Podcast #1

So, I’ve started a Podcast. I could explain why, but that’s sort of the point of this episode of the Clint Sharp Show. Listen, or don’t.

Download the mp3

My conversation with Microsoft

Scoble recently wrote an inspiring piece about the new conversation Microsoft needs to be having with its customers. There’s so many things I wish Microsoft was doing that it isn’t that I think I’m going to have a hard time framing my ideas into something short enough to be called a blog post, but I’m going to give it my best effort. I’ll apologize to Scoble in advance for pinging his name several times today, as I have another post to write today that also involves him, and although I do at times shamelessly use his name to show up on his PubSub feed, today I hope he reads them and doesn’t feel like I’m abusing it :).

I think more about what I want from Microsoft is what I want from the entire industry, but if anyone can deliver it it’s gotta be Microsoft. I hear they’re hiring 10,000 more programmers here. How come they’re not writing software that will make my life better? Surely not all those people are writing device drivers!? They have more products than I can name, but I only use two sets on my machine, and that’s Windows XP and Office. Where’s the consumer focus?

Microsoft always sells on integration. So integrate the Internet for me. But don’t integrate it into the operating system. That’s so 1997. I want to be a Microsoft customer, but I just don’t like their operating system all much for day to day use and I want them to win me back with their innovative software instead of trying to keep me locked in with their operating system and proprietary formats (not that they’re the only ones guilty of this…ahem, Apple, where’s my OPML export from iTunes?). I want to see something come out of Redmond that I look at and say “Wow! No one has ever done that before!” I’d be happy though if I could just get some stuff out of Redmond that makes me click less. I want rich web applications but I don’t want to be locked into their CLR implementation. I want to them to let go of the reigns and sell me on their software’s features that will run in any browser on any platform and not write a platform that only works on their runtime on their browser on their operating system. If your software is good, it’ll stand on it’s own two feet without forcing me to stick with an operating system. Flickr has proven this. Yahoo has proven this. Google has proven this.

I don’t want to just reprise what Scoble said, but I need someone to simplify the amount of work it takes to make me an online persona. My presence on the web takes far too much work to make it all work nicely together. This is where MSN in comes in, but I want them to give me flexibility that Spaces isn’t giving me now. I don’t want to be spaces.msn.com/members/clintsharp/Blog, I want to be clintsharp.com hosted at MSN Spaces. I’m also picky, and I want them to ask me what I want before they implement it. I don’t want a traditional integrated solution that basically does everything I want in one place but doesn’t any of it near as well as the best of breed tools, to the point that I’d rather use the best of breed tools and integrate them rather than use the integrated solution. Let me detail exactly what I have to do to be me online:

  • I blog with WordPress
  • I put my pictures up on Flickr which posts to my blog through XMLRPC
  • I edit my audio in Audacity. Podcast coming soon. I FTP it up to my server manually.
  • I edit my video in iMovie. There’s nothing on the PC like it I’ve found this week. I upload the videos to VBlogCentral so that they can be transcoded to three different formats. It posts to my blog through XMLRPC
  • I edit my MediaWiki (not 100% done yet, sorry, it’s coming)
  • I read my email in Thunderbird and I read my news in Outlook (kinda funny when you think about it) and NewsGator Online
  • I IM through Trillian so I can be on all the services

So what does this tell us? I want some integration! I want an integrated application that aggregates news, blogs, re-blogs, edits audio for podcasting, edits video for vlogging, and uploads it to a host, all easily and cheaply! More importantly though, what does this tell us? I want openness and standards. I want interoperability! My email is on IMAP so I can switch to another mail program at a moment’s notice or use any of a number of webmail apps that understand IMAP. I’m on all 3 major IM services because people can’t seem to make them interoperate. I’m on Flickr, so I’m obviously willing to host my data elsewhere, but I want to be able to get it back onto my harddrive easily, preferably through point and click. I do a lot of video editing, but nobody offers an application that isn’t fucking totally picky about the video formats it will important and export. If everyone can’t agree on MPEG4, then for God’s sake will Microsoft and Apple at least agree to allow their applications that do editing to interoperate with each other’s formats?!?! Will they both at least agree to pre-load each other’s codecs on the other’s operating system!?!? I’m seriously thinking about not supporting any company in the future in which enabling collaboration between people isn’t their primary goal, and any company who attempts to lock my data into a proprietary format is the antithesis of my goal for collaboration. I want to see Microsoft become become the open standards company it should be. I want Microsoft to free me from the data lock-in that they’ve been the purveyors of since they wrote Office and I want them to understand that whatever computer I sit down at, whichever OS it’s running at the time, is the tool I’m going to use for that session, and that I should be able to get to my data in an open format from any place I am in the world on anybody’s OS. I want Microsoft to think Wiki, not Word!

I haven’t been excited about Microsoft in years, except for the possibility that I might go to work for them at Channel 9. The reason I was excited about that? I thought I might actually be able to make a difference, to push Microsoft to excite people like me again. I am an online persona. I am a media hacker. I am a thought leader. I am the customer that everyone should be talking to. I recommend products for everyone I know, and if companies aren’t pleasing me now, they won’t be pleasing the people I know in a year. Microsoft, forget the enterprise for a year or two, they’re fine, I know, I work in one, and focus your attention on the thought leaders, and tell me if your sales don’t skyrocket. If it doesn’t work out, most likely you’ll only be a bit cash poorer, but if it does work out, you’ll have gained a rabid group of customers and you’ll have more to add to your warchest.

Scoble’s gotten the ball rolling, and I’ve helped it along, but it’s in your court, Microsoft. Go lead!

links for 2005-06-30

Google Earth downloads stopped!

Does even Google have a limit to the amount of bandwidth and resources they can throw at things? They’ve halted new downloads for Google Earth. How disappointing. I really wanted to check it out so I could make a cool vlog intro like Josh Leo.

Dan Gillmor on Current.TV’s Submission Terms

Dan Gillmor writes about Current.TV’s submission terms. They basically want exclusive rights to the content submitted to them to be exclusive for 3 months. And, tops, they’re only paying $1k for the content. That’s not only bottom-rack pricing it’s also ridiculous to ask people to have their content tied up just by submitting it to Current.TV. I met Dan on the last day of Gnomedex as we were leaving, and he’s a great guy. If anyone’s going to lead us in the charge for new-media journalism, it’s definitely him, and I don’t think we could ask for anyone better to do it. Thanks for your hard work, Dan.

Gnomedex Wrap-up

I’m so far behind on my blogging and vlogging. I intended to post several things Monday night, then last night, and I’m finally getting to it tonight. I also need to seriously edit up some video from Gnomedex, but the tools I have here on the PC just aren’t going to cut it I don’t think. It’s more learning curve than anything else. OK, so here we go with the Gnomedex wrap-up.

Firstly, I didn’t sit through most of the sessions. The action’s in the hallway. I had a lot of interesting conversations. Lets give the highlights first.

Biggest Thrill: Meeting Steve Garfield and Eric Rice. Those guys are awesome, nothing else need be said.

Biggest Disappointment: Marc Canter. It’s probably my fault for not-reapproaching him, but I wanted to have a discussion with him about microformats and what I’m doing to evangelize them, but he seemed uninterested and sort of blew me off. It was Thursday night at the party, and like I said I never reapproached him, so it’s possible I just got a bad impression of him. He was the only notable person there who didn’t seem like he had enough time to talk to me though.

Biggest Regret: Not meeting Rick Segal. I love that guy’s blog. It’s incredibly insightful and it’s always making me think about how I do business and approach potential customers (even though I’m really not in the business of working with customers anymore, I may soon be).

I had a very interesting conversation with Steve Gillmor. That guy is all about attention, I think even to the point of ignoring what may be interim solutions to the problems that will eventually be solved by attention.xml. I started with a conversation about Mediafeedr and how I thought it would solve the problem he was speaking of in his Gillmor Gang episode from Singapore last week about finding interesting podcast content. He wants to solve it with attention data. Basically, the idea would be that the best content would filter through the top based on which people are clicking through and listening the longest to the podcasts. That’s fantastic, but it’s also assuming he’s going get that data from companies soon. I think it’s years off, he told me “Years are now months.” I don’t think a lot of the companies have that data to give, at least not in a format that can be output as attention.xml. It was a bit of an argument. He’s also not big on microformats as he thinks you’ll never be able to get content creators to support them. It’s not really the content creators you have to go after, it’s the software developers, and I think that’s it’s just as likely that people, once shown the benefits that microformats could bring, will be just as likely to support microformats as attention.xml. It was a fun discussion though, although a bit more of an argument than a discussion. Maybe he’ll remember me next time I talk to him :). I really liked him though, he’s an incredibly bright guy.

I talked with Phillip Torrone (pt) out in the hallway for a while. What an incredibly nice guy. He actually seemed to know who I am as well, which was totally awesome. He’s such a geek and I love it. His wife actually landed the Channel 9 job I was interviewing for. Way to go Beth! He lives up here and I’m totally going to try and get him on Clint on Tech for some video coverage of his gadgetry. Hey, Phillip, if you’re reading this, you willing to grant me an interview? 🙂

I talked briefly with Chris Pirillo, the Gnomedex organizer and A-list blogger and podcaster. What a cool guy. It was kinda funny, because he didn’t know who I was, and I was like “Hey Chris!” and he looked at me like he was supposed to know me. I let him off the hook pretty quick and we also had a good conversation (it’s on video :), although it’s not going to make the cut). He’s another local that I’d like to get on Clint on Tech. I’d love to do a hybrid cast with him while he’s doing the Chris Pirillo show. Get some b-roll footage of his gear and show a behind-the-podcast video while it’s going on. That’d be awesome. Hey, Chris, you reading this? How about granting me an interview? 🙂

I talked for a while also with Rick Klau of FeedBurner who is an incredibly smart guy and a pleasure to talk with. I’m talking to him about trying to get FeedBurner to implement some of MediaFeedr’s features. This would save a lot of coding for me and get someone stable to implement the features I want for the good of the new-media community. He changed my opinion totally about FeedBurner and their business model.

There were tons of other great conversations. I especially enjoyed meeting back up again and again with my videoblogging pals Steve, Eric, and Bre as well as the new friends I made that attended my Pre-Gnomedex lunch, Mike Buckbee, Dylan Greene, Gerry Caballero, and Gregory Narain. Those guys are great, and I hope to see them all again.

In Miami

In Miami now. What an inopportune time for travel. I spent the entire plane ride catching up for the last few days at Gnomedex that I spent largely without online access. I’m caught up on news reading and email now, but I’ve got about 4 or 5 blog posts coming about some pretty important topics. Mediafeedr is on hold this week while I travel. Just no time to work on it. On the other hand, I’m really digging Dave Winer‘s OPML Editor as a way to organize my thoughts. I’ve been organizing all the blog posts I need to write in the OPML Editor. Badass.

links for 2005-06-27

LBJ Invented the Internet

A post from Jeff Jarvis (if you don’t read him, start now), about how LBJ set the foundation for the Internet with the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The LBJ quote of his vision is uncanny, and we’ve pretty much built his vision.

links for 2005-06-25