"ray ozzie"

"Phooey": a pre-eminent cryptographer responds to Ray Ozzie's key escrow system

I have a lot of respect for ex-Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, but when I saw that he'd taken to promoting a Clipper-Chip-style key escrow system, I was disheartened -- I'm a pretty keen observer of these proposals and have spent a lot of time having their problems explained to me by some of the world's leading cryptographers, and this one seemed like it had the same problems as all of those dead letters. Read the rest

Ray Ozzie leaves Microsoft

Dan Gillmor has the news that Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's visionary Chief Software Architect, has left the company. Ozzie, whose P2P startup Groove was bought by Microsoft, is admired and well-liked in tech circles as someone who believes in the transformative power of technology to improve the world. Like Gillmor, I was very hopeful for Microsoft when Ozzie was given the Chief Software Architect role after Bill Gates stepped down, and dared to dream about what Microsoft might be like if he ended up running the company -- so, like Gillmor, I'm pretty disappointed to see him go (and excited to see what he does next).

For all his qualities, Ozzie didn't push Microsoft fast enough toward the future, or else his pushing was resisted. Microsoft dallied way too long to get into the "cloud" where software becomes as much as service as a product you buy. The competition -- Google, Amazon and others -- is more entrenched now, and for all the formidable technical talent at Microsoft, the company hasn't caught up in key areas. Keep in mind, however, that Microsoft's bread and butter (and gold and diamonds) remains in the licensed-software market, where it's still an absolutely huge and immensely profitable enterprise.

It'll be fascinating to see what Ozzie does next. I find myself hoping he'll try something in the social-entrepreneurship arena. Certainly he can live with a lower paycheck than most of us.

As for Microsoft, which keeps losing (or expelling) top executives, the questions grow more urgent. Ballmer has been a better CEO than his critics say, but if the board isn't pushing him to line up a solid successor, and soon, the directors are falling down on the job.

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Data-centers built out of sealed shipping containers filled with servers

Microsoft's new data-centres are comprised of entire sealed shipping containers that are slotted into racks and left to run until a critical mass of their processor units have failed, then are swapped out.

Starting with a Chicago-area facility due to open later this year, Microsoft will use an approach in which servers arrive at the data center in a sealed container, already networked together and ready to go. The container itself is then hooked up to power, networking, and air conditioning.

"The trucks back 'em in, rack 'em, and stack 'em," Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie told CNET News. And the containers remain sealed, Ozzie said. Once a certain number of servers in the container have failed, it will be pulled out and sent back to the manufacturer and a new container loaded in.

Microsoft's data centers growing by the truckload

(via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Microsoft's new headman, Ray Ozzie

Wired has a fascinating feature on the way that Microsoft is changing gears as Bill Gates steps away from daily operations, leaving Lotus Notes inventor Ray Ozzie in his place. Ray is a friend of mine, and is nothing like the other Microsoft execs I've met -- he's a grassroots, P2P, social software kind of guy, not a shouter or a swaggerer. In 18 months at the company, he's managed to make some profound shifts in the way it plans for the future, though it's hard to be optimistic about the future if the Microsoft version of fighting iPods is shipping turds like the Zune.

Just listen to Ozzie describe his management style. "When I find a hairy bug," he wrote in a 2003 blog posting, "I love having the developer come in and debug it face-to-face. It gives me a chance not only to understand more about the product's internals, but also, you have no idea what I learn chitchatting while waiting for debug files to copy, etc. Design and implementation issues, stuff that people have been building off to the side, things about the organization, rumors, etc." He continued: "I suppose this is just classic 'walking the halls,' but I feel as though without this kind of direct nonhierarchical contact I would lose touch with my organization, and people throughout would know I was disconnected and would lose respect for me."

It's hard to imagine how a guy this self-effacing could survive inside Microsoft's insular, hierarchical, hypercompetitive culture. Redmond is notorious for bringing outsiders into the executive ranks and promptly shredding them.

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Journalism 3.1b2, Dan Gillmor's talk at ETCON

Here are my notes from Journalism 3.1b2, Dan Gillmor's talk at ETCON.

New choices for the subjects of journalism (the "covered")

* Judo journos -- WashPo's post-9-11 series included an interview with Rumsfeld, followed by Defense Dept posting the full interview with Rumsfeld. The public could decide. When both parties tape and transcribe, whose transcription is definitive?

* Ray Ozzie's blog. Mitch Kapor and Ray Ozzie both document their companies/projects better than journalists do.

* New corporate policies: who inside can keep a blog and what can go on it? Groove has a formal policy detailing this. Lawyers will try to stop you, esp in public corps -- they'll be written by the same person who writes Barbie's blog


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Ben Hammersley offers to open his inbox to the world

Prompted by a thought-experiment from Ray Ozzie in which he imagines a company where all work-related inboxes are shared internally, and searchable with Google, Ben Hammersley is offering to make his journalism-related inbox available as an RSS feed, sharing all of his story notes, ideas and feedback with the world.


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