Sorry for taking off a couple of days

This has been a very busy week. Next week I’ll be in Silicon Valley so needed to get a bunch of interviews done. Plus I’ve been biasing my time to keeping up with email (I’m back on the David Allen plan, my inbox only has two messages in it right now) as well as doing Channel 9 videos (I’ve already loaded five videos this week, including one on the new InfoPath and one on Windows Vista’s new sidebar and gadgets).

Thank you to the crew at for fixing the bug. In an hour I get a demo of Sphere, a new blog search engine coming soon. This has been getting a lot of buzz, so can’t wait. Here’s an interview with Tony Conrad, the CEO at Sphere.

What a day with the Target Racing Team

Yesterday I lived the dream of thousands of race fans: I got to hang out behind the scenes at the Target Racing Team. I interviewed Jacques Lazier, driver of Target’s #10 car. You’ll see him on ESPN on Sunday in Toyota’s Indy 400 race.

I had no idea what went into racing. Jacques spent a lot of time with us. The car he drives costs about $1 million with $100,000 worth of electronics alone. It’s amazing the amount of telemetry data they can get off the dozens of sensors that come off the car.

Ever drive 218 MPH? Jaques does. But, you ever do it with dozens of other cars just inches away from you? You ever do it knowing if you make a single mistake it’ll be the end of your life (or worse?)

I learned that there are actually two different sports going on. One is a physical one. That’s Jacques’ world. It’s one of eye hand coordination, of picking the best line, of having the smoothest hand, of having the best technique.

But there’s another sport: the geek sport. See, Jacques led us into the garage. There we met with teams of geeks who had Dell laptops plugged into the car. They were testing out the dozens of sensors.

As they drive around the track these sensors report all sorts of data back to their laptops and Tablet PCs. They get to watch EVERYTHING going on with the car. There are even laser sensors inside the front wheel that measure distance from the ground and tilt and rake of the car.

The team — most of which has advanced college degrees in physics or engineering — told me how races are determined by who has written the best algorithms to figure out things like gas mileage of both them and their competitors.

The team wouldn’t let me shoot three things: their suspension systems, their engine and gas line systems, and their algorithms.

By the way, I want to shout out to one of my readers: Joe Berkemeier. He wrote me and said he’ll be at the race this weekend covering it for

Oh, and, yes, the team bragged about how they use Microsoft stuff including Tablet PCs, Windows Messenger, and OneNote. More when I get the videos up in a couple of weeks.

Meet the inventor of the Wiki, I’m off to the races

Whew, just got done answering a bunch of email. Hundreds of emails. I’m tired of typing so this will be short. Tomorrow I’m off to meet the Target Racing Team and interview them for Channel 9 (and watch the Toyota 400 on Sunday). Thanks to Eric Maino for getting us access and all that. Yes, the Target team uses Microsoft technology. But that’s a video for a future week. It’s going to be a fun weekend with not very much blogging.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I met Sam Gentile and Ward Cunningham at the GotDotNet Code Slam (which was part of the MVP Summit festivities). Anyway, I cornered the two of them and we talked about the early days of the Wiki. Among other things (programming for the Radio Shack TRS-80, aka the “trash 80” came up.).

¬†Oh, heck, let’s get a few quick blogs in.

Don Dodge continues posting real interesting stuff. Tonight’s post is “Innovate or Imitate … Fame or Fortune.” Don was an exec at AltaVista, Napster, among others, and now works at Microsoft.

It was nice seeing Halley Suitt, among others this week. She writes about the experience.

Wanna see a killer new search engine? Previewseek is it. Here, do a search for Target Racing Team. Compare that to your favorite search engine. I like it a lot. Thanks to Stefan Constantinescu for sending me that.

Congrats to the Podcast Network for signing a sizeable advertising deal with Motorola.

My brother, over on the ComputerWorld blogs, has a list of features and fixes he’d like to see in the next Windows.

Anyway, have a good one. I’m off to the airport to watch some racing!