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30 posts from June 2006

Is It Really “News” When Microsoft Delays Office Again?

Seriously, isn’t this something we all come to expect? I guess this one hurts a bit more than usual, mostly because it means the “Microsoft Law” I noted earlier needs to be recalibrated a bit.

I know they’ve got to deal with analysts and others who insist on being told when the next release of Windows or Office is going to hit, but is Microsoft ever going to learn not to commit to a release month until they’re 100% sure it’s really going to happen?  After all, they always hedge their bets by saying things like “well, we’re on track for an October release, but we’ll delay it for quality purposes if necessary.” Just be honest and say “we hope to release it in October, but things could easily move to December or later, depending on how this next beta release goes.”

Some folks used to accuse Microsoft of pre-announcing and/or leaking release date information as a way to stunt the growth of a competitive product on the horizon. What? WordPerfect is coming out with a new version? Let’s hurry up and tell the world ours is coming soon too, only ours has these 17 extra features… Even if that was the reason behind some of these early announcements, what products are Microsoft feeling threatened by for Office 2007 and Vista? It used to be that “nobody got fired for choosing IBM.” That’s pretty much the case for Office and Windows today; in fact, making a switch to an Office/Windows alternative is often considered highly risky.

Dear Microsoft: Please stop letting the world kick you around for one delay after another. I respect the fact that each of these products has zillions of lines of source code, loads of interdependencies and has to run on every hardware combination known to man. Be more like Apple and others and don’t speculate so far in advance of the likely release date. Please?

A Couple of Beefs: Bookblaster and Performancing Metrics

Beef #1: Bookblaster. What a goofy idea, not even worthy of a link to them. I didn’t even know about these guys and their publisher/agent spamming service until I saw Matt Wagner’s post about them. Matt’s right. More importantly, is this really how lazy we’ve all become?! Rather than do a bit of research and handpick an agent or publisher to connect with, it’s better to use a spamming service (for $95!) to do it for you? Ugh.

Use the tools that are right at your fingertips! Google phrases like “book publishing agent”, “book publisher”, etc. Visit the websites in the search results. Decide which might be the best to represent or publish your work, then contact them yourself!

Beef #2: Performancing Metrics. I saw a note about their BlogRank service indirectly on Scoble’s blog (it's one of the widgets on Widgetoko). I figured hey, he’s a bright guy, how can I go wrong? I’ll tell you how… I installed their code and then tried to activate their metrics system…once, twice, I don’t know, maybe seven or eight times before I finally gave up. Doesn’t it seem ironic that a service designed to show you website metrics doesn’t have the bandwidth on their own site to handle new customer registrations?…

It’s a LibraryThing

I guess I just violated my own rule…sort of. I came across this very cool service called LibraryThing thanks to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal. The headline called it “social networking for bookworms.” I wouldn’t call myself a bookworm, but it’s still a fun (and useful) site to visit.

I just spent the last 15 minutes loading up all the various books I’ve read since I launched my blog. You can see this list at this link. LibraryThing allowed me to add links back to my blog so that I don’t have to repeat all the reviews I’ve already posted. Create an account for yourself and see if you’re not hooked in 5 minutes!

My question: Why in the world doesn’t Amazon offer a service like this?! Yeah, I know…one of the things they tell you on the virtual tour of LibraryThing is that “LibraryThing cares about books, not about SELLING books.” OK, but the LibraryThing concept would still be a nice addition to the Amazon model.

Btw, it's ironic that one of my posts yesterday had to do with Alan Meckler's notion that social networks are dead.  Ha!  This is exactly the type of new and interesting, albeit vertical, social networking application I was talking about.

Behind the Scenes of the Blogosphere

Nora Ganim Barnes of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently published this report on the blogosphere. I was fortunate enough to be one of the 74 bloggers included in her study. I see is already critical of one aspect of her report: the amount of time required to maintain a blog. While I agree that an hour (or less) per day doesn’t sound like much, it does tend to add up over the course of a week. I was one of those who answered “less than an hour” in the survey, although I’ll admit I spend more than that over the weekends.

Regardless, blogging was new to me 18 months ago. How many things can I say I dedicate an hour a day to that I only started doing in the last year? One: blogging. The truth is “an hour a day” is actually a lot of time to give when you’ve got all the other demands in life. I do agree with the note that “if you are spending less than an hour a day on your blog then expect someone else to eventually out-blog you.” I guess my problem is I’m not trying to be #1 – I’m just trying to create an interesting blog

Should Microsoft Buy Yahoo?

Yes! According to this report from Merrill Lynch, Microsoft should bite the bullet and buy Yahoo. I tend to agree. Why?…

Microsoft is outstanding at creating and selling boxed software and site licenses. Why do both of those distribution methods seem so old fashioned all of a sudden? Because they are!

Ray Ozzie has a vision to turn Microsoft into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) organization. He’d probably have better luck playing SuperLotto. The innovator’s dilemma is at work again. There are too many people who are overly focused on protecting Microsoft’s existing licensing and boxed software revenue base to think about risking everything for an SaaS solution.

Buying Yahoo, a company with a solid brand name that really understands the online revenue model, would be a smart move for Microsoft. It almost makes me wish I didn’t unload most of my Microsoft shares a couple of weeks ago…