Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

Is Surface Microsoft’s next chapter?

Yesterday I wrote:

I think Microsoft should focus and invest in making this their flagship product…

Joshua Topolsky of The Verge on Microsoft’s “shift” with the Surface:

That’s a big shift, and it’s an important one. The announcement of the Surface shows that Microsoft is ready to make a break with its history — a history of hardware partnerships which relied on companies like Dell, HP, or Acer to actually bring its products to market.

I’m really hopeful that Surface is a true competitor to the iPad. Competition is good for everyone – especially the consumer. The 45-minute keynote – although very distilled and way, way too over-rehearsed – really did give you a good demonstration that Surface could actually be quite good. Quite valuable. And extremelyversatile. Yes, perhaps even moreversatilethan the iPad.

And, yes, Microsoft could be going solely after the Enterprise market – the business class – with Surface. Though in the keynote Ballmer did repeat, a few times, that people like “to consume”, “to play”, with devices like this.

But, as my friend Om Malik reminded me on Instagram, we haven’t yet used the Surface. No one really has. Microsoft has come out and made a magnificient demonstration of a product that they have no idea how much to charge for, have little idea of when it will be available, and will not allow anyone to touch. I, forever being an optimist, have to keep something in perspective – This is Microsoft. This is Microsoft. This is Microsoft.

WordCamp 2007 – Day one

The first day of WordCamp 2007 sucked. But only for me. I ended up getting really, really sick in the early afternoon and had to go back to where I am staying for rest. What started out as a headache earlier in the day quickly progressed into just feeling horrible!

The Skyline

Fantastic weather!

However, the entire first morning was pretty good, panel wise. The first panel on Podcasting was a cross between telling novices what a Podcast is and an advertisment for PodPress, a WordPress plugin to help the Podcaster. Not that PodPress isn’t worth its own session (it seems to be a pretty large project), but it seems that people wanted less milk and more meat and potatoes.

The session on Blogging vs. Journalism with John C. Dvorak and Om Malik (iPhone photo here) was an enjoyable discussion that involved the audience a lot more than I thought they would. Kudos to Om and John for involving everyone as much as they did while keeping the topic at the forefront. I’m hoping to get a short interview with Om Malik today.

When lunch break hit, I was hurting pretty badly. So I ended up sitting just outside the Swedish American Hall for a while and finally, while Om and I were speaking outside, Om said: “Go get some rest buddy.”. Good advice.

I hope today goes much better, I’m looking forward to getting into the more developer side of things today and hopefully I can get some content up on the WordCamp tag on Viddler today.

Dean Allen

I did not know Dean Allen. But you couldn’t have been a blogger in the early 2000s without coming across, and admiring and swooning over, Textism – Dean’s blog. I was no exception. In fact, I was still subscribed to Textism’s RSS feed until I heard the news. Likely a 15 or so year old subscription.

There have been some lovely things written about Dean that I’ve read over the last 24-hours.

Along with hundreds of tweets. I’m sure there will be more.

I read every word of these posts. It is nice that these people have their own blogs where they can post more than just a pithy remembrance, but something that can truly reflect their feelings going through this loss.

What Dean’s passing reminds me of is how much I miss really great personal blogs. But it seems like they are coming back stronger than ever. I really hope they are.

Instagram hits 300M, gives 5 new filters, then deletes millions of accounts. All on purpose.

This is just me shooting from the hip here, but follow me through the last few days of Instagram news to see if, perhaps, they might have done all of this on purpose.

On December 10th Instagram announces they hit 300M accounts and also said this:

We’ve been deactivating spammy accounts from Instagram on an ongoing basis to improve your experience. As part of this effort, we will be deleting these accounts forever, so they will no longer be included in follower counts. This means that some of you will see a change in your follower count.

Deactivating is not deleting. Deactivating is turning the account off in some way. My guess is that deactivated accounts still were counted in the 300M Instagram accounts. But I do not know for sure.

So, they decided to start deleting Instagram accounts only after announcing they’ve hit 300M users.

Then, a few days later — just before deleting all of these accounts — they wave their hand in front of your face by releasing five new filters and a few nice features.

Everyone loves new features. Then, boom — they get an amazing valuation by Citi of $35B. Zuckerberg is smiling somewhere with that kind of valuation. Showing his ~$1B buyout to be nothing short of magic.

Riding high they begin actually deleting accounts. How many? Om Malik, on his personal blog:

Instagram, today cleaned up its proverbial act and shut down spam and bots, which resulted in a lot of people losing a substantial portion of their followers. Justin Bieber, for instance lost nearly 15 percent of his followers.

Biebs has over 20,000,000 followers on Instagram. Conservatively that’d mean he lost 3,000,000 followers when Instagram did their big delete.

I don’t know, and I don’t really care, but I’m guessing this string of news was very, very well planned out and that it will be a long time before we here about a new user milestone from Instagram.

The first month of Things I Saw This Week, the magazine, and onto Year 1.

Four weeks ago I decided to follow in Om Malik and Heather Armstrong’s shoes and create a digest of some of the more interesting things I saw throughout the week. After four consecutive weeks of creating these posts, and really having a great time putting them together, I plan to complete as least 52 of these posts.

I collate these lists based on what I see on Twitter, what I come across in my feed subscriptions, and what I read by just generally bouncing around the web. But how I save these links isn’t as enjoyable to me as having them to look back at later. I’m starting to see trends, and starting to notice what people are most interested in (based on click-throughs), and I think I am already getting better at describing my feelings for why I’m linking to each link.

Here are the first four weeks: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.  I urge you to take a look through each week.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of this year goes and looking back at all of them to see what I can learn. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Update September 2016: I never made it to 52! But I’m going to try again. I’ve removed links to the Flipboard magazine as I won’t be maintaining that. Please look at the what-i-saw tag instead.

What I saw this week #1: August 23, 2013

Inspired by Om Malik’s What I’m Reading Today and Heather B. Armstrong’s Stuff I Found While Looking Around comes my own series of posts; What I saw this week.


Video: CarChat with Don Dethlefsen of The WerkShop about the 1970 BMW 3.0si Estate Wagon – If I ever have the resources to restore an old classic car (and I hope to restore an early 60s Lotus Elite some day) I think I now know who to call. /via Jason Fried.

Chris Coleman finds Sand People in Star Wars – Episode IV – I always thought the same thing that Chris Coleman did… “What is Luke talking about?” Until I saw the widescreen version of Star Wars years later.

Hank Bought a Bus – For his Masters Final Project Hank bought a bus and converted it into a tiny living space. Awesome. Follow along.

Soylent: What Happened When I Stopped Eating for Two Weeks – Shane Snow publishes an in-depth and personal look at drinking nothing but soylent for two weeks on Tim Ferris’ blog. – Digg is now sending a daily email digest of the best stuff featured on for that day. Unlike so many other email digests I’ve found the first few weeks of this new feature of to be quite enjoyable. Perhaps you will too.

The Best Thing I Ever Created by Jeremy Keith – Shutterstock has a new series on their blog and in this installment Jeremy Keith talks about the inception and evolution of

Video: Ugmonk by Jeff Sheldon – A great video showing off the Ugmonk brand. /via Kyle Ruane.

Video: Siskel and Ebert interview Lucas, Spielberg, and Scorcese in 1990 – I was 9 years old when this interview aired on television. It is fascinating.

Podcast: Allan Branch on leaving LessConf to focus on LessAccounting – My friend Allan Branch was interviewed on episode 40 of Product People. He’s a good dude.

Photo: Times Square, New York City, in 1903 – /via Yaron Schoen.

Steve Ballmer’s Memo to MSFT employees – He’s retiring within a year. Long overdue. Who will be next? Jon Rubinstein might be a good fit.

POP – A menubar app for Mac that shows you the most popular links from your Twitter feed.

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano almost drowns during space walk – This is pretty incredible. /via The Loop.

NBA to install SportVU cameras for every team – These cameras record the movement of all players and refererees several times per second. Teams can then use that data to build models after such as how Toronto did. Wicked. /via Shadoe Huard.

Chineasy, Building Blocks – As a genius way to learn Chinese, check out these building blocks.