Thursday, December 28, 2006

Music: The Knife

I recently discovered The Knife. I'd heard them on the radio, but then I saw a post of someone's best 100 (50?) music-videos of 2006 on YouTube. I can't find the link anymore, but The Knife showed up more than once. The more I listened the more I liked their sound. So yesterday, I picked up their latest, and I'm loving it. Very highly recommended.

For the record, my favorite music purchases for Nov/Dec are:
  • The Knife - Silent Shout
  • Ladytron - Witching Hour
I've been getting the music buzz a bit more recently and have picked up a number of albums, but those 2 are the ones that really stuck in my head.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Five Things People Don't Know About Me

Arg... I've been tagged by Dare.

  1. I sang in a Episcopal church choir for much of my childhood.  One of my favorite aspects of going back to visit my folks for the holidays is to attend the Christmas Eve service, just to hear the music.
  2. I played Violin for about 6 months in 5th grade.  My fingers couldn't take it.  I feel the same way now when I attempt to play Guitar Hero (and get schooled by my dear Natascha).
  3. I'm supposed to wear classes.  I was diagnosed as having Astigmatism in my left eye while in high school.  There was a mandatory eye check, and I passed the normal check, then they made me try again with some glasses on.  I passed that too.  They then explained that I wasn't supposed to be able to read while wearing the glasses and that I should see an optometrist.  The optometrist was quite surprised that I was an avid reader and enjoyed small-scale pen/ink drawing, since both should give me headaches.  I wore glasses for reading through college and my first job, but after I scratched them after moving to Seattle, I just never replaced them.
  4. I have never been arrested, but I did get a ride in the back of a police car.  As far as I have ever been able to tell, I was picked up because I was a long-haired freak with dyed hair, running in a black trench-coat.  Why was I running? Because it was horridly cold and I had just worked a 20hr day setting up and striking a TMBG show at my University.
  5. I was one class shy of a minor in Cognitive Psychology.  I generally found those classes more interesting than the Math and Computer Science classes that made up my major (Applied Mathematics).  It wasn't just because the Psychology classes actually had women in them, but that did certainly help. <grin> The only reason I didn't take that one last class was because I made the decision to graduate early at the last minute and just didn't have time for that one class.

I generally don't like these things, so I hereby doom myself forever by breaking the chain.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Microsoft Search Brand

First Dare and now Greg comment on MSN Search / Live Search.  I agree with both of them, but I've also seen ample evidence that Microsoft's search still isn't as 'good' as Google.  I do agree that Microsoft has a 'branding' problem.  What is MSN? What is Live?  Why do products keep changing names?  Is Office XP newer or older than Office 2003?  Lack of consistency trades off short-term hype for long term customer confusion.

This reminds me of a few years back when there was a ".Net" release of various products.  These products had nothing to do with the .Net Frameworks, nor Visual Studio .Net, so it was rather confusing.  What did the ".Net" in the product title mean?

Overall, I think these are symptoms of one of Microsoft's bigger problems.  Marketing directs the product direction too much.  This is a natural fallout of the growth of the company and the distancing of the development teams from the customer.  The result of that distance is that the only people dealing with the customer is product support (which is often wildly undervalued at MS) and Marketing.  In the end, you get strategy designed around buzzwords, rather than real content.  You end up with ads with ridiculous dinosaurs in them.