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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Six Apart Acquires Rojo

I guess I’ve been asleep at the aggregator. Actually, just busy driving a release; anyway, I see from Kevin Burton that Rojo has been acquired.

In addition, Kevin puts on his 20/20 hindsight spectacles to praise himself:

In hindsight, I don’t ever think Rojo was given the credit it deserved. Feed search in particular. In fact, earlier this year when Ask/Bloglines released their feed search it was pointed out that Rojo had been doing the same thing for months.

Just kidding you, Kevin. Congratulations — I hope this acquisition is good for you.

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Google and the honeymoon

A lot has been said about Google complaining to the government about IE7 (from NYT).

Don Dodge says that Google’s honeymoon is over. Perhaps this is true. Their complaining about the way search is handled in IE7 does seem disingenuous.

In the past I’ve said that Google’s goodwill will wane. From Dave Winer’s Geek Dinner for Scoble with relevant excerpt here:

Google has enjoyed a great deal of popularity as an answer to Microsoft’s dominance. They have a stockpile of goodwill and trust from people simply because they are not Microsoft. This is not permanent. The bigger they get, the more profitable they are (if that’s possible), the more people they piss off with their own kind of over-reaching, the more this is going to wane.

Google has some great products, of which search is #1. But, please Google, don’t try to lock in your users by complaining. Do it by making your products better.

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Search SIG: The Search for Attention

I’ll be at the SDForum Search SIG tonight: The Search for Attention. Jeff Clavier (the SIG chair) has a post about it here.

Steve Gillmor is hosting the panel discussion with Dick Costolo, Gabe Rivera, David Sifry, and Seth Goldstein.

Steve will be talking about GestureBank — I’ve been teaming with him on its architecture — his presentation will precipitate much interest and discussion.

If you are there, look me up.

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Things I miss in C++

I have been working on the Attention recorder for IE 6/7 for the AttentionTrust in my “spare” time. I’m using C++/ATL for this.

I am enjoying working in C++ again (most of my development these days is in C#), but it has brought out to me my personal likes / dislikes about the two languages. I know this post is about 3 or 4 years late, but I wasn’t blogging back when I started with C#.

Things I miss in C++

  • Const pointers: The ability to declare that the data referenced by a pointer will be accessed read-only is quite useful. I never liked that this isn’t supported by .NET; though, I understand why it was.
  • Macros: This one still gets me. The macro support in C# is nearly non-existent. Why would you want macros? Doesn’t this violate the strong-typedness of the language? Yes, but stringizing and token-pasting is very useful to build maintainable code. I really wish C# supported this.
  • copy constructors: Having a default implementation of the copy constructor is quite useful.

What I don’t miss in C++

  • Header files: When I used to work in C++ I remember enjoying the distinction between the declaration and the implementation of classes and methods; however, now I just feel like it is an annoyance. The C# approach of leaving this up to the tools is much easier.
  • NULL: Back when true and false were added to C++ as language elements, I wished that null had been added too.
  • global scope: At first I didn’t like that C# has no global scope (outside of classes), but now I look at C++ and don’t like that I have to put methods that are clearly associated with a class implementation, but static, outside of the definition of the class. Certainly this can be handled with namespaces, but that doesn’t quite do it.

Of course, I much prefer the richness of the .NET Framework to the hodge-podge of class libraries required in C++ to do anything modern: ATL / MFC or WTL / MSXML, etc, . . . I also prefer the overall environment of garbage collection and pointer-safety delivered by a managed environment.

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Time is on our side

Steve Gillmor posts provocatively about attention, standards, timing, and Office, in Time is on our side.

I posted before that the work that the AttentionTrust is doing is very interesting with powerful connotations.

One valuable, pragmatic, insightful (and inciteful) thing they’ve done is to put together a way to track attention without standards bodies. Sure, those can come along, but nothing revolutionary happens through standards bodies. First you show it is interesting by doing real work (e.g., the AttentionTrust Extension, ATX; or ROOT Markets). Then let the interested (and threatened) get involved. Even in this case, the first format for attention data will soon be superceded by OPML.

I do want to point out, though, that I wasn’t slamming Steve for saying office is dead, exactly. It was I who brought up Office at the TechCrunch party. I was trying to poke fun at Steve about Office “already being dead”. This came from our earlier argument at the Berkeley Geek Dinner. He has been arguing this and Robert Scoble refutes it. I think what it comes down to is that Steve is saying that Office is dead (see Office Dead) meaning that the writing is on the wall for Office. I don’t think he isn’t saying people won’t upgrade to Office 12 (though he probably doubts that the numbers are significant); however, I see plenty of sales and opportunities for Office for both Microsoft and ISVs regardless of the Office Live strategy. In the mid+ enterprise.

Anyway, I think that Steve’s post supports that he views time differently then many. For example:

. . .when someone tells you how long something is going to take to make a difference, divide by 10. 10 years, 1 year. 5 years, 6 months. A year, a month and a half.

Most of us think in opposite terms: we tend to under-estimate how long something will take to make an impact. And I think the difference is, again, that Steve is talking about the implication of the “something” versus the practical, mass adoption of that “something” (or irrelevance of the alternative). I’ll leave that to him to refute, agree, or ignore.

And, I wish I hadn’t brought up Office, because we were having a much more interesting discussion about attention . . .

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TechCrunch / Riya launch party

I attended the TechCrunch / Riya launch party last night. Pictures on Flickr are here. It was a good time — thanks to Michael Arrington for hosting the party.

Some people I met or reconnected with:

  • Steve Gillmor. We talked about the AttentionTrust a bit; I’ll blog more on that soon. Unfortunately I jokingly raised the “Office Dead” topic with him and Robert Scoble again and found myself in a minor repeat of the Geek Dinner / Parking Lot discussion (described here in a previous post).
  • Of course, Robert Scoble — he brought his son. Seems like a nice kid.
  • Zach Coelius of Triggit. Zach, it looks like you jumped on FeedBurner after our discussion!
  • Ramana Kovi of ePlatform. Robert Scoble first blogged about ePlatform here. I sat in on a demonstration that Ramana gave to Steve. Kind of a Web portal allowing parents to manage the whole family’s Internet experience. All on .NET, too.
  • Many of the Meetro guys. They all moved out here from Chicago a few weeks back to setup shop in the Valley.

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I just signed up as an AttentionTrust member (check out my spiffy new graphic in the sidebar). I have been meaning to do this for some time since it became public. I started following it after meeting (or at least disagreeing with) Steve Gillmor back at the Dave Winer’s Geek Dinner for Scoble. I may disagree with him over the pending demise of Office, but he is doing truly interesting work on attention.

It will be very interesting to see how the big players (i.e., Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc.) deal with user-controlled attention. My guess is they will completely ignore it unless enough users demand it. Of course, if just one of them buys into it then maybe it will be adopted by everybody.

I am looking forward to (and willing to help, if necessary) the Internet Explorer version of the AttentionTrust Extension. I work in Internet Explorer pretty exclusively (it just doesn’t make sense to use Firefox when developing with Microsoft Visual Studio). Actually, for what it is worth, I use the tabbed Maxthon browser which makes use of the Internet Explorer engine.


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