Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Microsoft is introducing a new social networking service in May called Vine.MS created the service to keep families in touch with one another in case of emergencies. Vine would use alerts and news source feeds to keep people informed during a crisis situation. Information from NOAA and other agencies would be available on the site through a dashboard that connects friends and families. However, the technology would be available only if the user had XP2 or Vista on the computer's hardware. The site, furthermore, would be available through subscription.

Pfft. The best friend for information that one can have in a critical predicament is a low-tech gadget called a transistor radio with fresh batteries or a radio that can be cranked by hand. My family owns both. A computer will not work as a source of edification if the power goes out. The hand-cranked radio also has a flashlight which is something that the monolith in Redmond can't supply with this late-in-the-running SNS attempt.

Microsoft does not understand that there are plenty of social networking services like Twitter and Facebook, and innovations like RSS feeds, that can deliver on-demand information in the presence of an emergency. There are also ample non-software based venues for creating crises intelligence in a community. Microsoft's Vine deserves to be chopped.

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