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Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, April 18, 2000. Tuesday, April 18, 2000

At 10PM we'll send out the contents of today's Scripting News to people who subscribe. It's beta.

Hannes Wallnöfer: XML-RPC for Java 1.0b3.

If you want to get a sense of how much work this community does, check out the images folder on our static server.

Doing some closet-cleaning preparing for the move, and just rummaged through another attic full of memories. It's the contents of a very old static server that we're not going to move.

Remember this one? Quicktime.

In February, Glenn Davis of Project Cool was knocked offline.

Wired: "The head of a major Internet consulting firm predicts that many dot-com companies will soon be exposed for what they really are: hollow, half-baked schemes without much hope for long-term success."

We got a mention from Infoworld's Robert X. Cringely.

WSJ: "Blame the IRS. With investors suffering unprecedented capital-gains shocks this year, some Wall Street watchers say investors' stock sales to pay their tax bills probably played a part in last week's markets sell-off."

My.UserLand: "This page lists the 20 most recently approved channels."

Karl Dubost: "I'm managing a website about Normandy which is hosted in Mountain View for convenient reason. If one my contributors made an false assertion on the websites, publish racism sentences, the French justice could condamn me for hosting this kind of words, even if the author is known."

9:18AM: I just got off the phone with Dan Gillmor. It was an excellent conversation. I expect great things to come from it.

Nick Sweeney says the Irish ISP business is set to explode. "From what I can see, the new E-Commerce Bill provides ISPs with a defence of having acted in good faith in accordance with their obligations to customers."

W3C: The next generation of Web forms. "As the cost and size of Web servers continues to shrink, single chip implementations are now practical, and we can soon expect to see all kinds of devices with embedded servers. HTML will be used for controlling such devices, reducing the need for custom device drivers. XForms is being designed to provide the richer user interface these applications will need." I'm surprised to see that FireDrop is not participating.

Eric Soroos provides a pretty good reason to skip the UK on our next European trip. Humor aside, basically there can't be any journalism on the UK web. Same with Conxion's little piece of the Web. Any time the carrier has an interest in the content they carry, integrity is lost.

Dan Gillmor, for example, is lucky that due to a random event, we decided to host his site (at no charge) on our Seattle LAN and not on the one served by Conxion, otherwise his integrity, something we know he cherishes, could have been challenged too. Too bad Dan didn't rise to the occasion because he could shut down Conxion (which is in the Merc's territory, Santa Clara), and that would have helped us get their attention in a way that matters to them. We could have averted our exodus, avoiding wasted time and money, but more important, we could have shown that Silicon Valley doesn't stand for the kind of bullshit that goes over in the UK and elsewhere. A chance to take a truly high road, missed.

The April 13 Scripting News archive, where the shit hit the fan with Conxion. I had been protecting them, by not revealing the letter they sent on April 4, warning that they took an interest in what I said on Scripting News. I promise you, my readers, never again will I shelter any attempt to control what's said and not said on this page. It doesn't matter how much it costs UserLand to provide this guarantee.

I asked Lance Knobel, publisher of WorldLink and my partner on DavosNewbies, for his take on the UK situation. "Utterly astounding, I agree. I'm writing this from China, however, which does give one a perspective on Web censorship! (And I think it's China's weird firewalls that force me to go through MSN, rather than the Forum server to send out email.) Despite the problems here, there are extraordinary Internet entrepreneurs that I've met in the last two days. Really encouraging. The UK situation will, I hope, be resolved by the government giving ISP common carrier status. You can't sue the phone company if someone slanders you on the telephone." This is good news. We have a friend in the UK who can help.

BTW, Lance gave us his support on April 13. "In the bad old days, car companies wouldn't advertise in magazines or newspapers that gave their products bad reviews. But they realised that they were only cutting themselves off from that medium's readers. Let's hope Conxion sees its action is both commercial and political bad judgement."

UserLand isn't as casual as the UK courts or a random Silicon Valley ISP, that's why we can carry voices like Dan's. We don't take an interest in the content we carry. Unfortunately we haven't gotten very much support from the people who benefit from this. Still learning.

I'm reminded of the Web blackout in response to the Communication Decency Act in 1996. Many print pubs stood with us in support of free speech on the Internet. Conspicuously missing was the NY Times, previously thought to be a bastion of free speech, everywhere. Was it a disconnect? Is it a disconnect now? Where do each of us stand on freedom of the press on the Web? Seriously, if you stay silent now, and benefit from our generosity, will you have any cause to complain if we get shut down at the *next* ISP? If you run a site elsewhere, how does your ISP treat you if you choose to write about them? Do they think they're entitled to a benefit beyond the fee? (Our ISP clearly did.) If you are playing footsy with your ISP, how do you disclose this? Would it piss them off if you put a disclaimer on your site: "We can't criticize the following people and companies because they could shut us down if they don't like what we say." You can't have a free press in this environment.

Now, we're placing a big bet on Exodus. We've heard complaints about connectivity and support from other Exodus customers. But I'm willing to, reluctantly, bet on the character of their CEO, Ellen Hancock, who I knew from her days at Apple. Also Dan Lynch, the founder of Exodus, is a thoughtful, freedom-loving person. But here's a question for you to ponder. Why should I have to care about the character of the CEO of a big ISP? And what about you? Do you know any Silicon Valley CEOs? I think Ellen and Dan would respond professionally to my concerns. Would they even know who you are? And why should this matter? (These people are just carriers, not publishers.)

Here's the graphic we ran when the Communication Decency Act was overturned in the courts. Yes, we won, then. But the battle continues.

Discuss: "As far as I can tell, the issue of integrity on the Web has never been covered. What are the unique requirements? How are the protections different? Why isn't lack of editorial interference marketed as a benefit of using one ISP over another? How can we create an environment that lasts for a hundred years, and is not subject to laws like the one in the UK? Could we create an Akamai-like company that added a new kind of reliability to the Web?"

NY Times: Election Regulators Dismiss Complaint Against Bush Parody Site. "If that means that my case is closed, that's good for me," said Exley, who is a computer consultant in New York. "But the issue is still open, and that means that the FEC still has to do the right thing in the end."

WSJ: Many web retailers are making money. "Donít sound the death knell for online retailers just yet. Despite the stock marketís recent trashing of Internet retail stocks, a new study shows 38% of Web retailers are actually making money. And a surprising 72% of catalog companies that have moved onto the Internet have Web operations that are now in the black."

Greg Knauss, 11/2/98: A Standard for Site Organization.

I am actually quite pleased to find that this domain name is taken, and (apparently) well-deployed.


Last update: Tuesday, April 18, 2000 at 7:47 PM Eastern.

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