Spaces of Air

More to the point of blogging, an interview yesterday appeared on CNET called [Bill] Gates taking a seat in your den. Gates, in this article, mentions something I’ve heard very little about: MSN Spaces.
What is Spaces? Essentially it’s an online “Show and Tell” in which individuals can create a personal blog and put up photos and links and other digital ephemera. Sounds like what did a few years ago? Indeed. Take a look at some of these “spaces.” They’re not inherently any worse than most of the Blogspot sites out there but there’s something chilly about the way these “spaces” are (un)organized, the way the cookie cutter cuts jagged lines around the icons and the curved bars, the way that Microsoft commoditizes the top-most part for its business practices. I feel, looking at these “spaces,” that blogging is now, more than ever, a democracy of the lonely.
Sidenote: In 1999, I and many others at my former employer, OVEN, were building complex Flash-based “spaces” for broadband clients wherein movies, music, video, text, and documents could be shared online. It’s too bad those design and software assets are in the ether as Microsoft could have bought them wholesale from the company for about $500,000 back in 2001.
Postscript: Just for comparison’s sake, here is a list of Microsoft employee bloggers. Each one is as ugly as the next. I especially like this one.
Hey, when did good, customized design count for anything anyway?

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