Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Software, volleyball, and blogging

Yeah, it's been a week since I've blogged, and even longer since I've blogged anything substantive. Here goes.

Google's rumored acquisition of Meetro, their actual acquisition of Android, and a bunch of other buzz in the world of location-based services and location and mobility in general really rekindled my interest in the area.

Ayush, one of my collaborators on the mates project is interning at Microsoft for the summer (he's working on the IE7 search experience!). So, we decided to ping a few people we knew and float an email to a distribution list in order to organize a meeting on the subject of "location aware software".

We got quite the response, and worked our butts off Monday and Tuesday night throwing together some slides and a brief presentation for the discussion today. We had a good turnout with representatives from a wide range of product groups and research teams, and had some great discussion and ideas.

I don't know of many companies where it's completely normal for an intern and a kid straight out of college to lead an initiative among a group of people who've been at the company for 10+ years. It was certainly a humbling, yet positive experience. (Now we're faced with a new challenge: turning talk and ideas into results!)

My division had a company off-site today at a park on a lake 10 minutes from work. I generally consider manufactured bonding experiences (like off-sites and retreats) to be lame, but decides to tag along with some coworkers at the last minute - just for an hour to get some free lunch. It ended up being really cool! There were all sorts of toys -- even jet skis. I got a game of volleyball together with some of my coworkers, and ended up staying for closer to 2 hours. :-)

Robert Scoble took a trip to Google. It was interesting hearing from him about the differences he noticed between the way Google and Microsoft operate. Google is a fierce competitor, and everyone at Microsoft knows and is constantly thinking about it (a good thing).

On a related note, copies of Scoble's book are available for pre-order. I'll probably pick one up sooner or later (I wonder how quickly they'll arrive at the MS library!). Lately, I've wondered a bit about what would happen in Scoble left Microsoft for a competitor (and took his non-MS hosted blog with him). Is this a liability he covers in his book on business blogging? ;-)

Ah well, that's all I've got for now. Blogging has become rough ever since I graduated and started working full-time. I spend 90% of my time at work or thinking about work, and can blog about very little of it. It's also tough to remain unbiased and know when to bite my tongue on some of my more critical opinions of my company and my competitors -- and since we/they make up quite a huge portion of all things technology, it leaves little fair game for the blog.

*sigh* I'll think of something.

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