Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope

wwtelescope If you spend any time in the blogosphere, you probably heard about Robert Scoble’s sob session on Valentine’s Day. He said that he was shown a project at Microsoft Research that was so world-changing it brought tears to his eyes. Scoble said he couldn’t tell anyone what it was until February 27th, and he kept that promise. Today he explained:

Lots of people are asking me questions about what made me cry at Microsoft a few weeks ago.

If I told you “a telescope” you’d make fun of me, right? Tell me I’m lame and that I don’t deserve to be a geek and that I should run away and join the circus, right?

Well, that’s what I saw.

The project is called the WorldWide Telescope. Here’s how it is described on the official website:

The WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a rich visualization environment that functions as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground- and space telescopes to enable seamless, guided explorations of the universe. WorldWide Telescope, created with Microsoft®’s high-performance Visual Experience Engine™, enables seamless panning and zooming across the night sky blending terabytes of images, data, and stories from multiple sources over the Internet into a media-rich, immersive experience.

It does sound like a pretty cool project for astronomy, and like Scoble says, it could have a really huge impact on education and the way we view and understand our place in the universe. Scoble will have a video up on Monday showing it off, and it should be officially available sometime this spring.

Read: Scobleizer

Scoble and his sheep

Post ImageI think Robert Scoble is a really smart and passionate guy, but man does he ever herd a lot of sheep! In the last few months, Twitter has grown incredibly fast. So fast that Obvious Corp. is trying to offload Odeo so that they can focus on Twitter. And it seems to me that the growth is largely due to Robert pimping the service.

I don’t really have a good way to back this up, other than noticing the trend in my aggregator. Before Robert started talking about Twitter in almost every post on his blog, it was rare for me to read about Twitter in any of the other blogs I subscribe to. Lately though, it’s like clockwork. There’s probably one blogger a day who announces they have “given in”, “succumbed”, or otherwise been “forced” to join Twitter. It always goes something like this:

I heard about Twitter a long time ago and thought it was useless. Now though, I have decided to try it out, and Scoble’s right, it’s great!

They don’t always mention Scoble, but often you can trace it back to him. Maybe he should be asking the Obvious boys for referral money!

The one notable exception to the trend (remember, this is just based on the feeds I read) is Darren Barefoot, and even he mentioned Robert!

Scoble is leaving Microsoft!

Post ImageNews is flying fast and furious that the blogosphere’s most famous blogger has decided to leave Microsoft to be a videoblogger at PodTech.net. I’m really quite shocked at the news, and as Chris Pirillo notes, most of the blogosphere won’t even find out until Monday! Scoble himself is yet to post any extensive commentary on the move, save for this:

This is a rapidly-evolving part of my life. I just made this decision and it got out before I was completely ready to talk about it. I invite you to meet with me at the VLoggerCon tomorrow evening at 3 to 6 p.m. in San Francisco where we’ll talk about it further (and I’ll post again tomorrow about what’s going on in my life and why I made this decision).

I wish him the best of luck, but man, what a blow to Microsoft. Or a huge mistake on their part if they didn’t try hard to keep him. Some might argue that Scoble has single-handedly made Microsoft a “nicer” company in the last couple years. He is the reason they have adopted technologies like RSS, and his Channel9 initiative has been amazing at kickstarting the trend at Microsoft to open up to the community. Scoble is not the kind of employee you can replace.

Here’s a bunch of notable “first mover” posts on the news:

I am looking forward to Robert’s post on this. There must be something truly special about PodTech for him to leave what he liked to call “the best job in the tech world.”

You might think that a blogger leaving his current job for a new one isn’t news, but I think you’re dead wrong if you hold on to that belief. Scoble leaving Microsoft is huge, and I don’t think we’ll truly understand the effects of this for quite some time.

UPDATE: Robert has posted about his decision. There’s also an excellent Reuters article on the story. Isn’t that crazy? A blogger switching jobs makes Reuters. Told you this was big news!