Microsoft and Web 2.0 Stuff

Like Michael Rees, Kathryn Greenhill asked me to list “web 2.0” things that Microsoft has available to provide some balance to a Murdoch University event.

By web 2.0, Kathryn meant: “To me, Microsoft plays really well in the large corporate ap space and is very good at that … but if I want to show people about the conversation, re-mix, open access, interoperable web, then MS is not the first port of call…”

I can only agree with Kathryn’s statement. Microsoft hides all its cool web 2.0 things under a bushel. In fact, the problem probably is that the coolness are hidden under many bushels, all over its web footprint. But hey, I am not from marketing; I am a mere Professional Geek. That is also why these listed are free. Some are even Free-as-in-Freedom, too.

I think it important that people get to hear, see and try alternatives before defaulting to “the known and safe.” And yes, I realise can work both ways.

Another perspective, and my own opinion, is that Microsoft should not seek to do everything on the web. For instance, creating a “Microsoft Twitter Ultimate Edition 2010” is stupid. Nor should Microsoft seek to purchase every cool company that pops on the web. Again, that is my opinion. And I am the lowest on the low of the totem pole; a.k.a Individual Contributor or Sacrifical Unnamed Ensign (ref: Star Trek)

Here is an edited version of my email response; drafted quickly and by no means exhaustive. If you have other cool examples, just post a comment and I’ll update the list.

  • for online mini-Sharepoint site for team collaboration. is a good place to start where people will use desktop apps for a full experience. Don’t forget other online app tools like EditGrid and Zoho.
  • Don’t forget & associated sites (including Photosynth, Virtual Earth) as viable alternatives to google. Librarians use all sources available
  • Live Is more than spaces ( – there are photo storage, file storage (skydrive, as mentioned by Michael Rees in his post), and integration into twitter, facebook and other online social media services.
  • There is a Creative Commons plugin for Microsoft Office 2007 to permit correct (cc) for remix stuff out of spreadsheets, word etc
  • Other remix things: is a single source for our desktop apps, including LiveWriter (don’t forget that Live Writer has a whole host of plugins: ) and video editing stuff, too. There are Wikipedia, FIickr, Twitter and all sorts of plugins. Office 2007 SP2 has both OpenXML and ODF (for OpenOffice) support.
  • Don’t forget that the most-used online conversation tool in Australia is Live Messenger (MSN) which does video + audio conferencing, too
  • RSS into outlook… hmm, possible but not something I’d recommend. Too clunky
  • Don’t forget IE8; with accelerators and webslices these use open formats to work
  • has some cool tools, including Oomph with is a Microformats toolkit (works in all browsers, uses jQuery) … I use it on my blog. Licensed under MsPL (open source,  OSI approved, BSD-like)
  • Another good, slightly techy tool for Windows users is with the Web Platform installer. Permits installations of PHP, WordPress etc on your Windows machine without being a rocket scientist