Watching That's So Raven with my 5 yr old Ella. It's slowly dawning on me that there are only 5 shows in the can. I've seen this one so many times I've taken to watching the passers-by extras' feet when the front door opens to see if they are using one guy over and over (nope, two guys.) Raven's hook: she has visions, little flashes of the future which she spends the rest of the episode running down with appropriate hijinks ensuing.
Also Gchatting with Dan Farber, who is "suggesting" I condense my "Office is Dead" further to appeal to what he calls "us Simpletons." Of course, Dan knows I'm just making this up as I go along, but what he resists knowing is that so does everybody else, including Steve Sinofsky. Steve Sinofsky is a blogger who posts screen shots of the new Office Dead interface, which is confusingly called WIndows Live Mail, when he's not busy being the Office Dead VP in charge of working for Jeff Raikes, now head of the Office Dead Business as Usual division.
If we accept the notion that all of this blogosphere thing is fiction, i.e. making the whole thing up as we go along, then seeing the future is not difficult for any of us, let alone Raven. It then behooves us to examine the development environment for clues as to what comes next, since, if we're making all this up as we go along, then methodology has a great deal to do with what parts of the elephant we see first. Take this post, for example. Though it often appears at the end of the production cycle, like some sort of Saturday afternoon presidential radio address, in fact it is produced in much the same way that Doc Searls' blog scrolls into view.
Doc's blog appears in news desk chunks, waxing and waning based on a combination of the previous day's unfinished business, continuing thematic excursions, troll maintenance, and link payoffs. No, really. Gatekeeping is a tough job, but someone has to do it. What, you say, does this have to do with Office Deadness? Let's examine the most recent Office Dead packaging announcement, the One where Office Student, Educational Discount Edition (which replaced Office Competitive Free Cigarette Replacement for WordPerfect Killer Edition) has been replaced by Office Dead Home Edition.
Now comes the making it up as we go along part. In an inspired piece worthy of a prime time network programming pinhead putting West Wing on Sunday night to cancel the next administration (something we might want to be afraid of in the so-called real world) the Office Dead braintrust has my emphasis added removed Outlook and replaced it with OneNote. Completists will note that I have been recommending just such a change since the Pleistocene Period as a way of getting ubiquity for OneNote and switching on the XML API that Chris Pratley insisted lurked within in the next version of OneNote when we talked prior to the beginning of the Korean conflict. In other words, get rid of email at the center of the desktop and replace it with an XML (read RSS) inforouter.
CRN's Barb Darrow went her usual step further and actually got a quote out of the braintrust that brings tears to my eyes:
"Many households already have a Web mail client," [group program manager for Information Worker licensing and pricing at Microsoft Pam] Munsell said. "Anybody can purchase it. You no longer need a student or a teacher in the household, and you can install it on three machines. The price remains $149."
Please go to the board and write AJAX GMail OFFICE DEAD until you run out of chalk. Anybody can install it. Price: $50. And we've got some commercials for you if you want the price to go to Zero.
That's sooo Raven.