Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Monday, September 12, 2005

Byron thinks that Microsoft should buy all of its employees an iPod Nano and then have them report back a week later on why they can't make a product like that. Oh, there was one being handed around here at the PDC among a bunch of Microsoft execs and employees. It is damn awesome. My hat is off to Apple. They do nice work. Straight up.

7:48:59 PM    Mudpit 

Here's some very cool non-Microsoft news that I'm proud to announce (I am the first site to report this news).

I'm on the phone with Gabe Rivera, emperor of Memeorandum. He is, at this very moment, turning on major new versions of Memorandum Tech and Memorandum Politics/News.

He has more details on his blog.

This is VERY exciting. It is why I don't do my link blog anymore.

OK, so, it looks like a lame boring blog site, right?

Look again.

It's a news page for blogs. It tells you what bloggers find important. Right now.

First, let's look at the Tech News Memeorandum. What's cool about that?

Well, remember that I read 1,389 RSS feeds? Well, it takes a weirdo like me hours to go through all of those and finding trends in that is pretty difficult.

What is important to the bloggers? You won't know unless you read all those blogs and keep track mentally of when various bloggers link to something or talk about it.

Memeorandum chews through thousands of blogs in minutes and tells you what's important. It does this every few minutes. It is dramatically faster than I could ever be. It's all machine based. No humans involved.

OK, that sounds cool, but there's some limitations. First, his system today does only follows two communities: tech bloggers and political bloggers.

Second of all, he doesn't look at all of the blogs in the world (unless you hit preferences and start using the blog search services he's linked in). Huh? How cool can that be if it doesn't include your Uncle Joe who wrote code one time back in college?

It's very cool, because it has very low noise. In fact, I've been visiting this 10 to 50 times a day for the last few months and I've never seen something that I would call noise or spam.

Gabe has been working on this for more than a year. He's a former compiler writer who used to work at Intel. So, he has a bit of smarts about how to do this. He's built this out of his Silicon Valley bedroom with no funding that I know of other than what he saved up working at Intel.

So, his service started with a "white list" of top tech and political blogs and watched what we linked to. It can add new sites based on those links.

Let's say I link to a new site. That counts as a "vote" in his system. If enough people "vote" for a story, it'll show up on this page. If more people link to the new site, it'll move up the page. For instance, you can see the eBay buys Skype story at the top of the Tech Memeorandum right now.

That got there because it was the hot story of the day. It will now start moving down the page and within 24 hours will disappear from the page altogether. To be replaced by what bloggers are linking to tomorrow morning.

Now, how does it decide who gets on this page? For instance, Dave Winer links to a lot of things on his blog. His links count as votes. But you'll rarely see Dave's blog on this page. Why? Because Dave only occassionally writes more than one sentence on a link. If Dave writes, say, a few paragraphs about something you'll see him linked underneath what he linked to.

Now, if Dave announces a major piece of news himself (like when he announced his OPML application) then he'll be at the top, but only if a bunch of other bloggers linked to him (and more bloggers linked to his story than any others).

Now, can this be gamed? Of course!

I can game things by linking to them and getting my friends to link to them. The problem is, if we do that for something that isn't of high value to our readers, we'll get derided. And, if we really start doing something stupid (like linking to porn sites) then Gabe will pull us out of the list and we'll get removed from the page altogether. The social pressure to behave here is high.

This is a HUGE thing to me. If you are a busy executive and only have five minutes a day to see what the blogs are saying, this is THE PLACE to come to every day. Watch it over the next week and see how good it is.

Oh, and check out the preferences. Add "Show Link Search." Hey, now you can visit your favorite blog search engine and see ALL the blogs that link to something. This is awesome and has totally changed how I read blogs.

Update: the Politics/News page covers current events. That includes both politics and things that are happening in the world.

Update: I fixed a spelling mistake. It's memeorandum.

7:08:48 PM    Mudpit 

Remember last Friday when I posted that a Microsoft employee in Australia had gotten the Windows Vista hardware requirements wrong? Well, he's sitting right next to me now and wanted to clear up what happened.

First, Michael Kleef has already posted a followup too.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that his talk was taken out of context and wasn't reported well. His talk was focused on hardware evolution. He was talking about what's coming in hardware.

The talk wasn't about Windows Vista, but was about hardware trends and how things are changing. He says that where things didn't get understood is when he was talking about different scenarios and that people will need different hardware for some things. Sorta like a gamer who is interested in the best experience will want to buy the absolute fastest machine, while a worker who is filling out a form, say, at a rental car agency, won't need that kind of horsepower.

He says he's running Windows Vista on his old Tablet PC and it runs just fine. So he knew the minimum requirements of Windows Vista, but this talk wasn't about that.

Anyway, now that I have more facts, I said I'm sorry for making it sound like he had given out facts that he hadn't. Glad I could clear up the story.

5:10:41 PM    Mudpit 

Update on the power outage. MSNBC is reporting that workers connected the wrong wire. Ouch. I'd hate to be them right now.

4:09:01 PM    Mudpit 

The Skype news today continues being the topic of the day. There are a ton of blogs talking about the news. But, Skype Journal is where I look for news about Skype and they have a bunch of links to various viewpoints.

Jeff Pulver, another guy I look to for insightful viewpoints posted "End of an Era?"

3:45:46 PM    Mudpit 

Well, the power went out here in Los Angeles. Of course the bloggers here at the PDC are on top of it.

The power is back up now.

Just a reminder: if you have PDC photos, tag them with the PDC05 tag so they'll show up on the PDC Flickr photo site.

3:05:40 PM    Mudpit 

Someone in my comments pointed out that MSN Search is political too. Looks like MSN sides with the conservatives while Google sides with the liberals. Hmmm.

What am I talking about? Type "failure" into each engine and see what the top link is.

10:04:23 AM    Mudpit 

Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch writes: Top Ten Things You Can Do to Get Blogged.

Great list.

10:00:35 AM    Mudpit 

We treat our bloggers well at PDC.

Oh, so he's the one who got the cool room. I'm stuck in the Westin which is nice, but I don't have a piano in my room.

9:58:52 AM    Mudpit 

Mary Jo Foley gives her predictions of what's coming at the PDC: More Developers, More Developers, More Developers!

One thing I gotta correct. I used to think that Sparkle was a Flash killer. Hey, that was good hype cause that team hired a lot of graphic designers, including guys like Manuel Clement who used to speak at a bunch of the Flashforward conferences. But I got the demo. It is NO Flash killer. You'll get a look at the demo on Channel 9 on Wednesday after the team presents what they are doing here at the PDC.

But Macromedia/Adobe's Flash is safe from the bad big boys in Microsoft.

That said, Sparkle is freaking cool. Let me say that again. Freaking awesome. It's getting me to throw a chair in excitement. It's one of the things to look out for. My eyes were popping out during the entire demo. Damn, they are about to change how development is done.

Mary Jo actually does a pretty good job of figuring out what the top-level stories are, but she's missing somethings that we have up our sleeves that haven't leaked yet.

Oh, and the hype I was putting out there last week? It wasn't enough. I hadn't seen Sean Alexander's thing (he showed it to me yesterday, you'll see it on Channel 9 later this week) and Hillel Cooperman has something up his sleeve too. I'm seeing that in a couple of hours.

Last night I had dinner with a bunch of Channel 9'ers who had seen some of this stuff under NDA. They said I was right that people have no idea what's gonna hit tomorrow.

Don't get me wrong. Not everyone will love what we're doing. But that's why it's shock and awe. Some will be shocked. Some will be awed. I can't wait to see what the reaction is.

9:28:10 AM    Mudpit 

Jonathan Blundell asked is Google political?

Turns out that if you type "failure" into Google and hit "I feel lucky" you'll get the official biography of, well, I don't want to ruin the suprise.

9:07:19 AM    Mudpit 

These guys at Ventuz do the coolest stuff. Check out their videos (especially the Games Convention one and the Kung Fu one). They do presentation systems for big events. All done in .NET, from what I hear.

8:36:10 AM    Mudpit 

Wow, it's big aquisition day today. Oracle just bought Siebel for $5.9 billion, according to BusinessWeek.

7:55:36 AM    Mudpit 

Amazing! Congrats to my former boss, Lenn Pryor. Skype was just sold to eBay for, if I read this right, $4.1 billion. (Lenn left earlier this year to take an executive position at Skype).

Jeff Clavier looks at the details.

Some people have come up to me and asked me "does this deal make any sense to you?" It does. eBay is a marketplace. It's about putting buyers and sellers together. Now, how can you make that marketplace more efficient? Voice and video.

Selling things is easier when you can tell and show. Skype is all about that.

But it still is a shockingly large deal and my former boss right now is looking like the smartest guy around.

7:49:25 AM    Mudpit 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
10/1/2005; 12:42:46 AM.

Robert Scoble works at Microsoft (title: technical evangelist). Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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