Distinctly personal reflections on 2007

Photograph of sunset over Enmore, 31 December 2007

As the sun sets on 2007 — literally, as I took the photo just before I sat down to write — it’s time to reflect on an astounding year. The Snarky Platypus will join ’Pong and me later, and (perhaps) help us put together some predictions for 2008.

This was a watershed year for me, for my household and business, and for Australia. Many of the changes happened late in the year, so we haven’t noticed the effects yet. But as 2008 unfolds I think we’ll look back and see that, yes, 2007 marked a change of direction.

Personally, my understanding of how I fit into my world (and yours) became much clearer.

Continue reading “Distinctly personal reflections on 2007”

How can Microsoft stop us hating them?

Microsoft: Change the world or go home

So what do you think of Microsoft, eh? No, really. I want to know.

I have to admit I’m not exactly a fan. I’ll explain why momentarily. But Microsoft is changing, or at least wants to change, and I’m finding it hard to shed old impressions.

The Blue Monster cartoon is part of this changing Microsoft. Its creator, Hugh MacLeod, intended it as a conversation-starter — what he calls a social object. Steve Clayton from Microsoft UK says they use it to help Microsoft start talking about its own process of re-birth.

I’m cynical when software companies claim grand goals like “changing the world”. That over-the-top rhetoric was central to the first dot-com bubble. Usually, the bigger the rhetoric the crappier the product. Still, I’m willing to listen.

Another sign of a changing Microsoft is my friend Nick Hodge, who sold me my first Mac back in 1985. Nick now works for the Blue Monster as an “enthusiast evangelist”, and represents how Microsoft is embracing blogging and a new culture of openness — and actually having conversations with people instead of talking at them.

But can Microsoft really change and, more importantly, convince us to believe them?

Continue reading “How can Microsoft stop us hating them?”