Elliott: Traveling with your Tablet PC.
"Whenever Alan Pearlman fires up his Hewlett Packard TC1100 Tablet PC in court, he braces for the stares."
Evelyn Rodriguez: the myth of a "quiet" launch.
She covers why a quiet launch works well in today's "scream it loud" world. So, next time you want to make a big bang with your product launch, say it softly.
One of the examples of what Microsoft is doing right is OneNote. And why is that? It's an innovative new product. That isn't getting the credit it deserves.
None of the articles that I've read about Microsoft lately have mentioned it.
What is OneNote? Well, it's a replacement for that yellow notepad you've been using in meetings or at school to take notes on.
But, you really need to use it for a couple of weeks to see its magic. For instance, in a class now I just hit "record" and then start an outline. I write a few words to remind me of the points being made. As I write it puts a little audio icon next to each node in my outline.
Let's say I want to remember what an instructor said in a class a week later. Well, my notes are imperfect, right? But the audio is there. Just double-click the icon next to the written note and listen to the audio.
It works with any computer, not just Tablet PCs (although it's ultra cool on Tablets).
Anyway, why do I bring this up? Cause the guy, Chris Pratley, who runs the OneNote team is one of the best bloggers I've seen. Has a real knack for drawing you into his world.
Look at today's post. He talks about the new update.
Or, look at a previous post where he asks for feedback. Why aren't more people asking him to put a "blog this" feature into OneNote? And, yes, it'd be interesting if an RSS reader were built into OneNote.
Joe Wilcox, on Microsoft Monitor, responds to me again with a lengthy response.
"Basically, Mr. Scoble is saying that Adobe cannot do any more innovations without Microsoft."
Hmmm, well, ask Kunal Das or Robert McLaws how to innovate on our existing platforms. They added a "blog this" feature to existing applications. Hint, I don't see that yet in Photoshop or Illustrator. I wish it were there. Adobe could do that today on existing platforms (both on Mac and on Windows). Without any help from Microsoft. There are tons of innovations that are left to do. Hint: Dave Winer got RSS going without any help from Microsoft.
So, no, that's not what I meant. I meant that if you add more value you'll get rewarded in the marketplace. Adobe's strength has always been to find ways to add value.
"Adobe isn't successful because the company builds on top of Windows. Microsoft is successful because companies like Adobe develop products for Windows."
Well, Adobe actually built most of its brand recognition in my brain on the Macintosh, but interesting point. Which came first? The platform or the applications? The Macintosh or Adobe? Yes, a platform will not be successful if there are no applications built on top of it. What's important? The house, or the foundation? To most people they only interact with the house. But I guarantee you that the foundation needed to be put in first. The house needs the foundation. The foundation needs the house (to be useful, otherwise it's just some concrete in a trench).
"The point: Windows needs developers, not the other way round."
Um, does the house need a foundation?
Now, when Adobe considers a foundation (let's say that Joe's right and they are considering only supporting Linux). Developers need to ask themselves a few questions:
1) Which foundation (er, OS) will more users use? Why?
2) Which foundation provides more interfaces that I can exploit?
3) Which foundation will my customers find a better experience on? Which one provides better technical support, for instance? Which one has a healthier ecosystem? Which one do people like to use more? Which one is running on the hardware I want to deliver applications on? For instance, let's say you want to deliver a new version of Photoshop with inking support for those new Tablet PCs. Which platform best supports inking? Which will best support it in two years?
4) Which population of users are more likely to buy my company's (Adobe's in this case) product?
Yes, the platform needs developers. Absolutely. 100%. That's why I'm here. That's why Channel9 is here. Joe is completely correct on that. It's why our teams go to conferences. It's why we fly and meet with ISVs all over the world. It's why we pick up the phone and are nice to developers (and CEOs) and try to give them everything they want.
It's why we do PDCs and TechEDs and why we have a book division and why we help INETA and training companies. Without applications from companies and developers Windows is just a useless piece of concrete in a trench.
"But, underneath I detect the "developers need us more" attitude exhibited in Mr. Scoble's response to my blog. Then there is the ongoing conflict between Microsoft's applications and platforms businesses. The attitude also ignores that developers are creating innovative products on existing Windows versions."
Hmmm, I hope I didn't exhibit that attitude. I +know+ that if there aren't great applications written for Longhorn I'll be fired. (And I don't get credit for the Office team's apps) Simple as that. Think I'm not motivated to help developers out in whatever way possible?
Yeah, if you took yesterday's piece by itself I guess I ignored all the innovations that are happening on existing Windows versions. But, luckily, I have a three-year body of work on this weblog. I regularly point out when developers do innovative things, whether it's Orkut at Google (who built on top of our platform) or Greg Reinacker of NewsGator (who built a couple of products so far on top of our platforms) or, yes, Adobe, who continues to build great stuff (were you at the PDC? Did you see what they did for Longhorn?)
Here's another hint: we have 400 bloggers online. Most of which have comments where you can write back to the authors and tell them what you think. Most of which are sharing their email addresses. Most of which give great information about our platforms (ever read Chris Brumme's weblog?). Name another platform company (or movement) where you know the architect who is building key pieces of the next platform (like Chris Anderson's weblog). Go ahead, email both of us if you can find the other guy's email addresses (other guy meaning people working on Linux or the Macintosh). Ask us a question. Build a relationship. See how we treat you. Are we jerks? Do we ignore you? Are we arrogant? We're here. We want to work together to build a great industry. Or come over to Channel9. There you'll find guys like me. Guys like Eric Rudder (yeah, he's showing up there often). Guys like Samuel Druker of the WinFS team. Or head over to the newsgroups. Microsoft has a rich history of interacting with customers and developers in the newsgroups.
Yes, Joe is right. Microsoft (and evangelists like me especially) need developers. Without them, all we have is an ugly concrete-filled trench. Let's build a great house together!
Oh, and Joe, thanks for the back and forth. I enjoyed it. It made me look at my own attitudes in a new way. Your weblog is one of the first I read in the morning, so that's a testimony that I think you're doing interesting and important stuff.