Do yourself a favor and install the new MSN Toolbar and Desktop Search

After running the Google toolbar for a long time, I switched to the new MSN toolbar with desktop search on my work machine.  After using it for several weeks, I can attest that this is a great package of software and it’s still only beta!  I’m now installing it on my home machines — that says a lot as I prefer to run very clean and tuned systems at home.

Here’s why I chose it over Google:

  • Hotmail, Messenger and MSN spaces integration

  • My MSN integration

  • Form Fill — finally, the web toolbar people are following Mac IE 5 innovations introduced in 2000!

  • MSN search beta integration – this is on its way to becoming a serious Google competitor.  It’s not there yet, but it’s good enough for me to use it over Google now.

  • Page viewer and highlighter for search terms

  • Desktop search works as well or better than Google desktop search.  The Outlook integration is killer.

Goodbye 2004 . . . and good riddance.

For a second year in a row I’m glad the previous year is gone.  2003 was hell for me thanks to school, weekly commuting to Seattle from SF for work, two new teams at Microsoft and my Haas MBA classes.  I thought 2004 would turn the page with school completing and me getting some traction with my new team.

Well, 2004 was better than 2003 but not by much.  I’ve never worked so hard in my life.  Those who know me will probably shudder at hearing that, given how hard I worked during the launch of WGTB at Georgetown.  60 hour weeks were looking like light duty last year.  If it wasn’t for the quick trip to Italy with my family, short visits with family and friends and the launch of our MSTV product in Washington state, I probalby would have gone nuts.  Thank God I really enjoy the stuff I work on.

Then, there’s the war, tsunami, sluggish economy, etc. to provide a gloomy backdrop for the year.

Here are my aspirations for 2005:

  • Reclaim my personal life

  • Get some more great people to work on my team

  • Cook more

  • Take care of myself and have more fun

  • Volunteer

  • Take a really long and restful vacation

I made some traction on these things in 2004 but it was either a late-breaking development or it was aborted due to varous reasons.

Here’s to 2005 being what 2004 was supposed to be!

Bill Gates comes to Silicon Valley

Bill Gates came to Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus on October 1 to give a quick talk on stuff going on in the company, our strategy, etc.  One neat thing about Microsoft is that BillG and SteveB come talk to employees and there is no holds barred Q&A.

I asked Gates a question about the increase in content protection and what that means for media sharing within the house, across devices and for Microsoft in general.  I think that many CEOs would probably rattle off some high level comments about this but Gates is able to dive deep on a wide range of topics and he proceeded to do so.  Without going into the specifics here, in sum Gates took a very reasonable stance saying that the PC needs to be a more trusted device within the home so that it doesn’t get shut out by such developments as the broadcast flag, 5C/DTCP, CCI, OpenCable, etc.  At the same time, the marketplace for content needs to consider content providers and content providers need to consider whether or not they will alienate their consumers.  Microsoft needs to balance the interests of consumers and content providers by providing a rich set of tools in the platform to address these issues.  With our platform, content providers can be as tight or as loose as they please with their content.  Ultimately, it’s their decision and Microsoft merely provides a platform that lets them be as smart or as dumb as they wish to be.

Consumers have rejected DIVX (the DVDs that died, not the MPEG-4ish codec), copy protected CDs that provide no means to rip and SCMS crippled DAT decks.  Consumers know when their options for media usage are being taken away and they desire the freedom to share media in a fair and responsible way.


If someone hasn’t coined this term yet, let me take the credit.  Retroblogging is the act of blogging about stuff that you’ve been meaning to get around to blog about.  Extra credit if your blogging software lets you set the date of your retro posts back to when you originally wrote or meant to write them.

I’m still digging out…

Digging out…

I think I’m finally starting to get back to the things that were put on hold for the past three years with my evening MBA at Berkeley and crazy work.  I was in Italy for a week, my desk and files are tamed, I’m playing more jazz, I’m going out every now and then on a weeknight, etc.

Here are the past three years in a nutshell:

  • Work – several reorgs, big Comcast deal with MSTV
  • School – Got my MBA in May
  • Bought a loft in the city (SF) – 2 years ago, but hey, I’m catching up
  • Lots of business, school and wedding travel