Daily Archives: March 17, 2006

Sitting down with Microsoft lawyer, er, professional pessimist

I’ve been working for three years to get more transparency into why Microsoft does the things it does. Today I put up an interview with one of our lawyers, Don McGowan, and we talk pretty candidly (no edits) about technology law. This is a fun conversation and we talk about blogging, patents, product namings, and being evil. He explains to our own employees why things get slowed down by lawyers, and explains other things about what Microsoft does legally. You’ll see why he calls himself a professional pessimist too.

If you were sitting down with our lawyers, what would you ask them?

I’m off for the weekend. Have a good one!

Web Standards Project opens up, rock out

I gotta get a few posts in today cause something really great happened at SXSW and I need to get it off my mind.

Last year after SXSW I whined that the Web Standards Project wasn’t inclusive and had a secret agenda. To its credit, they listened and this year they opened up the Web Standards Project to all and had a public meeting.

That made this group far more powerful than it ever would have been if it had remained a closed group. Already we met several new members who are working on various things like accessibility and getting educators up to date on the latest Web standards (one person in the audience shared that her school was still teaching table-based Web design).

Of course, now that puts the challenge in my court. I have to get more involved now cause I spoke up — there’s now a Microsoft task force that I’ll lend my support to as we push more standards support into IE and other services and tools. Does your site validate with the http://validator.w3.org/ ? Not all of ours do and that’s a shame, but I’m proud to see that http://search.msn.com validates as XHTML 1.0 strict. Put our big-name competitors into the validator and you’ll see that we’re ahead here.

That calls for a little music. Over on the valid On10.net you’ll find a band that we found on MySpace. Jeff calls this “Free for all Fridays.” We’re looking for more musicians and DJs who use technology in their work. Heck, we’re looking for enthusiasts of all types who use technology. Are you an educator who uses tech in the classroom? A plumber who uses computers in a unique way? Do you use one of those new digital sewing machines? Or a computer-driven telescope? Calling all Phillip Torrone wannabees! :-)

Oh, heck, since I’m here anyway, check out the SuperTour. Sorta like Virtual Earth meets Second Life meets tour guide. You might need to install a plugin from Adobe. Heheh, that reminds me, at SXSW they were calling Adobe “Adobia” since they now have acquired Macromedia.

On the topic of Web design, here’s another group of employees who work on the Windows Server Community Team who’ve started a blog called the Working Network. Tagline “better living through RSS.” Love that! Their blog is one of the better new ones I’ve seen lately. They are doing it to help people do business blogging, among other things.

I love this new world. Steve Sloan brings me one of my former professors who talks about Knight Ridder being sold and its impact on journalism. That takes continuing education to a whole new level. It’s like being back at San Jose State all over again. (Knight Ridder’s headquarters is a few blocks from SJSU, so the impact is fairly big there).

Talking about podcasts, Michael Arrington announced TalkCrunch the other night.

I’m digging through my email by using a pre-release version of ClearContext 2.0. Final version due out shortly.

One of the things that came through my email is the YWCA TechGirls. This sounds like a great program. Anyone have any experience with it?

I need to get more business cards. I’m totally out. And while it’s OK to be known as the blogger who doesn’t have any business cards, it’s a bit rude. So, Bernie DiKoven’s FunCast on business cards caught my ear. Bernie has made a whole blog out of nothing other than just plain old having fun! I think that’s so cool. The world needs more fun.

Speaking of fun, Blinkx has what it calls “the world’s smallest search engine:” Pico. It puts a row of icons along the top of your browser or email or word processor windows that you can click to get more information. I’m trying it out.

Are you a new parent? Minti is a search engine for finding parenting advice.

And, finally, if you are looking for a job, you might read Jim Stroud’s blog. He works in recruiting here at Microsoft and has a very interesting blog. He says it’s 80% recruiting and 20% the future of the Web (I hate calling it Web 2.0). One fun fact about Jim? He used to work at Google. Who said all good people only leave Microsoft? Hmmm.

Arrrggghhh. I’ve gone and blogged when I was supposed to be catching up on email and stuff. Have a good weekend!