October, 2007

  • Steve Clayton

    FlipClock Screensaver

    • 1 Comments

    A few people asked me where I got this groovy screensaver that runs on my TZ. I can't remember how I found it but it's a free download from the Cool Cats at 9301 for both Windows and OSX.

  • Steve Clayton

    Steve Ballmer video - The Online Opportunity

    • 3 Comments

     

    Thanks to our friends at Mydeo, the Steve Ballmer session here in the UK last week titled The Online Opportunity is now available for viewing.

    Lars has blogged about the event and the videos are nicely broken up in to sections. Check out the

    Perhaps the best part is

    where he deals with some tough questions such as will Visual Studio appear on the Mac or Linux. Well, maybe that one wasn't so tough :) but he is as candid as I've seen him in a while.

    Oh in case you don't know who Steve Ballmer is, check out Wired's column on him in their new Geekipedia section.

     

  • Steve Clayton

    Happy Birthday Blue Monster

    • 9 Comments

    1 year ago today, a blogger called Hugh MacLeod sent me (and 3 others) an innocuous email with this link:

    http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/003388.html

    It linked to the image you see above which has become known as Blue Monster* and it has changed my relationship with Microsoft, our customers and partners more than anything in my near 10 years here. 

    Here's my rough sketch of some of the stuff that has happened over the last year

     

    • On Oct 31st I published it on my own blog with Hugh's thoughts and my own paraphrased here as
      • "I work for a company the changes the world...it's time to help share that story..."

     

    • Over the next few weeks and months, it got shared wider and discussed much and eventually spawned a Blue Monster series
    • On January 17th a signed lithograph fetched £113 on eBay and I added £100 to that
    • On January 22nd I wrote a Think Week paper and submitted to Bill Gates with Blue Monster on the cover and a central theme. It didn't dent the world but I got some stuff off my chest :)
    • On January 25th I published a video with my thoughts on Blue Monster
    • Same day, Joe Wilcox called it Moonshine Marketing
    • In May, the Blue Monster showed up on the SAP Intranet with "Channel 9 and Steve Clayton at Microsoft are great examples of employee led conversation. This beats press releases and  brochures anyday"
    • In May a second lithograph raised $300 for charity.
    • In June, Hugh and I kicked off a Facebook Group for followers, never suspecting it's membership would be over 1000
    • In July we had some Blue Monster stickers made up. 1000 of 'em....gone in a flash and appearing on laptops around the world. More conversations.
    • August 10th a bunch of people who hardly knew each other showed up at a coffee shop in London one Friday morning to talk about a cartoon and Microsoft and other stuff on their minds.
    • August 14th 2007 it got its own Wikipedia entry - which was then mysteriously removed as someone suggested it was commercially led. Weird.
    • Sept 12th Hugh gives a great talk at Mix UK about Social Object and Blue Monster
    • Sept 17th 2007 - the Financial Times devotes half a sodding page to Blue Monster Reserve - a wine from Stormhoek carrying the cartoon. It was a strange week for me but I celebrated with a glass of wine with my pal Hugh.
    • Oct 2007 Blue Monster Reserve wins a Flackenhack award!

    "So what" you may say....it's just a funky cartoon that has a big monster in it and the word Microsoft. Bound to get attention. The point for me is that it's stirred up way more interesting conversations that pretty much anything I've ever been involved with from Microsoft. Some people love it, some people hate it, some don't understand it or why it's of any interest. However, they all have a view on it.

    Blue Monster = conversation. It's that simple. I've used it in several presentations at Microsoft, one where it visibly left a room of around 200 visibly moved. I was very proud that day - with a small cartoon I and few others managed to help a roomful of people realise they work for an amazing company. It kicked off a whole series of internal conversations and helped people talk in a different way I think. It's done the same externally.

    It's been a wild ride with the Blue Monster for this last year but I wouldn't change it. I made a great friend in Hugh MacLeod and met hundreds of others inside and outside of Microsoft who share the same passion for this company that I do. At times I thought I was about to get fired and at times I wished I'd never seen that cartoon but it sits on my desk at home and always will.

    It changed me if not Microsoft. It defines Hugh's Social Object concept. It defines much of how I think about Microsoft and has been the driving force in my desire to change perceptions that have built up over the years. Microsoft isn't perfect, but we're far from the evil that it's become all to easy to portray. Microsoft is made up of smart, passionate, funny and genuine people. I think Blue Monster has done a pretty good job of helping expose that, amongst other things. One year on I feel very good about that.

    Thanks Hugh....thanks to the supporters and Happy Birthday to Blue Monster.

    [update] looks like Blue Monster is getting it's own show

     

    * - little known fact that when discussing the cartoon we originally called it the "change the world or go home cartoon" but that took too long to say so one day in Pimlico Hugh christened it "Blue Monster". It stuck.

  • Steve Clayton

    Making Vista fly

    • 5 Comments

    I've read several posts over the last few weeks about people being disappointed with Vista performance. I've always been one of the type of people who tweaks and tweaks their system for ultimate performance. I'm continually looking to optimise and edit to make things run lightning fast and whilst I appreciate most people (everyone) doesn't want to do this and you shouldn't have to do this, I'd like to pass on some tips to ensure you're getting the best out of your OS.

    1. Remove the so called crapware - if your system tray looks like a Christmas tree when you boot up it's a good sign that you're probably running a lot of unnecessary programs at startup. Dell has recently released a line of PC's known as the Vostro with all evaluation and trialware removed (at the request of their customers) and I suspect they run rather better than those with all of that software. Go to Control Panel and click Uninstall a Program. Check down that list and prune for the things you really need rather than everything. See also How to zap the crap on a new Windows PC
    2. Run msconfig from the start menu and see what is in the Startup group. My guess is stuff like QuickTime, Acrobat and a host of other useful programs but they don't necessarily need to be there as soon as you bootup. Note that when you install an updated version of iTunes, QuickTime or other programs they install themselves back in there so it's good to keep an eye on it over time.

    That's actually it from me - there are lots more tips and tricks at places like http://www.tweakvista.com but these two things should noticeably improve performance.

     

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  • Steve Clayton

    "Microsoft Online" unveiled...and more

    • 3 Comments

    spluss1

    It's great to be able to finally talk about Microsoft Online as it's what has been consuming most of my time lately and the reason for my recent Redmond trip. It's the next pillar in our Software + Services strategy and has literally just been announced so here's what's what:

    We’ve announced plans to deliver a wide variety of new solutions during the coming months under two key families of service offerings: Live and Online. Live is known to many though has been the source of some confusion with an array of offerings but with the introduction of the Online brand it helps to bring clarity. Allow me to explain:

    • Live denotes services designed primarily for individuals, and virtual work groups. With that in mind, they span across entertainment, comms, and productivity. Examples would be Skydrive, Photo Gallery and Office Live. Their focus is simplicity and make most sense where there isn’t professional IT support at hand – largely as they don’t require that level of expertise.

     

    • Online services on the other hand are for organisations with more advanced IT needs. The keyword here is choice – the world of so called “on premise” servers doesn’t go away, nor do services hosted by 3rd parties but added to that mix now are services that reside in Microsoft owned data centres. As of today, those services are Exchange Online, Office SharePoint Online and Office Communications Online.

     

    I’ll be following up with more details during this week and the weeks ahead. There are some other interesting announcements today as well

    • Microsoft Office Live Workspace -- a new web-based feature of Office which lets people access their documents online and share their work with others.
    • Microsoft Exchange Labs - a new R&D program for testing next-generation messaging and unified communications capabilities in high-scale environments.
    • The renaming of Microsoft Office Live to Microsoft Office Live Small Business.
    • Microsoft BizTalk Services -- a building block service that enables developers to more rapidly and cost-effectively build composite applications. IMHO, this has the potential to be huge as it has the potential to help unlock the long tail of commerce, especially small business in emerging markets.

    Later today (or tomorrow actually) I’ll annotate these announcements on top of the recent Ray Ozzie's Financial Analyst Presentation and you will begin to see the Software + Services story coming to life. I know Scoble and others have lamented what they’ve seen as slow progress since Ray joined but this stuff takes time – not just the technology but the business relationships too and that’s what has been keeping many of us busy. Today is just the start of a shift.

    There is a tonne of questions this stuff brings to life and it’s what makes working at Microsoft a buzz after 10 years. I sense another series of changes afoot and it’s great to be involved. I’ll be posting a LOT more about this stuff from here on and you can find more at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/default.mspx and www.officelive.com

    Initial coverage - lots of people have gone for the Google compete angle. Inevitable I guess

    Game on.

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