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

To a Social Media Practitioner

Today was the last day I will appear as a "social media expert" on behalf of Microsoft. The internet and social media is mainstream, and it’s time to move on. And do my real day job: evangelising Microsoft’s developer tools.


Over the weekend, Channel 10’s Rove attempted to fist twitter, bringing in at least 1000 new Australian twitter users. A plethora of ABC celebreties are following Mark Pesce‘s lead and are joining twitter. There are 5 million Australians on Facebook. Politicians have realised the shift of power towards, and reach of the internet. There is no going back.

Over the last 2 years, and more-so with the departure of Frank Arrigo from Australia, invitations to speak at ‘social media’ conferences landed on me. Internal Microsoft teams came asking about social media asked for my advice.

None of these are a formal, measured part of my job. Sure, using the technology and being a social media practitioner will still important: but being a Social media expert is not.

So, with a little regret, from today I hand over the reigns of social media expertise and public representation to others at Microsoft.

G’Day World: Independent Investigative Journalism

Cameron Reilly’s recent Podcast “Ex-Gloria Jean’s Franchisees Speak Out” is investigative journalism in the raw.

Further evidence that non “Mainstream Media” can do deep investigative journalism. TPN goes into the same orbit as in my book.

The story has been going along for some months and shows Cameron’s desire to find out the story to a greater depth than newspapers.

It will be interesting to see if Gloria Jeans (or at least the parent organisation of the franchise) replies to this, and asks to be interviewed by G’Day world. Or better yet, Cameron asks the organisation for a response.

Well done, Cameron.

Our Benevolent Federal Government should Filter More

As commented over on Stephen Collin’s Blog: Dumb decision by our new government over ‘Net filtering. Some people mention this is a mere policy dump on the last day of 2007. Of course, the Australian web 2.0 community is not necessarily happy about all this talk of censorship.

OK, can we then get our trusty government and ACMA to stop the SPAM I get from Nigerian scammers living on the Gold Coast; offers to enlarge my crown jewels and keep them shiny and bigger than other jewels; Phishing attempts for all those offshore bank accounts on dodgy islands in the Pacific; get-rich-quick schemes co-promoted by members of border religious hill cults.

Since Opt-out is the new word for hidden censorship, that is: how would the non-savvy internet user know they are getting a dumbed-down internet feed, maybe it’s time to ask the Federal Government to do more.

Here is my list:

  1. Spam filter at the border. Why should Spam filters need to be installed on email servers at schools and at home? As Spam is internet traffic, just block nasty emails at the digital border. Usually spam contains naughty words like p3n15 enlargement that our women-folk should not have to read about.

    All we need are virtual drug- and foliage- sniffing dogs, just like Customs owns, and train them to sniff for spam.

  2. Stop an Nigerian Scams (419 Schemes) from both internet via email and via fax, too. The first Nigerian scam I saw was a fax sent to a work colleague in Perth about 12 years ago.

    Stopping the outflow of funds by non-savvy Australians, presumably the same ‘gullible internet users’ the Australian Government is attempting to protect, will help our balance-of-trade.

  3. Phishing. Since the success of capitalism over that nasty communism and the fall of the Iron Curtain, malevolent Russians have found a quick way to readdress the last 60 years. Sending out emails that look like your bank’s login page. Hey presto! Username and password is logged, and some geek slave of an ex-KGB Colonel is removing your hard earned South Pacific pesos and turning them into Euros.

    As this is just internet traffic, the Australian Government must help us to extend the cold war and protect us from new capitalists.

  4. Identity Theft. A few google searches, and some searching in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – all legitimate services, and a scammer could pretend to be anyone. Even me.

    Using my details, they could attempt to falsely claim social security benefits. Get the $60-odd per month I get and route it to their accounts on a former Australian immigrant processing centre in the Pacific. As identity theft can occur over the internet, the Government should just filter this out too, and protect us all.

All of the above are illegal either directly in statute or in common law.

In none of the above cases can any Government provide a safe environment to all its citizens all the time. Just how far is our benevolent Federal Government willing to go to protect it’s citizens?

I’d prefer the Federal Government set up a division of Department of Foreign Affairs online ready to help out netizens as they travel to this unique universe, not just fearfully blocking. Use the technology to educate people.

Bypass the Bureaucracy, Subvert the Hierarchy Comrades!

According to the ABC, semi-autonomous Federal Government agencies must clear their media releases with the Department of Prime Minister before releasing.

Stated Mark Paterson on ABC AM this morning, the secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research:

"The essence of the message was that the Government wanted to ensure a degree of consistency in message on key messages and therefore wanted to clear key messages through the Prime Minister’s office."

Shades of Yes, Minister in the above. What a giggle.

Just blog it, agencies. Bypass the Bureaucracy, Subvert the Hierarchy Comrades!

Stilgherrian Rattles Their Cages

It is difficult to believe any organisation lives in the mid 20th Century.

Yet, Stilgherrian has found one. Maybe it’s his vet?

There will be a point where us Generation-X-ers start worrying about the future rather than the size of our LCD/Plasma screens. We’ll look to our parents and apologise for our self-centred-ness (whilst underneath blaming the me-generation of the 1970s) In our concern and worries, we’ll realise our kids are highly digitally socialised and our seniors are conversing with them. We’ve missed the boat. We’re in the generational chasm.

If you don’t get it, get Mike’s business to help. They’re not only native, they’re going feral.

Ahh, Christmas. Dontcha just love it? Brings out the Scrooge McDickens in all of us.

The Immersive Conversation

Thinking ahead of the game.

Scoble is leaving PodTech. Doing something else from mid-January 2008.

In his post he talked about live streaming/twittering and the conversation that results from immediate connectivity to an audience.

From Scoble’s post:

Another thing that opened my eyes? The Google Open Social press conference where I had the only video, thanks to and my cell phone (they had asked for me to leave my professional camera in the car — funny that’s a story I’ve heard several times, including on the panel discussion yesterday where Jeff Pulver showed off video he shot on a small pocket camera of the recent Led Zepplin concert. He told the audience that Led Zepplin wants to buy his photos and videos because they were better than the professional ones).

Blogs, Video-Blogs, Podcasts emulate the old media. Push out. Wait for comments (aka letters to the editor). The immediacy is missing. There is too much latency between thought to feedback

Immersive Conversations.

Live-streaming/Live-twittering/Live-full immersion-SecondLife/Live un-meetings of the ilk as discussed on EEL recently is the next step. The technology is here permitting low-cost, high-bandwidth immediate two-way sessions.

In conversations with Cameron Reilly, this is exactly where his mind has been for some months.

The move is on.

Duncan Riley, On The Pod #9

Thanks to Duncan Riley for a great conversation today – now On The Pod, on The Podcast Network.

Articles mention: Jeff Sandquist in the April 2007 Wired.

"The heat internal being 70x" is a littler hyperbolic – more like 70% of the heat is internal when blogger steps outside our blogging guidelines. Some notes on our Policy has been discussed here already.

"Microsoft Popfly is for making Web Bling" lulz. my favourite quote.

Microsoft Office Live Workspace signup.

I use Editgrid for collobrative financial management in our house.

Microsoft in Australia links, because I could not recall on the fly.

Microsoft on HD DVD