My Dinner With Microsoft’s Jim Allchin

Last night I had a unique opportunity to sit down with Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Group Vice President for Platforms, for dinner along with a group of other bloggers and technologists and discuss the future development of Longhorn as well as see an early demo of the Longhorn technology firsthand.

In attendance at the dinner were Evan Williams who sold Blogger to Google and is now putting Odeo together, Adam Hertz from Technorati, IT Conversation’s Doug Kaye, Gabe Rivera of Memeorandum and Bob Wyman from Pubsub. Also in attendance were Microsoft’s Neil Charney, Senior Director of Windows Client Public Relations and Linda O’Neil who is with Microsoft’s PR firm Waggener Edstrom. Robert Scoble had invited me to the dinner last week but unfortunately was unable to attend at the last minute. Scoble by the way has an interesting Channel 9 up right now with an entire hour with the Avalon team.

First of all I just have to just say wow. Jim Allchin is a very senior person at Microsoft. Allchin, along with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates is a member of what Microsoft calls their “Senior Leadership Team,” responsible for developing Microsoft’s core direction. He’s a big deal. This includes XP, Longhorn, Mobile, Tablet PCs, etc. and of course something that is near and dear to my heart, Media Center Edition. The fact that someone of his seniority would take the time to sit down with a bunch of non mainstream media folk is something that still baffles me. It also tells me that Microsoft gets it and that they recognize the importance of many of the rapidly emerging social and community aspects of blogging and the internet. I’m honored to have been included.

Microsoft is one of the more progressive companies with regards to blogging – they certainly have more bloggers than any company that I am aware of – but for someone of Jim’s rank to take the time and openly discuss Longhorn and Microsoft strategy with us was amazing. Obviously bloggers do not typically have this level of access to company senior management and I thank Jim for taking his time out to meet with us and to Robert for inviting me.

And certainly bloggers typically do not get the type of opportunity to suggest features to someone at Jim’s level.

So on to the dinner. I wrote Wow, with regards to Jim actually meeting with us and I have to add Wow, WOW! with regards to what I saw of Longhorn. I will try to describe what I saw the best that I can but it is something that you really must see with your own eyes to fully understand. Microsoft is shooting for a late 2006 release and it will be worth the wait. CNET gave us their early peek at Longhorn yesterday.

One of the most impressive aspects about Longhorn is the speed with which it catalogs, organizes and searches your PC. In addition to great new views (you can see a physical representation of every file on your PC that can be magnified as you move the scroll wheel of your mouse), the speed at which Longhorn renders the views was spectacular. Best of all was Jim’s reaction when I expressed my delight at how quickly views were rendered. Jim reacted strongly and said that the speed that we were seeing was unacceptable and that over the course of the next year the system will get even faster. Although this is just one blogger’s impression, I’d say to expect to do navigational types of things in Longhorn in one tenth of the time that you presently do them in XP today (and even less if what Jim suggested about further speed improvements are implemented).

The level of increased user efficiency with Longhorn will be impressive. We are truly getting to the point where you the operator will become the sole limit to efficiency with regards to navigating the files on your PC. Longhorn basically responds as quickly as you can think it. The responsiveness of the operating system could easily quadruple my own personal computing efficiency. This is revolutionary and is more impressive than any previous single step efficiency improvement that I have seen in the past 20 years. The jump in efficiency will have been worth the wait. Graphically intensive files like video, audio, and photos today render very slowly. With Longhorn it’s an amazing new world.

The eye candy aspects of Longhorn from a design standpoint were delightful – translucent explorer windows, smooth almost animated views when opening and closing windows, etc. From an aesthetic and design standpoint it’s a winner.

As impressed as I was with the speed and beauty of Longhorn, the real power of Longhorn in the end for me came down to the way that it organizes your bits. Search is lightening quick and the system allows really easy ways to organize your files. It also allows you the user to easily incorporate powerful meta data tools into your file management. Meta data is a tricky thing. PCs everywhere are littered with photos titled D087864 and IMG00452, etc. Microsoft, through the use of sidebar listings, catalogs and other tools is bringing easy meta data to the masses. Meta data will make searches rich, meaningful and in the end far more relevant than they are today. File management of your PC will be brought to a new level.

Jim asked questions about some of the security and privacy issues with the inclusion of meta data in Longhorn and I’d suspect that when it’s finally released that you will see a default to include vast rich meta data but optional settings for business users, etc. to be able to restrict meta data as they see fit and in order to better control the potential liability associated with it. I think that it will be fun to use search engines to peruse the meta data of the future as well.

Longhorn is really slick. However, perhaps the thing about the dinner for me that was the most rewarding was the ability to talk to Jim specifically about Media Center Edition. Jim confirmed that there would be a Media Center version of Longhorn out when it was released. Longhorn will translate well to the 10 foot user interface and there will be cool new things like visualizations of your stored video and television programs, etc.

Jim and Microsoft are very excited about Media Center. Where the tablet sales may be a little bit of a disappointment for Microsoft at present they are very optimistic about Media Center. Jim suggested that JupiterResearch’s projection of 7 million PC based DVRs by 2009 was way low and that they are even right now seeing really significant growth with regards to Media Center adoption — even recently since Bill Gates announced the 1.4 million unit number early in January at CES.

Jim said that by not requiring a TV tuner and by having some flexibility with pricing that Microsoft was going to be able to hit some pretty huge numbers and that we should expect really big growth out of Media Center in the next few years. Jim said that you are going to see more and more cases also where college kids, etc. might get Media Center not even for the television but to manage their digital music collections by remote, etc. even without the TV functionality. Jim said that although Microsoft could, that they did not intend to market Media Center as a standalone application sold separately yet. Jim suggested that Microsoft has a firm grasp in ensuring that third party hardware providers for Media Center are producing good working and correct software drivers, etc. and that this would hel
p the complexity issues and drive sales.

Microsoft is building the next version of Longhorn Media Center to accommodate much larger digital libraries. As some of you may have read in the past I have had some performance issues with my large .mp3 library. Longhorn will be better able to handle very large digital libraries. Having 500 photos or so in a folder will render quickly and the media player should be able to easily accommodate 100,000 + item media libraries.

Jim did acknowledge that there still were some issues today with Windows Media Player and I shared with him the fact that earlier that day Chris Lanier had blogged that his collection of WMP web help articles now had seen over 1 million views. Jim said that they are working on many of these issues but that a new version of WMP and fixes would not be out until Longhorn.

We talked about the CableCARD issue and the complexity of the Media Center PC, all things that Microsoft is working on. I was able to ask Jim about when we might see satellite or cable HDTV support in Media Center and he said he thought later this year. I would assume that this might be something that we will end up seeing in the Media Center 2005 update later this Fall.

I asked Jim if we would see an XBox standalone Media Center and he said no. But he did say that the Xbox will continue to be a strong compenent as an extender unit in the digital home and that we would be really impressed with what we saw when the upcoming Xbox is released.

One of the primary purposes for Jim getting together with us was to talk about how we felt about some of the things that you will see in Longhorn. Microsoft can shape mass technological acceptance of a new technology perhaps more rapidly than any other company today. They have a huge install base. Certainly the huge number of new blogs that have popped up through Microsoft Spaces is a testament to this.

Jim seemed very concerned with how we all, the attendees at the dinner and the blogging community in general, would view something like bringing RSS to the masses for example. He seemed very conscious of the fact that while Microsoft can develop super powerful tools that there could be collateral consequences and he was particularly interested in our pointing out what could be the downside for some of the Longhorn features to him.

Although there seemed to be a general agreement among the dinner participants that bringing RSS to the masses for instance was a good thing, there were some voices that suggested caution at the same time and that Microsoft needed to tread carefully as they made their way about popularizing the blogosphere with the masses.

Bob Wyman from Pubsub, a former Microsoft employee himself, seemed to feel that there were important standards and technologies that Microsoft consider as they implement Longhorn and that Microsoft employees collaboratively participate in some of the more technical aspects and development of standards and new technologies like proactive RSS. There can be unintended consequences to mass adoption of certain Microsoft standards and Bob felt that there were communities that Microsoft should be a part of today and involved in — for instance, some of the things that Yahoo! is doing with media formats right now. Jim seemed very receptive to involving Microsoft in these discussions ongoing and suggested that he had someone from Microsoft in fact in mind to work on some of these types of issues as it related to RSS and the like.

Evan Williams talked a little bit about some of his ideas with his latest project Odeo and Doug Kaye was also interested in how Microsoft might be able to help content producers with the economics of the production of their content. IT Conversations is a terrific podcast but the question is how best can something like this, beyond simple advertising, be monetized? Although I’m not sure that a clear answer came out of the dinner, my own personal opinion is that the monetization of this content probably is best produced through third party intermediaries than through some kind of a direct producer to consumer type of feature in an operating system. The work that people like Jeremy Allaire at Brightcove are pursuing with regards to how to best monetize the production and distribution of content I think will be interesting as ways of promoting the niche long tail content of the future. I’m really looking forward to seeing these kinds of niche media in Media Center.

It was fun to be able to share with Jim some of the exciting and interesting ways that I’m personally using my own Media Center to create richer media experiences in my own life. I think people enjoyed the story that I told about how when we did our Christmas party last year that by searching my hard drive I quickly lined up a custom slide show playing through Media Center as entertainment with Holiday music in the background for my guests. Every photo all evening was of one of my guests at the party that evening. Microsoft is really excited about bringing richer and more personalized media consumption to the consumer through Longhorn. I suspect that you find some really great filtering tools and things based on meta data that will make these types of fun media experiences even easier in the future.

We also discussed internet identity issues and Jim seemed to feel that this is a bigger problem than we might think. For me, a really slick piece of technology would be for me to be able to pull up in my “my pictures” menu of Media Center not only my photos, but say photos that my mother, who lives in Los Angeles, has on her PC in her “my pictures” folder. This type of communal photo experience through a 10 foot UI living room platform could be really exciting. Jim agreed that giving people, photobloggers, etc. the ability to share their photos with everyone seemed like an interesting and doable idea but I think the type of restrictive password protected content involving identity may be further down the line.

I suggested to Jim that through the Online Spotlight in Media Center that the possibilities for micro content were significant. I suggested that they talk to the Internet Archive and look at incorporating this content into the Online Spotlight and said I’d love to be able to see Channel 9 as a channel on my Media Center PC in the Online Spotlight.

All in all I found the evening to be one of the most intellectually stimulating forums that I’ve had an opportunity to be a part of. I think it’s super cool that Microsoft cares about my opinion and that they are as concerned as they are about making sure that in the end Longhorn gets done the right way.

I had a dream a few years ago where I dreamt that I was in a room with a bunch of people from Microsoft and that we were all talking about ways to improve Media Center — I thought of it as a Media Center enthusiast’s geek dream. It was a big strategy session. I’m pretty passionate about the technology and think and write about it constantly so it’s natural that my obsessive thoughts on the subject would come out in places like my subconscious. It was weird feeling the déjà vu as I left the dinner last night after spending a few hours with Jim. I was reminded again of that old dream and chuckled to myself about the experience.

Evan Williams is also out with his reflection on the dinner.

Update: Two corrections to my piece.

One, I think when Doug Kaye was asking questions of Jim about the monetization of podcasting he was talking about content providers in general, many of whom will want to do this and not IT Conversations specifically.

Two, I’m not sure from the media side that Longhorn is actually there yet with regards to top
performance handling of super large media libraries of 100,000 or more .mp3 files — although this is something that Allchin has assured me that they will be working on.


Update: Scoble blogs about the criticism that women were not invited to the dinner. Mena Trott actually was invited but didn’t respond to the invitation. Scoble writes, ” I’m not going to invite women to blogger dinners just to have gender equality there. Sorry. On the other hand, I am very sensitive to this issue. ” He also points out that there are several women bloggers who are attending MSN Search Champs this week.

Update: I just received an email clarification back from Microsoft’s Jim Allchin regarding my post on the Microsoft/blogger dinner last week. Jim says, “We will have an update of WMP this year.” Just don’t expect a huge update.

This is great news in my book. Hopefully I might get a minor performance increase in my WMP library when this is released later this year. But if I don’t, I’m really hoping that we see a bigger kind of media library fix when Longhorn is out late next year. All of our digital libraries are getting larger and larger and I think Microsoft should keep this scalibility in mind and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to performance of large digital libraries.

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45 comments on “My Dinner With Microsoft’s Jim Allchin
  1. Anonymous says:

    ….sooooo, bottom line is it’s very slowly catching up to have a fraction of OS X’s features?

  2. Wah says:

    For me, a really slick piece of technology would be for me to be able to pull up in my “my pictures” menu of Media Center not only my photos, but say photos that my mother, who lives in Los Angeles, has on her PC in her “my pictures” folder. This type of communal photo experience through a 10 foot UI living room platform could be really exciting.

    You want Grouper

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Windows will do some catching up with Linux/Unix…

    It’s funny to see people rave about future Windows features, which are common for a few years in other OS’s.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I just love it when OS X and Linux people claim that they are just soooo much more ahead of Microsoft.

    If Linux/Unix was so great and advanced, why isn’t it just everywhere? I mean it is practically free and yet… Oh hang on, I guess it is everywhere, stuck to the covers of nearly all computer mags in the world, then used as drink coasters.

    As for OS X. I think I just need to say that I enjoy going down to my local PC shop on a weekend, purchasing the latest/fastest CPU, bringing it home and sticking it into my existing desktop. Enough said.

    Thomas, great article as per usual.

  5. Opensorcerer says:

    “If Linux is so good, why isn’t it everywhere?” is a fallacious way to begin an argument. The best solution is rarely also the most widely adopted solution.

    Longhorn sounds like it’s finally doing something smart with increased system requirements – ubiquitous 3d-accel cards let you write a graphics system that takes advantage of them. In the Linux world, similar things are happening with GNOME 2.10 and Cairo, and OS X no doubt has its own similar thing going on.

    While eye candy is nice, and while metadata with media files is nice, I’m waiting to see how stable Longhorn will be. Unfortunately, you can’t get a good impression of that with just a presentation from a Microsoft VIP.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry in advance–don’t take this too personally–but this was probably the saddest thing I’ve read in a long time. You really should check out the Slashdot-article on this topic and the accompanying comments.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “You really should check out the Slashdot-article on this topic and the accompanying comments.”

    Right, because as we all know, Slashdot contributors are completely objective and without bias. They do *not* take every opportunity to bash Microsoft. They’re technical professionals who give us honest expert opinions.

    Oh wait, did you say “Slashdot”?

  8. Anonymous says:

    They do *not* take every opportunity to bash Microsoft.

    because obviously the strong anti ms opinions of one part of the /. group should represent all of the members’ opinions on the subject, no matter how many other comments on there might be more reasonable or insightful, right?

  9. Anonymous says:

    If /.rs love MS bashing so much, may be it has something to say about MS.

  10. _iCeb0x_ says:

    Metadata? Damn! Is that something really new and cool that Microsoft has just invented? Whoa! I thought I saw that on the Mac since 1984!

    Mac OS X and Unices (like Linux) are way ahead of Microsoft… There’s no doubt about it.

    Windows is everywhere, but that’s because of smarter business decisions and marketing actions.

  11. lavo says:

    If Longhorn is as good as MS makes out it is, then its all good. It keeps Apple innovating, the Linux crowd pushing the limits and hopefully start to put an end to the spam/virus rubbish that chokes the internet. We have to face facts that 95% of the computing world does use Windows, and that number is not likely to change dramatically in the future. If the security plugholes can be fixed, then I couldn’t care less if MS stole this or that feature from OS X/Linux. I’m just tired of PC spam and viruses clogging up my inbox on my Mac!

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Best of all was Jim’s reaction when I expressed my delight at how quickly views were rendered. Jim reacted strongly and said that the speed that we were seeing was unacceptable and that over the course of the next year the system will get even faster.”

    Now, this is where I think we need to be very careful. Microsoft has a track record of blatantly lying outright, but in such a way that doesn’t get them into trouble.
    Don’t be so quick to defend MS. Their reputation is not the best in the IT world and with all the “improvements” MS are touting, I will only believe it when I see it.

    By the way, at the Dinner did Jim Allchin mention an increased DRM so you can’t fart without getting a DRM error box?

    For me, i’m sick of MS and SP2 didn’t make me feel any better. I sold my XP machine a couple of months ago and bought a 17″ PowerBook. And I have to say it is a very impressive machine, that and OS X ROCKS!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Longhorn is a big bore. I haven’t heard of a single significant innovation it will introduce that won’t have existed in OS X and/or Linux for years before Longhorn’s launch. It’s sad how so many people happily swallow the dog food MS feeds them.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Right, because as we all know, Slashdot contributors are completely objective and without bias. They do *not* take every opportunity to bash Microsoft. They’re technical professionals who give us honest expert opinions.

    Yup, you *almost* sound like you didn’t have any bias towards MS.

    Oh wait, we’re tlaking about you here.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Would this be the same Jim Allchin that gave a fake demo of, I seem to remember, the second edition of Windows NT when he visited the UK? The whole demo was actually a video playing from a machine under the table, with an operator miming to it with keyboard and mouse. Half way through journalists spotted what was going on and challenged Jim. It was later explained that the Windows team were tired after a long journey and wanted to “simplify” the demo.

    And could this be by coincidence the very same Jim Allchin who similarly but rather more famously faked a demo to the US Court of Justice during the DoJ anti-trust case? Jim “Slippery” Allchin had prepared what he claimed were real-time videos of Windows loading with and without Explorer — he was trying to demonstrate that Windows positively needed Explorer to function properly. Prosecutor David Boise spotted that the video had been spliced together from segments made at different times, and the defence legal team.

    Nah, can’t be the same guy, otherwise an Internet-smart blogger would have boned up on the relevant Web evidence in advance and quizzed the guy about it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Please I use windows and Mac OS X and OS X is light years ahead and the idiots that fight over who is the beast should try Mac OS X and than talk!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Please I use windows and Mac OS X and OS X is light years ahead and the idiots that fight over who is the beast should try Mac OS X and than talk!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the article Thomas.

  19. Ian says:

    Good piece.
    I can’t wait to see Longhorn Media Center

    Ian

  20. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, that comment about the Allchin video, er, anomalies should have read:

    “…made at different times, and the defence legal team hid their faces in shame and horror.”

  21. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t you all get a life

  22. Anonymous says:

    only a buffoon would cite slashdot as a credible source for anything.

  23. Anonymous says:

    sheesh everybody…

    Windows will be the dominant platform for a long while, I’m sure. I am ok with that. As a computer repairman, it sounds like my job’s about to get much easier and more bearable because I won’t have to spend all my time fiddling with adware and viruses.

    If you’re smart you should be happy that they are finally stepping up the security because it will make the internet a much better place.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Sheesh. He’s just a $SUIT for a company, and you talk about having dinner with him as if it were the second coming.

    Mickeysoft seems to “get” one thing very well: They are losing market share, their OS offerings are bloated and buggy, and they better pull out all the stops if they want to keep market share.

    As for the question about why UNIX/Linux isn’t everywhere, ask yourself why people eat fast food even when they know it’s bad for them. Simple – the sheeple of the world don’t want to stray from the flock, and Windows is the OS for the sheeple.

  25. Anonymous says:

    for the person who posted :
    “As for OS X. I think I just need to say that I enjoy going down to my local PC shop on a weekend, purchasing the latest/fastest CPU, bringing it home and sticking it into my existing desktop. Enough said.

    I just wanted to mention that I enjoy not *having to* go down to my local PeeCee shop and purchase a new CPU every week or two just to try to keep up.

    I think it’s kinda sad to see Windows people get excited over features we in the rest of the computing world have had for years… It’s kinda like watching an AOL user get excited about ‘all the things you can do on the internet’…

  26. Discfree.com says:

    Sure Linux is free and yes you can do a lot through open source, but my mom doesn’t want to figure out how to connect a Western Digital 60 GB 7200 RPM Hard drive into a HP/Unisys 400 Mhz Celeron “mini” PC and frankly neither do I. I have no problem shelling out a couple hundred bucks for something that is intuitive, easy and still capable of advanced computing applications. People do deserve to make a living. Although, somehow I suspect that Jim doesn’t have too much trouble making ends meet.

  27. col says:

    I use both Windows and OSX, and while I like the eye-candy of OSX, I prefer the fact that Windows is more stable and quicker to actually render stuff rather than animate it and drop-shadow it.
    (Mind you, I have a Mac Mini, not the fastest Mac available by a long shot! Its web-page rendering I would place on a par with the old Pentium III 500MHz that sits beside my development PC at work. But of course everything is double-buffered so you dont see any ‘tearing’. And the furniture is much nicer to look at.)

  28. Anonymous says:

    Well. aren’t you just Gates’ li’l bitch? How much did they pay you to ospread this drivel?

  29. Anonymous says:

    I use OSX and assorted distro’s of Linux (Mandrake Slackware, Redhat) and UNIX at work, and I am fully aware some of these new Longhorn features have been in existance for many years in all of thes plaforms.

    At home, however, I am a Windows user, and i am excited about getting these features in Windows. What’s so wrong with that? I’m sure many windows users are in a similar position, so please, stop all this moaning and let us windows users be excited about getting these new features.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I am really curious, what SPECIFIC features that are planned for longhorn are in any of the UNIX/LINUX or OS X operating systems ?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Your mother will be a feature.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I find it immensely disheartening that an adult community is unable to discuss an article and new technology with balanced, well supported comments. This discussion is not unlike a playground shouting match amongst eight year olds.

    Congratulations to all those who have contributed in a mature fashion. I will say with some certainty that those who are able to present a balanced opinion will be responsible for advancing technology, those who offer nothing but slurs and insults will continue to use anonymous comments to vent their misplaced frustration. One link posted with a detailed table of proposed longhorn features vs existing linux / OSX features would have been far more effective and penetrating than the catalogue of childish insults above.

    Kevin

  33. Anonymous says:

    Here here. Nothing more disheartening than seeing a bunch of nerds yammering over software. If you get this upset over this, I hope none of you have kids- though that’s pretty doubtful anyway.

  34. Mr. Mike says:

    At home, however, I am a Windows user, and i am excited about getting these features in Windows. What’s so wrong with that? I’m sure many windows users are in a similar position, so please, stop all this moaning and let us windows users be excited about getting these new features.

    Well, well, there’s nothing wrong with THAT. But something is wrong when those features are suddenly called innovative, or any other sensation going beyond the mere addition into the OS.

    Credit where credit is due, i think if you copy, you should at least not pretend you invented it IF you already aren’t giving explicit credit.

    By the way Tiger doesn’t need me to get a new Mac, it just runs fine on my 3+ years old G4 and it even gave it a VERY nice speed up.

    MS is not about making GOOD Software, its about creating income and second creating a userbase thats first being bound and later abused

  35. Alex Chu says:

    Thomas Hawk wrote:
    The fact that someone of his [Jim Allchin's] seniority would take the time to sit down with a bunch of non mainstream media folk is something that still baffles me. It also tells me that Microsoft gets it and that they recognize the importance of many of the rapidly emerging social and community aspects of blogging and the internet. I’m honored to have been included.

    The reason? Simple. You, Thomas Hawk, are not a journalist, as you claim to be. You are “media” like the game press is “media”.

    You are a self-admitted enthusiast, a hobbyist, a fanboy, and evangelist for Microsoft / Media Center. You have been singing the praises of Media Center for some time now, and posted blog links all over the blogosphere to tell everyone how great the product is. That’s what Microsoft “gets”.

    Could your hazy relationship with an analyst firm covering digital media have something to do with it? That’s what Microsoft “gets”.

    Did the fact that “Neil Charney, Senior Director of Windows Client Public Relations and Linda O’Neil who is with Microsoft’s PR firm Waggener Edstrom” were at the dinner clue you in? How about the fact that Scoble, who is a Microsoft evangelist (nothing against Scoble; he’s just doing his job) gave the invite? They like your uncritical view of Media Center and invited you because of that. “I wrote Wow, with regards to Jim actually meeting with us and I have to add Wow, WOW!” That’s what Microsoft “gets”.

    Clearly you are not someone used to dealing with senior executives of major companies.

    Your overwhelmingly positive reaction to what is effectively vaporware tells us that your critical skills have been found wanting.

    Please dispense with the pretense of journalism.

    “I’m honored to be included”??? That’s not the voice of a journalist. It’s the voice of Thomas Hawk, poseur.

    Still baffled?

    - Alex Chu

    PS: I won’t be surprised if you delete this post. I’m not one to be so harsh normally but if you really don’t get it, I hope this spells it out for you.

  36. Thomas Hawk says:

    Alex,

    Your points are well taken.

    Although I have been critical of Microsoft as well. My review of their last Media Center released was entitled, Media Center 2005, Underwhelmed. I’ve been especially critical of what I think has been a slow adoption of cable/satellite TV capability for MCE.

    My recent decision to blog with JupiterResearch is in no way hazy. It was simple. They provided me with a copy of one of their research reports and I in turn blogged about the research. No money exchanged hands although I could see where you might feel this would be of interest to Microsoft. It was an interesting experience to blog about a perspective on a technology that is of great interest to me. I think it was well worth doing.

    I’m not sure I’d call Longhorn vaporware. From what I saw it definitely does things that XP does not do and really fast. I definitely think you will see this software actually released.

    I was overly impressed with the fact that Senior Management of one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world would sit down with bloggers. Yes. And yes I am not used to dealing with company senior management. Typically bloggers do not get this kind of access.

    Thanks for stopping by Alex and I’m looking forward to your impressions of Longhorn when you have an opportunity at some point to try it out.

  37. shak says:

    Oh…the old word war between Windows and Linux/OS X lovers. Don’t you guys get tired of it. Just calm down everybody.

    Microsoft is doing something to make their product better. What’s wrong with that fact? As for who’s already better, who cares? as long as we keep using what we like and let the “sheeple of the world” use what they like.

    All of you…really…get a life !

  38. Anonymous says:

    May I make a few suggestions for future blogs, and also for future Microsoft PR or other PR dinners.

    Those of us inside the beltway experience many lobbying or networking dinners. You are an influencer now – and as such – you’re the focus of attention. That’s not a negative. Those of us that cared enough to read your article are not against you. We are for you.

    A few tips. Consider editing down your story. Take a few journalism classes to get to the points quicker and to pick out important points. You don’t need to repeat things. We read them the first time and repetition isn’t necessary to that extent unless you’re teaching a class. Record the conversations to remind you of things, and to hear the questions, answers, conversations and nuances again. It’s amazing what you’ll learn after the beer and wine wears off, or when you’re focusing on what others were trying to communicate when you have the time to decipher a meeting.

    Remember a Microsoft PR Dinner is just that. In Washington, DC – they call these dinners lobbying. There is no difference. That’s neither a good comment or a bad comment about your dinner. It is the way of the world.

    To the person who would not invite a woman just because it’s a woman. I can’t believe there was only one woman worthy of being invited. That is biased to believe that you are the community. As well -having other opinions, genders, beliefs, and those fresh to the scene and those who have been here longer allow you to grow in your own world. Who is to judge who is deserving?

    Analyze the points Microsoft was trying to get across – and why they wanted you to be there.

    When someone is pressing you hard -convincing you (it’s called lobbying in my hometown) that is when you should focus on the reason this is happening, what you’re learning, anf what is missing from the converstation.

    I do repeat. Please take a few minutes to edit down your stores – check out the “wow” repetition.

    Are there more eloquent and descriptive words to use – or consider describing the scene, attitudes, and do bring that audio recorder. If it’s a dinner with that many bloggers – it’s on the record. If they say no to a recording – then do they respect your credibility.

    You’d never guess that I am a big fan of Microsoft. I am one. I love the media center and windows media. But – I also want to make sure they know the pros and cons to improve their products and services. That to me – would be something you could do – to focus on better products and services for all of us. Figure out what are the biggest needs of your community and ask for them from your Microsoft friends. This might be the needs of bloggers, or the needs of media center users, or whatever you do that creates a passion in your lives. Use these connections – as they use you – to create the life or community you want from blogging.

    - OZ – Beltway Journalist – I would have edited down this comment a few times if I would have put it on my blog.

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Tame Bear:

    Interesting comment. I switched 18 months ago and while I was fairly proficient with Windows, my conceptual vision of the file system was lacklustre at best. The whole c: program files, Windows folder, Documents and Settings etc was a hard one to grasp.

    After I switched to OSX, well, I have become way more knowledgeable in how a file system works. Its so logically laid out in OSX. Your System folder, and your Home folder. The way all setting information is stored with in Librarty (cookies, preferences, bookmarks etc) made it real simple when backing up. I never really figured that kind of stuff out on Windows. But now I know how it works on Windows, but it definitely isnt as logical. It took going to the Mac to kind of wake me up in the Windows world.

    I use Vista at the office and they have tried somewhat to make things easier (dropping the My, having a User/Home folder etc), but my point is that its those small things that make the OSX experience that much fullfilling. It isnt necessarily as much a feature contest for me. OSx just seems better thought out. Sure, options are generally more limited, but the default way of doing things are almost always the best and most logical (except the damn iPhoto folder ordering my photos by date/roll!)