Several bloggers were tapped from their own blogs in March 2006 to unite and form Microsoft’s On10. These bloggers include Adam Kinney, Duncan, Erik Porter, Jeff Sandquist, Jesse D. Lewin, Larry Larsen, Laura Foy, Mike Sampson, and Tina Wood. Becoming anchormen with a penchant for gadgets and new discoveries in the tech world, their atypical style of tech news uses less jargon and more enthusiasm in their episodic topics. While it’s never said openly (except by fans on the boards who are thankful for the site’s specific subject matter), On10 covers only Microsoft and PC-oriented tech products.
Episodes run up to 10 minutes and are updated almost daily. The videos are well produced, minimally edited, unscripted, and filmed in one continuous shot either on location or in a tech-savvy, brightly lit studio. While there are no banner ads or opening video ads, each episode focuses on one program or gadget new to the market and proclaims it to be worth buying.
It isn’t part of their “10 Manifesto” mission statement and isn’t communicated with “maximum strength and clarity,” but nonetheless every installment promotes some new Microsoft technology without criticism or scrutiny. That’s a stark contrast from other techno-news vlogs, where you hear “That sucks,” as often as you hear “This is the coolest thing ever.” If you sift through the all the promotional videos for long enough, you might be able to find something that isn’t directly related to a specific company, like the episode where Tina and Laura go on a tour of Seattle’s famously independent radio station KEXP or the Consumer Electronics Show special where the daring duo sings karaoke with the new Lead Singer product. The only episodes about Apple include “Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s ‘I-Pod’” (note the inexplicable misspelling of iPod) and “Macintosh at Microsoft,” which discusses how Microsoft has a division devoted to finally bridging Apple and Microsoft (note how there is no article talking about Apple’s 2006 system launch that made it possible to use Mac and PC platforms on the same computer). You might as well just go here and look under “Latest Releases”. But to be fair, the jovial hosts are knowledgeable about the products they advertise and each video’s accompanying well-written description is chock full of hyperlinks to the products, companies, events, and designers – anything that is remotely relevant to the news item.
Anchor Laura Foy’s trade show visit to the International Robotics table leads to an explanation of some amazing products. IRI creates company-specific robotics to “assist industry leaders in more effectively capturing the attention and respect of today’s more complex business, consumer and media audiences,” which they certainly do with this surprisingly interactive robot (who is also an actor, appearing in everything from “Punk’d” to Rocky IV) and with their spinning, futuristic Coca Cola advertisement. Laura also talks with CEO Robert Doornick about his unique research company’s techniques, which are rooted in psychology and behavioral study.