41 years of inexperience

Thanks to Michael Coates for wishing me happy birthday. I started out in this crazy world 41 years ago. Hey, I’m not even as old as the mouse!

What am I gonna do to celebrate? Start the day with breakfast with Greg Hughes. Funny that we’re in Pittsburgh at the same time (he’s my brother’s new boss). Hang out with law students — Professor Michael Madison invited me to speak to his class at the University of Pittsburgh.

Later in the evening I’ll be hanging out with Pittsburgh’s bloggers. Should be a fun day!

Why the headline? Cause I try to have a new experience every day. This is my first time in Pittsburgh, for instance.

So far my experiences have been great. Free wifi in the Pittsburgh airport. Free wifi in the Omni Hotel. And, lots of easily findable power outlets. Many hotels hide the outlets behind things, not here. Hey, I’m a geek and easy to please! ūüėČ

Hope your Christmas went well

Sometimes I write a post just for a couple of people. This is one of those times. Shel and Paula Israel, thank you so much for an awesome dinner last night! What a feast! I’m still recovering. And, thanks to Jeff Clavier for the wine. It’s the first time I’ve had a 30-year-old wine. Damn, now I can’t go back to my two-buck-chuck. Sigh.

And, yes, Shel, I do have ThinkPad envy. Your new toy is so light! Not like the desert we had. What a log! I showed Jeff Windows Vista and Office 12 too. Jeff liked it a lot.

Me too, after switching half of my life over to Windows Vista and Office 12 it’s really hard to go back to XP and Office 2003.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Office 12’s new UI feels a lot more “Web like.” Why? No menus. I think this is going to be a suprise hit. Steve Gillmor is counting Office out, saying it’s dead, but, sorry, I sure like using Office 12 a lot more than, say, Writely (which I’ve also been playing with).

The Podcast Network interviews me

I’m on lots of podcasts. I figure that instead of doing my own podcast I’ll just go on other people’s podcasts and help them out. Here Richard Giles interviews me for the Gadget Show on the Podcast Network. These guys are smooth. It’s so amazing that we can do this. I’m using Skype. Richard is thousands of miles away. I’m using nothing more than my Tablet PC (Toshiba M4).

This interview focused on corporate blogging and I gave some tips for people who are thinking about starting a corporate blog.

We also talk at length about HDTV. I’m doing a lot of thinking about how that will change the world. I predict that 2006 is going to be the “year of HDTV.”

Oh, geez, my son is blogging…

Patrick called me while I was waiting in line at Google for a ride to my hotel. He said “guess what Dad, I have a blog.” Oh, great, what’s the URL I asked. miniscobleizer.blogspot.com.

I sense he’s just trying to be rebellious. First an iPod. Now he’s using a Google blog tool. I gotta straighten him out. He’s only 11. Imagine how rebellious he’ll be when he’s 14!!

By the way, I didn’t help him at all. He says that “without any readers my blog will fail.” I’d answer: write anyway. But the readers certainly make life much better.

Oh, what else did I tell him? “I’m at standing in line at a Google party.” Then I got into a car for one of the most incredible rides of my life. Who was sitting next to me? James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. Read his bio. Oh. My. Gawd. This guy is incredible. He runs the #1 library in the world. Think about that. I ask him how Microsoft could help him out. He pitches me on a way to change how everyone in the world will use libraries. Over the Web. Says it’ll cost only about $25 million.

He then goes on about the world’s treasures that are located in the Library of Congress. The¬†rare books. The international collections.¬†I’ve been pinching myself ever since.

Oh, and Maryam, he told me all about his trip to Iran. Says I have to go. Says the people there are smart, educated, interesting, and nice. I said “I know, that describes Maryam, my wife,¬†to a T.”

Why I’ll always support open and cheap public education

I was talking with my dad last night and I learned a little bit more about my past. He told me about his childhood. He grew up in Brooklyn and lived in the projects there (subsidized housing for families who don’t make much money). His dad ran a lathe machine at Westinghouse. Worked nights. Dropped out of school at the eighth grade. Hated his job, but knew he was lucky to even have a job.¬†My dad was the first one to go to college in our family. Why did he go? Because there was a community college that accepted him and was free. He went on to get a PHD from Rutgers, and get a job at Ampex in Redwood City (which is why he moved us out from New Jersey to Silicon Valley). Everytime I drive past the Ampex sign along 101 (which I’ll do in a few minutes when I drive Patrick to his house in Petaluma) I thank whoever hired him at Ampex. It’s why I’m here today. Oh, that and that free community college in New Jersey that took in my dad.

I was thinking about that when I read Dave Winer’s writings today about open meetings. I love the user group attitude that open meetings have. I love the openess. It lets¬†everyone¬†participate no matter what their skin color, no matter what their gender, no matter what their social status is (at Friday’s party I saw geeks who are struggling to get some server money together hanging out with geeks who had millions to their names). Say what you want about all the hype, all the hubris, but hype and hubris don’t stick around until 4 a.m. just for the sheer joy of writing and sharing and coming up with something new.

Does this stuff matter to society? Does it matter to families? Does it matter to you? Yes. Sharing knowledge with others helps us all out. It bootstraps people out of poverty and into more interesting lives. My only disappointment is that we can’t get more people who are unlike us to attend.

Another meeting is on Monday night. Nothing important will happen there. Just the future. Who will build it?

Thanks to those people who believed that public education was important for society. Thanks to those people who thought that poor people needed a hand up. Now it’s time for me to give back.