It's even worse than it appears.
I wonder if news org editors have feedback mechanisms connected to readers. For example, how many readers care about whether they send a reporter to White House press briefings or not? Or how Facebook is ruining the news business? (A topic for a trade pub.) Or stories about amazing nasty shit the president says. (Giving the troll a platform just encourages him.) Something like having a panel of readers and a UI like checkbox news. Keep it going real time. In fact, for cable news you can put your video right there in the page. Update the checkboxes in real time according to your editorial schedule. #
Mathew Ingram, former old school blogger, GigaOm and then Fortune columnist, has a blog. I'm glad. He's a good example of making money because you blog as opposed to making money from blogging. Had he not had a blog back in Ye Olde Dayz, would he have been hired as professional columnist? It didn't hurt. ๐ŸŒฝ#
My method for getting people to blog in 2017 is the same as it was in 1999. Roll out the red carpet for great examples of blogging. Then the Tom Sawyer thing kicks in. ๐Ÿ’ #
  • Interesting to see Microsoft promoting their new series of podcasts.#
  • Reminds me, when I was living in Seattle in the summer of 2004, I was visiting various parts of Microsoft to see if there was business we could do.#
  • That summer was the moment podcasting clicked. I was doing Morning Coffee Notes. Adam had started Daily Source Code. Dawn and Drew. Dave Slusher. Trade Secrets. And more and then even more. What had been an idea was now blossoming into a medium. You could see it happening. Every day was a revelation. So I sought out a meeting with the people at Microsoft who were developing what would become Zune, which was doomed, you could see it, the iPod was too much of a juggernaut. There was no room for a brown music player device that did what Apple already did. #
  • But, this new thing, podcasting, needed a player device. The iPod was a terrible player. It was designed for music. You buy music. You store a song on your desktop and mobile device. You listen to a song many times over months or years. #
  • Podcasting was different. You download a podcast as part of a series. It's a subscription. You pay nothing. You listen once and throw it away. Music is permanent, podcasts are ephemeral. A device for listening to podcasts would make it easy to listen to more podcasts. #
  • There was an opening at the time for a device that was insanely great at podcasting. And it would give Microsoft something innovative to promote. A reason for the Zune to exist, at a time when it had none.#
  • Unfortunately I learned there, and with all the other interactions with Microsoft, that while they felt they were innovative, they had no appreciation for how innovation happens. It isn't something you put in a budget or a five-year plan. It's something that happens. One day a killer idea shows up out of nowhere, and you have to be prepared to hear it. They were not, clearly, prepared. #
  • A year ago I tried again with Microsoft. I had an idea I thought they needed. They were very nice. They were told I was an industry founder, I guess. But they had no context to understand what I was talking about. You make software you say? Very nice. See you later. #
  • NY Mag author Brian Feldman says there's no money in Internet culture. Proof is Tumblr, he says. But while I was reading the article I thought of something they might not have tried at Tumblr. Seeding users with test units of products. Or taking 100 bloggers from some random city to a new movie a week before it comes out and letting them write about it. Even negative reviews would get them exposure. #
  • They probably thought of it. It seems kind of obvious. You can put ads in the stream, but that's un-Tumblr-like, or you can give users a basis to write about your product. Create a long-term connection (people remember respect, and everyone likes to feel important) and immediate buzz.#
  • It's the 29th. The API was set to expire yesterday. But Fargo still works.#
  • I tried creating a post and updating it. And sure enough it worked. #
  • I even reloaded the app to see if the updates are still there, and they are.#
  • Not complaining! But what the what?#
  • I'm trying to think but nothing happens!# is something new to try out. It works like the Slack group without the need to be approved or log in. It's real time. No need to refresh. And it's also brand-new, so it will certainly have bugs. ๐Ÿ„#
This is a test. For the next sixty seconds this station will conduct a test of the weblog testing system. This is of course not an emergency. So hang out and count your blessings! โ˜€๏ธ#
Re the opening scene of Fargo season 3. They say it's an homage to The Trial by Franz Kafka. Okay then. Very interesting analysis. Thanks to Jim Grinsfelder for the pass-along. #
How tweets are represented in the Scripting News feed. #
Instead of Trump growing to fill the presidency, he's shrinking the presidency to fit Trump. #
So Phil Jackson is finally gone. Now to find a replacement for Dolan. A consolation prize for DJ Trump? Bloomberg? Jeff Bezos?#
  • I'm a daily listener to the Daily podcast.#
  • It's so frustrating when a reporter they interview spends a couple of minutes not explaining. #
  • "It's too complicated for your listeners to understand," the reporter might say. What a waste. You could use the time instead explaining what's going on. Some people might not understand, and some would. With the approach they use, no one understands. Some is better than none, don't you think?#
  • And people who read the Times are smart. Don't you all know that? #
Good morning outliner users! ๐Ÿ„#
Lawrence O'Donnell says that the Repubs would have only gotten 5 votes for their Un-Obama-Care bill. 5 votes. F-I-V-E. 1-2-3-4-5. Just 5. Not 50. Five.#
We have a huge challenge in the US, not just to re-establish rule of law, but also to figure out what it means to have an open society and not be vulnerable to the abuse we took in 2016. #
Braintrust question: Best way to monitor system load on Ubuntu? #
  • According to Dropbox today is the last day to use Fargo. #
  • A frequently asked question: How do I export my outlines? It's a trick question. You don't. They are sitting in your Dropbox folder in a standard open format, supported by any reasonable outliner. They will still be there tomorrow after Fargo stops working.#
  • BTW, it couldn't hurt to copy them out of your Dropbox folder into a backup somewhere. Better safe than sorry. ๐Ÿฑ#
  • A reminder, they changed the API, and today is the last day the old version of the API works. I decided not to maintain Fargo, so when the old API is turned off Fargo will stop working. #
  • If you like the outliner in Fargo, it's available in another package, LO2. The outliner is also available as open source, so if you want, perhaps you can get another developer to make it work with Dropbox. #
  • Fargo is a great product, but what I hoped would happen with it, has not happened. It is tightly integrated with the Dropbox platform, which has not taken off as a developer ecosystem. I wish it had, but the fact is that it hasn't. At some point you have to cut your losses. That's part of development too. #
  • I'm trying to think but nothing happens!#
  • Still diggin!#
  • The way this blog works doesn't fit into the way Twitter and Facebook do metadata. I knew this would happen with the Old School redesign, because I am immersed in their worlds. Basically every day has the same big image. That sucks because the image has nothing to do with what's being pointed to. They designed their metadata for a model that does not fit my blogging style. For a while I changed my style to accomodate them. But as you know I don't do that anymore. Now I am myself and if they don't like it, etc.#
  • Anyway, I was including an image that never changed in the metadata. Not only did this screw up Twitter and Facebook, but it also screwed up other apps that read their metadata. Like Slack and apparently Feedly.#
  • So I nuked the image. #
  • It's still at the top of the home page of my blog. But it's not in the metadata. Let's try that for a while and see if it makes things better. It'll probably break something else. That's how this stuff works. Or doesn't.#
  • "It's even worse than it appears."#
  • I sent an email this morning to several friends who I think of as future-of-newsers. People whose opinions I have high regard for, and who care about the future of news. The topic, the future of blogging. This is what I wrote...#
  • I have a feeling the tech blogosphere has a chance to reboot now...#
  • Which begs the question -- what is a blog?#
  • We need a reboot of the blogosphere. It's not that every blog has so much value, but some do. Think of the 2008 financial crisis and the blogs and podcasts that were born out of that. The same should be happening now. I'm sure it is, we just have to find it. #
  • We have a huge challenge in the US, not just to re-establish rule of law, but also to figure out what it means to have an open society and not be vulnerable to the abuse we took in 2016.#
  • The solution is not going to come from Twitter or Facebook. The big news orgs are good at channeling leaks, but not new ideas. Quite the opposite, they're desperately trying to cling to the sensibility of the World Before Trump. #
  • Anyway, the first step imho is to understand that we have a way out. We just have to decide to use it. That means getting over the idea that journalism and blogging are the same thing. As long as we believe that, there really isn't any hope. (Imho of course.)#
  • Because the circumstances are so dire, it's a very exciting time to have new ideas, because there's a small chance they might take hold. When everything is "normal" the chance for innovation isn't so great. #
  • There's no action item here, other than listen for a stranger with great ideas and when you hear one, tell everyone about what you heard. The ideas must be out there now. We just have to turn in their direction. I think that's how this works. #
  • With much love, #
  • Dave#
  • Facebook is about the news, in a weird way.#
  • Each bit of news potentially fires up a moral parade, where people recite prepared speeches.#
  • Often the speeches begin explaining how what someone said is like this other thing, then basically recites a canned story for that thing.#
  • You could give each story a number, and just type the number. The computer (Facebook) could then get the text and insert it into the comment for you. Discourse could happen much faster.#
  • Eventually Facebook could predict what you'll say and just say it for you. Like the self driving cars Google is making. You'd sign onto Facebook and see in your notification drop down menu "You have commented on Betty Fird's post."#
  • You could read it if you like, but eventually you will know that Facebook correctly stated your opinion.#
  • Originally appeared as a post on Facebook two years ago today.#
Good morning students and teachers! ๐Ÿ #
Scripting News on Aug 28, 2014. I've been digging around in Fargo's CMS, looking at all the different ways it renders content, all from outlines. #
Interesting Politico piece posits that Trump acts as if he's mayor of the United States. If NYC is his model, that mayor is esp powerless, because the governor of the state also has a lot of power over the city. It's approx 1/2 of the population of the state, and probably much more than 1/2 of the money. For example, the MTA, which runs the buses and subway, is run by the state, not the city.#
Brent asks if the length in enclosures in RSS-in-JSON is a number or string. That's what the test podcast below is for. #
From time to time I have to do a podcast to test things out. This is one of those times. Let's see what happens. #
Body shaming is wrong no matter who you're using as the example. Someone is being hurt by this. No, I don't care how much you have suffered.#
I need an app to view RSS feeds in the browser because Chrome and Safari refuse to let me do that. I'd love to hear the reason why. #
  • An interesting comment from Chris Aldrich about subscribing to lists of feeds in a thread on the Woodwind app site on GitHub. #
  • Here's the basic idea. There's a difference between importing OPML into a reader and subscribing to it. The latter is very powerful, for the user, but a lot of RSS reader devs may not want their users to have that much power. It's not a very hard feature to implement. #
  • The idea has been much-discussed here. We call them reading lists. Michael Arrington even wrote a TechCrunch piece about it in 2005. #
  • Subscribable OPML is something all my readers have been able to do through an OPML feature called inclusion. I wrote a howto for a River5 user re inclusion just last week.#
  • Share Your OPML was a service I operated for a while. It made it possible to manage your OPML separate from the reader you used. It was meant to encourage readers to support subscribable OPML. I'm looking for an excuse to bring it back, but first we need a base of shared feed lists. #
  • A lot of good stuff can be done if feed readers are willing to delegate list management to other services. IMHO the only reason a reader developer wouldn't do it is because they want to lock users in. If I let you edit your feed list elsewhere that means you could give the list to another vendor and have a choice which to use. It's really something users should demand, esp if you're paying for the service. #
Good morning Internet guzzlers! ๐Ÿบ#
So glad I stopped worrying about Facebook and am now blogging Old School style on I've found my sea legs once again. #
Dan Shafer died. I knew Dan from the Mac developer community in the 80s, hired him to write the first docs for Frontier. Bon voyage mi amigo! ๐Ÿ’ฅ#
Money was a big issue yesterday in the nascent tech blogosphere. First, you do this because you love it, not because it pays well. (It doesn't pay at all.) Now I'd like to take you back to a discsussion that was had many years ago that resulted in this conclusion. You don't make money from this work, but it leads to opportunities where you can make money. Ideas and information make their way to you and if you are so-inclined you can make money by investing in those ideas. No sure things, but some bloggers have made billions, and others have made millions. And others have made a decent living. Not from their blog but because they blog. #
In 2015 I wrote that Dropbox could be the king of the one-page app. Because storage is the thing the web doesn't, on its own, do, and storage is the thing Dropbox does best. And they have an API, and they understood the connection to one-page-apps earlier than anyone. But it didn't happen. I've emailed with people at Dropbox from time to time and the best explanation I can come up with is that they are focused in different areas. It seems to me, from my outside perch, that they are trying to become a competitor to Google's and Microsoft's Office products. I was hoping they'd become a platform, focusing on distribution and investment in startups.#
Good morning sports fans! ๐Ÿˆ#
Health care is socialist is getting a bunch of new reads today thanks to some powerful RTs.#
Today is emoji day โญ๏ธ on Scripting News. We have all the โญ๏ธ best emoji. And they're free, for you, the best โญ๏ธ people in the universe, the readers of โญ๏ธ this humble blog. โญ๏ธ #
It makes sense that because of reconcilliation Repubs have a hard time repealing ObamaCare. It seems fair that you should have to have 60 votes to repeal something that required 60 votes to pass. How will they explain it to the voters they've been lying to about "repeal and replace." Double-talk. Swamp-talk. ๐Ÿ‘#
I've started a chatroom on Gitter. Not sure what I'll use it for. Also not sure if it's open for anyone to join. I want it to be. The community guidelines apply. Keep it short, respectful and on-topic, and no spam. โšพ๏ธ#
BTW, don't ask me to pitch RSS, I won't do it, because the request is based on a misunderstanding. RSS is not a product, it's a format. I have never made a dime from it. You have as much at stake in its success as I do. So I always turn it around and ask the person who asked me for a pitch to instead pitch me on it. I don't budge on this. Ever. ๐Ÿ€#
Is anyone using the JSON version of the Scripting News feed in their feed reader? It's a bit of a trick question, in a way, because as far as I know, only River5 and Electric River support this format. If so, send me an email at my address, on the About page here. ๐Ÿฐ#
Journalists keep making a serious technology error -- assuming the only damage Russia can do to our government is during elections. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ #
I get my health insurance through the ACA. It's very much alive, Spicer. Without it I would not have health insurance. ๐Ÿ‹ #
  • It won't take much to reboot the tech blogosphere, just a few bloggers with ideas who listen to each other and want to work with each other. That was the idea behind blogrolls, to visibly show the relationships. #
    • I'm still thinking about how to integrate a blogroll with the new design of Scripting News. I pushed everything aside to get a clean look for the new site. I want to avoid bringing it all back. #
  • So, we have a few people who are writing and listening. That's a needed first step. Next we need a way to announce and hear about new tech products. Not just ones that get VC backing or come from big companies. We already hear about those products through TechMeme and the pubs that contribute to it. We also have platform-specific news about tech products, it's more limited, but it's there.#
  • It will likely start with word of mouth among the bloggers. If Richard is using a product and speaks highly of it, I'm likely to take a look. Especially if he says it fits into what I'm doing through the open formats my software already supports. #
  • Then I want a river, a place where I can go to find out quickly what's new, in the way of products, not BigCo bluster or another $250 million VC deal. I want to know what my peers are doing. So I can learn from them, and so we can make our products work with theirs. #
  • Work together is a phrase you'll hear me use a lot. It's the potential of tech, but it often isn't the attitude of tech. Even the smallest most independent developers dream of dominating. You can't work with people who dominate, even if they win. #
  • I want to hear about products that are open to connecting to mine. #
  • There have been times, often defined by news sources, that have created huge swells of compatible technology. To name a few: InfoWorld, PC WEEK, MacWEEK, TechCrunch. Very fond memories of the communities that gathered around each of those. #
  • It's time for another. The opportunity is there. It's been a long time since we had an open development community that worked to create great new user experience without lockin. It's like riding a bicycle or swimming, you don't forget how to do it. And like tennis or baseball, you can't play without partners and competition. #
Thank you Om for the tweet-love. โค๏ธ #
An idea worth RT'ing: "A site people could go to, fill in some info about themselves, and find out how much they would lose under the Repub plan."#
githubpub is a Node app that serves from GitHub repositories.#
Fix for the Scripting News RSS feed: we now process glossary entries and emoji short codes. The net effect is that text shortcuts like RSS will be expanded as well as ๐Ÿ‘ emoji ๐Ÿ‘, in the feeds. As they say, still diggin!#
So many thoughts today begin with -- If the Dems only had their shit together. #
If the Dems only had their shit together, we would be mobleizable to knock on neighbor's doors this weekend with pre-written talking points. "Did you know that you could will lose your health insurance if the Republicans have their way?"#
Repubs who consider voting for the repeal of Medicaid and the ACA should fear the hellfire they will face when they run for re-election. This weekend is the time to make your feelings felt. #
BTW, if someone expresses frustration it doesn't follow that they blame you, esp on Twitter which is a length-impaired medium. #
  • Two friends, Jon Udell and Mike Caulfield, are talking about "dumb" servers. I call the same things "thin." Also fractional-horsepower servers. They go by a bunch of names, but the idea and motivation is the same. #
  • The idea: We move functionality from the server to the edge (desktop, mobile device), repeating until someday there's nothing left on the server. We could go all the way, but it needs a strong operational backend, something a big company is good at, not so much individuals. (With the caveat that some think this problem is distributable, notably the fictional CEO of Pied Piper.)#
  • The key thing is identity. Once you have that solved, it all becomes relatively easy. I've factored out identity into a layer I call nodeStorage. It associates storage with a user's Twitter identity. Twitter is a good service to use, unlike some others, because they have a liberal policy of who gets to create apps. Faceook has an extensive vetting process. Twitter is "let a thousand flowers bloom." I know some people have problems with Twitter, but I've learned over many years that all corporate vendors are imperfect. If you're waiting for perfection you'll wait forever. And you build the software so that if Twitter should again become draconian, a new service can be filled in with as little disruption as possible.#
  • Another place I've looked is Dropbox. There, with one simple feature, the ability to associate a domain with a folder, they would solve the problem. I know there are external services that provide something "like" this, but fundamentally Dropbox doesn't provide enough flexibility in the API to do this in a reasonable way. (Lack of granularity in permissions, an app gets access to one folder or everything.)#
  • Or Amazon, if their identity system for AWS were simpler for end users, or if their end-user storage system could be accessed through the S3 API. I'm sure they've thought of it. There must be a reason they don't do it. #
  • And Twitter could completely eliminate the need for nodeStorage, by offering users a few gigabytes of storage attached to their Twitter account, accessible through the API. The first person who described the feature to me was Jack Dorsey, about eight years ago, when we met for coffee in SF. So he understands why this idea is so powerful. I'm not sure what the holdup is. #
  • In the meantime, nodeStorage works. I build the kind of apps I want. Open the sidebar on Scripting News (left margin) and have a look at the apps. Some even have source code so you can see for yourself. #
  • Richard MacManus keeps on truckin. There's nothing more powerful than a persistent and curious user who's relatively fearless. #
  • In a follow-up post I learned that there is an IndieWeb-approved feed reader called Woodwind. That's good news. RSS and related technolgies, including OPML import and export, are essential components of the open web. #
  • BTW, to Richard, I wrote up my rules for standards-makers, based on experience re what (imho) is important and what works and doesn't. Another item for your consideration. #
  • Here's a list with four items#
    • one#
    • two#
    • three#
    • four#
I'm working on a new Node web server that serves out of GitHub repos. It's a very sweet very small piece of software. #
An epiphany. Mark Zuckerberg is his generation's Ray Kroc, and Facebook is McDonald's. I aspire to be Alice Waters.#
Future-of-journalism conferences that ignore blogging are not about the future of journalism.#
News will be interesting tonight. They've got the Repub health care bill to rip apart, and it's also NBA Draft night. #
  • The last two episodes of season 3 of Fargo were fantastic. But, the opening scene of episode 1, which takes place in a police office in East Germany during the Cold War, is without explanation. #
  • All through the season, I was wondering how it was going to be connected up with the story that takes place in Minnesota in 2011, but as far as I know it never was.#
  • Maybe that was VM Varga as the accused? Or the police guy?#
  • This is kind of bothering me! :-)#
  • Okay then...#
  • Update: In the episode guide on Wikipedia they describe the opening scene as follows: "In 1988 East Berlin, Jacob Ungerleider is questioned in the death of a woman, which he claims is a case of mistaken identity." So it's not VM Varga in the hot seat. Who is Jacob Ungerleider? I have no idea! ;-)#
Good morning summer solstice fans!#
It was a boring NBA postseason, for the most. But the excitement of next season is already starting, with the draft tomorrow, and deal season in full swing. The place to find all the news is It's one of many rivers maintained by my River5 installation. #
BTW, I hate the term "eating the dogfood." As much as I love dogs, it says that our users are pets, not sentient human beings, our equals. It also says our software is dog food. I think as a kid, as an experiment, a few of us kids actually ate dog food. It's a vague memory, that must have some basis in reality. It makes me nauseous to think about it. And that's what I think about when I hear the term. Please, let's find another way of saying "My software is good because I use it, and vice versa."#
Yesterday I posted a screen shot of one of my posts on Facebook, to accolades from friends on Facebook. I deleted the post. I won't be doing it again. Facebook is not a place for blog posts. Not as long as they disable linking, styles, titles and podcasts. If you want to help Facebook destroy the open web, go for it. But I will not participate in that awful adventure.#
On Facebook you are who the algorithm says you are. #
  • A simple web app that travels through the River5 repository in my GitHub account, producing a directory that reflects the structure of the repo.#
  • I couldn't find sample code that does this simple thing. Now I won't have to hunt for it, and neither will you. ;-) #
  • Here's the source code. #
  • Richard is one of the old school bloggers. He started ReadWriteWeb in 2003. It started as a Radio UserLand project and grew into a leading tech publication, something which I'm personally proud of. #
  • He has a new blog up and running. I've added it to my personal river here on Scripting News. He asks about where the blogrolls have gone, a topic I wrote about a couple of days ago. Richard would certainly be in my blogroll.#
  • Maybe the subscription list for my blogger's river would make a good start for my blogroll, or vice versa? Something we didn't do in the first iteration is make our rivers public. Nowadays I'm doing that routinely. A few examples are in the left sidebar here on Scripting News. #
  • Richard has turned to IndieWeb for the latest on open web tech. That's fine, but you have to look elsewhere too, because as he's discovered, they only embrace part of the open web. It's too bad they chose such an inclusive name, but have an exclusive approach. For example, they have avoided RSS, for reasons I'm sure I don't understand (I've listened, so no need to repeat the reasoning). We need all the advantages we can get because there are serious headwinds these days for blogging. RSS is serious open web technology. To not build on it is unthinkable, for me at least. #
  • Re integration between writing and reading, another topic of interest to Richard, all my rivers hook into Radio3, which is my latest linkblogging tool. For reading, I encouraged Richard to look at Electric River, it's the closest to what Radio UserLand did with aggregation in 2002. It runs on your Mac desktop, as the original did. When he wants to go all-in with rivers, nothing can take the place of River5, which is getting both modular and deep. I'm doing more work on that. Rivers have not finished evolving as far as I'm concerned. #
Anyone want to blog-debate about XML vs JSON? I've spent years using both, I think I have an objective view of the strengths of each. Imho, they are almost the same thing. XML has attributes and values, and that does make it more complex. Slightly. But you don't have to use the extra features. Look at OPML for an idea of a simple very JSON-like application of XML. Beyond that, there's really no difference. If you disagree, write a post, link to this and send me the link. I will read what you wrote, and respond, on my blog, if I have something to say. There's been so much bullshit flying around. I'd like to cut through that. #
  • People assume the massive data dump by the Repub consultant was an accident. That's not known. One thing for sure, it caused massive damage to American democracy. It could be an escalation in the war against the US. The country hasn't yet acknowledged that we're in a war. We started to when Obama was president. #
  • It's too easy to attack us. Imagine being able to attack your enemy and they don't even realize it's an attack. And the lack of mature thinking about tech in journalism and the herd mentality (no original thinking, just looking for leaks) means we never figure it out. We haven't caught up to the last attack, and new more damaging ones are certainly underway. #
  • Republicans stuck it to themselves and everyone else after years of campaigning on undoing ObamaCare, justifying this idea with lies. Did any of them think one or two steps out, that someday they'd be in a position to have their bluff called? Now look at where they/we are. About to do real damage to the country. #
  • As Marge Gunderson asked in Fargo (the movie):#
    • "And for what? A little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money you know. Don't you know that?"#
Good morning sports fans!#
Facebook and its algorithm are like a self-driving car that decides where you can go.#
A new doc explains how to use Dropbox for River5 subscription list. #
I ported my Rules for standards-makers to outline format. I think this is where I will maintain it. #
People who hate XML actually hate what people did with it. They used it to not-interop, and covered up with a nauseatingly complex set of add-on protocols. At its core XML is fairly simple. Certainly not fatally complex.#
  • I became a prime member of TPM, to support Josh Marshall who has been kicking ass the last couple of years, and maybe longer. I just started paying close attention as Trump was coming to power. Anyway, now I have a problem. If I read an article that's only available to Prime members that I feel everyone should read wtf am I going to do. I have the same problem with the NYT, where I pay for my subscription. I'll probably complain! ๐Ÿ˜ธ #
  • Anyway, to Josh, you have a connection with readers, that's great, but imho you can and should imho go further. I think there's a middle-ground between the social nets and pubs like TPM. Your business can grow into theirs. Quality is what matters. Which of your readers you give a mike to should be the result of your knowing them. It may increase the pressure on yourself, but it's a good pressure, imho.#
  • I did something similar just before we first met, when I went east after booting up the blogosphere in the Bay Area. I wanted to recruit more intellectual writing. So I went where the intellectuals live. I didn't get them, at first, but I got something better -- political bloggers, like Josh Marshall and of course many others.#
  • We need to grow again. We've let the social nets usurp the good that bloggers were doing. Someone has to find the new voices with fresh perspectives. It isn't so much stopping fake news as eclipsing it with excellent thinking, insight, humor, connections.#
  • It happened in tech in the early 90s. Supposedly it was all over. Nothing but domination by the BigCo's from here. Until something surprising developed that completely flipped around the partnership between big media and big tech. We're still feeling the aftershocks of that upheaval.#
Good morning humid hot summer weather fans!#
Projects are the most fun when they're new, when you're building them up. Later, when you're adding features or fixing bugs, adapting to a platform change, you have to remember how it all works. And then there's the issue of breakage. #
Writing occurs in many places these days, as does reading. It was easier when there was no writing and no reading. Now there's too much of both. And they don't work with each other, not just at a technical level, but a conceptual level. They all have a different idea of what an idea is. Some have titles some have character limits. Some allow links others don't. It helps to identify this clearly as the problem, because while there is no solution, it suggests an optimal compromise. #
Maybe we need an EFF for users.#
When the president's advisors say the he meant one thing, when he said the opposite, you have to wonder who is running the country?#
David Frum: "This is a very inside-the-coalfield conversation. I just returned from California - they hate Trump more than ever."#
  • Noun. (pejorative) Any outsiders of a clique. Members of a particular group, collectively. [That is the type of thing you people would say.]#
  • One doesn't say "you people" without being snickered at, with cause, because making generalizations based on race is wrong. Judge people by their character not by their race.#
  • Even so the "you people" approach is condoned when applied to some groups. Think about it. #
  • This should stop because it's in the way of our solving problems and more important, it's wrong. #
  • I'm thinking of restarting my blogroll. Remember those! #
  • I would put Kottke in my blogroll. And then? #
  • Maybe Doc, but he's all over the place (including some of my places, mea culpa for that), and TBH the Harvard blogs look kind of crappy these days.#
  • There's also Philip Greenspun. I don't really like to read his posts these days, so that kind of knocks him off the blogroll. A blogroll is supposed to be opinionated.#
  • Brent. I'd put Brent in the blogroll for sure.#
  • I put this out there.#
  • I no longer blog on Facebook. It sickens me to think I ever did. But I wanted the engagement, or I was confused, a bit of both, but more of the latter. #
  • Engagement on Facebook comes in the form of comments. But the comments rarely illuminate. They're mostly echoes of ideas that I've heard many times before. Tired worn-out ideas. Ideas that weren't interesting the first time, and are weary-inducing the 19th time. #
  • Here I've set it up so there is no response mechanism. I want to learn to write that way. I hope to write a book at some point. And that is mostly an exercise in writing for yourself. There's no engagement until you're done. A book is like a freezer for ideas. Blogging is more like a dandelion spreading its seed in the wind. #
  • You can blog on Facebook, but you won't be able to link. I can blog on the web and link, and leave a record (try finding a previous post on Facebook sometime), but hey searching on the web is getting worse not better. Google doesn't really want search to work, they want you to see their ads.#
  • Anyway, you can keep blogging on Facebook, and I still use it so I might see what you wrote. There'd be a better chance of that if you post on the web.#
  • And if you post on the web, because it's open, independent developers can make it work better. On Facebook you have to wait for Facebook to make it better. And by now you should know how futile that is, you're not a user to them, you're the product.#
  • PagePark is my web server. I wrote it in late 2014, shipped in early 2015. I've been using it ever since, to serve static pages, and as a front-end for my Node-based server apps. #
  • There is a single important idea in PagePark, something I've always wanted in a web server -- it maps domains to folders. #
  • Suppose you register a new domain, To host it in PagePark, create a new sub-folder of the domains folder called Add a file called index.html. Then map the domain to the server PagePark is running on. And that's it. You don't have to update any configuration files, or write any scripts or rules. PagePark knows where to look when a request comes in, it sees an index file (it could also be index.txt, index.png, or index.js) and serves it. As they say -- bing!#
  • Of course it does everything else you want a web server to do, but this is the thing it does simply better than anything before. And since this is most of what people do with web servers, it might make it possible for people who otherwise couldn't run a server, to do so.#
  • It's free, MIT-licensed, and I'm continually improving it because I use it to serve many of my sites. #
Wish: Instead of Twitter threads, write Axios-style blog posts. Make the point directly and clearly. Use the reader's time well.#
If you're reading OPML files in Node apps, the new opmlToJs package is the way to go. I'm using it in PagePark to serve OPML files that are then rendered through in-page JavaScript. Works great. It's how I did the Electric River howto. I expect to use it for lots of docs. (Also updated to use the new design.)#
  • This week's Fargo was good. #
  • Esp the scene where the Nikki and Varga meet in the hotel lobby. Gloria Burgle has her way with the faucet. The show was wandering but now that we're closing in on the finale (next episode), there's serious business to do. #
  • And of course since it's Fargo, you have to assume a few more characters will die. That's the way it goes! #
  • It was reported by a few people. Ted Howard filed an issue. (Thanks!)#
  • Here's the deal. Old School has a websocket connection with the content server. When I update the blog outline, it sends a message to Old School saying I updated and also includes the JSON text of the outline. It's big. JSON-in-JSON can cause problems, I've found. #
  • When the message comes in, the text is attached temporarily to the object that represents the blog in Old School, until it's processed by the handler that then proceeds to do nothing with it (the feature is turned off, I don't want updates determined by text changes). It then deletes the text that was attached to the blog object.#
  • At the same time, a message must have come in from me, saying "Build the blog now" -- and once in a while, very rarely, when it does this the text is attached, and it gets added to the jstruct that's included in the rendered page. Why? Well it could come in handy some day. As with the other feature it isn't hooked up to anything at this time.#
  • All I had to do was to delete it, if it's present, in the copy I was making to include in the web page, and we should never see that bit of nastyness again.#
  • Thanks everyone who reported the problem. And sorry for the ugly bits. As they say..#
  • I'm trying to think but nothing happens!#
  • Still diggin! :-)#
  • On Twitter last night I asked: "What movie would you/have you watched 20 or more times?" Lots of interesting responses including: #
    • The Transporter, The Princess Bride (multiple), The Three Musketeers, Office Space, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Groundhog Day (haha), Shawshank Redemption (multiple), The Big Short, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Finding Nemo, #
    • Casablanca (multiple), Forbidden Planet, White Heat, Robin Hood (Errol Flynn), Godfather I and II (multiple), Miracle, Aliens, Army of Darkness, The Party, Inception, The Matrix, The Third Man, Fisher King, Terminator 2, Die Hard, Sixteen Candles, #
    • Days of Heaven, Malick, Sneakers, Tootsie, Pink Floyd The Wall, True Romance, Blade Runner, Glengarry Glenn Ross, Peter Pan, Oceans 11, Biker Boyz, Back to the Future, Repo Man, Lord of the Rings, Happy Gilmore, Lucy, Caddyshack, Rashomon, #
    • Bull Durham, Road House, Fried Green Tomatoes, Dr Strangelove, Apolcalypse Now, The Outlaw Josie Wales, Goodfellas, Jaws,#
    • Fargo, Searching for Sugar Man, Unforgiven, WALL-E, Groundhog Day, Wizard of Oz, Godzilla.#
  • My choice...#
    • The Departed. If I start with the first scene with Jack Nicholson walking into the grocery with Gimme Shelter playing behind him, it's a foregone conclusion I'm going all the way. It's happened quite a few times. #
    • I think The Departed is the perfect movie. It might not be the best ever, Casablanca and The Godfather might be better, but I can't take my eyes off The Departed. It holds my attention like no other movie. #
Good morning River of News lovers! #
Electric River 0.42a is out. There's also a new readme. #
  • Jeff Bezos, an amazing person, the founder of Amazon, one of the richest people in the world, is also someone who keeps coming up with good ideas, and executes them proficiently. He's a visionary who sees where a new business is possible, bets on it and stays with it to profit from its success. All of these things make him exceptional.#
  • He also asked a good question. How can his philanthropy be even more effective. Not some time in the future, but right now. That's the question I was trying to get Bill Gates to ask in the mid-90s when he was trying to turn the web into a feature of Office. #
  • My advice for Gates went like this. #
    • I know you say when you're done with Microsoft you're going to devote your life to philanthropy by giving away almost all the money you made. #
    • But right now you have much higher leverage than you will then. Later your money will be just like everyone else's. But now your money has unique value, because you are the CEO of (at the time) the leading tech company in the world. #
    • If you can apply the generous spirit of philanthropy to the tech world, you can multiply your contribution many times over. #
    • I argued that if he relented and let the web exist, even fed its independence, this would be a huge contribution to the world. #
    • I also argued that it would be good business because his efforts to own the web were doomed to fail. But that was the minor point.#
  • So to Jeff Bezos, I'd make the same plea. Right now the Amazon business that I see as most important to the future of humanity is AWS. And it also is very close to the idea of the web, that everyone should be able to control their own online presence, not as a lure for a big company's advertising platform but as a way of sharing ideas and experiences with other people, so we can work together to solve the problems of our species. And we have great problems to solve! #
  • Amazon is already doing a lot there. But they could do more. #
    • Solve the problem of long-lived web content. #
    • Make it easier for people to start their own web site. #
    • Make it possible for people to create their own social networks.#
    • In other words commoditize and make almost-free the features of the online world that disempower the individual. Be an idealist about the web. It's time for it to come back into fashion. We've tried turning over all the power to big tech companies and it's had some terrible results. #
  • Lead us to a future where technology is the hope for humanity, again, as it once was. #
  • Some of the nicest losers I know, btw.#
  • Think of all the people you used to hear from on Facebook but seem to have lost touch with. People you never unfriended or unfollowed. #
  • Who decided these people don't matter to you anymore? #
  • I miss some of those people. #
  • Whatever happened to so and so?#
  • I never found out what happened with this and that.#
  • And then, here's the mind bomb. For other people you are a missing person. You being the person who dutifully informs all your Facebook friends of what's going on in your life. You, the friend they never seem to think of. No surprise they're not thinking of you. The Algorithm decided you don't count. Sorry, I didn't make it that way. ๐ŸŒ #
  • Out here on the open web, as long as you stay away from the BigCo silos, there is no algorithm. Just people. No one but us people. #
  • A picture of a slice of cheese cake.#
Good morning obstruction of justice fans!#
I was struck, listening to today's Daily podcast how much yesterday's shooting touched members of Congress. I wonder if they can imagine how an event like Sandy Hook, and the abuse that followed, has affected the families involved. Or the night club in Orlando. #
I'm getting a new release of Electric River ready, one that uses the latest features and fixes from River5.#
A bonus for people who read Scripting News in a feed reader. Here's the new howto for Electric River. I'm getting ready to release the new version. This one explains itself to people who know little or nothing about River5. Progress! ๐Ÿ‘ #
My new favorite right-margin graphic is the fatcat. I just love the guy. A perfect symbol for our times. #
Chris Allen, a friend from the early Mac days, wants us to look at IPFS as a way of publishing blogs. Sounds good to me. I like cross-discipline collaborations. We don't do enough of it in tech. Ward Cunningham also talks about using IPFS this way.#
In Bojack Horseman they have a running joke, they changed the name of Hollywood, by dropping the D. It actually is funny and there's a story that goes with it. No spoilers. Well in the last post I accidentally typed Faceboo instead of Facebook. I have to say I laughed out loud. I like it a lot. Sorry. #
  • Tech people often choose different names for well-understood concepts that already have well-known names. But outside of tech there are concepts that have names, like the characters in the Bible or Quran, where continuity and prior art were so important that they used the same characters and names, "cross-platform," for centuries. #
  • I was just discussing the California state senate with Bram Cohen on Facebook. (No links to Facebook, sorry.) So in California they call the state senate the senate not some other word like guffmab (made up word). How did they come up with this name? Well most states had two-chamber legislatures, and they were mostly called the senate and assembly. Since California was a relative latecomer to the union, even though it has always been an innovative and different place, they went with the established conventions.#
  • And all those previous states were of course copying the US government, which called its upper chamber the senate too. For some reason they didn't all go with the name of the lower chamber, there must be an interesting story to go with that. #
  • Anyway, of course the founders of the United States used prior art, copying ancient Rome, which called the upper chamber of their legislature the Senate, going all the way back to 753 BC. Why not. Everyone knew what a senate was, why not leverage that, keep confusion down, help people feel comfortable. In tech we'd call this interop. ๐Ÿฑ#
  • Now the American founders could have said hey Rome is defunct, they're all dead, and the United States is going to be much bigger than Rome ever was, so we can come up with a new name and no one will miss the old one. But they didn't think that way. Using the Roman name gave a familiarity and legitimacy to what they were doing that a new name couldn't have. #
  • Obviously, the president leaked through his surrogate that he was thinking of firing Mueller. We weren't born yesterday. Ruddy meets with the president, and then appears on news shows saying he thinks the president is considering firing Mueller. Haha. Yes. How does he know the president is thinking of this? Well obviously, the president told him. #
  • So Mueller, who has even more experience with Washington politics than The Orange One taps five of his friends to "leak" to the Washington Post that the president is, after all, sad to say, under investigation for obstruction of justice. Again, we weren't born yesterday. Millions of us witnessed The Pretender In Chief obstructing on NBC, in an interview with Lester Holt on May 11. We didn't need a smoking gun this time, we all saw it being fired.#
  • This is amateur hour stuff. #
  • Here's an item in my river that came from the Scripting News JSON feed. It's fair to say that River5 now supports RSS-in-JSON. #
  • It was more work than I thought it would be. It's not that the code assumes XML, it just wasn't organized for variable syntax. It is now. So when they invent the thing that comes after JSON, it'll be somewhat easier to adjust. #
  • Having spent two full days wrestling with this I have to say I wondered more than once if it was worth it. #
  • I haven't got a plan for how to support JSON-based feeds that have different semantics from RSS. Truth be told, their semantics will have to map on to RSS, as Atom semantics do. I don't wonder whether that exercise is worth it, it's total make-work. A lot of work with no gain in features, performance, interop.The kind of firedrill that BigCo's make developers do. #
  • My titled posts appear in riverBrowser-rendered rivers as outlines. Which has a problem. Since clicking on the top line expands the post, there was no direct link to the item. Just fixed that by adding a purple link in the right margin. Feels just right. (Probably because they date back to the early blogosphere.)#
  • I'm still posting tests.#
  • Finding and fixing problems with riverBrowser and titleless posts.#
  • Now that I'm making more of them, the problems stand out more.#
  • Time to breathe my own fumes! I've been preaching that feed reader devs should support titleless posts, while my own reader wasn't doing a very good job.#
  • Feel free to hate me. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ #
  • Some states for your consideration#
    • Iowa#
      • Des Moines#
      • Dubuque#
      • Iowa City#
    • Kansas#
      • Topeka#
      • Kansas City#
    • Missouri#
      • St Louis#
      • Independence#
    • Montana#
      • Butte#
      • Bozeman#
    • Louisiana#
      • New Orleans#
      • Baton Rouge#
      • Lafayette#
      • Slidell#
  • 1. I am an outliner.#
  • 2. Their stories are outlines.#
  • Evidence. Look at how beautifully organized this piece is. It's like a dossier. Here's the info you need, presented in a way that's easy on your mind. #
  • So many stories on other sites take forever to get to the point. Here, they give you the organization of the story in a skimmable form. I know where we're going before I read a word. #
  • It builds trust. I more than like it, I love it. #
  • Another tragic gun incident.#
  • People act as if they know what happened before they know. #
  • We know that at least one Congressperson was shot in Virginia. #
  • We don't know who the shooter was. #
  • If he (assume it's a man, almost always is) had a foreign-sounding name, it'll likely be called terrorism. If he's Christian, he'll be called crazy. But there are other possibilities, things we should be watching for.#
  • Ask a Russian. A member of the legislature has been shot. Who did it? They're likely to think it was someone who worked for Putin. Now in the US we should start thinking that way too. Putin exterts a lot of control over us. Do you think it'll stop at assassinating a legislator? It'll probably happen, and when it does, they might stop talking about standing up to Trump. American politicans are not known for courage. #
  • In any case, don't assume you know what happened.#
  • And also if it happens to be a terrorist, remember in the recent terrorism in London there were no guns involved. Because guns are so damned hard to get in the UK. (And our president is clueless.)#
  • Updates#
  • I wasn't planning on it. #
  • I had a little help from circumstances. #
  • I needed life-saving heart surgery.#
  • I had to stay in the hospital for a week.#
  • No smoking.#
  • That, a prescription for Wellbutrin and advice from the heart surgeon was what it took. It was a bit more than advice actually.#
  • Having almost died gave me a new perspective on life. I don't worry so much about things I worried about before. What will people think? Who cares, we'll all be dead soon enough! #
  • When I returned from the hospital I felt like I was in a dead relative's house. I didn't live there. I sold the place less than six months later and had a new career at Harvard. All the way across the country. I was able to get great things done. #
  • Lots of lessons: #
    • 1. Pragmatically, if you smoke, if you can, it's a good idea to quit.#
    • 2. When something huge happens in your life you can make big changes. It's good to know what you want in advance, so when you get to move you can do those things.#
    • 3. When you're in need you find out who your friends are. Three people in particular stand out. None of them were technically family. But they are people I value more than all others. I hope they know it. I tell them whenever I see them. #
    • 4. The worst also comes out in people when you're in need. #
    • 5. Steve Jobs was right about taking chances. "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." #
  • It's no longer a struggle to stay a non-smoker. If it hadn't had been for a reminder on Facebook I would not have remembered that this was the big day. I guess that's how you know you really have become an ex-smoker. #
  • I watch Fox & MSNBC, sometimes there's no diff (e.g. Greta) and MSNBC is no more balanced than Fox. It'd be nice to have a skeptical network.#
  • So sorry for all the interruptions. #
  • I'm trying to get support for RSS-in-JSON nailed down.#
    • Part of that is getting it to understand outlines that are included in RSS items. #
    • That works in the XML version, but not yet in the JSON version.#
  • Paradoxically the problem is that it's a bit simpler to convert, because we're not trying to pass them through the feedparser package. #
  • So this is such an outline. Let's see if it works.#
  • I truly am sorry to be overloading your feed with all these test posts. #
  • I never want to say This is the last one, because that will of course guarantee that it is far from the last one. However, I keep finding problems, so there is a chance that this is the last one. Nah. I don't believe it. ๐Ÿถ#
  • 1. Readers.#
  • 2. Audience.#
  • 3. Viewers.#
  • 4. Consumers.#
  • When you use those terms to describe your relationship to the rest of the world, be careful, because you might be overlooking value that other people can share. You have become a gatekeeper. A bottleneck. A problem. #
  • Better terms:#
    • Experts.#
    • Constituents.#
    • Taxpayers.#
    • Patients.#
    • Professionals.#
    • Scholars.#
    • Workers.#
    • Students. #
    • Friends.#
    • Children.#
    • Doctors.#
    • Teachers.#
  • Think of others as participants. And think of ways you can get new value from them. Believe me, we're all aching to help make the world better, in ways beyond being part of a crowd. It really needs all of us on board. If you're thinking exclusivity, then you're in the way. #
Watching the Sessions testimony in the Senate.#
Why isn't there a fast food chain that will serve you a bowl of spaghetti with a simple red sauce and a nice green salad and a glass of ice tea.#
Thinking out loud. Seems as if Trump is getting serious about blocking people who don't agree with him. But this is something Twitter controls. They almost certainly wouldn't prevent Trump from doing this on their own, but if there were a court order. #
My project for the day is to get River5 to support RSS-in-JSON feeds. I want to support JSON Feed format as well, but RIJ is a straight line. I basically already have support for it in River5, because the structure is just RSS. (And of course since it's a Node app, it's all converted to a JS object before processing, which is basically JSON.) I've LOL'd about 15 times while getting this together. It's like factoring in mathematics. Lots of "it just works" moments. #
One thing I noticed doing this work is that OPML subscription lists have a node type of RSS, which of course works for Atom feeds as well. It gets even weirder since the attribute that tells you where the feed is is called xmlURL. Haha. No we're not going to change that just because syntax is now a variable. This goes with the philosophy of choosing the worst name possible. So the name got worse, which means it actually got better. ๐Ÿฎ#
If you have comments, please submit an issue on the Scripting News repo.#
  • Yes there might be one or two real Warrior fans in the Bay Area. If you went to see them play in Oakland before Curry etc, then you're a real fan. If not, tell me why you care? Nothing exciting about a top team that acquires more top talent simply to make it past another team in the finals. #
  • Not that I'm crazy about Cleveland, they're the Eastern Division equivalent of the Warriors (I refuse to call them by their cute nickname, basketball is not a cute sport). #
  • You have to suffer, for a long time, before you earn the title. Sport is highly moral. There's nothing exciting about winning the title using a checkbook. The Warriors are interesting in the same way the character played by Haley Joel Osment in Silicon Valley is interesting. #
  • Now I look forward to seeing how many of the big free agent stars Cleveland and Golden State can re-sign. ๐Ÿฑ#
  • PS: I do feel happy for JR Smith and Iman Schumpert, two guys who the Knicks failed who just needed the kind of leadership an LBJ can provide.#
  • PPS: When the Mets made the World Series in 2015 there were lots of people wearing Mets hats in NYC. It was so funny. Before that, a Mets-hat-sighting was a rare thing. Almost always got a nod and a thumbs up, because Mets fans were so rare. #
  • PPPS: The Mets were one of two teams in MLB who were not the #1 team in a single county in the US. Can you name the other team? (The Mets are now more popular than the Yankees in NYC, though I don't expect that to last.)#
  • PPPPS: The Knicks suck, perennially. Largely because of an inept narcissistic owner. So do the Nets. It's not unusual that NY basketball teams have the highest payroll, we are the largest, richest city in the US after all. But we can't seem to manage a team. Even when we get a gift it's rejected as not sufficiently pious. #
  • PPPPPS: I would not be opposed to NYC trading the Nets for another more interesting team. Like perhaps the Milwaukee Bucks? I like their style. They would be a good NY team. Nothing like that of course will ever happen, but a fan can dream.#
  • PPPPPPS: Failing that it would be cool to have Dolan sell the team to someone with a better organized brain. I thought former Mayor Bloomberg would be a good NBA team owner. #
  • I have set up my River5 installation so that it is subscribed to both the XML and JSON versions of Scripting News. So when this post appears in the river here, if all goes well, it will appear twice, once from each feed. I will let you know if it worked. ๐Ÿš€#
  • Update: Only the item from the XML feed appeared. I'm hoping that's because the subscription to the JSON feed hasn't been recognized yet? I'll keep watching. Might have to do another test post in a bit. #
  • Update: And then as if on queue it showed up in the log. #
  • Update: Uhhhh but this isn't what I hoped for! :-)#
  • Update: There's a problem in how outlines are handled. Added a bit of defensive code to outlinebrowser.js and now it's able to display the item. Tomorrow I have to go back into davereader and fix the translation of source:outline elements to just the outline object in the river item. #
  • I had not seen this before. Former FBI agent explains how Trump has used Russian active measures against his opponents. #
  • #
Good morning horticulture advocates!#
In Electron, can the main process send a synchronous message to a window? #
I often wonder how Repubs in Congress could be so irresponsible. But then I realized they are responsible -- not to voters but to the Kochs and the Mercers, and their cohorts. The Citizens United decision changed how elections work. The Kochs primaried every Republican with any independence. The ones left, for whatever reason, want to stay in office so badly they will do anything they are told they have to do to keep their jobs. #
Doc: "Impressions on Twitter are almost meaningless. A parking space impresses thousands of passing cars while engaging a handful of them."#
Cori: "People spend too much time just waiting for their turn to talk instead of listening."#
The Trump cabinet act like they're being held hostage.#
  • Today it took about 1/2 hour to learn that droptdown-submenu is not the same thing as dropdown-submenu. #
  • Maybe this will become a regular feature.#
Good morning sports fans!#
A small change to the app that spews links from my various feeds to the Slack group. Now it won't unfurl links coming from Scripting News. It was getting monotonous. Posts from this blog are small things. Now the Slack representation is small too.#
I didn't realize the Moves app was bought by Facebook. It gets a lot of data about the people who use it. I might have thought twice, might not even have installed it, if I had known it was a front for Facebook. Funny thing, when you go to the App Store, it doesn't tell you there either. How is a user supposed to know that this innocuous app is actually a tentacle of the Internet's octopus. #
A quiet near-summer day in NYC. Going out to look at the Puerto Rican Day Parade in a few minutes. #
I believe it's time to make my own version of the Twitter and Facebook timelines. A merger of the two, that can accomodate all my feeds, without strategy taxes. The realtime technology is now ready, it seems. I'm thinking of a personal Twitter, a fractional horsepower Facebook. It's time to stop waiting for them to listen. Listening is not one of their core competences. They haven't figured out how to scale listening. There aren't any hackathons for listening. They have yet to discover a business model for listening. You can't break things fast while listening. Got any other tech cliches to bust? #
Remember mind bombs?#
3/13/2001: "A mind bomb is an idea that's so strange that when it enters your mind, it explodes."#
I blog to create a record. #
I also blog to test my blogging software.#
I love threads like this. John Dickerson (CBS News) asks what would be a good book for a 15-year-old boy. Huge number of great suggestions. My own: Time Enough For Love, Confederacy of Dunces, Sirens of Titan (really any Vonnegut book), Thinner, Catch-22, Enders Game. And of course the must-read for every literate American coming of age: Catcher in the Rye. #
Thanks for the warm reception for RSS-in-JSON.#
The spec is so simple it's almost not there. The Haiku readme. #
Dan MacTough did a schema for RSS-in-JSON#
This morning as I was waking up my Apple Watch told me to take a nap. #
Paul Pierce who is now a retired player and ABC commentator pointed out that to beat the Warriors, the Cavs had to break about 15 all-time playoff records. But they live to play another day. And finally, despite my pronouncement otherwise, this has become at least an interesting series. #
  • Bob Stepno on Facebook: "Should search for a way to completely disable the video chat mode on my Android phone's Facebook Messenger app after discovering that an incoming message could throw half-awake me into live video mode while not fully dressed. Yipe!"#
  • Sorry I don't link to Facebook posts. #
  • I just had to write some complex code in Node that would have been easier to write in Frontier. It had to suck in a calendar-structured folder of archived HTML text into a data structure that roughly parallels the folder structure. Frontier makes this easier in several ways:#
  • 1. It's synchronous. But then so is Node if you want it to be and for this application I used the synchronous version of fs routines. To do it asynch would have taken hours. And since this is code that runs at startup, who cares if it hogs the CPU. It runs once and that's it.#
  • 2. Frontier has a fileloop construct that does all the stuff you have to do explicitly in JS, baked into its kernel. A time and complexity saver. #
  • 3. By far the most important thing is Frontier's integrated debugger. I would use the debugger to write the code. Using it to be sure what values were in what variables to save me the time of having to figure it out. People who haven't worked in an environment where the debgger and editor are the same thing wouldn't understand this. It's the one thing I miss the most. (Node does have a debugger and I use it. I write sloppy first versions so I can get to that point of letting the code speak for itself at runtime.)#
  • I often skip over these observations because I am deep in codewriting mode when they occur to me. This time I popped out and wrote it down. A testimony to the value of having a blogging system that excels at quick writing and no production work to publish. #
  • Lately I've been watching a lot of MSNBC. #
  • Commercials for all kinds of stuff. Ambulance chasers, insurance, treatments for diseases like diabetes, psoriasis, various kinds of cancers. Diarrhea. Constipation. Opiate induced constipation. Colonoscopies. Thankfully they seem to have stopped running the ads about the various obscene ways smoking can kill you (I quit! I quit! A long time ago!)#
  • One thing you never see is an ad for the Democratic Party. #
  • What they need imho is a campaign, to start, like Trivago's. A few years after that's had a chance to settle in, one of the threads of GEICO's great advertising about insurance. Whoever does their advertising, if they like Democrats, hire them. They really know what they're doing.#
  • Now, Trivago, a very new brand, has a simple position that they drive into your head over and over. It goes like this. #
    • Hotel? Trivago.#
  • Drill that in. Thinking about a hotel? Trivago. They want their word to be stored in your brain in same cell as the other word. #
    • Hotel? Trivago. Hotel? Trivago. Hotel? Trivago. Hotel? Trivago. Hotel? Trivago. Hotel? Trivago. Hotel? Trivago. Hotel? Trivago.#
  • As annoying as their ads are, and they are annoying, it works. The idea is planted. It hasn't yet gotten me to buy a hotel through Trivago. But at some point it probably will. (I use Kayak or Expedia.) #
  • Another travel site, is trying for the same position. Their slogan goes like this.#
    • Booking dot yeah.#
  • It catches in the brain for some reason. #
  • Well, here's what the Democratic Party should have planted in my brain. #
    • People? Democrats.#
  • The Democratic Party isn't about anything other than people. That means you. All different kinds of people, but mostly people like you. It works because it's the truth, and because it's what people want to feel. Democrats work for the people. Over and over. #
    • People? Democrats. People? Democrats. People? Democrats. People? Democrats. People? Democrats. People? Democrats. #
  • Bernie Sanders had the perfect Democratic Party TV ad. It reminds me how much I love America. It makes me cry every time I watch it. Too bad Volkswagen bought the Simon and Garfunkel song. It would have been the perfect Democratic Party theme song. #
  • Anyway. People? Democrats will take a few years of steady advertising. If they start now it might be in place in enough people's minds for the 2018 election. And that'll be the end of Republicans usurping the Democratic position as the party of the people. Which they used to own. And can have back. #
  • Fuck you. Truth is -- we failed ourselves.#
  • A picture named hillaryTheBoxer.png#
Good morning sports fans!#
If your boss says "I hope you will do X" and you don't and the boss fires you it follows that it was an order.#
If Trump doesn't have tapes can you imagine him admitting it? Like the team of crack investigators in Hawaii researching Obama's birth certificate.#
If you read this blog, consider also requesting an invite for the associated Slack group. Thinking of using it for a new project. Depends on who's there of course. ๐Ÿฑ #
One good thing that came from all the online craziness of the 2016 election is that it eliminated the pretense that everyone's intentions are good. Also that everyone is who they pretend to be. Also that people who appear to be human actually are. We dealt with that kind of mess in RSS-land in the early 00's. In the end we came through it, and RSS is still working today. Our experience could contain some lessons for democracy. ๐Ÿ˜„ #
This is a test post. I'll explain in a bit what it's a test for. (Update: It has an enclosure.) #
  • When I'm working on a project and encounter no resistence, it doesn't feel right, and I get lost, distracted easily. It's the challenge that keeps pulling me forward, the potential sense of accomplishment, the growing, the learning. Achieving potential is exciting.#
  • That's why watching two teams get through the playoffs, one with a perfect record, and the other near-perfect, there's no suspense, no achievement. Nothing interesting, nothing to root for. They've been there before. #
  • But there's hope!#
  • This year many of the stars on both teams will be free agents, and all the teams on the outside, all 28 of them, all with just as much if not more money than Golden State and Cleveland, are going to be bidding up the prices. Some are surely going to leave to make more money, to have a chance of escaping from behind the bright glow of the superstars, Curry, James, Durant, Irving, Thompson, Green, etc.#
  • Anyway, what would have been exciting? How about Jeremy Lin leading the Nets to the finals? Haha. Well the Celtics would have been a lot of fun. Maybe next year. This year, it's like Ford vs GM. No matter who wins, it's fucking boring. #
  • I now understand the idea of a public editor by analogy with an idea I had for blogs back when I was regularly getting embroiled in personal battles about stuff I posted on my blog. #
  • Back then I assumed everyone meant well, so I would rebut their personal comments. Over time I learned that 99 times out of a hundred the point of a personal comment was to draw you out into defending yourself in public, so more people could pile on, creating a boredom-relieving "accident" the Internet has become famous for. #
  • The idea was this. Every blogger would have a designated consiglieri. If you have an issue with a blogger, first you had to bring it to the counselor, who would then decide if the issue should be brought to the blogger, i.e. if it had merit, wasn't personal, wasn't an attempt to draw the blogger into a time-wasting personal defense. The person acting as the buffer would insulate the blogger from personal attacks. Thus tamping them down, it was hoped. #
  • I imagined my consigliere would be Doc. And I would offer to reciprocate. #
  • As I watch Jay make an issue of the NYT's new lack of a public editor, about times when having a public editor would be handy, I recognize the role. (One which we never implemented btw.)#
Trump had an opinion re Bill Clinton meeting with Attorney General Lynch on tarmac, so new to this is BS.#
Examples of JSON news formats from the New Yorker and the NY Times via GitHub thread. This is valuable prior art. #
Ken Smith quoting Sara Ahmed: "If you have to shout to be heard you are heard as shouting. If you have to shout to be heard you are not heard."#
More people are blogging. That's really cool. Now one thing to make sure of is that people can easily find out who you are from each of your posts. Simple things like your name. Sometimes hard to determine. I am as guilty as anyone about this.#
  • Earlier I tweeted that news is narcissistic when it comes to reporting on the negative effects of Facebook. I believe this is irrefutable. How many articles have you read about Facebook hurting journalism? And how many about how Facebook is hurting the open web? I care about journalism. They should care about the open web, of which journalism is a part. #
  • Perhaps a nice Venn Diagram will help?#
  • A picture named vennDiagram.png#
  • We used to ask What Would Google Do. But now it's more interesting, perhaps, to ask what would Russia do.#
  • Wellllll...#
  • Today would be the day to fuck with the net. #
  • They'd have saved up some real hacks for today. Tested them.#
  • And at exactly the right moment, turn the lights out.#
  • Today is like an old SteveNote, except it's Comey and the product is the United States, not an iPod or new Mac or whatever.#
  • Today is the day Russia would take over the world communication system.#
  • Just take out Facebook and Twitter. That would do it.#
  • And what would Russia do while the net is down?#
  • Well, pretty much anything they want!#
Good morning everybody!#
More fun with NPM packages. This one reads OPML files and handles asynchronous includes. This was formerly a local module of PagePark. #
Is World War III starting in the Middle East right now? Qatar, the US, our military base in Qatar, Egypt, ISIS, Saudi Arabia and now Iran, are involved in what? There's a lot of anger going around. And our president, the idiot savant (hopefully or maybe just the idiot) of international politics seems to be in the middle of it. #
If you don't pay attention to which apps have access to your location, your phone is reporting where you are to every company all the time.#
I'm using the word deplorable more and more. I want to make it a normal word. You can help. When El Presidentรฉ does something deplorable call it that. It's a good word. Let's take it back.#
I almost used Uber yesterday but I noticed something deplorable about the app. They want to know your location but only offer two options. Either you never let them know your location or you always do. And of course you can't use the app if they don't have access to your location. Now you could turn it off after the ride, but most people would forget. If you just ride Uber once they get to spy on you all the time. Fucked up company. #
Still no mention on MSNBC that the president is racist and is running the US govt accordingly.#
Re parsing XML in JavaScript apps, there already is a simple way to do it. Of course. That's what makes JS such a great environment to develop in. And the really dumb thing is I already knew about it, tried it, demo'd it. Just 11 days ago. Arrrrgh. Yesterday I said it would be a great idea. My memory is totally overloaded. Thanks to numerous readers for the reminders. ;-)#
  • I have a better idea with regard to pointing to FB posts. #
  • Since they don't allow outgoing links from blog posts, then the new rule is no links going into FB. Instead, just copy the text from FB and paste it into the open web where it can be linked to. Rescue ideas from Facebook lockin. #
  • I did that with Dan Conover's post below. His post is funny, definitely worth a citation on my blog. Instead of complaining in a comment, I just took the text, credited him of course, but no link into FB. #
  • If you want to be on the web you have to follow the rules of the web. The primary rule is that you link to other people when you want to, not when the platform lets you. #
  • Whatever justification you have for using FB for blogging, there is no justification for FB not letting you use the most basic feature of the web. #
  • Actual Politico headline: "Trump floats idea of using solar panels to pay for Mexico wall." Meanwhile, over at The Onion: "We give up. It's pointless."#
Good morning sports fans!#
Can you imagine a Supreme Court decision re Twitter? Not so far-fetched. #
If I have an hour to kill all I have to do is write a blog post. Time just flows.#
When I link to search queries I'm using DuckDuckGo now. I was using Google figuring that they'd be the most long-lived search engine -- the links would likely work years from now. But it all comes down to what "work" means. Google is playing strategy tax games with search. I no longer consider it authoritative. It misses too many things that are important for reasons that have nothing to do with their value as a search result. I'm bettting that DuckDuckGo has a stronger philosophy and even if they were not to last as long as Google they're still worth supporting. #
An idea. I sent this to my friend Dan MacTough who wrote the FeedParser package for Node that I use in River5. "How about a package that compiles XML text into a JavaScript object exactly as JSON.parse does." I got this idea from reading promotional material for the JSON Feed project. One of their concerns is that XML parsing is too hard. Okay, that's feedback. I think they're right. So let's make it as easy. Easy is good. Why not?#
  • A Super Hero movie starring The Leaders of the Free World, led by Batman-like ex-POTUS *secret* superhero Barack Obama vs his nemesis, the evil super villain DJ "Donald" Trump, also known as El Presidente. His superpower is being a smooth-talking sales guy.#
  • Obama's sidekicks include a Canadian Prime Minister whose superpower is crooning and flexing his muscles, doing pullups using only his left pinkie, and the German Chancellor who has a PhD in Physics. They are pictured below at Obama's Fortress of Solitude in the Bahamas or Bermuda or Bali (no one knows for sure).#
  • A picture named superHerosOfTheFreeWorld.png#
  • It's on display, irrefutable, so why aren't the press making more of it? It's huge news. #
  • How is it irrefutable? He ignores acts of terrorism where the perp is Christian. Only Muslim terrorism matters. But the Christian kind is more terrifying here in the US. We breed deplorable Christians here by the thousands. #
  • You know where racist presidents take us, right? If you don't name it, you let it develop in the dark. #
  • A really good piece in TechCrunch, you should read it if you care about social networks, how we got to where we are, and how stuck they are, and how weird it's going to get. The last part is left to your imagination in TechCrunch. But it's what I find most interesting.#
  • I'm indirectly quoted in the TechCrunch story. They point to Gruber's piece entitled Fuck Facebook, and it extensively quotes a piece I wrote that explains why I can't/won't point to blog posts on Facebook. I followed up to say I continue to use FB and hope they fix the problem and turn FB into a fantastic blogging surface that I can cross-post to from my blog.#
  • I wasn't kidding. I really have no use for FB as a blogging platform as long as they shun the web that gave them life. It was the primordial soup they emerged from. Without it, 11-year-old Zuck would have had no way to experiment with social nets. But now Facebook so obviously tries to keep the web out, but my writing depends on the ability to integrate the writing of the web. It's like programming without the ability to factor replicated code into subroutines. In FB blogging you're starting from scratch every time. Yet Zuck uses Facebook to communicate with his users. His posts never have links and no titles, no styling. Just huge numbers of long paragraphs one after the other. That's probably one of the reasons I never read his posts. Maybe his thinking doesn't build on other people's ideas either? I've never met Zuck. Maybe that tells you something. Do you think the Beatles met Chuck Berry? Weird example I know. :shrug:#
  • Should we let the news orgs off the hook? Of course not. They're even worse than Facebook. At least FB lets us post as equals to Zuck. And that's meant some voices have gained traction on FB without approval of Zuck and Company. Examples are numerous. But the NYT? You have to belong to a very exclusive club to be invited to post on their site. You have to know someone. And they have to like you. And that keeps out the truly good ideas. I know that when I read the NYT. I am welcome to read, and to pay, but my ideas aren't good enough to appear alongside the writers of the NYT. So they're even more of a silo than FB. #
  • I still want the web. Look at the post I wrote yesterday about RSS-in-JSON. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, preparing, reading background material. How sterile it would have been if I could only mention the work I learned from instead of giving you, the reader, who I respect, a chance to read for yourself. Maybe you'd come to a different conclusion? You have to know, after all these years, that that's totally OK with me.#
  • I want the web and Facebook won't give it to me. So I think now Facebook has a huge self-imposed limit to growth, just like the journalists. Eventually I believe they will pay for it. Yet the conventional wisdom in tech is that Facebook won, they killed the goose that gave them the golden egg. I wouldn't bet on it. #
  • I have to say my new blogging platform has made a huge difference.#
  • All the techniques of 20 years ago come right back. I feel in a way like I'm writing in the "pages" of HotWired. I feel a confidence I haven't had in a long time. #
  • It was the right thing to do. Often software only feels that way before you use it. The really good stuff feels that way even after you've settled in.#
  • Now there are things that aren't hooked in. And the Facebook and Twitter metadata don't work properly in this model. I hope they see that and realize we could do better. I can't change their software, only mine. #
  • Seems that's true of people too btw. If you want change and you're waiting for other people to give it to you, look for ways you can change, and that will automatically make them change. It's powerful, but it's the harder of the two ways. #
Getting ready for a little trip, just a couple of days, want to be sure I can update my blog from my laptop. That's what this little test is for. #
Oh what the Repubs are doing to the United States. And you're depending on keeping everyone fooled forever.#
I watched the first ten minutes of last night's NBA Finals game and switched it off. Too painful. For now Golden State is unbeatable. I'll watch the beginning of the next game to see if anything is different. #
  • A few years ago, in 2012, I tried an experiment, publishing RSS semantics using JSON syntax, to see what would happen, much like the experiment that got RSS started in 1997. I wanted to see if there was interest among developers for a JSON version of RSS. I put up a website, with comments, and added a JSON feed to my blog (technically it was JSONP). Wired even asked me to write a piece about it. #
  • Not much happened with the feed, but the comments underneath the post were quite impressive, especially now, five years later. #
  • Then my friends Brent Simmons and Manton Reece, two developers with a strong interest in syndication (Brent wrote NetNewsWire and Manton is currently working on published a spec for a format they call JSON Feed. It was supported immediately by Brent's blog,, and the Macintosh community central blog, Daring Fireball. It was off to a strong start. #
  • I had mixed feelings about this, and wrote it up in a post a couple of days after the format was announced. I was concerned about whether there was demand for JSON syntax among people who actually produce feeds and write software that consumes feeds. I understand how developers feel, but how many of them are responsible for the flow of RSS-based news? I was also concerned because they were creating new names for things that already existed in RSS 2.0. I had the same concern with Atom, many years ago. Why not start with the same names, and add to them where needed. #
    • Aside: I observed that even though Islam, Christianity and Judaism are different religions, their holy books have many of the same stories, and the characters have the same names. If they can do it, presumably to allow some level of interop, why can't technology? It can, imho and must.#
  • Many of these ideas were expressed in my manifesto, Rules for standards-makers, which came out shortly before the release of Brent and Manton's spec (a coincidence, there was no connection, I wrote the piece in anticipation of a podcasting conference at Harvard in early May).#
  • But there was interest in the JSON Feed format as evidenced by the long list of comments on the GitHub site where it is being discussed. #
  • So I thought about it, and while I was working on Old School, my new blogging platform, I decided to detour for a couple of days to review my RSS-generating code, and to add parallel code that generates a JSON-syntax feed with exactly the same semantics as the RSS version. I wrote that up here, on May 30. In that piece I promised to write more and to provide some technical details about how the format is constructed. #
  • It took longer to write than I thought it would, probably because it's a very short document. I had able help from my friend Allen Wirfs-Brock, who has a lot of experience editing technical specs, having worked on just that at Microsoft and Mozilla. #
  • What do I hope happens? Well, whatever was meant to happen. ๐ŸŽˆ#

© 1994-2017 Dave Winer.

Last udpate: Thursday June 29, 2017; 9:06 AM EDT.