I'm writing this as I travel up to Newcastle for the second of our "Vista After Hours" events which are helping raise the profile for consumer features of Vista and related products like Xbox 360 and Windows Home Server. Matt and I are flying the flag for Microsoft in the UK on this point and we seem to be the only people currently evangelising these features and these products in this way. Microsoft's focus and sweet spot has always been business and will continue to be so - don't expect that to go away. Do expect a more reinvigorated Microsoft consumer channel in the future however as we look to get competitive with the likes of Apple. One thing we do like is a bit of good competition :-)
I am flying up to Newcastle (tight schedule - don't worry I'm reducing my carbon footprint by running Vista) and I always like to peruse BA's Business Life Magazine and this week a couple of articles caught my eye.
DNA Art was something I saw on TV the other day when that Top Gear presenter was talking about his genes or something like that. Anyway he got his DNA made up into a portrait which was pretty cool and I'm going to do the same and see if we can't get some in the office at Microsoft HQ. The company that James May used was www.dna11.co.uk and there's also the one mentioned in the BA magazine: Frank Scolaro is the guy behind DNA Art UK.
Next up was Pharming which apparently has been coined thanks to the word Phishing. Pharming is the act of redirecting web traffic to a malicious server with no distinguishable traits. This is done by DNS poisoning which I assume (and I need to look this up before I mention it tonight at Vista After Hours) is when someone injects false DNS Records into a DNS server somewhere which points users to a mal-server. I find it interesting we are heading down an agricultural route with these terms and I can only hope that Server Pharms don't start contracting Phoot and Mouth disease. Of course IE works to protect users with it's built in anti-phishing features (the glow red IE address bar etc) and with a Windows Server with properly configured DNS Server injecting false DNS records will protect from pharming.
What really spiked my interest was their article about email and productivity in the work place. Tim Harford of the FT wrote about how people who have the biggest email networks are the most effective and successful workers and that people who emailed got more stuff done. Whilst I can certainly attest to this with regards the network I can only imagine this is possible because of the opportunity to converse with multiple people at once and also do so in a more structured and considered way. He also mentioned that phone calls are also less effective than emails and that we are able to digest our emails at our own pace. For me, this is also now the case for Voicemails. I am rarely available on the phone and people will 90% of the time be put through to my voicemail - just because I'm busy. However, this is no ordinary voicemail - it's all about Unified Communications. My voicemail gets captured by Office Communication Server and is then sent to my Outlook inbox. When I think back to voicemail served up by my mobile provider they were always very prominent and I responded very quickly because it was in my face on my phone. Now it's just part of my Outlook inbox I can prioritise them just as I do other emails. It's not unusual for me to respond after a couple of weeks to emails and now voicemails too - the fact that they stay in my inbox is a reminder that I need to action it - before when tucked away in my mobile providers system and behind a touch tone menu system I would forget to action it.
Some interesting facts about Business Life Readers:
92% of Business Life readers are connected to the internet
78% of Business Life readers use the internet to purchase goods and services
75% of Business Life readers use the internet every day in the home
43% of Business Life readers are responsible for decisions on network systems