File Formats on the Colbert Report (sort of)

There's something odd about working on a feature in Office that one of the last things any average user cares about. I talk with developers all the time about the XML support in Office and the new file formats, but most end users could care less. I see the huge value to the new file formats, but at the same time understand why most people will never care too much. They just want everything to work.

Last night I was watching Bill Gates on the Daily Show, and started to watch the beginning of the Colbert Report. Not sure how many other folks saw it, but Colbert actually called out the Wikipedia story from last week. It was hilarious. He was joking about Microsoft and IBM both trying to get their side of the story represented, and then offered money to the first person who could change Wikipedia to say the definition for "reality" was that: "reality has become a commodity." I watch the Daily Show all the time, but haven't watched the Colbert Report as much. I've caught a few shows lately though and they're pretty good (not a big fox news fan, so it's hard not to like Colbert).

It was pretty interesting seeing all the news last week around this Wikipedia issue. We were really hoping to get a neutral third party to come in and help remove any bias or technical inaccuracies, but as I'm sure you all noticed there was a bit of an overreaction to Rick's initial post. There has been so much FUD being spread around from both sides relating to the OpenXML formats, ODF, and the ISO "fast-track" process lately, and the goal was to see if we could get it back to just being about the facts. There isn't enough discussion around the actual scenarios and what people can and can't do with the different formats. There was also a lot of misinformation around the ISO submission. For instance, as I posted earlier this week, the "fast-track" process is at minimum a 6 month review period. That means that contrary to what many of the ODF zealots have tried to say, there is no looming deadline coming up next week. That's just the end of the "contradictory" review, and the serious technical review is what follows.

Well, it was definitely entertaining seeing the show last night. Unfortunately Colbert kept it at a pretty high level and only referenced it as a dispute over articles about Microsoft. Maybe we'll need to challenge Colbert to see if he can make history and making file formats interesting enough for TV... or maybe it's more of a job for Jon Stewart… or maybe even Poppa Bear Bill O'Rielly. :-)