Niall sends Microsoft team a porn message

Ahh, so someone at Microsoft made a mistake and didn’t correctly use an image from Niall Kennedy’s feed from Flickr (or didn’t pay attention to the Creative Commons license agreement). So, what did Niall do? Did he call up one of his former co-workers at Microsoft and explain that he was pissed and get the problem taken care of nicely and behind closed doors? No.

He replaced the image with a porn image, Todd Bishop at the Seattle PI reports.

I’m sure that gets everyone 16 and under to laugh, but is that really the best way that Niall could have gotten the image taken down?

I don’t think so. Unprofessional, especially for someone who used to work at Microsoft.

Remember Niall, maybe someday this Web 2.0 bubble will end and you might need to go back to a company and look for a job. I know that doesn’t seem probable right now, but I’ve been there.

Burn bridges if you want, but I’ve learned over and over that people remember this kind of treatment and it certainly never disappears from Google. All three of my last job interviews had people looking over Google for unprofessional stuff like this to bring up in the interviews. And, all big companies have people who used to work at Microsoft so that bridge you’re blowing up? Might turn out to be the one you need to cross in the future.

UPDATE: Someone on the RSS team just IM’ed me and said that the RSS team was never contacted about this issue.

Quintura has an interesting new look at search

While Ask is copying Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo with its AskCities, Quintura has something that’s far more worthy of a Digg or TechMeme-style overhyping. It’s visual search and I saw it at the Firefox party in London last Friday, just like Ewan McIntosh did, and it’s pretty damn cool.

What does it do? You search on something, say “Amsterdam” and it presents a tag-cloud, built with Flash, that shows you other possibilities around that query.

Yakov Sadchikov, founder, told me that Quintura has gotten popular among SEO types because it shows you keywords that other methods don’t show you. I’ve played with it a bit and it sure is an interesting new way to search.

Microsoft targets Adobe … why?

Adobe’s John Dowdell has the best question (and best set of links) about Microsoft’s new “Blend:” why do it and not support Flash?

Because of what Blend lets Microsoft do: get Macromedia stuff out of the Windows development process.

Huh?

Remember all those “Longhorn rules” posts I made about four years ago? Do you know where they came from?

I do. And I’ll never forget the software development lesson that was harshly handed to me.

Microsofties (before I was an employee) showed me some prototypes of Vista. I didn’t know they were prototypes, though. Later, after becoming a Microsoft employee, I found out that all we really saw were Macromedia Director-based movies.

They looked so cool. Tom Koch, today, and I talked about that MVP meeting where we saw those prototypes and how good they made us feel (almost everything that we saw back then was totally changed in the final release).

This actually was NOT a good thing for Microsoft. Why? Because when you build up expectations and you aren’t able to meet them you look pretty silly.

But behind the scenes things were even worse.

Why? Because executives bought into the Flash and Mirrors song and dance too. They thought what they were seeing was possible.

The problem was, developers weren’t involved. Only people who studied interaction, design, and Macromedia Director.

Problem is, anything you create in Director has to be thrown out and rewritten in C++ (if you work on the Windows team).

That meant a whole bunch of time is wasted, plus it’s very possible that what you are dreaming of is simply not possible. It’s also possible that development teams, that don’t understand interaction design, will change your “experiences” and totally munge things up.

So, could Flash ever be “force fit” to be the UI of Windows? Not according to the engineers who’ve studied the problem.

They needed a system that could be used to design real pieces of Windows, if not the entire UI, and handed off to a developer, or team of developers, without having to have the developers touch the UI at all.

You can see this in my early Channel 9 videos with the Sparkle team (which became “Blend” today).

Blend is based on .NET 3.0, and goes beyond anything possible today in Flash or Adobe products — at least as it comes to the combined design and development team.

I saw how a designer built the original Longhorn clock and a developer coded the interactions behind it using Sparkle in a fraction of the time it would take using other approaches.

Does Microsoft care about cross-platform and all that other stuff? Yeah. But it’s only secondary to Microsoft’s need to make the Windows development process much smoother. The executives never want to go through another schedule slip like they did with Longhorn.

Blend will let the Windows team designers get rid of Macromedia stuff. At least that’s the hype.

How will we know the hype is real? Show me those Vienna prototypes and let me play with them! (Vienna is the code name for the next version of Windows).

UPDATE: TechMeme is all over Expression Blend.

Microsoft, world’s greatest SEO

If you’ve been watching http://blogs.msdn.com/ which is where most of the Microsoft employees blog, you’ve seen at least a dozen mentions today of Microsoft’s new Sparkle, Expression, um, sorry, now named “Blend.” I only let one of these through to my Link Blog, but I was just realizing how brilliant this is.

Google counts links from blogs in its search engine. So, if Microsoft wants to get something higher on Google, all it would have to do is call upon its bloggers. It’s probably the best SEO network the world has ever seen (Microsoft has more than 3,000 bloggers, with at least 500 active ones).

Internally, how does this work? The bloggers at Microsoft have a mailing list. Someone goes on the mailing list and says something innocuous, like “hey, the Expression team just announced Blend” with a URL underneath and there’ll usually be a few dozen posts in an hour.

Don’t think this matters? Well, if you search Google for Martin Luther King, you’ll notice the result set has changed quite a bit from two weeks ago (when a bunch of bloggers decided to “Google Bomb” an anti-King site to make it lower on the list because we felt it wasn’t really the most relevant result that should come up when you search for Martin Luther King).

Anyway, this kind of “blog farm” can dramatically change results on Google and other search engines in a way that SEO’s just simply can’t match.

Oh, and even better, they set the agenda that everyone has to link back to. Yes, even the bloggers will go higher. A search for “Expression Blend” on Google’s blog search shows dozens of bloggers talking about the new name and release.

As to Blend and its chances in the marketplace? More later.

The evangelists are meeting

I wish I was back in Silicon Valley at the technology evangelists’ meeting. But not too much. Coming to Amsterdam was good for the soul. Meeting Tom Koch and Peter van Teeseling tonight was like my own personal evangelists’ meeting anyway. No, it’s not the “coffee shops” or the “red light district” that were the real turnons about Amsterdam. It was the canals and the great people who gave us experiences we’ll never forget.

Oh, and what happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam so use your wildest imagination and send Valleywag a good rumor.