I love the new Max, but… (& speaking to BlogCamp in India)

I LOVE the new Microsoft Max that just came out. I’ve been waiting for this for some time. The downside? It is slow on my Tablet PC. I bet it runs great on a faster desktop machine. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the news display in this thing. More later, I’m giving a talk to BlogCamp in India via Skype. Read more about that on Kiruba’s blog.

This is a fun way to give a talk to a conference. I’d rather be there, though, but I can see the audience in a Flickr tag feed for “BlogCamp” and a video feed (which I’m trying to get access to right now).

Yes, it’s midnight here, but what the heck?

UPDATE: bummer, the audio isn’t working great. Problem on their end. What’s funny is I can read blogs from the audience almost as fast as they are posted.

UPDATE 2: since my speech has been delayed a few minutes I am playing more with Max and reading other blog posts about it.

This is NOT a Web based aggregator. It’s built on top of the Windows Presentation Foundation which includes better fonts, better page layout capabilities, and more. It’s awesome, but needs more testing…

I agree with Ryan Stewart that it’s stunning, though. Shows what you can do if you have a new framework underneath you. Yeah, there are some problems (I’m trying to figure out how to import and export an OPML file, for instance), but, boy is this thing beautiful.

Am I being fair to Patricia Dunn

Don Park raises a good question of whether or not I (and other journalists and bloggers) are being fair to Patricia Dunn?

I’ll be happy to give Hewlett Packard or Patricia Dunn an entire blog post (take as many words as you want) to give her side, or HP’s side of this whole thing. I’d even be happy to take my video camera over and put the video up on YouTube or Google Video or Blip.TV and let anyone at HP say whatever they want unchallenged by me and I’ll put that up unedited.

I won’t even link to David Kirkpatrick at Fortune Magazine, who called for her head.

Is my reaction over the top? Yeah! But like Russell Shaw says, it’s an American tradition!

Is this story boring yet? I really don’t care if I lose every single reader I have because I keep rambling on about this story. Patricia Dunn has got to go. The HP board has to realize this story is not going away.

Well, it shouldn’t. Where are we going to draw the line on privacy? At pretexting? Or when they stick a little recording device in my bedroom to see who I am talking with? Oh, not willing to put the line there? Well, how about just implant an RFID tag in my head along with a GPS and a little transmission device.

Hell, let’s just get rid of this privacy idea altogether, right? OK, I’m game. Patricia Dunn first please. If she does it, I’ll go along with this whole “get rid of privacy” game that seems to be how many employers want to play it (ever look into how deeply employers can look into your private life? It might scare you.)

HP should prepare itself for a raft of headlines like this one, HP Boosts Its Integrity, in InfoWorld.

Is that unfair? Sure! But we aren’t the ones who broke the law.

Anyway, to answer Don’s question: I don’t really care at this point. I’ve been reading very carefully trying to find a reason to take Patricia Dunn’s side. I’ve been talking with dozens of people behind the scenes. I can’t find one reason to take a different stance than I now am taking. That said, I’d be happy to learn tomorrow that we’re all mistaken and that we’re barking up the wrong tree and I’d be the first one to report I was wrong.

The facts in this case, though, don’t get better, they just get worse and that’s after the New York Times reported Patricia’s own words. Translation: I doubt she’ll take me up on my offer.

Update: Blog Herald goes further and asks “Will Social Software Mutate Blogosphere into Mob Rule?”

CNNMoney takes aim at Dunn

CNNMoney: “Are you lying … or incompetent?”

Like I said, this story isn’t going away and the reporters aren’t going to get nicer from here. They also aren’t going to let this story go away. Christopher Coulter predicts we’ll see six months of this. Well, if the whole board resigns, then this will go away in a week and we can all get on with life.

Oh, I tried to go to the beach and see if I could get away from the smell that was coming out of the HP board room. Nope, I couldn’t, it was such a strong smell that it did reach all the way across the Santa Cruz mountains. Oh, or maybe that was the rotting seaweed on the beach. I couldn’t really tell the difference. Sigh. I did Flickr a few photos, though, including some blog links I left in the sand.

Back out to have more fun. Hope you’re having a good weekend.

Color tagging in video, potential YouTube cleanup?

Tom Stitt, managing partner at Aperial Technology Ventures LLC came and visited me at the house for lunch (Patrick and I are going to the beach now). He has some interesting technologies cooking. I love seeing stuff like this when it’s still in the coding stage (he works with four developers in Russia who are super math whizzes).

One problem with stuff that’s simply cool technology is that it’s hard to productize. What do I mean? Well, he has one technology that analyzes motion in video. You put these colored tapes on your wrist, elbow, shoulder and bat and then you video yourself swinging a baseball bat (or fly fishing, or doing other things like throwing a basketball) and then feed that video into his system (he calls it “MyGameCoach”) then it tracks those tags in video and can even compare your swing to a professional and give you tips on how to make your swing better.

His team is preparing a prototype site so you can see this in action. It’s pretty cool.

And this is the rub. It’s cool, but how do you make money? Well, you could sell it to professional sports teams (he’s working with at least one). You could sell it to little leagues or baseball coaches, but that’s going to be pretty hard.

Another thing that those smart engineers are working on? Ways to clean up video. He showed me that they can take the average YouTube video and dramatically clean it up and make the compression work better. But YouTube doesn’t care, right?

Well, how much are they paying in bandwidth a month? I heard it’s about a million a month. If they could reduce that by 10%, while improving quality, that’d end up saving millions every year and give its users a better experience (videos could download quicker).

But he says getting anyone to invest money in improved codecs and other techniques to clean up the videos is like pulling teeth. Why is that?

Here’s another technology the smart kids in Russia are working on: a way to remove things from videos. He showed me a video that had a logo completely removed. You couldn’t tell. Do you believe what you see in videos? You shouldn’t. He showed me a video where a guy jumping was completely removed from the video using their technology.

These are cool technologies. I wonder when we’ll see them in real products or used on services like Blip.TV, Google Video, YouTube?

HP has major ethical problem, day 4

The HP story isn’t going away (note, that’s what happens when you spy on reporters, they get their fur up in a bunch). Some things happened yesterday, though. 1) She tried to shift blame elsewhere for using illegal methods. The New York Times gives her side of the story. 2) She called all the reporters who had been spied on and apologized. 3) HP’s CEO, Mark Hurd, sent a letter to employees which basically said its rules and ethics’ codes had been broken.

A few things. I doubt the board will vote her off. Why not? Well, because of she goes they know they’ll be kicked out too. This whole board doesn’t pass the smell test. I’m not even in Silicon Valley right now and I can smell the stench coming over the Santa Cruz mountains.

Second, why didn’t she call and apologize as soon as she realized the methods that had been used? Rule of PR, those who own the negative get to control it the most. By not going public with what she did FIRST she let Tom control all the PR. I don’t know who to believe, but I’ll believe the guy who brought this to the public light first far more than I’ll believe the person who didn’t bring it out.

It’s pretty clear that there were legal questions. After all, why would HP’s lawyers call an outside law firm and ask for advice on the legality of this? (That lawyer, one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful, is now saying he wasn’t presented with all of the evidence).

Rob Hyndman has a good recap of yesterday’s events.

So, here’s the bottom line. This thing doesn’t pass the smell test. Patricia, do the respectable thing, stand up and take responsibility. That’s what those of us who are in leadership positions have to do sometimes, even if it isn’t completely our fault.

But, even if she goes, this whole board smells. I guess they are gonna make the shareholders make the hard decisions. Unfortunately shareholders only care whether the company is making them money or not, not whether the board is ethical, nice, or doesn’t smell.

It’s a sad day for the industry. I’m gonna go out today with friends and family and head to the beach where I hope the breeze blows the smell back over the hill.

UPDATE: here’s why I say it smells. Even my seventh grader knows there’s something smelly about looking at people’s phone records. Patricia Dunn, when she was presented the evidence about the leaker, had to have seen that phone records were involved. Note that she didn’t stop and say “how did you get these?” She should have stopped the investigation at that point. Everyone who watches TV courtrooms knows that you aren’t allowed to use evidence that’s gained in illegal ways. And any chairperson who says that looking at phone records or other personal information isn’t illegal isn’t the kind of chair we should allow in a position of power. Also, anyone who doesn’t understand the HUGE difference between a lie detector test and a set of phone records SHOULD NOT BE IN A POSITION OF POWER IN A COMPANY THAT HAS POWER OVER OTHER PEOPLE’S PRIVACY. She might not be a criminal (I’ll leave that for the Attorney General to figure out) but she sure isn’t smart enough to be on a board of directors. Sorry, she’s gotta go. And same with this whole board.