Microsoft, Google & Cross Dressing

Whew! Take a week off and all hell breaks loose.

First the rumored Google Secure WiFi service looks to be a reality. Danny Sullivan does the rundown of motives but still wonders why Google would go to such extremes to maintain an infrastructure so far outside of their core expertise when they already have so much information coming in from the millions of installed Google Toolbars out in the wild phoning home. Like the Web Accelerator before it, as an infrastructure improvement coming from a services company, it seems oddly out of place.

Next, Microsoft announces a major reorg that puts the main Windows architect, Jim Allchin, out to pasture following the release of Vista and marries the Windows group with their more nimble MSN brethren. This is the strongest signal yet that MSFT is taking the "software as a hosted service" mantra seriously and is looking to better enable it’s client software to play nicely with internet standards.

Google, the services company is shipping software.
Microsoft, the software company is enabling software as a service.

We live in interesting times.

Video Games Live with Full Orchestra

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Advertised in the entertainment section of my paper as, “A groundbreaking live event celebrating the music of video games,” comes Video Games Live, a full orchestra performance of the music of Halo, Zelda, Warcraft and others. Partially backed by Clear Channel, the performance will feature, “music from the world’s most popular video games performed by top
orchestras and choirs across North America, combined with explosive
video segments from each of the games, lasers and lights to create an
exceptional, immersive entertainment experience” says the press release.

In small print the advert says that there will also be a, “medley of classic arcade games from Pong to Donkey Kong.” I think that’s when the folks file out to get drinks and go to the bathroom.

The Walk to School

Over on the work blog I’ve posted about switching jobs to work at Yahoo. I’ll be starting next week so I’m spending this week clearing the decks and getting ready. Tyler’s bummed because I will not be able to walk him to school anymore and it’s been the time of day when we get to talk about things mano-a-mano. Today, I took some pictures of what we see each day during our 10 minute walk.

SF Fisherman Survive 8 Hours in Icy Waters

The SF Chronicle Bay Area section is always good for a personal interest storty or two. Yesterday’s paper had an amazing tale of two rough cut fishermen who survived the capsizing of their fishing boat a couple miles out beyond the Golden Gate. They clung to their overturned boat through the night in freezing water as wave after wave soaked them in the freezing water. Despite the dire circumstances, they kept their sense of humor:

“But we hung in there. After our first few swamps we got a routine down: We’d duck, and the wave would go over us rather than swamping us over. And we were trying to encourage each other: ‘The city’s getting bigger.’ ‘No, it isn’t, you’re just blowing smoke up my ass.’

They finally got close enough to make the swim to shore and staggered through traffic until they finally got the attention of someone that lent them their cellphone so they could call 911.

When he reached the emergency dispatcher, “They said, ‘We’ve been looking for you.’ I said, ‘You have? We’ve been looking for you too.’

They love their work and are looking forward to saving up the $15k they need to buy another boat and get back out there.

Exit Stage Left, Fade to Yellow and Purple

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Friday was my last day at Six Apart. On the 26th, I’ll be driving down to Sunnyvale for the first day of work at Yahoo (they even sent me a t-shirt & hat just to remind me!). Turn another page.

It’s been 13 months since I pulled the ripcord at Factiva and moved out to California to join 6A. Life in a start up is like running through strobe lights, the time has been super-sharp-focused but also fleeting. The company has come a long way and looking back on where we’ve been is like turning around after climbing a mountain, “Wow, look at the view!” We started in what used to be a dentist’s office in San Mateo. We shared a single phone line and our mail server used to be in the supply cabinet next to the pencils. Now there are leather couches, a receptionist and even a sign. The crowd at the weekly all-hands meetings is beginning to overflow the room in which it’s held.

The devotion of people at Six Apart is inspirational; I’m humbled by the talent of the engineers and feel lucky to have had a chance to put my shoulder into the yoke for a time. It’s sad to leave such a great crew of people but they’ll manage and opportunity knocks. The roar of innovation and buzz of excitment down in the Valley was just too loud to ignore and Yahoo is very much in the thick of it. More details on exactly what I’m doing later, give me a few weeks to get settled.

Yahoo is in an excellent position to take advantage of the various content and services that are connecting themselves across the web. Their open and well-documented APIs give independent developers the chance to to extend and innovate on top and around Yahoo content. Furthermore, their install base of over 200 million members allows them to provide a very compelling and highly contextual personalized experience. They’ve been around ten years so they’ve matured and have got a good business sense about them.

Lots of folks that I respect have made the move over to Yahoo and when you read their posts on why they’re moving, you can see why I too am excited about joining them.

Danah Boyd
Neil Budde
Chad Dickerson
Christian Lindholm
Jeffrey McManus

I’m really looking forward to it, we can build some useful things. It’s going to be lots of fun.

The Baseball Collector

Six Apart has a partnership with Major League Baseball to enable their fans to keep blogs. It’s been an amazing glimpse into Amercia’s #1 obsession to see how many different perspectives people have on the sport. Every now and then I check back to see what’s new and today see that they’re featuring a blog by a guy that’s collected over 2,600 baseball. He gives tips on the fine art of getting yourself a game ball.

I can usually tell where a ball is heading by the way it sounds coming
off the bat. During batting practice, I sometimes have to ignore the
batter for a pitch or two to label a ball that I just caught. While I’m
looking down, I listen for the crack of the bat, and I know whether or
not I need to look up. There’s a distinct difference in the sound
between a ball that’s pulled versus one that’s hit to the opposite
field.

snaggingbaseballs.mlblogs.com

The Ultimate Disclaimer

I read & review quite quite a few legal agreements in this job. If you do too, then you’d appreciate The Standard Catchall Universal Disclaimer Notice. The fine print includes such nuggets as:

ADVISORY: There is an extremely small but nonzero chance that, through a process known as “tunneling,” this product may
spontaneously disappear from its present location and reappear at any random place in the universe, including your neighbor’s domicile. The manufacturer will not be responsible for any damages or inconveniences that may result.

This should cover you for just about anything.