Scoble – what’s he on about now?

The eternal hype machine that is Robert Scoble, has reached a new level of obscurity with one of his posts today but he’s got my attention….

You know, even inside Microsoft people have no clue as to what’s coming next week. I was just showing some people here the videos of what’s coming next week and they said simply “wow.”

So what’s he planning? Well, I’m presuming that it’s something different so it won’t be:

  • a VOIP & Chat product they already have one of them – but it’s not as “nice” as GoogleTalk IMHO….
  • a phone that plays music – Apple and Motorola are making a nice mess of that one….. and my ScoblePhone with a 512Mb Mini-SD card is a far better alternative….
  • I’m guessing that as it’s to be announced at PDC I’m guessing it’s something to do with Vista. Quite what, I’m not at all sure – WinFS is in Beta, Visual Studio is about to be released, SQL 2005 is almost a go…. so what’s it going to be? Something cool I hope – I sincerely do!!

    Some have accused me of overhyping what’s coming next week. Well, I don’t want to ruin this chance to keep expectations low (the industry hasn’t seen such an opportunity to take advantage of such low expectations to perform some shock and awe in years), but damn this is the most excited I’ve been about Microsoft since I joined.


    Yes, it’s been a while since we’ve shipped something significant. Yes, we have missed out on several new trends like the iPod and search. Yes, Steve Jobs‘ accusation that we’re just copying his company has looked pretty true.

    But now it’s time to change the world. Again.

    Go ahead, accuse me of hyperbole. Of FUD. Of mud throwing. Whatever. Let’s get together for beers next week and you look me in the eye and tell me that I overhyped this PDC.

    btw – I have to say that if this next quote doesn’t get you fired for blogging – nothing will!! πŸ™‚

    I think I’ve been underhyping Microsoft. I had lost my belief. I was almost ready to get Steve Ballmer to throw another chair and go work for a cooler or at least smaller company.

    I’m listening Robert… amaze me…… PLEASE


    Super Cool Flickr add-in app

    The team at airtightinteractive have a superb flash application that lets you select a tag – and see all the flickr photo’s relating to it.

    They also do a variant called simpleviewer that you can run on your own site – I have it running here. I spent about 40 minutes setting it up – and most of that (probably 25 minutes or so) was spent finding a way to generate the thumbnails as my hosting company doesn’t support the GD Imaging Library.

    I ended up using Easy Thumbnails from Fookes Software, it’s free, quick and fairly easy to use – and only a 1Mb download!

    Give it a go – it’s easy free and looks really nice….. my only complaint is that I can’t change the layout / positioning of stuff in the flash page….. no biggy!!

    Thanks to Grasshoppermind for the original heads-up on this.

    Share goes live!

    Well, it’s been a week or two in the coming – Katrina has kept a chunk of the team busy with other things…. but the Forums are now live at

    Why not take a trip over there and sign up? If you’re a GTalk user, there are some additional tips and tricks for using it – and if you’ve not got that most coveted of things (a GMail address) there’s a way to get one – for free!! Of course – you could just leave a comment here and I’ll send you an invite!!


    The future of Hello?

    OK, it’s time for me to put on both hats – as the third moderator of SpreadHello and as a moderator for SpreadGoogleTalk too, to step in and give my £0.02 worth following on from the posts from Yogarine and Pace-man on the SpreadHello blog.

    I’m really not sure where it’s all going…..but, as Pace-Man has also pointed out Google seem to be doing a lot of buying of similar technologies at the moment, Meetro is a prime example – once they expand it for use outside of the US, it could prove to be an interesting addition to GTalk / Hello…. wouldn’t you like to be able to chat with and share photo’s with people physically near to you?

    As for how to “integrate” all of these services…. that’s the tricky bit… both Hello and GoogleTalk are superb – but they’re very different….. and I’m not sure how Google could make the two interoperate without ruining both of them. I just hope it doesn’t all go the way of MSN Messenger. There’s a service that once was good, but has become unusable over time (for me at least) – because it’s trying to be everything to everybody….it’s bloatware.

    I like the chat and voice stuff in GTalk – it works and the interface is clean and uncluttered. I’ll be intrigued to see how they try to make money out of it – voice recognition and context sensitive ads perhaps? Now that’d be REALLY clever!!

    However, I suspect that this is the next step on the way to some form of “GBrowser” or maybe even a “GoogOS“….or maybe I’m just being silly!!

    For an extereme version of what might be – check out the excellent flash “story” over at albinoblacksheep good, but scary… but good….:-)

    All in all, I’ll be very interested to see how things progress – based on what they’ve done in the past, it should pretty impressive!


    Google Talk – Tips and Tricks! Part II

    Well, after some browsing of the Google Talk forums it looks like I’m not the only one working on a list of hacks etc. for Google Talk….

    Wumpus has put together a more comprehensive list…. including these (very handy) ideas:

    Conference Calls

    What you need to do to have conference calls:

  • Open up a copy of Google Talk on all computers with which you wish to conference.
  • After one copy is opened make a new shortcut for Google Talk but at the end of it add /nomutex.
  • If you installed it to the default folder then your shortcut should read “C:\Program Files\Google\Google Talk\googletalk.exe” /nomutex.
  • Open 2 instances of the software on every user’s computer.
  • After this start a chain:

  • User 1 should connect on one instance to user 2.
  • User 2 will connect on his second instance to user 3.
  • User 3 will connect using his second instance back to user 1.
  • With this chain everyone is connected to everyone

    Nickname & Status Message

  • To change your nickname you need to go to you account properties in your Gmail account and change the name there.As a result all of your emails will have that nick as well, there is no way to seperate the two.
  • You can add a website in your away message, it will be clickable in conversation windows.
  • “Secret” Parameters

  • /nomutex: allows you to open more than one instance of Google Talk.
  • /factoryreset: set settings back to default.
  • /mailto send an email with Gmail.
  • /s upgrade: used when upgrading Google Talk.
  • Share

    Google Talk – Tips and Tricks!

    Here’s a few hacks I’ve found by playing with Google Talk

    Bold Text: Put * around the word.
    Example: I *love* Google —> I love Google

    Italic Text: Put _ around the word.
    Example I _love_ Google —> I love Google

    To switch between multiple chat windows, press Tab. Ctrl+Tab will go in the opposite direction.

    You can show your homepage or blog URL simply by entering it in your away message (at the top of the main window). It will automatically turn to a link visible to others.

    Some smileys – so far I’ve found the following:


    that are recognised by Google Talk and will turn blue.

    To switch between multiple (undocked) chat windows, press Ctrl+Tab

    Linebreaks – If you want to have a message that spans multiple paragraphs, just hold shift and hit enter. You can add as many new lines as you want to create.

    URL’s / Hyperlinks – Google Talk will detect a website address and automagically turn it into hyperlink, which is then clickable by the recipient.

    Change Text Size (Wheel mouse required) – Do you find the default text is too small or too large? You can change the text by pressing Ctrl + mouse scroll up/down. Scroll up will enlarge the text, scroll down will decrease the text size. The change is only on your screen, it will not affect the receiver side’s text size. (Google spoil all my fun!! :-))

    If you’re interested in trying Google Talk – leave a comment (including your e-mail address) and I’ll sort you out a GMail invite


    My prayers may be answered!!

    It sounds like my earlier rant may have been listened to (although I suspect that I’m not the only one to complain) πŸ™‚

    Based on this ZDNet Australia article a new technology called “Freeze Dry” will be a part of Windows Vista. Full details are included in the article, but here’s a short quote the whet you appetite:

    “some patches require machines to reboot, users who leave documents open and unsaved run the risk of losing that data if the machine is automatically updated. Freeze Dry eliminates that problem by automatically saving application state and documents and then restoring them once the system restarts”

    It just sounds way too cool – from a Sys-Admin perspective, it makes WSUS (and it’s successors) far more powerful, and as a home user with Windows Updates switched on it should mean that I’ll never loose another Blog post!!

    Thanks to Ed Bott amongst others for the heads-up.