ATC :: Since February 2001

Saturday, July 02, 2005

PowerBlog Open Sourced! - [7:44 AM]

PowerBlog is now free!It's true. I just got e-mail this morning from Jon Davis, PowerBlog's author. He's opened it to the world. This is incredible.

Spread the word, and get to work tweaking it. When I was un-employed I started wrapping the PowerBlog objects in a framework that would run on the backend, a poor mans weblogging system. Back then Jon told me he was thinking about open sourcing the project and I stopped. That idea can now be realized with the actual codebase, no more hacking around it.

Wow, thanks Jon.
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More Visio and the Tablet PC - [7:03 AM]

Visio 1.0 box prototypeAs I mentioned briefly yesterday Robert Banghart took the time to leave some absolutely wonderful comments for me regarding a post on Visio and the Table PC. I've pasted his comments below and marked them in italics, my answers appear below. Thanks again Robert for the excellent feedback, hopefully the answers will be satisfactory.

1. Why you think Visio is perfect for the tablet - It's a graphics product built on the idea of not only drag-and-drop but gesture. When we were building Visio 1.0 it had only one tool, the Pencil tool. You used it to build all shapes. Base on how you gestured you could create straight lines or arcs and you hooked those together to create more complex shapes. I sent Jeremy Jaech e-mail yesterday to see if he knew where I could find a video he used to show at events prior to Visio's launch. It's what inspired him to create Visio. Hopefully I'll be able to find it some time. Give the pencil tool a try some time, it's very flexible, but that original idea was expanded in the end to make this much easier for the end user. I think the tablet could allow Visio to take the idea of gesturing into new territory, and there were plans to do so, plans I'm not so sure I can talk about in detail.

2. Why you think Visio hasn¬?t taken advantage of what the tablet gives it - Just think of gesturing what you want and Visio being smart enough to "just do it". That's all I'll say here for now. There were great ideas that were put off for the last release, hopefully the next release of Visio will incorporate at least some of them, but I'm not sure if they will or not.

3. Why you think Visio¬?s use on a tablet wasn¬?t a priority when you left Microsoft - It wasn't a priority for the Office team, period, thus my post regarding it and the tablet.

4. When you left Microsoft - I left Microsoft in September 2003. After working for a company like Visio it was actually quite difficult to adjust to the Microsoft way. The cultures were on opposite ends of the spectrum. To be honest I think acquisitions are tough on anyone passionate about where they work, who they work with and what they work on. The people made Visio the great success it became. We had great people, I'd say I worked with some of the greatest Software Engineers the planet has ever seen and when they started leaving and Microsoft started moving in their people it stopped being Visio. When they relocated my position back to Redmond I declined the offer to move. Don't get me wrong, there were still a lot of great folks there, the various small teams that made Visio 2003 such a killer product are all top notch. 90% of the 'old-timers' are now gone.

5. Whether you have written out your ideas on how you think Visio could take greater advantage of the tablet - The ideas are on the table inside the Visio group. They just have to make it a priority.

6. Whether you have contacted Jeff Sinofsky or other members of the Office or Visio Teams directly with your ideas, or if you have, what you learned from your contacts - That's a loaded one. The ideas were there, like I said above, but it was actually not a priority to deliver features for the Tablet. I don't remember who told me Sinofsky didn't like the tablet and didn't want to spend large amounts of time developing for it, but it was surprising, and very disappointing. I was disappointed but can you imagine how disappointed the PM and developers were?

7. Whether you have contacted Mai-Lin who blogs about Visio on MSDN , or submitted information to anyone else at Visio MSDN - Mai-Lin now longer works on the Visio team. I still know quite a few folks on the team that I've shared ideas with over the past couple of years. Nothing regarding the tablet because they've been there for ~four years already. I'm pretty sure they come up with things way beyond what I'm thinking, trust me. The PM that was passionate about the Tablet is a good friend, and he's quite brilliant.

8. Whether you have used either the Newsgroups or Talk to Us features at Visio on MSDN? - No I haven't.

Robert, like I said, I hope those are satisfactory. I'm a fan of the tablet and a HUGE fan of Visio on the tablet. I hope Visio becomes the poster child for the Tablet, it would be a natural. I know very little about the upcoming release so I'm not sure what kind of support, if any, we'll see for the tablet. Heck, I don't even know when it's due to ship. Smile, life is good!
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Friday, July 01, 2005

Comments re:Visio - [9:43 AM]

Just got some AWESOME feedback regarding this post about the Tablet and Visio. Robert, I'd like to address each and every one of your questions in turn, so I'll have to come back to this, unfortunately I don't have time right now. Maybe this weekend.

Thanks for the comments, they're very good, and I have answers for all of them.

P.S. - I find it funny that pointing to Scoble seems strange. There's nothing special about Robert vs. anyone else on this planet and I was pointing to something he'd written regarding the Tablet. I'll finish this conversation later, when I have time.
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That's just cool - [9:32 AM]

James Robertson: "That debugging question, btw - that does come in handy. Our support people have had customers save an image when it gets to a bad state and send it to us - at which point they can look at the actual state of the system. That's a very cool feature, and it's really, really useful." - Smalltalk, and its' environment, are just incredible. Just another example, in a long history, of GREAT technology not becoming the dominant technology.
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Movie line of the week answer - [9:30 AM]

Good morning y'all, that's how us hicks say 'hi' in these parts.

Anywho, our movie line winner was Mr. Jason Bock, congratulations Jason.

The correct answer was...

Rent this sometime, it's very insightful if you're single, or married WITHOUT children. I recommend you watch before you're married, then again after you've been married for a while, then after you had your first child. You'll find something different to laugh at each time.
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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dave the surfer? - [10:01 AM]

Scripting News: "After years of reading your blog, I would never imagine that you sound like a 21-year old surfer. Hang ten!" - I myself think Dave sounds remarkably like Tommy Chong. Smile, life is good!
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Movie line of the week - [9:08 AM]

You gotta love the movies.Good morning movie liners. I was talking to a couple of guys in the gym this morning about this film, had to use a line from it.

Ready, set, guess!

My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, 'You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don't make no difference to me, I'll make another one look just like you.'

Ok, quick, what movie! Send your guesses here.
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Big cities losing people - [8:51 AM]

MSNBC: "Jobs, cheaper housing in suburbs attract newcomers" - I've been thinking about this a lot lately. The San Joaquin Valley has been adversely affected by this movement. Home prices are out of control in our area. At one point over 50% of the people in the valley could afford an entry level home now that number is somewhere in the mid 30's. It's funny I'd run across an article like this when it's been on my mind quite a lot lately. I'm afraid there's an influx of people from the Silicon Valley driving these ridiculous prices. It would be one thing if the valley had the industry to support it, but it doesn't, we're just a bunch of hicks that like our simple lives. A couple years back I wondered aloud why the valley couldn't attract some tech jobs and Scoble said it would be a bad idea because the San Joaquin Valley shouldn't become the Silicon Valley. He was right. We don't have the industry to support the pricing madness but it's here anyway.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Potter in New Jersey? - [7:13 PM]

HPANA: "Barnes & Noble, Inc. announced this morning that the first U.S. shipment of 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' arrives today at their distribution center in Jamesburg, New Jersey." - Can wait another 15 days? It wouldn't take that long to drive to Jersey, then I'd have to find their secret warehouse, figure out how to get in, buy a ski mask, shape my hand like a gun, stick it in my jacket pocket, force my way in, find the box of books, take one, outrun the police back across the country...

I think I'll wait 15-days.
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Is this going to work? - [7:11 PM]

Blogger Buzz: "For some users this resulted in template formatting issues (even without uploading images). So today we introduced a new setting to suppress that markup." - Can you see this post if you view it by visiting my site?
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.NET Stalled? - [2:47 PM]

ZD Net: "Asked about the future of its .NET strategy, Ballmer admitted the platform 'had stalled in the last 12 months'. But there would be a renewed .NET push, he said, and this was 'an assigned priority' for the government sector. " - I recently spoke to a former Oracle employee who said Microsoft was going to drop .NET as a platform. Of course I didn't believe him, but comments like "has stalled in the last 12 months" make me wonder why?

Microsoft is betting the farm on .NET, right?
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tablet PC? - [9:04 AM]

Mr. Scoble, take your Channel 9 camera and visit Steven Sinofsky. Ask him what he thinks of the Tablet PC, it's my understanding he doesn't like it(hopefully I'm wrong about that, maybe it was just one of those nasty rumors, but I'd sure like to know). I know Gates believes, but until you get the Office team to buy into it you'll have trouble pushing them out the door. Visio is a perfect application for the tablet but it hasn't taken advantage of what the tablet gives it, why? Because it's not a priority in the Office group, at least it wasn't when I was there.

Get them to turn the corner! Office could have some really great Tablet support, especially Visio.
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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Busted Blogger fix - [4:36 PM]

This should fix the changes blogger made to their template publishing.

Via my comments, and Bill.
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Still interested in Potter - [4:28 PM]

HPANA: "An interesting article from The Los Angeles Times questions whether readers are still interested in the Harry Potter books. The article wonders if the original fans, now teenagers and young adults, have outgrown the books and if the publishers, Scholastic, have a challenge in trying to keep the series compelling for the original readers who may now heading off to college and jobs." - I can tell you from my perspective that I'm more addicted today then I was a few short years ago. After my oldest daughter read the first three books I had zero interest. Then we took a long road trip and listened to the books on tape, the rest as they say is history. I'm completely addicted to Harry Potter as is my entire family.
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