★ The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I can’t wait for this game to be released…
Forza 2
Forza 2 is being released on Feb. 1, 2007.

★ The Masked Blogger: Not so Masked!

The Masked Blogger is a new anonymous Apple employee blog, or so it’s labeled by the author with statements like:

Stay tuned for an explanation on the anonymity. It’s a genuine attempt to join and advance the conversation … to effect positive change without jeopardising my livelihood.

If you’re going to start an anonymous blog you may want to make sure that you don’t use your personal name in your RSS feed. I enjoyed what I read on the The Masked Blogger site and decided to add it to my RSS Reader and upon doing so noted that his name is listed in the URL of the site RSS feed: //www.keithmcollins.com/atom.xml.

I also conducted a quick Google search on name and found this comment on Shel’s blog from last month.

So Keith M. Collins if you believe you’re being anonymous you aren’t.

★ Moving Thunderbird Messages to Outlook

About six months ago I decided to switch e-mail clients from Outlook to Thunderbird. I have been relatively happy with Thurderbird but wanted to switch back to Outlook for some of the calendaring benefits related to my employer’s corporate calendaring preferences.
I recall the switch from Outlook to Thunderbird being really easy; however, I discovered the switch back is painful. The reason it’s so painful is Outlook doesn’t allow for the import of *.mboxs” files. That works well if you have no e-mail messages to move.
What I had to do is use a program called IMAPSize to convert Thurdnerbird’s “mboxs” files to Outlook Express file format “emls” which I could then import into Outlook’s “pst”. This process isn’t simple: meaning that it isn’t just a couple clicks of the mouse. Thanks to a message board string for directing me on how-to accomplish this file format conversion.
The one thing I’d add to the string is that you have to convert each e-mail folder separately kind of a pain if you have a lot of folders. I was happy since this was a free solution and the alternative was to purchase software solution.

★ TechCrunch Blogs about myFavorites

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch blogged about a product I have had the great pleasure of working on for the past few months. Little application called myFavorites.
I am glad to see people are talking about it today and I hope the project teams are proud of their accomplishments with both Reader and myFavorites.

★ Linkie Winkie: Social Experiment

Today I noticed Linkie Winkie in my Feedburner subscriber details so I thought I’d try and figure it out. The web site gives little detail so this post is a test to see what happens.
If you’re a feedburner user, I recommend checking your subscriber deatils page for it.

★ My IE 7 Beta Experience: Great Customer Service!

My experience with Microsoft’s next version of their Internet Explorer product has been long and a little troublesome.
However, I am glad to report they are doing their part in getting people the help they need with the beta product they released. Of course, I know I brought on all this myself for installing beta software and that is why I haven’t bitched about it. What is great and why I am writing this post today is that I feel Microsoft, specifically the Internet Explorer 7 development and support teams went above and beyond the call of duty to help me with my problem using their product.
The story all started when I attended the Business Blogging Conference in August of last year in San Fransico. Where someone from the IE product team handed out CD’s with IE 7 beta 1 product on it. Being the curious type, and not wanting to be left behind by letting another one of my co-workers be the first to have it installed, I put that shiny new disc in and went for it. Installation went fine and things were great because I had the next version of IE before anyone else in my office.
The problem started when I wasn’t able to view web pages I needed for work. Some of our internal applications wouldn’t display in it and lots of other sites just looked bad. Since part of my job as a product manager is to make sure the web sites I am in charge of appear correctly and are available for our customers to use, this was an issue – I needed to uninstall it. The real issue is once the new version of IE (IE 7) is installed the old version (IE 6) isn’t avialable anymore – I am sure there is a good reason for that, but what the exact reason is I don’t know. I went to the IE 7 blog and read what the procedure should be for uninstalling the application.
Of course, I wasn’t able to locate the update file Microsoft indicated I needed to remove from the add/remove programs folder. This lead me to take measures into my own hands and, of course, mess things up beyond my repair. I started deleting files and just made a general mess of things. All of this lead to no satisfaction and wasn’t accomplishing much. I still had IE 7 beta 1 installed, however, I had Firefox installed so I wasn’t totally without a web browser.
Time went by and I dealt with the fact that I wasn’t able to get this fixed, until I read that IE 7 beta release 2 was available. I tried installing it and nothing happened, I was hoping it would fix the problems I was having with the first version or at least allow me to uninstall it – neither worked out. I had to uninstall the first version before I could install the second, drat!

More time went by and then I read IE 7 beta 3 was released so I thought maybe I’d give it another try and see if I could fix my IE problems. I went to the IE 7 product blog once again and this time I found the information I was in need of.

The short version is this: I had deleted the uninstall files in my attempt to fix the problem myself. The IE 7 blog listed an 800 number to call if you had my particular problem so I called expecting to get the run around. To my pleasant surprise I was greeted with a human voice on the other end of the phone. Jay was there to help me. We looked around for the uninstall file again and he confirmed that I had indeed hosed things up. Anyway, Jay said they’d need to create a custom uninstall file for me to run. I was to wait to hear back from them, and I did the next morning.

Jason called and got IE 7 beta 1 uninstalled. After we ended our conversation I went and installed the new IE 7 beta 3 which, of course, is in much better shape and isn’t giving me the problem the first beta release did. This has been a long story which ends in me being happy that Microsoft has the resources to support a dumbass like me who installs beta software on his primary machine.

My first complaint about using IE 7 after using Firefox for a few months straight is, why don’t you let me decide how my bookmarks are ordered in the folders instead of forcing them into alphabetical order for me?

★ The Future of Personal Portals

Today there’s some talk in the blogoshpere about the future of Personal Portals. Yahoo! is the clear leader in this space as far as sheer numbers are concerned. Richard MacManus of Read/WriteWeb, quotes Peter Cooper: “If anything’s going to really break through, it’s going to be Google’s (because of their sheer might), or something that appeals to the MySpace/LiveJournal crowd…” I just like to comment that Yahoo! has purchased del.icio.us and Flickr to prepare for the future. The evolution of the Personal Portal will integrate personal publishing and user generated content feeds (Yes, I know Yahoo! already does this to some degree). To provide an even more personalized and contextual portal experience.
I agree Google could develop a product that captures the attention of the MySpace crowd; however, I also believe Yahoo! has a proven track record of building and managing communities whereas Google doesn’t.
Of course, this is my opinion so we’ll see what happens.

★ Why are tags better than folders?

Today I ran across a couple of good presentations from the Social Computing Symposium 2005. Particularly interesting to me are the two presentations on social metadata and tagging (presentations require IE):
David Weinberger: From Trees to Tags (presentation)
Matt MacLaurin: Tesla, Tagging for the DeskTop (presentation)
Those that are against tagging site consumers have already solved the problem of organizing their information with folders so why would they want to adopt using tags. I would say consumers haven’t be given a compelling enough reason to switch to tags if they aren’t willing to make the change. If you can appeal to the consumers needs and desires you’ll win them over. This requires education and consumer education is an expensive business.
Just because a service or technology is better than what is common place in the market doesn’t mean it’ll be successful, however, I do think over time tagging will gain influence over folders. To be honest, I think it’ll take someone like Microsoft with its prevalence on the desktop to change and education consumers on this matter.

★ Blogging at Earthling for a couple days.

Dave Coustan the regular blogger for Earthling asked me to “watch-the-shop” for him since he is out of town at the Synidcate conference in New York.
Today I posted my thoughts on why Google doesn’t like using tags.

★ Yahoo! starts product convergence – perhaps?

Today, del.icio.us’ blog announced that when you bookmark a Flickr photo it will automatically display a thumbnail of the saved photo. This is pretty neat addition to del.icio.us, but does it also signal the start of Yahoo! converging their acquired community services?
Just pure speculation on my part, however, it makes sense for them to start capitalizing on the power of these once very independent products.
Here’s a link to something I saved to try this new feature out: E3_3005