Jon Udell’s value to Microsoft

Today Jon Udell is showing you how to blog from Word 2007.

Yes, my Google Reader is working again (it was a munged up Firefox cache or something).

But, anyway, this is something I’ve noticed since leaving Microsoft. When you’re up at Microsoft all you think about is how to work with Microsoft stuff. Conversations like the one Jon is participating in seem normal and commonplace.

Then you get out of Redmond and the conversations are very different. I’ve never had someone ask me how to blog from Word outside of Redmond.

Their heart is in the right place, though. There are hundreds of millions of Word users (I saw some in a Starbucks in Geneva, Switzerland, and I see them everytime I travel on planes). So, how do you get those people to see that they can post stuff right from Word into blog tools like WordPress?

Jon Udell will be there if they show up.

The problem is that Jon uses a language that most normal people don’t. He is writing for us, the geeks, the developers, the passionate computer users who know more than how to turn the thing on.

And if he’s talking to us, the geeks, I don’t think his message will fall on listening ears.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Robert are you suggesting that geeks don’t have an open mind with regards to Word or other Microsoft products? Gasp! I thought geeks were all about open mindedness. :-)

    I read Jon’s post earlier today and it looked like a post for geeks more than for average Word users. I suspect that his intent was to show that there was a lot more that could be done than the OOTB experience. Blogging from Word is actually pretty easy and I think that a lot of non geeks will find it to be a great way of doing things. I was using it for a while before Windows Live Writer came out and if I spent more time in Word I might still be using it.

  2. Robert are you suggesting that geeks don’t have an open mind with regards to Word or other Microsoft products? Gasp! I thought geeks were all about open mindedness. :-)

    I read Jon’s post earlier today and it looked like a post for geeks more than for average Word users. I suspect that his intent was to show that there was a lot more that could be done than the OOTB experience. Blogging from Word is actually pretty easy and I think that a lot of non geeks will find it to be a great way of doing things. I was using it for a while before Windows Live Writer came out and if I spent more time in Word I might still be using it.

  3. What’s incredibly smart about blogging with Word 2007 is that you have to pay an EXPENSIVE LICENSE just to do the same thing you can do with free tools. Huh?

    Worse, Word 2007 actually does not provide full-fidelity when it comes to fonts you pick. The difference between what YOU see in Word 2007 when you edit, and what your readers will see on their machine. This question was asked over and over again in MS Office blogs, and never answered. (the answer is obvious : full-fidelity is not supported)

    If the best value Jon Udell can add is start teasing others with Microsoft products, I think he’s in for a big surprise : nobody cares Microsoft anymore.

  4. What’s incredibly smart about blogging with Word 2007 is that you have to pay an EXPENSIVE LICENSE just to do the same thing you can do with free tools. Huh?

    Worse, Word 2007 actually does not provide full-fidelity when it comes to fonts you pick. The difference between what YOU see in Word 2007 when you edit, and what your readers will see on their machine. This question was asked over and over again in MS Office blogs, and never answered. (the answer is obvious : full-fidelity is not supported)

    If the best value Jon Udell can add is start teasing others with Microsoft products, I think he’s in for a big surprise : nobody cares Microsoft anymore.

  5. Robert, you’re absolutely right. I’m talking about very different things, to very different people, and it’s imperative that I split these messages out into separate and appropriate channels.

    Today’s item is /not/ for your cousin and my brother-in-law. It’s for technologists at Microsoft, at WordPress, and elsewhere — folks who are interested in how to connect a very popular desktop application to a very popular cloud application, in a way that brings together the best of both worlds. (And who are in a position to do something about it.)

    I communicate very differently when I am trying to reach your cousin and my brother-in-law. An example is here:

    http://channel9.msdn.com/media/ShowHideRibbon.html

    That’s a clear and simple tutorial that shows people how to do something that isn’t obvious and can be useful.

    I’ve done a number of these kinds of things in the past, and plan to do lots more. But the issue you raise is very much on my mind: I need to find (or create) very different channels for them.

    There was a lot on my InfoWorld blog that could have appealed more broadly, but it was the wrong venue for a general audience. Ditto my current blog. And, in fact, ditto Channel 9.

    A series of commentaries I’ve been doing for public radio (http://www.nhpr.org/user/1308/track) has given me a glimpse of where I need to go. Those radio spots have connected me to civilians (by which I mean non-geeks) in ways that nothing else ever has.

    I have the tools to communicate to different people in appropriate ways, and I have a well-established geek venue.

    The question is: What will the other venues be? I’m busily trying to figure that out. All helpful suggestions will be welcome.

  6. Robert, you’re absolutely right. I’m talking about very different things, to very different people, and it’s imperative that I split these messages out into separate and appropriate channels.

    Today’s item is /not/ for your cousin and my brother-in-law. It’s for technologists at Microsoft, at WordPress, and elsewhere — folks who are interested in how to connect a very popular desktop application to a very popular cloud application, in a way that brings together the best of both worlds. (And who are in a position to do something about it.)

    I communicate very differently when I am trying to reach your cousin and my brother-in-law. An example is here:

    http://channel9.msdn.com/media/ShowHideRibbon.html

    That’s a clear and simple tutorial that shows people how to do something that isn’t obvious and can be useful.

    I’ve done a number of these kinds of things in the past, and plan to do lots more. But the issue you raise is very much on my mind: I need to find (or create) very different channels for them.

    There was a lot on my InfoWorld blog that could have appealed more broadly, but it was the wrong venue for a general audience. Ditto my current blog. And, in fact, ditto Channel 9.

    A series of commentaries I’ve been doing for public radio (http://www.nhpr.org/user/1308/track) has given me a glimpse of where I need to go. Those radio spots have connected me to civilians (by which I mean non-geeks) in ways that nothing else ever has.

    I have the tools to communicate to different people in appropriate ways, and I have a well-established geek venue.

    The question is: What will the other venues be? I’m busily trying to figure that out. All helpful suggestions will be welcome.

  7. You identified the problem that hurts all of us technical people — the language we speak.

    We can’t help ourselves.

    The better job we do at speaking the language of the everyday person, the better job we will do of evangelizing our ideas.

    And when somebody figures out how to do it, please help teach me too!

  8. You identified the problem that hurts all of us technical people — the language we speak.

    We can’t help ourselves.

    The better job we do at speaking the language of the everyday person, the better job we will do of evangelizing our ideas.

    And when somebody figures out how to do it, please help teach me too!

  9. I don’t like it. If Jon splits his focus into two (or more) sets of audiences, the larger non-geek audience might win all his attention. Who then, is going to dissect technology to create mashups?

  10. I don’t like it. If Jon splits his focus into two (or more) sets of audiences, the larger non-geek audience might win all his attention. Who then, is going to dissect technology to create mashups?

  11. For #8, to finish the thought:
    Who then, is going to dissect technology, create mashups and then write about it for us.

    (You should be able to edit your comments!)

  12. For #8, to finish the thought:
    Who then, is going to dissect technology, create mashups and then write about it for us.

    (You should be able to edit your comments!)

  13. I agree.

    The heart may be in the right place, but the mouth is way off. The tech-savvy (geeks if you like) are either already blogging, or will do an online search for a “how-to” because…well, that’s what we do.

    However, if my mother-in-law wants to start a blog, and reads a line like:

    “But none of this is apparent to most people and, if it requires them to write semantic CSS tags in XHTML using emacs, it never will become apparent.”

    …she’s going straight back to Free Cell.

    If the idea is to broaden the horizons and widen the gate on technologies like blogging, then it’s time to stop preaching to the choir, and use some simple, straightforward language.

    But, if we do this…if we stop using the latest inside jargon and acronyms, wither goes our sense of technological elitism?

    What keeps the geeks “cool” if anyone can understand it?

    -Perry

  14. I agree.

    The heart may be in the right place, but the mouth is way off. The tech-savvy (geeks if you like) are either already blogging, or will do an online search for a “how-to” because…well, that’s what we do.

    However, if my mother-in-law wants to start a blog, and reads a line like:

    “But none of this is apparent to most people and, if it requires them to write semantic CSS tags in XHTML using emacs, it never will become apparent.”

    …she’s going straight back to Free Cell.

    If the idea is to broaden the horizons and widen the gate on technologies like blogging, then it’s time to stop preaching to the choir, and use some simple, straightforward language.

    But, if we do this…if we stop using the latest inside jargon and acronyms, wither goes our sense of technological elitism?

    What keeps the geeks “cool” if anyone can understand it?

    -Perry

  15. Perry: I’ll echo here what I said at your place:

    “If the idea is to broaden the horizons and widen the gate on technologies like blogging, then it’s time to stop preaching to the choir, and use some simple, straightforward language.”

    I violently agree. See my comment on Robert’s item for my thoughts on developing separate channels for separate audiences.

    “But, if we do this…if we stop using the latest inside jargon and acronyms, whither goes our sense of technological elitism? What keeps the geeks “cool” if anyone can understand us?”

    How about making the technology actually deliver on its promises? For most people, in most ways, it hasn’t.

    Kevin:

    “If Jon splits his focus into two (or more) sets of audiences, the larger non-geek audience might win all his attention. Who then, is going to dissect technology to create mashups, and then write about it for us?”

    Well, I’m hardly the only one who can and does the dissection and the communication for “us”. But my conclusion lately is that “we” are catastrophically disconnected from “them” and the gap is widening as “we” keep on inventing cool stuff that in turn accelerates our ability to invent more cool stuff. It’s gotten way too easy to not notice that “they” are not nearly as enabled, empowered, and assisted by all this coolness as “they” should be.

    “(You should be able to edit your comments!)”

    Yes, that’s a perfect example. “We” just bitch, or hack our way around things like that. “They” run away in horror, perhaps never to return.

  16. Perry: I’ll echo here what I said at your place:

    “If the idea is to broaden the horizons and widen the gate on technologies like blogging, then it’s time to stop preaching to the choir, and use some simple, straightforward language.”

    I violently agree. See my comment on Robert’s item for my thoughts on developing separate channels for separate audiences.

    “But, if we do this…if we stop using the latest inside jargon and acronyms, whither goes our sense of technological elitism? What keeps the geeks “cool” if anyone can understand us?”

    How about making the technology actually deliver on its promises? For most people, in most ways, it hasn’t.

    Kevin:

    “If Jon splits his focus into two (or more) sets of audiences, the larger non-geek audience might win all his attention. Who then, is going to dissect technology to create mashups, and then write about it for us?”

    Well, I’m hardly the only one who can and does the dissection and the communication for “us”. But my conclusion lately is that “we” are catastrophically disconnected from “them” and the gap is widening as “we” keep on inventing cool stuff that in turn accelerates our ability to invent more cool stuff. It’s gotten way too easy to not notice that “they” are not nearly as enabled, empowered, and assisted by all this coolness as “they” should be.

    “(You should be able to edit your comments!)”

    Yes, that’s a perfect example. “We” just bitch, or hack our way around things like that. “They” run away in horror, perhaps never to return.

  17. Jon needs to be very careful not to appear to be a newly minted shill for Microsoft. While his blog may have been very carefully crafted, my first and third reactions were, “OMG he’s trying to convince people to go out and buy Office to post to their blog!”

    Well, I convinced and entire government agency into upgrading to Office 2000 early for just such “features” only, in practice, they didn’t work nearly as well as my little demo did, because my demo used an FTP server that had features they didn’t have.

    More recently, I talked a small company into using Google Aps for Your Domain as an alternative to their current hodge-podge e-mail documents here there and everywhere approach. They mostly like the results but have had a few issues. I suggested that they also try Office Live for comparisons sake, but they would have to do it without my help as it requires you be running XP or better to even sign up for it (and I assume using it would be out of the question for a Linux or OS X user).

    If Microsoft wants to keep playing their lock everyone into Windows all the time game, they need to at least learn to be more subtle about it.

    Word is a lousy blogging tool, for more reasons than I have time too name, but it’s a pretty good word processor. Stop with the linkages already!

    Let me get to Office live from my Linux box and if it’s good, I’ll recommend it over GAfYD.

    I tried the MSN free web pages (once they stopped requiring IE) and while they are not my favorite, I can at least tell other people to try them and not worry about them having a radically different experience than I did.

    Most people do not use 99 percent of the features in Word. What MOST people use is available as free give-aways with the OS they install or as simple Web Aps. In the future, Word will be a specialists tool, even more so than Photshop is now. Excel has better long term potential, but similarly won’t be needed by most users. Time for Microsoft to get real about accepting this trend and stop trying to retrofit the Office suit for new.

    My mother had a little tiny hammer in the kitchen drawer that she could use to hang pictures with. We never tried to get her to switch to the big hammer my father used for his construction projects.

    Sometimes a small specific tool is all you need.

  18. Jon needs to be very careful not to appear to be a newly minted shill for Microsoft. While his blog may have been very carefully crafted, my first and third reactions were, “OMG he’s trying to convince people to go out and buy Office to post to their blog!”

    Well, I convinced and entire government agency into upgrading to Office 2000 early for just such “features” only, in practice, they didn’t work nearly as well as my little demo did, because my demo used an FTP server that had features they didn’t have.

    More recently, I talked a small company into using Google Aps for Your Domain as an alternative to their current hodge-podge e-mail documents here there and everywhere approach. They mostly like the results but have had a few issues. I suggested that they also try Office Live for comparisons sake, but they would have to do it without my help as it requires you be running XP or better to even sign up for it (and I assume using it would be out of the question for a Linux or OS X user).

    If Microsoft wants to keep playing their lock everyone into Windows all the time game, they need to at least learn to be more subtle about it.

    Word is a lousy blogging tool, for more reasons than I have time too name, but it’s a pretty good word processor. Stop with the linkages already!

    Let me get to Office live from my Linux box and if it’s good, I’ll recommend it over GAfYD.

    I tried the MSN free web pages (once they stopped requiring IE) and while they are not my favorite, I can at least tell other people to try them and not worry about them having a radically different experience than I did.

    Most people do not use 99 percent of the features in Word. What MOST people use is available as free give-aways with the OS they install or as simple Web Aps. In the future, Word will be a specialists tool, even more so than Photshop is now. Excel has better long term potential, but similarly won’t be needed by most users. Time for Microsoft to get real about accepting this trend and stop trying to retrofit the Office suit for new.

    My mother had a little tiny hammer in the kitchen drawer that she could use to hang pictures with. We never tried to get her to switch to the big hammer my father used for his construction projects.

    Sometimes a small specific tool is all you need.

  19. Jon,

    Left a longer reply on my page for you, but one thing here I don’t understand.

    I said:

    “But, if we do this…if we stop using the latest inside jargon and acronyms, whither goes our sense of technological elitism? What keeps the geeks “cool” if anyone can understand us?”

    To which you replied:

    “How about making the technology actually deliver on its promises? For most people, in most ways, it hasn’t.”

    I admit I got a little off-topic with the “elitism” rabbit-trail, but can you clarify how your respose related to my statement? (Not being sarcastic, I seriously want to know.)

    Thanks again,

    -Perry

  20. Jon,

    Left a longer reply on my page for you, but one thing here I don’t understand.

    I said:

    “But, if we do this…if we stop using the latest inside jargon and acronyms, whither goes our sense of technological elitism? What keeps the geeks “cool” if anyone can understand us?”

    To which you replied:

    “How about making the technology actually deliver on its promises? For most people, in most ways, it hasn’t.”

    I admit I got a little off-topic with the “elitism” rabbit-trail, but can you clarify how your respose related to my statement? (Not being sarcastic, I seriously want to know.)

    Thanks again,

    -Perry

  21. I don’t understand why people feel that Jon is trying to lock people into using MS Office or trying to convince people that you should pay for Office just to write a blog. I for one didn’t know you could blog from Word and when I read the post thought… Gee that’s neat… Not I need to rush out and buy Office 2007 just to blog. I will try it and if I like, might even continue to use it.
    Talk about harsh treatment.

  22. I don’t understand why people feel that Jon is trying to lock people into using MS Office or trying to convince people that you should pay for Office just to write a blog. I for one didn’t know you could blog from Word and when I read the post thought… Gee that’s neat… Not I need to rush out and buy Office 2007 just to blog. I will try it and if I like, might even continue to use it.
    Talk about harsh treatment.

  23. Another thought I just had, isn’t Jon increasing value just by having us debate the validness of his point and what he was trying to demonstrate?

  24. @12 “Well, I’m hardly the only one who can and does the dissection and the communication for “us”. But my conclusion lately is that “we” are catastrophically disconnected from “them” and the gap is widening as “we” keep on inventing cool stuff that in turn accelerates our ability to invent more cool stuff. It’s gotten way too easy to not notice that “they” are not nearly as enabled, empowered, and assisted by all this coolness as “they” should be.”

    And therein lies the problem. Geeks like technology for technology’s sake. It seems like a lot of what MS does is build products for what THEY (the developers at Microsoft) would like to use, not what “normal people” would like to use (I prefer that term over “civilians”). Most normal people want to use technology to get something done. They don’t care about how it works, or why it works the way it does; They just want it to work and do the job they hired it to do. It seems a lot of stuff coming out is answers to questions normal people aren’t asking.

  25. @12 “Well, I’m hardly the only one who can and does the dissection and the communication for “us”. But my conclusion lately is that “we” are catastrophically disconnected from “them” and the gap is widening as “we” keep on inventing cool stuff that in turn accelerates our ability to invent more cool stuff. It’s gotten way too easy to not notice that “they” are not nearly as enabled, empowered, and assisted by all this coolness as “they” should be.”

    And therein lies the problem. Geeks like technology for technology’s sake. It seems like a lot of what MS does is build products for what THEY (the developers at Microsoft) would like to use, not what “normal people” would like to use (I prefer that term over “civilians”). Most normal people want to use technology to get something done. They don’t care about how it works, or why it works the way it does; They just want it to work and do the job they hired it to do. It seems a lot of stuff coming out is answers to questions normal people aren’t asking.

  26. RE: “Then you get out of Redmond and the conversations are very different. I’ve never had someone ask me how to blog from Word outside of Redmond.”

    Having just left corporate life (following a few more years than you) I can relate :-)
    Yes, the way things are seen is totally different, and one doesn’t see that until you are out. In the case of MS its Word etc, in my case Banks, its a certain approach to projects, and software which bears no resemblance to the outside world.

  27. RE: “Then you get out of Redmond and the conversations are very different. I’ve never had someone ask me how to blog from Word outside of Redmond.”

    Having just left corporate life (following a few more years than you) I can relate :-)
    Yes, the way things are seen is totally different, and one doesn’t see that until you are out. In the case of MS its Word etc, in my case Banks, its a certain approach to projects, and software which bears no resemblance to the outside world.

  28. I have to say that you yourself, as well as probably most of us here, suffer from the same limited view. Once you are saturated in a culture you tend to assume *everyone* is in it.

    I still have many nerd friends that don’t have a blog, don’t have a membership to any social networking site, don’t even subscribe to feeds much less any podcasts. I know a lot of people that just started reading feeds only because of IE7′s built in reader. These are intellegent software developers that crank out some amazing code and they really couldn’t care about the iPhone or Google Reader or Steve Jobs latest open letter.

    There is also a silent majority out there that will never comment, never post and you can probably chat with them all night at a cocktail party and you’ll never find out that they actually have been wondering how to blog from inside of Word. This silent majority, the average consumers, they simply view Word or Google or iTunes as tools and don’t really get why people really talk about them at all.

    Heck, even I hate talking about Google vs. Microsoft vs. Yahoo in public, it all feels very much like the highschool game of “who would you sleep with”. Dude, I would *totally* do Yahoo!

  29. I have to say that you yourself, as well as probably most of us here, suffer from the same limited view. Once you are saturated in a culture you tend to assume *everyone* is in it.

    I still have many nerd friends that don’t have a blog, don’t have a membership to any social networking site, don’t even subscribe to feeds much less any podcasts. I know a lot of people that just started reading feeds only because of IE7′s built in reader. These are intellegent software developers that crank out some amazing code and they really couldn’t care about the iPhone or Google Reader or Steve Jobs latest open letter.

    There is also a silent majority out there that will never comment, never post and you can probably chat with them all night at a cocktail party and you’ll never find out that they actually have been wondering how to blog from inside of Word. This silent majority, the average consumers, they simply view Word or Google or iTunes as tools and don’t really get why people really talk about them at all.

    Heck, even I hate talking about Google vs. Microsoft vs. Yahoo in public, it all feels very much like the highschool game of “who would you sleep with”. Dude, I would *totally* do Yahoo!

  30. I was really disappointed to see that Jon took a complicated subject – blogging and the semantic web – and made it more complicated by delving into the processing of WordML docs and CSS tagging without giving us the context for why all this matters in the first place. (BTW: I don’t think that synchronizing tags between blog posts is the correct answer!)

    I wish Jon had spent less time working through his particular problem and more time talking about the central issue, which is the convergence between semantics and everday office productivity tools. This really is a big deal – even outside of Redmond. Most users don’t understand that there is a tidal wave of XML about to happen, let alone why it might matter to them.

    To this point, I would have prefered a smarter, less technical discussion than what was presented. You don’t have to dumb the discussion down, just tell me what the problem is, how the technology solves the problem, and how the solution will make my life better. You’ll make me feel smarter, and yes, I might actually learn something.

  31. I was really disappointed to see that Jon took a complicated subject – blogging and the semantic web – and made it more complicated by delving into the processing of WordML docs and CSS tagging without giving us the context for why all this matters in the first place. (BTW: I don’t think that synchronizing tags between blog posts is the correct answer!)

    I wish Jon had spent less time working through his particular problem and more time talking about the central issue, which is the convergence between semantics and everday office productivity tools. This really is a big deal – even outside of Redmond. Most users don’t understand that there is a tidal wave of XML about to happen, let alone why it might matter to them.

    To this point, I would have prefered a smarter, less technical discussion than what was presented. You don’t have to dumb the discussion down, just tell me what the problem is, how the technology solves the problem, and how the solution will make my life better. You’ll make me feel smarter, and yes, I might actually learn something.

  32. It’s not a waste of time, since it’s going to benefit some people.

    As someone who has written a blogging tool I know how fundamentally hard it is to ask questions that you need for configuration in a way that will make sense to people who don’t already know what you’re talking about. How for instance do you ask people who aren’t hosting their own blogs to give you an address for the blog API endpoint, when that’s different from the blog address which is probably the only url they have cause to know, and the blog providers themselves are usually not too forthcoming on the subject? (we almost need something like UDDI for blogs…)
    ‘S not easy.

  33. It’s not a waste of time, since it’s going to benefit some people.

    As someone who has written a blogging tool I know how fundamentally hard it is to ask questions that you need for configuration in a way that will make sense to people who don’t already know what you’re talking about. How for instance do you ask people who aren’t hosting their own blogs to give you an address for the blog API endpoint, when that’s different from the blog address which is probably the only url they have cause to know, and the blog providers themselves are usually not too forthcoming on the subject? (we almost need something like UDDI for blogs…)
    ‘S not easy.

  34. I think Jon has an interesting article and he’s right in his pro’s and con’s regardless of the tool used (in this case a wordprocessor).

    My take on this is that it is interesting to be able to use word, but it’s like shooting at a moving target.

    Blog tools are still evolving, and the functionality that’s currently provided is not enough to even consider using a wordprocessor. Just as I still regularly go to the source code to put in tags I need (f.i. for microformats). The moment these ofline tools would enable me to use code, i would start thinking about it.

    For some people it might work, but then again, control-c, control-v and your favorite text editor to the work as well (maybe without the formatting, but that’s easily changed).

    I guess most people are currently used to using the browser as there main entrance towards the blog and I guess that won’t change in the coming years as long as the blogtools keep reinventing themselves.

  35. I think Jon has an interesting article and he’s right in his pro’s and con’s regardless of the tool used (in this case a wordprocessor).

    My take on this is that it is interesting to be able to use word, but it’s like shooting at a moving target.

    Blog tools are still evolving, and the functionality that’s currently provided is not enough to even consider using a wordprocessor. Just as I still regularly go to the source code to put in tags I need (f.i. for microformats). The moment these ofline tools would enable me to use code, i would start thinking about it.

    For some people it might work, but then again, control-c, control-v and your favorite text editor to the work as well (maybe without the formatting, but that’s easily changed).

    I guess most people are currently used to using the browser as there main entrance towards the blog and I guess that won’t change in the coming years as long as the blogtools keep reinventing themselves.

  36. Ok, perhaps I am being stupid here.

    Sometimes, if I’m in the mood to write a blog post but don’t have wi-fi access to get to word press, I use my regular old Word (not 2007). Get to a wi-fi spot whenever, select all, cut and paste, add links and viola!
    So I need to upgrade…..why?
    This is perfectly functional.
    It’s amazing how much inside baseball is played in companies. Before spending time, money and resources on this type of project, might a chat with people who blog and are the target market, be an appropriate first step?
    Whitney Hoffman

  37. Ok, perhaps I am being stupid here.

    Sometimes, if I’m in the mood to write a blog post but don’t have wi-fi access to get to word press, I use my regular old Word (not 2007). Get to a wi-fi spot whenever, select all, cut and paste, add links and viola!
    So I need to upgrade…..why?
    This is perfectly functional.
    It’s amazing how much inside baseball is played in companies. Before spending time, money and resources on this type of project, might a chat with people who blog and are the target market, be an appropriate first step?
    Whitney Hoffman

  38. Whitney: the Word team actually did do quite a bit of customer research. I remember talking with them a bit about this feature too. Also, Google built a Word-to-Blogger technology, which provided additional research.

    I wasn’t trying to claim that they didn’t do research. It’s just that when you’re inside Microsoft you try to solve problems using Microsoft technology.

  39. Whitney: the Word team actually did do quite a bit of customer research. I remember talking with them a bit about this feature too. Also, Google built a Word-to-Blogger technology, which provided additional research.

    I wasn’t trying to claim that they didn’t do research. It’s just that when you’re inside Microsoft you try to solve problems using Microsoft technology.

  40. Robert,
    I was in Geneva for LIFT and a friend I met there, Martin Kuipers, who introduced me to the book “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum” by Alan Cooper(another ex-Mircosoft person and the developer of Visual Basic). It makes clear that the people attracted to technology as a profession are drawn to complexity while the rest of the world is basically repelled by it. The problem is that the geek insiders don’t really understand the outsiders.

    Meanwhile I have been using a tool called Ecto which is a dedicated blog editor with some of the simplicity of a word processor but a decent understanding of my blogging tool(Drupal). I like it because I can use it like a word processor and create keep content in draft form and offline until I complete it – and it knows how to post the results. It also is able to integrate content from iPhoto easily.

    Another interesting experience I had at LIFT was talking with a woman who worked for a Microsoft tools-only software development company. She was shocked at how unloved Microsoft was by most of the participants(and the predominance of Macs with the participants) – since at her company they think Microsoft is “the world”.

  41. Robert,
    I was in Geneva for LIFT and a friend I met there, Martin Kuipers, who introduced me to the book “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum” by Alan Cooper(another ex-Mircosoft person and the developer of Visual Basic). It makes clear that the people attracted to technology as a profession are drawn to complexity while the rest of the world is basically repelled by it. The problem is that the geek insiders don’t really understand the outsiders.

    Meanwhile I have been using a tool called Ecto which is a dedicated blog editor with some of the simplicity of a word processor but a decent understanding of my blogging tool(Drupal). I like it because I can use it like a word processor and create keep content in draft form and offline until I complete it – and it knows how to post the results. It also is able to integrate content from iPhoto easily.

    Another interesting experience I had at LIFT was talking with a woman who worked for a Microsoft tools-only software development company. She was shocked at how unloved Microsoft was by most of the participants(and the predominance of Macs with the participants) – since at her company they think Microsoft is “the world”.

  42. David: I know Alan Cooper’s work. It’s excellent (I was in a small group to test out many of his ideas when he was writing that book — those were among my most favorite, and remembered, experiences of the 1990s).

    Totally agreed. On the other hand, there are lots of people who use weird non-Microsoft stuff too. Wait until you find a Lotus Notes shop, for instance.

  43. David: I know Alan Cooper’s work. It’s excellent (I was in a small group to test out many of his ideas when he was writing that book — those were among my most favorite, and remembered, experiences of the 1990s).

    Totally agreed. On the other hand, there are lots of people who use weird non-Microsoft stuff too. Wait until you find a Lotus Notes shop, for instance.

  44. “I was really disappointed to see that Jon took a complicated subject – blogging and the semantic web – and made it more complicated by delving into the processing of WordML docs and CSS tagging without giving us the context for why all this matters in the first place.”

    Sorry ’bout that. The “why it matters” explanation is something that I’ve been working out for years. But you’re right. In addition to the version of that explanation that’s needed for a general audience, I should have provided one here. So: http://www.infoworld.com/article/05/02/25/09OPstrategic_1.html

    “There is also a silent majority out there that will never comment, never post and you can probably chat with them all night at a cocktail party and you’ll never find out that they actually have been wondering how to blog from inside of Word.”

    Of course not. Because when we step outside our circle, most people have never wondered how to blog in any form. Or, more importantly, why to do so.

    I’m trying to tell two stories, to two audiences, about the same thing.

    I want civilians to understand that they can regard blogging not merely as armchair punditry that produces throwaway material, but as a tool for lifelong projection of personal and professional identity.

    I want geeks to understand that in order for civilians to regard blogging in that way, the tools need to deliver a level of precision, professionalism, stability, interoperability, and reliability that we have not yet seen.

    “They just want it to work and do the job they hired it to do. It seems a lot of stuff coming out is answers to questions normal people aren’t asking.”

    You’re right. But if you listen carefully you can hear all kinds of questions that people /are/ asking:

    “Why can’t I keep track of our family calendar and my work calendar in the same place?”

    “Why can’t I easily collect all the emails related to my kid’s problems in school, and bundle them up to prepare for the meeting with the guidance counselor?”

    “Will our grandkids be able to see these digital photos we’re taking?”

    As an industry, with our current focus on services and metadata, we’re kind of on the right track. But we are so not connecting the dots for people.

    “I admit I got a little off-topic with the “elitism” rabbit-trail, but can you clarify how your response related to my statement? (Not being sarcastic, I seriously want to know.)”

    Sure. My response to you was:

    “How about making the technology actually deliver on its promises? For most people, in most ways, it hasn’t.”

    My thesis is as follows. People who are old enough to have seen PCs and the Internet evolve brought a set of expectations about what that stuff would be, and would do for them. Those expectations came from science fiction, which told us that computers and networks and software would add up to the kind of intelligent assistance that was beautifully captured in Apple’s Knowledge Navigator concept video (http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/10/23.html).

    Then they actually got their hands on the technology and, as exciting as it was, it was also in many ways a crushing disappointment. Things mostly did not Just Work. When they did, you had to struggle to get them to work. You had to learn about all kinds of crap you never wanted to learn. And the benefits, while very real — especially now in the Internet era — still fell far short of the hype.

    This would be an interesting experiment for everyone reading this thread. Find a civilian (non-geek) friend, and watch the Knowledge Navigator video with that person. How does he or she react? Hopeful and inspired? Or jaded and cynical? I fear the latter reaction, but I’d like to be proven wrong about that.

  45. “I was really disappointed to see that Jon took a complicated subject – blogging and the semantic web – and made it more complicated by delving into the processing of WordML docs and CSS tagging without giving us the context for why all this matters in the first place.”

    Sorry ’bout that. The “why it matters” explanation is something that I’ve been working out for years. But you’re right. In addition to the version of that explanation that’s needed for a general audience, I should have provided one here. So: http://www.infoworld.com/article/05/02/25/09OPstrategic_1.html

    “There is also a silent majority out there that will never comment, never post and you can probably chat with them all night at a cocktail party and you’ll never find out that they actually have been wondering how to blog from inside of Word.”

    Of course not. Because when we step outside our circle, most people have never wondered how to blog in any form. Or, more importantly, why to do so.

    I’m trying to tell two stories, to two audiences, about the same thing.

    I want civilians to understand that they can regard blogging not merely as armchair punditry that produces throwaway material, but as a tool for lifelong projection of personal and professional identity.

    I want geeks to understand that in order for civilians to regard blogging in that way, the tools need to deliver a level of precision, professionalism, stability, interoperability, and reliability that we have not yet seen.

    “They just want it to work and do the job they hired it to do. It seems a lot of stuff coming out is answers to questions normal people aren’t asking.”

    You’re right. But if you listen carefully you can hear all kinds of questions that people /are/ asking:

    “Why can’t I keep track of our family calendar and my work calendar in the same place?”

    “Why can’t I easily collect all the emails related to my kid’s problems in school, and bundle them up to prepare for the meeting with the guidance counselor?”

    “Will our grandkids be able to see these digital photos we’re taking?”

    As an industry, with our current focus on services and metadata, we’re kind of on the right track. But we are so not connecting the dots for people.

    “I admit I got a little off-topic with the “elitism” rabbit-trail, but can you clarify how your response related to my statement? (Not being sarcastic, I seriously want to know.)”

    Sure. My response to you was:

    “How about making the technology actually deliver on its promises? For most people, in most ways, it hasn’t.”

    My thesis is as follows. People who are old enough to have seen PCs and the Internet evolve brought a set of expectations about what that stuff would be, and would do for them. Those expectations came from science fiction, which told us that computers and networks and software would add up to the kind of intelligent assistance that was beautifully captured in Apple’s Knowledge Navigator concept video (http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/10/23.html).

    Then they actually got their hands on the technology and, as exciting as it was, it was also in many ways a crushing disappointment. Things mostly did not Just Work. When they did, you had to struggle to get them to work. You had to learn about all kinds of crap you never wanted to learn. And the benefits, while very real — especially now in the Internet era — still fell far short of the hype.

    This would be an interesting experiment for everyone reading this thread. Find a civilian (non-geek) friend, and watch the Knowledge Navigator video with that person. How does he or she react? Hopeful and inspired? Or jaded and cynical? I fear the latter reaction, but I’d like to be proven wrong about that.

  46. Jon,

    I think this is a fascinating idea, and I’m willing to give it a try.

    Would you mind posting this reponse (yours) to my blog site? I’ll round out some folks I know who are “Civilians” and run with this…

    Just curious, what do YOU think the best ways to resolve this issue are?

    Thanks,

    -Perry

  47. Jon,

    I think this is a fascinating idea, and I’m willing to give it a try.

    Would you mind posting this reponse (yours) to my blog site? I’ll round out some folks I know who are “Civilians” and run with this…

    Just curious, what do YOU think the best ways to resolve this issue are?

    Thanks,

    -Perry

  48. For the record Jon I was actually trying to support your post :) Let me round it out:

    There is also a silent majority out there that will never comment, never post and you can probably chat with them all night at a cocktail party and you’ll never find out that they actually have been wondering how to blog from inside of Word, *YET* these are the exact type of people that will one day decide to see what all the buzz is about and fire up the only application they use on a daily basis to work with words, namely Word. Once they don’t see a menu option about blogging they are off to do a search and probably at least half will type “blogging Office Word”, thus leading them to Jon’s article.

    There, that makes a bit more sense :)

  49. For the record Jon I was actually trying to support your post :) Let me round it out:

    There is also a silent majority out there that will never comment, never post and you can probably chat with them all night at a cocktail party and you’ll never find out that they actually have been wondering how to blog from inside of Word, *YET* these are the exact type of people that will one day decide to see what all the buzz is about and fire up the only application they use on a daily basis to work with words, namely Word. Once they don’t see a menu option about blogging they are off to do a search and probably at least half will type “blogging Office Word”, thus leading them to Jon’s article.

    There, that makes a bit more sense :)

  50. Perry: “Just curious, what do YOU think the best ways to resolve this issue are?”

    To finally deliver what science fiction and the Knowledge Navigator video promised.

    Shawn: “Once they don’t see a menu option about blogging they are off to do a search and probably at least half will type “blogging Office Word”, thus leading them to Jon’s article.”

    Ouch. You got me there. I /really/ need to find an alternate venue for that (vast) group of folks.

  51. Perry: “Just curious, what do YOU think the best ways to resolve this issue are?”

    To finally deliver what science fiction and the Knowledge Navigator video promised.

    Shawn: “Once they don’t see a menu option about blogging they are off to do a search and probably at least half will type “blogging Office Word”, thus leading them to Jon’s article.”

    Ouch. You got me there. I /really/ need to find an alternate venue for that (vast) group of folks.

  52. Scoble: “But, anyway, this is something I’ve noticed since leaving Microsoft. When you’re up at Microsoft all you think about is how to work with Microsoft stuff. Conversations like the one Jon is participating in seem normal and commonplace.

    Then you get out of Redmond and the conversations are very different. I’ve never had someone ask me how to blog from Word outside of Redmond.”

    Robert, you are oh so right, but it extends way beyond Redmond. Anyone immersed in Microsoft technologies is like that too; Microsoft-centric consulting companies, people attending .NET conferences and .NET user groups, third parties supporting Microsoft technologies, and even my prior company Xtras.

    It wasn’t until I left Xtras and looked around that I realized how many excellent solutions are available that are not from Microsoft. What’s more it appears that many of the Microsoft solutions are no longer the best solution anymore not the least because of their monolithic architecture mindset. And this is ESPECIALLY true when it comes to web technologies.

    BTW, I think Microsoft still was at the top of its game 10 years ago when you were still at Fawcette and I was coming to VBITS. I mean, I think at that time Microsoft’s solutions were some of the best. But with over 10 years since the widespread adoption of Internet open-source has matured as an option and is now starting to surpass many of Microsoft’s offerings, and I think the trend will only accelerate.

  53. Scoble: “But, anyway, this is something I’ve noticed since leaving Microsoft. When you’re up at Microsoft all you think about is how to work with Microsoft stuff. Conversations like the one Jon is participating in seem normal and commonplace.

    Then you get out of Redmond and the conversations are very different. I’ve never had someone ask me how to blog from Word outside of Redmond.”

    Robert, you are oh so right, but it extends way beyond Redmond. Anyone immersed in Microsoft technologies is like that too; Microsoft-centric consulting companies, people attending .NET conferences and .NET user groups, third parties supporting Microsoft technologies, and even my prior company Xtras.

    It wasn’t until I left Xtras and looked around that I realized how many excellent solutions are available that are not from Microsoft. What’s more it appears that many of the Microsoft solutions are no longer the best solution anymore not the least because of their monolithic architecture mindset. And this is ESPECIALLY true when it comes to web technologies.

    BTW, I think Microsoft still was at the top of its game 10 years ago when you were still at Fawcette and I was coming to VBITS. I mean, I think at that time Microsoft’s solutions were some of the best. But with over 10 years since the widespread adoption of Internet open-source has matured as an option and is now starting to surpass many of Microsoft’s offerings, and I think the trend will only accelerate.

  54. “You’re right. But if you listen carefully you can hear all kinds of questions that people /are/ asking:”

    And lately Microsoft has apparently been incapable of of listening to them, or answering them. Their answers seem to be a rehash of the 1990′s

    (At this point, Scoble chimes in with “XBOX, XBOX, XBOX,” “Tablet, Tablet, Tablet”. MediaCenter, MediaCenter, MediaCenter)

  55. “You’re right. But if you listen carefully you can hear all kinds of questions that people /are/ asking:”

    And lately Microsoft has apparently been incapable of of listening to them, or answering them. Their answers seem to be a rehash of the 1990′s

    (At this point, Scoble chimes in with “XBOX, XBOX, XBOX,” “Tablet, Tablet, Tablet”. MediaCenter, MediaCenter, MediaCenter)

  56. Jon,

    Unsure.

    To some extent I think this issue may actually resolve itself in time. Given the fact that, historially speaking, blogging, the web, and even computers are still in thier infancy.

    We might be cave-men asking ourselves, “How do we get rid of all these freaking dinosaurs?” (Yes, I know, but stick with me for the sake of the analogy…)Maybe we just wait, and let the natural evolution of things move foward to more and more tech-savvy generations.

    Not a terribly helpful solution for the here and now, but there may not be a “best of both worlds” answer here.

    As far as sci-fi goes, we will always fill the future with “cool stuff” like that interactive computer “personality” but the reality is that each generation will build what it needs (or thinks it needs) and the next will build upon that.

    Thanks,

    -Perry

  57. Jon,

    Unsure.

    To some extent I think this issue may actually resolve itself in time. Given the fact that, historially speaking, blogging, the web, and even computers are still in thier infancy.

    We might be cave-men asking ourselves, “How do we get rid of all these freaking dinosaurs?” (Yes, I know, but stick with me for the sake of the analogy…)Maybe we just wait, and let the natural evolution of things move foward to more and more tech-savvy generations.

    Not a terribly helpful solution for the here and now, but there may not be a “best of both worlds” answer here.

    As far as sci-fi goes, we will always fill the future with “cool stuff” like that interactive computer “personality” but the reality is that each generation will build what it needs (or thinks it needs) and the next will build upon that.

    Thanks,

    -Perry