DRI's arrogance killed the deal. Talk to Alan Cooper about this. Or others. The story has been well documented and in a far less biased way than the way Dave told it. It's a lesson I remember every day. If I get arrogant, I might kill a similar deal too.
Also, why do I work for Microsoft? Simple: an exec called me and asked me. Apple had ample chances to hire me. So did Sun. So did Oracle. So did lots of other companies. I work "at will" for Microsoft. I can leave anytime. They can fire me at anytime. If I ever think I'm not getting the best labor deal in the marketplace, I will leave (Hint: Microsoft has one of the lowest turnover rates -- 4% -- for any industry for a reason). So far Microsoft is the one offering me the best deal in the marketplace. It's simply a selfish move on my part. Dan, if you don't want me to work there, offer me a better deal and I'll come work for you. Seriously.
Microsoft treats me well. They let me weblog. They don't push me around. They give me free soft drinks. The best health care I've ever had. The best gym membership I've ever had. The best team of people I've ever worked with. The best computers I've ever used. And many more benefits (they are all enumerated over at http://www.microsoft.com/careers ). Oh, and let's be honest, there's not much chance that I'll be laid off for economic reasons in the next month or two. A family member is working at Apple right now. He tells me he lives in constant fear of losing his job. Several of his co-workers have lost their jobs there in the past year, even though it hasn't been reported on the usual web sites that report corporate layoffs.
No one has ever told me that I should or shouldn't write something here on my weblog. They give me and other employees lots of space to do our things and they ask us to do them well. They gave me an office (I haven't had one for years, usually I get stuck in inhuman cube farms). They gave me more money than NEC or other employers (not much, but more -- plus Washington has no state income tax). Microsoft gave me the chance to change the world. What did NEC give me? A chance to answer the phones.
What do other employers give me? Let's see. My brother: laid off (well, he just found a new job). My wife: laid off. My brother in law: laid off. My former neighbor: laid off. I have so many examples of corporate crap that'd make your head spin. Enron is only the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft's execs, for all their failings, seem to be better than most (I just met with a senior financial guy at Microsoft and he isn't planning to leave anytime soon). Why don't you look at why Steve Jobs is getting bigger and bigger salaries at Apple for basically doing a half-time job? (Isn't he the top paid exec of any industry today?)
And, even when I was employed at NEC, I didn't have the opportunities I have at Microsoft. I didn't have the opportunities to speak to executives about weblogs and the industry. I didn't have the ability to work with people to make the software world a better one. I didn't have a future.
Yeah, Gates and crew haven't always played nice. They play to win. Almost every single company I've worked for has done really aggressive stuff to try to win its markets and protect its market share (um, does Apple allow clones? Ever wonder why not?). If anything, I'm seeing a huge move inside Microsoft to become a better, more mature, responsible company. There isn't a single employee I've met that wants to get into legal trouble again. There isn't a single employee I've met that isn't trying to push Microsoft to be more responsive to its customers. This is a big company. Have you ever worked inside a big company? Getting things done in big companies is hard work. And Microsoft runs a hell of a lot better than the other ones I've heard about or had experience with. I'll give you some examples over the next few months.
Is Microsoft there yet? Certainly not. We have tons of product and community work to do. Am I defensive? A little, because you've painted all Microsoft employees with a broad brush (and, you've questioned my integrity, even though I had nothing to do with the issues you're griping about). Oh, and even if I didn't take my paycheck from Microsoft, those issues would still be there. At least now that I'm "inside the tent" I have a chance to make things better for you.
One personal note to Dan: when I was running the camera store, I always helped nice customers first. Why? Cause I am human and my boss isn't paying me enough to deal with nasty people. Getting Microsoft to listen is frustrating. Believe me, I know. But, since joining Microsoft I've been able to do quite a bit, and I've already started making friends on various product groups. A nice note goes a lot longer than one that calls into question the integrity of all Microsoft employees. You know, the old thing about honey attracting more flies than bile. Bill Gates ain't paying me enough to take crap from anyone. Including him. Try to keep that in mind. :-)