Peter says podcasting is inefficient

Peter Davis says: "In the time I can listen to an average podcast, I could have caught up on my 50 favorite blogs, or read a chapter in a book, or read the latest issue of Red Herring magazine."

You might be shocked to hear me say this, but Peter is right.

So, why am I joining a podcasting company if Peter is right? Cause I'd love Peter to explain to me how he reads RSS when he's driving. Or, as someone told me recently, while walking in the Scottish Highlands.

Or, try exercising while reading a Tablet PC. I've tried, it doesn't work for me.

Walking around town with my SmartPhone out and reading it gets me branded a freak.

See, what you're missing is podcasting opens up a new usage model that text can't serve.

How about video? Here, let me show you Halo 3. Well, not. It's top secret and they won't let me into see that. Smart people over at Bungie. Heheh. But, let's say it was being released today. What would be better? A 10,000 word essay on what's new? Or one minute of video showing you the new features?

When I hang out with developers they tell me "use the right tool for the job." If you want to communicate with other people text will do the job more times than not. But, if you want to reach people where they are likely to use an iPod then audio is better. If you have something visual, photos or video is better.

Imagine that you read the report of the Hindenberg disaster instead of listened to it (Real Media player required). Some things need to be heard.

Blogging real estate

Stan Mackey, our real estate guy and friend, is here. He says his blog is already bringing him more traffic. Turns out that Coldwell Banker tracks how people find properties. He advertises properties on Craig's List. And includes his blog's address. He says that since starting his blog on May 3rd he's already seeing about 65% of his traffic comes through his blog.

Has Microsoft changed? WinFS post getting questioned internally

Interesting threads on an internal Microsoft alias today. Employees are questioning why we (Microsoft employees) can't just own up to the truth and stop spinning when we have bad news to report.

Yeah, we're talking about Charles Miller's post about the death of WinFS where he took Microsoft to task.

It's not human nature to admit that you tried to do something and failed at it.

And, it's very hard to share where failure's lessons will be applied in the future because that'd be tipping your hand to your competitors about what you're doing in the future.

What happened to WinFS?

The Web killed it. *
The Web is how people use computers now and will in the future. Steve Gillmor loves to say Office is dead. Well, that has yet to be seen (whether Office dies or not is in that team's hands) but WinFS was a technology that'd have a hard time getting going because it's anti Web. It'll be interesting to see if this stuff comes back in a Web way. Ray Ozzie to the rescue!

More on Memeorandum.

* Update: this is my theory. I don't really know why it was killed but when teams and companies don't come clean and give us some transparency into why things get done then people will make stuff up. And, it is interesting timing that this came a week after Bill Gates announced he was going to be less involved in Microsoft and went on summer vacation.

Update 2: Shishir Mehrotra of the WinFS team wrote me and other bloggers who are talking about this internally and said my theory is wrong and that WinFS hasn't died at all, but is actually being rolled into SQL Server and a new project that's under development.

Dear Al Gore: here’s some inconvenient truths

Coal on way to global warming

I read your book today, an Inconvenient Truth. Great book, I wish everyone would read it, but the ones who really need to read it probably won’t. I guess that’s inconvenient truth #1.

When I was in college I wrote a lot of editorials. Imagine that! Heheh. But — by far — the most unpopular one I wrote was when I advocated raising gas taxes by several dollars to encourage Americans to buy smaller cars and to encourage the car industry to come out with smaller and more fuel efficient cars.

That taught me the depth of the problem. We aren’t willing to face the hard truths.

Hey, Al, even you aren’t willing to propose one of the best answers: nuclear power.

Why? Cause you know that proposing getting rid of the coal trains with nuclear power will immediately get you written off as a wacko. You know where those coal trains are going, don’t you (I took that picture in Livingston, Montana)? There’s a reason why we’re all building data centers in Eastern Washington — there’s low-cost access to coal and hydroelectric power.

While I’m on the environmental kick, our industry has a lot to do.

One thing we could do? Get workers to turn off lights in their offices when they go home. I work a lot of late nights and I try to turn off a few lights. It’s amazing how few people care. And, drive around Silicon Valley some evening and you’ll see that most of us in this industry don’t turn off lights.

Our society is doomed and we aren’t able to come up with real solutions. Oh, buying a hybrid SUV is NOT a solution. I wish we were leaving Patrick a better world, but I don’t see it getting better. It’s gonna get worse — a lot worse.

Wake me up when public pressure turns on our politicians to solve these problems with real solutions. Sigh.

The long goodbye

Saturday started quite with a shock. Maryam called. She yelled into the phone "we got it!"

She didn't want me to blog it, she thinks it'll jinx it. But looks like we'll be headed toward Half Moon Bay if all the inspections work out. Got a great house there, albeit a bad commute, a HUGE mortgage, and typically gray skies. It's just down the street from the Ritz Carlton and the beach. We will definitely throw some fun events there.

Anyway, Ed Kaim (a former coworker at Microsoft) came up to me and Patrick while we were looking at books at Borders' books in Redmond. He said goodbye and good luck.

Our dentist said goodbye too.

It put me into a funky mood. Excited at what's coming, but sad for the loss of leaving a great community and great friends.

Yeah, this is my last week as a Microsoft employee and it's making me sad.

Well, that and Maryam just woke me up saying "the cleaners are coming, and we gotta do a ton tomorrow."

Sigh. Week of little blogging ahead.

Update: here's something I haven't heard about California Real Estate in a while: Maryam got it for $35,000 under the asking price! The house was on the market for five weeks. California's real estate market is showing signs of slowing down.

Seattle, on the other hand, is red hot. Our real estate guy, Stan Mackey (great agent and friend, by the way!) says our place in Bothell will sell within the first day or two and will most likely have multiple offers.

Production values debate breaks out during videologger session

I just listened to the video blogging session at BloggerCon.

In the discussion it was clear that there is a coming conflict between people who "do it for love" and those who are doing video to build an audience, which presumably they are doing so that they can sell advertising or get sponsorship. In other words there are those who believe in production values and those who think that the production values advocates are missing the point: that everyday people can now use video to communicate in a new way.

It's interesting, but at Microsoft the Channel 9 team built an audience without doing much production. Very little editing. Very little enhancing of audio. Very little audio beyond just using the on-camera microphones. Most of my video was shot on cheapo cameras.

It's interesting that they didn't discuss why that worked: we're tired of committee-based marketing.

Look at a typical Superbowl Commercial. I'd bet that to do one of those requires at least three committees.

So what that my audio wasn't the ultimate 5-channel surround sound that the World Cup has? Or that my camera work is a bit shaky at times? I didn't do it to win an Emmy: I did it to get you a look inside Microsoft offices in a way that'd be impossible to do if we had "production values." 

Why? Production values require committees, or at least a lot of time and money. Committees generally strip the soul out of things. It's why we end up with names like "Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005." Or worse.

Dave Winer made the point that by making it seem like you need to spend eight hours to do a few minutes of video that you're scaring off just the people who'll come up with something innovative. He said he doesn't do that and he has an audience of thousands who watch and listen to his various vlogs and podcasts.
That is so true.

Why do I like videoblogs? Cause I don't need to pitch a committee to get them distributed. That's a huge change.

Yeah, it means that there will be a ton of video that you won't want to watch. That's OK!

We have plenty of "professional" content out there. There's 150 channels on my Comcast and nothing is on.

Now I'll have 150,000 videoblogs a day to choose from. I'm sure that the really good ones will get pointed out.

I'm actually probably going to get two cameras: a cheap one and an expensive one. There's some content that just requires a better quality. But there's a whole lot of things that I'd like to do that doesn't require hours of sitting in front of an editor, or a $6,000 camcorder with a $600 tripod.

Speaking of which, the New York Times has a new blog that's tracking the new videoblogging world. Wow. I thought it'd be a year or two before NYT would jump in. Oh, and there's a good blog that shows how to do your own videoblog.

To get this back into a geeky bent, anyone have good videoblog tutorials that teach you how to program?