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Posted
24 November 2005

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Nerd Factor X Provocation

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Now You See It, Now You Dont

Jon Udell quoted an excerpt from Microsoft CTO and blogger Ray Ozzie which I thought sounded interesting. When you click the accompanying link, you are taken to the relevant post, and then immediately whisked away to another domain which is apparently the new location for Ozzie's blog.

He provides this rationale for the move to the new blog:

This is not just feel-good marketing speak: the conversation related to Microsoft - its reputation, its intent and its offerings - is occurring and will continue to vigorously occur on the 'net with or without us. I'd rather it be "with", and I hope to add value in becoming another of the varied Microsoft voices conversing on the 'net.

Hard to disagree with the sentiment here. But if you understand what this has to do with moving your blog to a different domain (other than as a marketing exercise for spaces.msn.com), can you please explain it to me?

[Aside: If he moved to MSN Spaces in order to get better trackbacks, he didn't get it — MSN lists trackbacks as a bullet-list of (truncated) URLs. Probably the most useless way to list trackbacks I've ever seen, but that's another rant.]

Anyway, what made me laugh in my cynical way and reflexively post to my own blog was the claim about being "with" the conversation. I would believe this a lot more if he hadn't attempted to redirect the old blog to the new in a really half-arsed way. The following was buried in the first few lines of Ozzie's old blog, as of earlier today anyway:

<meta HTTP-EQUIV="refresh" CONTENT="0;URL=http://spaces.msn.com/members/rayozzie">

Of course, this instructs the browser to render the entire page and, after zero seconds, redirect to a new location. And you don't get to hit the back button. The page loads ... and then it's gone! Now you see it, now you dont! It's prettymuch the worst possible user experience, and frankly unnecessary.

Making your blog un-linkable-to is a great way of saying "please don't link to my blog". So much for being "with" the conversation.

Hey, when someone of Jon Udell's reputation links to you, you'd better be ready! I'm sure that I'm not the only one who followed the link, got immediately redirected, and went "WTF!? who is this clueless n00b?"

What's the matter with putting a post on the old blog saying "I am now over there, please update your links"? Let's not even talk about cool URIs.

Is it reasonable to expect more cluefulness from a Microsoft CTO than is on display here? In a word, yes.

I still haven't read the post that Udell linked to, and frankly I can't be bothered.

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