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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 31, 2000. Friday, March 31, 2000

Announce: UserLand will join W3C. $5000. 

Further: I will speak at WWW9 on XML-RPC. Priceless.  

ZDNet: Dave Winer doesn't believe in software patents. "What if software developers called a daylong moratorium on coding to protest patents?"  

David Carter-Tod: CHI-WEB has been discussing web apps and are having a meeting about them April 1-6 in the Hague, Netherlands. 

Klaus Schwab: "To conclude, you have in front of you the 1,000 most influential business leaders. What would be your single, most important wish towards them, at this moment?" 

array: "kevin drennan of the santa fe institute and i are arranging the first annual meeting of frontier users here in santa fe." 

The Webapps mail list is starting to get interesting. 

Bill Machrone: "If Amazon wants to fight, let it fight on a thousand fronts. Let it be nibbled to death by ducks." 

Jeff Cheney has lots of great links on editorial integrity

Can you find the black dot? Warning, it may drive your eyes crazy. 

On the W3C xml-dist-apps mail list, Jeremy Allaire gives a status report on WDDX. 

46 sites on Weblogs.Com. I really like the look of this one

Making Zope Zoooom. "Frontier has that wide-open wild-ass thing too, but focusing the functionality for writers was the single best thing that ever happened to Frontier. I suggest the same can and should be done for Zope. In other words, if there were a Manila-compatible mode for Zope that might be the secret sauce that makes Zope zooom." 

Real world: Two Way Web White Board

Wow. Photos of whiteboards are in my space now. As I was posting the picture above, Marc Canter sent me this picture of him in a virtual sea of whiteboards. 

Since Andre is returning to Germany tomorrow, I wanted to take some pictures of his workplace, also known as Spicy Noodles West. Andre's been working pretty much round the clock. But all you have to do to get Andre to wake up is say Wiener Schnitzel! I tried to sneak up and take a picture of the Frontier source code but Andre says "Not Open Source!" Ironically Andre uses his Mac and BBEdit to review Dr Watson error logs. "For some reasons it's the only editor that works," he said. 

What is Constructor

WSJ: Microsoft enters uncertain era. "Is the company as aggressive as it was two years ago? When asked, Mr. Silverberg, a former Microsoft senior vice president who oversaw Explorer and two versions of Windows, just smiles and asks: 'Have you ever met Steve?'" 

Joel Spolsky: Painless Software Schedules

ZDNet: "Patents are not just being used as another revenue stream, but as a way to block rivals from competing in the market." 

Mike Donnelan, the editor of blackholebrain is a sign designer. That explains a lot (I think) about the colors and style he uses on his sites. 

Yesterday on a follow-up mail list to the patent meeting at Esther's earlier this month, Tim O'Reilly told us that he's going to Washington next week with Jeff Bezos to meet with legislators about web patents. Esther responded saying she was going to be at the White House the same day for an event that she would tell us about later. I asked the group if any inventors were in the loop here. Not much of a response. I thought to myself, would they pass legislation revolutionizing medicine without involving doctors? Wouldn't that be considered an obvious question? I concluded later that software designers and inventors don't get much respect. They'll find out later how dependent they are on us when the systems *really* stop working. Lawyers controlling software? I'd rather not be their beta testers. 

BTW, as far as I know Jeff Bezos is not a software designer. Before starting Amazon he managed a hedge fund. He's an investment banker, not one who sweats pixels. 

I also talked on the phone at length yesterday with Gordon Eubanks of Oblix. You may recall that Gordon was my partner in Symantec in the late 80s. We talked about many things, including the Microsoft antitrust situation. Gordon testified in Microsoft's defense in the current trial. My position has shifted, I now favor some action by the DOJ. Not because I dislike Microsoft or are "against" them, but because a one-browser market is not workable. I asked Gordon if the industry could do anything to overcome this situation without help from the government. I asked the same question of Steve Ballmer earlier this month. He said it's not his problem. I guess so, but in a larger sense, I think it actually is his problem.  

One of books which I'm reading very slowly and in pieces is Fire in the Valley by Michael Swaine and Paul Freiberger. I'm finishing the part on MITS and Ed Roberts, Bill Gates and Paul Allen; and starting the part about Gary Kildall and Gordon Eubanks. I sometimes forget that Gordon was one of the very first personal computer software developers. Being in the US Navy and being in Monterey were the common denominators. CP/M was their operating system, in many ways it was the Linux of its day. (In culture, not economics.) 

I went poking around the companion website to Fire in the Valley, and was really disappointed. This is one book that should be on the Web in its entirety, indexed by search engines. It would be easy to do with current technology, and damn, you gotta buy the book if it keeps turning up in my search queries, which it would, probably within a few months. There are so many people-connections in this book. I'd love to get that in XML and browse the network. That would make an interesting BBS. I keep pitching book authors and publishers on this simple idea, and you'd be amazed at how scared they get. But we know, Mr and Ms Web Reader, that the computer screen is no substitute for a reference book and the prices of books these days pale in comparison with the price of our time. Think about it. People are so expensive. Why not buy the book? (Esp if Jeff Bezos would let us 1-Click to buy it, and I'm still boycotting Amazon, so don't even think about me pointing to your stupid friggin site.)  

Lance Knobel: Put the book on the Web. "Dave, there are a few publishers that have seen the light." 

Anyway here's my current problem. Yesterday, the store coughed up at least a few hairballs on registrations for WebApps 2000. If you tried to register yesterday and the system failed, first many apologies, and please try again, and if it doesn't work, send me an email with a phone number and we'll take the registration the old fashioned way. This suggests one topic for discussion. How to test e-commerce web apps. Arrrggh! 

In an email to Ric Ford at MacInTouch, cc'd to me, Chuck Shotton says there's a flaw in MSIE5/Mac. It doesn't like to talk to servers running on the same machine as the browser. Chuck says: "The connection can take up to 10 times as long to complete as when using IE4.5 or any version of Netscape." 

I agree with Chuck that this is a serious concern. We just shipped Pike last Saturday. It's a Fractional Horsepower HTTP Server, among its many other talents. Without a clean fast connection to the local browser, that functionality is pretty useless. 

Speaking of Pike, last night I was talking with Andre and asked if he thought people were doing wildass development with Pike yet. (It's got a scripting language and object database and website framework and HTTP server.) Andre said he didn't think so. I asked why. He said that I haven't told people that it was OK. Oh. OK, it's OK. Go go go. 

Andre also taught me how to count to ten in Cherman. Eins, svei, drei, fir, fumph, etc. 


Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 30, 2000. Thursday, March 30, 2000

UserLand is hosting the first WebApps 2000 meeting on Wednesday April 19, in Palo Alto, CA. The meeting opens with a dinner on April 18. It's a full-day event. There will be brief presentations, and lots of time for small group breakouts and one-to-one meetings. US$750. 

Dale Dougherty: Viola Is a Repository of Prior Art. "Patent 5,838,906 has to do with controlling embedded hypermedia applications inside a browser. A person named Michael Doyle applied for this patent in 1994, and he got the patent in 1999. Now he is suing Microsoft (going after the big fish first) saying that ActiveX controls among other things infringe on his patent. The lawsuit set Microsoft off on a search for prior art and they uncovered Viola." 

Pei Wei: Viola Home Page. A Web browser from 1991. The first to support graphics! And many other things. 

O'Reilly Associates is a sponsor of WebApps 2000. Thanks! 

WebApps 2000 will be held at Hyatt Rickeys. Weather in mid-April in Palo Alto is likely to be perfect. Highs in the 70s, possibility of some rain, but not likely. We're going to use the outdoors as much as we possibly can. 

Jacob Levy found Netscape 6 Preview Release 1. 

Edd Dumbill: "Where does my personal data actually live? Does it live a place where all the Web Apps I use can get at it?" 

Tim Bray will be at WebApps 2000. Tim, you are one of three editors of XML 1.0, which is a key spec for Web App developers. You also have a product in development that's a Web App, so you come to Palo Alto with a practical attitude and an entreprenurial spirit. Since you come from Canada, we are already assured that WebApps 2000 will be an international conference. 

If Bryan Boyer makes a billion dollars on his Web App startup, I have a feeling he'll know what to do with the money. We hope Bryan will be there. He says that his company's app will be public by then. Curious!  

We're also working on scholarships for deserving Web App entrepreneurs who are cash-strapped. It happens. We want your brain and ideas, even if we can't get your money. Some rich companies will be there. So there are sponsorship opportunities. Feel free to email me with offers or requests. 

Chip Brookshaw: Sorting Out a Web Spreadsheet. "I think almost anyone who uses BrainMatter will be amazed at how it looks and acts like a typical spreadsheet, with all the basic calculating, sorting and formatting functions you would expect." 

I'm still filling out the background reading page on the WebApps 2000 site. I want this to grow huge. Send me links to your apps or articles you think others would find interesting. 

NY Times: Federal Agency Rethinks Internet Patents

This page counts page reads for Weblogs.Com hosted sites, starting on 3/30/00. The stats are recalced once a night at midnight Pacific." 

This page lists the 20 most recently updated home pages hosted at Weblogs.Com. A change in length of at least 50 characters is required for a page to appear on this list." 

MacInTouch Reader Report: MSIE5 and Outlook Express 5.02 for Macintosh.  

InfoWorld: Beta of Netscape 6 due April 5

Web Patents: Heard, by the USPTO

UserLand as a publisher: "In my opinion, there's no silver bullet here. He would have a conflict of interest, but all pubs appear to be crossing this line now. Editorialists no longer take an oath of poverty, nor should they, imho." 

Matt Neuburg: A Gentle Introduction to XML-RPC

How to Make Money on the Internet: "[Klaus Schwab] has an interesting way of introducing speakers, one which I've never seen before, that I will try the next time I moderate a panel. He addresses the speaker not the audience. For example he would say "Tony Blair, you are the Prime Minister of Great Britain. In your six years in office you have had many successes in bringing your country into the new global economy. You were a Global Leader of Tomorrow, inducted in 1989. We are very proud of our association with you."" 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 29, 2000. Wednesday, March 29, 2000

DaveNet on Hiatus. Shift Happens! 

We planned to open registration for the Web Apps conference for April 19, but it got pushed back because of a technical glitch. We'll have the site up tomorrow. 

W3C: XML Protocol Comparisons. Milestone. 

USPTO: Business Methods Patent Initiative, An Action Plan

David Adams' Speller web app is an important idea! 

O'Reilly: Why is the Jini Bottled Up? 

AP: Judge OKs deep hyperlinking

8/12/99: InfoWorld and Deep Linking

Mike Donnelan has been working on a new skin for Weblogs.Com. What do you think

After many months of trouble-free operation, the Qube finally crashed, leaving this cute Weblogs.Com screen shot. It's back up now.  

News.Com: "VA Linux Systems has signed on two new customers that together will buy hundreds of its servers." 

David Rothgery reviews Pike. 

Gary Secondino: Pike sign survey

LA Times: Outlining Brings Meeting to Order

AP: Supreme Court limits nude dancing. "Ruling says laws can require pasties, G-strings." I didn't know that! 

5/24/98: "Then one evening, quite surprisingly, I saw a fat naked woman dancing at an amateur talent show. I had to look. She was good! Her big fat body had the rhythm of the music. Her huge breasts swung to the beat. A big funky happy smile on her face! It made the point. If a big fat naked woman can dance so beautifully in public, what do I have to worry about?" 

WSJ: Patent Office to change its tune. Via Will Cate via Lawrence Lee via ZDNet. "Syndication," says Lawrence. 

Internet.Com: Macromedia Flash SDKs. "Using the code, developers are able to both play Flash files from within their programs, as well as export Flash comptible SWF files." 

Larry Yudelson: It's August in March! "Remember Byte's August language issues? I remember as a high school kid, wrapping my brain around Pascal and structured programming, Smalltalk and object-orientation, Forth and threading. Reading that issue was an amazing experience -- a whole new paradigm (wrapped within a wonderful cover) for me to struggle with." 

Powazek redesigns his weblog. Much better. 

Qube Quorner: Manifesto. I think it's time for the Scripting News community to give a Big Group Hug to Luke and the Qube Qrowd. I think it sucks that Cobalt points to Slashdot from their site and ignores Qube Quorner. When are those guys going to take a ride on the Cluetrain?  

Dan Gillmor wrote a glowing piece about Cobalt. He interviewed me for it, I said they're smart, for sure, but they're blowing it with the Qube. A brilliant product, ahead of the time, but they're letting the market catch up with them. Perhaps they can make more money on RAQs, but we will remember them for the Qube. A company with a huge hoard of cash can afford to build a market! Hello. $1000 is a nice pricepoint. The Qube Quounts. Every Mac LAN should have a Qube. Hello Qubetrain! 

Conclusion: All the Linux guys are rushing to grow to compete with Dell. I think Dell will win that one. Zig don't zag. 

Now a message to Dan Gillmor, who I just heard interviewed on NPR. Dan, we help you, please help us. In this world reciprocity counts. It's not compromising to your editorial integrity to include your experience in the web world in your presence in older media, where they like the credibility that comes from being part of a major news pub. Help Luke help Qube users. Why not? When you talk about revolutionary trends in technology mention the web, and the boom in easy to use authoring tools. Anyone can gush with ease when it comes to gigahertz processors. You lament the lack of innovation in software. Hello Dan! 

OTOH, Luke must take some of the responsibility for the lack of support from hardware vendors. He made a big mistake by incorrectly stating my point of view with a rep of VA Linux. Too bad. I'm more interested in getting an easily scriptable version of PHP with the right macros in standard distribution by Cobalt and VA. We should have integration between Manila and the runtimes on the servers, not necessarily with UserLand software. That's why we did xml-rpc. Luke incorrectly guessed our motive and plan, and made the mistake of telling that to the VA guy w/o checking with me. At the time we already had Manila static rendering working! Oy. The VA guy was was concerned that I'm a random huckster with compromised integrity, even though Doc Searls had already told him otherwise. Luke fed right into his fear and he ran away, that was the last we ever heard from him. So Luke, why don't you tell the story publicly and say what you learned? It will make us all more effective at gathering the support we want. 

Now a question for everyone. It's The Year 2000. There's a brand name up for grabs. If you believe in the power of web community, what does that make you? It's a puzzle. Figure it out. 

Hint: Too bad this name is taken. 

AP: Reform rabbis back same-sex unions. Excellent! 

Will Cate quotes a report in today's WSJ. "Amid a growing debate over patents that stake out broad claims for basic methods of doing business on the Web, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is expected Wednesday to unveil an overhaul of the way it examines applications and awards patents for many online practices." Happy! We'll watch for this announcement, can't point to the WSJ article, it's behind a for-fee firewall. 


Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 28, 2000. Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Frontier 6.2b1 is released. Major database performance enhancements. This is a beta, deploy with care. 

Important: UserLand will host an all-day meeting in Palo Alto on Wed Apr 19 for developers of web applications to talk about the market, partnerships, compatibility, standards and whatever else this new industry would like to talk about. Limited participation -- 100 people. Developers only, no press. UserLand will host this meeting, in cooperation with IBM and O'Reilly. We'll have a new website open tomorrow with more information. T-shirt included at no extra cost.  

Frontier: html.refGlossary callback

Social Ecology: ManilaPalooza Chat Transcript

NetDyslexia: "Most of the NetDyslectics were born in a socialist country: in the G.D.R. (East Germany). So we know what it means to live in a dictatorship." 

Vigencia Y Tributo: "I think of you as the Cuba of the Manila bloc because you practice the dogma at a purist level and you provide the soldiers who fight the wars in Africa and the rest of the Third World. I think of Scripting News as the Soviet Union, a corrupt regime with a crumbling foundation with nuclear weapons." 

Joel Spolsky: Software NDAs and contracts that you should never sign. "I recently signed this clause in a 3 page NDA by a startup company that consisted of exactly two founders, and no employees. So the founders, by putting this clause in the NDA, are doing nothing but guaranteeing that if their business doesn't work out, none of the people they met while working on the business will be able to give them jobs."  

Jim Matthews: Carbon-compatible menusharing.c? 

ZoneAlarm sounds like the perfect companion to Pike. 

I usually don't report on my state of being here on Scripting News. Let me make an exception. Today I am wiped out. More tired than I remember ever being. The outages, the Pike shipment, ManilaPalooza, new business, and some self-centered would-be software architects. Please let up on the redesigns. There's a lot of thought and permutation, blind alleys and retooling that went into Pike. Software design is highly skilled work and doesn't happen quickly. It's OK to poke at Pike, discover how it works, ask questions, but save the redesigns for when you understand more about what you got. We've been working on permutations of this software for two years. I strongly believe this is the one that works best. (Or we wouldn't have shipped it.) 

2/9/98: Mason on Working With Dave

I've been saying this for quite a while. The Cluetrain goes in both directions. I must remember to talk with Doc about this. That said, the current Pike-button approach is far from the only configuration Pike will support. But give us a chance to rest and regroup! Thanks for listening. 

Eating tutorial for men, primarily: "As you're eating, visibly enjoy the food. Get some on your shirt. Laugh. Say thank you 18 times, but not all at once. Save the onions for last. Eat a few, get up from the table, declaring yourself completely satisfied, and go around the back of the house and make digestive noises, outside where they're appreciated more." 

What is LinkBack

Salon: Why leave your marks online? "A bevy of companies wants you to move your bookmarks from your browser to the Web, but it's not clear how you'd benefit." 

InSite is a free site management tool written in Perl. 

News.Com: Akamai, CacheFlow team for caching speed. "The deal highlights the increasing number of alliances being struck as companies strive to avoid sluggish or even embarrassingly inaccessible Web sites due to heavy traffic. Companies across the high-tech landscape--including computer makers, network equipment makers, Web site hosting firms and telecommunications firms--are forming partnerships to make sure information is delivered quickly." 

WSJ: Outlook for settling antitrust case dim. "Microsoft Corp. and the government continued working toward a possible settlement, even as a federal judge prepared to rule soon if the effort fails, people close to the case said." 

Static rendering was released last night to Frontier developers and system managers. Four pages of docs -- an overview with instructions for Manila MEs, a howto for server managers, a case study, and a guide for people who want to customize their static renderings.  

After much discussion and a demo about static rendering at ManilaPalooza on Saturday, we decided to release it first to Frontier developers so they can have static rendering for their Manila sites. Used in this mode, Manila becomes a multi-user staging server. Very powerful combination.  

It's going to be difficult to transition individual ETP sites to static rendering without link breakage. We're going to start with some of the high-flow sites, like Matt Garland's music site. Each site will teach us something. However it's easy for *new* sites. So we may open an all-static hosting server on UserLand.Com. Still puzzling this out. 

Adam Engst reviews MSIE5/Mac.  

Breakage fixed. In switching to Pike for editing Scripting News we broke the xml version. I am assured that it now works. Now I will verify. Bing.  

Greetinks, vebfolk

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 27, 2000. Monday, March 27, 2000

Pike Beta: Browsing your Manila site in Pike. "A new version of the Pike menu allows you to view your Manila site locally. This should be an eye-opener for people who have never seen what a Manila site looks like behind the scenes." 

New Manila feature: Linking to archive from the News Day template. "Jason Levine implemented a cool feature that was catching on in the weblog world on his Queso web site, and I said 'This is going to be in Manila' and implemented it on Scripting News, and now it's on EditThisPage.Com, and when Brent is ready to distribute it, it'll be on all other Manila sites." 

Pics from ManilaPalooza: Susan Kitchens, Jake Savin, Jeff Cheney

NY Times: Talks in Microsoft Case Continue as Judge's Decision Looms

I'm busting with pride over this site. I've been working with Dale since last summer and the seed planted then is popping through the earth now. We have a very ambitious project in the works with O'Reilly. I think it's going to work. Happy!  

One thing remains constant across source code systems, net outages, and the patent system, Murphy's Law.  

But sometimes things work that you don't think will. For example, I tried typing this URL into my browser, and hot damn, it worked.  

Edd Dumbill: "And you never tried /edd/?"  

1/29/00: "At dinner last night I told the story of my company and likened the last year to jumping out of a plane with no parachute. One of my dinner friends said that's crazy. So I said OK, you have a parachute. Later I thought about it and realized that there is no parachute. Not only do you have to create the parachute while you're in free-fall, you also have to invent the damned thing!" 

Followup to yesterday's escalation through WEF to management at PacBell. Lance Knobel contacted the exec in charge of worldwide operations of SBC, the parent company of PacBell. We use routers in the human world too! I forwarded Lance's email to the NOC mailbox at Conxion, asking them to get ready to work with SBC.  

Susan Kitchens on new slogans she learned at ManilaPalooza, including Biermania, which will be the name of Bierman's new weblog, starting sooon, we hope. Too bad Susan doesn't want to share her mother's secret slogan that gets people to laugh when she's taking their picture. 

Survey: Should I reveal Mrs. Kitchens' secret slogan? 100 yes votes required. 

I was searching for a smiley face collection on Google and to my surprise one of the top hits was a Manila site. Excellent! 

OK, we got the hundred votes, thanks everyone, so here's the secret slogan. Enjoy! 

Press release: MSIE5/Mac

WSJ: An ex-reporter tackles the future of Net media. "In the mid-1970s, Jonathan Sacks was a reporter at the tiny St. Cloud Times in Minnesota. Today, heís got an audience of 22 million at one of the most powerful media companies. His title is senior vice president and general manager of America Online Inc.ís Interactive Services. That means he is in charge of programming and commerce for the giant AOL online service, the Aol.com Web site and the AOL Instant Messenger tool for chatting online." I know Jon Sacks. I saw the video of his speech. He was arrogant back in the 80s, but tolerable. Today he's unleashed! 

MacWEEK: Internet Explorer 5 ships

Ryan Szekeres has screen shots of MSIE5/Mac.  

Tom Clifton sent a screen shot of XML in MSIE5/Mac. 

Wired: "Microsoft's 11th-hour stab at settling its antitrust case is going nowhere fast." 

On Friday, NPR's Talk of the Nation covered software patents. According to William Krzysko, who heard the broadcast, "Q. Todd Dickenson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks was on the show, discussing technology patents. When asked about the Amazon 1-Click patent, he suggested that people request a re-examination of the merits of the patent, which could result in its cancellation." 

Wow, listening to it now. They think that baseball's double play could be patented if it wasn't already being done. Geez Louise. 

Let's hope Wired nukes the latest redesign soon. I can't read articles this way. My mind doesn't work this way. I wonder if they're trying to kill their pub? 

David Humphreys: "We've been using weblogs at Organic to try to start a community diary around a given project. It's a new program -- a week or two old -- but we're definitely going there." 

Optimem: "Scientists from the European Media Laboratory in Heidelberg, working together with the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Mannheim, have demonstrated that 10 gigabytes of data can be stored on a roll of conventional adhesive tape" 

WSJ: "Microsoft Corp.ís offer to settle federal antitrust charges frees computer makers to embed competitorsí software into Microsoftís Windows, one of several major concessions that could form a basis for resolving the case, people close to the settlement discussions said. Under the proposal, personal-computer and software makers would be allowed to modify the secret ďsource codeĒ underlying Windows to add rival products such as Internet browsers or media players." 

Netdyslexia, the Cuba of the Manila bloc, takes on Kottke. "Stolen? Mr. Kottke should know that there is a difference between interface-design and website-design." BTW, I apologize for correcting the punctuation and capitalization in the ND post. I haven't yet fully conformed to Dogma 200, more or less. Still diggin! 

Dack.Com: web economy bullshit generator

Blogger gets permanent links.  

ESPN: "The Kingdome, which went from engineering marvel to anachronistic eyesore in just 24 years, was demolished in a controlled implosion Sunday to make room for a new, more expensive stadium." 

2/20/95: "The Department of Justice is powerful. They're part of the US Government, which has a huge army, navy, air force, and nuclear weapons. How will this faceoff be resolved?" I guess we found out. They blew up the Kingdome. Ooops! 

NY Times: "Since digital photography is essentially an electronic form of instant pictures, Polaroid is either in a unique position to move into this field -- or uniquely suited to be rendered obsolete by it." 

Michael Rose explains how he got Pike to work with his Frontier server. 

Weblogs that point to PikeBeta

Andre Radke on ManilaPalooza: "For me, probably the most interesting part of the event was to discuss the possibilities of embedding Python in Frontier with Frederik Lundh of Pythonware." 

Denise Caruso: "For the last couple of months, Doerr, the venture capitalist, has been redefining success from an even broader perspective. In public forums, he has been encouraging a shift in focus from mercenary to missionary, asking executives to think about starting companies and building products that they believe will change the world, rather than merely amassing wealth." 

According to Brent the word of the day at UserLand is Wiener Schnitzel, and yesterday was Brent's 32nd birthday! Happy birthday Brent and pass the Schnitz. 

Wiener Schnitzel, the national dish of Austria. 

With over 300 restaurants, Wienerschnitzel is the largest hot dog fast food chain in the world. 

Salon: Keep a Web journal, get fired.. or worse

blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog. 

The word "blog" makes me want to blog. 


Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 26, 2000. Sunday, March 26, 2000

To ManilaPalooza People: You're Totally Awesome. Thanks! 

David Weinberger, one of the Cluetrain authors, is looking for examples of people who use weblogs in business. "I'm trying to illustrate the point that the Web is changing the old rules about the presumption of secrecy." 

Dan Gillmor: Cobalt Networks is emblematic of valley evolution

This was a week of outage and escalation. One very big one, lots of aftershocks. Now I've gotten used to the Ten Minute Outage. One happened in Cupertino, just before my demo. Luckily the line stayed up through ManilaPalooza. And now, we've bonded with the Conxion people, and this week I learned more about escalation, watching Steve Martin waste huge amounts of time looping. PacBell is not taking responsibility. In the ISP world, when that happens, you escalate. But Conxion can only go so high up the hierarchy at PacBell. I said "It's a shame they're not really part of our industry, because I can usually find a way to get through to the CEOs of high-tech companies." Then I realized that I could escalate to the PacBell CEO through Davos. So this is a public note to Lance Knobel at WEF. Lance, how would we go about contacting PacBell? They have a serious issue, and could take leadership in a very important area for world economic growth. How can we network to the right person at PacBell? 

BTW, DavosNewbies is served on our Seattle LAN, so it did not go out when PacBell started heaving our packets. In a way (a small one!) it's unfortunate that this site was not served through PacBell, because then the CEO would instantly care if he looks bad. Imagine a Davos site behind all that michegas in the PacBell cloud! 

Lots of great feedback yesterday. We will deploy static rendering for EditThisPage sites, probably next week. We'll also host media objects like movies and wavs. We'll create a SlashDot-mode for Manila weblogs, individually editable objects by mutliple editors on a home page. We will convene a design workshop, where we meet to design features. Everyone is invited to post their thoughts on the March 25 site.  

To Wes Felter's question -- we're not there yet with all the features you asked for. What more can I say? Our focus in 1999 was on ease of use and writing tools. We've delivered, now we're in refinement mode on those things, and lookin for the next holes to dig. We're going to hire more engineers soon. And partnerships are a distinct possibility. No company can do everything, right?? 

BTW, to Wes, we sent a Frontier T-shirt to Austin for you with Craig Jensen. And thanks to Robert Occhialini for the wonderful shirts! And we gave out Frontier 1.0 manuals. There's still a palette of those in my garage, so I don't think they'll become collector's items any time sooon. 

Ideas for Manila plug-ins: Presentation bullet charts, Blue Mountain Arts.  

And we met Fredrik Lundh, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to introduce him. Fredrik was instrumental in the adoption of xml-rpc, after we released the Frontier implementation, he made it work in Python. He says: "Writing the first version of Python's xmlrpclib took me about 20 minutes." Looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, this was one of the most powerful 20 minutes in history. Lundh's implementation bonded us to the Python community, and it precipitated all the other xml-rpc implementations. 

Danny O'Brien from NTK was there too. I explained what "It's even worse than it appears" means in the context of ETP. I realized immediately that I had stepped in it.  

Other regrets, I gave a hint to the cluelessness of VA Linux. We offered to make them kings of our world, but they'd rather be whores to the corporate bosses. Not great profit margins there. We're not hucksters folks, we just want to help you make the products we want. Thanks for listening. 

Keynote Systems: Free Performance Appraisal of Your Web Site. "Are you losing customers or revenue because your web site is too slow or slower than your competitors?" 


Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 25, 2000. Saturday, March 25, 2000


ManilaPalooza 1.0 is over! Great time see you on the web tomorrow. 

Here's the ManilaPalooza chatroom

And the webcast

What is Pike? "Pike is an outliner that's been custom-fitted to plug into Manila sites. You can create and edit stories with Pike. You can use it to edit your home page. And you can also use it to edit the myriad of templates that define how a Manila site is rendered. It's both a writing and design tool." 

Of course there's a Pike-Beta mail list.  

Basic things about Pike. 1.You must have a Manila site you can write for. Without a site, Pike is useless. It *only* works over the net. 2. Pike is a free public beta. No need to grovel. Everyone gets one. (This list will be added to.) 

Screen shots of Pike being used to edit a weblog, template, story, XML and the home page of the Pike-beta site. 

This screen shot would probably mean the most to MORE and ThinkTank users. 

Yes yes yes we're going to webcast ManilaPalooza. 

ManilaPalooza began for me last night. While Brent and Andre fixed bugs, did a security checkout and got the downloads and license agreement ready, Sheila and I went for a walk, and then did a little web work, and then drove to Palo Alto to get Spicy Noodles takeout (a first!) we talked about weblogs, community, outages.  

I had some comments here about design vs cheese, but based on email I think I'll wait till next week to explore this stuff.  

IP Law: Bar Reacts To Bezos Patent Reform Plan

New channel: Exploring XML from Webreference.Com. 

The NY Times reviews Cluetrain. "A manifesto should be full of hyperbole, and while this one often strains credulity in the particulars, the general thrust is on the mark." 

Letters from readers on Doc's weblog.  

Nick Petreley: The dope on Zope

I didn't know that there's a Netdyslexia book. Written by E. Norma Cheese! 

Tom Clifton's webScheduler Manila plug-in. Bing! 

Mr. T has something to say about all this weblog stufff. 

Today is a day of celebration. Whether the demo goes well or not, today is a day when writing for the web becomes easier than it's ever been. There will be many more of these days.  

I want to change the tagline for Pike from The first Web outliner to The Web's first outliner. Subtle but important difference. We are part of the web, our success is the web's success. When we win the web wins. That's part of the Ask Not philosophy. 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 24, 2000. Friday, March 24, 2000

Tomorrow is a very big day for me. I'm so psyched! My imagination has run wild. I think of Matt Neuburg racing north on his BMW motorcycle. And Susan Kitchens humming tunes driving up 101. Ken Dow flying in from Ottawa and Eric Soroos from Seattle. Zoom zoom. People from Organic and Macromedia sipping lattes and thinking about the stock market. So this is what Silicon Valley looks like? Jacob Levy getting ready to say "Let's see Pike already!" Oooh ooh ooooh. Who will be the most surprising?? And how many digital cameras will there be? And will the webcast work? And perhaps the most vexing question of them all..  

Survey: What's the song

Sheeela Simmons is sitting next to me and I'm interviewing her. Sheila. What will be your next issue after they implode the Kingdome on Sunday? I don't know. Would you like a suggestion? Sure. Well, you could always blow up the Space Needle! No way, can't be done. Ohhhhhh. 

XML.Com: Portable Site Information. "XML can be used to model the actual structure of a web site." True. 

Erik Barzeski: "Many people believe that CodeWarrior will be dead by the summer of 2001." 

InfoWorld: Perl 6 to debut in August. "Perl 6 is a ground-up rewrite using the object-oriented C++ language." 

NY Times: "The Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation into whether White House officials illegally suppressed large numbers of e-mail messages subpoenaed in investigations of Clinton administration campaign fund-raising and other activities."  

Now, you already know I'm working in an outliner. As Jerry said, what a long strange trip it's been. A few years ago I did all my Scripting News writing in an outliner. Then I had to master writing for the web in a browser. That's how we figured out how to do Manila. Now that that works, I can use an outliner again to edit this site. One advantage of using the outliner is that I can quickly edit and re-order the items. It's faster than the web browser, it reduces three steps to two. Edit-Change-Post becomes Change-Save. However there's more I can do, and probably will, to use more than one level of the outline. The key is in adjusting the rules so that it renders in a sensible way. 

Here's a screen shot of today's editing environment, with the Pike File menu pulled down. Speaking of strange trips, this is the new File menu I was speaking of in May of last year. 

BTW, now that you have seen the new File menu, I expect complaints about the What is This? command. What does it do? It opens a page in your browser that explains what it is. We figured this would be the place to put the uber-help command, that this would be the place where confusion would expect a quick answer. (And there is no New command in the menu, which is what usually appears in that slot. The menu looked wrong with Close as the first item.) 

The day after ManilaPalooza, Seattle will blow up the Kingdome in celebration. Make sense to me. They ought to blow up the other stadium too. 

News.Com: Former Beatle's publishing house sues MP3.com

Andrew Wooldridge wonders if Pike could be used to edit XUL. My answer is basically yes. "Outliners are good design tools for all hierarchic languages and data structures." 

Tom Clifton volunteers to plan tomorrow's dinner. Thanks! 

Jim Roepcke reports a new email virus. 

OK, B2B is hot, somehow we missed that boat, so let's start another one. W2R. What does that mean? Writers To Readers. The next big growth area! 

Update. The next growth area after B2B and W2R will be F2F, or Face-To-Face. So today's hot stock market tip, invest in companies that run conferences that make it easy for people who meet in cyberspace to meet in person. 

Joe Clark: Usability at epinions.com

BTW, the Joe Clark link was added using Manila Express connecting to Pike. Since epinions is for writers, they could support the same interface as Manila and then Pike would be able to submit stories to epinions, and of course everything that's compatible with Pike would work too. (So far there are no Pike-compatibles, but anything that is will get a big fat link on Scripting News.) This is how non-dominant web apps companies can work together to empower users and make the Web more powerful. 

Like Brent, I am editing my home page in an outline! This is even cooler than email. 

Now Brent is working on making Manila Express work with Pike. I'm getting ready to use it!  

LA Times: "[Microsoft has] identified seven key categories that will represent the core components of the emerging system, known as Next Generation Windows Services. These categories--billing, publishing, relationship management, directory, communications, personalization and storage--will require intense problem-solving to make the transactions and communications over the Internet work among different computing systems." 

Ianus Keller: "Is it coincidence or a global weblog feeling, but those Dutch Weblogs that have already been mentioned on Scripting.com have decided to get together for a virtual 'instuif' (gettogether) as well?" 

It is a global gettogether feeling! The Netherlands is my second home. I miss you guys. See you in May! 

Can you tell I'm using an outliner? (I can.) 

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 23, 2000. Thursday, March 23, 2000

Survey: Will you be at ManilaPalooza? 

We made some changes to the Manila-RPC spec as we zero in on the first beta of Pike. 

BTW, we will also release Frontier 6.2b1 on Saturday, Murphy and PacBell-willing. Your humble servant. 

I have a wish list item for people who like to play with PhotoShop. Remember those THINK signs that IBM used to give to all its employees. I want one of those, but for the web. It was one of the things I liked best about IBM (I was an IBM kid, my dad worked in Armonk. Did I say that before?) Any company that sent that message to all their employees had something good going, Dave The Kid used to think. There's that word again! 

One of my best products ever was called ThinkTank. Pike of course, is very much like ThinkTank, but it's for networked writing. We used to "hack culture" as Doc says Chris Locke does. I wanted an IBM-style sign back then too, but instead of saying "think" it would have said "tank".  

My ad guy for ThinkTank was Dave Carlick, who went on to do Netscape's first website, and founded the now notorious DoubleClick. His slogan for ThinkTank was Cogitank Ergo Sum, loosely translated to "I ThinkTank therefore I am." 

Eric Soroos is coming down from Seattle. This will be the gathering of the millennium. Can you believe I've already forgotten how to spell millennium?? 

Making up for lost time on the Pike beta release. Working on taglines. Four so far: 


  • Free for everyone. 

  • Works with Manila. 

  • Windows/Mac. 

  • The 1st Web outliner. 


Here's how it all comes together (at least in my mind): 


When was the last time you listened to a song that used to be a favorite 25 years ago? Meeting Across the River, from Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run album, just gave me the chills, like a time capsule. It used to define, in a way, what it meant for me to be a man, or more accurately, a developing man. Living at the edge of the law (if we blow this one they ain't gonn be lookin for just me this time) he has time to express his love for his brother (Change your shirt, cause tonight we got style). 

"But Eddie, man, she don't understand, there's two grand practically sitting here in my pocket." 

BrentNut: "Hey -- I'm editing this page in an outliner!" No doubt the first of many such exclamations. 

Also note the weird URL on Brent's page. How did that happen?? 


We like to stay current on what Microsoft is doing in network systems, web user interfaces, XML, distributed computing, standards, OSes. For the last six months or so, we have been in the wrong PR flow, getting briefed on consumer stuff, MSN, Radio Shack, etc and not being briefed or included in important (to us) rollouts in XML, operating systems and browsers. Any Microsoft marketing/PR people tuned in? I have tried every other means to get this corrected. I'm sure it's just an administrative thing. 

O'Reilly's Meerkat is an "open wire service". It's kind of hard to find the actual Meerkat page on O'Reilly. Comparable to My.UserLand, they wrote their own aggregator that reads (a subset of?) the same files My.UserLand reads. 

Reuters: Cisco Briefly Tops Microsoft in Value

7/9/96: Cisco Systems. "The two companies are like Amtraks on a collision course. Why? Simple. Cisco makes software for networking, and wants to make tools for content. Microsoft makes tools for content and wants to make software for networking." 

New features in changes.xml on Weblogs.Com. 

Peter Miller: Representing Tables in XML-RPC

Two new weblogs: Digital Photography and AppleScript

"Gee it's great to be back home!" 

Susan Kitchens: "Glad the network is fixed!" 

Garret Vreeland: "Hey, we're alive again!" 

Jeff Cheney: "Wow! I didn't really know how much I love EditThisPage until I had to live without it for a day." 

Three mini-outages this morning, 10, 20 and 30 minutes, during which there were no hits on the servers, and I couldn't get out. They're like aftershocks of earthquakes. I totally don't have my sea-legs now.  

Linux1 and the Honkers: The California LAN gets bigger. Now there's a Linux machine in the cluster, and the new 700 Mhz Subhonker1 is added to the mix, along with a MacUser Eddy award for Frontier 2.0. 

Outage Images: "While we were cooling our heels waiting for the Internet Gods at PacBell to give us juice, I played with pictures on my laptop, reviewing unpublished pics, and coming up with this random selection which I call Outage Images." 

Press release: Cobalt to Acquire Chili!Soft. "Chili!Soft enables developers to use Microsoft tools to create dynamic Web pages." 

According to Jean-Paul Smets, the European Patent Office has granted Amazon a patent for 1-Click. 

One of our longest and most frustrating outages is over. Our link through Conxion went down, the outside world couldn't access any of the servers that are on our California LAN, including EditThisPage.Com and Weblogs.Com. The outage was in PacBell, and you gotta know this, Conxion came through in unbelievable form. At times I couldn't believe the resources that were applied to getting us back on the air. We're going to send flowers to Conxion today for performance above and beyond the call of duty, particularly Steve Martin, who outlasted all of us, he arrived at 5:30AM yesterday, and he was still here when Bierman and I left at about 10PM. Brent stayed up with Steve, and explains the resolution

The outage also meant that we couldn't get out, and it couldn't have come at a worse time, because everyone was here for our onsite in preparation for the ManilaPalooza meeting on Saturday. Or maybe it was for the best. Instead of working at a breakneck pace, we had to slow down. Both Brent and Andre were able to get development done, although it was difficult to do without a net connection, it was possible. 

As noted below, the hardware upgrade for EditThisPage.Com went smoothly, it took 38 minutes, and while the upgrade was happening Murphy tripped the wire at PacBell and knocked us off the air. We took the unusual outage as an opportunity to do software upgrades on most of our servers, and to add 256MB of RAM to Subhonker2, the machine that runs Weblogs.Com, so it should be faster now too. I'm looking for signs of problems related to all the upgrading that happened yesterday, and there may be a problem with static pictures on ETP, but otherwise all looks good. Still probing. 

From the I Learned Something New Department. Yesterday Steve Martin was talking about Blue Screens of Death on Windows NT. I told him that in three years of running as many as five NT systems I had seen only one blue screen. He told me that that was quite good, he sees lots more of them. Bierman then explained that Microsoft's server software, Back Office, SQL Server, Active Server Pages, etc, tends to use undocumented system calls to get closer to the hardware, and that's why NT gets the rep for bluescreening. My servers don't do this because Frontier plays by the rules, and when there are problems it doesn't bring the OS down. 

This makes the Cobalt acquisition of Chili!Soft that much more interesting. I assume that their ASP-compatible runtime doesn't do the BSOD thing. Is that true? Luke? 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 21, 2000. Tuesday, March 21, 2000

Network problems that started Monday evening have now turned into an outage, our main LAN is disconnected, you can access Scripting News because it is at Exodus, not on our LAN. The EditThisPage.Com upgrade was completed in 38 minutes at 6:08pm Pacific yesterday. We're awaiting word from PacBell and Conxion on when the outage will be fixed. 

EditThisPage.Com will get a hardware upgrade this evening, going from 500Mhz to 700Mhz. There will be an outage, hopefully no more than one hour, while we do the hardware switchover. 

I had a phone talk with Brian Biles, VP-Marketing at VA Linux. I'm not sure he understood what I was asking for in the way of a relationship with a server vendor. It's basically the same relationship we offered to Cobalt. Help us form a sub-community of VA users, so we can study the product, understand where they're going and see if it makes sense to go there together. It's such a fluid market, and ultimately marketing through the Web, through all its channels, is how the market will segment. Imho of course. 

What I want to do with a server vendor is what I talked about in How to Make Money on the Internet. Form a community around the product, learn from the people, and create products to make them ecstatic.  

In the server market, there is no single outstanding vendor. By this time we should have a single default choice, one company that makes the best servers, who responds when there are problems, and has deep roots in the user community. No such vendor exists, but we're offering to try to help one of them become that.  

Interestingly, Palm was able to do a stunning IPO and then attract a top-level management team, exploding yet another Silicon Valley belief that you have to form your full management team before raising public money. 

Upside: A call for universal registration. "For example, if you are shopping online and decide that you'll buy a few things from Gap.com, BattersChoice.com, Amazon.com and 800.com, and you are not a registered customer for each one, you can spend the better part of an hour in dial-up mode just registering yourself. And even if you have registered, all of these sites have different shopping cart implementations, different checkouts, and, sometimes, an assigned user identification moniker different from your real name." Do you doubt that user interface standards are coming? 

Today we begin a two-week onsite meeting at UserLand. Andre is here, Brent is flying down from Seattle this morning. On Saturday we'll be at the March 25 ManilaPalooza gathering. Then we will have a full week to incorporate what we learned into our development plan for the next few months. 

The March 25 meeting is free and open to the public. Even if you have a casual interest in our sites and services, you're welcome at the meeting. It's a function of the whole UserLand.Com and Scripting News community. We're there to listen and we'll also speak frankly and openly about our plans to grow our part of the Web. Even if you compete, you are welcome on Saturday

What we will demo: First and foremost, we will demo Pike. We will have a website ready by Saturday so Manila users all over the world, even those who are not in Cupertino, will be able to download and use the software. It will be a free public beta.  

What is Pike? It is an outliner that's been custom-fitted to plug into Manila sites. You can create and edit stories with Pike. You can use it to edit your home page. And you can also use it to edit the myriad of templates that define how a Manila site is rendered. It's both a writing and design tool.  

Pike is as easy to use as a web browser but has the common features that web writers and designers need. Undo, Find and Replace, etc. And if you've never used an outliner, a bunch of surprises. Did you know that text has structure? That's the basic premise of an outliner. 

Further, Pike is also a Web server. And an object database. And a programming platform. It's basically a limited version of Frontier with a carefully crafted user interface designed to hide the details, but if you know how to poke it, it's a full scripting, database, and server environment.  

Even further, Pike is a homecoming, in so many ways. For me, it's the final step in a loop that began for me 22 years ago when I started working on outliners. To me they were always about groupware. Now, with all the pieces in place, a strong rendering engine and storage system, networking, and hypertext, we're ready to put the cap on the mountain. When Pike is successfully deployed, my lifetime work, from a software point of view, will be done. All that remains is getting the whole world to use it! Not a small thing. 

For people who still use Frontier 5, the last free version, this could also be a homecoming. Pike is built from the same codebase as Frontier 6.1, and it will track the development of Frontier. We will release new versions of Pike as we release new versions of Frontier. Pike is for Mac and Windows, there is no difference between the two versions. Pike may also satisfy the ever-present request for "Frontier Runtime". Pike will be free, at least in the first release, so it's a chance for everyone who stayed with the free version of Frontier to graduate to all the new stuff. However, if you want to deploy a real server that lots of people can use, you must license Frontier for US$899. 

What else will we demo? Well, that's still up for grabs. We're basically done with static rendering of Manila sites, which, if you choose to use it, will turn Manila into an editorial system, and offload serving of your site to server software such as Apache, IIS and WebSTAR. I'd also like to demo the connection between a Manila plug-in and a Pike plug-in, showing how Frontier developers can create custom editorial systems with very high-level interfaces. We can't possibly demo all this stuff, and still leave lots of room for the community to speak and organize. So we will focus on things that are best demo'd face-to-face. 

And face-to-face is what the meeting is all about. When an online community gets together in a room sparks will fly. Hopefully everyone will be in good cheer! If there are any issues you need to raise that might not be in good cheer, I hope we get a heads-up on them *before* the meeting on Saturday. Thanks. 

Jacob Levy: "I'll be there, but not the whole day. Could we have an agenda so I can plan which part of the day to attend." 

My answer: "Jacob, it's not a whole-day meeting, it's 1PM to 5PM with an informal no-host dinner at a local restaurant afterwards." 

Thanks to De Anza College for hosting the March 25 meeting. What a great place, with all that personal computing history, to host the first ManilaPalooza community arts festival! 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 20, 2000. Monday, March 20, 2000

DaveNet: Was JFK a Hippie? 

John Foster on prior art for Amazon's 1-Click patent. "I walk up to a soda machine, put in 50 cents, push one button and get a drink." 

Chuck Shotton discusses turning MacBird into an XML-based UI design tool. 

News.Com: Hewlett-Packard spends big to woo start-ups. "Traditional companies such as Sun, HP and IBM are eager to trot out start-up partners to demonstrate that they understand the Internet economy and deserve a place in it." HP is spending $1.5 billion on startups. 

FYI, we contacted VA Linux for a discount on a new Linux server for Scripting News, but got the blowoff. Eventually we will cover servers here, as we have with the Qube, but the manufacturers haven't been helping much.  

Jakob Nielsen: Test With 5 Users

Chris Locke: Winning through worst practices. I spent a couple of hours on the phone this weekend with Chris. Along with Doc, he's one of the Cluetrain guys. Very interesting conversation. 

Gary Secondino has a trio of old tomatoes in living color, wrinkles and all. 

News.Com: Netscape to release browser update next month

David Strom: The hidden privacy hazards of HTML Email. "Hidden inside those fancy, fun-with-fonts and link-filled messages are some sly ways of keeping track of who you are and what you do with this information." 

WSJ: Shockwave.com signs host of deals to produce exclusive Web animations. The site is owned by Macromedia, and headed by Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess. They hired Joe Shields, who's well-known in the Director world, and made a deal with James Brooks, who produced The Simpsons. Signing up 80,000 new members a day.  

NY Times: Netscape Browser Faces a Changed World. "After saying little about Netscape over the last year, America Online is now talking up its benefits largely to combat the impression in Silicon Valley, reported in a number of published accounts, that Netscape is in disarray and a shell of its former self." 

Does Wes have a girlfriend? (She's a cutie for sure!) 

Wes says that Sarah is not his girlfriend and he's still lookin. Girls, this is quite a geek. A nice guy who knows his stuff. 

Salon: Don't shoot that iMac! "Online reviewers convince Epinions not to run a TV ad featuring a Mac being blown to smithereens by a PC lover." 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 19, 2000. Sunday, March 19, 2000

Big change on Weblogs.Com. "We've had an internal project for about two weeks to redesign Weblogs.Com and to add a key new feature to the site, the ability to create your own Weblogs.Com site." 

Thanks to Garret Vreeland and Mike Donnelan who are helping us figure out how to use this stuff. It's confusing, I admit it. But it's always confusing when you first jump out of the plane with no parachute. Scripting.Com regulars will remember our longtime slogan, still diggin, which might be amended now with "still haven't figured out how the parachute works."  

OK, so you want to get started customizing but don't know where to begin. Here's a kick out of the airplane, a source listing of the Weblogs.Com home page. What are those funny things in curly braces? They're called macros, and when the page is rendered they invoke magic bits of Frontier code called scripts. (That's why this site is called Scripting News.) Those scripts poke around in the invisible object database that makes Manila work and gets things and turns them into HTML which web browsers know how to display. If you do exactly what this page does on your home page, you'll get a home page exactly like ours. If you change the formatting, your home page will contain the same info as ours but it will look different. This is called "customization". 

Andre chust arrived from Chermanee. Ve might go out for a Spicy Noodles dinner. Andre groans. "Not so soon!". "Why not?" I asked. It's even worse than it appears. 

US6025810: "...thereby creating an input and output port; and generating a communications signal into the input and output port, thereby sending the signal at a speed faster than light." 

SJ Merc: "If a site's not constantly under reconstruction, it's just one click short of becoming another 404 error on the cyberspacial roadside." 

Another place to register your weblog. 

Jon Arney: "I'm working on an XML-RPC implementation in C++ using the Xerces-C XML library from Apache." 

Wow, they put a redirect on the original home page of the Web, the site built by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN. From this page he pointed to the new sites as they came online. Unfortunately this site wasn't archived, wouldn't it be great if it were? It would be like the Bible for the Web. In the beginning.. 

Looks like CERN wants to use the flow to create a portal of Web resources. Wait a minute, it's even heavier. They're doing something like Manila! Excellent. Tried to create a site but I'm not a member. Sad. Hey the people look pretty cool. New friends?  

Washington Post: "This is the goose, it laid the golden egg," says Lessig of the system of shared ideas that created the Internet. Left to themselves, corporate lawyers will try to patent the goose and build a legal fence around it--and then wonder what happened to the eggs." 

Dan Gillmor: "Picture the jaded technology watcher, contemplating a slew of announcements in recent days." 

This morning one DaveNet member threatened another, a newbie, who did something understandable, but not usual. (I had already sent him a private email gently explaining how it works.) The complainer wanted me to punish the person who offended him, and also rewrite the DaveNet software, and change the culture (visible To: header) because he got one piece of email he considered spam. Oy. I took him off the list with no regrets. If you send me Old Tomatoes, you're off the list, immediately. If you want to give me your pain, look in the mirror instead, and say it to yourself. You'll find a more sympathetic ear, for sure. 

I did a search for Old Tomatoes, thinking I'd find dozens of pages explaining what they are, but I found none. So here's the definitive graph on the subject. "Old Tomato" is a cute mis-pronunciation for "ultimatum". They don't work and they're easy to avoid. Write down your old tomato. Put it in your wallet. Read it two days from now. You'll very likely find you don't care anymore.  

Given this data, it's not surprising that oldtomatoes.com is not taken and neither is oldtomato.com.  

However, whatatomato.com is taken. 

If you like tomatoes (I don't) you'll probably like this picture

Jeff Cheney: Log Analysis for Manila Sites

If I watched more TV I would know wazzup. True. 

NY Times: A New Activist Fund Will Test Web's Clout. "We are as close to the Weathermen as you're going to get in the financial world." 

Electric Dirt Farmer reviews Zaplets. 


"It's even worse than it appears." 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 18, 2000. Saturday, March 18, 2000

Before each night is done, their plan will be unfurled, by the dawning of the sun, they'll take over the world

Here's a very cool Java applet that allows the user to implode the Seattle KingDome. Well worth the 500K download. Try blowing up some of the neighborhood for fun! 

DevX: Distributed Computing With SOAP.  

David Dodd: The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics

Edd Dumbill: Fooling with XUL

Jason Levine: Manila and Daily Links. Thanks for the inspiration! I added the same feature on Scripting News, that's what the little page symbols on each day do, they take you to the archived version of the page. So instead of pointing to the Scripting News home page, now it's easy to point to the archived version. This was a good idea for a UI standard and we're glad to support it on SN and we will support it in Manila as well. 

Good news, the palmtop version of Scripting News is working once again. Still diggin! 

I played with Firedrop's Zaplets last night, but I swear there isn't an interesting application in sight. I also received a threatening email from their VC, who I thought was a friend. He said that the little guy needs protection. Little guy? Hello? I think we have a bad connection.  

According to Firedrop, Kleiner has started companies that are worth $80 billion. I wonder how big they think UserLand is! I also wondered if they would fight us legally, based on a suite of over a dozen patents that might be issued someday, or fight me in the market, which would be be very good for everyone and totally cool. Regardless, I tried to get enthusiastic about competing with them, and haven't managed to muster the juice. Zaplets are boring. Back to the drawing board. 

However: When a company advertises unissued patents, they're advertising vulnerability. The plan goes like this. Compete. Get publicity and users. Then the patents are issued. Wait for the demand letter. Tell your users "Sorry, we just got shut down." Give them the URL of the government-sanctioned monopoly. See if the monopolist can make them happy. (Doubtful.) 

John Foster on Zaplets: "I looked into Zaplets after scripting.com made mention of them and gosh, gee, there's it is, another feature from 10 years ago QuickMail from CE Software. We called them 'QM Forms' and they worked two different ways. One was you could use them to send data to a 'collector' account. Useful for gathering name, address, telephone, whatever else information... We got a 'big deal' reaction from customers for these features. Sure they were cool, they made good demos, but nobody used them." Prior Art. 

Hunting around the web I think I found the genesis of the Zaplet strategy. 

Press release: IBM Leads In U.S. Patents for Seventh Consecutive Year

While all this patent michegas is brewing, a relationship is blooming between UserLand and IBM. It's actually been blooming longer than I knew, key engineers in their Internet development group have been reading Scripting News and following our advice re XML-RPC. Well what do you know! It turns out they like weblogs too. Oy yoy yoy. Now, IBM, with over $1 billion per year in patent revenues becomes friends with Dave The Hippie who wants to make his users happy and return reasonable value to his shareholders. This is going to be an interesting conversation! 

Made even more interesting by my long history with IBM. I was an IBM kid, my father worked in Armonk when I was growing up. Later, when I ran a PC software company I made many trips to Boca Raton, to visit the headquarters of the technology world. Yes, that's where it was in the early-mid 80s! (Hard to believe now, eh?) We shipped the first app for OS/2. I met with Bill Gates at the PS/2 rollout in Miami. Everyone shook their head at the lock-in. And we all headed to the Mac. "I will survive." 

Lock-in kills companies. Just ask IBM. 

"It's even worse than it appears." -- Jerry Garcia. 

Alta Vista has a great picture browser that links into the Corbis database. I just spent 15 minutes browsing their Jerry Garcia collection. Some great photos in there! 

About hippies and software. Long tradition there. It took a lot of imagination to be into software in the 70s and 80s. Until the Mac really took hold, software was thought to be a very unimaginative thing. Meanwhile all the really good stuff was created by people with long hair, beards, loud laughs, they listened to Grateful Dead music, and stayed pretty quiet while the suits took the credit and most of the money. 


Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 17, 2000. Friday, March 17, 2000

Reuters: New Internet Start-Up Offers 'Amazon in a Box'

Apparently due to hitting a random milestone, NTK must now move to California. Although it pains me greatly to say this, this is somewhat cool

NY Times: From Geek Improvisers, a $99 Personal Computer

Sheila Simmons is counting the days until the implosion of the Kingdome in Seattle. A little over 8, as of today. 

Another idea for demonstrating resistence to the rule of patent. A programmer's strike. No code, no support, perhaps we even we shut down our servers, for 24 hours, in demonstration of our opposition to patents rewriting the rules of the software business. Instead of trying to convince the suits that this is wrong, let's show them how dependent they are on us. What do you think? 

BTW, in all but the most offensive patent-owning companies, such a demonstration would probably have the support of management and ownership. I believe most companies think the current situation is unworkable, at least if you take their comments at face-value. 

Oliver Breidenbach: "A man comes into a park where he meets a girl with a beautiful dog sitting on a park bench." 

Forbes: "Sun Microsystems' lawsuit claims that Kingston's primary product, add-on computer memory modules, is infringing on a Sun patent. Kingston, with sales last year of $1.4 billion, is the world's largest maker of the after-market modules, which are used to expand memory in computers." 

O'Reilly Network interviews Mozilla's Brendan Eich and Mitchell Baker. 

Tim O'Reilly says patents are OK, he's just against stupid patents. In the spirit of Touch of Grey, Tim man, patents are lock-in of the worst kind. There's no way to route around them.  

Consider this paragraph from yesterday's DaveNet. "I believe we must take extra steps to guarantee that there's no customer lock-in. It's even more important in the age of the Web when the user might not even have a copy of their own data. One of the cardinal requirements of this market, even before we try to get the UIs compatible, is an export function that leaves un-rendered text and data on the user's hard disk in a format readable by software that's available at a reasonable or no cost." 

Tim, give it some thought. I'm sure you agree with the paragraph above. But any patent, stupid or not, will create an environment of certain customer lock-in, not just probable lock-in. 

The only choice, imho, is to watch the Internet revolution wither and die while customers want features and fixes and are told about patents.  

To paraphrase Doc, this will not be a very happy conversation. The kids will ask what we did during the war. Is it worth going to jail for, as Professor Lessig warns? The day before they put me in jail, for writing software, I'll write one hell of a DaveNet.  

I was struck by the characterization of Tim and myself as hippies in the Salon piece. "If the guys in the button-down shirts say the system doesn't work for us, it would be hard for Congress not to listen," Samuelson says. "They have the clout; they don't look like a bunch of ragtag Internet hippies trying to get out from under the strictures of the patent system, which is exactly how the anti-patent crowd has been portrayed." Yeah I am a hippie. And I make software. And I have users who like it. Some of them are hippies, and some of them are very powerful people too. 

To me, being a hippie means having a mind and a heart, and remembering to dance when you get the chance. 

***Was JFK a hippie? 

Hey, if he had lived, would JFK have been a hippie? 


"And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." 

BTW, one of the things I can do for my country is put on a button-down shirt. It's not that big a deal. 

Thanks to Mike Jamieson for a full MP3 scan of Touch of Grey. What a gorgeous song. Tears running down my face and I'm laughing. "The ABC's we all must face, try to keep a little grace. I know the rent is in arrears. The dog has not been fed in years. It's even worse than it appears." 

Great email from Deadheads. From Keith Hurwitz, "I started the internal distribution list, deadheads at Microsoft,  

in 92. I think I still have an extra "deadheads at Microsoft" t-shirt - on the back it has a cool steal your face skull with Windows logo in the center and billg glasses! I'd be honored to send you one if you are interested!" The Dead was a culture that permeated everything in my generation. 

What's wrong with this picture? 3COM, which owns 95 percent of Palm, has a market capitalization of $22 billion, but Palm has a market cap of $31 billion. In the Old Economy, this would be immediately adjusted, stock traders would do the math and see that 3COM was totally undervalued, it's just math. But one plus one doesn't equal two anymore. Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. 

I found a RealAudio interview with Jerry and Phil. Great quote about taxes. "The first problem we couldn't deal with by completely ignoring it." Probably not the last!  

This is a test for my friend Dave Jacobs, a vice-president at Macromedia. 


Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 16, 2000. Thursday, March 16, 2000

DaveNet: Touch of Grey

First MacWorld, now Jim Roepcke, have dug out quotes from old DaveNets about Apple. Now let me return the favor. Here's what Steve Jobs said in Fortune in 1996. "If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth--and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."  

WSJ: Success of Kingís e-book sparks old-line vs. online controversy. "Simon & Schuster said it didnít include Fatbrain on the list of vendors for Mr. Kingís book because Fatbrainís encryption systems, which allow readers to download the material twice, wasnít suitable." 

NY Times: IBM Makes Breakthrough in Memory for Computers

Susan Kitchens started a roll call page on the March 25 site. 

Linux Newbies: More On Installing Software

Grateful Dead: Touch Of Grey

8/21/95 Time: Jerry Garcia dies at 53. "The flags were at half staff in San Francisco, and on one, a riot of colors replaced the traditional red, white and blue. It was the first tie-dyed flag to fly in front of city hall." 

4/21/97: Can Apple Survive? 

Minnesota Public Radio interviews Jesse James Garrett on weblogs. RealAudio. 

News.Com: "The way Jini has been handled is a classic example of the product-marketing cycles that drive much of today's high-tech industry. To satisfy the relentless demands of competition and Wall Street, companies often hype their products far before a market for them has been created--and sometimes with little knowledge about how their technology will ultimately be used, if at all." 

Dan Gillmor: "For the first time in years, the installation of a new operating system went without a hitch. With Windows 2000, Microsoft put a lot of effort into this part of the product, and it shows." 

Steve Yost would like to apply collaborative filtering technology to My.UserLand and Weblogs.Com. 

What is Everything

Synchronicity. A few minutes ago I sent a follow-up email to John Patrick of IBM, saying that I saw how Sash, their JavaScript UI widgets, could fit into our Two-Way-Web vision, and at the same time, Andrew Wooldridge, editor of the Web Apps site, was pointing to Sash, saying "This is truly interesting." 

To Manila designers -- I'm sure there's a temptation to regard my call for templates as a greedy request by a huge corporation to get its users to work for free. I've even seen this POV on the web. Or you could view it as a way of giving future Manila users the benefit of your experience, knowing that this will mean they will have more fun, and will get to know you as the design inspiration for their site. We're going to open a new hosting service in the next few days. Right now all we have is the plain It Worked template that's getting kind of stale. We could offer money for the winning design. If we did, would that get you off your butts and coming up with new starter designs? 

Tim Bray: Patent your DTDs. "It's interesting to note that the DTD is ambiguous and hence technically not XML - I'm sure the USPTO will detect this." 

Dan Bricklin has some great pictures from Esther's, including me, smiling.  

One of my best lines ever. At the Web Apps panel on Tuesday, we're talking about building on each others' tools, Evan Williams volunteers that they've already prototyped an XML-RPC connection between Blogger and Manila. "Excuse me while I fall off my chair." It was that kind of session. Good humor, lots of laughs, awe at some of the demos (particularly ThinkFree), and hunger for success.  

NetDyslexia: Euroblogs

Conversant is a Frontier-based web app. I created a Conversant site late last week, but only had a few minutes to play with it. I'm interested in starting a discussion on how Conversant and Manila might be integrated, along the lines of the discussion we had in Phoenix (which I haven't written up yet!) about connecting various content servers with editorial tools. Perhaps someone with a Manila site can create a Conversant site for exploring the possible connections between the products. 

Also this is a milestone for the Frontier development community. This product is at least as competitive with Manila as Blogger is. (As if competitiveness could be measured on a scale of 1 to 10.) Finding a method for co-existence is going to be a bit of a challenge. The two lead developers of Conversant, Seth Dillingham and Brian Andresen, are highly regarded in the community as experts in getting Frontier to do amazing feats and working around its flaws. I bet Conversant works really well. They've been working on the service for many months. Their work deserves a careful review by people who use Manila and Frontier. 

XML-RPC mail list: "I am working on a business to business portal, which allows members to put up Items to buy/sell on the exchange." 

Chris Nolan: Why I'm still scribbling for a living. "Silicon Valley is now well on its way to becoming an affluent, fast-paced urban environment, stretching from San Francisco to San Jose. It is sophisticated, it is cutthroat and it is one of the most amazing places on Earth right now." 

Reuters: Life imitates art in Web confession sites. "This year's South by Southwest Interactive Festival featured an impressive array of Webcam and Weblog site proprietors who are committed to making people see that the Internet as a medium can be more than just an online mall." 

Tim O'Reilly talks with Richard Stallman on patents. "If only the nontrivial new ideas are off limits for 20 years, that will be enough to keep us 20 years behind the times." 


Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 15, 2000. Wednesday, March 15, 2000

On Tuesday, Steve Ballmer of Microsoft announced a deal with RealNames, but was this a slip of the tongue? They also did a deal with RealNetworks on the same day. (Great quote: "Microsoft is just one of the colors on the globe (in this space)," Doherty said. "Real is still the mapmaker.") 

In fact they did do a deal with RealNames. "The pact will let Microsoft expand its use of RealNames' technology that lets Web surfers find Web sites by typing keywords like ford explorer in a browser, rather than by using lengthy addresses packed with dots and slashes." The domain name system just took another hit. Will there be an outcry this time? There wasn't the last time it happened. 

Paranoid vision from yesterday's patent discussion. DOJ negotiates a settlement with MS. Major limitations on what they can do, with real teeth, unlike the last consent decree. A few months pass. Microsoft starts exercising their legal monopolies through their 1000+ patents. Sorry I don't remember who raised this scenario. It's cute. I'm not sure if they would play this tough. I kind of hope not.  


Xml.Com: Cool XUL Provides Cross-Platform UI

Brett Glass: Twinkle, twinkle little prime. "The patent on the RSA public key cryptography algorithm is due to expire shortly." 

People I bonded with in Phoenix (this list will grow): Brian Behlendorf of Apache, David Ellington of NetNoir, Fred Davis and Colette McMullen of Lumeria, Dan Lynch (founder of many net-things), Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Associates, John Patrick of IBM, Evan Williams of Pyra, Ken Rhie of ThinkFree, Lawrence Lessig of Harvard, Tara Lamay of EFF, Doc Searls (who needs no introduction here), Michael Shrage of MIT Media Lab. 

And get this -- I spent ten minutes with Whoopi Goldberg! We talked about growing up in NY, getting older (we're both 44), her fear of flying (she travels in a bus), and of course I mentioned the problem with patents. I liked talking with her. It gave me a buzz. 

***Good morning from Day 3 of PC Forum 

The Web Apps discussion yesterday was great fun. Lots of different approaches, the room was packed, humor, insights, in a way, the first meeting of members of a new market.  

Last night an interesting session on patents. As one would expect, two extreme views, one that patents are needed to protect small companies from larger predators, the other that monopolies are not cool, even under the guise of patents.  

An intermediate viewpoint, that the furor over patents is like Y2K, an imagined crisis, and an idea that the Frontier community could test the law by picking one highly visible yet thin company and meet them in the market, see how they respond.  

One idea we've been interested in for quite some time is HTML email, so perhaps Firedrop would make a good test case. As you know Manila sends HTML email to subscribers that request it. I know their VCs well, and they know me. From what I've seen it wouldn't take long to build a server app that does what Firedrop does. How would they respond? Well, it's pretty clear that their patents have yet to be issued. Maybe they would just welcome the competition, as a way of helping them refine their relationship with their market. 

These are just some thoughts from the field. I'm writing this out on the patio, it's a very pretty day, hard to be inside, but it's time to go back in! More news tomorrow, for sure. 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 14, 2000. Tuesday, March 14, 2000

AP: Dolly Creators Claim Cloning Pigs

Doc Searls: Patent Death Pending

The 3COM wireless connection is flaky and batteries don't last very long. So updates may or may not be very frequent. 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 13, 2000. Monday, March 13, 2000

About FireDrop: "The Zaplet Communications Platform required significant technology breakthroughs to leverage the convergence of the web, email, and instant messaging. Breakthroughs that centered around server-based asynchronous communications, and innovations in cross-email platform technology, which are part of the FireDrop suite of over a dozen patents."  

BYTE: Internet Patents Are Changing The Rules

NY Times: Technologist Gives His Peers a Dark Warning

Firedrop is dropping now. They have lots of patents. "An entirely new communication platform. Email, the web, instant messaging." Their product is called Zaplet.  

OnePage. Blah blah blah. Because blah new inefficiences, it's a hassle visiting all the websites, to drill down, daily basis, at the end of the day. Bookmarks. It's only getting worse. more necessary, not less. Smaller. It sucks. The internet sucks. At the end of the day fifteen years ago. Today schools register online, blah blah ok blah blah. You lose. They lose. 

The guy from Time-Warner says "at the end of the day" a lot. Now I am too. 

Good morning and welcome to Phoenix. Thanks to 3COM I have a wireless LAN connection that I can update from the hall at PC Forum.  

It's pretty cool to be able to check my email and write for the web while in a conference. It's sort of a very high fidelity webcast. I deliberately sat in the back of the room so the screen would look as small as possible. 

The CEO of Google is very impressive. I talked with him briefly last night. He's on stage right now with Carl Malamud of Invisible Worlds, and Eric Schmidt of Novell. 

I've gotten three emails, all not for publication, from Microsoft people saying that they do not have a patent on XML-RPC technology. 

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 12, 2000. Sunday, March 12, 2000

DaveNet: What is a Web Application? 

If I don't respond to your emails or postings it's because I'm on my way to Phoenix. Have a great day, see y'all tomorrow! 

Last night I put together the schedule for the Distributed Computing Track on Developer's Day at WWW9 in Amsterdam, May 19, 2000. That's quite a mouthful! It was also way late. Sorry to the WWW9 people. Glad it's done now. 

I like Esther because she gets silly. She thought I should wear jeans to the soiree in Davos. I didn't. But I will wear jeans at Esther's. The official national dress of the Internet. Yaya. 

Great to see the NY Times in a leadership position covering the patent crisis. At least we can document the Internet boom de-constructing. Let's give the candidates something to talk about, leave a trail for historians to follow. 

All over the weblogs this morning I'm seeing notes about the SXSW show. I'm sad I'm not there. The energy seems so beautiful! All those digital cameras. A whos-who of the Weblog World. Instead I'm going to Esther's. This is the first one I've been to in close to ten years. I haven't been counting. I stopped going because the group of people I grew up with had become just like the older people we used to hate. To the people at SXSW, who are young, some as young as 21, cherish this experience! And do better than my generation did, keep the optimism, and don't accept the bullshit. 

This is the essay I wrote after the last Stewart's I attended. (Same crowd as Esther's.) It was a good goodbye. I sang with Denise Caruso, one of the keynotes at SXSW. "On Tuesday night, in the main lobby of the Phoenician Hotel, about twenty people sang a chorus of Que Sera Sera. Over and over. It was beautiful. No fear. Ye-hi!"  

Another friend, Jodi Mardesich, will also be speaking at SXSW. I worked with Jodi when she was at the SJ Merc, on the story of the Steve Jobs' coup that toppled Gil Amelio. Jodi just left Fortune to become part of an Internet startup. Go Jodi! 

My love to everyone in Austin. I'm jealous! Have fun!! Be young. 

***Other stuff 

David Burdett: What is XML Messaging? 

Internet Analysis on Allaire and Vignette


Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 11, 2000. Saturday, March 11, 2000

DaveNet: James Gleick on the Patent Crisis

Weblogs.Com: Members with Favorites. You can also include your favorites, or someone else's, or a collection of them, in any web page, using a <script> tag, of course.  

There's also an XML version of the favorites structure, it's updated every hour, after the hourly scan, as are the other Weblogs.Com XML files. With this info, other developers can do six-degrees type browsers that should be quite interesting. It's open, have fun! 

Press release: TheBrain.com Receives Patent on Graphical Interface for Linked Information. "In recognition of the innovative and unique nature of TheBrain, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Patent No. 6,031,537. The patent is the first issued of several filed by TheBrain.com. Its issuance creates a significant barrier to entry for companies considering developing similar technology and solidifies TheBrain.comís position as the leading provider of visual information environments." 

Jim Roepcke: "I have been a customer of Natrificial for a couple of years now. I use The Brain just about every day. I am very disappointed that you intend to use your patents as a barrier to entry for other people who might create competing products." 

Jim's comments are interesting, since he's a weblogger, I'm wondering if it would make sense to have an index relating weblogs to products they cover. I didn't know that Jim used The Brain. It would be interesting to get that bit of information recorded in a usable way in the Category Browser in Weblogs.Com. 

It might also be interesting to have a weblog that "shadows" each company that is active in patents. This would allow someone who wants the full story on the company to get it. The press release was three levels off the home page on the Natrificial site. Neither Amazon or Geoworks are advertising that Amazon is part-owner of Geoworks. On a shadow site this information would be easy to locate.  

There's more we can do than sign petitions and send emails. Information is key. Until this morning I thought that The Brain was a friendly product.  

Ask Slashdot, 10/24/99: "I am writing a Linux and PalmPilot clone of a Windows program (The Brain by Natrificial - www.thebrain.com). It has come to my attention that there are patents pending on 'all fundamental aspects of The Brain.' What exactly does this mean for me?" 

Inspiration and SemNet may be prior art for The Brain. 

Newsweek: The Great Amazon Patent Debate: "Yes, the law, as well as the prevailing corporate ethic, may be on the side of Jeff Bezos and his current course. But Amazon.com has become a globally known brand valued at $21 billion not because of exclusive technology but by its vision, its aggressive focus on customer service... and its embrace of the Internet, which offers an alternative ethic of sharing technology. Who better to break the mold of predatory patent litigation than its celebrated founder?" 

In the true spirit of the Internet, Andrew Wooldridge proposes a short list of truly significant web apps

Pokemon League: "Toy's R Us in San Mateo joins the website today. They play on Saturdays from 9:30am to 11:30am." This site is being run by UserLand's Bob Bierman and his son Alex. 

Blogger! Blogger! One of the new features the Blogger folk have in the pipe is Remote Editing. I'm not quite sure what it is, but after some more coffee I'll give it a whirl on my Blogger site

And, congrats to the Blogger team, esp designer Derek Powazek, for a great redesign of the Blogger site. They've raised the bar on sites for managing Weblogs. As always, an inspiration! 

Weblogs pointing to the new remote editing page on Blogger. 

Late last night I did a redesign myself. James T. Kirk says once again, "To boldly go where no man has gone before." Jeff Bezos's eyes loom over the landscape. Dorothy is nearby saying "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." My heroes, Mr Ed, Mahatma Gandhi and the Spicy Noodles get ready to defend the honor of the Internet. The Zeldman icons assemble. Mark Cuban reclines, in faux relaxation, not knowing what to do with himself after sucking billions out of the Internet. And Stewart Alsop grins, beneath the shadow of George Bush the Elder, on behalf of all the VCs who seek non-volatile competitive advantages through the legal system. 

NY Times: Chairman of Amazon Urges Reduction of Patent Terms. "At the least, Mr. Zittrain said, Mr. Bezos is trying to make the best of a possible image problem. 'He took a P.R. problem and turned it into a P.R. opportunity,' he said." 

Luke Tymowski says it very well. "If [Amazon] really respected what Tim had to say, they would say they're not enforcing their patents, apologise for taking advantage of a wacked out PTO, and work publicly to get rid of software patents. Instead they blame the PTO for the mess, and refuse to let go of their half-witted patents." 

Like many others I am watching this space

Stewart Himself: "I say 'shouting in the dark' on my banner because Iím not sure there is anybody out there listening. So right now thatís what this site is like. But hopefully if I just keep shouting into the darkness, some passersby will stop, maybe even have similar interests and wish to join the discussion ó join the shouting." 

Press release: Netmarket Group Inc. Issued U.S. Patent for Hagglezone E-Commerce System. "Hosts start off the bidding process close to the manufacturer's suggested retail price, but the consumer can offer any price they want. The Host instantly responds to their offer with a new price -- sometimes the Hosts accept the first low-ball offer. Shoppers can always get better deals by honing their haggle skills through repeat visits." 

Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 10, 2000. Friday, March 10, 2000

DaveNet: Speaking of the Cluetrain

Doc Searls: Talking Patents. "I hate them, but we all have to start talking about them, because our world is being mined at an accelerating pace." 

Where we're at with patents. "The not yet published innovations we developed in 1999 and 2000 are as unobvious as outlining was in the early 80s. They are quite patentable, imho, and they will be valuable patents." 

PC Week: Hype aside, WAP has worries. "The Geoworks issue seems to have the WAP Forum worried. One new member said a recent forum meeting in Rome was crowded with lawyers who whispered to forum executives every time the conversation got contentious." 

2/16/99: Amazon.Com Purchases Minority Stake in Geoworks. "Amazon.com has invested $5 million in Geoworks common stock, representing approximately a seven percent interest in the company." 

SightSound.Com: "The royalty rate for the License is one percent of the total price charged to customers per transaction for the download sale of music or other audio recordings." 

3/31-4/1 in Boston: Geek Pride Festival. "Go figure. Go geek!" 

Steve Yost wants to start a Charity Banner Portal

Jacob Levy: "In a previous life, I was part of a team that was trying to get VC money to do a start-up. The VCs made a big deal about having a 'non-volatile competitive advantage' in what we were doing, to assure that we would have the prospective market to ourselves." 

Yesterday Mike Murry had trouble reading comments in response to Jeff Bezos's open letter. Me too, works now. 

NPR's Elaine Korry reports that the "online retailer Amazon.com recently received a patent on sales links between webpages. If enforced, Amazon would be able collect royalties from online companies that refer sales from one website to another." 

Dan Gillmor: "Later Thursday, in a phone interview, [Bezos] defended Amazon's actions and amplified on his patent aims." 

Inc: What Business Is Amazon.com Really In? "It's unprofitable, of course, but that's just the superficial answer. The tsunami of red ink, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has long maintained, is part of the plan. On to the deeper question, then: What on earth is the plan?" 

Irish Times: Loss-making Amazon turns to bullying. "As the Web grows almost grotesquely commercial, harking back to the community-mindedness that built the Web is at the very least, quixotically admirable. But don't underestimate the power of community." 

I found out about the Irish Times editorial from its author Karlin Lillington who sent me a response she received from Amazon PR, which explains a lot. Here's a screen shot of the email. 

This email has lessons for lots of people. First to the PR guy at Amazon, Bill Curry, this is not a positive way to deal with the press! Second, to Tim O'Reilly who is cited as supporting Amazon, please consider what you're supporting.  

And to all of us who are subject to criticism, even ridicule, myself included, it comes with the territory. As Jean-Louis Gassee used to say, maybe he still does, "As the monkey climbs the tree, more people can see his bottom."  

Late in the day, apologies from Jeff Bezos and Bill Curry to Karlin Lillington. 

Representing the other school of thought, Christopher Locke, one of the Cluetrain authors, mentions the Bezos-O'Reilly public posts as evidence of their clued-in-ness. But Chris, how would you feel if the art you practiced were subject to the kinds of nonsense rules the USPTO is trying to foist on software developers? Could you have published Cluetrain if Tom Peters had the patent on books that help businesses use technology? 

Here's where the Cluetrain guys can get a clue

Katiesoft "provides partners and portals a super sticky Internet opportunity, backed by patent protected features no one can imitate." 

To Scripting News readers, please send me pointers to companies who openly use patents to limit competition. 

Another thing to worry about. There's a two year gestation for patents. A harrowing question raised by the Sun people I met with on Wednesday, has Microsoft filed a patent application on XML-RPC technology? Since Microsoft cites me as a supporter of their work, I must find a way to ask this question without provoking the "You Don't Love Us" response from Microsoft. 

11:20PM: It's been a remarkable and exhausting day. We did actually ship some new technology today, but I'll wait to explain that until tomorrow.  


Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 09, 2000. Thursday, March 09, 2000

DaveNet: Next week at Esther's

UserLand.Com members: Will you buy from Amazon? 

Amazon.com: An Open Letter from Jeff Bezos. "I also strongly doubt whether our giving up our patents would really, in the end, provide much of a stepping stone to solving the bigger problem." 

News.Com: Amazon CEO calls for patent reform. "Amazon's patents have raised the ire of Net advocates because the features the patents would protect have been widely adopted by other companies. Many advocates argue that the features are not only obvious, but Amazon's enforcement of patents for them could harm Net commerce." 

AP: Amazon moves to stem patent uproar

Tim O'Reilly comments on the Bezos letter. "One thing about a call for action in Washington is that it could be seen as just a way of shifting the focus away from Amazon and onto the PTO." 

An open letter to Doc Searls. 

I got positive emails from Doc and Tim on the Tuesday night patent discussion at Esther's, so I sent an email to Kevin saying let's go ahead. If you're going to be in Phoenix next week, let's get together and talk. I probably will ask the question at the Web Applications panel as well. "Do any of you guys have patents we should know about?" 

Kate Adams: "I sent Amazon a brief e-mail this morning saying I'm staying away until I either believe in the patent or some other positive outcome is reached."  

Weblogs that point to the Bezos essay. 

Steve Yost: Take It Offline XML-RPC Interface. "Take It Offline is written in Perl and lives on a Solaris box. Connected XML-RPC clients include one in San Francisco using VBScript on NT, and another in Paris using Perl on Linux." 

Today's new feature for Weblogs.Com is the Recently Updated Weblogs panel on the home page. It shows your favorite weblogs in the order they were last udpated. To add a log to your favorites, click on its checkbox, then click on the Favorite button. Screen shot

Wired: "Arizona's online voting experiment may have started smoothly, but it's becoming a bumpy ride." 

My.UserLand.Com: Iraqi News Update

USA Today: Could Linux outdo Windows? "What makes Linux different is that it's part of the Internet culture. It's essentially being built by a community," says Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a general manager at IBM, who is heading the Linux movement there. 

March 25: Call for templates. "We're getting ready to open another server for free Manila hosting. In reviewing the site, I was asked if there was anything I wanted to change in the initial starter site we create." 

MSNBC: The rise and fall of Netscape. "If thereís a cautionary tale here, it is that you canít take a dying project, sprinkle it with the magic pixie dust of 'open source,' and have everything magically work out," Zawinski wrote. "Software is hard. The issues arenít that simple."  

Ken MacLeod: Distributed Whiteboard API

Tim O'Reilly responds to Amazon patent questions. 

Yesterday at a meeting at Sun I heard a harrowing tale about the Microsoft CSS patent, and a patent that IBM owns for calendars displayed on computer screens. For now, it seems that patents are tools that big companies use to squeeze millions of dollars out of other big companies. But big companies use their weight to crush little companies too. Some users ask why they should care. Well, do you want to get all your software (web apps too) from big companies like Microsoft, Sun and IBM? If you do, stay ambivalent about patents. You'll eventually get your wish. 

Another thing big companies do is tell harrowing tales to CEOs of small companies. I'm well-practiced at receiving these stories. I tell them my story about buying a sailboat and cruising the Mediterranean, perhaps stopping off to work on pottery every once in a while.  

More data from the Sun meeting. Unbeknownst to me, part of Sun has embraced XML-RPC. Unless corporate FUD kicks in, there will be a new server that will make some Frontier users quite happy! (And some Sun users too.) 

Attention please: The Last Page of the Internet


"Enjoy the rest of your life." 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 08, 2000. Wednesday, March 08, 2000

The Register: "Could it be that we are seeing a new facet of Microsoft, that there is the realisation that if you have the expertise, you do not have to use the dirty tricks?"  

Ken MacLeod has an experimental implementation of SOAP for Perl. The readme is here

Megnut says she may leave California. And then Garret says they're bringing cheap DSL to Santa Fe. Then I had this idea, let's start a Web commune in Santa Fe, great air, beautiful country, skiing, it's cheap, and they don't have stupid people who want to prevent other people from marrying each other. How childish. 

There are Frontier developers in Santa Fe. Should we have a bootcamp, Web Commune, Manilapalooza in Santa Fe this summer? 

In response to user feedback we have revised the last paragraph of the agreement for EditThisPage.Com members. 

E&P: Weblogs, From Underground to Mainstream. "Slow corporatization of the concept will probably be fine with many of the thousands of independent Webloggers who pioneered the concept. Romenesko says as Weblogging becomes more widespread among corporations, there's likely to be some resentment from the pioneers who see it as an anti-corporate concept." 

FWIW, I think he's got it backwards. Weblogs may become corporate tools, but they're also Trojan Horses. Once a corporation becomes weblog-aware, it stops behaving so much like a corporation and more like part of the Web, where ideas are shared and linked to, even (perish the thought) across corporate boundaries.  

New feature on Weblogs.Com this morning. Now there are Yahoo-style checkboxes on each item and buttons that do stuff with the checked items. Not everything is wired in yet. Here's a graphic that explains what's going on. 

flashforward2000 conference, March 27-29 in SF. 

New site: Patents.EditThisPage.Com

The XML-DEV list is not working properly. Most of my posts yesterday are not in the archive. They didn't come in email either. If you're on the list and wondering where my posts have been going, I have been wondering about that too.  

There are lots of free and reliable listserves. They're fast too, eGroups takes less than a minute to distribute an email, which makes a difference in how much work you can do in a day.  

WSJ: Simon & Schuster to release story by Stephen King on the Web only. "The book, a 66-page ghost story titled 'Riding the Bullet,' is one of the first examples of a best-selling author creating a work purely for electronic download. Consumers will be able to buy the book for $2.50 through Web sites run by e-book manufacturers as well as online booksellers such as Amazon.com." Of course I'll buy this, but I won't buy it at Amazon, unless they wise up

NY Times editorial: A Decisive Day for Front-Runners: "When he was attacked unfairly by the religious right in South Carolina, Mr. McCain returned the fire. That decision to counterattack now looks like a costly tactical mistake that damaged the aura of his campaign, revived old worries about his temperament and unsettled many mainstream Republicans." 

I created thumbs of our two presidential candidates, but decided that the pictures without their faces were more interesting. 

What got me interested in the candidates' pictures was this picture on the home page of MSNBC showing Gore making a sincere grimace, which looks like an imitation of the sincere grimace that Bill Clinton uses. I'd love to get a peek behind the scenes, how did they teach Gore to do this? The American people are going to love it. Did it require surgery? 

Of course it did not require surgery to get George W. Bush to look like his father, but that may not be good tactics! Will they call him Poppy too?? 

Survey: Is Bush disgusting? 

NetDyslexia: Same Horse, Another Photo

Asparagus in spicy garlic sauce. (Hot!) 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, March 07, 2000. Tuesday, March 07, 2000

NY Times: A Sweep by Gore Assures Nomination; Big Lead for Bush in G.O.P. Delegates. "Al Gore crushed Bill Bradley in state after state tonight, assuring the vice president the Democratic presidential nomination, while Gov. George W. Bush piled up far more Republican delegates than Senator John McCain." 

Salon: Who Owns Your DNA? "Genetic research that can save lives is often stymied by biotech companies' greedy patent claims." 

Some people may consider this bug a feature. I have not been able to post to the XML-DEV list today, I've tried twice, but haven't gotten through. Here's what I wanted to say

Nick Sweeney raised the issue of Amazon's patents with Amazon's president on CNBC today. 

The UK now has a free Manila hosting service

XML Magazine interviews Microsoft's John Montgomery on SOAP. "There's nothing hidden here; there are no tricks. But judging by that reaction, Sun was scared. They're realizing that once you have standard XML on the wire, their lock-in that they're trying to get with Java goes away." 

I just realized something about Microsoft. To most people, including people at Microsoft, you're either anti-Microsoft or pro-Microsoft. Then thinking about it some more, this isn't just true of Microsoft. It's also true of Apple. And it's also true of Linux. And Open Source. And it's not just about computers either. It's pretty much everywhere. And it's total bullshit. 

I re-ran the log analyzer on yesterday's traffic on Subhonker1. 95550 page reads, of which 74320 were non-members. 

blackholebrain says about people watching this site, "We are all like greasy mechanics standing around a humming, hot-rodded v-8 engine: hood up and breathing in the fumes saying WOW! YEAH! COOL! And hey, that is cool! But to the non-mechanic we are engine geeks! Crazed and emphatic engine geeks." 

This is so true. I've been trying to figure out what the Scripting News for Manila users will be. I'm not the author of that site. Already running at 80,000 miles per hour. If possible, I want to slow down. The real rumbling engine is over on EditThisPage.Com. I figure the next step is teamwork, mergers between logs, or new logs that are edited by groups of authors. We want to make the technology to support this activity, and that's what Scripting News must stay focused on, the technology. 

There's now a Scripting News Drinking Game for people going to SXSW. I wonder if Dan Gillmor is going? Did you know that Dan has a Manila site? Hey check this out. Yesterday I heard that Mitch Kapor is on the board of Eazel, the company started by Mike Boich and Andy Hertzfeld. They're doing Open Source software. Excellent! 

Evan Williams: "If you or anyone you know has office space in SF you'd like to rent/share with a few Pyradicals, even short term, please let me know. Thanks" 

News.Com: Researchers work to eradicate broken hyperlinks. "If a document's URL changes, a search engine could be employed to automatically locate the missing page." 

MSNBC: Bradley, McCain hope for upsets. "Voters from Maine to California are casting their ballots in a decisive day for presidential campaigns. More than half the delegates needed to win the Republican and Democratic nominations will be decided, and polls show Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush far ahead in nearly every race." 

My.UserLand.Com: The FreeBSD Diary

Beef, pork, seafood, poultry, rice or spicy noodles? 

There are now four sites in the Dogma 2000 category on Weblogs.Com. Even so, there are ten sites in the General category. 

Reuters: VeriSign to Buy Network Solutions for $21 Billion

Network Solutions, or NSI, is the company that operates the master directory for the Internet. When a piece of software, like your web browser, wants to find out where given machine is, it sends over a string like "www.news.com" and it returns back an address, like "". VeriSign makes software that authenticates documents, making sure you know who created it and when it was last modified. This is an important bit of technology if you want to do legal transactions using the Internet. I want to be able to prove that you signed a contract, and exactly what the contract said when you signed it, without having to print it on paper. 

Jacob Levy is having a problem with NSI. 

PC Week: AMD first to ship 1GHz processor

Circle of Learning is a "free, online, open-source university, a center of story-telling, a community of people over the age of 50 learning, communicating, writing about their passions and sharing their opinions with an equal passion." 

Montana News Daily reports on a cat wreaking havoc with dogs and birds in downtown Bozeman, including a picture of the cat. 

Jon Udell: The Future Of The Programmable Browser. "In principle, XUL looks like a good approach to enabling regular HTML-literate folks (rather than GUI programmers) to create more powerful Web-top interfaces." 

Permanent link to archive for Monday, March 06, 2000. Monday, March 06, 2000

Steve Litt: Outlines, The Do Everything Tool

Don Box: XML-RPC to SOAP Translator. Woo-Hoo! 

I just found out that there's an Apache module for XML-RPC. How is it being used? 

More data from log analysis. Last Friday 73,025 out 95,009 page reads on Subhonker1 were not members of the site they were reading. This means they were reading, not writing.  

George W. Bush has something he'd like to say to you this evening. 

RCFoC: Our Wireless, Wireless World

Fortune: New Ethics, or No Ethics? 

WebReference: RSS Viewer Applet

osOpinion: Microsoft Owns the Web. "Netscape's poorly-implemented, non-standard features lost out to Microsoft's poorly-implemented, non-standard features." 

March 25: "I want to be able to use elements from community sites in my site. I'd like to be able to connect to the shortcuts table in any site, grab a bit of HTML and have it included in my page. Like NetDyslexia's horse. Or the Zeldman icons. Or James Kirk, the newest addition to the global shortcuts." 

Important: I want to audio webcast the March 25 meeting. 

My.UserLand.Com: JavaScript Tip of the Day

Meeting with Jeff Cheney on Saturday was a good thing! I learned that he thought that Pike would not run on the Mac. Not true. Pike will run on the Mac, and will have all the features of Pike for Windows. We punted on browser integration in 1.0. It's difficult for C programs on Windows to do in-app HTML rendering. There's no sample code, and we're running out of time for 1.0. Sorry, I wish it weren't so, because when it happens it will be a killer feature. You'll feel like you're in a browser, but it actually will be an editing and scripting environment with a built-in HTTP server. In 1.0, you'll get all the functionality, but no illusion of being in a browser. There will be a layer switch on both platforms.  

User Friendly offers "tough love" for Amazon. Hi Jeff! 

More "tough love" for Jeff Bezos from Spencer F. Katt

Stewart Alsop: "I proposed that if we believe that we citizens of the U.S. can't control or regulate Microsoft's behavior as a monopoly, then let's withdraw government protection of the intellectual property making that monopoly possible." 

Yesterday's Manila feature addition, easy entering of relative paths, is just the tip of the iceberg of the next Thrilla. The pipe is filling up again! Here we go. 

Newsweek: "Muhammad Ali says his greatest bout was the Thrilla in Manila. But his whole life has been one great fight." 

Brent Simmons: "We're working on something very cool right now. Grown men will faint. Women will weep. Children will look up from their TV sets. Cats will talk. Squirrels will ride motorcycles. Dogs will invent a new calculus. Roller coasters will run in reverse. Stars will move in closer to the Earth."  


Permanent link to archive for Sunday, March 05, 2000. Sunday, March 05, 2000

Manila's new Set Relative Path feature allows you to set the site structure path from the Admin box that appears at the bottom of discussion group pages. 

Jakob Nielsen: Profit Maximization vs. User Loyalty

My experience with open source: "I wanted to shake him. Listen to my words dude, I did it, and you can't even hear me." 

NetDyslexia explains why their horse can't talk. Why would he want to? No one listens! 

Eric Kidd offers "tough love" for MacBird. 

I updated the MacBird home page in response to private feedback from Eric. Now it better explains why it's unique, and how I feel about it and what it can do for non-Mac platforms.  

Also note that Steve Zellers has checked in the source to a CVS, SourceForge, and has asked us a fair question that we will respond to. 

Log analysis for Subhonker1 for Friday. Two reports, one ranking browsers, another ranking domains. Subhonker1 hosts Manila sites only, EditThisPage.Com and others. 95,000 page reads.  

On the Weblogs mail list, Jorn Barger says: " 

US culture for men is very much about pretending to be a football-fan kind of guy, and if you get caught in a more tender-hearted enthusiasm you may never hear the end of it." 

That reminds me: "A lot of men, including me, don't feel as if we have permission to speak our truth, to say what we see. The barriers seem to be everywhere." 

Cafe Boronne in Menlo Park is a European type hangout place smack in the middle of Silicon Valley. Next door to one of our best bookstores, Kepler's. A block away from Be's headquarters. 

History of Menlo Park. "When the railroad came through in 1863, this station had no name, it was just the end of the line, but it needed a designation." 

Cross-post on the SOAP and XML-RPC mail lists. "Then the picture all of a sudden becomes clear. Oooops. We got left behind somehow." 

The idled workaholic discussion. What if you had been working all your life to get rich, and then you were? What would you do? 

Michael Swaine: More Patent Nonsense. "Since I benefit from that program, I have a moral dilemma to face, or at least I will if Amazon starts suing people over the affiliates patent. I hate moral dilemmas. Sigh." Get over it. 

Money must be in the air today. On the March 25 site, Fredrik Lundh asks "Is it just me, or does this 'we're making lots of money so you gotta give us your stuff for free' argument feel a little strange?" 

Jacob Savin sent me a pointer to an Escher print that's like my sky in a puddle picture. 

Another sky in the puddle picture, only it's the light of my camera's flash reflecting off fat in Won Ton Soup. It looks like there's something fibrous on the surface of the soup. I had to look twice to figure out what I was seeing. 


Permanent link to archive for Saturday, March 04, 2000. Saturday, March 04, 2000

It's a spicy noodles kind of day. 

April 6 in SF: mozilla.party

Links for W3C and IETF people: "I promised to put together a page of links of background information on what we're doing at UserLand to build the Two-Way-Web, for people in W3C and IETF who are getting to know us." 

Sun's Michael Condry will host a B2BXML BOF at IETF in Adelaide. 5 acronyms! 

LWProtocols.org is a "clearinghouse for information about distributed computing architectures that are more structured than telnet command protocols or CGIs but less complex or heavy than CORBA or DCOM." 

Dan Gillmor: President gives online privacy some perspective

Wow. I'm totally glad that former Suck guy Greg Knauss has an EditThisPage.Com site. Sarcastic! 

The Suck parody of DaveNet from January 1996. 

Eric Soroos: Amazon's Net Patents: "Amazon.com has lots of minority shareholders, and their stock has been falling. In today's legal climate, there's a significant possibly that they will have to defend against minority shareholder lawsuits." 

Slashdot discusses last night's O'Reilly post. 

Two other angles on the Amazon patent situation. First, a common theme, since Amazon loses money on every sale, boycotting them helps them. (Somehow I think that's too linear for today's economy.) A second angle. If you think standardized Web user interfaces are coming, as I do, Amazon may be digging themselves into a hole. Notice that the other booksellers are reverting to the shopping basket metaphor. Unless the market wholly coalesces around Amazon, they may end up switching to shopping baskets themselves at some point, if the Web is like computers, and if UI standardization catches on as it did with the Mac in the early-mid 80s. 

The benefit of UI standardization was that users could use more than one app, a concept that, when translated to the Web, means a user can use more than one Web site. Today's Web has more in common with Hypercard stacks than it does with desktop apps, but the idea of Web applications is still pretty new. 

Pictures from XTech on Thursday. Peter Murray-Rust, Simon St Laurent, Tim Bray. Familiar names to people who follow the xml-dev list, xml.com and xmlhack.com. As usual, meeting the people face to face makes all the difference. Peter is very cheerful fellow. Simon is young! (Who knew?) And Tim is pulling back from W3C, encouraging us to work with Apache.Org (no problem) and getting ready to launch his new web application, which of course uses XML, and will do something interesting with weblogs. Excellent! 

Blogger pulling ahead of the pack on the Weblogs hotlist

Out for a walk yesterday, it was so bright, when I saw this puddle I asked "Can the camera can see the sky in it?" Yes it can. Live oaks have gnarly limbs. Soon they will all have leaves. The structure is visible, for now. You like green? We got green

News.Com: "AMD will try to trump Intel by releasing a 1-GHz Athlon processor on Monday, sources said today, although it's a good bet that Intel will try to move up the release of their one-gig chip to the beginning of the week as well." 

NY Times: The Idled Workaholic. "His plan to get rich had never included a plan to be rich. He held a title at Yahoo, but it was mostly just a title, not like the jobs he had before. At the age of 41, he faced the question, What would he do?" 

Thanks to Marc Canter for helping Dave Jacobs get his Manila site going.  


Permanent link to archive for Friday, March 03, 2000. Friday, March 03, 2000

I sent this email to the SOAP and XML-RPC mail lists. We have an understanding. I think this will please everyone who's interested in distributed computing based on XML and HTTP. Everyone gets what they want. Some time to soup up SOAP, and we can go forward building apps using XML-RPC, knowing that when the next-level SOAP is ready, our apps will be compatible.  

5/23/96: "Embrace & Extend means that Microsoft Word reads WordPerfect files. Excel runs Lotus spreadsheets. It means that Windows runs DOS applications. And Microsoft Internet Explorer emulates Netscape where ever possible." 

Tim O'Reilly: My Conversation with Jeff Bezos

Talk to us on the Web. "O'Reilly made a very strong point in his initial essay. Amazon and all of us have been the beneficiaries of a mountain of free ideas. Amazon's improvements to the Web, while useful and innovative, are tiny little bumps on the mountain, yet they they stand in the way of its growth. That is what Bezos must respond to." 

Andrew Wooldridge: Anthem Jr big update. "I have something really cool in store for you today." 

WebMonkey: Adding Search to Your Site

Matthew Rothenberg: "Apple is going to have a tough sell to Macolytes who've stuck with the platform largely thanks to their comfort level with its GUI." 

Faisal Jawdat: Follow the Money

Red Herring: Eazel, the comeback tour

Salon: "When Priceline sued Mircrosoft's Expedia travel site for patent infringement in October 1999, the Net quaked. Suddenly, patents had teeth, and everyone wanted them. Intellectual property lawyers morphed into patent attorneys." 

2/4/00: "Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline.Com, has 60 full-time people working in teams to do nothing more than generate patents. No engineering, no scaling issues, no customer satisfaction requirements (although Walker's company appears to be good at this too), they just a file a claim at various patent offices, and wait for the engineering of the Internet to catch up." 

Lance Knobel: Tony Blair in Davos

Problems on Subhonker1 today, there was about a 1 hour outage while I save-copied the big databases. It's back on the air now. Should be no data loss. 

Hey I got an email from TBL re yesterday's piece. He took me up on my offer to buy him dinner. Looks like I'm going to Boston. 

More namedropping. At the lunch where Tim O'Reilly got the call from Jeff Bezos, I talked with Dale Dougherty about The O'Reilly Network. I wondered then, and still do, if we can join up with O'Reilly, adding our network of sites to theirs, and vice versa. How would you all feel about being part of what O'Reilly is doing? I think some of our sites would be a natural fit, like Zope Newbies, Qube Quorner and Linux Newbies, as examples.  

Hey I made #1 on Bloat this week, sharing it with Jorn, which is quite an honor. To truthfully answer the question that's raised there, secretly I do indeed feel that Time could have made a better choice for Man of the Year. 

Survey Results: 73 percent of UserLand.Com members will only buy from Amazon competitors, not Amazon. 

Cold Fusion News is a Manila site. 

Best wishes to Evan Williams for a speedy recovery from dental surgery. Do I have any advice to offer? Well, this particular thing can only happen once in a lifetime. If his life is anything like mine (Bloat predicts it will) you'll spend many days programming like hell to get ready for some event or another. In the long-term all the marathon programming binges will melt into one, but you'll probably remember the pain of wisdom teeth forever. I sure do. (I still have two teeth that need extraction, and I've been putting it off for 10 years!) 

Charles Moore on Apple's Acqua: I Just Want To Get My Work Done. "After playing with it for an hour, he concluded that this new OS is a completely new operating system. 'Nothing that you have learned using a previous Mac OS will be of any use to you whatsoever. It doesn't look like a Mac, it doesn't feel like a Mac, and it certainly doesn't work like a Mac.'" But it does run Mac apps, doesn't it?? 

Virtual China on Bill Gates: "He is a God without personal charm. A genius capitalist. One of his friends said 'Bill can conquer the world but he can't move anybody's heart.'" 



Permanent link to archive for Thursday, March 02, 2000. Thursday, March 02, 2000

DaveNet: The Two-Way-Web

Mary Mack: "Now Dave wants a patents weblog editor. I should do this. But can I? I've been enamored of the tools Dave's provided, but I'm clumsy in using them. Voice programming is so much easier." Mary asks for help from a Manila expert.  

Tim Lundeen: "Making XML-RPC 1.0 a W3C standard would give more support and emphasis to what is already an incredibly useful standard!" 

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a weblog

XML.com: Cool XUL Provides Cross-Platform UI

Motley Fool interviews Steve Wozniak. 

Wes Felter: Why it's a good idea to go to class

Jeremy Bowers: Weblog Communities

NetDyslexia is willing to show us the full picture of their horse if they get 25 votes telling them to do that. I voted in favor of full disclosure. 

Another convert to NetDyslexia's Dogma 2000? 

Cabinet: "My dad writes software and since this weekend he's been hopping mad about something you did with patting. He keeps saying amazon and there frigging patting!" 

Ken MacLeod: "Dave Winer is also a principal developer of and a major proponent of XML-RPC." I have the same relationship to SOAP. 


Wish: A lively weblog covering patents on EditThisPage.Com.  

We're working with "Moreover.Com" to get an updated news box as a Manila macro containing stories that cover web patents. This will be a sidebar on the patents site. We need an editor, someone who has background either in software or legal issues, preferably both. There's a time committment, you have to be willing to update the site daily, at least when patents are a hot issue. 

I've also been thinking about what to do when someone makes a good start at a weblog in an important area, but drops off. Two such areas are WAP and SVG. Both areas require coverage, there are new developments in each every day. I suggest if you are interested in these areas, send an email to the webmaster and ask if they'd be willing to make you a Managing Editor.  

And be sure your site is registered at Weblogs.Com, I depend on it to know when sites I follow change, as many other people who run weblogs seem to. (That was the reason for starting the service.) 

John Foster has a lot of nice things to say about Mac OS X, Developer Release 3. 

Press release: Earthport claims prior art in Amazon patent

Wired: Another Amazon Patent Furor.  

Wired sucks. We didn't get a pointer or a quote in their story. How did they find Danny Goodman's position re Amazon's patents? Maybe Danny called them. It could have happened. And they say Slashdot is working on this, that's great, but we've been doing a better job covering the Amazon patents than Slashdot. They tuned in late. It's OK, eventually they'll want to work with us. I used to be a fan of Wired! Hey I used to work for them. Sheez. My feelings are hurt. I will not give them permission to run the Forrest Gump-like picture of Tim O'Reilly talking with Jeff Bezos.  

Welcome to the Manila Zen-garden

WSJ: Start-up stirred a media frenzy. "Today, Mr. Bowlinís company has quietly closed. Its demise illustrates the burden of overnight success, and offers a reminder that Web start-ups donít, after all, defy the laws of gravity." 

I can't tell if kottke is being sarcastic: "More Web theft! Dave's worked hard over the years on a design for Scripting News, and now all these folks (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, among others...) have gone and stolen it from him. Frankly, I'm appalled." The sites he points to are Manila sites. The default template for Manila sites looks a lot like Scripting News. I think he's joking, but sarcasm is hard to pick up in text. 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, March 01, 2000. Wednesday, March 01, 2000

DaveNet: March 25 in Cupertino

I had an interesting day today at XTech in San Jose. Went to a BOF meeting held by W3C to talk about distributed computing protocols. It looks like Microsoft wants to turn SOAP over to W3C, and it also appears that W3C wants to re-work the whole thing! Wow. Here we go again. Tomorrow I'm giving the morning keynote. I think I'm going to ask for support for XML-RPC and ask that whatever W3C et al come up with be backward-compatible. I have some thinking to do tonight. 

I also had lunch with Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty at Il Fornaio in San Jose. While we were having lunch Tim got a phone call from Jeff Bezos! They had a long talk. Afterwards Tim said he now understands why Amazon is doing what they're doing. I said I'm looking forward to reading his report.  

BTW, I got a picture of Tim O'Reilly talking with Jeff Bezos.  

I met Edd Dumbill, who works at XML.COM, does the xmlhack weblog. 

Here's the full set of pics from XTech, including three pictures of Don Box, the Microsoft SOAP guys and Eric Prud'hommeaux of W3C. 

Web Techniques: Blowing XML Bubbles

News.Com: Microsoft takes aim at Linux with reworked system. "Intel today said it will use Microsoft's reworked operating system--now called Windows for Express Networks--in a server appliance aimed at helping small businesses network their computers." 

News.Com: Palm division hit with patent suit

Paul Barton-Davis: "As one of the founding programmers at Amazon.com, I was very dismayed to learn of the company's legal attempts to enforce its 1-Click patent." 

Danny Goodman: "I want to make very clear that I am not an affiliate with Amazon or any other bookseller. In the book info areas on my Web site, there are links to the pages of several booksellers directly to my titles. None of those links include those 'buried' affiliate codes in the URL." 

Interesting! It's possible to use a member profile page on Amazon to state your position on Web patents. I took a screen shot of the page in case Amazon changes its mind. 

Jeff Bezos has a member page and a wish list. Let's buy him something nice when he swears off patent abuse. 

Even more interesting.. There are lots of comments about patent abuse on the Amazon discussion board. The Web Speaks! 

On March 25 we'll have a meeting of people who use Manila, or who develop with Frontier, and their friends, and other people who participate in UserLand.Com. 

Manila Newbies: The Manila Tip Sheet

Last night we installed two optimizations on the server that's running EditThisPage.Com. 

Linux Newbies: Understanding the RPM

Luca Bolognese: XML as a bridge between client and server

IBM: XML and Scripting in Perl. 

Weblogs.Com: "I'm looking for ideas for taglines." 

Jodi Mardesich: Why I'm Joining a Startup


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