As you may know I ride a bike in NYC, in Manhattan, on city streets. 

Until a few years ago I didn't imagine anyone could do it, but the city has really embraced bike riding and there are bike lanes that go pretty much where ever you want to go.

But there are still problems.

Lots of people use the bike lanes as extra sidewalks, even when they don't have to, when the sidewalks are empty.

And cars use the bike lanes as extra lanes. They park in them. In some places it makes bike riding a lot more dangerous, because where there was room for a car and a bike before now there isn't enough room. It's especially dangerous on an uphill, where bikes are going  slower than cars. NYC drivers are impatient enough when you're in your own lane, but when you're in theirs, even if it's because a car or truck is using the bike lane, well tough shit bike rider, some car drivers are not very understanding. It's NY culture.

There's one particularly bad place, on 54th St between 9th and 10th Aves. There is a west-east bike line on the street. And there's 54th St Auto Center, that has at least five tow trucks that they park, permanently, in the bike lane. It's on an up hill, and the street gets a lot of car traffic as well as bikes. It's a good street for a bike lane, but the 54th St Auto Center has taken it over, using it as if it were private property.

What's really weird is that in the next block, between 8th and 9th Aves on 54th St is the NYPD Midtown North Precinct. Lots of cops all the time. A few days ago I asked one was guarding a barrier on the street if he could take a look and possibly help us do something about it. Maybe if they got tickets, they would stop doing blocking the bike lane. He said he would, and it sounded like he meant it. He agreed that biking is a good thing for the city. 

Today there were five tow trucks blocking the bike lane. So I stopped on my way past the precinct and asked a group of cops about this. They were pretty helpful. They said they do ticket them, but they just pay the tickets. "A cost of doing business?" I asked. Yup. They said they need to park their trucks somewhere, to which I said that we need to ride our bikes somewhere, and that's what the bike lanes are for. 

Clearly the tickets need to be more expensive.

I think if we really want bike riding to work in the city, we're going to have to start identifying the bugs in the system, and keep (friendly) pressure up with NYPD to help keep the lanes clear. Maybe instead of tickets they could tow the trucks. Take them off the road altogether. The street is not their property, it's the city's. 

PS: Here's a Google street view of the street. On the day they came through the bike lane was completely clear. 

PPS: NYPD Midtown North has a Twitter account. I followed it, and sent a link to this post to them. 

Last night we did the experiment with screen2.io.

The top of the screen was the video.

Below that, the comments from members of the community scroll through.

To become a contributor just log in. When you do that an edit box shows up at the top, where you enter your comments. Tried-and-true. Everyone knew what to do. The basics are ingrained now and can be built on.

On the server this created a single file, chatlog.json. In the spirit of open source debates, I'm linking to a copy of the file from last night. Hopefully it will survive to be part of last night's record.

Here's a screen shot of what screen2.io looked like at the end. 

And btw, here's the schematic that I drew while I was making it work. 

As noted elsewhere there was a lot of innovation around the web last night. All the hot news orgs had their own fact-checking sites running, and that included hillaryclinton.com. I don't think any of them got the combination of video and scrolling text and Twitter integration that we had going at screen2.io, but of course I'm biased.

I'm going to think about what the next steps are. There are some obvious features to add. But the real challenge will be finding events, like last night's debate, that can help bring communities together.

I like this because it feels bloggy, but as with blog software it eventually became part of the toolkit of professionals. Podcasting is going through that kind of adoption now. I really believe second-screen tech will be equally as big, and given the nature of politics now, much needed.

Blogging and then Twitter led to plenty, to what Dick Costolo calls the "roar of the crowd." Now it's time to focus on smaller groups. Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter are not the only ways to arrange people. The crowd gave us those systems, the antidote, the opposite force, will be smaller. 

As with blogging, I hope to create software that's easy for everyone to run, so everyone gets a chance to do it, not just big news orgs. That's the spirit that drives innovation. 

And most important think about events with embeddable video that can help drive this bootstrap. 

Thanks to Frank Leahy, I believe I now understand what's causing the persistent but intermittent Node.js fs.writeFile problem, discussed earlier.

Here's the story...

fs.writeFile is not an indivisible operation. It makes lower-level filesystem calls each of which is asynchronous. That's cool, usually -- unless for some reason that a request to write the same file comes in while it already has one outstanding. Then havoc can ensue as explained in this note on a Node.js developer site.

appPrefs.json is probably the most written-to file in an app built on nodeStorage. It's where the state of the user's system is stored. So every keystroke when editing, if the app saves your writing automatically, could result in a write to appPrefs.json. But here's an important constraint, the write can't occur more often than once a second. So if you type three keystrokes in a second, that will just generate one write, not three. And in most apps it's not even that frequent, usually there's a max of three seconds. But in some apps there is no max. So once a second writes will happen.

But add to that the time it takes for the message to be sent to the server, and intuitively it seems that the two writes can't interfere with each other. 

But..

What if the machine is busy. What if there are a lot of users all writing at the same time. What if who knows what else determines the time it takes for a write to complete.

And if one write should happen to be triggered while the previous one hasn't completed, the file could get garbled. It says so in that note, and it explains why, convincingly.

And...

The file doesn't get screwed up very often. It happens rarely and only seems to happen with appPrefs.json, the most often-written file. 

So...

Here's the change I made.

When I start to write a file, I add the path to the file in a JavaScript object named filesCurrentlyBeingWritten. When the write completes I remove the path. And before I start the write I check to see if the file is already being written, and if so, I simply call it an error. The important thing is I don't begin a second write. 

Think of this as a Poor Man's Semaphore. Since there is no way to tell a thread to yield in Node (as far as I know) a full semaphore system isn't possible. But the tradeoff seems reasonable.

This way the user might not get his or her appPrefs.json file updated this one time, but it won't get corrupted. No havoc. It seems unlikely anyone would even notice, because it's probably just text being saved against a different (also unlikely) app failure. In any case, losing a little data is vastly preferable to losing it all. ;-)

I'm have checked these changes into the nodeStorage repo and they will make it out to all servers that have auto-updating turned on. 

PS: The new version is running on this blog, and so far it seems to work. Knock wood. Praise Murphy!

People are discussing, of course, missed opportunities by Hillary in last night's debate. So far I haven't heard anyone mention this one, and I think it would have been huge.

I'm paraphrasing.

Clinton (actual): He thinks climate change is a hoax.

Trump (actual): Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Clinton went off in another direction.

Instead she could have said:

Clinton (hypothetical): Hold on. I think you just said you believe in climate change!

Trump (hypothetical): Uhhh, well ummm.

At that point you have Trump clearly on the record saying he believes in climate change along with a soundbite from Clinton calling him out on it.

As it stands right now, however, Trump is on the record saying (subject to spin of course) that it's wrong to say he thinks climate change is a hoax. That's still something.

Update: The press must have picked up on this already! Yesss.

I have a recurring but very intermittent problem with a Node.js server app that's used to host all my apps. 

It's not reproducible, but it happens every so often. No clear cause and effect. 

So here's what I know about the problem. 

The app calls fs.writeFile to save a JSON file. The file is called appPrefs.json. This is what the file contains (or something like it, depending on the app) when it's working. However, this is what ends up in the file, very rarely, when it fails. Note that it is not valid JSON (the problem is at the end of the file) and the app can't proceed. The user is stuck until the file is fixed. Not good since very often the user is not even aware that the file exists! :-(

What appears to have happened is that the file has gotten smaller, and there's a bit of the old version of the file still hanging around after the real contents of the file. 

This seems to indict fs.writeFile. But it's really hard to imagine it has a bug like this, intermittent or not. I've searched for any other reports like this, but haven't found anything. 

This only seems to happen with JSON files, and only one type of JSON file, appPrefs.json. Which seems to un-indict fs.writeFile. The culprit might be JSON.stringify? Again, doesn't seem very likely. And why just this particular type of JSON file? And since the problem has yet to show up when using S3 storage, it seems to be limited to fs.writeFile or the Linux OS? (All my servers run Ubuntu.)

There are many layers to the code, distributed between the app running on the user's machine, and the server app

I might try to work around it in one of two ways, that I can think of.

1. If I'm writing a file with a .json extension, after writing it, try reading and parsing it. If it fails, write it again. This would be based on the theory that the problem is in fs.writeFile.

2. Before writing any file, delete it and then call fs.writeFile. This might work if the problem is in the filesystem (I'm running on Linux).

This is the number one support problem for 1999.io, and it came up last night in screen2.io. I want to get this behind me. Any help appreciated. 

I turned on comments for this post. Thanks in advance for any help. 

A very quick post to say that I got my "second screen" app working.

It's a misnomer because the video and the discussion are on the same screen. 

I don't want a huge number of people using it for the first presidential debate which starts in a little over two hours as I'm writing this.

If you want to watch, go to http://screen2.io/.

If you want to participate, sign in with your Twitter account. 

This hopefully will be a great learning experience. 

I'm trying to think but nothing happens!

PS: If you have trouble accessing the page, I've enabled comments on this post

I was looking for something to read yesterday, when I saw a piece by Jeffrey Zeldman pointing to a 2006 post by Matt Mullenweg about the Feed Validator site. It was a remarkable piece, I don't remember seeing it at the time, I think if I had I would have written something about it. 

It was a time capsule, and it was passionate and opinionated. Great writing. 

At that time there was already lots of history about RSS 2.0. There was a comment under Matt's post linking to a thread at Sam Ruby's site that was started by a comment by me. I played a super-large role in this community, which was good and bad, it was bad in that it prevented me from even asking questions about stuff, because they would always read lots into what I said. And there was a lot of confusion at the time about what RSS was used for. I didn't understand what they didn't understand, you can see that clearly in the discussion at Ruby's site. 

Also I wrote a BDG for RSS 2.0, something I had no memory of. Probably shouldn't have called it that. They were just some practices I used in my own feeds, and saw others using successfully, that I wanted to point out to people. I should have been more self-deprecating and less grandiose. In the comments there you can see how that created trouble. 

<guid> vs <link>

One of the big controversies was what's the diff betw <link> and <guid>. 

<link> came first. People were mostly using it the way I imagined <guid> would work, but there were exceptions, and those were legal, and they were out there, and I'm sure they wouldn't change just because some spec text changed somewhere. So if we wanted a workable way identify an item, we'd need a new element. 

That's why both are there. As with all mature formats there's history. Some of it is less than optimal, even inelegant, but so are all systems that are deployed and work. If you don't believe me try using the NYC subway sometime. 

No linkrot!

This is fantastic: I didn't encounter any linkrot in my travels around the RSS 2.0 discussion space. One thing you can say for blog developer types, we do archives well. With any luck it will be possible to study this community with the benefit of ten years of hindsight. 

This is just a blog post

I don't have any conclusions to offer at this time, just wanted to gather these links together so I can find them again later. 

When lies are common in a TV debate, the "second screen" is used to fact-check the debaters, real-time. Problem easily solved w technology!

A picture named screen2Schematic.png

I would give $1000 to a PAC devoted to running 1-minute of excerpts from this interview with Bernie Sanders as an Internet/TV ad aimed at people who supported Sanders in the primary. Win enough of them over and we avoid the collapse that is sure to come with a Trump election. It's a good investment. 

I would also love to see a "debate" with Hillary and Bernie on stage, at the same podiums they used in the primary, reviewing all their differences and making peace. Make a ceremonial show of partnership. 

I have a weird question. 

You're reading a blog called Scripting News now.

My name is Dave Winer. I am the author of this blog. I've been writing here since 1994. I have no idea how many notes I've posted here, how many essays or podcasts, or right-margin graphics. Lots and lots.

Here comes the question!

I wonder if you read any other blogs like this one?

Written by individuals. No ads. About tech mostly, but also politics and the arts. A bit of life and philosophy. A smattering of seasonal baseball and basketball? Food. Bike riding. Travel. Or whatever. 

Stuff that would interest a person. 

Without much thought to "branding" or "audience."

Just the thoughts of a human being.

I know there are lots of them out there. I'd like to create a river out of just those kinds of blogs. So we can get to know each other. Without using a Facebook or Twitter to connect us. Just using the tools of the web.

If you have a blog you'd like to tell me about, either send me an email. See the About page for contact info, or post a comment here. Either way is fine. 

Let's see what we come up with!

Dave

PS: It's totally okay to pass this post around. 

PPS: If you comment here, please respect the guidelines

This election is inspiring so much art! Great example..

As one of the founders of the technology that made Peter Thiel and Palmer Luckey so rich, it disgusts me to see how they are using their wealth. 

I've written about Thiel before. He is most famous for suing Gawker out of existence because they published an article saying he's gay (he is). There was nothing illegal or improper about that, so he funded a different lawsuit, probably more than one, and the judgement in that case forced Gawker to sell out to a media conglomerate, and sidelined its founder Nick Denton

Luckey sold Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion. His stake was worth $700 million. Yesterday it came out that he's using some of that wealth to fund an online astroturf campaign to make it look like there are lots of assholes who hate Hillary Clinton. These fake assholes don't exist. The joke is that if you know a little about tech, very little, you can make it look like they do exist.

The thing that's so galling is that the money Luckey made was based on the work we did to create a world where people could freely share ideas and life experiences. To make the world more real. To pervert it the way Luckey has is humiliating to the very technology that made him rich. 

We didn't make wealth our first goal, though I did okay, thank you. No one needs the amount of money Thiel or Luckey have, and they are living proof of it. No one should be able to sue a publication out of existence in a country that was founded on free speech. And Luckey flipped it around, creating fake people with simulated speech. As with Thiel, using wealth he has no idea what to do with. Not that anyone with that much money would. 

More proof that people come in one basic size, and that if you pretend you're bigger or others tell you you're bigger, just because your bank balance has lots of digits, you're going to end up doing some awful inhuman things with it. Meanwhile we have to live in a world where they, and presumably others like them to come, throw their financial weight around in thoughtless ways.

PS: I just gave $100 at hillaryclinton.com. My small way of helping undo the damage Mr Luckey did. 

PPS: Palmer Luckey says the  story about him is incorrect, and he did not write the post attributed to him.

Today I figured out that when Trump says he's not "politically correct," the political part is extraneous. It means he is not correct, i.e. he lies. 

A liberal is someone who cares if something is true. A smart person, a conservative, just believes what he or she knows to be true. A conservative is not politically correct.

Facts are politically correct.  

I had this epiphany watching interviews with people at a Trump rally.

I'm still learning. 

A campaign has an obligation to teach the voters how to care about issues, at an emotional level. For example, anyone who depends on ObamaCare should be worried if Trump wins. Repubs have promised to repeal it. They will be able to do it if they control the White House. How many people dependent on ObamaCare will vote against it without knowing? 

I've done jury duty and totally see the parallels. The lawyers train the jurors to vote for the verdict they want. It's always at an emotional level. Same with voting. The emotional core is much more powerful than the intellectual. The campaign must make its case by getting the voter's emotions and intelligence to work together. At least the campaigns I want to support do that.

I'm not sure Hillary gets this. It's why people say she's confusing. I read her op-ed in the NYT today, and there had to be a better way to explain how she planned to help the poor. I'm sure her plan actually does do it, but only because I think she has integrity, not because I understood what she was promising. I'm college-educated, and more. So if she isn't explaining it so I can understand I suspect there aren't many others who will either. 

Too bad, because a con-man is offering us the moon and he sounds somewhat believable if you want to believe badly enough.

When I visited Seattle in August, I spent a day hanging out with two longtime friends Brent and Sheila Simmons. Brent and I worked together on UserLand's products in the late 90s that led to many cool things like blogging, RSS, Facebook, Twitter.

Anyway, this was the first trip I took as a contact lens wearer. Or I should say a would-be contact lens wearer. I was having a lot of trouble, and most days I gave up and just wore my glasses. I had a lot of trouble getting the lens to stay in my eye. I hadn't yet learned the Zen of Contacts, as explained in yesterday's piece.

Anyway, something Brent said stuck with me. He's been using contacts since he was a teenager. He said he just puts them in. He forgot how he does it. He just does it. I do so many things like that myself. Walking for example. Riding a bike. Typing! Even writing itself is a process I do without thinking too much. But none of these things were automatic when I started. Watch a toddler learning to walk. Do you remember when you learned to ride a bike? You'd struggle, living in your head until you relaxed and just did it. There's a process underneath, but you've incorporated it into your subconscious mind, it's not forgotten but it feels that way. In software I call these "base of the spine" operations. They have gone from intellectual puzzles to instinct. That's why emulating an existing product makes adoption easier, and breaking users can be so jarring. All of a sudden you have to think about things that used to be automatic.

That's why I wanted to write the piece explaining the 1-2-3 of contacts.

But JY Stervinou, another longtime friend, pointed out that I had already incorporated some of the Zen at the base-of-spine level. My story was really 1-3-4. I left out the second essential part. The mirror!

So this morning when I did the task I watched myself to see how integral the mirror is and if I could do without it. No way. It's all about the mirror. Proving that the process of incorporation has already begun. 

I'll link to this from the earlier piece as a postscript.

PS: The title of this piece is from the great Who song.

The New Yorker story about the first term of President Trump had a very important idea that I wasn't focusing on before reading the piece, maybe you weren't either..

First, it seems likely that if Trump were elected he'd have a Republican Congress to work with, both houses. Of course since Trump isn't a normal Republican that doesn't mean they would cooperate on everything, and it's unlikely the Republicans would have a 60-vote majority needed to override a filibuster.

But here's the thing -- it's hard to stop a president using the constitutional checks and balances if he's determined. The court moves slowly and it doesn't have a means of enforcement. Congress can pass laws, but previous presidents have ignored laws that are in their way, so why wouldn't President Trump? If Trump decides to use the military to stop protests, for example, which is against the law, it will be hard to stop him.

The story points out that when Nixon wanted to use executive power in questionable ways, Cabinet officers intervened. Nixon backed down. Maybe that will happen with Trump, but maybe not. It'll be a Republican Senate ratifying his choices for Cabinet officers. 

Here's the relevant excerpt:

The courts, Posner added, are slow. “If you have a President who is moving very quickly, the judiciary can’t do much. A recent example of this would be the war on terror. The judiciary put constraints on President Bush—but it took a very long time.”

It seems we're in for a roller coaster ride when (if) Trump takes office.

Remarkable piece in The Intercept, woke me up to what's going on in this election in a way nothing before has. I hope everyone reads this. 

It's remarkable how close the German story is to the one told by Trump Jr. In Germany they talked about Jews as poisonous mushrooms, and Trump talked about Syrian refugees as poisoned candy. 

“However they disguise themselves, or however friendly they try to be, affirming a thousand times their good intentions to us, one must not believe them. Jews they are and Jews they remain. For our Volk they are poison.”

“Like the poisonous mushroom!” says Franz.

“Yes, my child! Just as a single poisonous mushrooms can kill a whole family, so a solitary Jew can destroy a whole village, a whole city, even an entire Volk [nation].”

The man who wrote that was a German propagandist. Tried and hanged for war crimes at Nuremberg.

It's remarkable how low we've sunk, and what the implications are for what we're being sold. I wouldn't be surprised if the people who are creating materials for Trump are literally copying the ideas that worked in Germany.

The real secret of getting a contact lens in your eye is this.

First, you have to get good at controlling your eyelids with your fingers. They're going to want to close. You have to be sure your fingers have control when that happens.

Be sure the fingers you use to hold the lids are dry and be sure the eyelids are dry. Rub them with a towel to be really sure. Top and bottom.

Practice keeping the lids open. Nothing works unless you can do this. I'm repeating this because it's so important.

Okay, now get the lens on the tip of your index finger. As with the eyelids, be sure the finger is also really dry. And make sure the lens is lightly on the tip of the finger. One point of contact. 

Then, holding the lids open, put the lens on the eye. Apply light pressure. Hold it there for a moment. Then lift the finger away from the eye, keeping the lids open. Pause. Be sure the lens isn't on your finger. If it's not on the finger, it's almost certainly on the eye. The lens sticks to the eye without much pressure.  

Take a breath or two and then let go of the lids. Blink a few times. If you have good vision in that eye, the lens is in. Otherwise look around on the eyelid. Or perhaps it fell off. Look around. But it probably didn't fall off, it's probably on your eye.

It took me a long time to figure this out. Now I get the lens installed first time every time. Amazing. Never thought I'd get there! Hope it helps.

PS: A follow-up piece, I forgot to mention an integral part of the process -- the mirror! 

In this ten-minute podcast I explain why I'm looking for an embeddable realtime TV news experience.

Quite simply, I believe in the second screen, and in its urgency. We can't wait for the social networks to slowly bootstrap it, because we need it for the election of 2016. 

All the technology is ready. We just need to make the soup. ;-)

People have given up on quality discourse on the net, but not me. I think I see how to get there. 

If you don't believe, listen to the podcast.

Yesterday on Facebook, a longtime friend posted a message saying he was burning out on people's political missives there. I am too. Most of it is powerless and judgemental. There's no listening going on, just people talking over each others' heads. That thread was behind my post of a new Internet law that says "No one has or ever will be persuaded by an argument." (Law in the sense of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, not the Bill of Rights.)

I'm surprised I had so much to say. Mostly what I wanted to do in this post is remind people who read my blog of what Rodney King said, so eloquently, during the Los Angeles riots of 1992. 

My missive continues...

I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, and get online with my iPad. When I did last night I saw a post, on Facebook, from another friend saying everyone should vote. She went on to say that most of the people she knows who aren't voting are white men. I am of course a white man, and I am most definitely voting, even though I live in the bluest of blue states.

Imho, the problem with both these posts is they aren't about specific people, so they cast a wide net, and in doing so catch innocent people, some of whom incorrectly think the post is about them. 

I thought perhaps Chuck was admonishing me, because I post links to stories on Facebook (also on my linkblog and Twitter). And with Callie's post, I know she wasn't talking about me, but it burned me up anyway. No doubt she thought she was doing good, but it felt very un-good to me. I have strong reasons for voting, I don't need anyone to tell me why to vote, and further, I don't like being judged unfairly  because of my gender and race. Same as anyone else, any gender or any race. I don't know why it's so hard for people to get that men are real people, as are white men, and we process bigotry the same way everyone else does, as injustice, as a threat. 

She posited that it's because white men are in charge, but Callie, I don't feel at all in charge. I feel marginalized, as if no one listens to me. I might as well hang it up. I'd better get my strength from within, because none of it comes from outside. 

My ancestors emigrated to the US during the Holocaust, fleeing for their lives. I suspect, even though Trump has a Jewish son-in-law, that we are in trouble too if he gets elected. So if you really want to say it, you'd have to say Christian white males, because there are quite a few Muslim white males. Carve out an exception for them too. 

Or you could just forget the generalizing and say something simple and more gentle like "I'm voting and I hope all my friends do too." You're on solid ground there because you're talking about your own plans and your hope. Pretty safe. 

I can't tell anyone what to do, but I can unfollow. That was Chuck's advice. I have a motto for such occasions -- Don't slam the door on the way out. It can be hard to remember such a rule. I didn't post an objection, but I did unfollow. And in the light of day, I wrote this blog post. 

The New Yorker has a very important piece just out. 

Evan Osnos: President Trump's First Term

I've only read the first few sections, but it's exactly what I was looking for. Hopefully he'll be on all the news shows discussing this to help to change discussion from the daily outrage to the serious stuff of understanding what we're up against. 

No one has or ever will be persuaded by an argument.

Here's a weird question.

Are any of the scheduled news shows embeddable, live, real-time.

All four elements are necessary:

  1. Scheduled -- for example every weekday night at 9PM Eastern.
  2. Embeddable -- I can include the live video in my own site.
  3. Live -- as it is being broadcast. Not later. Real-time. 
  4. News/talk show -- only political news for now, please.

I don't want to embed the show after the fact, after it's aired, only while it's actually on the air, on my site, surrounding it with other content. 

I imagine the answer is no. 

It might be something an innovative host might want to experiment with. If they do, please get in touch

I don't want to open up a chatroom to the net, it's been done and is nasty, no need to try that again. I want to do something more planned, produced, and (requirement) thoughtful. If it doesn't turn out to be thoughtful the experiment will have failed. 

Now it's possible some programming is already available this way, if so, please post a comment below with a pointer. Otherwise we'll have to try to find a partner for this.

I now have the ability to turn on Disqus comments on a post-by-post basis.

I'll do this when the purpose of the post is to ask for information.

I plan to release the feature to 1999.io users.

This post has comments turned on.

And already I have to say the comment guidelines apply. I forgot why it was so frustrating having this feature. I'm just going to delete comments that don't respect the rules, so don't bother posting them. 

My personal frustration with the news is that we can't get an idea into their flow. These days they're living in our world, we know a lot about it, what's possible that isn't being done. But I can't get them to listen. It's a very closed community. Huge defenses.

I suppose their view is that everyone outside their circle is a uniform mass of nasty. I know that some of them know the role I played in building the network they use. You'd think I could get an idea in there, at least in the area of my expertise. But nothing. Crickets. For many years. I can't get in there. 

I have to figure out a way to bust through this. It would work if I could get on the inside and talk from in there about how to connect better into a more varied set of people and ideas. They are dying because of all the inbred practices and all the lying. It seems it would be easy to fix.

I don't want to disrupt, I promise -- I just want to get in and influence. Or at least be listened to and get feedback. So if you know anyone in editorial at a major political news site, send them a link to this post. I just want a column, on a credible site. You don't even have to pay me. The things I write are exactly what I write here on my blog so you can get an idea. I just want to be part of the conversation. 

Another way would be to create the kind of dialog we need to liven things up. I'll have a question about that later today, with any luck. 

Quick thought.

I watched Face The Nation and a bit of Meet The Press today. 

Same people, same memorized talking points.

Both Repubs and Dems.

The Dems are running a somewhat real campaign. As real as you can while the Repubs are running a campaign based entirely on lies. There isn't a single truthful thing in their repetoire. It's all a con. 

But that's not the thought.

The thought is this. Why do the networks let these people do this?

The shows are completely useless. 

I can see why they might want DJ Trump or even Hillary, they're at least entertaining and draw viewers, but the rest of them? Pointless aggravating bullshit. Not. Entertaining.

Why don't they scratch the whole thing and start over. Get rid of the roundtables of news people too. Get some people who know something about something and have nothing at stake so they might say something interesting or useful.

Or...

The only other option is to have a second screen with a running commentary from experts talking about the lies in real time as they're speaking them.

I tried that the other day during Trump's "press conference" where he supposedly repented for being the Birther-in-Chief. I didn't watch the actual show. I just watched what people were saying about it on Twitter. Not only didn't I miss a thing, but it was much more interesting. And a lot more entertaining! The press people were pissed. I like to see them get real, even if only on Twitter.

A famous ad guy once said to a presenter who had his notes on the back of the ad that he should just flip it around. The second screen is where the action is. That's where the news happens. The second screen is where the truth shows up?

Just a thought.

PS: I had to buy a domain to go with this. As usual I have no idea what I'll do with it, if anything. 

PPS: There's no doubt Twitter gets this, that's what they're doing with the NFL. But we kind of need this now for the politics. ;-)

It's time to start reporting this story in earnest.

Some questions off the top of my head.

Presumably the Repubs will also win the Senate. Right away they will ratify a new Scalia, restoring the previous ratio on the Court.

ObamaCare will be repealed by Congress and the President will sign the bill. How many people will lose their insurance? What happens to people who are dependent on health care? WIll we revert to a system with pre-existing conditions? If so, will they revert to when you let the previous insurance lapse? Will people who switched to ObamaCare be able to restore the policies they let lapse?

Did he make a deal with Priebus, will Trump actually govern or will he be a figurehead. There were rumors that he offered president-in-fact to Kasich. Did he offer the same deal to Pence?

Or will there be a purge? Will Ryan and McConnell be forced out? It seems the majorities in Congress will be managed by people loyal to the president.

What will happen to the stock market? When will it start reflecting the likelihood of a Trump presidency? Seems likely (to me) it'll crash. Should we be looking for signs of that now?

Foreign alliances. What will change immediately, and what will change over time. What will Russia do in the confusion after the election? 

How should/will Obama prepare for the transition? What steps might he take before Trump takes office?

Nate Silver said it's time for the Democrats to panic if the poll numbers stay the same. When will everyone else panic.

The banking industry. Trump has promised to repeal Dodd-Frank. Is it actually working, doing any good? If so, what will change immediately? Will we return to subprime loans? Or have we already resumed that?

What will the 11 million people who he has threatened to deport do?

I'm sure other questions will occur. The press hasn't asked these questions presumably because they thought Trump would not win. If they're going to do their jobs it seems they have to start shifting now. We have to have some info/ideas about this. News is getting real.

Update: The New Yorker has been working on this story all summer, and it just came out with this. I've only started to read it. Very powerful stuff. 

A win-win. Create a TV reality/drama/sitcom where Trump is president. There's an Oval Office. He can pick people for the cabinet and the military. He would be smarter than the generals. He could defeat ISIS. The "blacks" would love him. Build the wall. Mexico would, of course, pay for it. 

Rudy Giuliani could be Chief of Staff. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General or Secretary of Defense. Peter Thiel would run the Federal Reserve or be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court -- or both -- at the same time! 

Allison Janney as the press secretary.

Joe Arpaio as the head of the FBI.

I think this would give him 100 percent of what he, and his supporters, want. Not kidding. He could be on TV 24-by-7. They could do it from Trump Tower, so he wouldn't even have to go out.

As they say, hilarity will ensue.

Another problem for the 2016 press.

The theory that the Repub candidate could actually be president, is a lie.

When reporters act as if that were a real possibility they are being dishonest.

To get right they would have to disclaim that this is not an actual campaign for a real election, but rather a farcical dramatization of a campaign for a fictitious election.

Update: The new West Wing starring Donald J. Trump!

The agony of the press.

They get mad when he takes advantage of them. 

Not with the idea that he wants to be president.

Of their country.

Another podcast, this time about Donald "The Birther" Trump, and what he has to do to get out of this jam. What goes around comes around. He has to admit he was wrong. Or be dogged by this all the way to the election. 

Here, finally, is an issue the press can prosecute and hallelujah is prosecuting. It's time for the would-be birther-in-chief to come clean. 

BTW, I've listened to it twice, and I think it's the best podcast I've ever done. Turns out there's a lot to say at this moment, not just for Trump, but for Americans who are proud to have elected Obama, twice, of which I am very much one. 

I'm listening to a podcast interview with Molly Ball of the Atlantic at Harvard's Kennedy School. It's the first time I've heard her in a long form interview, with no other panelists to cut her off. She's very fluent, but I gotta say the glaring contradiction that the more competitive interviews reveal comes through more clearly, and I couldn't just pass on the link without commenting.

First she talks about the Trump supporter, a person who feels left out and what they like about Trump he makes them feel dealt-in. This is reasonable, and I think likely true.

Then she talks about her friends who are Republicans and the sympathy she feels for them as their world is falling apart.

But...

What about Molly Ball?

What about her world?

What does she fear?

This is the old View from Nowhere thing.

Come November we may all know what it feels like to be one of her Republican friends. The system we believe in will be falling apart. The things we took for granted may be either falling away by popular demand, or at least in question. Ideas like whether or not Molly Ball can write her columns for the Atlantic and be freely critical of the government and the president-elect.

This is imho the bug in our system. The true royalty are the entitled journalists who feel above the concerns of a normal person. They wield a lot of power. Unfortunately for all of us that power isn't grounded in the world we all live in, including the journalist. I can't remember when that idea has been more obvious than it is right now.

PS: After writing this piece about Molly Ball at Shorenstein, I realized Harvard should have the equiv of Shorenstein, for blogging.

A friend asked me on Twitter yesterday how I figure out which podcasts are worth listening to. It's a fair question, because they always put the ads up front, and then they meander and chit chat and tell inside jokes, etc while you're waiting to find out if this ever gets interesting, and finally after ten minutes with no end in sight you give up and move on to the next one.

There are podcasts that should be good that I've never gotten to the good parts of. Shows dedicated to TV series that I love, featuring the writers and actors, and there are so many things I'd like to know about them, but... I never get to that part, if it exists.

So now I'm doing my fourth podcast in three days and this one is 22 minutes, and I have to admit I ramble a lot before I get to the point. And this one is pretty technical, though the punchline is more of a business development one. But there are probably only a few people who would get something out of it at first. 

Anyway, it's been a long time since I switched off Heroku, and the dust has settled, and I've got most of my stuff ported to plain old Linux now, and am spending time thinking about where I want to go next, and I swung back around to Heroku, and what a good idea I thought it was, whether or not it was ever meant to be what I thought it was meant to be. 

Anyway, if you think about models for entrepreneurship in software, and would like to hear what I think is missing where the independent developer world intersects with the angel investor world, or if you're in bizdev at Saleforce or some other entrepreneurial-minded big company (a rare thing) or if you ever thought as I did that Heroku was a super kickass idea, it might be worth 22 minutes.

I deliberately wrote this description in a long-winded manner to give you an idea of how long-winded the podcast itself is. 

Sorry, in advance. ;-)

PS: BTW, I started work on the new OPML Validator. It's what got me thinking in this direction in the first place. In the podcast I say it dates back to 2001, which was wrong. The initial post, linked above, was in 2005. 

I complain a lot about how journalism is missing the point of the election, but when the VICE press release ran, how they are using the FOIA to find out if Trump is actually being audited, and how seriously the FBI took Trump's talk about 2nd Amendment people. This shook me up, in a good way! Breath-taking. Exciting!!

I love that they're using the tools that journalism fought so hard for to help get at the truth. Trump is hiding behind the IRS. Maybe the IRS can be forced to shed some light.

Then I realized there are other pubs that are also doing exemplary work. I listed a few in a tweet, and also added my must-read political columnists. It's a start. There's still time to do justice to the Trump-as-candidate story. No matter what happens on November 9 that role changes, either to President-elect Trump or TV reality star Trump. 

There's a lot of meat still on this carcass. What journalist who loves news wouldn't be digging into this story with passion and zest?!? They should be like kids on Christmas morning. ;-)

My list

These are my go-to, must-read political writers for this election, so far.

Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek.

David Fahrenthold at the Washington Post.

Jim Fallows at the Atlantic.

Matt Yglesias at Vox.

Josh Marshall at TPM.

Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid at MSNBC.

VICE for having the guts to use the FOIA to probe the IRS and the FBI re Trump.

FiveThirtyEight, all of it, of course.

A 9-minute podcast that explains how to write good user docs. 

© 1994-2016 Dave Winer
Last update: Tuesday, September 27th, 2016; 9:41 PM.