Saturday, 06 November 2004

Coming November 7th? That's tomorrow...

Rumor is more will be revealed Sunday during ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and ESPN's Sunday Night Football. Sean's teasing us!

Ahhh - here we go... Info from the Seattle Times.

Microsoft is using the campaign to pitch Media Center Edition, a version of Windows that has digital TV, scheduling and recording capabilities and a TVlike remote control. It's installed on PCs with TV tuners that start at about $1,000.

Also new this fall is a companion device called Media Center Extender. It's basically a small box with a radio antenna that sits on a TV. It lets users wirelessly get digital media from a PC — including recorded movies and TV shows — to sets elsewhere in the home.

Intel is pitching its Pentium 4 chips with hyperthreading, a technology that boosts PC performance during data-intensive tasks such as digital-media processing.

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Tech | Windows Media Technology
Saturday, 06 November 2004 19:37:36 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The Channel 9 Guy took a little change-of-pace vacation recently, and flew to Hawaii to join up with a US Navy aircraft carrier for a week-long Pacific cruise...

Arriving at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Finding the ship at Pearl Harbor

Making friends with the Navy crew

Out to sea and hanging out above the flight deck

Ready to fly: On the steps of an F-14 Tomcat on the flight deck

The ship - USS John C. Stennis

9-Guy actually accompanied me on my vacation last week, and we had the privilege of joining the crew of the USS John C. Stennis for a week-long "tiger" cruise, which took us from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to San Diego, California. The air wing was on board, the ship was underway with the battle group, and it was a terrific week.

I'll be posting more pictures soon, but 9-Guy told me to hurry up and get his posted, so there they are.

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Random Stuff
Saturday, 06 November 2004 17:47:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Microsoft announced on Thursday that they will be returning to providing advanced notifications to the public of security bulletins. From the TechNet web site, here is the announcement:

In response to consumer feedback, Microsoft is expanding its security bulletin program to provide all customers with advance information about upcoming monthly security updates.

Starting in November 2004, the TechNet Security site will publish a general summary of planned security bulletin releases three business days before each regularly scheduled monthly bulletin release. Currently, security bulletins are scheduled to be released on the second Tuesday of each month.

The advance notifications will include the number of bulletins that might be released, the anticipated severity ratings, and the products that might be affected.

The purpose of the advance notification is to assist customers with resource planning for the monthly security bulletin release. The information provided in the notification will be general and will not disclose vulnerability details or other information that could put customers at risk.

The notification will be based on the information available three business days before the monthly bulletin release date. However, this information often changes due to the complexity of testing security updates. Therefore, the notification should not be viewed definitive.

Check back again in December when customers will be able to sign up and receive advance bulletin notifications via email.

See the most recent security bulletin advance notification

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IT Security | Tech
Saturday, 06 November 2004 16:00:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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My Blackberry phone device up and died on me as soon as I got to Hawaii a couple weeks ago (a blessing in disguise to be sure), so I got a replacement this week. The new one is the Blackberry 7290 model - the latest rendition of the smaller form factor devices with the full keyboard. It's nice. Have fun with an online tour here.

Want to add ringtones? Instructions here.

Some things I like about it:

  • Nice, contrasty, clear color screen
  • CallerID info is now big, bold and easy to read, and backlights itself for dark places
  • A new Help icon on the home screen that works really well
  • VERY bright back-light, and two-stages of brightness (hit the back light button once for half light, again for full brightness, again to turn off - cool)
  • Color background images for the home screen and the "screensaver" mode, and a new icon on the home screen called "pictures" that I'll have to explore a bit
  • Bluetooth (YAY!) (but no printed documentation in the box on how to use it - Go to the help icon on the device's home screen - that only took me a day to find... Once you enable and configure it in the device settings an icon is added to your home screen, as well)
  • Quad-band radio on AT&T (850/900/1800/1900 GSM/GPRS) means noticeably improved network coverage over other devices I have used
  • USB charging and connector uses a standard USB cord with the itty-bitty plug on the device end, same as several other devices I use like my MP3 player
  • Improved keyboard layout (subtle)
  • Better information on the home screen - if I enable wireless calendar sync with Exchange for example, the icon on the home screen changes to indicate it's active in that mode. In vibrate mode, the profile icon (which is moved to the home screen, by the way - that took me another hour to find heheh) gets an overlay of - uhhhh - a vibrate gylph or something like that.

A couple of things are really bugging me, though:

  • I can't get the RBRO code to work on the browser that's installed on this one. If I go to Google, I'd like to be able to choose to use HTML only. I'll have to play with this some more. Trying to view a larger HTML page results in an error that the page is too large to convert to "HDML" - whatever that is... That sucks, guys.
  • The thumb wheel used for navigation is a little too stiff and slick compared to other BB models like the 7280 or 7780, which means my thumb slips a lot. I am sure I will adjust, it just bugs for now.
  • Mine came with a version of the v3.6 desktop software in the box that needs to be updated to ensure wireless calendar works correctly. If you use it, get SP3a. Hmph.
  • Still uses the old style ring tones. Come on, guys - polyphonic tones have been around for quite a while now - what's up with that? UPDATE: At least you can add your own simple MIDI files!
  • Maximum volume on the earpiece is lower than on other models. It makes it harder to use in noiseier environments. But it's still adequate, just not as nice as other Blackberry phones I have used.

Other than that, I am pretty happy with this thing. It's (for the most part) a real improvement.

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Mobile | Tech
Saturday, 06 November 2004 13:22:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Robert Scoble opened the session on Overload - or as he coined it in the opening conversation, "Information Pressure." He deals with 950+ RSS feeds that he has subscribed to, and so he's a good person to have guide the discussion on this topic.

What a great session.

There are already 4.5 million blogs out there. Overload is inevitable for many. Everyone has limits. They're different for each of us.

For my part, I have to manage my RSS feeds regularly. I am subscribed to more than 500 in total. I move them, reclassify them, and occasionally (but rarely) even unsubscribe to ones that have not met my needs or expectations, and I also have a section in my RSS reader for those feeds I want to keep track of, but which I don't put in my higher-priority list. They are my general dumping ground categories, if you will - good enough to watch now and then when I have time, but not part of my daily chores.

But then there are my high-priority feeds, and there are a couple hundred of those. I deal with my primary RSS feeds daily - usually several times a day. I get critical information I need for my work delivered to me in RSS throughout the day. It's reliable, fast and goes with me. It just works. It's lightweight. I can use it the way I want.

But that is exactly what makes it easy to get overloaded. Make something that really, really works, and people like me with use the hell out of it, sometimes to the point of making it less usable.

Scoble asks an excellent question - What about people who read only say 20 feeds? Why not more? One good answer: "If I save 20 minutes not reading feeds, that's 20 minutes I can spend looking at a sunset." Or maybe a sunrise. How true. ;-)

Which makes me think - maybe we could convince Nick Bradbury (who is the author of FeedDemon) to consider providing a way to see what feeds I have not read in a given period of time, those that have not posted in x days or weeks, those that are no longer there, and report that info to me and then let me act on it. Also let me report on the opposite - what feeds are really really active? I'd want to be able to move any of them, mark them, delete them, or a combination of the above. Kind of a little clean-up wizard. Hmmmm... Is this what attention.xml does?

Robert makes what seems like it should be an obvious suggestion, but is a good one to hear: Write better headlines. Tell me what it's about. A head line of "GAHHHH!" does nothing for me when what the article is about is something like "I had a really frustrating day at work today." Or something like that.

Or maybe attention.xml should do this, as one person suggested: "Here's the list of people I don't pay attention to anymore."

A tangent topic of "what do you use your blog for" came up (and for some reason Robert said my name when he showed the crowd his feed aggregator - thanks for the plug, heh). Interesting topic. Blogs are used for all sorts of things: Personal memory catalogs, culture development and coming together of people with similar interests, espousing opinion, publishing fact, conversing and replacing letter writing, you name it.

And thanks to Robert for asking for people at the conference to stand at the mic who had not spoken yet. Nice job guiding and maintaining the focus of the conversation without controlling the session too much. I like it when I hear Robert say, "That's for all of you to decide, right?" and "What else would you like to talk about?" (photo by Doc Searls)

Brainstorming ideas on overload:

  • Social networking worked into bloglines - show me recommendations based on who I read, ability to browse the network of content.
  • Eric Rice says - with these ideas, are we risking going away from that peer-to-peer distributed model, away from the model we were trying to reject?
  • What goes on between the time when an idea has an idea and when I read it - content producer can filter, linkers can filter when they describe and link, governments in same places might filter, services can filter, and the end user can filter content. How do we find information unfiltered without overload? Can it be done?
  • A certain Zen acceptance that there might be something you won't see - don't give in to the pressure to give in to the anal-retentive obsession to read and see everything.
  • Thought that the major overlaid is not the number of blogs, but the comments, which ones are by smart comments, which are on topic, which are tolls, etc.
  • Podcasts control the browser. (Note: This is an idea I have already given to a team I am working with, but MP3 won't do it. Windows Media will, but that's not open).
  • There's a problem in the room and in the blogosphere in general with blogaholism. It's causing a lot of problems, solve it like a medical condition? (hmmm)

By the way, it's hard to say enough time how much Doug Kaye and ITConversations rule. I can't be there, but I can be there. Nice - thanks.

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Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Saturday, 06 November 2004 11:51:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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And she's right.

I am listening to a live windows media feed from BloggerCon about podcasting (I am not there because I needed to stay home for other things, so I canceled my trip).

Adam Curry says (paraphrased) don't think you can change the name, it's a done deal. He's right (unfortunately). No one thought ahead about the name, or not far enough ahead. Or there was an agenda to use the name for any of a number of reasons. Or it's a good name because it's catchy and immediately invokes interest when you hear or read it. Whatever. I *still* think we need to get away from the name when we think up new additions to this technology, just to make sure people don't assume it's just for the iPod. Because like it or not, they do.

For the creator, this is personal Internet broadcasting. For the end users, it's simply audio aggregation with a magical ability to get the files on your computer and/or portable audio device of choice.

And it's in its infancy as far as time alive and maturity of technology. John Dvorak was at least partially right. It pretty much sucks for the average user. At least right now.

But it will get better.

Take a look at early technology being developed specifically for aggregating mp3 and other enclosures and tying into, say, Windows Media player. I have had the personal experience of providing input and being involved in making suggestions for Doppler, a program that is 100% focused on doing just that.

Adam points out that there is no all-in-one solution for the podcaster. We are far from having that available.

Which means by next week someone will have written it. :-)

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AudioBlogging | Blogging | Tech
Saturday, 06 November 2004 10:17:09 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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