Is a Palm Deal at Hand?

Palm Inc., longtime maker of hand-held devices that are actually easy to use, is reportedly up for sale, with either Nokia or Motorola as the presumed buyer.

This has been an interesting space, with Microsoft getting better and better at making smaller and smaller operating systems, and Apple set to get into the market with a phone that comes stocked with all the hand-held computing basics.

What is your hand-held or smartphone of choice, and which devices stink on ice? Let us know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Scoble Bites the Hand That Made Him
I do this all the time, but for some reason it bugs me when someone, besides myself, who's never run a company tees off on those who do.

Robert Scoble, who was paid by Microsoft simply to blog, became famous because Microsoft paid him simply to blog -- so famous, in fact, that he left the company that helped make him famous and went out on his own.

Now Scoble thinks he knows more about success on the Internet than Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Ray Ozzie put together.

According to Scoble, whose sole achievement on the Internet is writing a blog (not inventing the concept!) says that Microsoft is failing in search and Web advertising. Not just failing, but s*&^!cking.

Hmm. Last time I checked, IE had about 90 percent market share, XP, Vista and Office all have myriad Internet hooks, and Microsoft has an impressive line of Web development languages and tools. That clearly doesn't s*&^!ck.

And by the way, since when did the "s" word cease to be a swear? Do the folks that toss this word around forget what it actually means? I'm no prude, but it bugs me when 8-year-olds use the word as casually as they use "Mommy."

Now that I see how distasteful I find Scoble's criticisms, I am actually rethinking my own tone and style. Do you want to see a kinder, gentler Doug Barney? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Fortran Father Passes
The man who invented Fortran – and, in the process, laid the foundation for much of what we now take for granted in computer programming -- passed away at the age of 82. John Backus developed Fortran for IBM out of frustration with all the low-level work required at the time to program.

For many in the science community, Fortran is alive and well, just as Cobol is in mainframe business computing.

Doug's Mailbag: Expression First Impressions
Yesterday, I asked those of you who've dabbled in the Expression line, which is steadily inching toward completion, what you think. Here's one reader's analysis:

In your newsletter, you mentioned Expression Blend and Design. I have had NO contact with those, but I have spent some time with the recently released Expression Web Designer, and I do have some significant reactions to that product. It seems like a powerful tool, one that could meet the needs of a "power" or professional Web designer. I think that's what Microsoft was shooting for.

I don't consider it an upgrade to FrontPage. I think the main issue is the target user. I have worked quite a bit with FrontPage and have always focused on content rather than presentation. FrontPage is a more accessible tool. I have done a lot of documentation in FrontPage rather than Word, and found clients enjoy the more interactive format.

The marketing message for Expression Web Designer is heavy on the lingo of "standards-based Webs." That's fine, as long as the standard you're interested is ASP.NET. To take advantage of a lot of the functionality, you will have to be developing for servers hosting .NET services.

I'm a Microsoft guy. I've got a new book, and I will upgrade my skill set, getting a good handle on style sheets and ASP.NET controls, and probably upgrade some of my sites from basic FrontPage extensions to ASP.NET functionality. But those will be significant projects. And I will still retain FrontPage for more "casual" development.

-Trey

What do you think? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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