Today's background image is Mount Everest.
I like everything about this word.
It's nice to spell, and nice to say.
It's kind of hidden in his usually impersonal blog, PressThink, but there's a great story buried in there, about the family he grew up in. Well worth reading, esp because it explains the mindset of a natural-born blogger. We're the people who witness insanity, and wish to advise people on how not to be that way. It's a pointless job, and Jay explains why, but I won't spoil it.
Scripting News: WordPress-to-OPML source.
Tom Negrino reviews OmniOutliner 4 Pro for MacWorld.
Neil Tyson on the barriers he faced as a young black kid on his way to becoming an astrophysicist
A music-less version of the video for Pharrell Williams’ hit song Happy.
Phil Jackson praises Mike Woodson.
Montana GOP candidate shoots at government drone in ad.
Walmart destroying MoneyGram and Western Union with new money transfer service.
Scripting News: WordPress to OPML, working!
Scripting News: How the cloud should work.
Fargo 1.54. There's one new feature in this release, the ability to download an entire WordPress site into a Fargo outline.
Appeals court says blogs are not only media, they’re an important source of news and commentary.
Oy. The Nets are in the playoffs. Everyone who cares about basketball in NYC knows it. And we're all Knicks fans. I have never met a Nets fan. That said, I'm sure most NY basketball fans were planning on rooting for the Nets, as the hometown team that made the playoffs this year. Then they ran this ad:
Now really, guys, let's not overplay it. There are lots of tickets available for the Nets playoff games. I go to Nets games when the Knicks are out of town. I was thinking of possibly maybe going to a Nets playoff game. But if they think they're going to score points with Knicks fans by trashing them. Well they don't understand their home market.
A much better approach. "We know you don't care about us. But we're going to play our hearts out in the post-season, knowing full well you'd much rather be watching the Knicks. We hope to win you over. Not this year, not next, but maybe in a few years, we'll have earned your loyalty. A little of it. In the meantime we know we're barely on the radar. We had a good year. We have a long way to go and we know it. Love, The Nets."
Van Gundy: Nets sandbagged to avoid drawing Bulls.
Scripting News: The press isn't getting Heartbleed.
NYT interview with Mark Zuckerberg.
Meet the guy who added $2 billion to Twitter's valuation yesterday.
Seagate’s LaCie Admits to Yearlong Breach of Customer Card Data.
Today's background image is a Banksy.
Given the amount of investment money flowing to companies like Dropbox, you could start a company with the goal of hiring enough engineers to create a target to be bought by one of them. Programmers, it seems, are the tulips of this bubble. Create a cushy environment, and make one of the benefits a payout when the company is bought. Obviously you want to hire programmers who are good at taking the tests the big companies have for new hires. And it pays to develop their skills using the technology of the company that you want to be bought by.
Scripting News: Old-time laptops.
Scripting News: Ted Nelson on an iPhone.
Game of Thrones Sets New Torrent Swarm Record.
Tavern on the Green reopens April 24.
It's kind of nice to be able to edit a whole website in an outline. Soon you'll be able to do that for WordPress, and not just new sites, also for existing ones. Like this.
As part of the development process, I converted the old Rebooting the News site to OPML. You can open the file in Fargo, by copying the URL to the clipboard, then switch into Fargo, choose Open By Url from the File menu and paste the URL. Of course you can't edit it, it's not your blog, but if it were you would be able to.
Along the way today I used a picture I had been holding on to. I thought it was interesting that you can now read Ted Nelson's seminal Dream Machines and Computer Lib on an iPhone. Carl Sagan said: "We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness." On a smaller, humbler, human scale, the iPhone is an imperfect representation of the visions documented in Nelson's books. That it can present the work that led to itself is amazing evidence of how much we've gotten done in our generation. It's all there and it fits in the palm of your hand!
We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to selfawareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
Today's ride: 45 minutes, 6.79 miles.
This week's Cosmos explained how plants produce clean energy.
Gizmodo: A Pyramid Built To Track the End of the World.
From now on when anything weird or dangerous happens you'll wonder if you're experiencing a Heartbleed hack.
2001 Internet World interview re SOAP and XML-RPC.
Gothamist: Prospect Park Bike Lane Doesn't Impede Traffic.
Lifehacker: Stop Telling Yourself You're Too Busy.
Great piece and here's a wonderful insight: "There is no greater mistake than the hasty conclusion that opinions are worthless because they are badly argued." Even people who communicate well, fall apart when they're scared. So when it gets intense, you have to try to listen even better than you normally would. Which is tough, because you're scared too (when arguing).
It's interesting timing because I'm working on a project that uses XML-RPC in node.js. So I'm actively coding in the framework we designed in 1998, and also get to read about what I was thinking at the time. It's preserved on archive.org. Haven't worked at this level in a decade or more.
What's really cool is to see the support was already there in node.js, and it works really well. That's excellent. People working together over large blocks of time. Probably not because it's good or idealistic, rather because it's useful and fits into what we're doing.
August 2012: We could make history.
Doc Searls to Mozilla: Come back home.
Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community.
Pando: Pierre Omidyar’s quarter billion dollar journalism project seems to have stopped publishing.
Condoleezza Rice is the background image for today's Scripting News.
First there was Zuck, who hired an 85-year-old architect to design Facebook's new campus. Would he consider giving such responsibility to an 85-year-old software engineer? How about a 45-year-old one? Zuck is smart but very young, and one of the things you learn with age is about age itself. It's totally impossible for a 29-year-old, genius or not, to have any idea what his or her capabilities will be as he or she grows older.
I don't usually like to flaunt what I've learned in life, but on this issue, it's required. I was very scared of aging when I was 29. The fear grew as I turned 40. By 50 I was numb to it. Now as I approach 60 the only thing I fear are the disabilities that come with age. Age itself isn't a problem.
Then Drew Houston hires Condoleezza Rice as a board member. I didn't object although others did. They didn't have a problem with her age (59), it was her politics they didn't like. But if you will rely on such an obsolete person to be part of the governance of your company, why not as part of its leadership?
The disconnect: If Frank Gehry can be creative and break new ground at 85, which he certainly is doing, why the fuck can't I, according to the young people who now run our industry? Can't you find some competitive advantage from using the unique abilities that come with experience? Why didn't Dropbox hire a 25-year-old version of Ms Rice for their board? In the answer is a big aha moment, if you answer truthfully.
BTW, this motto is one of the reasons I don't bother offering an opinion about who a company chooses as a board member. It's powerless to threaten to stop using a product. It's also presumptuous. I don't think any company really cares whether one or two people stop using their product. Of course they do care if a substantial portion of their users do, but you are powerless to cause that. So if you really care, just do it.
I said on Twitter last night that Heartbleed is bigger than Watergate or the war in Iraq. I got a little pushback on that. Of course the numbers don't match up yet, but long before there were hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq, we were on an inexorable path to that. Iraq is a relatively small and contained geography, and the war started before the explosion of networking. Today, the scope of the net, things we use it for, reach into every corner of civilization. Even a slight collapse at the core of the net could disrupt things, and not in the nice way that creates 20-something billionaires.
Look, sooner or later there will be a meltdown of the net. We were headed for that long before Heartbleed. I never said what I believed because I didn't want to be the first to say it. But we have been building more complex systems and more life-sustaining dependencies on a fragile and insecure system. The ability to do harm increases with every new dependency. When the network equivalent of Katrina happens, it will be felt everywhere.
Imho the owners of tech are soon going to wish they didn't own it. So far it's been a very profitable thing. It's been changing for a long time, but till now the changes haven't been visible. It's hard to understand, but when we all feel it, we won't need analogies to explain it.
Special Podcast: What the Fuck!
If you're interested in how the tech game is played, you must read this piece by Ryan Tate in Wired about how Facebook is evolving. Lots of food for thought.
Second ride of the year. 30 minutes. 4.86 miles. Serious butt hurt, but it feels great to be moving again.
Today's background image is the Hudson River, glowing in the warm spring sunlight.
Knicks’ plan: Re-sign Melo, bottom out, ink big free agent in 2015.
Facebook is run by someone who is comfortable with the way the pieces fit together in software, where Twitter can't manage what seems a fairly simple corner-turn. Twitter needs to evolve a new higher-level product, where the current Twitter is the machine room, the newsroom, the table in the conference room off to the side of the newsroom. They have the news system of the future, all they have to do it experiment with a variety of different styles of presentation. They would have gotten there a lot sooner with less risk if they had left the developer community alone, but they could still do it if they had a flexible, gutsy sort of Zuck or Gates at the helm. That was the power of Gates, he didn't mind shipping a shitty product, and then completely changing the way it worked based on what they learned in the market. Twitter needs to do some of that. Zuck, with a lot more to lose, seems willing to roll the dice. This seems like a replay of Microsoft versus Lotus in the early 90s. Anyway, I'm rambling (no 140-character limit here). Go read Ryan's piece. It's really worth it.
284 retweets. That's some kind of record (for me at least).
Drew Houston on Rice's appointment to the Dropbox board.
Joe Moreno: $5,000 Security Breach.
First ride of the year!
It would be so easy to pop open a window, let you write a few paragraphs, and then post a link to your tweet stream. With the new profile layout, they could even provide a list of your most recent posts. I've been wondering about this for a while. Esp now that people are basically writing blog posts in their tweet stream (e.g. Marc Andreessen, but there are others).
And I think we're late responding to it. If this were a single system so compromised, the right technique would be to go offline and not come back until all connection points were patched or verified to not need patching.
My longtime friend Jodi Mardesich has a new job reporting for ReadWrite.
Years ago, I used to work with a lot of reporters, largely on background, because I enjoyed being part of the news process. When I worked with Jodi, she was at the SJ Merc. Early days of the web. I had some excellent sources, and I gave her one really great story.
My source was Woz. Apple was getting ready to fire their CEO, and replace him with Steve Jobs. Woz wanted me to
get the story out leak the story. I chose Jodi as the conduit because I knew she'd tell the story well, and could be trusted to protect her sources. We've been friends a long time. Happy to welcome her back.
I also played a small role in getting ReadWrite started. When Richard MacManus started the site, it was a Radio blog, among the first. I always feel pride at having helped them when they were getting started.
Since I am a regular in Central Park, I see a skyline that many people don't, the one at the southern end of the park.
You can see the next huge building to go up, popping up over the GM building. It's at Park Ave and 56th St. It's going to be the tallest residential building in North America at almost 1400 feet. Super-luxury apartments. Check out the site, esp the page where you can sample the view from various levels. The one from 1271 feet is absolutely stunning.
Scripting News: Dropbox tone-deaf? Hardly.
Scripting News: Secret may be the next thing.
Today's background image, spring is approaching.
How to have an out of body experience.
Last night's blog post: Heartbleed is serious.
E-filing of Canadian taxes shut down because of Heartbleed bug.
Bruce Schneier re Heartbleed: "On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11."
Tumblr: Urgent security update.
Wonder why heartbleed isn't trending on Twitter?
Scripting News: Question for Mac devs re Heartbleed.
Heroku responded to Heartbleed.
Exemplary report from Twilio. This is the kind of disclosure we need from every company with an Internet presence.
Software is built in layers. First programmers get something simple working, test it, then build on top of it. More testing, then more building. Build, test, build, test, over and over. This process has been going on for a long time.
OpenSSL is not the deepest technology we have, but it's close. It's built into a lot of things we use all the time. The most serious problems, the hardest ones to address, will be the places where it's built-in where updates are either hard or impossible. But first we have to locate and patch all the easy places. That process began just yesterday, we hope! We don't know much about what the companies that run our services are doing.
The worst case scenario, the one we all have to plan for, is that the management of affected companies aren't responding to the problem. This will certainly happen in some cases. If it happens at a bank, the results could be very bad.
That's why the best thing you can do is to let the companies know that a quick competent response is necessary. This is a time when we find out which vendors are prepared for the world we live in today, or whether they have to catch up, in real-time, while their systems are vulnerable.
Most news reports say you should change passwords on all your Internet accounts. This is not good advice, and it might even be bad advice. It certainly doesn't help if a service is vulnerable. It's like changing the lock on a door that's open. Only it's worse -- because the key to the new lock is inside the door, unprotected, available for a hacker to take. There is no physical world analogy that explains how serious this problem is.
What you can do to help is to ask the companies whose services you use what their status is re Heartbleed. Have they discovered vulnerabilities, and if so have they been patched? Do they have any recommendations for users? Are they taking this seriously?
For example, I asked the CTO of AWS, a service I use, "where would we look for news of Amazon's status re Heartbleed?" As a customer, you are totally entitled to know this.
I'd especially recommend checking with your online bank, and the company that makes your desktop or mobile operating system. Have we heard anything from Apple or Microsoft about their systems, for example.
Every company should have a web page like this one from Twilio, explaining in clear terms, what they discovered when they did an audit of their systems, and systems they rely on (because vulnerabilities can be inherited from others), and what they've done or are doing to fix any problems. This is a time for companies to be communicative with their customers and users. You are totally within your rights, and are acting responsibly if you ask respectfully what is their plan for responding to Heartbleed.
Duh. Log on and see if there are updates available, and if so, install them.
Scripting News: Heartbleed is serious.
Scripting News: Ideas for Google Glass.
Scripting News: What's the cost of failure?
Today's background image -- 59th St from inside Central Park.
The reason is one that's often overlooked. While RSS isn't "mainstream," the people who push links through the main stream do use RSS to keep up to date. I am one of them. I have feeds for all your competitors. It's good for you if I add your feeds to my flow. I can't link to your great stuff if I don't know about it.
Scripting News: How to do new things.
Scripting News: How to display title-less feed items.
GitHub: fargoTemplates v0.45.
Chris Dixon: The decline of the mobile web.
Poynter: Omidyar’s First Look Media looking to find its focus, target an audience.
The Ultimate Guide to Solving iOS Battery Drain.
Today's background image is a Banksy.
A new news site, Vox, is rolling out now, apparently claiming to have great new technology. Okay, it's hype, everyone hypes their new stuff, I do it too. But what's not okay is the NYT repeating the claim without substantiating it. This goes back to a piece I wrote late last year about how I wished the Times would respect technology as much as it does fashion, movies, food, travel, the other kinds of creativity that it covers and reviews.
It's hard to imagine the Times covering the opening of a restaurant, saying they have superior food, without offering examples. Or giving a movie a Critics Pick, without explaining what makes it so great. It's time for tech get a chance to grow up, and until the press starts examining vendors' claims, instead of just repeating them, why shouldn't a vendor exaggerate? There's virtually no chance of them getting called on it.
On the other hand, Vox is no ordinary product. It presents itself not only as a breakthrough in tech, it's also trying to break new ground in journalism, through an art called explainers. Which suggests the best solution is an explainer that offers justification for the claim that their CMS is far in advance of what else is available now.
Disclaimer: Fargo, my latest product, is a content system for web sites. I'm kind of an expert on this, and I think our software could easily do what Vox is doing. Not just for their employees, but for everyone. But I might be missing what's great about Vox.
Update: Jay Rosen provides links to background on Vox's software.
I'm working my way through Girls, and loving it. It's changing the way I look at NYC.
However, I'm not expecting to like Silicon Valley for the same reason Elon Musk doesn't. I've lived that lifestyle, and I doubt seriously whether TV writers will have any idea what's going on. Watching people write code is very different from making music or acting. Fingers move, you take a drink, maybe pace a little. In the old days I'd play drums while waiting for a build (they happen too fast now for you to have that kind of time). Otherwise it's like watching paint dry. Doesn't mean it's not exciting, it is -- but it would be hard to convey that on TV. Hey it might be like writing a series about TV writers.
Today's background image, a bride in Central Park, a sure sign that spring is either here, or coming soon.
The general press has been covering the Mozilla story the last few days, but none of them, imho have explained why this is a crucial time for Mozilla. Interestingly, if it were a sports story they probably would be able to. For example..
When a basketball team is rebuilding, you can read about it all over sports commentary. The strategy shows up in everything they do, when they write about the Celtics, 76ers, for example, two teams that are definitely doing it, and it's in the undercurrent of what they report on the Knicks, who probably should be rebuilding. The Chicago Bulls thought they were rebuilding, but they have a spunky center who felt otherwise, and the team is in contention for something, not a championship, but likely a deep run into the playoffs.
Mozilla, like the Knicks, should be rebuilding because this is no longer a game of big men on the inside, but rather its a smaller more agile athletic game, with computers that now fit in pockets and mount on your arm and head, and who knows where else. Mozilla, through their Firefox browser, has been dealt out of that game. And if they saw it coming, they certainly didn't react in time. Mozilla never has been very nimble. Which has actually been part of its charm.
So who will be the Phil Jackson of Firefox, and what will he or she do with the options they have. These are much more interesting questions than the politics that are understandable to the savvy reporters, but they require an understanding of what Mozilla does, and how it fits in with the other teams in tech, both historically and in the future.
"unsub" in reply to a directed tweet means: "thanks, i got your point." Its purpose is to tell a spammer to stop, without encouraging more spam. It's also a subtle way of saying you're being a dick, from my point of view, ymmv.
Design flaw: Twitter only recognizes one kind of spam. Someone making a point over and over is also spamming you. Filling up your Replies tab with stuff that's either repetitive and sometimes even personal and offensive. (Those are easier to block right-off.)