I read something this evening that struck me as odd. Over on Rob Relya’s blog on What is missing or broken about XAML? is a feedback item titled “Microsoft is no charity. Please stop begging for free advice.” What I find amazing is that blogging has afforded us an avenue to post our individual thoughts in context of the larger Microsoft effort and enabled each and every individual on the web an opportunity to provide feedback and direction into the future of our products. Free advice for us? Sure, you can look at it that way. But when has a company ever been so approachable, open and interested in soliciting feedback from its user base as to the direction the software should take? Don’t get me wrong … our early adopter and joint development programs provide some of our largest customers an opportunity to influence the design and direction of our products, but I know when I was a customer those avenues weren’t readily available to me. We now have the key architects and developers on some of our most strategic efforts asking for your input. I say use this opportunity to have your voice heard and allow a company with a large investment in R&D – such as Microsoft – to spend that money building a product with features and functions that you want to use, that’s going to make your life easier and improves the state of the technology industry.