Old time proprietary online services

Paul Thurrott's post on the history and changes in MSN brought the memories flooding back.

I worked for Microsoft's Irish PR firm from 1991-1995 and I remember in the run-up to Windows 95 spending a massive amount of personal time on the MSN pre-release, then known as Marvel.

I thought it was fantastic (even over 14.4 dial-up) and offered a far superior user experience to the web – and given services like AOL weren't available in Ireland at the time (or now) it was an eye opener.

Anyhow, these screenshots brought me back…

Microsoft Word for Blogs

I work for Microsoft – it’s always worthwhile to get these things out in the open.

I’m using the new blog features that have been included in the latest beta of 2007 Word to write this post.

Word is obviously still in beta and according to Joe Friend on the Office team [via Neville Hobson] this was a late addition. 

I think it still needs work to make the set up a little easier – and I have had a problem with the date – it defaults to 1970 but given it’s a beta I’m sure that will be ironed out.

Blogging from Word makes a lot of sense to me. But then I would say that wouldn’t I? :-)


Internet at 30,000 Feet

I've arrived in Seattle this evening flying with SAS via Copenhagen.  I had planned to post this from the plane with the Wireless broadband but unfortunately while I can confirm the Wi-Fi works the power in the seats beside me was broken so I lost my battery before I could get writing.

The wireless is a little spotty, it kicks in an out from time to time, but it's perfect for catching up on e-mail and some web browsing.  The real problem is the access. I was travelling in Economy Plus and with my mini-mainframe Toshiba luggable it's fairly uncomfortable – I can only imagine that in steerage (where I'll be for the return) it's nigh impossible unless you have an Origami type device.

So the broadband works and if you're at the front of the bus then you could get some serious work done.

Very tired… it's very muggy here.

Sleepless in Heathrow


It all appeared to be going so well.  The “Delivering the New PR” conference was a success (based on the feedback from the attendees I talked to). 

I took a cab to Heathrow with Neville and Elizabeth in plenty of time for my flight. We dropped them off at Terminal 4, and as we were making our way to Terminal 1 a thunder storm hit the Heathrow area.  I assumed this would delay flights in and out – but I didn’t realize by how much. 

I was due to fly out on a BMI flight to Dublin at 19.10 however it quickly became apparent that it was delayed.  We were still sitting there at 22.30…. 

In that entire time there was only one BMI announcement and that was to inform us the flight had been delayed until 19.50.  The rest of the delay updates only came when passengers actually walked up to the BMI desk at the gate and asked for the latest information -  which BMI kindly shared – and luckily those passengers were kind enough to pass on the message. 

At 22.30 they announced that our flight was cancelled due to “operational” issues.  Chaos ensued with passengers flooding the desk, we all had to register there and then, go back out to the departure atrium, queue at the BMI ticket desk for over an hour.  There was then another half an hour waiting for a bus to take us to the hotel and then about three quarters of an hour checking into the hotel.  I finally go to my bed at around 01.50. 

A long day…. 

PS: The BMI staff I dealt with were pleasant and efficient, however my complaint centres on why there wasn’t clear and regular public communication regarding the status of the flight? In fairness to Aer Lingus – who had similar delays – they made a point of providing regular updates on the progress of all their delayed flights.  It’s better to say too much than too little particularly when people are stuck in an area that resembles something like a blitz shelter.

London: Delivering the New PR

London: I arrived into Heathrow this evening (BMI) for the third "Delivering the New PR" event. Of course we had the usual Heathrow delays and hassles, which combined with the heat and a driver who drove me around in circles made for a stressfull trip.

Of course it's been worth it to catch up with Chris, Elizabeth, Neville, Philip and Nicky.  Unfortunately Stuart isn't arriving until the morning.

Earlier in the day I was at the first All-Ireland CSR conference.  They got a great turn out and it was fantastic to catch up with a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while, but I think there could have been more content and sessions.

Blogging on WordPress

Well after listening to Neville Hobson evangelizing the wonders of WordPress I decided I had better give it a try.

My daytime blog uses MoveableType on my own web server, but to be honest I am afraid to touch it in case it falls over.  I’m proud to say I installed it myself but every time I try and change something it all falls over.  I don’t have time to go diving back into the morass of templates and configurations. 

Instead I’m trying out the free hosted service from WordPress.com which has the drawback of offering limited configuration but the benefit of not requiring me to waste a lot of time.

Of course there’s a strong chance that it will die of neglect or suffer sporadic posting but then that’s probably no different to the majority of blogs :-)

We’ll see how it works over time!


The site is now running WordPress on a dedicated server!