Weblog Archive >  2000 >  May Previous/Next

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

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 31, 2000. Wednesday, May 31, 2000

News Permanent link to this item in the archive.

News.Com: Amazon snags patent for recommendation service. "The new patent could spell trouble for dozens of e-commerce sites that use similar technology to recommend books, videos or other products to customers, patent experts say."

MSNBC: "Amazon.com is in this jam because so far it hasnít been able to make any money. Yet, in violation of what might properly be termed the First Rule of Holes (when youíre in one, stop digging), the company keeps pushing ahead with a business plan in which the more you sell, the more you lose."

News.Com: Microsoft files last word in landmark trial. "In a court filing this afternoon, Microsoft argued again that breaking the company into two pieces is extreme and exceeds the trial record."

Since Zeldman and Nielsen are celebrating their five-years-on-the-web anniversaries, here's the DaveNet piece I wrote five years ago today. "Can you imagine the Indigo Girls singing in three-piece suits?" Sounds like yesterday's software commune idea. Maybe someday it'll happen.

Red Herring: An incubator by geeks, for geeks.

PythonWare: PythonWorks 1.0.

Getting some nibbles on our proposal to Search Engine developers. These things take time. Eventually we will get the CMS-aware search engine we want. And it'll be a lot kinder to the Web than the one described in the following News.Com piece.

News.Com: Napster-like technology takes Web search to new level. "The bare-bones site is short on design and functionality at this point but provides a look at a search tool that goes beyond the capabilities of most existing Web search engines."

Duncan Smeed's Manila Clipper is morphing into a Quoter.

BusinessWeek: Core Changes to the Mac System.

Craig Jensen has George W. Bush quotes that would be funnier if there wasn't a good chance he'll be our next president, or if Gore were any better.

Is WAP the Web? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Lance Knobel: "Yesterday's Wall Street Journal Europe had a fascinating piece on the strategy telecoms companies are following with WAP. They are 'locking' their phones so that you can only access their portal, or even in some cases only access sites that have agreements with them. Have these people learned nothing from the Web? Yesterday, the French courts ruled that France Telecom had to unlock its phones -- but only at users' request!"

Let's ask Tim Berners-Lee what he thinks. Tim, in hindsight, I wish you had trademarked the term Web, so that they would have to license it from you. Then you could put a stop to their claims that you're getting the Web through your cellphone. If you can only access part of the Web, you're not getting the Web. That's fundamental. Maybe a simple whitepaper from TBL would do the trick?

Yesterday at lunch with Rohit, we talked about doing some whitepapers. I asked Rohit if he is a writer, and he told me about the O'Reilly books he wrote. That's a good start. A couple of weeks ago I volunteered to help TBL write a whitepaper on his Semantic Web vision. I figured that by doing it I would have to understand what it is, which would make it worth writing about to me.

I believe that among a group of about 25 people we have in our heads a fairly clear vision for what the next layer on the Web will look like. We're lucky that Microsoft left a gap of 22 days for us to play with.

BTW there's probably a flaw to Microsoft's NGWS strategy, it revolves around the W in NGWS. According to Microsoft the W stands for "Windows". According to Rohit (and I agree) the W must stand for Web.

XML-RPC validator progress Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This page contains the Frontier source for a server for the validator1 suite.

New CSS features in Manila Permanent link to this item in the archive.

CSS can now control the rendering of calendars and the discussion group.

Software reviews at Internet speed Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday's query about software reviews got a nibble from Lennart Pettersson, the editor-in-chief of the Swedish IT magazine, Datateknik 3.0. An interesting email exchange resulted.

In the last email I said "We're going to have an interesting problem here. The development cycle is much shorter these days, the beta periods are practically non-existent. Frontier 6.2 is slated to ship this month, probably before the middle of the month. However that should give us a good target to work with, because it will probably remain relatively frozen for the next sixty days or so as we gear up for Frontier 7.0.

"We'd be happy to have 6.2 reviewed, but there certainly will be updates and new features and fixes starting the day after we ship. Can that kind of product fit into your review process? This is the interesting challenge about getting software reviewed these days!"

RSS in ICE? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Laird Popkin, the chair of the W3C ICE working group, posted a followup to a heated email exchange on the xml-dist-apps mail list suggesting how RSS and ICE could be merged.

I haven't had a chance to read beyond his comparison, it's kind of one-sided, for example, he says that there are no access controls in RSS, which is a feature, not a bug. The Web doesn't have access controls either. (Which is to say RSS is part of the Web.)

And RSS was not an outgrowth of CDF. It was a coalescing of UserLand's syndication format and Netscape's. Designed for Web developers, and designed to be easy to understand and easy to implement. Not designed to line the pockets of developers of specific content management systems.

That said, I'd like to see if there's a way to bring the two specs together somehow. The people who love RSS love it, so polarizing statements are not going to get us anywhere. I could make equivalent statements about ICE, but won't do that at this time. I feel it's all been said, no need to repeat it.

1 Hour to Go Permanent link to this item in the archive.

An exercise in saying-things-carefully.

It turns out that 47 days was not enough time to switch off Conxion. We were able to get the servers co-located to Exodus, in record time, before the end of April. Everything's running great there. We figured we were home-free. Not so.

The second part of the transition, getting me personally off the Conxion-PacBell T1 line, has not happened yet, and as I write this, we have exactly one hour remaining before the 47 days are up. I may lose my net connection at that time and will not be able to update Scripting News or be part of the Internet in any way.

We have requested that Conxion extend the T1 service for one more month, but we have not heard back from them.

All is well Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Bierman talked with Steve Martin and he's taking care of it.

Close call!

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 30, 2000. Tuesday, May 30, 2000

How do you review? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Angus Glashier created a Homestead site and compares it to his Manila site. We need more reviews and comparisons between the various browser-based content systems.

NetDyslexia compares their Manila site to an Indian website they created some weeks ago.

We're also looking for reviewers of Frontier 6.2 as we get closer to finalizing it. The software is getting easier to install and maintain, I want to open it to more people.

In the old days we'd send a review copy of the software to each of the magazines. Where do we send them now?

I have a feeling the answer is among the more technical members of EditThisPage.Com and Weblogs.Com.

Teaser Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Starting tomorrow you'll be able to control the display of calendars and discussion groups using CSS in all UserLand-hosted Manila sites.

Pointers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Garret has striking pictures of the new fire in New Mexico.

Doc Searls salutes Jakob Nielsen.

John Klassa is looking for a Unix security knowledgeable person.

Survey: Going to the O'Reilly Open Source Convention?

Guido van Rossum: Python Development Team Moves to BeOpen.com.

Dale Dougherty: One-Click Craziness.

Rohit Khare, Adam Rifkin: Active Proxies to Extend the Web. I had lunch today with Rohit and Adam. I had met with Rohit in Amsterdam. Another very interesting meeting. There's a lot in common in our visions of where the Web is going, and interestingly, not much overlap. The things we're doing are things they are not, and the things they're doing are things we want to job out. The discussion will continue for sure.

News.Com: Struggling Novell counts on strategy shift.

WSJ: Linguists leap to the Net.

Kim's first website, with pictures.

Lawrence Lee sent a picture of some cheesy noodles taken with a Nikon Coolpix. Don't look at this if your stomach is full.

Don't read this on a full stomach either.

This picture is safe to look at whether or not you have a full stomach.

Working on the XML-RPC validator Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Making good progress on the XML-RPC validator web app.

I posted a spec last night, hopefully some implementors or users of XML-RPC are getting ready to write servers to test against the validator.

I'll be posting the Frontier source for a server shortly. The server is by far the easier part of the pair.

Hierarchic browser-based pulldown menus Permanent link to this item in the archive.

We're getting close on DHTML menus running in Web browsers. Now we have hierarchic menus working. The goal is to have more menu commands in Web apps and to use a paradigm that's familiar to desktop software users (the rest of us, remember?)

Anyway, we're getting close, they're for Manila after the 6.2 release, but we're looking for a cool Web app to deploy them in before then. They'll be part of Frontier 6.2, so we'll be sharing the code with all other Frontier developers.

BTW, I talked with Dave Massy, one of the MSIE program managers, in Amsterdam, about the need to get support for this directly in the browser. Same message to Netscape. We're out of user interface room for Web apps. This is the way the bottleneck is relieved.

I sincerely hope that our code is just for bootstrapping and proof of concept. Something as fundamental as pull-down menus should be in the platform, not something each group of developers should have to create for itself.

Australian Davosers in SF Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Tomorrow should be a relatively painless day. Drive up to SF in the early morning for a 7AM breakfast (not a problem since I'm still on European time, to me that's 3PM).

Then at 9AM I'm on a panel that will discuss "The Importance of Differentiation". I'm not exactly an expert on this, I have to speak for 8-10 minutes, I'd rather explain how the Web works from my point of view and let differentiation take care of itself (my view of the Web is likely to be different from others). I guess that's differentiation, eh??

Originally I was going to have to dash off to the airport after speaking to go to Microsoft's NGWS announcement (the Australians are spending today at Microsoft), but now that's not a problem.

When I was in Davos, on the first day lunch, I sat at a table of Australian CEOs, including the CEO of the Australian telecom monopoly. He asked good questions, and I enjoyed their company. They reminded me of the Americans I met in Silicon Valley 20 years ago when I was fresh off the boat. Maybe they'll invite me to come visit and set up EditThisPage.Au? That would be fun! (More jetlag, I actually like jetlag, feeling really good.)

Why I feel so good Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I wrote a DaveNet piece once, I can't remember which one, where I gave some advice for how to overcome the blues. It goes like this.

When you're feeling really good, make a list of things that make you feel good. No problem doing that. Put it in a safe place. Then when you have the blues, take out the list and no matter how silly it seems, do one of those things. It works.

One of the things on my list is swimming. I have a beautiful pool, and it's been really hot here. So in the afternoons I've been sitting out by the pool reading, and swimming every fifteen minutes. It makes my bones feel giddy!

KFOG makes me happy Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Another thing that makes me happy: KFOG.

(An aside, what's the difference between listening to a radio station over the Internet and Napster? This may be the disconnect of the music industry. Instead of fighting the users, try to understand. I'd love to run a radio station. I've always wanted to do that, since I was a kid. Can you make it easy for me to do that, and at the same time preserve key elements of your business model? You're going to have to make peace with your users someday, right?)

KFOG is playing one of my favorite Talking Heads songs now! Oh, ho ho!

Now they're playing The Kinks' Come Dancing. "He'd end up blowing all his wages for the week, all for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek." Another beautiful song.

Next song, Riviera Paradise by Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Scott Hanson likes the idea of a Scripting News radio station.

Wes Felter found the RIAA terms for webcasting music.

The thing I hate about KFOG are all the incredibly stupid dotcom commercials.

Gary Teter recommends Live365.Com.

Programmer's commune Permanent link to this item in the archive.

In Amsterdam I had a series of lunches and dinners with really interesting people doing cool stuff in related areas. Emailing with Sally Khudairi, we both agreed that we want a bar that's open 24-by-7 so we can always get together with people we want to work with. The XML-DEV list doesn't cut it. (They're debating patents now, they're where we were a year ago, angry, but not sure what to do about it, flailing unproductively.)

In Trieste, I talked with Paolo about a programmer's commune. A place where any programmer with a reputation for creating code that lots of people use can check in for one or two weeks. Probably a hotel in a resort area. Near a beach, good food, great net connection, places to hike and think and talk. Meeting rooms with whiteboards. Wireless Ethernet. Come here when you have a conceptual problem you want to solve and can use help from your peers that work at different companies or who don't work at companies at all. The commune would have a strong Web presence, and would be located in a country with no software patents. You pay nothing for your room, meals and net connections. Come create and share what you create. That's the idea.

I've wanted this for many years. I talked about it in the 80s. I used to go on programming retreats, sometimes alone, sometimes with others, to get away from the 9-5 pulse of the marketing and support company I was running.

I realized again that we need it at the close of the Web Publishing track at WWW9 when the room erupted in creativity around RSS and weblogs. We've set up systems that push our words around the net, but most of the time there's little or no movement. Having a programmers commune would give us a mechanism for movement.

I also talked with friends about doing this in conjunction with a massage commune I was part of in the mid-90s. Adding bodywork to the mix is a good idea. As much as programmers like to believe that they create outside their bodies, I think this is not true. A happy programmer would be getting a couple of shiatsus a week, imho. (At least this programmer would.)

Friendly VCs? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Maybe now that the shakeout is starting in e-commerce, maybe some of the VCs have new respect for technology and are ready to do something that goes beyond the incubators they're starting to invest in new technology?

Our industry runs in cycles, if a bust is coming another boom can't be far behind. Want to be ready? Make an investment in technology now.

Marc is meeting with Miles Gilburne, one of the VCs that started Macromedia. Now Miles is a director at AOL, and worth a billion dollars. An amazing thing. Miles thinks this way. Hey Miles, buy us a hotel. Let's go!

Of course it didn't escape me that a country could decide to open a free coding zone to attract the best programmers in the world. What leverage your economy could have, for so little money.

One thing's for sure, it ain't going to happen in the USA. Our patent laws are too fucked up.

We need better search engines Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The search engines all suck.

None of them are CMS-aware.

They need to be better integrated with hierarchies.

This will be as big a boom as GUIs were in the 80s.

To the money people we totally know how to do it.

Not just VCs, maybe IBM wants to throw some money at this idea, or maybe Italy?

Talk about differentiation.

Send me an email if you want to have a dinner about this.

Music and the programmer's commune Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There would be great music at the PC.

Outdoor music, guitars and flute-players.

Full-moon drummer's circles.

Evening music, symphonies and operas.

Dancing music, and long-hair dirty hippie stuff.

Musicians that love the Internet, only, however.

There would also be designers at the PC.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 29, 2000. Monday, May 29, 2000

Manila Express for Mac Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Manila Express makes it easy to add links to the home page of a Manila site without going there. When it was released in February, it only worked for MSIE5/Windows. Earlier today Brent released Manila Express for the Macintosh, which is cool because a lot of people who maintain Manila sites use a Mac. Instructions for installation are on the Manila Express home page.

I asked Brent to write a How I Did It piece, so that other weblog tools can be made to work with the Mac as well as Manila now does. This is part of our Ask Not philosophy, we believe users of all tools should have the most powerful and easy interfaces possible, not just our tools.

XML-RPC validator Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This morning I'm working on a warmup project, my fingers are so rusty, they barely know where the keys are anymore (and the shift key works on this computer, which really weirds me out). The project is something I think we're ready for, a validator for XML-RPC implementations.

Andre and I talked about this in Amsterdam, with Edd Dumbill and Martijn Pieters, we need a systematic way to be sure we're all talking the same language, to be sure the various implementations of XML-RPC interoperate.

I want to do this carefully, before the day is out I'm going to post a document describing a proposed "validator1" suite, a set of calls implemented as a Web App, that can test any XML-RPC server and report back if it is returning correct responses. It's a total Turing test, some of the structures it passes are fairly large and complex, but the code you have to write is not too hairy, hopefully.

Early evening: Here's the first draft of the docs for the suite. Comments are welcome.

Pointers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Web Patents: O'Reilly and the PTO.

David Singer's pictures from Amsterdam.

Manila "themes" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Just before I left for Europe Marc Canter sent me an email listing a bunch of Manila sites that he thought were well-designed.

Marc said: "Let someone change the overall template of their ETP site, without having to write any HTML at all, or modify any content whatsoever."

I left Brent with the job of giving the user a choice of designs when first creating a new Manila site. I spent some time with Brent on the phone (he's running on Australian time) early this morning, and he described the feature, which is now working, and you can change the theme of your website, changing all the templates, with a single command, as Marc spec'd it.

Brent is totally awesome.

Thanks to Marc Permanent link to this item in the archive.

When I was meeting with Paolo, in our closing dinner in Trieste, we closed a lot of loose ends. Why did both of us have such a great head start on the idea of a browser-based content management system? My answer, to Paolo, was that we shared a source of inspiration, Marc Canter.

Both Paolo and I agreed that Marc can at times be hard to listen to, this is something he's gotten a reputation for, and it's reasonable and deserved, because sometimes his advice comes with harsh criticism. I told Paolo that I've learned to tune that out and laugh, and Marc, being the sweet guy that he is, doesn't run away when you say "Oh that's just the way Marc expresses himself."

When you tune out the noise, the man is incredibly brilliant, he tends to figure things a few years before everyone else. That's the kinds of person I like to have as a friend.

Far from rocket science Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Dan Gillmor called to say I was quoted in an amicus brief filed on 5/19/00 in United States v Microsoft, by the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

They were actually quoting Dan quoting me. Dan's article is here. Basically the point is that HTML rendering could be separated from the operating system through an API.

I wrote up the story on April 29, in more detail, calling for Microsoft and the DOJ to settle on creating a new company with the browser, and otherwise leave Microsoft intact. I still think it's the best compromise. Microsoft isn't wrecked, and from the ashes of Netscape can rise another browser, with all our help.

I also asked Microsoft to volunteer to embrace WINE. Are they willing to consider a Hail Mary play? The developers, Bill think about the developers. They wanted was WORA. Now that means Windows.

European time pointers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

My clock is still on European time even though I'm in California. Oh the jetlag! Here are some pointers I culled in the early morning hours in the Pacific time zone.

NY Times: The Challenge to Windows is in Middleware.

Newsweek: The Noisy War Over Napster.

Yahoo has National Geographic articles on Firenze, Venezio and Amsterdam.

Today I'm listening to Keep It Together by Madonna.

The Dogma 2000 manifesto is now available in Italian.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, May 28, 2000. Sunday, May 28, 2000

Twenty-two pictures from Venezia (or Venice), including a cab trip down the Grand Canal. While both Amsterdam and Venezia are built around canals, in Venezia there are no paved streets, no cars, all cabs are boats; there are boat buses (vaporetti), the street signs are boat-oriented, construction and beer delivery is all done by boat. There are walkways and alleys and footbridges. The main entrances of all the grand houses are on the canal. While I was blown away by the beauty of Amsterdam, nothing could prepare me for Venezia. An incredibly rich place, but go soon, because the city is sinking. 

Fourteen pictures from Firenze. (Florence.) 

Two pictures of the Alps taken from an airplane. 

I took a five hour train ride from Firenze to Trieste, passing through Bologna, which when you type it starts out with many of the same letters as Blogger. 

The central piazza in Trieste

Jim Crossett: "Anyone have any ideas on how to get the info from Grandview files into a modern word processor?" 

Oliver Breidenbach's WWDC trip continues through the California redwoods and Crater Lake. 

The new design for Doc Searls Weblog came online while I was in Europe. On May 10 he quoted Machiavelli on the development of the market in Florence (also known as Firenze), one of the places I visited. 

Many thanks to Paolo Valemarin, Simone Bettini, and the other very sweet people at StudioIdea, who were my hosts in Trieste. They put me up at a very fine hotel, and shared the work they've been doing with Frontier. Both Paolo and Simone are brilliant, Paolo is a visionary and designer, and Simone, to me, is an Italian Brent Simmons. They started doing a Manila-like content management system before we released Manila, so our software shares a common foundation but the sites are not compatible. They've done some very excellent work with XSL and image management, probably other things that I don't yet understand. We're going to work with them, I want our work to be compatible, and I want Manila users to get the benefit of their hard work and brilliance. But most important, I enjoyed their company, that makes working together something I look forward to.  

Hey they've got a picture of our first night's dinner on the StudioIdea website. "Veramente utile ed interessante!" If my Italian serves me well, that means truly useful and interesting. Agreed! 

Funny experience, driving to the store a few minutes ago, turned a corner, and somehow expected that I would see a statue by Michelangelo. Then I remembered, we don't have them here. 

Jerome Camus reminds me that FreeServe only works in the UK. Even so, I recommend them, if you're in the UK. Very fast, and as advertised, totally free. 

I've been reading trash novels the last couple of weeks, it's better than watching TV, and gives me something to do while eating lunch in places like Piazza Republica in Firenze. I'm currently reading The Brethren by John Grisham, which is real easy, and was surprised to find a very minor character named Dale Winer in the book, a money-man for defense contractors. I had to look three times.  

I recommend Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King, a remembrance of the 60s with the usual King weirdness. Yes, I remember the 60s. Were they that strange? Hard to say, when you're that young everything seems weird. 

I can't believe how fast the Net is! 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, May 27, 2000. Saturday, May 27, 2000

In California, Saturday afternoon Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There's some kind of tribute to Charles Shulz today, scrolling through the different contributions I liked this one the best.

Gartner Group: Debunking Open-Source Myths.

Brent is running a test that will be of interest to people who maintain Manila sites using a Macintosh and IE5.

O'Reilly Network: Who's Really Being Protected?

EditThisPage.De is up and running.

Eric Soroos found a Sony digital Camcorder with a Fractional Horspower HTTP Server. "Ethernet connectivity quick and easy way to transfer the still/moving images from the camera to your computer via the ethernet port using your web browser as the interface. Netscape or I.E. 4.0 or higher required."

Happiness is a 21 inch monitor and a T1 line.

In London, Saturday morning Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Well, my London stay is almost over.

Pictures: London Saturday. I got a chance to be a tourist this morning, my hotel is right in the middle of London, the weather cleared, no rain, so I brought my camera, and had a great little walk through Trafalgar Square, Westminster, caught the changing of the guard, Parliament, Big Ben, the Thames, the big wheel, lots of statues.

As Susan Kitchens says, hey they speak English here, but watch out, they drive on the wrong side of the street!

I'm already forgetting how to speak Italian. When I get back to California, I'll upload pictures of the Alps from the air, Firenze, Trieste and Venezia. Great stuff.

Next stop, Heathrow, and a British Airways non-stop to California. Through the miracle of modern travel and jetlag it will still be Saturday. Can't wait to get home. See y'all again in a few hours.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, May 26, 2000. Friday, May 26, 2000

Bertrand Meyer; The Ethics of Free Software. Powerful. 

"The jokes can be funny up to a point, but soon one starts to realize that the problem most people have is not Microsoft. It's that they are not Microsoft." 

Even the "nice" open source advocates scare me this way.  

I just spent an hour reading this piece. I am in total agreement. You will find many of the points he made in back issues of DaveNet. My open invitation to Brian Behlendorf last month to embrace all kinds of software still stands. It's the creation that matters, the creativity, and delivery and follow-through. The zealots' "analysis" is totally crude. Meyer gets it right. Few commercial developers get rich, and that's not the reason most of us work so hard. The open source "revolution" is not a revolution at all, it's not new, and it couldn't exist without lots of contributions from commercial developers. The only message with credibility is respect.  

Further, the open source message is a distraction from the Web, where the real revolution is happening. Whether the software is open source or not is not the issue. The issue is what does it do, and does it open the medium for thoughtful expression by huge numbers of people. 

IMHO, of course. 

***Microsoft postpones announcement 

News.Com: Appeals court may be next stop for Microsoft. "The prospect of an imminent ruling casts an even darker cloud over the company's future and the hope that it might win on appeal what it couldn't get before Jackson. The timing is also potentially problematic as Microsoft plans its Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) announcement next Thursday. If Jackson is to rule immediately, it could be the same day."  

Today's news. Microsoft rescheduled its June 1 event to June 22. 

Comment: A welcome move. Microsoft has been defiant of the legal process in Washington, until now. To announce a comprehensive integrated strategy simultaneously with a judgment that would result in the breakup of the company would be the ultimate in defiance. 

***Today's pointers 

David Mason is looking for a new outliner. 

peterme has a longish but interesting account of his trip to Copenhagen to speak at the Reboot conference. 

Joel Spolsky: Chicken and Egg Problems

Dale Doughterty's pictures from Holland. 

I have a lot of catching up to do on UserLand's development process, but I see that we're getting close to the first builds of Frontier 6.2. This is going to be the easiest-ever Frontier to install, just plop it on a hard disk and start it up and let people create sites just like you do on EditThisPage.Com. 

***Opening remarks 

Welcome to London! 

I'm editing this page. 

My name is Dave. 

It's totally raining here. 

Returning to SF tomorrow. 

Had a great time in Trieste and Venezia with Paolo and Company

I'm connecting via FreeServe. One of the things I learned on this European trip is that ISPs are free here because the cost of using the phone is so incredibly high. Tell me about it. I was shocked when I received my phone bill in Amsterdam. My net access cost as much as my hotel room. No wonder people in Europe complain so much. (I'm in Europe right now.) 

FreeServe works great for everything but sending email. I have to use a proxy server to access the Web, I guess they're doing some profiling on me, that's OK with me. But it can't find my mail server when I send mail, receiving mail works great. (Every hotel concierge in Europe should know about FreeServe.) 

I have a few messages pending, one to my brother about speaking Italian with a Rumanian accent, a message to my friend Chala in SF who liked the Negotiating picture (she thinks it should be in National Geographic) and one to Michael Condry at Sun expressing pleasure that he is in favor of SOAP and that Sun plans to participate in the standardization process. I'm sorry I misunderstood! (These emails will go out as soon as I figure out how to do it with FreeServe or when I return to the US, tomorrow.) 

Ooops, I just started getting redirected to this page after clicking on Post Changes when editing this page. What does it mean? I have no idea. But the changes are getting through. 

BTW, Pike does not work with this caching arrangement. Not happy about that! 

Remind me to tell you about my idea for a programming commune. 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 24, 2000. Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Were you worried? 

I'm OK!  

Coming live from Trieste, Italy. 

Marc Canter was here in the summer of 1998. 

"The Gateway to Eastern Europe." 

Fiorenze was grrrrreat. 

Oh the food. 

Oh the architecture. 

Oh the antiquities. 

Such beautiful women! 

Details later.  

(Gotta check my email.) 

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 23, 2000. Tuesday, May 23, 2000


Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 22, 2000. Monday, May 22, 2000


Permanent link to archive for Sunday, May 21, 2000. Sunday, May 21, 2000

The next part of my trip is set. Tomorrow morning I fly to Florence, spend Monday and Tuesday there, and on Wednesday take a train to Trieste where I'll visit with Paolo Valdemarin who is doing a new portal for the city with Frontier and twelve programmers. Then, if time permits I'll spend a day in Venice and then fly to London, hopefully meet with the WorldLink people and then fly home to San Francisco. Exact date of return still not decided, the next thing on my schedule is a roundtable with Australian CEOs at the St Francis Hotel (in SF) on the 31st and then off to Seattle to hear Bill Gates on June 1. All of a sudden I'm traveling a lot! 

Before I leave Amsterdam I have some pictures to upload, of Bernie DeKoven and his friends monkeying around in a coffee shop near the Rijksmuseum today. And also before I leave, let me thank Amsterdam, what a great city, and thanks to the W3C and Tim Berners-Lee for the positive energy and enthusiasm and warm welcome. I came looking for the heart of the Web, and I'm not sure if I found it, but I sure am leaving a piece of *my* heart behind. I had a great time! Looking forward to WWW9 in Hong Kong next May. 

Final question. Why are there no skyscrapers in Amsterdam? (Answer.) 

Looking forward: A dial-up ISP in Florence? 

O'Reilly's Dave Sims on Tim Berners-Lee's closing lunch at WWW9. 

NY Times: No Executions in Illinois Until System Is Repaired. "In imposing the moratorium, Mr. Ryan had described the capital punishment system as 'so fraught with error' and said it 'has come so close to the ultimate nightmare, the state's taking of innocent life.'"  

2/15/99: "We kill more blacks than whites, more men than women, and even worse we kill innocent people. It's a hypocritical practice, it's impossible to administer in a fair way, and it's just plain bad karma to kill your own people no matter how horrible they may be." 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, May 20, 2000. Saturday, May 20, 2000

Mongolian Throat Singers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I didn't take that many pictures today, but I got some good ones.

Outside the Rijksmuseaum, I came across a group of what I thought were Tuvan throat singers. Well, it turned out they aren't Tuvan, they're Mongolian, but they're really good. A British woman said it sounded like Irish folk music, I said it sounded like American hillbilly stuff. Totally uncanny. These guys would be popular anywhere. I bought their CD, 35 guilders (I guess that's not too cheap) but why not? I already forget what the music sounds like, but I don't forget how much I liked it. I'll get to listen to it when I get back home.

Scientific American: The Throat Singers of Tuva.

(The name of the group is Altai-Hangai, which in Mongolian means Gone with the Wind.)

Amsterdam's red light district Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I bet these pictures get the highest clicks!

Behind Dam Square, on a canal, is Amsterdam's world famous red light district. It's very beautiful, if it were in an American city it would be the most desirable place to live (if it weren't for the prostitution).

In Amsterdam it's done in the open.

One more pic Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This is just a random canal on a gorgeous spring Saturday. Ain't it a pretty city? Don't you just want to take it home with you??

Point of view Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Two interesting shifts in viewpoint, as a result of this trip. First, think of the Web as an application, or a computer, like VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, or the Apple II. The "Semantic Web" is Tim Berners-Lee's version 2.0, perhaps like Symphony or the Apple III. I realized this while I was listening to Tim's conversation with the attendees of Developer's Day at lunch on Friday. As luck would have it, I got the microphone last, and said several things. First, I said the two biggest problems for the Web are patents and Microsoft's dominance of browsers.

Then I talked to Tim about the version 2.0 thing. I said he should be incredibly proud of his accomplishment, and be careful in thinking about the next level Web. It's got the largest installed base ever in the history of software. If there is to be a version 2.0, it must overcome this huge disadvantage.

Ask Microsoft how this works, their biggest competition for Windows is older versions of Windows. Upgrades, esp massive ones like the poorly described Semantic Web, are notoriously difficult to pull off. Meanwhile Microsoft is doing what they do so well, the incremental upgrade. Slowly but surely MSIE is being reconceived as an application platform. I believe this is the version 2.0, and with better search engines, and incremental additions of XML content to the HTML, and Rohit's pleasure button (more traffic if you use the XML additions) we can get Tim what he wants. But it cannot be the upheaval that the Web was because of the installed base. It's hard to appreciate how much has been invested in HTML, dirty as it is, over the last ten years.

Another shift in viewpoint. Frank Leahy of Wired gave a really interesting talk about the architecture of HotBot. Each HotBot request can result in several requests, over HTTP, using various formats, to a variety of infomediaries, including Inktomi. As he was describing this, I visualized a computer on Wired's LAN on Third Street in San Francisco, talking to a computer on Inktomi's LAN at their offices in the East Bay. (Emeryville?) I was astounded to think that a high-flow server like HotBot (which runs on NT) could make so many HTTP requests for each search and still serve 5 million or so searches a day. I think of an HTTP request as being a big expensive thing.

Well, as it turns out I had visualized it incorrectly. In fact the two computers are in the same cage at Exodus. And there's the change in view, a loop back (for me) to 1982, when I was an active Compuserve user and wanted to write software that ran on their systems. I had a BBS for the Apple II, written in Pascal, that I believed could compete favorably with the BBS software they had running on their old DEC mainframes. But no matter how I phrased the question, I don't think they ever understood what I wanted to do.

Today Exodus, and other big co-location services are doing what Compuserve might have done. I believe as the net shakes out more and more stuff will gravitate upstream. Our challenge is to do that without sacrificing the power of running your own server, which is something we plan to explore with Pike and its descendants.

Looping back to Frank's talk, he showed us how they are working with vendors to create a common XML-based syntax for the services they use to run HotBot. I asked if he planned to make this spec public and he said yes, and I said I'd like a shot at creating a Frontier-based interface for that, and he said of course. (That's how you hit my pleasure button. )

"Find a shared vision" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Once again I feel like Forrest Gump.

In Davos I asked Bill Gates if he could sign on to Bill Clinton's challenge to find a shared vision. I hoped he would say "The Web the Web, that's our shared vision!" but he didn't.

I have the same wish for Tim Berners-Lee. Like Gates, he's surrounded with super smart people who think like he does. And like Steve Jobs, Mitch Kapor, Dan Bricklin, all of whom created seminal products in a line leading to the Web, he yearns to do it again.

We're definitely at a crossroads. On June 1, we'll hear, in some detail, what Bill Gates's next vision is. Like Berners-Lee's vision it must include the Web, but it's more than the Web. In the "more" is presumably Gate's next barrier to entry. In normal times it wouldn't be as dramatic as now, because the verdict in the anti-trust trial dramatizes everything Gates does until it's overturned or implemented. Applications surely figure heavily in the next configuration of Windows, and so does the Web. Will they be Microsoft applications or will there be a framework for others' applications?

To me, the only sharable vision is the Web with nothing extra. A commitment by Microsoft to gently upgrade the Web, while competition catches up. We must have competition in Web browsers. This is something that the DOJ got right. At minimum, if Microsoft wants the respect of the people who create and use the Web, they must cooperate here, if they want to be taken in any way to be a leader, and a supporter of innovation.

On the flip side, for the W3C, I hope they too will embrace the Web as it is today, with all its warts and blemishes, for the scarred battlefield that it is, and let's add some features that press the pleasure button for the Web creators.

And to the creators (I think of Zeldman), instead of looking back, look forward. It's true that the Web is broken, but for a broken system it works remarkably well. Laugh and sing "it's even worse than it appears." Now what would you die for? What single feature would unlock a years worth of creativity for you. The more elegantly and simply you can express that, the more likely it will excite the people who create the technology that controls the Web. (MS and W3C share control of the Web, imho.)

One more thing. I plan to download and start using Amaya. I saw a demo at WWW9 and it's nice! Very different from any browser I've seen. Why didn't I download it before? Why don't we ever talk about Amaya? I have an idea that it could be made to work really well with Manila sites.

FoRK Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Thanks to Wes Felter, a pointer to a thread on me and SOAP and patents and RPCs and Sun on the FoRK mail list, which I'm going to join as soon as I find subscription instructions. (It's early in the morning here and I've had no coffee, usual problem!)

Apparently I misunderstood Sun's position as expressed by Anne Manes. In my defense I said I was confused. In a follow-up conversation on Thursday I expressed a wish that Sun would do something positive, create and publish a spec that it would like others to support for connecting web-based applications. I think that's where I'd like to leave it, except to say this.

We've seen so many markets turn into battlefields, my hope is that once we could have a market that involved many if not all of the big names in technology that wasn't a bloody battle.

One of the posters on the FoRK list asked why Sun is so important, that's my answer. Do computers have to be so political and bloody? I don't think they do, and the choice is in the hands of just a few people.

BTW, FoRK stands for Friends of Rohit Khare.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, May 19, 2000. Friday, May 19, 2000

Friday evening notes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

WWW9 is over. We had a wonderful day. It started with the distributed computing track, we talked about XML-RPC and SOAP. Lots of really good energy, it was the talk of the conference, it was a bit shocking to me to see how widely embraced this stuff is. I always expect that we're going to get fudded, as has happened in the past, but the XML community is supporting us. This is fantastic.

Lunch with Tim Berners-Lee was also fantastic. He has an enthusiasm that is is so incredible. The first time I heard him speak at the XML protocols shakedown on Wednesday I wasn't sure how how to parse it. But at lunch he moved around the room, everyone who wanted to speak spoke, and he has such a positive attitude, I was in awe. With his installed base you could forgive him for being arrogant, but he's not. I got a lot of pictures or TBL but only one came out well enough to print. Oy!

After lunch I participated in Dale Dougherty's web publishing track, demo'd Manila, it was not an exciting demo. I figured out why this happens sometimes. I get bored and then the boredom is infectuous. Later in the session we had a RSS BOF, and *that* was truly exciting. I've got to do some thinking and then do some writing.

Tomorrow I'm going to visit with Adam Curry and visit the Reijksmuseum (sp?) and sleep until noon. I'm so wiped out but it was an incredible week. Lots of geek bonding, and new working relationships and a whole new perspective on how the XML community works. More to say after a bit of perspective-gathering.

Friday morning work Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Due to strangeness in time-zones, I'm writing this on Friday morning, but it's still Thursday night back at my website. So forgive the awkwardness as I prepare for today's presentations. It's going to be a busy hectic day. I'm going to do as much preparation as I can (just one hour, no coffee yet) and then do what I always do -- wing it!

The first panel (9 -- 10:30AM) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Dave Winer, UserLand, on the state of XML-RPC.

Henrik Frystyk Nielsen of Microsoft, on the state of SOAP. (Henrik graciously agreed to substitute for Don Box, who couldn't make it to Amsterdam.)

Jim Flanagan, Collective Technologies, Authenticated XML-RPC.

The State of XML-RPC Permanent link to this item in the archive.

First, who am I? I'm an app developer. That's how I view these things. We can have more than one protocol for connecting apps over the Internet as long as they're roughly functionally equivalent. We were able to flatten out the differences between our IAC toolkit and Apple's in the early 90s, and should be able to do the same with the various RPC protocols that are appearing on the Web in the early 2000s.

So it's my job to explain where XML-RPC is today. First, the spec is stable, it hasn't changed in well over a year. This is a good thing, because when people talk about XML-RPC it's very clear what that is. That is not true of SOAP, which has been morphing and changing, and in all likelihood will continue to do so.

There is broad support for XML-RPC in the developer world. Implementations are available for Frontier, Python, Java, Perl, Tcl, ASP, COM, PHP, Zope, AppleScript.

Applications being built in XML-RPC include search engine to CMS connections, prefs distribution, software updates, and many private server-to-server applications.

Open specs that build on XML-RPC are the key to its future. It's just a beginning, but I believe a solid one.

XML-RPC provides power equivalent to a C interface, procedures with parameters that return results. Support for the common types, strings, numbers, binary info, lists, structures. It's beautifully recursive, and (to me) surprising how well it covers the capabilities of the popular scripting environments. (Credit for this goes to Mohsen, who clearly had an encyclopedic understanding of the capabilities of various scripting environments.)

Where SOAP is the protocol that the big technology companies are agreeing on, XML-RPC tends to have more support among individual developers, small companies, open source developers. In fact most of the XML-RPC implementations are open source.

While UserLand is often identified as the owner or creator of XML-RPC, this is not accurate. The XML-RPC specification is copyrighted, but on very liberal terms, inspired by the IETF copyright. and while UserLand participated in the creation of XML-RPC, some of the most brilliant ideas came from people at Microsoft, and Fredrik Lundh of PythonWare played a key role in shaking out the spec, as he did the second implementation in Python (of course).

The future of XML-RPC? Where do you want to go today?

We need a validation suite. When I get back to California, I hope to start a project to write a "super stress" web application that will call a server, ask it to perform a standard set of operations and compare results, and rate the implementation on its compatibility. This way we can be sure there is one and only one XML-RPC spec. This app will make regression testing a part of the XML-RPC culture, making it possible to go forward.

If new features are added to XML-RPC, they will work in all popular environments currently supported. There will never be an XML-RPC that is not least-common-denominator. SOAP is the proper place to bring ideas that advance the state of the art in distributed computing over the Internet. The purpose of XML-RPC is to provide a deployment vehicle while SOAP is fluxing.

Evangelism. All SOAP implementors are encouraged to also implement support for XML-RPC. This will give your applications the broadest possible compatibility, and will keep the pressure on the SOAP process to move forward as quickly as it possibly can.

Security and best-practices. The XML-RPC community can and should develop a set of recommendations for developers who build Web applications, perhaps establishing a review process for security holes and unclear and overly complex applications.

Finally, I hope that the spirit of the XML-RPC community continues to be collegial, respectful, friendly, optimistic and low-tech. So far this group of developers has distinguished itself for its focus on good technology, empowerment of each other, and almost no religious flamewars. This is truly amazing because the XML-RPC community spans multiple operating systems, economic systems, languages, and geography. Imho, it represents the best of the Web, and it's a total honor to be part of such a community.

Background: The Two-Way Web, spec, debugger.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 18, 2000. Thursday, May 18, 2000

Wired: "The protocol wonks of the World Wide Web Consortium get impassioned debating the merits of transport layers and the relative benefits of XML-RPC versus SOAP." 

4/24/95: "Anna Chavez, the anchor on KGO-TV said: 'Isn't it great Pete! No matter who wins, *we* win!' Imagine her putting both of her index fingers to her cheeks, twisting them slightly and swaying her head from side to side. I groaned when I heard her say it. 'This is not good.'" 

David Galbraith from Moreover.Com on JIT-SEs: "The aim at Moreover has always been to move towards this. We have implemented a search feature which returns xml from the 1500 sources that we aggregate near realtime data from." BTW, David is here in Amsterdam, right across the ailse from me, updating his site, while Andre updates his. We're all going to dinner in a few minutes. This is weird. And weird is good. 

David Brown of ZopeFish asks: "Should I ditch the grand scheme of ZopeFish and instead work on integrating the ZopeFish technology (specifically the Pike integration) into the Zope Portal Toolkit?" 

Pictures from San Jose on http://wwdc2000.weblogs.com/. ;

Busy day. Tomorrow will be more busy, we're doing a half-day distributed computing track and in the afternoon I'll present Manila on Dale Dougherty's web publishing track. Decided to spend the weekend in Amsterdam, there hasn't been enough time to actually be here. Then I'll figure out where to go next. 

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 17, 2000. Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Sun is a mystery to me Permanent link to this item in the archive.

After talking with Michael Condry on Tuesday, I held no hope for Sun supporting SOAP any time in the near future. I said so on Scripting News. My hopes have been bobbing up and down in the last few days. Before Wednesday's shakedown session, while talking with a key technologist at Iona, up comes Anne Thomas Manes, Sun's director of business strategy. She told a story quite different from Condry's, and in-line with what Baker said on Monday.

She wrote a letter, that I have not seen published, but I assume will be shortly, saying that Sun has a full-time engineer working on SOAP and will make a submission to the Apache Group of a SOAP 1.1 server. I asked if she would say so at the shakedown session, she said yes. I didn't call on her because Sun was already represented on the panel by Condry, who was making more sympathetic sounds than I expected, based on yesterday's conversation, but his comments were nowhere near as positive and decisive as Manes. I wanted to save Sun the possible embarassment, and SOAP the confusion, of a public dispute between two Sun execs.

I'm confused. I've had the hiearchy explained to me. Baker works for Condry, but I'm not sure if Condry works for Manes. After the session, on the xml-dist-apps mail list, Condry posted several near-flames about SOAP. What is going on?? Either there's major news, or indecision at Sun. A clear statement of support by Sun of SOAP would be the last major milestone before quick deployment of early SOAP-compliant Web apps, the spell checker and JIT-SE.

It's clear that even without Sun's involvement, there is excellent support for Java coming from IBM. But Sun's involvement in the development and deployment process would be awesome.

What is a JIT-SE? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

9/7/96: Floating Ideas. "Search engines take too long. By the time they index a story, I'm not interested it anymore. I want a 'Just In Time' search engine. One which indexes the top fifty news sites every thirty minutes instead of every sixty days."

2/21/00: An open proposal to Search Engine developers. "UserLand's focus is editorial systems. We do run a search engine for Manila users, but we'd prefer to partner with companies that specialize in search engines."

Is this what NGWS is? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

osOpinion: Microsoft Gamble of a Lifetime. "The Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) hatched by the crew in Redmond promises to deliver all Windows services to a browser near you. In fact, in the long run, you likely won't be able to buy Microsoft products in stores at all. Everything will be available online."

Pictures from WWW9 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Martjin Peters of Digital Creations, the developers of Zope. We talked about security, spell checking, search engines. Martjin did XML-RPC for Mozilla.

Simeon Simeonov, chief architect of Allaire. He's from Bulgaria, I found out. We had dinner last night, and came to some conclusions on how we'll be compatible. I want to wait to write them up, when I'm less tired, and with a little coordination.

Ken MacLeod must have taken the red eye to Amsterdam.

This evening's BOF Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I now know that we have enough readers in Amsterdam to have a big dinner party. Thirteen people were there, lots of Frontier people, one Manila newbie from IBM, the CTO for Weight Watchers in eastern Canada, Ken MacLeod, Andre and Andrea! (Who is a total cutie.)

We talked about a lot of things. How the IT industry works in Europe. How we could connect Pike to Lotus Notes. What a big market that would be. We talked about the complexity of SOAP relative to XML-RPC. On the walk back to the hotel I thought I should say that we're going to keep moving forward with XML-RPC while SOAP moves forward. But moving forward doesn't mean changing the spec, moving forward means writing validation suites to be sure our implementations are interoperable. All this work will pay off when SOAP gets to the level of maturity that XML-RPC is at today, which could be quite soon based on the conversations we had with IBM's SOAP engineers over the last two days. In the meantime I want to be sure that XML-RPC remains a viable option. This is the prudent thing to do.

BTW, BOF stands for Birds of a Feather, which is an informal gathering of people with similar interests. I see that WWDC has BOFs now, they didn't when I was going. They're good ideas. This BOF was only announced on the Web (someone took down my posting on the bulletin board in Amsterdam). The Web is powerful. I wonder where else we could have a well-attended BOF on such short notice.

The shakedown session Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The XML protocols shakedown session was interesting, for the most part. There were a lot of statements to the effect that it should be done slowly, of course I said "Let's go now!" It's going to take a couple of days to process this event, we'll have another opportunity to discuss this stuff on Friday during the half-day distributed computing track.

Morning Notes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Welcome to Day 3 at WWW9. The shift key still doesn't work reliably, and we're still nine hours ahead of California, and my body still realizes it. The heatwave broke, it's actually chilly this morning, a welcome relief from the heat and humidity.

I went for a long walk yesterday afternoon thinking about today's panel, where I'll discuss the future of XML over HTTP, with people from Microsoft, IBM, Sun, and Ken MacLeod.

Talked with Michael Condry of Sun yesterday, and there doesn't seem to be any budge. My hopes are dashed! Oh well. Plan B is to build strong SOAP support in Java, and connect it up to EJB, so that Java can connect to everything in the SOAP world, the theory being that it will do such great things for Sun and Java that they'll eventually have to love it.

Went to dinner last night with people from Allaire and IBM (Andre was there too) to talk about very technical implementation details. Went to a cheesy Indonesian restaurant in Rembrandt Plain, then walked through the red light district and ended in a coffee shop on Dam Square. Didn't get in until 1:30AM, now it's 8:30, drinking coffee and trying to get awake so I can hold my own amidst the most intense industry politics I've ever been involved in.

Late Night Software: Script Debugger 2.0.

The SOAP story Permanent link to this item in the archive.

So far the SOAP story has been pretty hard for users, reporters and analysts to understand, because we haven't expressed it in terms that make sense to them. I want to be sure that before everyone becomes immersed in Microsoft's vision for connected web apps that the rest of the industry has a chance to grab the opportunity to create a distributed multi-vendor network of connected apps. This is a lot like the vision we had for connected Macintosh apps in the late 80s and early 90s; and Microsoft's vision for COM and DCOM (same time period) with the key difference that it's not bound to any operating system or language, since it builds on the standards of the Internet, HTTP and XML.

Therefore my pitch for SOAP is pretty simple. We want to connect to Web Apps made by other developers. My two examples are the web-based search engine and spell checker. Simple first apps, no-brainers, easily monetized, and areas where user choice is essential. Imagine that a British writer might want to use a different spell-checker from an American writer. Makes sense? And a just-in-time search engine, an interface between the big SEs and the big CMSs. Every site is searchable. Build a relationship with the most innovative web writers. Only index the content, not the template. And do it in real-time, not based on a crawl. When a page changes it's re-indexed immediately, not some time in the future.

Search engines and spell checkers are user-oriented things, therefore should help users understand the value of technology that connects their writing to essential network services.

Scripting News/EditThisPage BOF Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Happily, there are quite a few ETP users here. Looks like all the linking I did on xml-dev created a few converts. To me this is the biggest satisfaction, it's just like in the old days when I'd run into ThinkTank and MORE users at industry events. Manila is just like those products, it's for writers, and their feature requests are intelligent and literate, because they're intelligent people and they know how to express themselves.

I'm so bad with names! Yesterday, talking at the cocktail party with David Singer of IBM (I hope that's really his name) he has a Manila site and a list of requests, the last being "Let's have a dinner." So I went into the computer room and posted a notice of the dinner tonight.

"If you're at WWW9 come to the Scripting News/EditThisPage BOF/Dinner, 7:30PM Wednesday, meet outside the auditorium."

On arriving back at the party, Sally Khudari takes me aside and asks if I want to have dinner with Tim Berners-Lee tonight. Oy! I said I wish I could, but my users come first. People tell me that TBL would be in total agreement with what I say. I want to meet him, if only to shake his hand and thank him for creating the World Wide Web. I still hope to get that chance.

BTW Permanent link to this item in the archive.

If you're in Amsterdam and want to join us but are not at WWW9, please come! The auditorium is part of the RAI, in the Congresscentrum complex. Shouldn't be too hard for an Amsterdamer to find (this Californian found it).

Next stop Italy? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today's Wednesday. Tomorrow I'm having drinks with Adam Curry, who's an Amsterdam resident once again (this is where he comes from). I want to talk with him about the music business and see if there's something postitive we can do to create an environment where one or more music companies is comfortable meeting the culture and technology of the Web.

And on Friday we'll speak more about distributed computing with XML over HTTP and then my responsibilities to the industry are over, and I have a week to explore Europe, do interesting things, and see sights that I've only heard about.

I've never been to Italy. I think now may be the time. I want to see antiquities and ruins and art, and go swimming, and eat real Italian food and see if the Italian women are as beautiful as I hear they are. Where should I go? Where should I stay? This is the open travel agency. Could we do an impromptu ManilaPalooza in Italy? I could probably make a stop in Germany too.

Part of me wishes I had an itinerary all set. That's the part of me that's still in jetlag mode. The part of me that's in Europe is excited. 'Let's take a train!" I say to my inner child. "Will it be safe?" he asks. "It's just like New York," I say. (Knowing this is a bit of a white lie, but not too far from the truth.)

Sprezzatura: Go to Italy.

The role of Scripting News Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Final notes, written at 3AM in Europe, 6PMish in California.

This has been an incredible week, the role that Scripting News plays is hard to underestimate. It's probably why I was on the shakedown panel, and it's also probably why I am in the middle of what I think is one of the most interesting technology stories of my career.

I'm in the increasingly less-awkward role of being both a participant and a reporter. I think that's what makes this site interesting, it's what makes all weblogs interesting. This is what the New Economy is about to me. An open-ness to your thinking process. Welcoming other people in. Creating value by inclusion, and using that to help perpetuate the process. No lines between reportage and politics, a routing-around of the stubbornness of the business and technology press to stick to their well-rehearsed stories.

Doing background work for today's writing I did a search on News.Com for UserLand and came up with nothing. A search for SOAP turned up lots of hits, promoting companies whose commitment and contribution to SOAP were smaller and more short-lived than UserLand's. How am I supposed to interpret this? I hope it's a route-around, closed-mindedness in the press, that creates opportunities to tell a story they won't tell.

All people who participate in open development processes will someday have weblogs. How do I know this? Because it vastly amplifies your effectiveness. What do you give up by running one? As long as you allow for off the record conversations, nothing. And in an open process how many conversations require it? Ideally none. If the technologies we're deciding on are as revolutionary as some think they are, don't we want to leave a trail behind of our thought processes, and when connections were made and how they came about?

I'm happy with this way of working, and I hope others do the same.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2000. Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Welcome to Day 2 at WWW9. Still jetlagged, still psyched to be here. Sweet dreams to those back home, it's the start of a new day in Europe! 

Joel Spolsky's "Ben and Jerry's" column is getting quite a bit of circulation including a response from a Netscapee. "It's quite possible that what remains of Netscape may actually have more internal consensus on values now than it did in its go-go years." 

Red Herring: "It is very, very hard to build a strong and profitable technology industry competitor. It takes a lot of ingenuity, and a lot of hard work, and no one is going to be able to get away with anything less." 

Frontier: Changes in Nightly Updates. "In Frontier 6.1, nightly root updates ran as part of the scheduler's overnight task. This became a problem, as the overnight task on most machines is set to run at 11PM or midnight. This meant that the server would get hit with lots of requests on the hour, but would handle very few requests in between." 

Tim Bray: Namespace names and URIs

Reality distortion Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The famous Jobsian reality distortion field is in full swing on The MacOS X Weblog. "News.Com suggests that MacOS X has been delayed. Those in the know, and those who attended today's WWDC keynote, know better."

News.Com: Despite delay, Apple's new OS wows Mac faithful.

I don't know, it could just be my old way of thinking, but the product was supposed to ship this year, now they're saying it will ship next year. Seems like a delay to me. Perhaps I'm missing something.

"It's even worse than it appears" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Eric Soroos: "MySql was running as root."

Paul Sniveley: "For God's good sake! Anyone running a publicly-available service as root deserves what they get."

Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 15, 2000. Monday, May 15, 2000

Pictures from WWW9 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I had a long talk today with Mark Baker of Sun Microsystems, a frequent participant in discussions on the SOAP, xml-rpc and xml-dist-app mail lists. There is cause to be hopeful that Sun will get behind one or both of the messaging protocols.

Lunch today with Rohit Khare, Edd Dumbill and Ole Roel. Ole is an engineer at Adobe, and demo'd a WebDAV-aware version of GoLive. Edd, as I'm sure you know, is the editor of XML.COM, and xmlhack, and author of the PHP version of xml-rpc. Rohit is more complex. A fascinating character. He was at the W3C in the mid-90s, went to UC-Irvine, and is now doing a very ambitious Web startup. I expect he'll show up in future Scripting Newses.

Janet Daly who does much of the coordination for W3C is pictured talking with one of the SVG developers.

Searching for the heart of the Web Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I came to WWW9 partially to find the heart of the Web, not the heartless thing the Web has become in San Francisco. Does it actually have one? Well if it does, this is one place it might be. I've been asking people that question. I hope to come away from this week with a clear statement of what the www is, and more specifically, what the W3C is. Rohit laughed when I said this. But I figure if I really concentrate and ask enough people, and ask questions, I should be able to come up with something after a week? What do you think?

Half a world away Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Oliver Breidenbach of Germany is visiting San Francisco and attending Apple's WWDC: Day 1, Day 2.

News from Pyra Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Well, half of the suspense has been relieved. Via evhead comes news that Derek Powazek has joined the Blogger team as creative director. He does beautifully designed sites, and has the courage to try out new ideas. Congratulations to Pyra on their continued growth.

BTW, I really appreciate the "Pyra Builds Cool Shit" headline. It's true, and it reflects their values, and there's nothing wrong with liking yourself. Keep on diggin Pyra, it's entertaining. Microserfs meets the Web. Totally 1.0.

Smart cars Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I don't know the story behind this car, but I've seen a few of them in Amsterdam and they're weird.

Jim Lynch: "It started off as a joint venture between Mercedes Benz and Swatch, based on the A-Class Mercedes that you're probably also seeing around town. The project ran into some initial trouble upon discovery of some safety problems with the A-Class, but those problems (rollover, I think) were resolved. I think that Sally Jessy Raphael or one of the daytime talkshow hosts has imported one into the States, but I don't expect to see one driving around the Valley anytime soon."

Nick Sweeney: "What surprises me about Smart Cars is that you don't see them thrown or pushed into canals more often by weekend tour parties who've had too much Heineken."

Web RPCs considered harmful, further thoughts Permanent link to this item in the archive.

More discussion of Ken MacLeod's caveat at WWW9 and on the SOAP mail list. I had second thoughts similar to Ken's after posting my initial response, and then I thought some more and realized that these concerns are better applied to software that's in broad distribution today.

An example, I installed Red Hat a few months back and put a pointer on Scripting News. Back came emails from readers telling me to turn this and that off, I was pretty horrified to find out how exposed my system was and all I did was click the Install button.

How many Red Hat servers are running right now.

The dark side of the Web reaches the desktop Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Business Week: "These changes represent an important philosophical shift by Microsoft. 'From this point forward," says Sinofsky, "security is the top design point for Office, even if it means less flexibility.'"

Webbies Permanent link to this item in the archive.

There's something unweblike about what the Webby awards have become. They celebrate individual accomplishment, and that's cool with me, but the focus is not on how the Web allows people to share, which is imho, the only interesting and unique thing about the Web. It's OK that we have an Oscar-equivalent in the Web world, but I also want to see Pulitzer-equivalent, perhaps even a Nobel-equivalent. Let's put focus on quality and humanity, not just stardom. We've got plenty of that in TV, movies and magazines. Of course we have it on the Web too, but that's not all we have.

Morning notes Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Good morning Amsterdam! Rise and shine. It's the middle of the night in the US. What a trip. I'm going to look for a good old US breakfast, and then do the tutorials at WWW9. Great dinner last night with Edd, had a lovely seat overlooking one of the canals. And synchronicity kicks in again. I got an email from Bernie DeKoven saying that he's coming to Amsterdam, arriving tomorrow (which is yesterday back in the US or something like that).

Tomorrow Andrea comes to Amsterdam with a full itinerary. Bernie, Andrea, Andre, the whole world seems to be coming to Amsterdam. And all anyone wants to know is what will Blogger announce this week!

An anonymous post to the xml-dev list that is causing some consternation.

Tim Berners-Lee starts the XML-URI list.

Susan Kitchens: "They speak English here!"

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, May 14, 2000. Sunday, May 14, 2000

Rob Weltman: "I have posted to my Web site a prototype of an xml-rpc server for accessing an LDAP directory." 

Duncan Smeed reports on ETP sites used in teaching

fighting jetlag, walking around amsterdam, flaky shift key, linux considered harmful, etc. 

on my way back from the walk I stopped and had a beer with these people. they didn't understand much english. i of course don't understand much dutch. we talked about america. they had never heard of silicon valley. we talked about the c.i.a., which they had heard of. 

re venture capitalists: "Are they people who venture to different capitals," asked Nicole Gordon, 11. "I'd like to go to visit capitals like Washington, DC"  

MSNBC: Moms rally for stricter gun laws

Michael Shrage: "The surprise is that there are still managers and technologists who think that life would be so much better if only their machines understood what they were talking about. That's sad to the point of pathetic. But it certainly helps explain why so many managers and technologists have so much trouble making themselves understood." 

Jakob Nielsen: Eyetracking Study of Web Readers

it's hot, in the eighties, humid, yet this woman was riding her bike fully clothed. i was sweating in shorts and a t-shirt. 

it's definitely spring here. lots more pics, but i gotta catch some sleep now. 

one more thing, manila express works across the atlantic. the link comes into pike. xml-rpc is a miracle.  

OK, with renewed appreciation for dial-up users, here is a selection of today's pictures from Amsterdam, including pictures of Dutch people cruising the canals on a hot Sunday afternoon. Now it's off to dinner with Edd Dumbill.  

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, May 13, 2000. Saturday, May 13, 2000

Travel time! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Wish me a good trip. While I'm gone, behave yourselves!

There will be server maintenence late tonight, watch Brent's weblog for news of this work.

See y'all in Amsterdam!

Templates for Newbies Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Marc Canter has been on my case for months to offer Manila users a set of starter templates to choose from. I asked him to help, to choose a set of sites that make him happy.

So here are Marc's favorite templates. Using this set as inspiration we're going to try to come up with a set of three or five starter sites.

Brent is going to do this work over the next couple of weeks, while I'm traveling in Europe. It's been quite difficult to get this project started, but once we have a popup menu on our "I Want One" page, I think the best designers are going to want their creations in that menu.

It's a chicken and egg thing, I believe. We'll give it another try, maybe this is the time it becomes soup.

"Open" vs "Closed" software Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Great Debate continues.

Phillip Birmingham says "'Open' software can be shared without risking its author's wrath; 'closed' software cannot. To ask people not to use labels for this is to ask them not to care."

To which I respond: "OK, so if we're going to pick labels so you can be informed, let's try this. The stuff you can download and share is called 'shareware' and the stuff you have to pay for is called 'commercial software.'"

This gets rid of the perjoratives, helps us be friends. And also gives advice to people who think there's a free lunch in "open source." When Frontier was free, the number one bit of pain people gave me was "I guess you get what you pay for."

Other news Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Sheila is chased by raccoons. They are fearless creatures.

Jacob Levy: Napster and Metallica -- Wasted Opportunity?

Tomorrow Moms march on Washington for sensible gun laws. More fearless creatures! Go Moms go.

Scott Paley: "I believe there's a very big story here that nobody in the press has really picked up on yet. The Internet played a huge role in this march. Without the Internet, there is no way this could have happened. This was a truly grass-roots campaign and much of the fund raising and communications happened through the web site. Many of the organizers of the March will be meeting each other for the first time ever in person this weekend."

Reuters: Net changes target for gun advocacy.

Permanent link to archive for Friday, May 12, 2000. Friday, May 12, 2000

Yesterday's most-read sites Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This page ranks the most-read UserLand-hosted Manila sites. Hits are tracked between midnight and midnight Pacific time.

Also, we have a new facility that ranks sites over time, not just for yesterday. But we want to let it run for a few days before rolling it out. The results, not surprisingly, are pretty much the same as yesterday's most-read sites.

Note: This page counts page-reads only, not graphics hits. It doesn't count page reads for statically rendered sites, that's why Qube Quorner, Inessential and Scripting News, as examples, don't show up in the rankings.

It's still not perfect, but it's much better than what we had previously.

Bravo! Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Boston Globe: "Major record companies ought to go beyond legal stratagems to define a marketing program that fully utilizes the MP3 format. The songs of Metallica and other famous artists ought to be available for a small fee, and the work of those popular acts ought to be featured on the same site as those of emerging artists, as MP3.com had planned."

Adam Curry has a weblog. He was one of the original MTV vjs. He could help, again, move music to a new medium.

BTW, my interest in the intentions of the music industry are not that idle. Looking at the most-read-sites list, see which is the most popular site, and imagine why. People like music.

Web RPCs Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Ken MacLeod: Web RPCs Considered Harmful.

Murphy speaks in strange ways, and no doubt Ken with 20 years of experience in systems has heard the voice of Murphy in ways that I haven't. I respect Ken, a lot, so when he speaks, I listen. I've known him on the Web for a few years, but I've not met him. He will be in Amsterdam, I'm looking forward to shaking his hand, and having some really interesting talks.

OK. UserLand has built quite a few mission-critical applications on XML-RPC. When you use our search engine, or Pike, or Manila Express, or set preferences for UserLand.Com, you are using XML-RPC. We like it. The apps are easy to create, and quite powerful, and offer us a scaling strategy that we depend on in our server architecture.

In Ken's scenario, you could consider these one-off implementations, because at this time there are few apps (that we're aware of elsewhere) that are compatible. However, we do want people to develop compatible applications, for good reasons, I think. (User choice is #1.) And ZopeFish appears to work, so we're on the verge of getting a compatible application of the Manila-RPC interface in Zope, which has been a long-term goal.

A story. Last year we talked with a portal about doing work with them, perhaps merging. We did due diligence on each other. The company had been acquiring Internet services at a regular clip for a couple of years. Go to their sign up page, 20+ links, each of which took you to pages where you entered virtually the same information to join each of the services. No integration. The calendar couldn't connect to the email service or the web hosting service. I recognized this as the same problem in the Mac software business in the 80s. Business often demands that companies merge, but the technology rarely supports it. Could we do better with the Internet?

We need a backplane. In our world, content management, we need preferences that travel seamlessly across servers. Search engine data that goes from the CMS to the SE without crawling. Stories flowing across servers. Choice of editorial and design tools. Could we do this with static XML files as Ken suggests? Sometimes. But I don't think you could do all this without a source sending a message to a destination, and as long as we're sending a message, why not send the data along with it, and as long as we're sending the data, why not have a simplifying layer so you don't have to start over every time?

I want a real doomsday scenario, the more paranoid the better. If there's a deal-stopper in there I want to understand it asap.

Edd on Web App security Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Edd Dumbill comments on the Zope security alert posted earlier this week. "There are several partial solutions but nothing that preserves the current level of freedom and convenience for both user and programmer."

Hmmm. We believe we've closed the hole in Manila by programming it to care about the Referer attribute on the HTTP request. Edd says the problem is unsolvable, to me it's not all clear that that's true.

Edd says that the browser guys can help, and that is very true. But mostly these days the browser guys work for Bill Gates, and at least based on past experience, that doesn't bode well for fixes.

Competition helps.

Today's Links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Joel Spolsky: "Building a company? You've got one very important decision to make, because it affects everything else you do."

Dale Dougherty: Red Hat Backs Away From WideOpenNews.

Dana Blankenhorn: A Word for adXML.

NY Times: "The episode illustrates the vulnerability of computer systems not only to sophisticated vandals but to relatively crude and even unintended acts of destruction."

NY Times: "Almost as astonishing as the stories surrounding Mr. Li's death was the extraordinary back door through which the news first emerged: An anonymous posting in a chatroom on a popular Chinese website."

Susan Kitchens: "When dancing with abandonment at a wedding, make it a point not to watch the videos afterwards."

Elissa Schappell: My mother's 10 rules to live by.

Believe it or not this Web App is a static page and is smaller than 5K. "Let your creativity become an untamed beast within the constraints of this 15 by 15 square cage."

"You can see the smoke" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On MetaFilter, I posted a note on Array's return (there was an earlier thread about Array's disappearance), noting that Garret was covering the fires in New Mexico.

"Eventually the electronic flames ran out of energy, and in an amazing case of synchronicity, the flames showed up in the forests of New Mexico."

A reporter from the New Mexico Daily Lobo posted links to their work. "I live in Albuquerque and you can see the smoke from the Interstate. It's surreal."

This is the Web I work for. A human network covering the world.

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 11, 2000. Thursday, May 11, 2000

Flames in New Mexico Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Garret Vreeland: "180 homes gone. 8700 plus acres burned. Fires are separated, one near White Rock, one in West Espanola, two around Los Alamos. supposedly the fire came within 30 yards of a nuclear materials housing bunker. They've pulled firefighters away again because of the high winds, and the swift changes of direction."

Reuters: "A huge forest fire threatens the Los Alamos."

MSNBC: 100-plus Los Alamos homes burn.

A flame for the music industry Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Technology made their huge concentration of money possible. Without technology all entertainment would happen around a communal campfire, people telling stories, group singing, stuff like that. (Doesn't sound too bad does it?)

Anyway, back to my rant.

So now technology wants to go somewhere else, and no doubt there will be ways to make huge amounts of money with the new stuff, but not in the same ways as you did with the old stuff. So what do the people with all the money do? What they always do. They hire lawyers and try to tie up the technology so they can keep making money with the old technology.

Now it's fashionable to say that eventually the technology will will win, and probably it will, but in the meantime what could be a lovely explosion of creativity is proving to be a fud-filled shitstorm of lawsuits and capitulation.

So dear music company execs. Will we ever be able to bond the Web and music? If I want to play a tune for my readers now, how will that work? We've been waiting to hear from you for quite some time. Why not offer us a way to pay you money using the new technology? Hello, anyone home?

Microsoft and Slashdot Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Speaking of fud-filled shitstorms..

Salon: Embrace, extend, censor. "On Wednesday, lawyers representing Microsoft requested the removal of a series of posts on the bulletin boards at Slashdot, the popular 'news for nerds' Web site."

Captain Cursor Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Taylor tries an experiment in bi-directional linking. Read through the whole section, it's interesting.

BTW, it's a free service of Weblogs.Com. You can search for a pointer and see all the weblogs that are pointing to it. Just a side-effect of having all the current source text for all the weblogs in a database.

Kate and Susan Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Susan Kitchens is back with pics from Panama.

Kate Adams: Backyard from Hell.

MORE and Mac OS 9 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Outliners DG: "MORE and OS9 are not a great mix. You'll get a few crashes and few instances, when changing to MORE from another program of the MORE window not updating. The other program's window acts like it is pasted to the window."

MORE finally met a Mac OS it didn't like?

Doc Searls and MORE Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Doc came over for a visit yesterday afternoon.

We talked for a long time, and did a brief demo of Pike. There were problems with the demo, but I got a note from him last night that he now has it working on his system, and is using it to write for his weblog, which we're going to transition to a new shell designed by Mike Donnelan.

The demo was too short. I wanted to show Doc how I use Pike to edit Scripting News as an outline, but at 2PM it was just a flat list, I hadn't organized it for the 10PM email distribution (which is turning into my daily deadline).

So Doc if you're reading this here's a screen shot of Scripting News right now. See how it works just like MORE? It even has rules.

BTW, when I show MORE users how Pike does rules, they always grin from ear to ear. To Doc I said yesterday, "MORE users dig rules, and so do MORE developers."

I told Doc about a domain we recently registered, opinioneer.com. I didn't have to explain to him that it was the intersection between opinions and engineering, with a hint of pioneer thrown in. People say all the good domain names are taken. In my experience none of the good ones are taken.

Apple's WWDC Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Next week is Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference, or WWDC, in San Jose CA. Two related weblogs, one for Mac OS X, run by four editors, Jim Roepcke, Daniel Berlinger, James Spahr and Wes Felter (wow what a team!); and one specifically for WWDC, run by a group of three editors.

In 1996 I tried to start something like a weblog for WWDC. It didn't happen then, glad it's happening now. Excellent.

John Norstad's 1997 WWDC trip report.

Dave Polaschek wrote WWDC trip reports in 1998 and 1999.

Developers and platform vendors Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I did my part at WWDCs, for many years. Now it's time for a new generation to work with Apple. Let's hope for the best, a great new OS, not too much hype, and kindness to developers and users.

Another POV, and perhaps some good advice. Show kindness to Apple too. Try to understand the realities they live with before you too harshly judge their results. Remember that they are individuals, and bond with them, understand that they are not Apple. You can't actually talk to Apple. Apple is a funny name for a computer company.

Another observation about developer programs. If you want to be taken seriously by the platform vendor you have to show committment. "I might develop for your platform if you do this," is a no op. The way it seems to work is that you have to put in a lot of skin before you get respect back. The platform vendor isn't with you when you're working around their bugs, or watching your toy boat sink in the wake of their battleship. When you tell them that they're fucking you they tune out. ("I already know it sucks, why won't this guy leave me alone!") They don't get it, and they can't, because they've got their own view of things, to them the battleship isn't that big, and doesn't belong to them. Remember, "it's even worse than it appears," and you won't be disappointed.

I got a new POV on this in the early days of SOAP. When I showed up at Microsoft, there was Don Box. When a new team took over SOAP, there was Don Box. Again and again. Although I'm not inside the COM world, my sense is that Don is the #1 COM developer as far as Microsoft is concerned. And that's not because he kisses ass (although I'm sure he's adept at MS politics), nor due to his brilliance or that he lives for wire protocols. I think the most important thing is his committment to work with Microsoft. Take the good with the bad, try not to take things personally. And when they ask you to come back, you show up.

5/13/98: "One of the things I used to admire about Microsoft is a philosophy called BOGU, which stood for Bend Over and Grease Up. It was a reminder that they would take it up the butt for the bigger prize."

BTW, I wrote that scathing piece about Microsoft after we started the SOAP project. What a difference a two year perspective makes. They put up with a lot of shit from me, and never complain. (At least not that I hear about.) Wow. (OTOH, if they had bent a little more to my POV, we'd be further along now. NBD.)

SOAP, Zope, and XML-RPC Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Pike and Zope sittin in a tree.. Happy day!

Microsoft's briefing day for NGWS is June 1.

Much celebration in the land of Firewalls with Piking Sauce.

Send me your SOAP news. The SOAP weblog gets good hits. Spread the love. Let me know what you're doing with SOAP and I'll let the world know.

Lots of great links and stories on StackFrame.

Good news, Microsoft didn't actually invent XML.

Riddle Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Question, when you mix Pike and Zope, what do you get?

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2000. Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Rasta don't work for no C.I.A. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Heads-up boys and squirrels, Scripting News is going to Amsterdam on Saturday. Yah man! Listening to Bob Marley right now getting ready. I leave SF at 4PM on Saturday. Of course I'm bringing the camera.

It's a total W3C trip. The xml-dist-app mail list is having a lengthy discussion on the format of the XML-over-HTTP summit on Wednesday. I mis-spelled the name of the World Wide Web Consortium in the lead paragraph in the press release. Disclaimer: I always got a D in Social Behavior. I apologized profusely.

So I'm very buzzed about going back to Europe. One week for work, one for play. I might go to Poland. Or Italy. Where should I go? Such problems!

Vignette Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On the xml-dist-app mail list, yesterday, a message from the ICE group. "We have had a perspective that ICE is associated with a single company."

Vignette. We were working with them on syndication in early 1998. Proud of the collaboration. "XML is moving forward thru coopetition. Something interesting is happening. Seriously."

While that was going on, they were doing ICE. We found out about it on the W3C submission. Caught us by surprise. Luckily we had already been working on our own methods for syndicating Web content.

Two years later, SOAP and XML-RPC are simpler than ICE, if such a high-tech approach is ever needed. The lower-tech method, RSS, static XML files, works better, imho, and is better aligned with what's really going on on the Web.

9/3/99: A Bright Future for Syndication.

Note to self Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Keep the volume down at WWW9.

Listen, listen, listen.

Apologize when necessary.

"I'm not worthy!"

Big group hug for Garret Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I want Garret to come back. Garret, I miss you. We have a great community. Garret is our Benjamin Franklin. Hey he freaked out. And then I did. Learned my lesson, we all have to fight our own demons. "We Africans shall fight, when necessary."

Some say it's wimpy to have a website. OK, there's a difference in values. We are a community of websites.

Reports from Garret on fires in Santa Fe. "Between 11,000 and 17,000 people need to be put up somewhere for the night. That's equivalent to 1/4 of the population of Santa Fe."

I'd like to call for a group hug for my brother Garret.

Zzzzzzzzzzz? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

NY Times: "The Microsoft Corporation asked a federal judge today to immediately throw out the government's proposal to break the company in two, arguing that 'the laws and the facts do not support such a radical step.'"

NY Times: "However weak in substance, the Microsoft response is legally crafty."

Firewalls Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Last night I posted a spec for Piking behind Firewalls, which explains how we'll change Manila so that the CMS doesn't have to send an XML-RPC message to the workstation to initiate editing of a document. Done.

Firewalls with Piking Sauce (Preview). "If it works as I think it should you should now be able to use Pike to edit a story on an experimental UserLand server, even if you're running behind a firewall."

SOAP Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jacob Levy: "A group of us here where I work are having a discussion about SOAP 1.1. One of the participants agreed to let me quote him on a question that arose regarding the use of M-POST in SOAP 1.1, specifically about the forcing of its use as described in section 6.3."

Mark Alexander: Costs for SOAP intellectual property rights usage. "All parties are providing the spec to W3C for it's use without charge, but have different policies with regard to non-w3c implementations."

One of the nice things about having Hewlett-Packard in the loop on SOAP is that I have a place to deposit my wish for a scriptable scanner.

Cool apps Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Speaking of scanners, I just got a microphone.

FreePDF is "the fastest way to turn HTML into PDF."

Deletia around the Net Permanent link to this item in the archive.

"Moderation is imminent" on the Perl Porters mail list.

News.Com: Napster alters software to keep music pirates out.

Hole closed Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Brent Simmons reports that the security hole posted yesterday on Zope.Org has been closed in Manila and Frontier's browser-based Control Panel. We now check the referer on every POST request, and if it is incorrect, we reject the request. This could cause compatibility problems for people who use browsers that don't send a referer attribute. We are also curious to know if there's any way to set the referer from JavaScript (remembering Murphy).

Open source Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Meerkat: An Open Service API. "There's been considerable attention of late given to the wonders and power of Open Source. Not much is said, however, about the array of Open Services out there that are every bit as valuable as source code."

BTW, UserLand's aggregation backend has always been open and documented (to the extent that we have time to write docs).

Reading Rael's Meerkat piece, how unfair it is for the open source people to use a nasty adjective like "closed" for our software. We work hard on this stuff, and it's mostly a labor of love, certainly not greed or a desire to lock anyone in. Check out the quote from Brian Behlendorf on page one of the Meerkat story. Rael says what matters is that the APIs be open. I agree. And minds too, they must be open as well.

A lot of our ideas are being implemented in open source. This is not an accident. We evangelize it, and we invest time in helping people do it. By this time next year it will hardly matter if we ship source code, or how much we ship, or on what terms. Our APIs are being adopted. This is good. I may well be able to use Pike to edit a Zope site. Or use Word to write for a Manila site. Or..?

Stay focused on the Web, this is something Dale Dougherty says. This is where we and O'Reilly are in agreement, not on the small distinctions of who ships what amount of source code on what terms at what time. Let the chips fall where they may, we think we're doing the right thing, and think it's honorable. "Closed" is not honorable. What Behlendorf misses, imho, is the value of competition. Because Rael is barking up our tree, we are more motivated to bark back. This is good for users and developers, and us, and O'Reilly, and imho, the Web.

BTW, to Rael, the Web is also about linking. We point to your stuff, please point to ours. Let your readers know they have choice, they can use your backend for syndicated content, or they can use ours. This is the Web way, another way of being friends, as we compete for developers.

Love designers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Now, since I'm slaying dragons this morning, a few words for designers. We don't sweat the Photoshop bitmaps, but we have huge respect for people who do. I wonder if those people have any idea how hard it is to keep servers running 24-by-7, and to provide high level services to designers, so they can work their magic? I have an idea. Let's build a human network of respect. Designers need good geeks to make their creations come alive. And vice versa. We need each other to achieve our dreams. Thanks, once again, for listening.

Love Microsoft Permanent link to this item in the archive.

BTW, our friends at Microsoft will help us come together, in June, when they roll out NGWS. The Open Source people (if they are good) will say "We can do that too!" And when they say that I hope they drop me a line.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 09, 2000. Tuesday, May 09, 2000

Zope discovers a browser security hole Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Zope.Org posts a security alert of concern to users of all Web applications, including Manila. We're studying it now.

We believe there is a way to work around it using the Referer attribute of an HTTP request. If you want to be safe, and you have a Manila site, either log off the site, or don't visit any sites that might not be friendly. I know that's not very helpful. We'll post more advice here as we figure it out.

Second line of defense, in your Manila site, in the Editors Only menu, click on Prefs, then Legal Tags. Make sure the <script> tag is turned off. This prevents someone from using your site to compromise your site.

Another way to defend. Use Pike to edit your site. If your home page gets overwritten, you will have a copy of the content on your workstation. Make a minor change and Save. Maybe the (so far imaginary) hacker will give up in frustration.

To EditThisPage.Com editors Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Bulletin: "It's clear to me that people in the EditThisPage community would prefer if we continue to host the site, so that's what we'll do."

Honoring the excellence of EditThisPage.Com Permanent link to this item in the archive.

StackFrame: Serving up information, opinion and hot-links about hard-core software development.

May snow in Teller County, Colorado.

What did you have for lunch?

Pulldowns for Manila.





UserLand's third press release Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Press release: UserLand Submits SOAP 1.1 to W3C.

Of course it made it onto Yahoo too. Where else?

Oooh they're poppin up: CBS MarketWatch, CNBC.

Full quotes from Tim Bray, Paul Everitt, Fredrik Lundh, Jakob Nielsen, Tod Nielsen, Tim O'Reilly, Doc Searls, Kevin Werbach and myself.

Interesting, all the stocks listed in the press release are going down today. Hmmm. I wonder if this was a sell signal?

SOAP mail lists Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On the SOAP weblog, now there's a page of mail lists that discuss XML over HTTP protocols.

On the XML-RPC mail list, Sun's Mark Baker asks why we want a spell-checker as an Internet service.

"The answer is easy," said UserLand CEO Dave Winer. "User interface matters."

(I gotta get out of press-release writing mode!)

Tom Scola: "This convinces me even more that SOAP is a protocol designed for marketing purposes rather than technical reasons."

My response: "Tom, it definitely *is* marketing."

A soldier of peace Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 08, 2000. Monday, May 08, 2000

SOAP at W3C Permanent link to this item in the archive.

W3C: Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) 1.1.

Other docs: submission request, W3C team comment.

UserLand's press release will run at approx 3AM Pacific with comments from Tim O'Reilly, Jakob Nielsen, Noah Mendelsohn, Ken MacLeod, Doc Searls, Kevin Werbach, Fredrik Lundh, Paul Everitt, Tim Bray and Microsoft's Tod Nielsen.

It's been a long day! But man it feels good to get this into W3C; just in time for Amsterdam.

Today's links Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Over the weekend, Andre Radke worked on getting SOAP 1.1 support into Frontier 6.2. He posted a report on our internal website, but I asked that he make it public so that other SOAP implementors can see how we're doing. Clearly interop between early implementations would be a Good Thing. IBM has already shipped one for Java, and according to Fredrik Lundh, PythonWare will soon ship one for Python.

IBM released version 1.1 of their SOAP for Java.

mattl.com gets a cease and desist from Mattel. Oooops.

Bill Gates: The Case For Microsoft.

Survey: A Scripting News BOF in Amsterdam?

Joel: "If the UI can't withstand your acting generally immature and stupid, it could use some work."

If we had an award for the most brilliant slap your head in disbelief idea of the week, it would surely go to Sam Yates who figured out how to get Pike to work from behind a firewall without requiring any browser configuration. I said in my response, "I'm not worthy!" Totally in awe.

Press release: Dreamweaver UltraDev "generates applications that take advantage of Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP), Sun Microsystems JavaServer Pages (JSP), and Allaire ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) technologies to connect to industry standard servers, making it ideally suited to today's heterogeneous development landscapes."

Web Services Developer Center is covering SOAP.

Keith Moore: On the use of HTTP as a Substrate for Other Protocols. "This document recommends technical particulars of such use, including use of default ports, URL schemes, and HTTP security mechanisms."

News.Com: Intel to introduce products to ease XML adoption.

NY Times: "The first time each desktop computer connected to the Ford network, it would automatically download a remedy to eliminate the rogue program, because of the new software written on Thursday night."

Simon Evans: "Are all flame wars this boring?"

Doing a press release Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today is put-together-a-press-release day here.

When I write a press release I am wanting to add flow to our sites, so my goal is to say something interesting, but not everything, to get a certain kind of reader to click on a link where we can tell the whole story. Further, while the press releases have a formal corporate tone, they also have ideas, and try to explain something, to teach the reader something new, and to create a favorable impression of a company that most of the readers (we hope) have never heard of, UserLand.

Today's press release is about SOAP 1.1. We expect to reach a milestone today. I can't say what that is, obviously, at this time. But the specific milestone is less important, imho, than the connection between small companies, independent developers, and very large technology companies. This is the realignment I've been waiting for, for pretty much my whole career. So now that my little company is getting recognition from some big ones, I want to be careful to feed back support to the individuals and companies that have supported us. This is what didn't happen in the Mac developer community in the 90s, each individual developer would try to make deals with Apple, but none of us wanted to make deals with each other. There were some notable exceptions, like the work we did with NetEvents and Internet Config. By holding hands with PythonWare and Ken MacLeod, along with IBM and Microsoft, we help build a network of collaboration that will make the benefit of large-and-small working together more than a one-shot deal.

I'm doing a bit of follow-up to see how each of the press releases fared on the web.

We've done two releases in the last six months, announcing Frontier 6.1/Manila, and announcing the Davos Newbies site.

Google search for Davos Newbies. It appeared on Excite and Yahoo, but that's all that Google picked up. So far searches haven't turned up any instances of the Manila press release. Perhaps it's rolled off? Do Excite and Yahoo take down press releases after some time?

The Manila press release was picked up by MacCentral, the Davos one apparently, was not.

We use the PR Newswire to distribute press releases. I wanted to say what the pricing is but Bob Bierman tells me that that information is confidential.

PR Newswire: Database Services.

Sad news Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm unhappy that Angus Glashier is moving his site off Weblogs.Com.

I think he's leaving before finding out that Manila has exactly the feature he's looking for. You can also open the database in Pike, which is free.

To be clear, you own your content, we have provided a mechanism for every editor to back up his or her content, and you should do it. Remember Murphy.

I was a regular reader of his site, and I'll miss it. He's the kind of person we want creating content with Manila.

Postscript: Angus is staying. I'm very happy now! Yeah.

How to opt-out Permanent link to this item in the archive.

If you want to opt-out of hosting on UserLand servers, it's your right at any time to do that. Here's how we'd like to do it.

Place a notice on your home page saying that you have decided to move your site to another server. If possible avoid making a speech. You may want to say something about us, or our policies, and that's fine, but please do that on your new site.

Also include the URL of your new site. We will place a redirect on the server so that your site will continue to be accessible through the older URL. Sometimes we just have to guess, based on what pointers are left on the site.

It's better not to leave this to guesswork.

Permanent link to archive for Sunday, May 07, 2000. Sunday, May 07, 2000

Ransaker is a scriptable search engine written in Python. The author, Michal Wallace, sent an email saying "It's fairly simple, written in Python. And Python has an xml-rpc library. I don't know much about xml-rpc yet, but if anyone wanted to tie it in, I'd be more than happy to work with them." Excellent! 

This could fit in, probably easily, behind the XML-RPC interface we've defined for UserLand's search engine. This should really be the first XML-RPC-based application standard. It's so simple and valuable. Every site needs a search command, and Manila is already programmed to spit out a stream of XML-RPC messages as content on a site changes. With thousands of Manila sites, it's not a chicken and egg situation. Perhaps Python will again lead the way and provide the first "second" implementation? 

2/21/00: An Open Proposal to Search Engine developers

Updated Manila Sites: "This page lists the recently updated Manila sites hosted on all UserLand.Com servers." 

The Top-100 page on EditThisPage.Com is no longer accurate. Many of the top sites were moved to a different server yesterday, to distribute the load better. We're working on a Top-100 page for all sites hosted on UserLand servers, in line with the new updates page.  

Paul Snively asks for help doing an XML-RPC interface for Macintosh Word Services. He wants to tap into the Apple Event Object Model from Java. 

Reuters: Intel to Unveil Network Devices. "Both devices accelerate and control secure XML-based Internet transactions, for faster electronic commerce." 

Intel product sheet for Netstructure XML Accelerators. 

Washington Post: A Kinder, Gentler Microsoft? 

Glenn Berntson: "I'm the creator of Idea Keeper." 

B-liner is a project outliner. "It is a simple and powerful bracket outliner with hierarchical spreadsheets for project planning, analysis, & design." 

NY Times: How Killer B-to-B's Slid to the Endangered List

A resolution with the site that was an issue in the discussion on The Flounder. The defaced graphics have been removed.  

Jason Levine: "It will be interesting seeing how they deal with the 'defaced' graphics once they're on a non-Userland site." (By pointing to them.) 

Jason and I have been discussing fair use. To illustrate my point, I took an image from his site, overlaid his copyright policy and added the Dyke button which he copied from the controversial site, to help further free speech on the Internet, a cause I totally support. Then I reduced the size of the Dyke button and put it on his chest, on a set a drawers, and a few other places in Jason's scene. Now, according to his definition of fair use, this seems pretty fair. But of course it's really poor taste. For all I know Jason has friends who are lesbians, who might wonder why he's wearing that button. I asked if it was fair use, he says he's not sure.  

For all the talk about "censorship" on the UserLand DG, some highly productive discussions take place there. An example. The rules are pretty simple. Treat people according to the Golden Rule. And act like an adult. Some other tips. Get to know the people there before you post. Re-read your post and ask yourself if you would be OK if someone said that to you. Is there a friendly way to say the same thing? How much do the people on the DG know about you? (The more they do the less likely you'll be misunderstood.) Is it flame-bait? If so expect it to be deleted immediately. (Almost anything that puts another member of the DG on the defensive is flame-bait. Challenge people's ideas, but if you're expecting agreement that the person is immoral, forget it. Life doesn't work that way. Even convicted killers proclaim their innocence.) 

CamWorld: "If you happen to have a different opinion than me, please don't hesitiate to let me know. I'm a friendly guy and enjoy debating this stuff. The sheer amount of flames and email I get from people using temporary Hotmail accounts who feel they need to hide behind an alias in order to communicate with me is mindboggling." 

Cam is a friendly guy and does enjoy debate. Somehow we have to build a firewall, to keep the LCD crowd from wasting so much of so many busy people's time. 

Permanent link to archive for Saturday, May 06, 2000. Saturday, May 06, 2000

10PM: I have decided that we will stop hosting the site with the defaced graphics. The decision is explained on The Flounder, which has become the venue for this discussion. Many thanks to the editor of that site, Simon Evans, for providing a neutral space for us to do this work.  

A bulletin I sent this evening to EditThisPage.Com members. 

It's official. The Zope guys have checked in XML-RPC support into Mozilla. Yahoo! 

Wow, birthday presents everywhere. Edd Dumbill has just released the final beta of XML-RPC for PHP. Thanks Edd! 

I wrote a set of Frontier scripts that call Edd's server. 

There's a reasonable chance that an LDAP server for XML-RPC will come online this weekend.  

We still need a scriptable spell-checker that interfaces through XML-RPC. And a search engine. (UserLand already has one, but we want to outsource this function.) 

Can Apache be far behind? 

Gary Krakow: "My experience with Apple's iBook SE spoiled me. I got very used to surfing the Web on that laptop, via my DSL line, wirelessly, anywhere in my apartment. But, when I had to return Apple's AirPort equipment, I asked the SOHOware people to send me what I needed to get a Windows notebook to do the same thing." 

Peter Coffee: "..even this defense is bypassed by Microsoft's proposed XML-based Simple Object Access Protocol, whose active-content messages are expressed in streams of what looks like simple text." Bad bad bad. You may someday see a SOAP packet in an email enclosure, but until a mechanism is added to run the packet, it's no more dangerous than a soup recipe. 

Garret Vreeland's statement about fair use of graphics he created. "All my free graphics are gone. Members of this weblog are still allowed to copy codebits they admire, but from this day forward I no longer allow the copying of any graphics without express written permission first."  

It's unfortunate that Garret's generosity has been abused by defacing his creations with hateful messages. The consensus of members of the ETP community who expressed an opinion is that we should continue to host the site, but I still have doubts about the wisdom of this. To be clear, the words are Grohol's, the images are Vreeland's.  

Permanent link to archive for Friday, May 05, 2000. Friday, May 05, 2000

SOAP announcement on Monday Permanent link to this item in the archive.

We'll run a press release on Monday explaining UserLand's involvement in SOAP.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to Scripting News readers that our spin on SOAP revolves around The Two-Way Web vision, the web as a creative writing, design and graphic medium.

We're looking for quotes. I've already sent emails to people in the Web production business, and several analysts we respect, giving them a heads-up and asking for a quote.

"It's even worse than it appears."

Unfortunately, it's Friday evening in California, and the release must go out on Monday. We have no control over the timing.

If you're in the industry, or you cover it, esp if you have a Manila site, and even better, if you understand what Pike is, and even better than that, are around over the weekend, and have observations you'd like to share re the vision for the Web as a writing environment, please send me private email with your quote and your title and affiliation. Thanks!

Now to reward you for your patience, here's a little song. Just click on Mr Ed and he will entertain you.

Random news Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Microsoft: Information on the VBS/Loveletter Virus.

CamWorld has the source code for the virus. I promise it's safe to click on that link, but you may want to say a prayer before you click on it, for all the bits it trashed.

Ken MacLeod tries an experiment in focused discussion, which I applaud.

Progress report on the ZopeFish project. Go go go!

Greg Galanos, former CEO of Metrowerks joins Softbank Venture Capital, alongside Heidi Roizen and Gary Rieschel. I should go visit them. I wonder if they read Scripting News?

Bill Burnham: Napster will affect a lot more than the music industry.

What does this mean? Does Mozilla now have XML-RPC support? Edd Dumbill says yes. Cooool! say I.

A new Frontier verb for 6.2, string.gigabyteString. Makes it easy to display sizes of modern disks and files in dialogs and Web pages.

Yesterday's Giants-Mets slideshow as a zip archive. 11.4MB.

Are you pondering what I'm pondering? If you didn't get the virus does that mean you have smart friends??

Firewalls in our minds Permanent link to this item in the archive.

We hear so much about firewalls in the XML-RPC world. The people who love firewalls say that our messages circumvent the intentions of the firewall administrators. I don't think this is true. Ask people who try to run Pike behind a firewall. Oooops. It doesn't work. (Because we play by the rules.)

Further, did firewalls prevent yesterday's calamatous virus? No way. We have a global network now. Are there really any firewalls? User education is the only thing that can keep things like the I Love You message from inducing havoc. Don't send email messages with enclosures unless you really know the recipient isn't a civilian. And don't ever send Word documents as email messages. Never do it. Never! (And if someone sends you one, don't open it. Never.)

A NY Times article says: "The best way to avoid infection, experts advised, is not to open e-mail attachments from unknown sources.." That's wrong! Such experts. The viruses make it look like the message is coming from a friend. Oy, such bad advice.

File types that might be OK as email enclosures: HTML, GIF, JPEG, ZIP, WAV, what else? (See the point, the Web is a relatively safe environment. Email is wide open. No firewalls there. But even the Web isn't safe as long as you can download apps and run them. Do firewalls stop that from happening?)

Microsoft could help, they make the most popular and vulnerable emailer. Maybe the people at Microsoft who love firewalls (there are a few) could work with the people who love email. Email could be as safe as the Web, imho.

Web illiteracy Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Last month, I had meetings with dot-coms in all stages of development. I spent more time South Of Market than ever before. I don't want to name names for fear of not being invited back. (As you read this section you'll know why I'm not worried that the people will guess who I'm talking about.)

One thing hit me, there's very little understanding in the executive ranks of how the Web works. Somehow a technological boom has happened, or is happening, or is getting ready to happen (I don't know) without any deep (or even shallow) understanding of the technology by the people who run the companies.

One person said, unfortunately, he doesn't have time to use the Web. I asked if he has time to use PowerPoint. Oh yes, lots of that going on! I said the Web is no more difficult than PowerPoint. The eyes glaze over.

A concept that should, imho, be addressed on each term sheet, is how Web-literate the key execs are. If not very, I think there's a problem that the shareholders should know about.

So I wonder if there really is a Digital Divide that Clinton talks about. Someone at these companies must get the Web, but it's usually not the top guys. If you're the CEO or an exec at a SOM company, send me an email. Let's start a network of Web-literate dot-com execs?

Permanent link to archive for Thursday, May 04, 2000. Thursday, May 04, 2000

Evening pointers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Susan Kitchens: Panama recap and a Canopy Tower dawn.

Pictures from today's Mets-Giants game. Potrero Hill. SF skyline. Tailgate birthday party. Great seats! High tech stock ticker. Mookie Wilson, Mets first base coach. Batter up. Pitchers duel. Let's run home and score. Swedish Meatball Day is cancelled. Ricky Henderson demos his swing. Arrrmondo Rrrrios plays a pivotal role. Brouhaha. The benches clear twice. Mets lose their cool. Giants score big. Game over. Happy birthday to Big Dave Jacobs. Sunburn for all.

It's not really love Permanent link to this item in the archive.

AP: "A new computer virus spread quickly around the world today, swamping U.S. corporate networks with e-mails entitled ILOVEYOU after crippling government and business computers in Asia and Europe."

David Valentine points to a site that explains how to remove the virus. Please post any updates as responses to David's message.

PS: Don't open email enclosures, ever.

Gearing up for WWW9 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Ken MacLeod has updating his Lightweight Protocols page, with links for people at WWW9.

ComputerWorld: "SOAP is a starting point, [IBM's Sutor] said, intended to evoke comment and refine the protocol. It doesn't work to try to fully develop a standard and then test it, he said."

Microsoft's Charles Fitzgerald on SOAP 1.1: "We're going full speed ahead. I'm a little disconcerted by some of the things IBM has been saying publicly."

DevX interviews Lotus's Noah Mendelsohn on the role IBM is playing in SOAP.

Pyra, Baseball, Birthdays Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On my way to the baseball game yesterday I stopped by at Pyra, the makers of Blogger, on Townsend St. Up till yesterday I had only met Evan Williams, Pyra's CEO. We had a very cool talk, it was on Ev's webcam, looking for ways to get our apps talk to enhance each other.

Matt Haughey had some good feedback on Manila, he said the template is hard to edit (which is true, it's a web browser interface after all) and suggested shipping with a virtually empty template, which I thought was an interesting idea, and one I had not heard before.

We also talked about linking our membership systems. How many different times do you want to enter your mother's maiden name? There should be a button on every membership signup page that says You Know Who I Am. Click on it and the form is filled out with information that comes from a central server. Dale Dougherty wrote a passionate essay about this a few weeks back on the Manila-Newbies mail list. I want to solve the problem, but wish to do it in a cross-vendor way.

Another idea was linking favorites on Weblogs.Com with the Blogger home page. You could get a customized view of the weblogs that changed (they call them blogs, understandably). They would have to mirror the favorites structure on their server, and be able to associate a Blogger membership with a Weblogs.Com membership. We puzzled over how to create this linkage. I think it's do-able, but I have to do some more thinking.

(Gordon's company is focused on membership, which was the focus of the conversation with Pyra. Until I wrote this story I didn't make the connection.)

I then went to the baseball game (three blocks away) with Gordon Eubanks, CEO of Oblix, and the former CEO of Symantec, the company I sold Living Videotext to in 1987. It was really good to see him, we had never had time to hang out and go to games when we worked together. The game was exciting, really good baseball. Some incredible fielding plays, but I had to leave early to get to a birthday dinner with Dave Jacobs, Marc Canter and Sonja Scharrer.

(After a drunk fan ran on the field I asked Gordon if he had ever been arrested. He looked at me, stared, a little smile, and then I said, Oh yeah!)

Dave Jacobs is 44 today. Happy birthday Big Dave! I've known him for fourteen years. The day between our birthdays has become a sort of holiday in our circle of friends. Dave now works at Macromedia. At his previous job at Marimba he made a bunch of money and yesterday he showed us the first toy he bought with his new wealth. Go Big Dave!

Dave also was the Fetish editor at Wired for a few years, a perfect casting, he's the ultimate gadget guy, Mr Rube Goldberg. So I can't wait to see the sound studio he builds in his house and I keep urging him to get a hot tub already, it's a quality of life thing as far as I'm concerned everyone should have one, certainly a friendly guy like Dave.

Another Big Dave story. He had to fly to LA to buy the car. On the drive back, going up a mountain in fifth gear, barely touching the gas pedal, going 105 mph. A tear comes to his eye. Cherman engineering. We all laugh. The cool thing about Big Dave is that we know he really is touched by this. Me, I could care less about cars, I like software. That's another cool thing about friends. We're all different.

Ed Anuff's happy day? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I got a really interesting picture at the game relating to Ed Anuff, who was also at Wired at the same time Dave and I were there.

Click on the proposal above to find out where it appeared.

(Ed sent me an email: "It's a prank that some of my employees pulled on me. The human equivalent of the "ILOVEYOU" virus.)

Another baseball day Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Believe it or not I'm going to another baseball game today!


Let's go Mets!

(Mets lost, great game. Lots of fun. Pictures at 10.)

Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, May 03, 2000. Wednesday, May 03, 2000

Twinkies Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Business Week: "So is Idea Keeper a word processor? Well, not exactly. The program is a hybrid: part word processor, part outliner, and part information manager. With Idea Keeper, you can build complex outlines, create documents, and keep and organize notes of all kinds."

Yesterday's USA Today piece might have asked What If Microsoft had truly been innovative? That's not exactly what they asked, but it's close. If they had been visionary enough to invent something like HTTP and HTML, we would have had good writing tools from day one. Look at how long it's taken to get the tools in place, and even now, they're lacking features people would reasonably want. Same with Apple, btw. Both companies spent huge amounts of money on R&D in the 90s, and where did it get us, as developers and users? Did they solve any of the problems we want them to solve?

Bottom-line, with the benefit of hindsight, both companies got routed around.

Cheeseburgers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

PC Week: "The day before CI Host's system crash, Sievers' company had just been profiled on the front page of a local newspaper. Sievers expected a rush of online business from customers looking to purchase her product, decorative foam balls for car antennas. Instead, Sievers got an apologetic call from O'Brien trying to explain why the service was down."

Flounder Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Flounder thread had a positive outcome, as far as I'm concerned. One of the ETP editors claimed we had altered content on his site, which is something we never would do. That goes right to the core of our integrity. Such challenges must be made carefully and responsibly. We won't host sites that are reckless with our integrity. We will exercise our right to opt-out when this happens.

Another issue was raised, one that comes up from time to time. Rogers Cadenhead said "Dave routinely deletes messages from the [UserLand] discussion group that are critical of him or disagree with something he has said."

Hmmm. I deliberately make strong statements so I can hear from people with different views. However, I don't allow personal statements on our discussion group. If you want to trash someone on a personal level, and that includes me, do it in your own space where it reflects on you. I must have said this 10,000 times, but some people just don't want to hear it.

In one of the messages on the Flounder site I suggested that we form a Board of Advisors for sites we host. A place where people can have their complaints addressed by people who use our services.

Jeff Cheney volunteered to start such a group. I trust Jeff, if you can convince Jeff that we screwed up, I totally want to hear about that.

Permanent link to archive for Tuesday, May 02, 2000. Tuesday, May 02, 2000

Hot dogs Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Macworld: Apple Heads for Interface Oblivion. "Long-established, long-comfortable, long-respected interface conventions are being flouted in favor of something that looks really, really bitchin'. No matter how hard it is to use."

I created a page on Metababy. Nothing much. But you can edit it. Weird!

(Postscript: Someone did a not very nice JavaScript hack on that page, so I took the link down.)

WarChild is a Frontier website developed by Agency.Com.

AP: "The Supreme Court today left intact a ruling that says Internet service providers are not legally and financially liable when someone is defamed in e-mail communications or bulletin board messages." Something the US does right.

Tomalak has lots of great music links today.

Michael Swaine: "One site I often visit tends to put all the information it has about a topic right there on its front page. Far from being pleased at the convenience, I find myself clicking in frustration on random words, looking for the depth."

osOpinion: Why Java seems doomed to fail.

EditThisPage.De is a Manila site that hasn't opened yet. Diese Seite befindet sich noch im Aufbau!

On MetaFilter, the Pyra business plan takes shape.

Beer Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Last night we finished a new Manila feature: News Items.

A new first command in the Editors Only menu, before Stories, Pictures and Gems. News.

Click on News, and enter a News Item.

Ever wonder how SlashDot looks behind the scenes? We did.

All Manila sites can have this feature. You just have to turn it on. You do that on a new Prefs panel. (And it's easy to try out, and if you don't like it, you can go back to the old way. Your archives will still work, Manila doesn't care if you switch back and forth, you can do it as many times as you want.)

It flows. You post a News Item. Your Managing Editor reviews it. It's released. Or not. Until it's released it's pending.

(Of course how this works is configurable.)

By design, it's a perfect fit for RSS 0.91. So if you're building a network out of RSS, you win.

And get this, you can edit News Items in XML.

And you can edit them in Pike too.

Mike Donellan asks if the ability to control the appearance of News Items is "in the works". Mike, it was in the works last week. You can totally control the appearance of News Items, in the usual way, with a template. (The appearance is controllable on a site level.)

Full docs are here.

A site where any member can post News Items is here.

If your site is hosted on a UserLand server the News Items feature is already available. Just turn it on. If you're running a Frontier server, update, and you'll get the feature too.

Seth Bokelman got permission to use SlashDot icons on his Manila site (using News Items).

Apple pie Permanent link to this item in the archive.

So many email birthday greetings, so little time. BTW, I find email greetings from people I don't know to be cold and sterile, not friendly, so please don't send them, thanks. If you wish me a happy birthday, hold on to it, save it, someday I'll ask for a kindness, you can use it then.

Today I'm 45. It just seems like yesterday that I was 12. Life rushes by so fast. I'm finally the age that profiles.userland.com says I am, and the age I would be in The Year 2000.

One year older. With many regrets, but still excited about the future.

Today I'm going to find Patti Smith, let her sing my birthday song.

6/26/95: "As I've lived more, I now understand what singers are singing about."

Hot coffee Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Mary Jo Foley: "Why do Chairman Gates and CEO Ballmer insist on waving a red flag in front of a charging bull?"

Dan Gillmor: "My morning coffee almost sprayed out my nose Monday when I saw Microsoft's latest newspaper ad."

10/21/97: "I urge Microsoft to learn restraint."

USA Today: What if Microsoft hadn't been a bully?

Sauerkraut Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The Flounder takes issue with a decision we made to stop hosting a site that's made unfair accusations re UserLand's integrity. I responded on the Flounder site, and prefer further discussion take place there. And what a discussion we had! Very nice. The editor of the site took down the accusation, not much more to worry about.

Under the old management, the site definitely had some great stuff. 18803 reads. Schwinng!

Ken MacLeod on flamefests on the SOAP mail list. "The end result of this thread will be like a lot of others: nothing."

Wiener Schnitzel Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I'm going to two baseball games this week, tomorrow and Thursday. Let's go Mets!

Permanent link to archive for Monday, May 01, 2000. Monday, May 01, 2000

PC Week calls for Microsoft breakup Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A win-win solution: "The Internet has opened countless opportunities for computing and business. Microsoft in its current state is a looming roadblock to those opportunities. Taking the best Microsoft has to offer and letting each part run free will ensure a dynamic, innovative and competitive industry for generations. The time is now to embark on that course."

A gutsy position for PC Week. Very unusual times.

Is it SOAP yet? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Either SOAP 1.1 is stable, and any future versions are a ways out and backward compatible or it's going to remain a moving target. I don't know if SOAP is finished yet. That's the big question. What do you think?

Survey: Is SOAP Stable?

All over the map Permanent link to this item in the archive.

MacInTouch: FileMaker Security Holes.

Leonard Rosenthol says that Xerox has HTTP-based scanners. I must get one of these asap.

DJ Adams: RSS channels in Mozilla sidebar. I tried it out in Netscape 6 and sure enough, it works.

BTW Scripting News is available in RSS.

Gordon Eubanks: Value customers, not stocks.

Michael Sippey explains Pyra, the application behind Blogger.

NY Times: "A Dallas company has won a patent for a method of applying for a patent."

The War over Music on the Web Permanent link to this item in the archive.

News.Com: Metallica fingers 335,435 Napster users. "Many individuals using the software or rival products believed they were operating anonymously or that individual actions would go unnoticed among the massive quantity of files being traded at any given time."

News.Com: MP3.com loses legal battle to RIAA. "MP3.com copied and stored a database of close to 80,000 CDs on its own servers. Customers could tap into this database if they proved they had their own copy of the CD."

NY Times: "It seems counterintuitive, but an increase in free downloads coincided with an increase in paid sales," Goldberg said. "Particularly among the young audience, the people who are most wired, the evidence is that it's bonding a new generation to music."

News.Com: Chuck D throws weight behind Napster. "The rapper left his longtime record label after disputes regarding digital distribution and has since been a prominent advocate of artists' ability to release music online independently and retain control of their careers."

V2E? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

SJ Merc: "Users dial a toll-free number and pick from several categories of information, from stock quotes and weather reports to local restaurant and movie listings. Callers speak commands and listen to responses through the telephone, rather than read a Web site's text or look at its graphics."

I'd love to use a voice portal that worked the other way. Call an 800 number, leave a voicemail. It sends an email with a pointer to a Real Audio file, which you can listen to, while watching ads in the video portion of the window. A new kind of web hosting service, with a really easy to use content tool, a telephone. What do you think? (Call it V2E. Voice-to-ear.)

Unix culture Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Finally some self-deprecating humor about being a Unix user. Unix people have a rep among Mac and Windows users as being heavy-handed enforcers. Tough love-ers. Threatening people who say super-arrogant things.

I totally support a self-deprecation culture for Unix. Over the weekend I exchanged email with a Unix guy who chastised me for being "insular" and proposed to tell me how to speak to Unix people with proper humility. Well, I only pray to one God in relation to computers, and His name is Murphy. He's cross-platform, imHo.

Don Hopkins: The Unix-Haters Handbook.

Microsoft culture Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Washington Post: "The Microsoft corporate culture can be broken down into four key parts: a tremendous work ethic; Bill Gates is always right; an us-versus-them mentality; and Bill Gates is always right," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner Group Inc. "If you execute successfully on all of that, you get to retire in your thirties as a multimillionaire."

NY Times: "Microsoft's stock is now down by nearly 45 percent from the all time-high of nearly $120 it reached late last year, meaning that Microsoft has lost more market value than the combined worth of all of the 25 next-biggest Northwest-based companies, including Boeing and Amazon.com."

Gardening Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Picture: Where the Subhonkers used to be, now there is empty space. What to do? Gardening, of course.

A peek behind the scenes at Scripting News. Here's how I upload pictures, direct from Adobe ImageReady to the Web, using just the Save command in ImageReady. Also included, the full source for Frontier 6.1.1 users.

Hint: Brent is sneak-previewing a new Manila feature that will be highlighted on Scripting News tomorrow.

"Turned me off of Frontier" Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Joel Spolsky: "When UserLand (the company that graciously hosts this weblog) released the first Windows version of their flagship Frontier product, I downloaded it and started working through the tutorial. Unfortunately, Frontier crashed several times. I was literally following the instructions exactly as they were printed in the tutorial, and I just could not get more than 2 minutes into the program. I felt like nobody at UserLand had even done the minimum amount of testing, making sure that the tutorial works. The low perceived quality of the product turned me off of Frontier for an awfully long time."

Joel, we're doing better. Yesterday I installed a fresh copy of Frontier 6.1.1 on the machine formerly known as Nirvana. This was the first time I had ever installed an old release without cringing in horror at how awful the experience was. It went pretty smoothly. Could it be better? Yes it could.

Breakage and disconnects Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Morning breakage alert. We're seeing problems on one of the servers that moved to Exodus over the weekend. Logging on to UserLand.Com has been a problem. Eeeeks. Moving these servers was a bit of a Hail Mary. Aim for the gutters, hope you miss all the pins. Well, it seems we nicked one. Murphy was very kind. But maybe we haven't prayed with sufficient humility. Fixed.

New Mac scripting site. It seems to only cover AppleScript, which is just one of many scripting systems for the Mac. Hmmm. Python, Perl, tcl are all available for the Mac. Aren't they? I think Python was developed first on the Mac. Why is this disconnect still there??

Speaking of disconnects, I got an email from Conxion customer support. It begins "Dear valued customer". What values? Weird.


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