Keeping a Narrow Focus
Fast Company has a great article about how Starbucks plans to extend its brand into other businesses.  I like how they stress that although they are branching beyond what has been their core business that they want to maintain a sharp focus on their key strength themes like atmosphere.  A narrow focus is something I often feel is missing from many Microsoft products.  Too often I can see Microsoft arrogance that looks like saying “We can do X, Y, Z, and some letter than hasn’t been invented yet all at the same time and do it better than everyone else” rather than nailing 1-2 things really well and extending purely on the themes that made those 1-2 things so great. 

The little things in Visual Studio 2005
Pete likes the little things like our new Ctrl-Tab interface. “From a usability perspective you instantly get to see a list of all the open documents and panes in the IDE which you can navigate either by hitting Tab repeatedly, or by clicking an item with the mouse (while still holding down CTRL), or even use the cursor keys (again, while still holding down CTRL). That's awesome. It makes choosing an individual document from a huge list really easy.”

Making Microsoft Blogs Manageable
Check out the new Microsoft blog portal. You can always grab the categorized OPML file here. And while they don’t have a page that lists all the categories yet you can currently subscribe to categories by doing a blank search for posts within a category like this one for all Asp.Net posts. Then you can subscribe to the RSS feed for those search results.  Good Times!!!