Archives / 2008 / March
  • Leo Laporte and TWIT are getting out of touch: "Web developers don't like Microsoft"

    I was listening to TWIT #136 and, wow, Leo Laporte is totally out of touch. Patrick Norton is not far behind. Listen starting around 36:30. I've found that lately these guys are hanging out in Pundit Valley and completely missing what's going on in the rest of the world. He's actually got the balls to suggest that Web developers don't like Microsoft, and that believing in Silverlight is akin to drinking the Kool-Aid®. Had Leo actually gone to Mix08, I think he'd feel differently.

  • Mix08: Some overall impressions

    I've got two more sessions to go, but while it's fresh in my mind, I'd like to rattle off some overall impressions of this conference. When it's over, I'm going to purge my brain with alcohol, gambling and shows.

    First off, what I dig about this conference is that it's very diverse in its content and target audience. Most conferences are endless code demos that make you want to kill yourself. I consider myself a well-rounded person who enjoys the code, but also the creative side, the business and the culture.

    It also has a bit of a rock star vibe. In addition to Microsoft execs being here, you get the authors of the books you read, "Web 2.0" (I hate that term) types behind major sites changing the way we use the Web, and people everywhere who might build the next big thing.

    And there's something I haven't really touched on, is the conversations in the halls and at meals. Ballmer mentioned that you can get the whole conference, essentially, online, but that's not entirely true. The people you meet are a huge part of what you get out of it. I mean, I met a guy who works for Oprah's studio rolling his own media management software. How cool is that?

    Silverlight is obviously a huge deal at this conference, and for good reason. I admit, I'm drinking the Kool-Aid now. It probably has zero application to my day job, but it's fascinating to me. The very clear separation of code and presentation is exactly what I wish Flash did. That, and I wish Flash used C#.

    This conference is a good blend of now and future. There really isn't anything here that is pie-in-the-sky future porn. Yes, there's a certain level of Microsoft centricity, but that's to be expected since it's their conference. And as a Microsoft developer, I don't mind. Unlike some of the local events though, they're not pushing crap I don't care about.

    Overall, this conference really delivers, and this one was even better than the 2006 event. It's ridiculously expensive, but they do take care of you in terms of food and such. The party sure is a nice touch. They announced that next year's event will be here at The Venetian as well. I hope I can attend again next year!

  • Mix08: The future of advertising

    Like a moron, I didn't realize that the added session on Hard Rock's Silverlight memorabilia site was first, not last, today, so I went to a really boring session on what Microsoft thinks the future of advertising is.

    And the truth is, I don't think they know. The presenter said that the entire process of buying and displaying ads online is terribly inefficient (he neglected to mention it's not nearly as bad as other forms of media). The future is going to work more along the lines of ad exchanges, a la the stock market, which is something we've heard countless times in other places, so there's no new information there.

    The problem as I see it is not a technical one. Sure, there's no question at all that we can achieve better targeting and transparency, but who is going to be willing to share their data in these exchanges? I'm a little skeptical there. For example, can you see Google saying, "Yes, we have about a half-billion ad impressions available for 30-something females who like bowling?" If they were willing to share that, my suspicion is that they'll want a cut for that, and as a publisher, I worry about the revenue being even further diluted.

    Indeed, when you look at the fact that only 5,000 companies buy 90% of the advertising, you start to wonder if it matters.

    I'm in the room now where the Hard Rock demo was, and I'm annoyed. I guess I'll have to catch that one on video later.

  • Mix08: Web 2.0 sustainability

    I just got out of a panel discussion that included the guy from Me.dium, a VC, Scoble, Kevin Rose, and some other guy I don't remember. Interesting discussion, and the general theme was do right by your users, and find the mix of advertising and subscription models to pay the bills.

  • Mix08: Air and gender

    I'm sitting here in Nikhil Kothari's session on ASP.NET AJAX, and he's going through some of the more basic stuff to start. So I'm reading e-mail and kinda scoping out the room. First of all, there's a guy with a MacBook Air sitting in front of me. It's very cool. I couldn't help but notice he was looking at Google Analytics, and that his site has had 14 million visitors and 124 million page views in the last month. Gasp! I guess he can afford that laptop.

    Here's something I did not expect. This is the first session I've gone to that was very heavily code/developer-centric. I'm very surprised to see how many women there are here. It's no secret that this profession tends to be a sausage party, either because of gender tendencies or some kind of discrimination (I honestly don't know or care). The only reason I even notice is because gender and racial diversity in work, to me, feels more like real life. It's hard to explain exactly.

    OK... Nikhil's getting to the good stuff, gotta pay attention.

  • Mix08: Creepy stalker guy

    If you're in the SEO session about to start, and you're trying to take a picture of one of the speakers with your big zoom lens, I'm sitting behind you, watching you. You're being creepy.

  • Mix08: King of Kong screening

    I didn't know they were doing it, but they're screening [i]King of Kong[/i] here. I figured I might as well hang out and watch it and surf for porn on Microsoft's dime. There's a Q&A after the movie... and if it's the guys from the movie (the "champ" is supposed to try and beat the record at the party tomorrow night), I gotta say, they'd make the computer geeks in this building look like well-adjusted lady's men. I mean, this Billy Mitchell guy had a perfect Pac-Man game... every dot, every ghost. Who does that?

    They have an epic sound system.

    Looking around at the crowd for the first time (there are around a hundred people here for the screening), I'm surprised there aren't more Macs around. But the composition is what made it exciting when I was here two years ago... nerds, designer types that look like rock stars, a few suits, lots of 'Softies. I dig that vibe. As I've said before, I picked this conference over others because it's not just endless code demos.

    Really looking forward to this week!