I got buried on Digg

My latest article at last100 was published today, titled: Windows Media Center – a Microsoft success story? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you probably know that I’m a bit of a Microsoft fan. I think they’re a great company, and I like their products (for the most part). Sure they do some stupid things from time to time, but name a big company that doesn’t!

Anyway, back to the post. I’ve written a few Microsoft-related posts for last100 in the last month or so, and I don’t think I’ve said anything terribly negative in any of them. A few of the posts became really popular on Digg, and the feedback was mostly good. I was kind of surprised, to be honest. Communities like Digg, by their very nature, don’t like big companies. Or perhaps more accurately, the community members don’t. Well, I finally got buried on Digg. My latest article made the front page, then quickly disappeared. I guess I had it coming!

Essentially my post demonstrates that Windows Media Center has become very successful. I don’t really attempt to explain the reasons for the success, aside from glossing over the features and that sort of thing. It seems most people think that WMC is only successful because it is installed by default on many new computers. Even if that’s the case, does it matter? I don’t think it does.

Forget about how it happened – the simple fact of the matter is that there are more than 50 million computers out there with really great media center functionality. Even if the majority of users don’t use that functionality today, that doesn’t mean they won’t tomorrow. There’s something to be said about saturation. Not enough people know about media center features. And maybe they shouldn’t have to. If everyone had media center PCs, they could just start using the functionality without thinking about it.

Oh well, getting buried was bound to happen sooner or later. I wonder if they make a t-shirt for this!

Read: last100

Microsoft's Internet TV strategy

You’ll recall that last week the first post in a two part series I wrote for last100 on Microsoft’s Internet TV strategy was posted. I’d say the post did very well, receiving over 20 comments from readers and 300 diggs. Today, part two is up:

The product to keep an eye on is definitely Mediaroom (and Mediaroom on the Xbox 360). There’s a reason Microsoft chose Mediaroom as the brand instead of simply Microsoft TV: they are looking to the future of entertainment, where TV is just one piece of the puzzle.

You can read the entire post at last100, and you can digg it here. As always, let me know what you think!

Read: last100

Microsoft on your telly

Post ImageI was fortunate enough to land a guest posting gig over at last100, a blog dedicated to tracking the digital lifestyle. My two part series is about “Microsoft on your telly” and my articles take a look at where Microsoft is and has been in the television market, and where they are going. You can read the first post here. Please let me know what you think!

If you’ve never heard of last100, check it out. From the About page:

The name last100 refers to what industry insiders call the “last 100 feet” problem, which is the gap between the typical home’s computer and its living-room TV set. Whilst the digital living room is a primary focus, we’ll also be covering other areas of the digital lifestyle (VoIP, portable media, mobile web etc).

I love the name!

Looks like my first post has received a bunch of attention on Digg too, so feel free to digg it (up to 95 diggs right now). All I can say is I am glad the Digg mob is focusing their attention on Microsoft rather than on me!

Read: last100

Switching to WordPress…Eventually!

Post ImageI’ve decided that I am going to switch my blog to WordPress. I am running Community Server 1.1 at the moment, and while it works well enough I know I’d be happier with WordPress. When I have time and have solved the issues with doing such a switch, I’ll make the move.

There’s a very large, very vibrant, and very active community surrounding WordPress. For example, it’s rare to find a blogging tool that supports Community Server – all of them support WordPress. Ditto for widgets and other third party services. Most of all though? WordPress just works the way I want it to.

I’ve used .Text and Community Server for this blog (and DasBlog waaaay back in the day). Blogosphere.ca is still running .Text if you can believe it. My Dad’s blog and the SportsGuru blog we co-author run on MovableType. I’ve played with Blogger, LiveJournal, Windows Live Spaces, and other hosted engines. I’ve seen WordPress used over the last couple years, and was particularly interested when Scoble switched. I started using WordPress quite extensively a couple weeks ago when I started WindowsMediaBlog.com. It became clear to me very quickly that WordPress is the way to go. Easy to setup and configure, easy to manage.

These are the goals I have for the switch:

  1. All posts, comments, trackbacks, etc. migrated to WordPress.
  2. All existing URLs will continue to work. The switch shouldn’t break anything.
  3. Existing content will be “cleaned up” a bit (tags stripped and stored in the database using a widget, for example).

I’ve looked around a little, and have come to the conclusion that the only way to achieve these goals is to write some code. WordPress cannot import from Community Server, and an RSS feed isn’t flexible enough to include comments and trackbacks. BlogML is promising, and it might help to an extent, but only with #1. If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!

My blog will likely be the last that I’ll switch to WordPress, actually. EclecticBlogs, SportsGuru, and the Blogosphere.ca blogs will all be migrated first, in varying degrees (Blogosphere will likely be a fresh start using WordPress MU and a static archive of what currently exists). By the time I get to my blog, I should be an expert!

Thoughts? Suggestions? I’m all ears! I’ll share my migration experiences here as I go.

Gummy Bears at FlickrBlog

Post ImageIf you aren’t currently subscribed to the FlickrBlog, you should be. Here’s the RSS feed. I read a lot of feeds every day, and most of them are just text followed by more text. The nice thing about the FlickrBlog is that in addition to site news for Flickr, they often share “photo posts” like yesterday’s post on The Secret Life of Gummy Bears:

Since we don’t know how many gummy bears have actually been released into the world, there’s just one immediate solution: Eat them — as many and as fast as humanly possible. It’s not too late.

I don’t know why exactly, but the post just made me smile. Some other recent “photo posts” include Dogs on Roofs, Dogs in Pools, and the paper crane project.

It’s amazing how much time you can waste just hopping from photo to photo on Flickr!

Read: FlickrBlog

Are bloggers talking about Edmonton?

Post ImageIn my last post I was sort of wondering who Edmonton bloggers are and what they are talking about, but perhaps just as interesting is what bloggers are saying about Edmonton. If you do a quick search for Edmonton at any of the many blog search engines, you’ll find a large number of results. Here are some interesting ones I picked out:

And of course there’s a ton of discussion about the Smyth trade.

So I guess the answer is yes! Bloggers are talking about Edmonton.

Why do you blog?

Post ImageDarren Barefoot is presenting a session called “Why We Blog” at Northern Voice next month, and as part of his preparations he has launched a short online survey. There’s only sixteen questions and it’s pretty quick to fill out, so if you’re a blogger, why not help him out? I just completed the survey so I can affirm that it is quick and painless. Oh, and there’s prizes too:

One randomly-selected person who completes the survey will win an iPod Shuffle.

Another randomly-selected survey completer will win two Lonely Planet books–Micronations and Experimental Travel.

I obviously want to promote the survey, so I’m also giving away one CAN $50 gift certificate to a randomly-selected person who blogs about it. Just link to http://www.whydoyoublog.com and you’re qualified to win.

So if you are a blogger or have been a blogger in the past, fill out the survey here.

Read: Why Do You Blog?

Engadget Numbers and Misconceptions

Post ImageAs you probably know, Engadget is one of my favorite blogs. I read it all the time because I know I’ll find something new and interesting. And as last Tuesday proved, I’m not the only one who reads Engadget! It has been widely reported that Engadget had 10 million page views that day (with CES and the Steve Jobs keynote going on). Managing editor Ryan Block says the numbers were actually higher than that, and sets a few things straight:

Again, we quoted that traffic was “into 8 figures”, counting the rest of the Engadget network (Mobile, HD, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish) and that’s even more still. I’m not going to discuss numbers, but I was very proud of what we accomplished, and I’d have been proud if we only did 10m.

He also says they had increased uniques, suffered absolutely no downtime, and attributed most of the reliability and performance to WIN’s Blogsmith platform. Whatever the actual details, it’s clear that Engadget did amazingly well on Tuesday.

Congrats to Ryan and team, and keep it up!

Read: Ryan Block

Continuing trouble for TechCrunch?

Post ImageBack in September I wrote that in my opinion, TechCrunch had started to lose its edge. I based my comments strictly on the kind of content that had been appearing on the popular Web 2.0 blog. Since then I would say the content has improved. Not that I have been tracking it that closely, but it seems as though it has improved.

TechCrunch appears to be having other problems though. Last week Michael Arrington had something of a meltdown, which you can read about at Valleywag. And just yesterday Michael announced that writer Natali Del Conte was leaving TechCrunch after just three weeks:

She’s gotten an offer from another company (again, I’ll let her make any announcements on that), but was willing to stay on part time with TechCrunch. I appreciate that, but I want our writers to be completely focused on TechCrunch and not working with competitors. She also told me the comments were really getting to her, and the turmoil from last week (TechCrunch UK, NYTimes debacle) played a part as well.

That announcement did follow some good news for TechCrunch though – it entered Technorati’s top 5 for the first time.

I put a question mark in the title because I think Michael should see this as an opportunity for TechCrunch. I think he should spend some time to find the right editor, and I would also suggest revisiting the comment policy. Some of the most valuable information is found in comments, but they need to be effectively policed too. Perhaps implementing a community rating system a la Digg would be wise.

Hopefully we’ll see an even better TechCrunch soon!

Three years of blogging…

It was three years ago today that I started this blog. And after three years of posting I can honestly say that I enjoy it more now than I did when I began.

A few days ago Darren had an interesting post where he looked a bunch of popular blogger’s very first posts. They aren’t what you’d expect in a lot of cases. My first post was fairly introductory, but that’s because I actually had a different blog for a month before this one got started. Unfortunately, it has been lost (at least I can’t find it anywhere), and that’s why I consider this one the start of my blogging career.

Sounds funny doesn’t it, a blogging career? Well call it what you will, I’m just getting started!