Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Ray Ozzie blog quotes

with one comment

I recently wrote a blog post entitled Whatever happened to Live Clipboard? where I remarked that the blog posts that Ray Ozzie wrote soon after joining Microsoft had disappeared from view. Well as luck would have it I have since rediscovered these blog posts in Google Reader which still has them cached. There are six blog posts in total, all of them written sometime around the end of 2005/beginning of 2006.

I figured people may be interested in Ray’s thoughts during those early fledgling days at Microsoft and hence have made these six posts available on my Skydrive at Ray Ozzie’s Spaces blog posts. They make for very interesting reading especially given what we now know about Live Mesh and various other initiatives that have sprouted up under his stewardship.


I have picked out some choice quotes from those blog posts for those of you who don’t want to trawl through all six of them

“A couple of weeks ago, Bill and I brought life to a new initiative that, over the course of the months and years ahead, will catalyze and deliver a number of things that I’m very excited about.  At that event, I said that unlike many other stealth projects I’ve/we’ve done, in this case many of our plans and offerings will evolve progressively and in the open, shaped in good measure by a dialog with you.” – This sounds like the forerunner of Live Mesh.

“I’ll be tracking the conversation by watching inbound links, rather than by enabling comments on the site.  The "link mesh of conversation" is a key distinguishing characteristic of this medium” – Sadly Ray didn’t believe in the “link mesh of conversation” enough to keep the blog going but I reckon this will be the first time he used the word “mesh” publicly.

“As an industry, we have simply not designed our calendaring and directory software and services for this “mesh” model. The websites, services and servers we build seem to all want to be the “owner” and “publisher”; it’s really inconsistent with the model that made email so successful, and the loosely-coupled nature of the web.”

“Shortly after I started at Microsoft, I had the opportunity to meet with the people behind Exchange, Outlook, MSN, Windows Mobile, Messenger, Communicator, and more. We brainstormed about this “meshed world” and how we might best serve it – a world where each of these products and others’ products could both manage these objects and synchronize each others’ changes. We thought about how we might prototype such a thing as rapidly as possible – to get the underpinnings of data synchronization working so that we could spend time working on the user experience aspects of the problem – a much better place to spend time than doing plumbing.” – the conversations that foresaw the development of FeedSync

“look forward to using more and more Windows Mobile devices. Months ago I pulled the plug on my blackberry and went cold turkey to an HTC Typhoon-class device. A great device that is much more useful for triaging email than I’d imagined, but I really do need a thumb keyboard. As of last week I’m now using/testing the upcoming Treo 700w, and it’s great! The pipeline of cool devices about to emerge is stunning, and the software platform incomparable.” I wonder if “stunning” and “incomparable” are still in Ray’s Windows Mobile lexicon these days?

“what was the most fundamental technology enabling “mash-ups” of desktop applications? The clipboard. And a set of common clipboard data formats.”

“But each site is still in many ways like a standalone application. Data inside of one site is contained within a silo. Sure, we can cut and paste text string fragments from here to there, but the excitement on the web these days is all about “structured data” such as Contacts and Profiles, Events and Calendars, and Shopping Carts and Receipts, etc. And in most cases, the structured form of this data, which could be externalized as an XML item or a microformat, generally isn’t. It’s trapped inside the page, relegated to a pretty rendering.

So, where’s the clipboard of the web? Where’s the user model that would enable a user to copy and paste structured information from one website to another? Where’s the user model that would enable a user to copy and paste structured information from a website to an application running on a PC or other kind of device, or vice-versa? And finally, where’s the user model that would enable a user to “wire the web”, by enabling publish-and-subscribe scenarios web-to-web, or web-to-PC?” – Ray spent a lot of time in these blog posts talking about Live Clipboard and I still consider it to be a great shame that the technology has not taken off.

Comments are welcome!



Written by Jamiet

June 16, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Last two post very interesting. I remember back when I first heard of Live Clipboard, but I can’t recall when I quit thinking about it. It was sort of a big idea that gradually faded away. So, I like that you are bringing it up again. Very interesting post. Oh, yeah, … LOL! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


    June 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

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