Why do I put my cell phone number on my blog? Well, tonight I was at Milpitas' Golf Land when my phone rang. It turned out to be Christopher Goettsche, design producer of ABC's Extreme Home Makeover. They are rebuilding a home near Seattle for a family that had their home burn down -- this family also is widowed, Chris said, so they really are struggling to get back on their feet after the fire last spring destroyed everything they owned. The rebuilt house will be done this week, and Chris wanted to add onto the suprise for the family that's coming back to see their rebuilt home and thought of Microsoft and found my blog.
One of the kids in the home has a dream of being a graphic or an interior designer. I thought it was the kind of story that we could all help out with (and I'm already working with several people here at Microsoft on this).
They were wondering if we could get a computer (or more), a scanner, printer, and a bunch of software. Anyone want to help out here? There are three daughters in this family: two in high school, one in college.
Now, this is the kind of PR opportunity that a company would kill for, right? So, why am I putting it on my blog? Because this is the kind of thing that the entire industry should share in, not just Microsoft. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. How can we help make at least one family's life a little brighter? Maybe all of us can find some more ways to help out other people. Ideas are welcome!
Anyway, just another reason I put my phone number on the blog. What business opportunities (or charity opportunities) have you missed because someone couldn't get ahold of you?
See ya at the geek dinner tonight. 7 p.m. at Chef Chu's in Mountain View. My cell phone is 425-205-1921 if you need directions.
I've been thinking about Tomek, the guy who won the TopCoder algorithm contest yesterday. After the contest we were standing around talking and I asked him:
"When did you start programming?"
"I was 12."
"Why did you start?"
"My parents gave me a computer with no games."
So, he set out to write his own games and learn the machine. My son is soon to turn 11 (his birthday is in January). My parenting skills are going to soon be tested with new kinds of challenges. Already he knows more about technology than I ever did when I was so young (remember, when I was his age two kids named Steve were just in the process of building their Apple I prototype).
What got you into programming?
And, how can I help my son get into pushing around the machine?
At BloggerCon I said I'm interested in working together with people who want to work with their 10 to 13-year-old children and get them excited about math and science and computers.
Raymond Chen is at the top of many "favorite Microsoft blogger" lists (including mine) because he knows Windows inside and out and shares that information with everyone. Yesterday he posted "will dragging a file result in a move or a copy?"
Brad Sucks: your tag line is false. He says he's a one-man-band with no fans. Well, Adam Curry played him. And I'm a fan.
I'm glad to see that Adam Curry is playing music that is shared with all of us.
So, Brad, I wanna see you in concert. What will it take?
DL Byron had a dream. He knew he had a better way to seal things. So, he invented a system called "Clip-n-Seal." But, how do you market it without any marketing budget? After all, it's not like you can just walk into Walmart's offices and get them to sell an unproven product, right?
So, what did he do? He started a blog. It's been pretty successful, but I'll let him tell you how it's working out (he's recently been interviewed by one of those business magazines).
Well, now his company, Clip-n-Seal is banding together with IDFuel and is holding a design contest.
It's wild, on Monday I was walking around Tower Records with Adam Curry and Dawn and Drew. That's the Tower Records I'd go to as a kid to buy my music. Now Adam's back in Belgium and I'm listening to his daily source code. He's being interviewed by the BBC. It's just been a crazy week.
One question: why is it that podcasts generally tend toward the potty mouth end of the spectrum? I think it's backlash against our purified puritanical culture that's been enforced on our public airwaves (this week many American TV stations refused to broadcast Saving Private Ryan due to the "bad language" used on that movie). The funny thing is when the BBC was recording they said they couldn't use some of Adam and Dave's material on air.
It was interesting when the two different cultures clashed (the podcasters had to adjust to get their stuff on air).
Chris Holland is looking for a good PC laptop.
Some questions I need to know?
1) Do you really want a portable, or are you going to leave it on a desk 99% of the time? (I fly a lot so I care about light weight and "bagability").
2) Do you care about screen resolution. My new Toshiba Tablet PC, for instance, has 1400x1050 resolution and, BOY, does it make it nicer to use Visual Studio or Photoshop (you can fit more on the screen).
3) Do you care about battery life? My Toshiba, for instance, is getting three to four hours. Buzz's IBM Thinkpad, with a double-size battery, is getting about seven. Same for my boss's Sony Vaio (same one that Dave Winer recently purchased).
4) Do you read a lot? The Tablet PC is nicer to read on. Why? Because you can switch it to portrait mode. That means less scrolling. Eyetrak research shows that everytime you need to scroll your reading speed goes down because your eye needs to find where you left off, refocus, reparse, and start reading again. It might not seem like that big a deal, but it does add up if you read a lot like I do.
5) Are you going to play video games? Then you'll probably need to give up some of the above items to get a badass processor and video card.
Anyway, you know which way I'd recommend going, but I'll stay out of it. Anyone have any suggestions for Chris?
Bahar Gidwani is CEO of Index Stock Imagery and yesterday he gave some interesting stories from their customer-service front lines in a post titled "is digital good for stock customers?"
It's amazing sometimes the things that people do and ask.
The latest Engadget Podcast'ers are doing something smart: they put text links into their audio. I can scan the text, see if they are talking about anything interesting to me. They show the times too, so if only a certain section of the audio show sounds interesting, you can go forward right to that section.
This is something that I wish every podcaster would do. In fact, Adam and Dave, is there any way to include such information in the "last 100 podcasts" site? That would be most helpful. There's too much audio to listen to (I can only do one or two hours a day) and having great text descriptions really helps everyone!
If you haven't checked out the audio shows on ITConversations, you really should. Doug Kaye is one of the nicest guys I've met in my travels, and his stuff is high quality.
Speaking of that, Dave Winer has been bugging me to write up my notes. I'll work on that. Just a bit overloaded in information at the moment. :-)
Mike Gunderloy: congrats on your 500th "the Daily Grind." I took potshots at him for his format. It isn't RSS friendly. Everytime I link to it the headline on the post just says "the Daily Grind" but I find that he is doing the best linkblog that I read. It's a great resource for developers, particularly ones who focus on .NET.
More cool stuff from my link blog:
Steve Jurvetson posts pictures of where he went fishing with Gordon Moore. Yeah. THAT Moore. The one who coined the term "Moore's law" for noticing that the semiconductor industry is able to double the number of transistors on a chip about every 18 months. Jurvetson is a famous Silicon Valley venture capitalist and I love his photoblog (done with Flickr).
The Autoblog is another one of Jason Calacanis' family of blogs. Engadget. Marc Cuban's blog. And lots more.
All of these things are running on Windows Server 2003, by the way. Engadget is the most popular weblog, gets 250,000 unique visits per day. I've never seen it down when I've visited.