Scoble’s big secret coincides with “Open Source Hero”. (Update2) Apparently not related.

It’s official. The number of tears from Robert Scoble is the new benchmark for software innovation.

Somewhere in Microsoft’s campus, Robert Scoble saw something today that he describes as “software that really changes my world”. He puts the technology in the ranks of the Apple II, Apple’s Hypercard, Excel, Pagemaker, Photoshop, Netscape, ICQ, Netmeeting and Skype.

Apparently us, normal people, will have to wait until February 27 to find out what it is. That leaves 12 days of hype and anticipation, which is also exactly what Scoble wanted.

The rumor-mill has already begun spinning with the few hints we have.

  • The people who demonstrated the technology to Scoble are Curtis Wong and Jonathan Fay. These guys work in the Next Media Group of Microsoft Research who’s focus is media and visualizations.
  • Scoble points out “they’ve been traveling all over the world working with researchers from other institutions and getting data for their new thing”, which suggests there is some sort of data cache already in place that was beyond what was available to just Microsoft.
  • Lastly, “you’ll see techniques that lots of startups are using and, even, that the Google Map team is using. This isn’t stuff that was possible in 1995 so it requires 2008-style Web services and data centers.”

The most obvious answer is of course Photosynth, the interactive 3D browser for large photo collections of a particular place. For that, Peter McCaffrey has gathered some evidence which certainly draws enough connections between what Scoble has described with what can only be the full release of Photosynth to the general public.

But I’m not too sure if that’s it. Certainly Scoble has seen Photosynth before and probably shared his excitement about it at the time, so I find it hard to believe he can be so touched by it again. Update 3: Scoble has confirmed it is not Photosynth.

Then I found this from “Bill” in my inbox from yesterday. www.opensourcehero.com. I remember looking at it yesterday and didn’t pay much attention to it because it was just a teaser. But then I looked at it again today, and I shivered.

Microsoft Open Source Hero - Forge New Powers February 27

As far as I know, there’s no apparent connection between this and what Robert describes, besides the date.

Update: It looks like I might be wrong. Open Source Hero is probably related to the “Heroes Happen Here” launch for Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 which is incidentally also happening on February 27.

Update 2: Apparently Open Source Hero is entirely unrelated to what Scoble is talking about.

Update 4: Scoble aside, what’s Microsoft’s announcing for open source on February 27?

35 insightful thoughts

  1. Thanks for the link, i’ve since done some more reasearch and think we may be looking at the ‘World-Wide Telescope’ launch.

    Update: http://peteremcc.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/scobles-mystery-solved/

    “It sounds to me like a souped up version of Google Sky that uses Photosynth (or at least Seadragon) for the implementation, presented to the user via Silverlight. This would explain why WWT, Photosynth and Silverlight are the main three rumours going around.”

  2. I wouldn’t get too excited. Scoble tends to spread excitement about pretty much everything nowadays, whether it’s worth it or not. Normally it isn’t…

  3. Robert Scoble was a hired mouthpiece for one of the worst software development failures in history (Vista). One day the blogosphere will realize that he is the most irrelevant of all the pundits of his generation. His 15 minutes were up years ago, why are we wasting our time? There are thousands of talented “Doers” who should be given the spotlight Scoble has weaseled his way into. It is truly a shame.

  4. Maybe it’s the world’s most delicious husky. Can you imagine a world where we can just pick dogs up and take bites out of them? That brings a tear to my eye…

  5. R. Scoble: “When you say “Microsoft is doing something cool” then people’s imaginations run too wild to things like operating systems, productivity apps, data centers or databases, video game consoles, or other things that you’ve seen Microsoft do in the past. Some over on TechCrunch are even talking about Photosynth or the Touch table-top device. The thing I’m talking about is NOT anything you’ve seen Microsoft do before.”

  6. So, it isn’t open source, and it doesn’t have to do with Photosynth. The worldwide telescope DOES have to do with photosynth so I doubt it is that..

  7. One thing you all need to realise, people saying “New Phone!”, “iPhone Killer!” etc, Scoble compared this to some of the major technology adnvancements of the last 20 years. Do you really think what he is talking about is something that even HAS competition? He calls it innovative, so my guess is there is nothing else out there like it. We’ll see.

  8. They must be related! Check out the marketing…

    Open Source page: {Forge} New Powers

    Heroes Happen page: Heroes Happen {here}

    The advertising style is just too similar.

  9. Long

    It appears that Microsoft Corp. have also become a partner with SourceForge Inc. and MySQL AB. Whilst I don’t have anything against the partnetships, I think that the two companies should be wary. It’s largely gone un-noticed too which is interesting. And I’ll now use FreshMeat.Net instead.

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