Thursday, July 27, 2006


IronPython can now be found on CodePlex: IronPython

As of this posting, it's hit RC1.

One thing I find super useful with IronPython is that it allows interactive playing with .NET and other libraries; very useful if you're trying to figure out the right business logic without going through an entire deployment cycle of your associated solution.

Monday, July 24, 2006


My to-do list includes learning more about emerging Microsoft Live technology, including:

Virtual Earth / Local Live has my greatest attention right now - I'm especially interested in some sort of GeoRSS mash-up.

Uh. I hate that 'mash-up' term because I feel it is an IQ dropper... how about GeoRSS API Cross-Synergy... leveraging... thing.

Okay, mash-up it is.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I was a big Dell fan once upon a time. Then it seemed more and more value-added, er, crap-ware was getting installed. I understand Dell wanting to make some extra cash by pre-loaded software. But I know what I want and I especially know what I don't want and I really don't want promotional and demo software sucking up space on my new machine, let alone hogging up the start-up / services of my computer. So the last big computer I bought (that I'm typing on right now) was a Gateway. And I've been exceptionally happy with it.

I just learned that Dell has an option for "clean" installs: No Bloatware, Please - one2one, Dell's Weblog

I left the below comment and it's true: when it's time to buy a Vista Premium system, I will now reconsider Dell.

This is excellent news - the main reason I bought a Gateway last time instead
of a Dell (after having bought two Dells) is that I was able to sit in front of
a new Gateway and look at what was installed: nearly nothing. That was exactly
what I wanted... in not wanting anything.

Given how much time I spend "cleaning" new consumer systems that friends and
family members buy (msconfig.exe and all that), I mentioned I'd even be willing
to kick in $5 or whatever to avoid such value-adds from showing up in the first

When I'm ready to buy my Vista-premium system, I will reconsider Dell given
this option.

What's interesting to me regarding this: I wouldn't have known about this non-bloatware option if it wasn't for (1) Dell setting up a conversational blog, and (2) TechMeme picking it up. Given those two events, Dell has both my attention and, quite possibly, some cash from me in 2007.


I only heard about Rocketboom given the explosion in posting around the blogosphere when there was a meltdown with the previous host.

Truly, any publicity is good publicity.

Robert Scoble pointed to the latest Friday Rocketboom entry (that makes two Friday Rocketboom entries viewed for me now) so I gave it a watch - always something good to do while putting off a load of laundry - Rocketboom for 7/21/06 - how to tie shoelaces.

Now I'm amazing myself with a new way to tie my laces. But video-blogging? Or video viewing in general?

The one thing about the web and blogging is that appeals to the multi-task textual scan nature of the increasingly complex person. Video watching is a stop everything and pay attention event. So either it has to be short or very well done and meaningful.

The laces bit is shot and edited very well. I especially love the bits around the implications of having two extra seconds back in your life - and in case you didn't notice, there's a directors cut: a nice nod to insiders.

So I'll probably be back, at least every Friday, to check in on Rocketboom. And if anyone can put up a how-to on how to do a New York City cab-call whistle (I've always wanted to know), I'd be deeply appreciative... I figure one of those shrill whistles can probably bring traffic to a halt in Seattle.

Friday, July 21, 2006


So far, it's up to nine (!) parts with more to come: Christopher V. Domino : InfoPathology - Part 1 - a nice technical discussion of some of the deeper aspects of InfoPath, written in a way of discovering how things really work.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Woof! This is awesome: Microsoft buys Windows utility software maker CNET

"In buying Winternals, Microsoft is getting the company's free tools, its
Sysinternals community Web site as well as several paid-for software products
for businesses. However, it appears Microsoft made the deal, in large part, to
hire the company's two co-founders.

'It's definitely about talent,' Platform and Services division architect
Jason Garms said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. 'Mark is one of the top
five or 10 people in the world when it comes to Windows internals.' "

I hope that the Sysinternals web site stays up and that we continue to offer the tools and their source. That toolset is one of the essentials for working on Windows machines.


Sunday, July 16, 2006
Microsoft and Gnomedex6 - Thoughts and Opinions


So I've let Gnomedex soak in and have meditated on it and I've decided to write up my near-final impressions of Gnomedex6 and how it may apply to Microsoft and Microsoft product teams.

This wraps up everything but thoughts around Second Life.

What follows are my personal opinions and insights.


Standards for easy in and out: Marc Canter is a big standards fan, and his time on stage was spent discussing standards. He sees adoption and use of standards as a way of owning data and being able to get it in and out of various programs and web properties. He harassed Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo! for Yahoo! being locked in and not being able to get your Yahoo! data out.

First: I think data transportability is a lot more important than rigid adherence to standards. Of course, I'm jaded: when the web was new and Netscape was indulging in <BLINK> and Microsoft in <MARQUEE> we needed the W3C to knock some heads around and get things straight. Same thing for XML, XML namespaces, and XSLT and XPath. All good efforts supported and implemented by industry getting back on their own interim work (e.g., XQL). Those standards were needed. Now? Well, XSD was the turning point for me, especially seeing of how people can design their XSD schema and then discover no consistently good handling for it within the available implementations. XQuery makes me somewhat ill. And XHTML 2.0 and onwards makes me tilt my head quizzically and ask: why? It seems as though the answer is, "Just because one day there might be an XHTML 2.0 so... why not today?" What industry partners are clamoring to implement what XHTML 2.0 will give us? Hell, we're having a hard enough time getting CSS 2.0 to be happy.

So, that's just a small point: the standards can't be just for the sake of a committee getting together and implementing a standard, especially pre-emptive standardization. It has to arise out of a real and present need, perhaps replacing something organic that is smoking and tearing apart at the duct-taped joints. But, smoking aside, that works and provides real-world use.

Second: easy in and out for data. I think Microsoft can be a, well, standards bearer here. How about first being able to archive my blog? Next: how about being able to migrate my blog and associated comments? How about migrating my social networking data from Friendster to MySpace? Good. Next up would be a way to easily get data out of a site, edit it within say Word, and then put it back into that site. Say I want to edit my MySpace profile. How easy is it to get into Word, edit, and back? Something beyond the clipboard as it currently stands. Perhaps something more associated with a Live Clipboard that is micro-format aware and can serve as the adapter between the cloud and the client.

If Microsoft tools can exist as a part of the lifetime of data's existence, the tools can become an important foundation to manipulating and moving that data around. The data becomes the platform we operate within. But we have to be open to not only consuming and editing a user's data but also allowing that user to get the geeky-goodness of their data in and out directly. And a good implementation can always result in an industry leading, practical standard.

Attention: so I do recommend reading the following short paper: The Attention Economy The Natural Economy of the Net - this is a good paper to reflect upon given that it helps you understand sites like Memorandum and how they are doing a temporal aggregation of what people are writing about and linking to and rolling that up as a moment of: "Hey, this is what people are currently paying attention to."

Attention, in today's society, is power. The economy aspect of it, though, it what causes people to stumble as they ask, "How do I turn attention into money?" Well, how does a famous person turn attention into money?

As for the geekier aspects of attention, I've tried to conjure up a deeper understanding of Attention before: Eric'o'theque! Attention! After the first day of Gnomedex6, I wrote some unfortunate things regarding Mr. Gillmor's Attention Operating System talk, but it still escapes me, excepting the above paper, what's so super and beyond the obvious related to attention. It seems like simple data mining, like what Amazon does for each customer, and what attention strives to do is empower the user to data mine themselves and, if they choose, anonymize and share their attention so that an aggregate set of web-space sites can be unioned together to see what people in general are paying attention to.

As for Microsoft? Eh. Well, it would be useful if Sharepoint could create a page representing the sites and subsites that I have been visiting and using. What forms do I frequently fill out? What lists do I tend to edit? Digital bread crumbs aggregated over time and use. Then, I guess, knowing my organization, they could find associated sites within my reports, my peers, and my management (should my boss be on vacation and I need to fill out a report my boss usually does once a week). There shouldn't be any privacy concerns there since I'd only see information I have access to.

For Internet Explorer: should there be a way to do a more indepth history feature? Something I could push-up and push-down between the four different computers I use during the day would be nice. Call it "Live History" - oh yes, enjoy the oxymoron! - and provide a rich web page experience where I can review and organize where I spend my digital time, merged across participating devices. The most important thing is that I can let it roam, keep it updated, and access it from any computer. This would be something beyond the hierarchy of OPML.

Online life is exceptionally chaotic and a lot of data tracking a person's usage is collected. Perhaps there is something to the poor person bouncing around everywhere to opting in to having what they pay attention to collected and data mined and repurposed for themselves. And that's probably all fine and good until the lawyers get involved. Fine. Be sure to encrypt it.

Niche-ification: you could say that Web 2.0 right now is an explosive growth of niche solutions looking to do well in a particular small, passionate problem space and then grow into other spaces. This is related to one aspect of The Innovator's Dilemma, where it notes that new breakthroughs are usually a groundswell movement that start small. This is pretty opposed to swinging a billion dollar bat: instead of going after a single one billion dollar sure bet, are you willing to go after one hundred ten-million dollar bets, gambling that in addition to a small chunk of profit in the millions you'll also have one to five percent of those be a breakthrough innovation that brings in future billions?

Well, that might be me taking Chris and Tara's talk further than it should. Right now, however, is a grand time for starting up niche businesses, sexing them up with Ajax and Web 2.0 monikers, and being able to get a presence to build on. How does this apply to Microsoft?

I'd seriously bet that Microsoft technology is absolutely absent from these niche gambits. If anything, it's 100% LAMP: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/Python/PHP (which, I guess, is more LAMPPP). Microsoft's loss here? Explosive growth for one of these niche gambits is not going to risk transitioning technology to a Microsoft equivalent toolset.

Marc Canter was walking around with a lei necklace of giveaway USB drives containing the LAMP-centric source code to the People Aggregator he was evangelizing. If Microsoft was to create a "niche-in-the-box" toolset, what would those tools consist of and would it be free? Would it be as directly straight forward as LAMP? Obviously the "L" equivalent is WinXP Pro or W2K3 and it's not free. And the A would be a feature of that OS. Database? The goodnews is that the "P" equivalent is pretty well covered with .NET technology, the SDK, and the free VS environments.

But it's not easy for people with startup mentalities to eschew LAMP for a Microsoft equivalent to go from prototype to beta to release. We're losing mindshare in the innovators market, and people are investing more time learning Python and PHP over C# and ASP.NET. Those tools have the gravity well. We don't.

User design innovation: this was Dave Winer's talk and it has me thinking. When the next rev of your product starts (or you're designing a new product) what do you do to be confident regarding the high-level impact of the feature set you're going to implement and deliver? Some people talk to key customers. Some people look for new markets that the feature set would allow growth and dominance.

How much comes from direct, everyday users? Now, the Innovator's Dilemma (again) would say watch out for giving people what they want because maybe they don't really know what's best for themselves and you're limiting yourself by listening to your customer. Is that always true? And with more people indulging in online transcription of their every thought, isn't it easier to find users and groups that could have good influence regarding what your product does? And if they start taking proactive engagement in specifying what they want (and want fixed), would you engage and listen to them?

I'm not sure how much each Microsoftie is engaged with tracking how users are responding to our products, other than what we see rolled up in articles and reports. What if each person had to go out and find a reaction, pro or con, to their feature in the real world, and write it up, along with deciding if there was anything actionable and why they came to that decision? I'm pretty interested in getting more involved in our community efforts right now and seeing how much of that can become part of everyday life for Microsofties.

Anyone But Microsoft: so to wrap this up: what was it like being a Microsoftie amidst the echo-chamber + VC + Web 2.0 innovation crowd? Personally: I didn't feel relevant. And I didn't feel Microsoft was relevant as anything else than a disrespected boogie-man. Even if we're running on probably 80% of the laptops there, Microsoft and its technology was more something to endure vs. being excited about and use and leverage and profit from. This only burns my biscuits because I saw a number of the attendees present as individuals I respect and that I've been following for years. They've influenced me. And I see them as influencers to others going forward. And to them, Microsoft is the butt of a sad, sad joke. I disagree.

I certainly want to change this, though I have to do my own reality check whether there's anything Microsoft could ever do for some crowds or if they are happily situated in their own space. But still. Kaliya tried to invigorate the crowd to develop innovative community solutions because if they didn't "Microsoft would." Booga Booga! But... is that so bad? Whatever happened to win-win?

- - - - - -

Saturday, July 15, 2006


When I'm an interviewer, I of course look up the person I'm about to interview on the 'net. I have yet to stumble across someone who has put up something racy or racist or something so outright offensive that I couldn't imagine hiring them. I can only hope that such a person would fail our initial screening. But as online sites like MySpace and Facebook and Friendster allows people to indulge more and more in transcribing their transgressions in life, you've got to expect there's a backlash looming. And one of these days, I'm going to be surprised.

Case in point:

Facebook, Myspace, etc. And Getting Hired - a snippet:

But, during the interview, something he was not prepared for happened. The interviewer began asking specific questions about the content on his listing and the situation became very awkward and uncomfortable. The son had thought only those he allowed to access his profile would be able to do so. But, the interviewer explained that as a state agency, recruiters accessed his Facebook account under the auspices of the Patriot Act.

Sometime soon, high-school and college students are going to realize that you have to build your professional, easy to find, upstanding public net presence that you control and shape and, off to the side, keep a relatively anonymous indulgence not directly associated with you but rather a persona that gives you plausible deniability. Sure your friends know who it is. And that's good enough. They'll have to be split. Anything else is just mud spelled backwards.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Oh, and within my zeal to discuss all the great Win32 client InfoPath hosting we've done I've neglected to note that the InfoPath server side is hostable within an ASPX page as well: Hosting an InfoPath form in an ASPX page. So you can use InfoPath server-side forms technology within your ASP.NET application, too.

We give you the sun and the moon, baby.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Whew-wee, it's hard to believe I was once a UI designer and Edward Tufte fan looking at this ugly little web utility I slapped together: DHTML Taggy!

Feel free to save locally and modify. Send me any feedback or ideas.

Taggy is what I intend to use as my homegrown tag generator so that I can add some Technorati tags at the end of my more meaningful blog posts. Well, and non-meaningful, too. I've been doing this by hand so far.

I had intended to do this as a Yahoo! widget but, well, two months later and it took 30 minutes to write in DHTML and verify and this good enough for now.

In addition to typing in your tags (ten tags max) there are three fields for customizing the resultant HTML:

(1) The outer HTML that should be generated containing your lists of tags. By default, I have two HR tags in there to help seperate out the HTML I want to copy and paste. The %s represents the series of tags to be inserted.

(2) The HTML for each tag. %u is the escaped form (spaces converted to plus-sign, all text converted to lower-case). %s is the tag you typed in.

(3) What goes between each tag (e.g., comma, space, hypen).

It generates both an HTML area you can copy and paste from and a textbox containing the raw HTML (should you need that instead).

- - -



Here's yet another InfoPath 2007 integration story: Groove 12 Customization - that's right, we're a form solution for Groove!

Marc Olson discusses the Groove / InfoPath form story and compares it to previous Groove technology.



Ooo, I keep forgetting about the Internet WayBack machine and its archive of various Internet sites, especially during the early days. Fortunately, Dave Winer pointed to a "DaveNet" link and it rekindled that little memory: HotWired: DaveNet - Archive


Hmm, how are my initial web sites looking...

My Teleport account

Intel Supercomputers (httpd that I slapped up)

Monday, July 10, 2006


Roger Jennings looks deeper into wufoo here: OakLeaf Systems: Wufoo Challenges InfoPath for Form-Based Web Data Entry.

Seems useful for exceptionally easy forms that don't even think of stretching the limits beyond the built-in HTML FORM constructs.

What's more interesting to me is interoperability. How would I migrate a Wufoo form to InfoPath once it's ready to grow up?



Found via Tess' blog "If broken it is, fix it you should": Lutz Roeder's Programming.NET Tools including Reflector for .NET - not only does it rebuilt the source but it also wires it into online documentation for the various objects. Nice.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Derek Miller's photos from Gnomedex: All of Derek's Gnomedex 2006 photos Derek K. Miller, Writer & Editor, Vancouver, Canada

Hidden in there is, well, a snap of Elisa and I wedged into a spacey sphere-chair at the EMP. I'm not sure if I'm smiling for the camera or calling out for help...

Thanks for putting the photo up, Derek!



Tear down your Farrah Fawcett poster, there's something even sexier in town now, in vibrant orange and yellow: Erika Ehrli : 2007 Office System: Developer Posters.

It's a nice visual overview of what's new in the InfoPath 2007 object model.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Balamurali Balaji provides a screen-shot stuffed overview of the new InfoPath 2007 logic inspector. This is a new form deisgner feature that helps decode what's going on within your solution. It's fantastic for when you've inherited a solution and want to get to know it from a high-level, vs. going from field to field to see if any rules or calculations are set for that field: Logic Inspector in InfoPath 2007 Forms - The Code Project



Scott and Hagen, from the InfoPath team, have a great overview of what's new and interesting in the following MSDN article: InfoPath 2007: Designing Form Templates With The New Features Of InfoPath -- MSDN Magazine, August 2006

Other good news is at the bottom of the article: Scott and Hagen are co-authors of an upcoming Addison-Wesley book on InfoPath 2007: Designing Forms with Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Erik Rucker describes the setup for collecting Access data via HTML forms or InfoPath: A discussion of what's new in Access 2007 (formerly "Access 12") : Data Collection Through Email.

It's another great example of the level of InfoPath-technology integration Office has been able to accomplish this release.



Uh, oh, how long until we start hearing InfoPath is dead in the water because someone has - gasp - an AJAX eform engine: TechCrunch - Make powerful online forms easily with Wufoo. Their server has died under the load of attention.

Well, this just validates that electronic forms are indeed the new hotness!



I can't wait to give this ad service unfriendly host file a go. It's not that the ads are distracting me, it's that they slow me way the hell down when it comes to loading pages and then insert flyovers and noises and voices to when I'm just trying to get things done.

If someone added an easy to install free service to keep people's host file up-to-date with the latest filtering, what would that mean for the bold new world of making oodles of cash off of advertisements?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Gnomedex 6 Day Two Impressions


Okay, so I'm a tad bit delayed getting my Gnomedex6 day two summary up. Some other interesting things were going on worth blogging about first.

Basically, it was a very different day from the first, mainly due to the absence of an attraction like Senator John Edwards. And no proclamations, welcomes, etc etc. Or TechMeme hacks. Just hitting the ground running, with Dave Winer first up. Snippet of his intentions:

The two ideas are outlined in two DaveNet pieces:

  1. How to Make Money on the Internet, v2.0 and
  2. Monoculture, An artifact of the 20th century?

Dave started by noting that it's easier for the user to become a manufacturer than a manufacturer to become a user. What's wrong with the manufacturers of the world? They come down from the mountain with their product for you to buy and worship, and then maybe two years later they return with the next product for you to buy and worship. Dave then asked the audience to think about how things have changed over the past ten, fifteen, twenty years, especially around travel and dealing with travel agents.

When it comes to making money, Dave dismissed ads on websites. Instead, the websites should be ads for ourselves and we should learn who shares common interests. An example he provided is Engadget: how long until Engadget is providing feedback to manufacturers around exactly what they & gadget lovers want? This would make manufacturers fulfillment houses for visionary users.

(Note: it was an interesting theme of the conference that most people were dismissing advertising as anything special.)

As part of the discussion, someone recommended the book All Rise and noted its website all Breaking Ranks » All Rise

Second was "Pud" Kaplan ( Interesting personality and all and great potential for insights (how to build buzz) but a lot of the personal stories weren't relevant to 95% of the people in the room, let alone on the internet. He did share a couple of interesting stories:

  1. To build buzz, he created a phony persona and went online to complain against something he was actually supporting. While this did result in people agreeing with the anti-sentiment, it also aroused offended fans he was trying to reach to dig in and defend on Pud's behalf.
  2. Be very careful with the press. The press is out to write a story that will sell and the press will write this story no matter what you say or how you say it.

Third was Chris Messina and Tara Hunt presenting think small. It's an interesting perspective to relate: look for your niche and grow from there. It also brought up for discussion "non-zero-sum game" meaning look for the win-win-win situations. It was a mini-inspirational reflection point and a nice-balance to the other presentations.

An interesting point, I think made by Marc Canter: rather than the BigCo's investing $1 million in a big bet, how about spreading that around on smaller bets?

Ethan Kaplan from Warner Brothers Records was next. It was interesting to hear his experience along with how he's interacting with bands now a days to build digital communities and try to do so making sense of the geeky stuff that has been built (tagging). I also liked his story of Michael Stipe reading negative comments and throwing his laptop into the river (personal nightmare: having to interview Michael Stipe. That would be just one step worse than having to interview Jon Stewart).

Right before lunch, Kaliya Young Hamlin was called up from the audience for an impromptu discussion. Most of it was centered on how the people in the room could to a better job of helping communities easily connect to one another. She got some static back wondering if everything needed to be connected through the computer or not. She put out a small call to arms to the open source community to do something, because the Microsoft's of the world are going to do something.

Interest bit picked up from the discussion: What does the world look like when there are lots of micro-apps?

Halley Suitt was after lunch and probably ran what I thought the most relevant discussion: how to manage and lead creative people. Now, I didn't hear a whole lot of break-out ideas, but there was general recognition that creative people require a different level of management than most; ideally, let them decide how they want to work and let them go at it (e.g., customize their environment).

Recommendations for Tom DeMarco's The Deadline came up (along with for his book Peopleware).

Interesting remark during the discussion: "When creative people have started to whine, they've lost interest."

Blake Ross was next to discuss the user-focused design of Firefox and the philosophy behind Spread Firefox. I've already posted about this, given that the main memorable moment around this was Blake and Dave Winer tangling horns. At this moment, all seems resolved between them and folks can keep on doing what they're doing. It was interesting that I think Blake got the biggest amount of applause and "whoo-whoo!" of any techie-presenter.

Jeremy Zawodny was next (flashing his "I <3 RSS" undershirt.) Start off: "Bloggers love to bitch about things." How can things be better?

I read Jeremy's blog but this was the first time I've seen him talk. He gets my reward for the absolute best discussion leader. He kept things flowing, on-topic, and he turned it into a dialogue. I didn't have many notes on his discussion, except for when Marc Canter had his moment to poke Jeremy about Yahoo! being a closed system.

Phil Torrone of MakeZine got a happy welcome, too. He's an enthusiastic happy presenter and I'm sure I had a smile on my face the entire time he was presenting. He covered some historical, scary days of do-it-yourselfers, how there was a dark period, and how how there is a happy resurgence in people wanting to do-it-themselves again, especially given that more and more things are programmable.

Answers he collected about why to like Open Source software. Free. Mess with it. Better quality. Charge for fixing it. Open standards. Migration & movement. No lock in.

The last discussion was an interesting exercise driven by Chris and I thanked him for it later as we ran into each other walking across the pedestrian bridge (I had just returned from Starbucks, saddened to see they had closed fifteen minutes earlier). Chris set-up his evolution of into a project looking for VC funding, with two VCs on the stage for critical input, coordinated by Rick Segal. It wasn't 100% VC-meeting given that at least Jeff Clavier admitted that he would have interrupted and asked some questions. But for anyone in the audience thinking of getting VC / angel funding for the first time, it was a great work-out.

And that was it. Some folks then got up on stage, quickly, to discuss their projects and what kind of people they were looking for hiring. The biggest laugh came when Susan Mernit told people to Google her if they were interested in discussing the positions available in her Yahoo! group. I then spent a good amount of time talking with Eric Rice and others about Second Life. Eric Rice a-love-ahs the Second Life. I'll write about that later. I went to the Second Life lunch-time presentation ran by Beth Goza and got to see it some more and my interest in Second Life has gone from doubtful to skeptical. Until they fix all their bugs, though, it's not ready to be suffered by more than enthusiasts.


Sunday, July 02, 2006


What must be one of the near final Scoble Channel9 interviews: Scoble talks with 3rd party Formotus regarding their InfoPath-specific Windows Mobile product. In Scoble's office. The sound is a bit soft for my old ears... well, except for Scoble's delightful laugh. I had to put on headphones to hear everyone.

Oh, and who else is there? It's Adriana! Introduced as a Co-Inventor of InfoPath. Does that mean there's like, sixty Co-Inventors of InfoPath? :-) Adriana kicks in around 9:30.

Hmm, development team is in India. Scoble asks how they found their team: a Seattle based ex-Microsoftie is who they coordinate with for their India development.

Demo kicks in just before 13:00.

What happens with the inking features? Not sure.

Three minutes to move an InfoPath form: load to their site and they convert for the various WM form-factors. Then you push to your collection of devices. Hmm. "Over-the-air deployment."

Video: Infopath Addon improves forms for enterprises



I can tell you, if I worked at Google Kirkland, I would have plunked down some cash for Gnomedex and taken a vacation day to go to Gnomedex6 to simply enjoy the love and adoration of my fellow attendees. Even if all I did was clean the toilets at Google. Heck, the Yahoo! employees invoke your name as a way to be looked up. After scanning through the attendee list and building up my Outlook contact cards, I had hoped to run into Googler Scott Laird but failed to. Well, there were a lot of people I wanted to run into, but I discovered there are so many fantastic people to meet that there's just no way to meet them all. Next event, or next year.

Personally, I plunked down my own cash and took a vacation day to attend Gnomedex just as an individual... who happens to work at Microsoft. I can't say I was aglow in the love of my attendees - other than the occasional kind comments about the great new Office 2007 UI - but I got to:

It was a fantastic investment. Thanks Chris! Thanks Ponzi!

Matt Cutts made a comment on Scoble's blog saying that the Googlers were too darn busy coding to attend Gnomedex or any other conference. As a developer, I can't begin to explain how important getting out of the building and into an engaged, non-corporate idea-driven environment is. Yeah, yeah, Google is all that internally, sure. And Microsoft is all that internally, sure. But without seeing where the influencers are going and understanding their needs, how can you be sure what you're building is the least bit relevant to them?

And the more you meet and talk with each other, the less you become win-lose-lose competitors and the more you become win-win-win collaborators (my three point system: competitor-competitor-user).

User driven feature sets. I'm open to it.


Vigorously Disagreeing to Agree


I'm a tad confused, which isn't an uncommon state for me. Both Blake Ross and Dave Winer seem to be vigorously agreeing on the same topic.

What I heard from Blake was that Firefox - and the Spread Firefox campaign - was very early on focused on users. They focused on designing Firefox with your dentist in mind, not so much your fellow mashup enthusiast. I was really really confused last week when I learned more about Blake and saw that his Firefox book was part of the "Dummies..." series. What? Dummies? Surely O'Reilly or Addison-Wesley or a well respected A-list geek publisher would fall over themselves to get Blake's book. But after his presentation, I connected my own dots in this space: it's part of his strategy to humanize acceptance of Firefox (vs. dorky O'Reilly Firefox titles like, oh, "Don't click on that thar Blue 'E for Evil' E! Chomp!").

Oh, speaking of the glorious Blue E (requires QuickTime): Firefox Flicks Wheee! Sigh. I laughed. I frowned. Blake noted that while fun, "Whee!" certainly didn't do anything to spread Firefox adoption.

So, I think at this point, perhaps the best thing to say is, "Ah, we disagree to agree," or such.

I've been reading Dave since the days his DaveNet was on HotWired (now 404'd?) and respect his open passion and his tenacious tendency to be right a lot more often than I am. He has something he wants to see from the Firefox leadership - a roadmap and an assurance of non-abandonment - information which I'm sure is already dispersed out on the web and simply needs to be rolled up as perhaps a quarterly vision statement. It's not a bad idea. And this desire of Dave's is going to start spreading more through the New Web world, especially given the Dave-echo chamber effect. I'm sure all the vision is there between the 2.0 release notes and the blogs; however, a simple Reader's Digest version is good to help clearly state and focus the intent. Especially for my dentist. Not that I want him to switch to Firefox.

And this is all good messaging to the Internet Explorer team: what is the roadmap going forward? How is IE's future relevant both to the techie-enthusiasts of the world and to the dentists and grandparents of the world? Why should they care? What can you do to win Dave back? How can you engage the New Web community - both developers and users - and rapidly out-ship and out deliver and out-fantastic Firefox?

The playing field will be leveled with IE7 and Firefox 2.0. Next?


Saturday, July 01, 2006


When I talked to Elisa on the way home last night, I did a really poor job trying to explain the "red diaper baby" comment Marc Canter made yesterday to Senator Edwards.

Can't beat this: Marc's Voice: Blog Archive: Honesty, courage and American politics.



As I'm sure everyone and her brother at Gnomedex will blog, John Edwards appearance at Gnomedex6 was front-page news for the Seattle-PI today.

Great job, Todd. I met Todd Thursday night ever so briefly at the early registration and he seemed like a super-nice guy. We talked briefly, but he was busy being ushered about by Steve Gillmor and had to keep up.

So, speaking of Mr. Gillmor: I'm sure he does deserve an achievement badge and all that. But I think until someone like Malcolm Gladwell gets ahold of the key concepts behind attention and what it leads to, no one is going to get it. The VC to my left didn't get it. The web entrepreneur to my right didn't get it. I understand the basics, but I don't get the day-to-day next big thing relevance. Chris asked Gillmor a question to try to expand on the concept and help folks. Nope, didn't help.

To tell you the truth, until there's a break-through (the closest being, that I've noticed, is ) I'm going to be in the interested-but-skeptical majority.

Quick fun story: I met Blake Ross Thursday night, too, near the end of the event. I really like Blake. So, we had fun with me being with Microsoft and he feigning an immediate 180 degree retreat. Matter and anti-matter and all that (my comment when someone came up, surprised to see Blake talking to a Microsoftie). Blake's now focused on his stealth-mode startup, post-Firefox. Okay, so last night we had an end of evening raffle at the Museum of Flight. I had something like 560 and 561. Blake?


I'm sure there are folks at Microsoft to whom Firefox has given some level of indigestion to that would appreciate that numeric designation.


Eric Richards' place of techno (as in technology) happiness, rants, and corporate love. I work in Microsoft Office as a development lead.

 My Photo
Name: EricRi
Location: Redmond, Washington, US

email: Eric_Richards at ericri dot com

Lots More About Eric.

May 2005
August 2005
November 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006


Disclaimer: The postings (and comments) here represent personal point of views and in no way represent the point of view or official opinions of my employer (Microsoft Corporation). The postings here are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. And if you're reading this blog, you're not only incredibly discerning, you're also knee-weakening good looking.

More blogs about Eric Richards.

Powered by Blogger