Beware of Bloggers, a Warning to the Traditional Press

The traditional press, newspapers, magazines, etc., have long enjoyed a unique power over the information that they present to their readers.  They could selectively quote, frame the discussion, and in many ways make the information portray a preconceived story.

That era is coming to an end.

Mark Jen recently posted a preemptive disclosure of a conversation he had with a Forbes Magazine fact checker.

Mark Cuban went so far as to post the entire text of an email interview he did with a NY Times reporter, who evidently twisted Cuban’s words to fit his story.

Blogs are flattening the world of information.  Big media will continue to hold large amounts of power, but abusing that power will become riskier, especially in instances where you are using quotes out of context, or framing articles in ways that totally disregard the source material.  While it’s true that the majority of your readers may never see the other side of the story directly, your direct competitors may pick it up, and use it to undermine your credibility.

Blogging lowers the bar.  It used to take a great deal of time & money to get a message to thousands or even millions of people.  Now, any person can start a blog for free.  Whether or not their words reach any audience will be determined by relevence, and the indexing of blogs that is being shaped by the likes of PubSub, Technorati, Google, and MSN.

Now, re-read that last sentence, and see if you can guess who the new Media Superpowers are going to be…

Microsoft Spills Ink All Over Vista

The October 2005 Issue of MSDN Magazine has a Microsoft sponsored article titled The Evolution of Tablet PC Technologies in Microsoft Windows Vista.  The basic gist of the article is that Microsoft is moving the TabletPC Framework into WinFX.  This means that ink technology can be used anywhere Vista is installed.  I’ve long thought that this would occur after TabletPC became popular.  If you have ever worked on a PC with a touchscreen or Tablet, I’m sure you’ve experienced the urge to poke or write on your normal desktop monitor, just to meet disappointment when your regular CRT fails to respond to tactile inputs.

This is going to be both a good thing, and a bad thing for the TabletPC brand as a whole.  Basically Microsoft is sacrificing some of the consistency of the TabletPC brand in order to leverage it’s marketshare to effect universal adoption of the key technologies of TabletPC.  Overall, I think this is a good thing, since hardware lock-in has never really propelled a platform forward in the mainstream computing community.

Some really good things are probably going to come out of this.  Imagine being able to add complete tablet functionality to a computer, just by purchasing a LCD monitor with a built-in WACOM digitizer.  I could see this working great in doctor’s offices, hotel & tourism, restaurants, retail, basically anywhere where customers are served.  Even though the traditional TabletPC could have worked in these locations, it hasn’t received widespread adoption.  I can think of several factors.  The portability of the platform increases the perceived risk of theft (even if it’s locked down).  TabletPC’s are expensive, and you’re paying for a lot of features you may not need.  Mounting the TabletPC into a workspace may seem gimmicky.

This is going to force some interesting changes in both the TabletPC and Desktop marketspace. Eventually I believe that TabletPC will just designate a Slate/Convertible form-factor, and will guarantee a certain hardware set.  Tablet functionality will be everywhere.



Google finally launches a blog search engine (Beta)

Google has launched a Blog Search Engine (From DownloadSquad). 

It fairs pretty will for my favorite vanity searches:

Blobservations and Hallihan

Actually, I’m not being quite fair, it does awesome on those searches.  I’m pretty familiar with what those searches provide on Pubsub, Technorati, and the normal Google Search and MSN Search.  And it’s fast…  Two ways.  It had a nine hour old blog post as my first result, so it’s updating fairly quickly, and the UI is lightning fast.  No perceived wait (although I’m sure it’s measurable).

This is Google’s biggest advantage over MSN search.  Google has that perceived wait down to nothing.

While Google is late to the party on blog search, they have put together a quality offering that I’m sure will become many folks engine of choice for blog searching.

Wish list for all feed readers, Newsgator, Bloglines, FeedDemon, etc…

I want to be able to subscribe to a feed for a limited time.  Let me say:  “I want to pay attention to this feed for 2 weeks”, or 3 months, or whatever.  When the time is up, prompt me to re-subscribe, and show me the dates and contents of a couple of the most recent posts.  This would make subscribing to threads on message boards (like Channel9 or MSDN Forums) so much more practical, and it would let me decide to “try out” feeds that I would otherwise ignore.

Tons of new stuff on MSDN Subscriber Downloads! (Maybe…)

SQL Server 2005 CTP, September 2005 (Many editions)…

What else?  Not sure..  As I tried to move forward in the new downloads list, the server became unresponsive, and now is just spitting out this error when you try to get to Subscriber Downloads:

An Error Has Occurred

We’re sorry. An error has occurred, and we cannot process your request. This may be a temporary problem, and you can try again in a few minutes.
You can try to:

Good luck downloading today, the servers are already showing the strain at 5:55AM Eastern, but that may also be because they are still uploading stuff as well.

Advice for Microsoft:  Get whomever keeps up and running to give the folks some pointers on load management & availability, and throw some more money at bandwidth and server capacity, especially when you know there’s going to be heavy demand.  You have no idea how many geeks you’re giving a bad impression to when you can’t handle the strain at the subscriptions site.  These are folks that are invested in your technology.  You want to keep them happy!  (I know it’s a hard problem, especially with multi-gigabyte iso downloads. Talk to your MSR folks and get their Avalanche technology integrated into the download manager {as a voluntary option}.  You guys & gals should be able to solve this…)