Beyond Blackcomb: Microsoft Research on Social Software – This One Has Potential

I previously posted on Snarf, Social Network and Relationship Finder.  Tested it.  After testing, I didn’t see the value and uninstalled it today.  Maybe Narf is a good solution for someone, but not for me.  Strike one.

So back doing research I saw this one on the Microsoft research site and I am intrigued by the potential of "Beyond Blackcomb".  No beta, no install, but something to keep an eye on down the road.

Beyond_blackcombBeyond Blackcomb: Storyboards of future computing experience

These storyboards explore using simple forms to spatially display items on the desktop. Important people, conversations, documents and web pages are easy to find, and related items are appear based on the context of the user.

AdSense Blogs Needed Response – at least that is what my Vanity Searches Suggest

Jay_jacobson_fractal_dragonVanity searches, before we called them vanity searches they were more "competitive intelligence" and "monitoring your position on the Internet".  Now they produce random results.  The faster our clients syndicate with RSS the faster our name shows up in some …er… unsavory places.


Some legit.  Some not.  I’d like to think that google can filter the rank value of inbound links to our properties and not have it affect us negatively in our rankings.  And perhaps the sucking sound of RSS feeds from our client sites into splogs may seem harmless, but I for one am glad to see Google taking action.

A new addition to the Quality Score

In August, we introduced the Quality Score along with the launch of quality-based minimum bids, letting you know that we evaluate many factors, such as your ad text and clickthrough rate (CTR) to determine the minimum bid for your keyword. Today, we started incorporating a new factor into the Quality Score — the landing page — which will look at the content and layout of the pages linked from your ads.

Why are we doing this? Simply stated, we always aim to improve our users’ experience so that these users (your potential customers) will continue to trust and value AdWords ads. Have you ever searched on a keyword, found an ad that seemed to be exactly what you wanted, and then clicked on it only to find a site that had little to do with what you were searching for? It’s not a great experience.

Note – awesome fractal image from

Cheesy Pixel Ploy – and oh ya, we went for it

Bradfallongotour50bucks_1 Oh ya, we did it.  Yes we did.  $50 bucks and we are officially 10×10.  What better way to start the new year than to be part of a PR gimmick for the sum total of $50 bucks.

Sure, I realize that $50 for 10 pixels is silly, especially considering we own a farm of servers that are perfectly capable of sending out a bit more than 10 pixels on our behalf. 

MilliondollarhomepageFurthermore I am aware that Brad Fallon is mirroring and making fun of the first guy to think of the "big idea" resulting in the page.  But Brad cashed our check, and we got a real link back to which does have value. He is having a good Christmas and I have fodder for an interesting post.

And like all great PR stunts, while we are peripheral, as is Brad Fallon, the creator, the strategist, is getting even more coverage.  From the reg article:

Student flogs pixels to fund education

A UK student is flogging pixels on a web page to help raise $1m to fund his way through university.

Alex Tew, 21, who will be reading Business Management, says people can buy the pixels to display an ad or a logo on his Million Dollar Homepage which in turn can create a link to their website.

The pixels are sold in squares of 100 to create a tiddly icon. Larger groupings can also be bought to make logos stand out.

Tew told El Reg that the scheme was all "legit and completely above board".

"I think this will mostly appeal to businesses and perhaps larger companies will buy up lots of pixels to have a more prominent position on the site," he said.


On a personal note, 2005 has been good, bad, and ugly. I am humbly thankful for the good stuff and I have deep sorrow for the truly sad stuff.  I am glad to see 2005 move into the past.  Happy New Year Y’all!