This week: Microsoft Live, Flash Maps and the Mechanical Turk, Web 2.0 meet-ups
all over the world, 2.0 Blog of the Week –

sponsored by:

Microsoft Live wrap-up

The big news of the week was Microsoft’s announcement of Windows Live and Office Live. My post
entitled Microsoft Livens Up
Web 2.0
summarized all the news and my thoughts. Here are some extras and links, to
wrap everything up for the week:

  • On ZDNet, I compared the
    ‘personalized start pages’ of Microsoft, Google, Netvibes – and concluded that Netvibes
    can teach the other two a few lessons. Microsoft’s site in particular needs a
    lot of work.
  • Mini-Microsoft was
    uncharacteristically generous in his/her praise: “To me, we’re filling the Alpha Geek
    void for Microsoft technology. We’re providing an alpha-geek portal and set of services
    for them to build new, interesting results on-top of our services and gadgets and all
    that other cool stuff.”

  • Markoff at NY Times
    echoed my own views: “… [Live is] an important step in
    extending Microsoft’s reach beyond the desktop PC to smart phones and other
    Internet-connected devices.”
  • Om Malik
    mapped Microsoft’s competition and his post comparing
    MS to Macys
    is also worth a read.
  • A lot of designer folks rather unkindly compared Bill
    Gates presentation style to Steve Jobs
    (no contest, of course – and that’s the way it
    should be).
  • Finally a big thanks to Mike Arrington
    and Dan Farber for the
    excellent real-time notes at Microsoft’s announcement, also Niall Kennedy for his outstanding
    annotated photos of the event (I borrowed some pics from Mike

Flash Maps and the Mechanical Turk

No that’s not the sequel to the Jude Law movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It
refers to the two other talking points of the week – Yahoo’s new Flash-powered Maps product and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. TechCrunch had
the scoop on Yahoo
and also covered
the Turk
. Mike’s been on top of his blogging game these past couple of

Mechanical Turk is an web service that enables users to “complete simple
tasks that people do better than computers [and] get paid for it.” It took me by surprise
because a) it was the first new thing we’d seen out of Amazon for some time; and b) what
an innovative thing it is too!

Amazon was one of the first ‘Web 2.0’ big companies to
emerge, in the mid-90’s – if not the first. They were ahead of the curve in
rolling out large-scale user-generated content systems, affiliate services, and
APIs. So the Mechanical Turk may well represent the next generation of Web as Platform
systems. We won’t know for sure until we see if people actually use it, but I’m pleased to
see that Amazon still has the developer edge to try new things.

Web 2.0 meet-ups all over the world

Gerald Bauer emailed me to advise of a free monthly Web 2.0 event series over in
Canada (Vancouver, BC) organized by the Vancouver Web 2.0 Forum. Here are the details.

Over in the Valley, there’s an upcoming BrainJams event called Making
Web 2.0 Relevant
. It’s on 3 December at SRI in Menlo Park and the theme is
translating human needs into web 2.0. These are the folks who brought you Web 2.1 in SF and they’re sponsored by TechCrunch and Zazzle amongst others. I hope there’ll be some serious
podcasting going on, so I can listen in!

Closer to home, my cousins in Australia are getting into the Web 2.0 BBQ
spirit. Ben
Barren advises
of a Melbourne BBQ on 11 November, as part of the Long Tail Camp. Paul
Montgomery discusses the beer etiquette
involved in this event:

“The most popular beer at the event will be a key metric for the eventual fate of Web
2.0 in Australia. VB: not good, a sign of it being dull and low key. Stella: not the best
either, indicates too many dilettantes. Heineken: cripes mate, stick to Aussie beers ya
galah. Foster’s: stop pandering to American stereotypes of Australia, no one drinks
Foster’s here. Carlton Draught, Cooper’s Pale Ale or Cascade Premium: now you’re talking,
champ… dot com 2.0 millions await!”

Strewth mate, I drink Stella Artois! I guess that makes me a dilettante. Oh well, put another shrimp on
the barbie and save a place for me at a BBQ soon. Melbourne is where Web 2.0 is at
in Australia, plus I’ve been there before and it’s a great city. So I hope to visit again
in the near future. 

2.0 Blog of the Week

I’m going to do something a bit different this week. Usually I do a Post of the Week,
but how about a Blog of the Week? This week I want to highlight The Blog. In a phrase, these guys
are Snark 2.0. They keep us Web 2.0 pundits honest and make sure we don’t take ourselves
too seriously. 

I first noticed a few weeks ago in one of my vanity feeds, when they
made some snarky remarks about me. So of course I had to subscribe. And I’ve since become
addicted to their fine brand of snark. Here’s one
of their recent posts
, a definition:

“user created content

Abbreviation. Refers to users that do not receive health benefits, steady paycheck or
attend the company’s x-mas party, yet are able to use a networked computer. Tracing
back to the days of AOL, the term has been made derogatory (wikipedia? that’s user
created content!), only to be revived recently (we scale by aggregating user created
content globally and presenting it locally). Often found on CL, social networks, and

Also check out their meta tagging site, Keep up the great work guys.

That’s a wrap for another week!