(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...


Friday, December 03, 2004
Oh, Bill, what are you doing? MSN Spaces, the Microsoft foray into the world of blogging tools, has landed. First impressions: *sigh*. As a dedicated Blogger user, I feel the need to compare. On the negative: can't customise the layout beyond some token colours and background graphics; can't graft in other html (as far as I can tell); the layout is UGLY; and it looks like the front end of every MS database in which I appear (with or without my permission!). On the positive: native trackbacks and the use of categories. However, while categories are great (and the major thing lacking from the current Blogger tools), why, oh why, would you allow only a set list of categories? I can't change them, and I'm not flagging all my posts with someone else's categories. I was wondering why on earth you'd do such a thing, and then Boing Boing pointed to something in the Terms and Conditions which made me shudder:
For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a "Submission"), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Microsoft will not pay you for your Submission."
So Microsoft wants to own my words, edit them at their discretion, without even telling me, use my thoughts however they see fit and not pay me for those thoughts? F**k off. As Boing Boing more eloquently puts it, for Bill Gates, MSN Spaces should be called Solylent Green ("Soylent green is people!") And why non-changable categories? Why standardised categories as default? Well, then it's much easier for Microsoft to cull relevant reviews and thoughts for their commercial sales and promotion databases, of course.

Of course, I felt the need to have a play around and so PonderSoft was invented, but don't be bookmarking, because I can't see myself using this space to do anything other than test the platform. Ain't it ugly?

On the other side of the force, Engadget now has a FireFox search plugin and reminds us all why FireFox is good and IE is going to get a bit of a kicking in Browser Wars II:
On a side note, if anyone is wondering why Firefox is grabbing a bigger chunk of the browser market, it?s not just because of the security issues involved with IE, it?s also because of a ravenous community of creators making cool plug-ins, add-ons, and hacks to personalize the browser and make it better and more useful for people.
The moral of the story: don't use MSN Spaces, don't use IE, and make the switch to Firefox (once you've tabbed, you'll never go back).

Update (9.32am, 3 Dec 04): Apparently MSN Spaces even censor which words you can use in your own blogs. This ain't the way the blogosphere works, Bill, not one little bit.

Update (1.05pm, 3 Dec 04): Oops. Jeremy points out that you can, indeed, create customised categories. I must be going blind.


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