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Upstart Bloggers at Microsoft Moving On 129

SJasperson writes "A few weeks ago Mini-Microsoft decided to stop tweaking his corporate masters, having won the astounding victory of getting free towels returned to the locker rooms in Redmond. Now uber-blogger Scoble is moving on to work with a podcasting startup, having apparently tired of his supposed role as Vista evangelist and self-appointed corporate revolutionary. The company still has 3,000 bloggers left, but Microsoft has apparently figured out how to keep them safely within the rules, blogging about the wonders of product renaming and coming features instead of anything that might challenge the party line. There's a lesson here for those starry-eyed adolescents who think the power of the blog is going to triumph over the power of the boardroom."
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Upstart Bloggers at Microsoft Moving On

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  • lesson? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 42Penguins ( 861511 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @12:45PM (#15513190)
    "There's a lesson here for those starry-eyed adolescents who think the power of the blog is going to triumph over the power of the boardroom."

    That the power of the blog can be used to add to the power of the boardroom?
    • More that just because it's a blog don't assume it means the person who wrote it did so free of coersoion.
    • There's a lesson here for those starry-eyed adolescents who think the power of the blog is going to triumph over the power of the boardroom.

      Don't be so narrow! The blogs are having an effect, and it's growing. Consider the recent court ruling (I think it was an Apple vs blogger case) that extended the same standards to bloggers as are extended to journalists. And consider the turnout for the Yearly Kos event. The lesson here is simple: There are blogs you can trust and there are those you can't. And most

    • Re:lesson? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rimbo ( 139781 )
      How about this for a lesson: If I didn't believe in what my company was doing, [kiyon.com] if I wasn't excited about it, I wouldn't be working for them or blogging about them.

      Lack of dissension among the ranks is more likely a sign of employees buying into the company's vision and being treated well by the company, than from management flying off the handle, throwing chairs around at every perceived threat. It's more likely something you'd expect from a company that's known to engage in dodgy and unethical business p
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <<jcr> <at> <mac.com>> on Sunday June 11, 2006 @12:47PM (#15513195) Journal
    Are there any of those left? ;-)

    -jcr
    • Re:Coming features? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, plenty of them. In fact, here's a list of the features I was able to find documentation on that will be released with the seven thousand different versions of Windows Vista (depending on which one you own, of course):

      - Aero Glass! Well...okay, so it's not a feature so much as it is eye candy that everyone but Microsoft is offering with their OS now...let me try that again.

      - WinFS! Oh, wait...they cut that out because it was slow and probably wouldn't be finished for release time.

      - Requires more memory
    • New network and audio stacks.
    • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:24PM (#15513284) Homepage
      DRM

      At this point Vista is basically an operating systems built around one feature that nobody actually wants. Even the most hard core Windows proponants in my industry are trashing it for being feature stripped, delayed, and rewritten every couple of months. It is truely a monument to how mixed (and conflicting) goals, too many managers, and marketing driven leadership can just destroy a once promising product. I'm not so much a hater or lover of Windows, but it is always sad to see so much time, effort, and money basically go wasted.

      Finkployd
      • "At this point Vista is basically an operating systems built around one feature that nobody actually wants"

        Just out of interest... which feature?
      • Ok, now is the time for someone... IBM, Google, rogue billionaires, someone, to put together a commercial desktop linux. Push the fucker like OS X. Work out deals with OEMs. I'm not one of those people who thinks Linux will only be a success when I'm playing Rainbow 6 on it, Linux is a success because it's already working quite well for millions, but taking away the "assumed platform" status from Windows would be good for EVERYONE, including windows users, who right now have to put up with this kind of "
    • Following a trend established with Windows 98, Vista will be even more obnoxious than all Windowses before it, including even XP.
  • Does anyone have a chaed version of the page? Seems like the image hoster is hiding the images :(
  • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @12:49PM (#15513205)
    But I'd be willing to be that blogging increasingly becomes a source for viral marketing where supposedly former disgruntled employees who continually moan about things that don't really matter at a workplace "our monitors are sony! I want a panasonic monitor!!!!!" suddenly become full of praise for said company in a sneaky method of giving said company good PR when they really need it and giving it "any press is good press" type coverage when it just needs brand recognition
  • WTF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    WTF, is this some kind of tabloid? What happened to Slashdot?
  • 3000 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The very fact that Microsoft (and everyone else) knows how many Microsoft bloggers there are means they are being tracked. If you weren't a 100% believer in the cause it would be very hard to write a blog while working there.
    • Re:3000 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:43PM (#15513338)
      No, it means they know how to count the number of accounts on their MSDN blogs site. :P

      As for Mini-MSFT giving up the towel (forgive the pun), he(she?)'s not. He clearly wrote that he's simply taking a break to see how things turn out given the recent internal changes at Microsoft. He said he'd continue to post interesting links and allow people to voice their concerns in the comments discussions, which is the real heart of the site, and that he'd return to full writing sometime in the future.
    • Not quite, there are some statistical experts that can pull some interesting facts out of a mess of almost useless data. In World War II, I beleive, they had spies try to find out how many tanks Germany had. Then they had staticians. Historians now know just how many there were. The staticians were much closer. How they did it, I do not know.
  • This is nothing new (Score:3, Informative)

    by packet919 ( 207827 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @12:56PM (#15513220)
    People have gotten into hot water or even gotten fired for years for blogging...check out http://www.dooce.com/ [dooce.com] and read her story, if you don't already know it. Being a team player vs. maintaining your own opinion about your company's strategy/your boss's bad moods/your apparent lack of advancement opportunities/etc. is a dilemma that is becoming more common. With blogs and other new Internet media, it's becoming much more tempting to try to have it both ways. Sometimes people don't just want to be a corporate shill.
    • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:20PM (#15513274)
      There's no dilemma for people who aren't idiots. You're supposed to pick your battles carefully, and if you have something bad to say you don't do it somewhere that has your name plastered all over it. You can have your own opinions about anything, but work is no different then anywhere else; you better be able to face the consequences of your actions.
    • Being a team player vs. maintaining your own opinion about your company's strategy/your boss's bad moods/your apparent lack of advancement opportunities/etc. is a dilemma that is becoming more common.

      Not at all. You can have your opinions, as long as you don't speak of them. "Know your place, shut your face." The other choice is to become independently wealthy and not having to work for a living, but that's pretty difficult to accomplish :(.

      Sometimes people don't just want to be a corporate shill.

    • People have gotten into hot water or even gotten fired for years for blogging...check out http://www.dooce.com/ [dooce.com] and read her story,

       
      Slashdotted... But what I could pull from google's cache is that she is an ignorant bitch who is amazing full of herself. She was fired because she believed she could post whatever she wanted, wherever she wanted - and not pay the consequences.
      • > She was fired because she believed she could post whatever she wanted, wherever she wanted - and not pay the consequences.

        Which is true, if you "Post Anonymously". Even better, I've found, is to write your blog in a different language. Then people know you're talking about them, but they don't know what you're saying.

        Is your employeer really going to hire someone to translate your blog? I think not.

        (Then again, you have to use a language that nobody knows, like ancient Greek or maybe Japanese. Lots
    • I went over to this blog to read about what must've been biting social commentary on the nature or a profession and how it fundamentally changes our outlook. Instead, there was two paragraphs on how their baby is cute, and how they're not great gardners. And is this considered interesting?

      I was kinda up in arms after congress voted to let the telcos charge us extra to look at this stuff, but after looking at that blog, I think they made the right choice. The net shouldn't be neutral.
      • You should lighten up, it's just a blog. It's not like pictures of her little girl, dogs, flowers and friends are hurting anyone.

        Anyways I guess the GP forgot to actually link to the story in case, she mentions it in the about section [dooce.com] but doesn't link to the actual blog posts.

        I started this website in February 2001. A year later I was fired from my job for this website because I had written stories that included people in my workplace. My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on

      • Somebody should explain to the guy who linkes that websites can contain millions of pages, and is not uncommon to provide a link to not only the website, but the actual page. That way people can actually get the information you are trying to provide.

        Or perhaps he thinks we should read everything this women has ever written, to get a background and foreground on the story. Thanks.
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:06PM (#15513239)
    Homer: Son, you tried, and you failed. The lesson is: Never Try.
    • Bart: You make me sick, Homer. You're the one who told me I could do anything if I just put my mind to it!

      Homer: Well, now that you're a little bit older, I can tell you that's a crock! No matter how good you are at something, there's always about a million people better than you.

      Bart: Gotcha. Can't win, don't try.

    • Homer: Son, you tried, and you failed. The lesson is: Never Try.

      Usually a good lesson, but in this case -- Mini-Microsoft's obsession wasn't towels, it was the stack ranking system, which has just been changed, almost certainly due to his/her high-profile complaining. I'd call that a pretty big success, to change a core HR policy in a company of that size.

      I never found Scoble interesting, but his major goal seemed to be to become An Important Blogger. Which he now is (by blogostandards of "important"). So

  • What is the news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:07PM (#15513242)
    That Microsoft put towels back in the locker room? Other than the word "blog", that's about the only event I can discern from that rabid rambling summary. Was this written by the E! Entertainment Network?

    Slashdot Flash: Microsoft has put towels in the locker rooms! Full story at 11:00!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The rambling summary even got that part wrong as well. The change Mini-Microsoft brought was among other things a major change to the way employees are evaluated. To focus on the free towels is just anti-MS-zealotry way beyond stupid.

      And the attempt at spinning an anti-MS tale around why Scoble tok a new job is at, least according to Scoble himself [wordpress.com], wrong.

    • We have free towels in our locker room!
  • Blogs still have power over the boardroom, but only if the boardroom has no control over them. This means the blog has to be anonymous. Nothing trumps the threat of losing your job.
  • by jfclavette ( 961511 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:09PM (#15513249)
    One blogger stays at the company but takes a blogging break since it was sucking too much of his time, time which he feels would be better spent doing something else. He also says he might be back on the blogging scene, altough we shouldn't count on it.

    The other accepted a position at another company, is still praising its (past) employer and is maintaining good relations with them.

    So... how exactly is this Microsoft figuring out how to keep them safely within the rules, blogging about the wonders of product renaming and coming features instead of anything that might challenge the party line ?
  • The point isn't that blogging is going to mean company employees dishing dirt on their bosses. The point is for the company to be engaging in a meaningful dialog with their customers and the communities they operate in. Corporate bloggers can be expected, I think, to have a pro-company viewpoint. But a gernuine conversation can still take place. And that's what corporate blogging is bringing us.
    • The Cluetrain Manifesto has infiltrated everyone I see. I want to buy a video game, NOT have a 'conversation' with the software company that made it.

      Get into the real world. Trust me you'll like it.
      • Do you want that game developed in isolation with what gamers think and want, or would you rather it be developed with a thorough understanding of what makes a game community thrive? Thought so.
        • Game creation is an art form.

          I don't want a great developer asking my opinion of what the game should be like, any more than I want Imogen Heap asking me how to finish a phrase on a particular song she's working on. Make great art, and I'll buy it, fail to do so, and I'll pass on it. That's pretty solid feedback right there, no need for blogging.

          Now, if you happen to really suck, you could probably benefit from customer input, but even after getting it, you'll still suck.
          • Re:not the point (Score:3, Insightful)

            by feldsteins ( 313201 )
            A computer game is not just art. It's also platform for social interaction and a host for modifications. I think it's exactly the sort of thing that can benefit from a direct line of communication between customers and developers. Remember ID and all their .plan files? People paid close attention to them and developers probably received helpful feedback from the community about what development choices they were making. Besides, we're not just talking about games. We're talking about all kinds of prod
        • Oh if Henry Ford had had conversations with his customers his car woulda sold much better.

          The ctm is a fad full of buzzwords designed to make someone rich. Hint: It isn't you.
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:14PM (#15513264)
    The question is -- what is left to blog about at Microsoft at the moment anyway? It has all been said. We've seen Vista, and it's a late clone of Mac OS X. We've seen the new Office, and we're going to have relearn a lot. Their stock market performance is a joke, and Ballmer is going to sit on all that money they have instead of giving back to the shareholders or doing something useful. The Xbox 360 looks pretty cool, we know that, too. There don't seem to be any new, exciting products in the pipeline. So what is the point of blogging? This simply is not a sexy company anymore. Give us something to sing about, and we'll sing. Until then...everything has been said. Especially of course if they gave you your towel back...
    • 360 looks pretty cool, we know that, too.

      Not if you're MS and not if the division is losing cash hand over fist.

      Though if Sony is going to screw up as badly as it looks, the 360 might be able to pull of a coup, despite MS's own (now minor looking) blunders.
    • Well, I found a blog about Windows Mobile useful because I was worried that having flash instead of RAM for data storage could ruin my handheld (because flash memory has a limited number of rewrite cycles). The blog explained why they switched to flash, how things work and that MS developers are aware of the issues of using flash and explained how exactly how they are dealing with these problems. This was not a marketspeak press-release, nor a 100+ page technical document with lots of abbreviations, but rat
    • ...Ballmer is going to sit on all that money they have instead of giving back to the shareholders or doing something useful.

      In 2004, Microsoft gave $30 billion back to the shareholders. Google for it. [google.com] And seriously, this is /., so Microsoft bashing is par for the course -- but at least don't just make stuff up.

    • The question is -- what is left to blog about at Microsoft at the moment anyway?

      Oh, I don't know...maybe from their developer division, in no particular order:

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:19PM (#15513271)
    A few weeks ago Mini-Microsoft decided to stop tweaking his corporate masters,

    Who?

    There's a lesson here for those starry-eyed adolescents who think the power of the blog is going to triumph over the power of the boardroom.

    Like, ohmygod, the real world. I'd better post an entry in my livejournal about how shocked I am! Mood: faint-of-heart *picture of sad kitten*

    • You know, this is a little funny. Two bloggers at Microsoft who apparently did a good job getting attention are moving on ... to real blogging companies, who probably discovered them thanks to their work at the company we love to loathe.

      Seems to me that congratulations are in order here. They got better jobs and that's, well, better. In the end, tweaking the corporate tail paid off.

      Good news, no?

      D
    • I sense sarcasm!
      I'll have you know there are lots of well adjusted, sexy men with stable relationships who hang out on Livejournal!
      Just like Slashdot...
    • Am I the only one who while reading this heard a sarcastic comic book guy voice instead of the probably inteded sweet valley high teen...
  • Even if one of the examples is an anonymous corporate critic and the other is part of the public marketing face of the company. Even if one is going quiet but continuing to work at Microsoft and the other is going to a software startup but intends to continue evangelism for Microsoft. Even if one claims to be worn out and the other enthusiastic about their position.
  • Good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by melted ( 227442 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:40PM (#15513325) Homepage
    Scoble was an embarrassment to a lot of folks at Microsoft. Contrary to popular belief, a relative minority "drinks the coolaid" there. Scoble was freakin' SOAKED in cool-aid. He was also blogging about blogging most of the time and sometimes engaged in "I make less money than I could" rhetoric. Good riddance. Let's hope they hire someone less embarrassing to fill his place.
    • What is "his place?" His blog was not part of his job. At least not a big part. His job was Channel 9. Will he be all that hard to replace there? I doubt it.

      Microsoft didn't make him an A-list blogger and they are not going to say "oh well now let's create an A-list blogger to replace Robert."

  • by rmpotter ( 177221 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:45PM (#15513346) Homepage
    If you are doing honest work and getting paid, what right do you have to whine to the world about what your company is doing wrong. For all we know, the "problem" may lie with _you_ not your company. On the other hand, if your company is engaging in actual illegal practices, then you may choose -- and probably should choose -- to become a whistle blower. But wouldn't it be better to call the cops directly instead of dancing around the issue in a blog? If you blow the whistle well, you might end up with book or movie deal [imdb.com], anyhow.

    Whisle-blowing is much more fun, than blogging anyhow, especially when Lauren Bacall [nndb.com] is your teacher:

    "You know how to whistle don't you?
    You just put your lips together... and blow"


  • by Angostura ( 703910 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @01:50PM (#15513363)
    The two examples are as different as chalk and cheese, and I really don't think there's much to be gained from attempting to find an overarching theme.

    Mini-Microsoft clearly tapped several seams of unhappiness within Microsoft and found him/herself with an immensely popular blog on his/her hands. After a while, however it became pretty clear that there was only so much that could be written about on those topics, and the blogger clearly didn't relish the idea of being seen as an all-purpose internal Microsoft kicker. Couple that with the suggestions that the anonymous cover had been broken and it is fairly obvious why the fun might have gone out of the venture.

    But Scoble? I mean what was the point? The guy never actually seemed to have anything interesting to say; usually it was faintly masterbatory stuff about the power of blogging or how tough it was being Scoble, I took him off my RSS reader after a couple of months when it was clear it was pointless. I would have thought he was simply irrelevant to Microsoft, which is why they aren't too sad to see if off the pay-roll. He came across as a man supremely interested in his own words, but not too bothered about making them particularly interesting to anyone else.
    • [Scoble] came across as a man supremely interested in his own words, but not too bothered about making them particularly interesting to anyone else.

      That pretty much sums up the entire blogging phenomenon.
  • A /. discussion wherein towels are mentioned but no obvious refences? Fine I'll go, to hell with karma.

    Any blogger that can post the daily accounts of the corporation he works for, sling mud, point fingers, risk his job and in the end, still have his job all in order to know where his towels are, is a blogger to be reckoned with...
  • by shimmin ( 469139 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @02:00PM (#15513377) Journal
    While every unhappy family is unhappy in a different way, any given unhappy family tends to be unhappy in a consistent fashion. While personal security is no doubt a major factor in Mini's decision, another factor may well be that after a few years, there is nothing new to write about: if the corporate culture still does the same stupid things, it is no longer news, and you've already said what you have to say on the matter. Best to quit before you start to sound like a parody of yourself.
  • Who has time to read corporate lackey blogs? I can barely keep up with the slow-news-day Slashdot postings...
  • by SnprBoB86 ( 576143 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @02:26PM (#15513442) Homepage
    Saying that the only victory is the return of the towels is so naive that is appears to be intentionally trolling.

    The real victory was the change of the review system. Mini-Msft fought for two primary reasons:
    1) To eliminate stack ranking
    2) To layoff under performers

    If you read the farewell posts at all, you would know that the performance review system has been changed to no longer utilize stack ranking and that clear identification of under performers has been made easier. Whether or not Mini helped, goal #1? rocked it. goal #2? Hopefully going to follow from goal #1

    The towels are a symbolic victory. The towel benefit was revoked in an attempt to save money; not even really all that much. There are a fair number of msft/redmond employees who bike to work. The lack of towels actually setup a significant barrier to performance for these people because if they forgot a towel, they need to travel several extra miles to the PRO Club to shower when they could have taken a shower in their building and gotten right to working. The symbolism is that Microsoft's leadership had forgotten the importance of these benefits and reinstated the towels indicating that the loss of productivity or employee satisfaction wasn't worth the few million bucks.
    • Drive a damned car, and you won't have to worry about taking a shower. Sheesh is MS pay THAT bad?
    • There should be annual awards at slashdot (the Dotties?), and this should be nominated for worst summary of the year. Gee, 2 popular but utterly unrelated MS bloggers stop blogging at MS, how can I combine that news with a "corporate evil overlord" kind of thing? Hmm, I know! I'll just make stuff up to troll with and ignore the actual news!

      Scoble's turned blogging into a decent career and wants to join a startup to do it more. MiniMsft got most of what he wanted to happen (should be a hero at /. for fighti
  • he does. There's an old saying in 12 step rooms, "Saints don't marry sinners" which means if the guy's a mean bastard and evil then, the gal's got some major issues, too. Is this analogy true of Ray? I don't think so. But I think he is now amidst the chaos, dysfunction and politics with the drawbridge up wondering, "what the hell did I get myself into?" My advise: Kick some ass or...leave. You've got their attention, they hold you in awe, kick some ass! Now!
  • From Mini's blog:

    "The 2.0 road isn't going to happen overnight - more like six months if it's going to hit the ground running like the first time I started this up. Another consideration, as I stand at these crossroads and hope that Mr. Willie Brown's deal maker doesn't show up, is that great changes are indeed afoot at Microsoft. And these changes are going to take time to grow and I'm not going to poke them with a sharp stick until they've had their chance to prove themselves."

    I think Mini summed up

  • If you wanted to prove that people who post at /. see the world through wildly distorted glasses this would be the post to point them to. One only has to read Robert's blog to know that he is not leaving because he is upset with Microsoft or tired of promoting its products. He's tired of living so far from his son. That's probably something that a lot of the children who make up the mainstream of /. have trouble understanding.

    No one knows how many bloggers work at Microsoft. It's clearly a lot more than 3,

  • "he who has the gold makes the rules." as the coming end of network neutrality and with it any real access to non-corporate content (non-corp websites being allocated something like 1K per minute, etc.) will demonstrate. was a nice net while it lasted.

  • an anonymous mini-PodTech blog launches?
  • Not a bad thing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SL33Z3 ( 104748 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @04:45PM (#15513891)
    As a Microsoft employee, I can asure you this isn't really big news. Robert is a great guy. He's always blogged the truth about products and the fact that he's leaving won't change that. Since he's always hosted his blog on his own site, his RSS address isn't changing either. About the only thing that is changing is Robert's employer record. I'm sure he'll still be kept up to date with the latest and greatest things going on at Microsoft. His influence on technology will be the same.

    The fact is we do still have several thousand bloggers out there and a great number of them do say it how they see it. Most of the people who love to hate Microsoft don't see it that way, but we'll always have sceptics and we'll always have competition.

    I see both of those as good things and I look forward to seeing how things progress without or lead blogger at the helm anymore.
  • ...it's a good idea to work somewhere other than Microsoft!
  • Very true (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Sunday June 11, 2006 @08:41PM (#15514633) Homepage Journal
    I read this [smirkingchimp.com] site fairly regularly, as well as this [antiwar.com] one. I'm not really sure why I do...the entertainment factor mostly.

    The thing that I often find truly painful when reading such sites however are the moronic adult children who somehow think they're going to change the world purely by submitting a story to a blog, so that their fellow adolescents can then bitch, whine, and post self-congratulatory leftist screeds in response. Another thing these same imbeciles do is insist on continuing in the delusion that the American system of government is still functional.

    I'd be willing to bet good money that the "blogosphere" (even that word contains an overestimation of importance) by itself has done exactly jack shit when it has come to changing the actions of any government or corporation anywhere. How exactly is it *meant* to change anything by simply (completely on its' own) expressing your opinion?

    I'm now going to probably cause people to label me a hypocrite here when I admit that I have a blog, which yes, I even update once every four months or so. The difference however is that I have no illusions whatsoever about it; I realise that my blog is completely devoid of any genuine relevance or importance...and so is everyone else's.
  • A shiny new MacBook Pro.
  • Scoble and Who Da'Punk (aka Mini Microsoft) get attention, but I think a big story was the departure of Gretchen "Jobs Blog" a few months ago.

    Gretchen's Goodbye [msdn.com].

    She was a technical recruiter at Microsoft, and had some very interesting posts. In her goodbye she said: Microsoft is an awesome place to work, things are looking great, etc. oh by the way I've decided to leave and do my own thing. C'ya later!

    JobsBlog doesn't have the profile of Scoble or Mini, but I think that says a lot.

  • For all those that think that the microsoft blogs are noticably pro-microsoft, there are a lot of "normal" people that are blogging on Vista as well now that the beta 2 has been released... Like this guy, http://vistabetablogger.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

    Some people seem are having good reactions to the intial beta 2 release.

    SG

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