June was a great month, one of the best ever.
My team shipped a new release of Frontier and I didn't do any of the work. And it's a great release, a real milestone, made sweeter by the accomplishments of the people I am totally proud to work with.
A one of a kind corporate relationship blossomed, a project we started two years ago. It saw the light of day, and it's exciting, not just for the technology, also because of its humanity. My theory of the Internet, that the power of ideas matter more than the size of a company, is confirmed for me. Can courageous ideas come from a big company? Yes.
A friend died, a puzzling thing, for sure, but new friendships started and old friendships renewed. A baby was born today!
And the power of music came back into my life in a new big way. Thanks Napster! And thanks to all the cool musicians who left a trail through my past, that I can now navigate from my desktop. I know you didn't make enough money for all the teaching you do, the inspiration you provide, and I promise to do what I can to help right that.
Yes, June 2000 was a great month. And I'm going to begin July, starting tomorrow, by taking some time off.
Indigo Girls: "I call on the resting soul of Gal-i-le-o, king of night vision, king of insight."
Two dear friends, Amy Shelton and Dave Jacobs had a baby today, a healthy boy, Cassidy. I love Dave and Amy, the new boy is sure to be creative and smart and very well loved. Mazel tov!
John Perry Barlow: Cassidy.
Ah, child of countless trees. Ah, child of boundless seas. What you are, what you're meant to be. Speaks his name, though you were born to me,
What does Notes do? Luke Tymowski: "When you use the term Notes you refer to the client. When you use the term Domino you refer to the server."
Frontier: Moving from isp.root to 6.2.
Salon's Scott Rosenberg on Microsoft: "Every big technology company today trades in dreams and visions, but no other outfit has been able to come this close to offering an even partially credible plan for delivering on them."
I agree. The difference after last week's announcement is palpable. A week before the announcement we had a clear idea of how the Web can evolve to be a platform for new cool stuff like Napster, but Microsoft's support, stated and public, and on the cover of Fortune, created openings that could not be created any other way.
Here's why Microsoft's proposal is different from all the others. It really empowers developers, not just the captive ones, but everyone who has a scripting language that can do HTTP and XML. Especially developers who don't use Windows.
Now you might think they're doing this just because of the horrendous cloud over their head, but who cares why? It's not my problem to worry about the goodness of their hearts. The door is open now, Microsoft can swarm all over this vision, will other developers?
I was struck by Ellison's comments on Wednesday. He says they're doing the same thing Microsoft is. But where's their outreach to developers? What do they want us to do? Are they willing to let us lead them?
Microsoft: Digital Dashboard Demo.
In an internal memo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer names sixteen Distinguished Engineers.
Reuters: Napster legal brief due Monday.
Michael Rose found this screen shot of Tim Berners-Lee's first Web browser/editor.
New Manila Tweak: "Sometimes you have a story that shouldn't have a byline, even though you want bylines for the rest of the stories." Yes, that's true.
News.Com: Dell to give away NetObjects Fusion. "With the new offerings, DellHost hopes to build beyond the 2,000 customers from its initial growth spurt, said Tim Mattox, general manager of Dell Hosting Group."
Nice lookin Python site.
Hey we just got a post on the outages mail list. "Speedchoice, now Sprint Broadband Direct, really sucks and I wouldn't recommend anyone else getting it." Keep em comin!
Now that 6.2 is out and more people are using Frontier to host Manila sites, we're doing a series of HowTos that answer common questions Frontier-newbies ask.
The newest HowTo explains how to enable the SOAP server that's built into 6.2, with pointers to programming resources.
Another one answers many of the questions people ask about Frontier's built-in Web server.
Priceline has one of the most notorious business model patents. The WSJ article doesn't mention it.
PurpleDemon.Com is the teaser site for the new service.
(Does Microsoft have a patent on CGI scripts?)
Soup: The Death of Copyright.
Rael Dornfest has started a Manila site to work on a "modular" approach to extending RSS.
Publog is a German community Weblog, running in Manila.
A new look for the lunch Weblog.
FuckedCompany.Com continues to impress. "Rumor has it that the Manager and Director of BizDev at luxury e-tailer eLuxury, walked out last month. This week the second VP of BizDev, after 2 months, is making her exit. Thus leaving just the UCLA MBA intern unknowingly to run things. He starts next week."
After buying a Lyra portable MP3 player, my desktop computer no longer works. Of course. This makes total sense. (Sarcasm.)
I installed the cute little flash memory disk drive, and it put some software on my hard disk, presumably some of it runs when the system launches.
Now the file system Explorer runs at a snail's pace. It takes a minute to refresh a folder listing. It takes five seconds to select a file. It's true I spend most of my time on the Web, not on the local file system, but when I have to deal with a file, my life turns to shit.
It could also be Real Jukebox, a piece of software I totally don't trust, that installed some background daemon that's causing the problem.
One more complaint. I bought an extra $200 64MB flash card, thinking it could be made to work with the Lyra. So far no luck. The Lyra complains DOS ERROR 1 when I insert the cartridge. Of course this error is not explained in the user manual or on the website.
It's no fun being a user!
Reason #1: It works and doesn't install any flaky system software. Here's another reason..
NY Times: "Napster is the new Elvis of the Internet, the rebel that rocks the establishment because of its wild popularity among young people and its whiff of dangerousness." Yes!
But ultimately Elvis visited Nixon's White House and played in Las Vegas. How long before Napster is singing the tune of the music industry?
Hey there's a Napster weblog.
Dan Gillmor: Oracle's Sleaze and Opinion Laundering.
A juicy Ellisonism in this NY Times article. "We will ship them our garbage," he said. "We will ship our garbage to Redmond, and they can go through it. We believe in full disclosure."
Sotheby's is auctioning an original first printing of the US Declaration of Independence. At 7AM Pacific the top bid is $4 million.
It was sold for $8.4 million.
Elvis: Jailhouse Rock.
The warden threw a party in the county jail. The prison band was there and they began to wail. The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing. You should've heard those knocked out jailbirds sing.
It's a two-song Thursday!
Joni Mitchell: For Free.
Nobody stopped to hear him, though he played so sweet and high. They knew he had never been on their TV, so they passed his music by.
The new project we're working on is going forward full steam.
Now that 6.2 has shipped, I'm allocating more of UserLand's resources to this project.
At its core, we're defining an XMLization for outlines. That's the central thing to this project. There's also a public storage system, along the lines of the XML Store that Microsoft defined in its Dot-Net announcements. And an HTML browser for the outline structures (which can be linked, in very interesting ways), and an outliner browser and authoring tool.
Here's a very early outline that conforms to the existing spec, which is being rewritten practically on a daily basis. Rather than expose people to the gyrations, we're holding it back until we feel it's well-designed and won't need a rewrite before wide deployment.
I'm learning a lot doing this project. I'll write more later. But here's an interesting conclusion. If TBL had designed the Web around a writing tool it would have been Two-Way from the start. After six years of trying to come up with a writing tool that perfectly fits the HTML Web, now I realize that the only way to get there is to start with a writing tool and add networking to it. It makes perfect sense now, but of course it didn't even just a few weeks ago.
Postscript: I got an email reminding me that TBL's first Web browser was a writing tool. I'll have to think about this some more. There's something else going on here. Not sure exactly how to describe it yet.
Thinking project: DMOZ to
Shipping a new major release is always followed by bug fixes and limits extended or worked around.
Frontier 6.2 is no different.
O'Reilly's David Sims honors Gary Brickman, who passed away at 38.
(He called this exposing covert activities.)
Ellison calls for full disclosure. Hmmm.
Why didn't he disclose that he hired a detective to read their garbage?
"I just found about it yesterday."
Oh, OK. Got it. (Sarcasm.)
BirdBrain: "As my friend E. used to say, 'You have to manage your expectations.'"
They posted the C# docs in HTML.
News.Com: Online trading volume sinks.
"After surging 70 percent in the first quarter, the number of online transactions handled by online brokers is expected to decline by 33 percent in the second quarter."
I have a theory about this.
Everyone's playing with Napster now.
Download: Opera 4.0/Win.
Laszlo Dienes, a real outliner user, wants to know about generating HTML from his MORE outlines, and has lots of questions about WebArranger from CE Software, written by Scott Wiener (also developer of FullWrite and FullPaint, early Mac classics).
Oy I could see this coming a mile away.
I don't like namespaces. This is based on my own confusion when I see all those esoteric labels all over XML documents. I've been very clear about this all along. Well, anyway, a group of developers wants to bring namespaces into RSS. That's gotta be OK, even if I don't like it. I won't stand in their way. If it gains support from content developers then we have to work with it.
A fork? Possibly. It's neither threatening or cold. A difference of opinion on how we should go forward with RSS. What to do? I'm not going to say I like namespaces when I don't.
Anyway, read what Eric van der Vlist has to say, it's a good summary of the discussion, with links, but please understand it's just one point of view.
A new feature on UserLand-hosted Manila sites.
See the blue arrows on each top-level heading?
If you use Pike to edit your home page (or a compatible outliner), you can have them too.
There's a new rule,
Here's a screen shot of yesterday's Scripting News outline, as I was editing it.
Reuters: Yahoo to buy eGroups.
An email sent to eGroups moderators, early this morning.
eGroups does a great job, it plays a role in a lot of the work we do. Congratulations on cashing out (presumably) and here's hoping that the great performance continues.
There's more than one song for today.
In fact there's a playlist.
It's an outline, of course.
Wired: AOL's Digital Rights Dilemma. "AOL is about to become the world's largest content company. Along with its more than 22 million subscribers, merger partner Time Warner has well over 120 million combined subscribers for its magazines and cable services. Also on the consolidation train is Warner Music, a division of Time Warner, and EMI, a major music label."
Reuters: AOL Inks Security Deal with Intertrust. "The companies hope their deal is the next step toward selling digital music, video and text files over the Internet, while protecting copyright material from piracy."
NY Times on the InterTrust/AOL deal.
What are Frankentoons? "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn whether you've always depended on the kindness of strangers."
The music industry has the same problem the software industry had in the 80s. The presumption of guilt of their customers. Our battle was over the same issue, copy protection.
A story. I remember overhearing a water cooler conversation in my 80s company. The people were telling "stupid user" stories. At the next company meeting I told them that all our users are smart. They're smartest people on the planet, because of all the choices they could make, they chose to purchase our product. They pay our salaries. Without them we'd be jobless. If you don't like them and respect them you should work elsewhere.
I'd argue that any company or industry whose interest is aligned against the interest of their customers has no future.
MacWEEK: "Created by a group of Apple engineers, it searched all the active AirPort networks at the show (virtually everyone was on AirPort) and displayed any JPG images that were found. They didn't find any porn, but they did uncover a gigantic picture of a marijuana plant in addition to numerous photos of cats."
Buzz 2000. Top tech reporters tell PR people (and their mindless clients) where to shove it.
Come we have work to do in SF, 7/11.
Rael Dornfest posted a proposal to add modules to RSS using XML namespaces.
I not a big namespaces fan. I like new elements that have imperfect names and that are supported in content by leading content providers.
The Register: "Well, syntactically it's very Java like, and from a distance, the two are practically indistinguishable. Look closer and you get the definite impression that its authors know Java pretty well, but were annoyed by some of its idiosyncrasies."
Later in the piece Elliotte Rusty Harold is quoted: "If Microsoft wanted to really challenge Java, they should have gone with Python. I just don't believe it's possible for any major advances in language design to be made while restricting oneself to the mistakes Kernighan and Ritchie made 30 years ago."
Manila-Newbies: Multiple Languages.
Now that 6.2 has shipped, and we're fully upgraded on all our servers, every UserLand-hosted Manila site has a choice of language, French, German, Italian, Dutch or English.
As a temporary demo, I've switched discuss.userland.com over to Italian.
It's now a gruppo di discussione.
A common myth is that SOAP does not perform well enough. I've heard this from people who participated in some way in the development of the low-level protocols of the Internet, things like DNS and SMTP.
"It won't scale," they say. "Trust me little newbie, we know."
To which I say, it depends on what you use it for.
In the early 80s, I never would have done an object database for the Apple II, even though it was an excellent machine with a lot of advantages over the Unix machines I used to use.
Even if I had known how to write an object db, it never would have performed. By the end of the 80s, the machines had multiple megabytes of RAM, so some of the ideas I hadn't dared explore in the early 80s were possible. Today with much more RAM and huge hard disks, the bet on object db technology works even better.
Same with scripting. In the late 80s, a script that processed a stream of text could only be run once in a while. Today, script code runs faster than assembler code used to in the 80s. And CPUs are getting faster all the time. Which assumptions will we be able to loosen in the coming years? That's what I'm thinking about now, as is every other professional developer.
So the "It Won't Scale" argument only holds water if we apply the technology unwisely. Performance is always one of the biggest considerations in designing software. Yes, we design software for tomorrow's hardware, but if the software doesn't run well on today's hardware, it won't gain traction. And today hardware includes the hardware of the Internet.
PS: I wonder what the nay-sayers think of GIFs, JPEGs and MP3s. The Internet wasn't designed to carry them either.
PPS: Jump out of the plane door. Leave the parachute behind.
I am going to moderate a panel for the Bandwidth Conference, in SF, August 17-19.
My panel is entitled Hi Speed Fan. "The fan of the future - how will they discover, enjoy, participate in and purchase music? With the advent of new technologies, how the fan experience is changing and will continue to change."
A List Apart: Rated XHTML. "XHTML is HTML written according to the XML rules of well-formedness."
Today's song is Come Dancing by The Kinks. "Come dancing, that's how they did it when I was just a kid. And when they said come dancing my sister always did." What a sweet song.
Brent Schlender: Damn the Torpedos.
Thanks for the quote in part 4.
"I told Bill I thought it was the single most courageous thing he's ever done," says Dave Winer, founder and president of Userland, a small Silicon Valley software-tools company that is a key player in determining XML standards. Winer thinks the cooperation will discourage predatory behavior: "IBM and Microsoft and Sun will keep each other honest," he says.
One of the services Microsoft described on Thursday is the XML Store. This is a very important idea.
We're going to move here at Internet Speed. I've got a design, and a connection to our outliner, but that's just one of the tools and browsers that make sense here.
It'll be easy to connect up any desktop app that can create or display hierarchies in some way. And there is no special server. It's low-tech, you can use Notepad to build the structures.
I've never worked on a juicier project with so many uses. I know this is a tease. But I want you all to get a sense of how quickly the Two-Way-Web can come online now.
Frontier 6.2 Change Notes.
Milestones are on yesterday's Scripting News.
Here's the page with links to all the info about 6.2. This page will be updated as the week goes by as more docs come on line.
Tim Paustian is doing the Carbonization project for Frontier 6.2. He tells the story on the Weblog he's been using to organize the work. I'm glad too that this can now be in the open. Given the strong feelings on this in the Frontier user community, I felt it was best to promise nothing while the project was getting started.
The RIAA may be making a big incorrect assumption. Read the following piece and consider the quote.
Wired: "'While the Internet and MP3 technology provide budding artists without recording contracts with an inexpensive vehicle for communicating their work to the public, the predominant use of MP3 technology is the trafficking of pirated sound recordings,' said a statement in the written court documents filed by the RIAA."
As I understand it, they lost the case against the Diamond Rio because it could be used for lawful purposes. The same is true of the MP3 download sites. If a person who has already purchased the right to listen to the music wants to be able to access the songs over the Internet, what law did they break?
And if a person uses Napster to get a computer-playable version of a song they already own, are they doing something illegal? Surely some of these people are past or future customers. Do you think "trafficking of pirated sound recordings" is what their customers do? These guys are in trouble.
Did you ever see the movie Beetlejuice? I'm reminded of the scene when the football team comes into the director's office and says "Coach I don't think we survived the crash."
Motley Fool: "In a bold new venture, Yahoo has teamed up with Hewlett-Packard to help sell corporate portals that will mesh popular software applications with an information intensive home screen."
Microsoft: C# Introduction and Overview.
Feature request: Please convert the overview and language reference to HTML.
News.Com: Microsoft submits C# to ECMA.
David Rothgery, a VB developer: "I don't understand the point of C# at all."
Jabber is an open source chat application, and has a perfect opportunity to be the first widely deployed SOAP router. This would be very cool, because any SOAP-compatible desktop app could provide its own interface to chat functionality. And because it would easily be extensible, we could have higher-level applications running over the same wires.
Jeremie Miller, who I met at Netscape in April, is the benevolent dictator of JabberLand.
It's so cool that Jeremy is gushingly enthusiastic about connecting up. Thanks to Microsoft for opening this door!
They make fun of me for saying it's about love, but that's what it is. Once we want to work together, magic takes over.
Ian Thompson: "I got some email from my sister, who's in the middle of a three-week hospital stay, recovering from some fairly major surgery. I'd asked her if I needed to send any CDs, she said no, the patient computer in her area has Napster!"
Brian Kelly connects the UserLand.Com back-end to Perl in a simple and colorful application, using XML, of course.
I have to postpone the NY trip. Our ship is coming in, every hour I'm getting more emails from developers who are totally turned on by the Two-Way-Web idea after hearing the same idea coming from Redmond. The power of the bulliest of pulpits.
I must stay closer to the backbone with a good net connection. I'll be reporting on some of the developments in real-time, but I'd say SOAP has gained traction now and is starting to boom.
I've been trying to balance this against my desire to swim in the Atlantic and eat disgustingly greasy NY Jewish food. My thought is that I can go to NY in August, but right now the stuff I've wanted to happen is happening now, and it's here in the west, not in the east.
Seattle Times: Microsoft's Magic.
"Even if we're not successful, the world will be better off."
Reflect on that Ballmer quote, and savor it. A fundamental change. Over the years much of my criticism stemmed from their bringing a self-induced, mythological and trance-like struggle to survive to the clean friendly space of the Web.
I think Microsoft should take that quote and run it full page in the NY Times and the WSJ. It could replace "Where do you want to go today?" To me, this is a statement of leadership, a first in the history of Microsoft, and long overdue.
(And very close to the Ask Not statement, the tagline for Scripting News. Would Sun make a similar statement? IBM? AOL? Yahoo? RIAA? USPTO?)
Also thanks to Paul Andrews for the quotes. I really like working with him. I had a quote that was pulled from the final rev of this piece, it's worth repeating here.
For developers, the Internet is "a different universe" than Windows, noted Dave Winer, a leading Silicon Valley software developer who acknowledged "butting heads" with Apple over the years while finding Microsoft "generally a great partner."
It's true. For all the whining I do about Microsoft, they continue to listen and converse and challenge my assertions. There's the greatness in the company, and even if it sputters and is a creaky old thing, at its core Microsoft still is curious.
Today I had $400 burning in my pocket, so I bought a RCA Lyra portable MP3 player.
What a bitch to install. It hates Windows 2000. It's totally dependent on Real Jukebox which is the most awful piece of software ever written.
The design is so simple, you copy files onto a Compact Flash card, pop it out of the laptop, and pop it into the player. If only it were so simple to actually do.
Anyway, four hours later I'm listening to music, and the sound is fantastic.
Jakob Nielsen on Microsoft's announcements. "The strategy is to stall for time in the law suit and milk the OS as much as possible while preparing for the day of divestiture."
Jim Whitehead, chair of the IETF WebDAV group, sent an email saying that my statement of definition for SOAP was flawed because it didn't connect with XML. I agreed, and asked him to post his thoughts on the SOAP weblog.
It's totally open for discussion. Now is a good time to think about this. A 25-word or less statement that captures what SOAP is would help the idea propogate.
BTW, Jim's proposed definition is pure poetry. It's so cool that people can get mystical about this stuff. I like it that way.
Later, I posted a revised version. What do you think?
Tomorrow, unless Murphy objects, we will ship Frontier 6.2.
A bunch of firsts. This version will boot as EditThisPage-in-a-Box. A top level site where your users can create their own sites. Highly configurable, so you can force conformity in look-and-feel, or let your users run wild, or anywhere inbetween. For a very low price you can launch hundreds or thousands of internal or external websites with point and click simplicity.
All sites come with free syndication features, and XML-RPC interfaces so you can hook them into your legacy apps and databases. Static rendering is built-in and easily configurable, so it's conceivable that a single NT box could be used, in conjunction with a static server, to be the editing system for as many as 100,000 sites. The ISP opportunities are pretty obvious.
And Frontier 6.2 is Europe-friendly, even if your users don't speak English, or prefer to work in their native tongue (as long as it's French, German, Italian or Dutch).
(Reminder to self, let's get the Spanish localization done, then we'll be Latin America-friendly.)
Aside from bug fixes and the Linux version, 6.2 is the end of the Frontier 6 thread. The next major release, 7.0, will be Dot-Net-Ready, if that's a term, and ready to serve any and all SOAP-based distributed computing visions. (6.2 will include the latest SOAP for Frontier, but it's not wired into all the existing XML-RPC interfaces yet, it's too new.)
And with 6.2, we're going to launch our "Trial Window" program. You'll be able to download and install a fully functional copy of 6.2 onto your server and use it for 60 days at no charge. You'll get a serial number, nightly updates, and you'll be in the registration database. After 30 days you'll get an email reminder that there's 30 days remaining in your trial window, and at 60 days a notice telling you that sadly, it's time to uninstall the software, or pay for it.
We want lots of people to experience the new power and ease of use of the Two-Way-Web, and we know of no better way to do that than Frontier 6.2.
Many Mac users will be happy to know that we're working on a "carbonized" version of Frontier 6.2.
What does this mean? When the project is complete, Frontier will run as a native application on Mac OS X.
We didn't want to say anything about this until we were reasonably sure it could be done.
Of course the next question people will ask is when, and to that, I don't know.
Like all other projects we want it to be done now.
NY Times: "Conventional wisdom says the music industry is under siege, threatened by free music peddlers like Napster. But if things are so bad, why are record companies selling so many records?"
Reuters: Major Music Labels Sue MP3Board.
The music industry is run by idiots. Napster is a huge gift for them too. Instead of trying to shut it down (and shutting down their users) they should join us in looking for the new business model created by the Internet. I don't want to begrudge them their money, but get out of the way. They were dragging their asses, and the music is so damned compelling.
Today's song is in German!
What is http://www.wfactor.com/?
Wouldn't editthispage.netscape.com be cool?
I added a new person to the AskNot graphic. For five points, who's the newbie?
On Saturday evening we had a service for my friend Jeru who died on May 24. It was a beautiful evening, on Stinson Beach, just north of San Francisco. So many people came. We sang and talked and laughed, yes, there was sadness too. But also, a big space opened, and you can see the new growth happening already. It's a big user-friendly universe, Jeru helped me see that and what a precious gift that is. Thanks!
I was quoted in Red Herring saying "This is not going to be Web-like until you let in people you don't like."
News.Com: Microsoft brewing Java-like language.
A mysterious email from Fredrik Lundh indicates that Loudcloud is working on SOAP-for-Python.
NY Times: Napster Eyes New Business Models.
I've been doing a bunch of background processing on Napster and have some obvious ideas for extending their service. No claim of brilliance here.
Collborative filtering is key. They know a lot about my taste in music. They could help me mine the music archives. Maybe they could find something I haven't heard in 25 years? That would make me happy.
Another idea. Their database, even minus the locations of MP3s is pretty precious. They have a taxonomy of all the popular music that people alive in 2000 like to listen to and share. Before the RIAA shuts them down, which seems inevitable, please publish the taxonomy. I don't see how anyone could have any proprietary right to this information.
Since I started using Napster, I have been so much more open to music and the emotions that come with it. Running errands, I caught this song by Dan Fogelberg on a local station. Wow, it's just a story, set to music, makes the feelings rush up. I wish the music industry could get this, I saw an interview with the CEO of RIAA on TV yesterday. So heartless. All they see are dollar signs.
At Esther's this year, 3COM gave out free wireless LAN cards for laptop users. The room and the conference facility was wirelessly wired. It was only a three-day conference, so this must have cost a lot to build and tear down. But Microsoft's impressive conference facility on the Redmond campus is permanent and probably in use 200 days a year.
The feature request is to install wireless networking in that facility, and provide loaner cards to laptop users. Document the feature on the Web, so that people coming to a Microsoft conference know what they have to do in advance to have a Microsoft-ready laptop.
Then the next step is to provide visual displays on the screen from people in the audience. And this would give Microsoft people ideas for software created for people who think. Thinking as a group is something computers can help with. A lot more than Microsoft realizes, I think.
Using its bulliest of pulpits, Microsoft could show every conference attendee, probably some of the most influential people in the world, how computers and thinking go together.
Toronto Star: "Outspoken rockster/actress Courtney Love has launched one of the most intriguing and articulate arguments yet on the online music piracy battle."
News.Com: Amazon.com hits new 52-week low. "We believe that the combination of negative cash flow, poor working capital management, and high debt load in a hyper-competitive environment will put the company under extremely high risk."
2/28/00: "I own 100 shares of Amazon.Com, and I wonder if you can tell me what it is exactly that I own."
What is ShadowConventions.Com?
Greg Aharonian on British Telecom's linking patent: "This patent's strength is up there with wet spaghetti."
WSJ: Napster talks with record labels. "Any payments by Napster to record labels presumably would be higher, since users would be, in effect, buying the music at the same time they were downloading it." Hmmm. They should check their assumptions. Napster can easily be used to download music that the user has already paid for.
For twenty years I've been waiting for Microsoft to take an interest in developing tools for people who think. They've worked all around this area. Everywhere they look they see hierarchies. But they've never thought to organize the whole user interface around an outliner, which is nothing more than a hierarchy browser/editor.
Now they're going to say that they did that! Their file system browser is an outliner. The Registry Editor is an outliner. So are Excel and PowerPoint, as are their development tools.
But if we're starting anew, why not start simple. Let's create a sharable, browsable World Outline and let people link into it, anywhere they want. That's where you hook in your tools. And of course we'll use XML, which by the way, is an outline too. This is the Next Generation Web, imho.
An investment in core technology here would propogate to every corner of their product line with huge power.
And this is a place where we could use Microsoft's "bulliest of pulpits" to get the world's attention.
Of all the companies they mentioned yesterday (and Linux which is not a company), Microsoft is uniquely positioned to understand this idea.
On the SOAP weblog, Kishore Balakrishnan asks a fairly obvious question that has not yet been answered.
I think I can do it, in 28 words, not 25. (Note this is derived from the answer to the question on the XML-RPC website.)
"SOAP is a specification and a set of implementations that allow software running on disparate operating systems, running in different environments to make procedure calls over the Internet."
7/14/98: "Inside every computer, every time you click a key or the mouse, thousands of 'procedure calls' are spawned, analyzing, computing and then acting on your gestures."
Now, please go read Dan Gillmor's piece on Microsoft's press conference, but please come back here and read the rest of Scripting News. It relates to everything Dan writes about.
So much stuff on the home page yesterday, and there will be more today, for sure.
I got a call at around 10PM from Paul Andrews of the Seattle Times for a piece he's doing on Sunday. He pointed me to a piece he ran on Tuesday, quoting Lawrence Lessig and myself, about Microsoft and the courts. A very key idea, one that's been oft-repeated, but just as often not-heard at Microsoft. The issue is trust. Microsoft could probably get off with a behavior-based consent decree, with no "structural remedy" if the court trusted Microsoft management.
Andrews also gave air to my proposed remedy, but got the second half wrong. I wasn't saying that Microsoft should port the Office apps to Unix. That's their choice. What I was asking for was an Emancipation Proclamation for developers who code to the Win32 APIs. A not-subtle difference.
Also interesting in the Andrews piece, Lessig is moving to Stanford in July, which is just down the street. This is good, I totally enjoyed talking with him at Esther's and we're on the same side of almost every issue, esp the tough ones.
Yesterday I said: "The Microsoft people talk like Jeff Bezos, highly animated in a disturbing way. They talk in bursts. Loud exclamations. Hands wave. They explain how excited they are but the things they're excited about are buzzwords! I wish I remembered some of them. I wonder if this is the way they always are or if this is something they're doing just for the press people."
A source at Microsoft says: "The MS people speak like that because the speaking trainer tries to make them speak like Steve Ballmer. I know, because I went through the same training. After a few really sucky speeches, I went back to my own style." Thank you!
An ex-Microsofter says: "When you work outside of Redmond you get more in touch with your customers. Yes, the execs travel to visit customers. When you visit a user group or trade organization you hear what people are thinking. A customer visiting Redmond, or one with Bill Gates in their conference room will use much nicer language to describe a problem than one in a user group environment where he can express his true issues."
I think this is very true! It's so weird that I didn't feel comfortable asking or answering questions yesterday at the press conference, but at the same time, had no problem typing honestly into my outliner for the world to read on Scripting News. The Web does compress everything, there are new opportunities to communicate and understand. Quite a few people at Microsoft were reloading Scripting News while the press conference was going on. I found this out later when a bunch of MS people quoted me at the lunch following the press conference. That's compression!
David Brown finished his training on Vignette StoryServer, and has more comments on the differences between Zope and Frontier. Paul notes that Vignette's big selling point is caching and wonders how or when Frontier will get that feature.
Vignette is pretty safe with their caching stuff because of a patent. Is it non-obvious? Of course not. But not wanting to give them a way of shutting us down with lawyers, we have decided not to chase them here. We're winning where we want to win, and can do it with static rendering instead of caching, so leave them alone, I say.
Dilberts and PHBs love Vignette because it helps them feel like they "get" the Internet. I don't want those people as customers. High overhead. When and if they're ready they'll find out that powerful Web content management is not expensive or difficult or mysterious.
In the meantime, sensible and creative people are choosing our product. Those are the people we want.
I love Microsoft! If only for their persistence. They're so pessimistic! That's the striking thing. Until Ballmer came on stage, I don't think a single Microsoft person even cracked a smile.
Off-stage, they constantly profess a belief that they could disappear at any time. There's no reason to believe this is true. Big companies do not disappear, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how hard they try to self-destruct. Look at Apple and IBM. Bet the other way. I did that in 1983, based on the advice of a board member who said that big companies like Apple don't disappear overnight. So true. Back then Apple didn't even have a billion dollars in annual sales. But they lived to get it right. By 1986 Apple was booming, and a couple of years later they were back in loser mode. Seventeen years later, Apple is still here, and doing quite well.
I also love Microsoft for what they were, and possibly someday could be again. The curiosity that was the hallmark of Microsoft in the 80s appears to be gone. No one at MS has asked me to back up my claims that we're there now, that we have their vision delivered in a form that the journalists in the audience would have had orgasms over, yesterday, not in 2005. We've got the development environment, the browser-based interface, and the GUI writing tool that shows very clearly why the browser-based interface is the innovation of the last decade. The old Microsoft would never have let me make such a claim without demanding a demo.
They're lucky to have Steve Ballmer. I would recommend that Gates go on vacation. Take a massage class. Go deeper into what's bumming him out, and let it go. Find people in the company who think the outside world is friendly and fair, and give them the keys to run the show. There are a lot of smart, young and ambitious people at Microsoft, who want to add something great to the world.
PS: There's no way to recapture the dominance of the early 90s. So few of them have even heard of BOGU. I'm sure Ballmer remembers. Teach them Steve.
Here's a transcript of Steve Ballmer's remarks yesterday. If you search the document, you'll find my name, but you have to spell it the way they did. Search for Dave instead. They also mis-spelled Don Box's name. It happens. I bet they fix it quickly.
Lawrence Lee, the scribe of our Web, says it's fixed.
If we had the Music Web of the Future, today's song would be Uncle Albert by Paul McCartney.
"We're so sorry Uncle Albert. We're sorry if we caused you any pain. We're so sorry. Uncle Albert. But there's no one left at home and I believe I'm going to rain."
I love Jakob, but he picked the wrong page to point to.
The comments on this page are raw, directly entered while I was at the press conference in Redmond.
They're interesting perhaps, because they are in process.
A couple of days later, with my thoughts more composed, I wrote a whitepaper on this stuff.
This is where it is.
I heard that Microsoft tried to get Marc Andreessen to be on stage for an endorsement. He couldn't make it. Thank god. What were they thinking at Microsoft? How maudlin would that be.
On the bus to the airport I was interviewed by a reporter from Salon, Katharine Mieszkowski. We had a long time to talk, the traffic was awful on 520. She asked why I did all this work to get SOAP going. I had a moment to reflect. I remembered back to early 1998, when I was saying that I had done everything I wanted to do except create a standard. She asked what will you do now? I guess I accomplished what I set out to do. Cause for a pause. Pretty cool.
The other day I wrote about scriptability of vector graphics programs for the Mac. I remembered Canvas, who did a lip-service job of supporting Apple's protocols in the early 90s. The CEO of Deneba, the developer of Canvas, got to speak at the WWDC rollout of System 7, even though I had a great meaningful demo of System 7, I sat in the audience. Even Gates got to speak, and I thought he did a better job of explaining why System 7 is cool than anyone from Apple. Deja vu. Today, I could have explained better than Gates why SOAP is so important. And my demo would have turned on the lights for everyone in the room. We're not talking about vaporware, our stuff really works. I'm using it right now to write this piece. Any writer would understand it in an instant. Key point: there were 250 influential writers in the room today. Missed opportunity.
Why didn't Microsoft let me explain it? Why did they want Andreessen on stage and not me? I can only guess. When you want to take leadership of developers, you don't want the developers leading the developers. I forgave Apple, and therefore forgive Microsoft, if this is what's happening. I told Yusuf Mehdi that I will keep coming to visit, they're much more disciplined at Microsoft, and they listen. We've gotten through. SOAP is real now. There's still more work to do.
In the Q&A a reporter asked what about Netscape and the Mac? Well, this isn't really about browsers, a point which Microsoft didn't make very clearly. I wanted to answer the question for Gates. Don't worry about the Mac, Frontier works on the Mac, and it supports SOAP. So the Mac is a first-class SOAP client and server. Right up there with Java and Windows. There's the power of partnerships.
Gates mentioned Napster and Gnutella many times as proof of net applications that aren't HTML based. I like that. Good job Bill. Lurking in the back of my mind is the idea that we could do a SOAP interface for Napster, and spread out support for the protocol it defines. Any good technologist will tell you that the architecture of Napster and its brethren have applications far beyond routing around corruption in the music business (although that's an excellent application).
Net-net, I am very glad I went. My mid-morning essay was the result of being bored and humiliated watching demos of me too stuff. I felt like I was watching an advertisement for something completely irrelevant. The MSN website creation stuff is far behind the leading edge. And it has nothing to do with what we're doing in SOAP-land, or if it does, the explanation was totally inadequate.
Ballmer left Apple out of the list of competitors. Had they included Apple it would have raised doubts about the uniqueness of their ability to do new user interfaces. I'd argue that today's Apple has limited resources in this area. Regardless, there's more UI smarts outside of Microsoft than inside. But can all the smart independent designers work together to advance the art in Web apps before Microsoft gets there? I don't know.
I took a load of pictures today.
Press conference started at 8:30AM. Gates is speaking. It's a great digital world, media, business, knowledge workers. Bifurcated. Powerpoint presentations spreadsheets, paperwork, meetings that are purely analog. Can't copy and paste from a meeting, says Bill G.
Beyond browsing -- personalized, multiple sites, any device. Reading, writing, annotating. Natural interface, no barriers between users, devices. XML is the base protocol for the new era of software.
It's called .NET, pronounced "dot-net".
"As big a transition as from DOS to Windows."
Storage is out in the cloud. The cloud understands, it's richer, it indexes things, it's based on database technology, it's the XML store. Think about the Windows clipboard. And OLE, that's when Windows really started to become object oriented. You no longer leave the browser, that's the Universal Canvas.
.NET building blocks, Identity, notification, messaging, personalization, XML storage, calendar, directory and search, software delivery. These are their toolkits.
How many search commands do you have in your PC?
Now we're getting a demo of the "natural interface elements." Smart tags. Your emailer recognized company and people names. Click on a smart link and get a popup menu that gets you to their website and other places.
The Universal Canvas is full screen and looks nothing like Windows. It has a natural langage command line where the URL box is. Voice is part of it.
"You could say this is a bet the company strategy."
I took some notes during the break.
After the break, we're getting demos of really stupid ordinary bullshit. I just said out loud to the people around me "This is infuriating!" Why did we travel all this way to get a demo of MSN's me-tools?
Luckily I can check my email. Tim O'Reilly sent me a pointer to this Jon Katz piece on Open Journalism. I want to be sure to read this when I get back to California.
I wish I had a nickel for every time they used the word "rich".
Paul Maritz gave a great speech about the role of SOAP in all that they're talking about. Much appreciated.
Steve Ballmer is a fantastic speaker! "What is .NET? A programming infrastructre that supports the next generation of the Internet as as platform. It is also, a user environment a set of fundamental user servers that live in the client or on the cloud. It runs on servers behind firewalls and on the public Internet, and a set of services that Microsoft will operate and developers can use."
I want to know why Microsoft is so Microsoft-centered. The revolution really hasn't occurred to them, imho. How about Microsoft using other people's services? Why should we sign on to Microsoft's vision? Hmmm. Hey it wasn't really Microsoft's vision, it was *our* vision. I think they've not really figured it out.
Steve says he must work with partners, some advice --> drop the "third party" term. It's arrogant. It's a bug.
BTW, people from MS are reading this real-time and sending me comments via email. Keep them coming.
Microsoft is trying to make the calendar go back to 1992. It won't work. I'm trying to decide if it's appropriate to say this during the Q&A period. Geez they want to go back to Design Previews. What about W3C? Wow I got a plug from Ballmer. He thanked me and Don Box for working with them on SOAP. Wow. Geez.
OK, there's nothing wrong with design previews, I totally enjoyed the process, except MS will be disappointed to find out it's not the early 90s and the world doesn't revolve around them at this time. Emphatically.
Microsoft's core priorities: PC excitement, e-server business, MSN, migrating to the .NET platform.
My net connection is flaky, and this is a work in progress. Don't consider these comments as anything more than off the top of my head as the day proceeds.
Who's the competition -- Sun, IBM, Oracle, Linux, AOL?
Ballmer finished, now Q&A.
They feel impermeable to competition in .NET as a platform. They think the companies (and Linux) don't get it, or aren't in the right business; but they chose to slice things up that way. They argue that their installed base of developers is a huge advantage. This is sure to provoke a competitive response from some or all of the names they listed as competition.
With that I'm signing off. I've got a 4PM flight back home. See you this evening, Murphy-willing. And thanks to Microsoft for a stimulating event. Lots to think about, and more questions to ask.
Texas executes Gary Graham despite his pleas of innocence.
A majority of Texans believe innocent people have been executed.
Fredrik Lundh: SOAP for Python. "This version is somewhat experimental, and has a couple of known shortcomings that we plan to fix asap. It has been tested against Userland's SOAP implementation, and it's likely that it will work with IBM's Java library."
Very nice! Fredrik put XML-RPC on the map, being the first to support it after UserLand in 1998. Continuing the long tradition of partnership between Frontier and Python.
On XML.COM, Simon St. Laurent has written an article on the disruptive nature of XML, esp in combination with HTTP, as in XML-RPC and SOAP.
I wish I had more time to write, but I agree, it is disruptive, even more than he gives it credit for. And disruption is good, esp when things are stagnating and going nowhere.
The following is conjecture based on hearsay and tea-leave-reading. I have not been briefed on Microsoft's overall vision, but I will attend the press conference tomorrow and will hear the official story then.
Tomorrow, in Redmond, they will announce their next-generation Internet strategy, formerly called NGWS, which has XML and SOAP at its core. (And of course respects the legacy, COM, ODBC, WebDAV.)
Imagine a word processor integrated into the Web browser (MSIE of course) and a toolbar that makes it easy to switch to your presentation program, spreadsheet, schedule, contact list, mail app, draw program, etc. All with a consistent user interface, and deep integration with Web services, that the client talks to through SOAP.
And while the code for these apps resides on your local hard disk, they are updated automatically, presumably with user confirmation. You pay Microsoft for this software, but it's a subscription fee, not a traditional software license. (Just like Frontier!)
Some of your stuff is publicly readable, some is not. All your information is stored on the server. So when you go on a trip, with a cellphone or a laptop, or are at a offsite, or a sales call, you can tap into the data, view it, edit it. It's like Yahoo with higher-level software running on the client. (This is what Gates talked about at Davos in January, the PC is not irrelevant, he said, it's essential.)
Their strategy is a compromise with the Network Computing vision that was the anti-Microsoft rage a few years ago, and will lock into Windows, but do it through documented interfaces, expressed in SOAP. So Microsoft will claim that it is open, and this will be fair, assuming that other developers support the idea not just with words but with software.
The software we will see tomorrow is demo-ware. The project started in a rush, early this year, when Gates stepped out of the CEO slot and become Microsoft's chief software architect. What we see tomorrow is pure Gates, circa 2000. And it's a new job for him, Microsoft has never had an overarching vision before, and perhaps they still don't.
Of course lurking in the background is the possibility that Microsoft has filed patent applications on these ideas, which are somewhat unique (perhaps, esp in the areas where functionality is integrated with MSIE). The jury won't be out on that for a few years, because patent applications are confidential until they are issued by the USPTO. It would be helpful if Microsoft addressed this issue tomorrow, without waiting for a question from the audience.
Or they might call it Wee Win, to say that it's much smaller than the current Windows/Office combo.
Or Wheeee Win, which is the feeling of jumping out of the plane with no parachute while using Windows.
Survey: If you work at Microsoft and know what the "We Win" strategy actually is, how close did I come to describing it?
(This survey is on the honor system, please.)
News.Com: "In-Flight Network today said it will join satellite telecommunications provider Globalstar Telecommunications and digital wireless technology developer Qualcomm to offer Internet and email service on airline flights." Yahoo!
Ira Cary Blanco reports "Adobe Illustrator 9 appears to be fully scriptable."
This is very cool, and as far as I know is the first Mac vector graphics program that's fully scriptable. (Canvas was an early adopter of Mac scripting, but their support was for PR purposes, and was functionally useless.)
BTW, see the section below and Lessig's rebuttal to Warnock on patent and copyright protection. Believe it or not, Adobe's burying of the scripting plug-in for Illustrator is probably related to these issues. They have in the past killed scriptability projects for their software, fearing it would hurt sales if people could automate their mainstay app, PhotoShop. Organizations would buy one copy of PhotoShop, they feared, put it on a server, and batch-process their graphics off-line.
Now of course we're pleased and impressed that Adobe has decided to open Illustrator for automation, but not happy that they're burying the feature, and wonder where the automation features are for PhotoShop.
Mirror Worlds, 1/24/00: "Mirror Worlds announced today that it has been awarded patent number 6,006,227 from the USPTO for its innovative Lifestreams technology, which is emerging as both an office workgroup product and as an embedded feature in a new generation of Internet devices."
Mirror Worlds is the company of Yale professor David Gelertner, whose non-unique visions have been filling weblog-space for the last few days.
And Napster isn't patent-free. At the end of the interview yesterday I asked Kessler if they had filed any patents, and he said they had filed one, for a dynamic search engine that's seeded in real time, and was considering filing one for the method they used to give the universities what they wanted.
Kessler said he would never work for a company that used patents offensively, but this is little reassurance, since Kessler could quit or be fired.
Fortune: The hot idea of the year.
Lawrence Lessig: The limits of copyright.
The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles.
Jim Hebert: "For Napster to have a business model that anyone can comprehend they need to be at the center of it in some way -- the distributed backend which would be resistant to music industry attack has been designed, twice now, and the problem is Napster would write itself right out of the picture if it adopted it. That's their bug."
I took this idea on a walk with me, and came to a different conclusion, after having met with the Napster people and crawled around the conundrum from their pov. If I were in their shoes, I'd want to see thousands of developers implement Napster-compatible servers and clients. Give the RIAA a much bigger target to shoot at. They'll have to sue every developer, and at some point, they'll realize how hopeless it is (every lawsuit will generate more bad PR for them, and who knows what other musicians are waiting in the wings to pull a Courtney).
And it's not just hopeless for economic reasons, let's say Joe Developer who has a tin ear, or even better, is deaf, implements a Napster clone. What law did he break? What's unfair about what he did? I don't get it. Everything people do with Napster could be done with off the shelf authorless software, like HTTP or FTP. All Napster did was make it a little more convenient.
Poor Napster (sarcasm) they end up with the biggest brand-name in online music, and the gratitude of music fans everywhere for breaking the logjam. If there are any products to be sold here, the Napster brand will work well with them.
I think I could write a fair settlement now, but I don't think the music industry would buy it, but a year from now they will. It goes like this.
All money goes directly to the artists. They can in turn hire music distributors, in a competitive environment, and reverse the royalty system. The artists have a bigger cash pot to play with, and can redefine how music production works, and how it relates to live performances and merchandising.
The creative people would own the medium, as Courtney says they should, and I of course agree. We'll get art instead of flatness. We'll get a chance to evolve through one of our most creative artforms, and one that the Internet is ready to serve now. And we'll get a template for revolutionizing other artforms.
Further we will have linked up software to music, and made music really easy to use. Where will that take us? Somewhere very cooool.
I got an anonymous email warning me about modifying a qbullet for use here on Scripting News (the left-pointing blue arrow on each top level item).
I don't like anonymous email, why does someone need to hide their identity for raising an interesting question? Seems silly.
Anyway, I sent an email to the creator of qbullets asking if it's OK to use this graphic.
Edd Dumbill: Are Weblogs getting dull?
Answer: Only if you read dull Weblogs, Edd.
Andre Radke: Introducing SOAP for Frontier.
Whew! It's there. Now you can use Frontier to send and receive SOAP messages, exactly as you would with XML-RPC. This is the secret way to add new protocols. Make the differences invisible to the developer. A simple change, betty becomes soap. Easy easy easy.
History is made today! The first public demo of interoperable SOAP 1.1 implementations. Andre posted a notice of our test app, and Fredrik Lundh was able to call it from the Python SOAP library. Excellent!
Doc Searls: "Parenting doesn't get better than this."
I had a 2-hour meeting in San Mateo this afternoon with Napster founder Shawn Fanning and VP-Engineering Eddie Kessler.
10 million people use Napster each day. Their office is connected to the Internet via DSL. Shawn moved from Boston to California in September 1999. There's no silver bullet, they're still figuring out what their business is. They host at AboveNet.
Shawn Fanning is the 19-year-old founder of the company and develops the Napster client.
Eddie Kessler is Napster's VP-Engineering.
Napster's employee picture board.
Napster's server engineering room, with a server engineer who's name I didn't catch.
Financial Times: BT Owns Key Web Patent. "Patents were sought in 1976 and have already expired in countries out-side the US. But the US patent was not granted until 1986, and still has six years to run."
Lance Knobel: "It would seem unthinkable, given the centrality of hyperlinks to the Web, that BT could have any recourse on this so-called invention."
News.Com: Big-name companies lobby against patent proposal. "Companies say they need the USPTO to use all the money from patent fees to clear up an applications backlog that can leave companies waiting nearly two years for patent approvals."
Au contraire. Let's cut the USPTO budget by 100 percent and rescind all patents issued in the last ten years. Just like the music companies, they're screwing the artists and the fans. When will the rest of us get a clue. It's an election year in the US. One more time.
I gotta tip my hat, this is an excellent site. Look at all the songs. And it looks like Bob doesn't mind if you listen to his music. All the lyrics are there. My RealAudio isn't working so I can't tell if the songs are complete. Are they? If so, this is an exemplary site. All that's missing is the tip jar.
Brent Simmons: "I remember sitting alone in my room at night, listening to Dylan through the headphones, thinking -- everything sucks, the system sucks, adults suck, school sucks, but Dylan understands."
Rick Winfield says Dylan ain't so hip.
Want to know how music makes money? Here it is.
Do I mind paying more so college students can listen to music for free? Of course not! I want the kids to be happy.
If you're in NYC on July 5, mark your calendar, because that's when we're going to have the grand Scripting News in Gotham dinner and mini gustatory tour. Location TBD. 8PM eastern. It will not be webcast. I will bring my camera. We will eat Jewish food and drink egg cremes and belch loudly. We will discuss east coast things whatever they may be.
Survey: Will you be there?
Hey this worked in the past. I have five days free in NY and a rental car July 1 through 5. I want to go body surfing. I hate crowds. Am I fucked? Or better, how fucked am I? (I'm already starting to talk like a NYer, again.)
Update, from Joel Spolsky: "Come on out to my beach house in East Hampton. The beaches here are better than any in California, body surfing is great, and it's easy to find a beach without a soul around, even on July 4th." I'll be there!
DaveNet: Where do I send the money?
I just got an email saying that I could have dinner with George W. Bush tonight for $25K. I decided to pass. I'm saving my money for a dinner with musical artists.
Then I listened to Sisters, by Annie Lenox and Aretha Franklin. The last line of the song: "Thank you, I'll get it myself." That summarizes what I have to say to the music industry.
Today's Scripting News is sung to the tune of Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan.
It's available in Real Audio on Bob Dylan's site. I'd like to put the MP3 on my server. Debating. With myself.
Johnny's in the basement mixing up some medicine.
British Telecom: "We patented the principle of the hyperlink in the mid-70s when people were still wearing kipper ties and flares."
The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles.
I was feeling guilty, a twinge of it, a little bit of blues, about listening to all this great music. Then I realized something. I had paid for all of it. I haven't downloaded anything that I didn't purchase at one time or another.
I'm listening to Bob Dylan now, a song I remember listening to in the basement of my parents' house when I was 15. Hey I love this shit. Did I buy the record? You bet I did.
I hate the record companies. What a bunch of jerks. Most of the music I have on CD I bought twice. Once on vinyl. Once on CD. Oh yeah, remember cassettes? I bought those too.
Don't follow leaders, watch your parking meters.
I just got an email from the VP-Engineering at Napster. He invited me over. I'm going! (Tomorrow afternoon.)
Question: "Would you like to listen to a rambling tirade that condemns this decision and includes words like 'traitors,' 'sellouts,' 'whores' and a great deal of profanity?"
Answer: "No. Please keep it to yourself. If your mind is made up to hate this decision and by extension the people who made it, there is little we can do to make you feel better."
Question: "You know many Swedes?"
Answer: "I know plenty, I happen to be a Swede myself."
David Brown compares Frontier to Vignette StoryServer.
Scott Hanson posted a specification of the protocol used by the Napster client. Juicy!
O'Reilly adds a feature to Meerkat called Mobs. I signed up, but I'm not sure what they're for. Can other people read my Mobs? Are they accessible through their API? Hmmm.
Synchronicity! As I was posting this link to Meerkat I got an email forwarded from an O'Reilly support person saying they did not plan to update their Frontier book. Ouch.
Twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift.
News.Com: Farallon sells for $14 million. One of the original Mac companies, they revolutionized networking with PhoneNet, which allowed you to network Macs over ordinary telephone wire.
Steve Wozniak: "I felt as you do upon reading Courtney's impassioned documentation of how the industry works."
You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.
Survey: My east coast trip spans the July 4 holiday weekend, a very long one. I want to do a Scripting News dinner in NY. Two choices, June 30 or July 5. Which would you prefer?
BTW, I'm thinking of doing one in Boston on July 6. If so, the June 30 date in NY works better for me.
My friend Alex Cohen, who I wrote about on Saturday, sent me an email thanking me for doing so. He's so cool. There are lots of people who don't like being written about, even in glowing terms. Alex is a Web guy, he has nothing to hide.
Apparently his Fanco vision has been bought into by his new employers, Pop.Com, a partnership of Dreamworks and Imagine, funded by Paul Allen. They bought countingdown.com, a phenomenal site built around a model quite similar to the one described by Courtney Love.
Alex read the Love speech and was excited. This is what I like about Alex, he gets excited over big ideas and doesn't look for reasons not to do them, as so many people in Silicon Valley do. I of course share the enthusiasm.
Yesterday I asked Alex if his backers are the good guys, or are they the people who are being routed around by Napster? They're the biggest names in Hollywood. Read their launch press release. Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, Paul Allen.
I think we're looking at the biggest hole yet in the Internet business. Yes, I'm glad we're involved in the business Web (see notes below) but this is big-time ConsumerLand.
If everything goes as planned, tomorrow we will release the third implementation of SOAP 1.1, after IBM and Microsoft.
Frontier's SOAP should interoperate with IBM's, however we don't believe it will interoperate with Microsoft's, at least not in the first rev. (IBM shipped first, we used their implementation to guide ours.)
We also have support for
We will provide a SOAP 1.1 validator Web app, as we have for XML-RPC, and encourage others to test against this app.
NY Times: Critic sees flaws in Microsoft Strategy.
This piece reviews David Gelertner's vision of the future, where gravity brings data back to desktops, a trend that UserLand has bet heavy on. According to Gelertner, Microsoft has not, instead moving data to servers.
A great quote. "They have the bulliest pulpit in the world," Mr. Gelernter said of Microsoft, "but what have they done with it?"
Microsoft rebuts. Yes, the desktop is important, but it'll take a while before that unwinds. Microsoft makes products for the mass of users, now the leading edge is exploring new ways to use the power of desktops in conjunction with the network. Imho, that's as it should be.
Give Microsoft credit. Leading the way is unusual for them. Hey, it's unusual for any gorilla. I saw why as we did the SOAP project with them. Microsoft, inside, is a whole industry, a few standards bodies, lots of differing opinions, most of whom are sure that they're right. People who think Microsoft is brutal in their interface to the rest of the industry might be shocked to see how they deal with each other.
Out of all that came a spec that can be implemented, and the docs don't fill a bookshelf. It's not as simple as the spec that came out of our four-person collaboration on XML-RPC, and it's got some vagueness, that we're working out now, as we implement the spec. It'll all come out well. No lock-in, a competitive environment, I hope.
On Thursday I'll be at Microsoft covering the rollout of NGWS, which is getting a new name.
Survey: Will you be there?
A week from tomorrow I will at the Rising Tide Summit in Tarrytown, NY.
Survey: Will you be there?
Steve Albini explains how the music business works.
Google search for Steve Albini.
Cat Stevens: Father and Son. "I know I have to go."
Wow, I just did a Napster search for a song I have been looking for in record stores, online and real-world, for years. I was willing to pay $20 for the song, but the music industry couldn't get it to me.
The song is Them Changes by Buddy Miles. Listening to it right now. For the third time. Just try not to dance while this one is playing. Woooohheeeeee! She had me running. She had me hiding. She had me running. Hiding. Running. Hiding. Running Hiding. What I said. It's all right.
Napster and Pike don't work well together. When Napster is running I can't edit in Pike. I'll get to the bottom of this. I bet they're running on port 81.
BTW, Napster could be a lot smaller. The searches could be done from a Web site. All it really needs to have on the local machine is a daemon with a prefs panel, which if you were clever, could just be a Web page. With a Back button that works as you expect it to. The UI of Napster is pretty overblown for what it does. And when the music industry evaporates like the Wicked Witch of the East, they could host the songs on Exodus or AboveNet. There should be an Akamai in there somewhere.
At UserLand it's not uncommon for wives and girlfriends to have weblogs. Brent's wife, Sheila, has become a friend of mine, I like her intelligence, her rage, and her eyebrows, and I guess I just like Sheila. Well, today's her birthday, so happy birthday Sheila.
Andre's girlfriend Andrea also has a weblog, and I point to it, usually with some humor about wiener schnitzel or whatever, I've only met Andrea once in Amsterdam, but she's a sweetie too, and guess what, today's her birthday!
Now we don't ask this particular question when interviewing people, so it caught us all by surprise. Two birthdays on the same day. Well, that's synchronicity, isn't it?
In Dan Gillmor's column yesterday he asks us to think about two important words, earn and worth. "Worth is not about money, not in my book. It's about other qualities -- values, if you will -- that matter far more. Yet we invariably say so-and-so is worth $100 million, as if that had anything to do with this person's integrity or other characteristics."
I agree. I can tell you what a big problem it is, for people of our generation (Dan and I are approximately the same age). We were raised to believe that our worth was directly related to money. This probably has something to do with our parents' generation's experience in the Great Depression and World War II, and the economic boom that followed.
Anyway, the big surprise to me, after making a large amount of money, which I worked for, and do feel that I earned, was that it did not increase other people's perception of my worth, nor my own. It took a few years of struggling with this to wake up to something. I had been putting off enjoying my life in a quest to attain a sense of worth, through money. So my advice to those who are sacrificing to attain financial wealth, find something else to illustrate the value in your life, if you feel you need to do that; the money is a detour, it won't get you what you want, imho.
On the other hand, there may be nothing you can do to create value in your life. This may sound depressing, but wait, just by being alive you have created a lot of value. Think about the miracle of the human body and the human mind. Think about the ages and the universe, and your relationship to these vastly incomprehensible things. You belong, like a leaf on a tree, to a great civilization, that has been working for many many milennia, just to create you. And like a link in a chain, you exist to create what comes next. Every one of us is necessary. Without you the universe wouldn't be the same. Now what do a few numbers on a disk in a bank mean in comparison to all that is you?
5/6/98: "When you make it, people don't want to hear what you have to say any more than they did before you made it. In fact, I think they want to hear you even less. Listening isn't based on how much money you have. Write that down and remember it. If you're waiting to be heard and think that having money will make a difference, trust me, it won't."
David Strom: Shining Light Into the Realtime Blackhole List.
Today there's a new feature on Scripting News, that takes advantage of the outliner I'm using to write with these days.
Each top-level item now has its own URL. The blue arrow points to that URL. So if you want to point to part of a given day's Scripting News, click on the arrow, copy the URL and paste it into your Web page or email.
Reuters: 100,000 Condoms for Olympic Athletes. "They would come in a range of colors, including gold, silver and bronze."
I've been recommending the Courtney Love speech to everyone I talk to. It's the anthem of the Internet, as far as I'm concerned. She may not understand the ones and zeroes but she understands the routing-around concept. Distribution is cheap now. Key point. Can she deal with piracy? The music companies are pirates, she says.
On reflection, it's the same story that Todd Rundgren tells, as often is the case Todd got there first. A couple of years ago he was telling anyone who would listen that he was leaving his record company, going straight to his fans through the Web. He was going to ask for the fans' support. What wasn't clear to me at the time was how little of the fan's money finds its way to the artists. I thought, probably as many did, that Todd's popularity was waning, and that his music wasn't profitable. I didn't consider the possibility that there was more to the story, I must remember to probe deeper in the future, and challenge my own assumptions.
Rundgren has always been on the leading edge. I remember reading a story about him in the early 80s talking about combining music and video, and thinking what a weird idea. Then a few years later a boom, music videos, MTV. (Adam Curry has an EditThisPage.Com site, I keep wondering what role that site is going to play in all this.)
I sent a pointer to the Love speech to Alex Cohen, a name you'll probably hear quite a bit here, in the future. Alex is working with Hollywood bigshots, Geffen, Spielberg, Katzenberg and Paul Allen. Alex's passion, he calls it Fanco, is what Love and Rundgren are talking about, from the flipside. Organize a Web service for artists (of all disciplines) and the fans. Let them run the Web. If they want to include stock quotes, that's fine, or if they want to share pictures and MP3 clips of the artists, that fine too. We'll provide the server space and the content management software. An integrated commerce back-end, so if you want to pay, that's really easy. Alex ran the servers at Netscape, and before that at Magellan, but he's also a movie professor at UC-Berkeley. A brilliant guy, he's made a few bucks, but he's doing his own art, and it's remarkably close to and compatible with mine.
I don't know if the Hollywood money icons are more visionary or creative than the ones in Silicon Valley. I know that Alex is. We've become friends, and I trust him. I want the same thing the musicians do. I want it simple. A connection to fans, a way to share what I create, and have it turn into a channel for their creativity, and I want to see it and hear it. I'm not impressed so far with the money people, they don't seem to have the same objectives.
I spent four hours yesterday talking with Karlin Lillington, who among her many credits is a reporter for the Irish Times. We talked all about the Courtney Love speech, even though she hadn't read it yet. We agreed about the American journalists and the softball questions they ask of the technology industry.
Karlin doesn't pull any punches, this is the way all journalists should work, imho. No easy questions. But in the US, you don't get very far in high tech journalism if you don't play the game. There are a few exceptions. Once in a while you get a burst of creativity, often followed by retribution.
Irish Times: Loss-making Amazon turns to bullying.
A reporter attends the press conference of a high tech industry luminary. The luminary lies. The reporter stands up and asks "Isn't that a lie?" The luminary denies it.
The reporter isn't invited to the next press conference, his or her calls aren't returned.
Moral of the story, to be competitive, to get the sound-bites, carry the party-line, without comment and no tough questions.
It's different in Europe, I hear. That's why the future of the Web may be in Europe and not in the US. I want the Web to cover stories from all angles, not just the company party-line. Lately this idea has been attracting a fair number of journalists. Is there something in the air? I don't know, I hope so.
Like Rundgren and Love, I have to create my own medium around these principles. I don't get invited to many press conferences. I self-censor sometimes, saving the insights for my written work and leaving others to ask the tough questions at the press conference (which never happens). In the US there's little or no support among the working press for controversy, which leads to the three-story phenomenon, Apple is dead, Microsoft is evil and Java is the future, leaving all interesting questions unasked.
The Web, I hope, is about breaking all those rules, in all arts and professions, including money. Let's learn to respect, even seek out, the tough questions. It will make us smarter, and that's a good thing, imho.
Talking with Karlin, I told her that I had resolved a longstanding conflict. Am I a vendor or a journalist? This had been troubling me ever since I started writing publicly on a regular basis in 1994. I'd flip-flop. Some years I'd say I'm a journalist (esp when I was writing at Wired) and some years I'd disclaim it. Now I don't. I am a journalist. And I am a vendor. Now some, at the NY Times, for example, would say this is impossible, but not only is it possible, but it's the way of the future.
First, there's no prohibition in the US legal system on being both a vendor and a journalist. My free speech is no less protected than the speech of John Markoff or Steven Levy.
But what about integrity? I don't see the problem. I run my software business with integrity. I also write with integrity. I say what I think. I don't mind being wrong. And I listen to other people, and point to opposing viewpoints. I clearly disclose my interests. I don't sign non-disclosure agreements. What else do I have to do to establish my integrity? Imho, nothing.
I say the main takeaway of the Cluetrain is that you should speak honestly and directly, don't manipulate, and admit it when you make a mistake. Don't shrug it off, but also know it's not the end of the world. The luminaries act as if the day they admit a mistake they'll disappear. Trust me, it's not that way.
In a world operating under the principles of the Cluetrain, every CEO is also a journalist. How do I know this? Because in the world of the Cluetrain, everyone is a journalist.
In yesterday's piece, when I talked about new structures for enterprise, this is what I meant. The old walled-in-city approach to creativity is on its last legs, but the world of journalism hasn't caught up. That's probably why News.Com doesn't include UserLand in the list of companies that authored SOAP. They must be uncomfortable with us, because we cross a line, into their space, and we don't apologize for doing so.
BTW, if News.Com would care to respond to the question I asked, I wouldn't have to guess about their reasons.
Doc Searls responds, in web-time, to all this michegas.
No editors, no production people, no political correctness tests, no dumbing-down, just pure unadulterated Doc.
Are we ready for the Two Way Web?
Yesss, yes yes, we are!
I've been talking with my friends at WR Hambrecht about Salon.
A fascinating case study of an organization on the brink of the Web revolution, Act Two.
Why the disconnect? Because Salon has only embraced one half of the Web, the reading part.
To evolve, it must take the next step, and teach Web users who care, how to be high integrity journalists.
The space is wide open. UserLand and a handful of other companies, all very small, are camped in this space.
To grow to the next level, we must invite the journalists we admire to work with us on revolutionizing the news business, by embracing the rude cacaphony of the Web, and to patiently teach us how to be heard.
It's not the size of the companies that matters, it's the size of the idea. A change in thinking. There's no comfort in having a lot of employees. That usually takes your focus off the idea.
Offsites, bonding rituals and management politics, wasted time. What does that have to do with delivering on a focused vision?
All revolutions are sparked by companies that are so small that it's ridiculous to think of them as companies at all.
But the reporters of the One-Way-Web use company size as the filter. Why?
When all this shakes out, will there be press conferences?
I think not.
There will be meetings for sure, and stages, no reason to get rid of those.
Speeches and demos are OK too.
But no softballs, please.
"I choose to not answer that question," will be an adequate response.
We'll bring the openness of the Internet into our F2F meetings.
And we won't leave our manners behind.
Developer.Com: The Myth of Open Source Security. "Everyone using Mailman, apparently, assumed that someone else had done the proper security auditing, when, in fact, no one had."
Reuters: Hard Drives With Nuclear Secrets Found. "We still have a long way to go to ensure that security is protected in our national labs."
AOL: Open IM Architecture Design. "Once protocols are published, they will be used by hackers and spammers as a roadmap to plan their attacks. We believe that it is critically important not to release such proposals until we are certain that the security precautions in them are sufficient to protect consumers."
I'm not exactly sure how it works, but in the Bay Area we have a wonderful thing called natural air conditioning. When it gets super-hot, as it did last week, that sets up a condition that attracts the fog, and the fog isn't just cool, it's cold! So this morning it's foggy and in the 50s. Welcome relief.
Yes, it's true what they say about Scripting News. (Read the URL.) Since when do they let you register domains with the F word? Why didn't anyone tell me!
DaveNet: How to Settle the Microsoft Case.
Doc Searls has a rebuttal to today's piece, which is great. I love it when people take the time to respond, on the Web.
Newsweek editorial: Know When To Fold 'Em, Bill. "Group VP Jeff Raikes speaks for all of Microsoft when he describes the legal situation as 'surreal.' Surreality is not where you want your company to be."
Bruce Schneier: "SOAP is going to open up a whole new avenue for security vulnerabilities."
Susan Kitchens got a virus, but get this, it was on the honor system. "Please forward this message to everyone you know, then delete all the files on your hard disk."
Salon.Com: More than you ever wanted to know about Survivor. "The water snakes and abundant rats -- which the contestants have roasted and tell us taste something like chicken, naturally -- are icky enough to titillate and gross out armchair survivalists. And the characters, surely chosen for conflict potential, are even more transfixing."
Survivor.Com has an interesting story.
News.Com: Programmers prepare open-source MP3 for free.
What is SongTrellis?
And what is Basilisk II?
Edd Dumbill: The State of XML.
eCompany: "According to Aharonian, the problem with the PTO is that it lacks both the resources and the incentive to closely examine software patent proposals. This, combined with the lack of a central database of software inventions, means that the PTO often doesn't find the [prior art] that would prove a patent application to be unoriginal."
O'Reilly's Frontier book is now out of print. That could be excellent news as Emmanuel Décarie points out. Perhaps the pipe is now empty. It would be great to have a new version of Matt's book, that explains the programming model of Manila, macros and plug-ins, RSS, XML-RPC and (next week, Murphy-willing) SOAP 1.1, and gives a behnd the scenes view of Manila sites. It could even explain Pike, which is free and not much less powerful than Frontier.
We've learned a lot about the Web in the last four years. It would be great to have a book that reflected all of that.
Luke Tymowski on Matt's Frontier book: "I read bits and pieces of it often, even though I have neither a Mac nor Frontier. Why? It's the best written computer book I've ever come across, worth reading for the writing alone."
Kiri Blakeley, a reporter for Forbes, asks if various Napster-like products are user-friendly. She says: "I'm behind a firewall, besides being a technical moron, and probably couldn't make them work anyway."
Here's a chance for our community to help write a piece for a major business publication. What an opportunity!
Also by Kiri: Sock, We're Gonna Make You a Star. "Since its first national TV commercial appearance in October, Pets.com's spokespuppet has achieved a celebrity unrivaled in the dot-com branding free-for-all."
If you send me an email address and a daytime phone number I will forward them to the reporter.
MSNBC: Microsoft seeks swift appeals ruling. "Unless those conditions are put on hold, Microsoft said, it immediately must begin to prepare for a court-ordered 'nightmare scenario' that would gut its product pipeline, disrupt routine business and compromise trade secrets."
Wired: Reno says beware of technology. "At the event, the institute honored Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein with its first annual 'Level Playing Field Award' for his work on antitrust cases over the past five years, including his ongoing pursuit of Microsoft."
I had a long talk this morning with Brent Schlender, an editor at Fortune, and a longtime friend. He spent eight days at Microsoft this month seeing the NGWS software from lots of different angles. The picture he paints of Microsoft is consistent with the one I see. They are shaken by the Jackson judgment. It's not business as usual at Microsoft.
Reno and Klein gloating over their victory makes me feel sick. We should have been able to solve this problem ourselves. I believe, having read yet another interview with Jackson (in Newsweek) that there's still time to settle.
I wrote a too-long piece last week detailing a resolution that I felt Microsoft and the plaintiffs should be able to accept. I'm going to put some time this evening into editing it down, I'll make it much shorter, and leave out the motivations and appeals to Bill Gates's charity. I strongly believe there's a way to resolve the dispute, leaving Microsoft strong, and leaving the rest of the industry with a lot of new opportunity.
I believe in the NGWS vision, insofar as it's open to all players and as long as users have choice. HTML browsers are here to stay, as are HTTP servers. Desktop computers will play an increasing role in the Internet, if desktop software that's Internet-aware and easy to use comes into existence. I had a strong feeling as we launched the SOAP project over two years ago that we would reach this point, where Microsoft needed a new strategic direction to take after being penalized for screwing around with the market. Listening to Schlender this morning gave me goosebumps. It's shaking out that way.
I do not want to see Microsoft destroyed.
But they're going to have to give up something that matters to them to keep that from happening.
WSJ: Napster says sharing is legal. "Mr. Barry’s comments mark a new public-relations effort on the part of the embattled Napster, but are not likely to gain much acceptance among legal experts, most of whom say that sharing unauthorized copies of music files, as happens routinely on Napster, is a cut-and-dried violation of copyright laws."
I imagine Napster is walking a pretty interesting line. If I were them, I'd want Metallica off the net asap. Same with any artist that's deeply in bed with the music companies. But to keep users on their side, they probably have to wait until they're forced to do it. I sure hope they don't sell out to the music companies as MP3.Com did.
Bob Bierman wants to compile WINE.
Scott Sweeney wanted a base64 decoder in a web page, so David Carter-Tod did one.
I wanted a new preference for UserLand.Com, so I implemented it.
Dave Luebbert introduces himself.
Now permit me to introduce him. Dave was at the dinner on Tuesday, we spent a lot of time talking, and some amount of time reminiscing about the work we did together when he was leading the Mac Word team at Microsoft. I like Dave a lot, but I didn't recognize him at first. I thought he was Jeff Raikes. Dave being Dave, he had a story to go with that. He said that Raikes was from Nebraska, and it turns out, so is Dave.
Here's an out of focus picture of Dave.
Thankfully it's in the 60s this morning! It's actually chilly. When I got into my car at the airport yesterday the temperature was 109. "No problem, once I get going that will go down." It didn't. The only relief was going into the shade. Where it was 104.
The Courtney Love speech was incredible. If I ever do a conference I want her as a speaker. She knows music, but her story is the same one that all creative people tell. It's another version the Cluetrain. Just as customers are not eyeballs, artists aren't content developers. I totally support the idea of the artists taking control of the medium and eliminating the middlemen. Distribution is not a problem anymore.
We have the same problem in Silicon Valley. The people who run the show aren't really into what we do. You can waste a lot of effort trying to get them interested. Or, perhaps the Internet allows us to combine media, and route around the middlemen. It could happen!
And congrats to Salon for running the Courtney Love speech. How did they find it? What's the story behind the story? (Lawrence Lee has some clues.)
One more pre-coffee note. The baby eagle story, while it appears to be children's story, is not. Do not read it to a child. It's not a bed-time story for kids. It'll freak them out, rightly so. Children need their parents, they're not ready to fly on their own, that's what it means to be a kid. It's actually a story for the kid inside every adult. A reminder that freedom is giving up. I really wrote it for Bill Gates, but I strongly doubt if he would get it, yet. Eventually we all get it, because as comfortable as the nest is, we have to give it up. That's one of the lessons of life. "You can't take it with you" or "It's not like anyone gets out of this alive." Now it's time for some coffee!
Courtney Love: "Somewhere along the way, record companies figured out that it's a lot more profitable to control the distribution system than it is to nurture artists. And since the companies didn't have any real competition, artists had no other place to go. Record companies controlled the promotion and marketing; only they had the ability to get lots of radio play, and get records into all the big chain store. That power put them above both the artists and the audience. They own the plantation."
"Music is a service to its consumers, not a product. I live on tips. Giving music away for free is what artists have been doing naturally all their lives."
"What the hell is content? Nobody buys content. Real people pay money for music because it means something to them. A great song is not just something to take up space on a Web site next to stock market quotes and baseball scores."
"Every single artist who makes records believes and hopes that they give you something that will transform your life. If you're really just interested in data mining or selling banner ads, stick with those "artists" willing to call themselves content providers."
"I ended up playing without my shirt on and ordering a six-pack of the rival cola onstage. Also lots of unwholesome cursing and nudity occurred. This way I knew that no matter how tempting the cash was, they'd never do business with me again."
Stephen King: "My purpose here isn't to skin anybody but to have some fun and try out a concept so old it may seem new; call it 'honesty is the best policy.'"
Salon: RIAA tries to shut down Napster.
James Snell: "IBM and Microsoft have both recently released two vastly different (and unfortunately, incompatible) reference implementations of SOAP."
John VanDyk: PostgreSQL and Frontier via ODBC.
What is Tellme Studio?
News.Com: Tellme, others open up the telephone Web.
David Brown: Scripting News comes to Seattle.
BookNotes opens with a great quote from Albert Einstein, which is a bit arrogant, but funny nonetheless.
This is one of my favorite stories, but I don't think I've ever put it on the Web. It was told to me by one of my friends and teachers, Diane Searles, quite a few years ago, and it made a big impression. See if there's not a lesson here for you too.
On July 14 in Oakland, attendance is limited but free.
108 degrees in California! Wow.
The dinner last night at Mama's was the best part of the trip to Seattle. About 30 people, most of whom either work at Microsoft now or did at one time. There were several Frontier developers, people with Manila sites, and one guy from SlashDot. I think I have pictures of everyone.
Earlier in the day I saw a demo of BizTalk Orchestration, which is very impressive. It will reset expectations on the art of server-side programming, it's that good. And it's quite open, but not totally, nor could it be. However, it should be clonable. We went back and forth between the XML and the visual representation of the program. Personally, I'd like to try programming it in XML, without the visual stuff. More comments later.
My 7:30AM flight was cancelled, so I had to wait till 10:15AM to fly out. I read the NY Times pretty much cover to cover. On the plane back I read The Economist. Both had extensive coverage of the Microsoft judgment and The Times has the full text of the Microsoft brief filed yesterday. The Economist had an editorial which I agree with. It's time for Bill Gates to stop fighting and work with the government to solve this problem before it gets much worse, which it's sure to. The Microsoft rebuttal ignores the Allchin memo. I won't ever forget it.
I'd bet Microsoft loses on appeal. The big issue here is respect for the law. The more I read, the more I'm sure that the Jackson judgment and penalty is intended to get their attention and to get them to the negotiating table to work out a settlement with the plaintiffs. Jackson did not want to solve the problem. He wants Microsoft to do it. As long as Microsoft resists, the court has no choice but to impose a crude and ineffecient neutering of Microsoft. It's too bad that as this happens a lot of good work is going to get flushed.
Discussions at the dinner last night revealed once again the Microsoft culture of paranoia, which is echoed in practically every Gates communique. It's vicious industry. We're hanging on to dominance by a very slim thread. To which I say, let go. The rest of us did. We're doing fine.
Today is a travel day, don't expect updates on Scripting News until mid-day Wednesday.
If you're in Seattle tonight, we're having a Scripting News dinner at Mama's Mexican Kitchen, 7PM. You're invited.
What will we talk about? Good question! One thing's for sure. We'll eat and drink. I have an early flight on Wednesday, but what the hell let's stay up late. No jetlag for this trip.
Prepare to feast!
Microsoft people generally have good manners, but not some of their supporters. In yesterday's top item, I said "I don't care if it's right or wrong that Microsoft is broken up." Of course I actually do care, my point was slightly subtle (not really, if you read the rest of the stuff).
I agree with the Judge, until Microsoft comes clean and owns up to what it did that was wrong and illegal, it is totally right that they should be broken up.
Microsoft has not behaved in a moral or legal manner with developers, competitors, and even the users, who had a right to a choice, which Microsoft's actions denied them. For them to invoke morals at this point is hypocritical and arrogant. It assumes massive stupidity outside of Microsoft.
The day will come when an honorable and intelligent person cannot work at Microsoft. It may already be here. On that day Microsoft's arrogance will be totally misplaced. There are all kinds of intelligence. Even the highest IQ person has to live with the rest of us, according to some rules and morality.
It's an interesting time to visit Microsoft. One thing is great about the company, I can say what I think on Scripting News, and I'm no less welcome. That's very unique in this business, where criticism is usually shunned. I don't do the egg shell walk very well.
The part of me that appreciates this hopes that Microsoft sorts out all this stuff, and fixes the problem, so we can go forward with SOAP and whatever else we're going to do.
Thanks for listening.
They still don't get it.
Emailing with an exec at MSN, he argues right and wrong. It's wrong to make Microsoft pay the full burden of making the browser market compeitive. AOL could do it single-handedly by investing in Netscape, and building it into the AOL client. I hope I'm not incorrectly summarizing his comments.
He doesn't like my response so we go around and around.
Since when does right and wrong have anything to do with it? This is the old trick Microsoft plays, they count on my sense of right and wrong, but don't have any responsibility of their own to do the right thing. No more of this.
I don't care if it's right or wrong that Microsoft is broken up. They lost my support when I read the emails. Jim Allchin's comments particularly. He should have been fired on the spot for suggesting that Microsoft use its dominance of operating systems to win the war with Netscape. Of course he wasn't fired, because this is the business model at Microsoft. And it's illegal. And totally wrong. And unfair, and everything else that evokes my anger.
Another thing that gets me angry is arrogance and stupid public relations. I was at Microsoft the day they pulled the stunt on Judge Jackson. I met with Tod Nielsen and said that's it man, you crossed my line right there. Do you argue with the traffic cop too when you get pulled over? If so, you get what you deserve. We must respect some things. Like we live in a lawful society and we respect judges. I learned this at jury duty in 1996. It's all about respect for the law, and rightly so, or else we'd live in a police state.
The very first thing for Microsoft to do is have some shame. You got caught doing something that's very wrong and illegal. Admit that much. I can't believe it, I feel like I'm talking to a four-year-old. Stop treating us like we're stupid. A lot of us get it. You got caught. Nailed.
That's where the conversation begins.
Postscript: Later today news that Tod Nielsen is leaving Microsoft. I wish him the very best. Sad to see him go!
Someday you'll hold a child on your lap and he or she will ask what it was like in the 20th century. I thought this was interesting last year, this year I hardly think about it. But it's still going to happen, no matter how I feel about it, and it might be spooky.
If Microsoft is falling apart now, will we have the same experience? I've always assumed that it would morph into something like what IBM is today. A huge company with its fingers in lots of pies, but lacking the dominance they once had.
But what if Microsoft plays chicken with the government all the way to the end? What if before that happens all the smart people leave? What then?
A plunge and a few laps in a cold pool provide an instant sense of well-being, at the bones level.
I just picked up the phone to call back a reporter and two people were talking on the line. Uh hello, I said. What's going on? We're just doing routine maintenence. Who are you? We work for PacBell. How long will you be? Just a few minutes.
Hey this feels so invasive. Is it legal?
The DotCom Shakout is rolling right along. Sorry but I think this is very cool. So many resources were being channeled into dead-ends. Now maybe there will be people to staff new net startups around ideas with real substance.
A half-baked theory, one things many of the shaken companies have in common, they were trying to capture the Web. Imho, the winners will be ones that step aside and supply tools and infrastructure to the Web, companies and people being treated equally. Each is given a chance to compete on a level playing field. The business I like is providing interesting playing fields that intrigue the smartest people. Always moving, always the most interesting environment, or we lose. That's the flow I want to support. IQ points flowing over the Internet. I guess, to use a VC term, that's my business model.
Surprise: "The American soldiers would give chocolate and cigarettes to the people and generally people were not afraid of them. One of my mother's best friend married an American soldier and went with him to live somewhere near Chicago. This was a long time before I was born so that she became for me 'my American aunt'."
Joel Spolsky reviews RealBasic from a developer's point of view. He says it's tantalizingly close to allowing two-way running of Basic apps on Mac and Windows.
A new process for DaveNet. After letting yesterday's piece rest on the Web for a full day, I softened some of it, reached out to Java and open source developers, added notes about news that hasn't been covered in email, and invited email readers to join the daily news loop here on scripting.com. This might be workable. The piece feels more done after 24 hours, and I don't have to juggle two versions of the essay. I also updated the distributor script to strip out all HTML tags, which means I don't have to limit the number of links in an essay, something that always bothered me.
What is the Personal Desktop Portal? What an awful site. Geez. I just want a couple of screen shots.
Andrew Wooldridge: How do you know a vision when it hits you? "How do you take something that's a passing thought over dinner and make into something substantial? How do you find or get someone else to see your vision?"
Press release: Moreover raises $21 million from Wit, Reuters.
NY Times: Death Sentences Being Overturned. "The report is likely to intensify an already gathering debate about the death penalty, which has been provoked by the release of some death row inmates after new DNA technology helped exonerate them."
I won my battle with Bob Bierman to start a weblog.
He's taken responsibility for shaking the incompatibilities out of Frontier for Linux. He will use that site to ask questions.
You should be able to follow the process on Bob's site. And he will have links to other sites, much as Andre, Brent and Jake do. One step at a time.
Thanks for taking the plunge Bob!
Postscript: Bierman is a natural born weblogger.
DaveNet: The Sixth Sense.
Jakob Nielsen: Customers as Designers. "It is much easier to make changes to an existing template than to create something from the bottom up."
New Theme: Minimal White is avaliable for all UserLand-hosted Manila sites.
Gilmore via Gillmor: "If we can't figure out how musicians and movie creators can make money in an era of widespread, unlimited copying, how will we prevent our entire economic system from collapsing when there's molecular manufacturing and even physical objects can be copied cheaply and widely?'' says John Gilmore. Good question. Maybe we can all take a well-deserved vacation?
Sites that could use help. "I've been reading the Most Read Sites Yesterday page pretty regularly, and it points out a couple of sites that are getting a reasonable number of hits, but aren't being updated by their editors."
Guardian: Web inventor says ads 'pervert' content.
Alan Baratz: "At first, I met with the FireDrop team only to get Vinod off my phone. I'm glad I did, because I've never seen anything as cool as the FireDrop technology. This is the most compelling thing I've seen since Java."
Maybe FireDrop will appear on this site someday? (Soon?)
Duffer: Weblogs As Scratchpads. "A Manila site can serve as a raw sketchbook if you like. A series of personal post-it notes, rough ideas for future stories, ways to capture fleeting thoughts and reminders of what just happened in your community or your life."
Cameron Barrett: "If you don't worry about money, then Sammy's is the place to be for any group outing."
Two interesting pictures from David Singer's weblog. First, his son Jeffrey's favorite activity, and the same boy holding a symbol of his father's youthful creativity. David graduated RPI in 1975, one year before I graduated Tulane. Our stories are probably quite similar!
Gardening this morning, planting snaps and marigolds, digging around, I found that three of last year's dahlias, that I thought hadn't made it through the winter, are doing great. I adopt the editor's philosophy of gardening. I can move things, cut others back, or delete them entirely, if they don't please me. I am the god of my garden. I answer to no one.
On Tuesday I'm going to Microsoft to get a technical briefing on part of NGWS, and a Scripting News dinner at 7PM at Mama's Mexican Kitchen in Seattle, then on the 22nd I'll be in Redmond again for the official announcement of NGWS.
I'll be back in California on the 24th, and then on the 26th I'm off to New York, for the Rising Tide conference, in Tarrytown.
I'm probably going to stay on the east coast through July 4, I'd like to go to the beach and body surf. Also interested in doing a dinner in NYC and/or Boston. I'll try to set up a meeting at PC Mag to demo Frontier 6.2.
And of course I'm going to be looking for a dial-up ISP in Seattle and several east coast cities. Too bad we don't have a FreeServe-like service in the US.
Freewwweb is "providing full Internet access with all the bells and whistles at speeds up to 56K, to over 95% of the United States and most of Canada."
Here's their phone number list.
Thanks to Jim Mangan for the pointer.
David Valentine has a list of free ISPs in the US.
Last week, in the midst of the michegas about Microsoft and the maturation of RSS, we shipped Themes for Manila.
Themes change the way Manila sites are designed, allowing proficient designers to share designs with writers, techies and Manila newbies.
Themes are so important that we started a new weblog to track releases of new Themes, and provide a single point to get information and have themes-related questions answered.
Today's NY Times Magazine is about technology in 2010. I liked the article about love devices you keep in your pocket. If someone nearby wants to do it, and they match your profile, it starts beeping. Now I might believe that that kind of electronic device could raise the temperature of the universe.
David Singer, an American from San Jose, was at the Scripting News dinner in Amsterdam.
"On a mission of mercy, up to the mansion, up on the hill, where you can get your prescription filled. Flying TWA to the promised land, everybody clap your hands..
"Don't you know we're riding with the King. Riding with the King, don't you know we're riding with the King."
Yeah, they have a play list. I didn't know that, cause I don't listen to the radio that much. But this week I've had KFOG playing all the time I've been working. There's some new Phish, new Bonnie, a new Bob Dylan song, all of which I've heard about 80 times each. Tons of Talking Heads. Lots more old stuff, the B52s, Genesis, Santana, the Dead, stuff from the 70s, 80s and early 90s. I yearn for newer stuff now. One week is a lot of listening, even with a great station like KFOG.
I always thought that KFOG was album rock, but it's pretty top-40 now. You can tell there are a lot of people all over the world listening to KFOG on the Internet. I get lots of ideas for ways to integrate weblogs and radio. At least allow me to tell them please no more avocado and cheese from Togo's.
And no one sent me a pointer to the Yahoo Shopping ad with the guy being a good dog while the girlfriend tries on shoes and dresses. Can you imagine, I want to play their commercial. Surely the RIAA has no opinion about that.
Today is RSS Day on Scripting News.
There were some typos, easy to fix. I added PNG to the list of supported graphic types. The Netscape spec didn't say anything about graphic types, but it's clear that the graphics must flow through an HTML <img> tag, so basically the list of supported types must be types that can appear in an <img>.
The much-maligned <skipHours> and <skipDays> elements, which eventually may allow RSS to be an easy mechanism for programming scheduled events across systems, had some typos, and the skipHours element needed clarification. The hours that appear in this element must be in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) not in the aggregator's time zone, which is impossible to know since there are so many aggregators; and not in the content's time zone, because RSS 0.91 doesn't have an element to say what time zone the content lives in.
I added a suggestion that email addresses appear in a canonical form. There are currently two elements that are email addresses, <managingEditor> and <webMaster>. Since earlier specs were silent on the format, I made this a suggestion, so as not to break existing applications.
The number one FAQ is What does RSS stand for? I punted on this. Having run a survey that didn't reach a consensus, I felt it was kind of charming for each rev of RSS to say something different about what RSS means. Personally, I liked the recursive definition, RSS is Simple Syndication, but not a lot of people went along with that.
Then I changed the copyright notice to use the IETF-inspired copyright that has worked well for XML-RPC. Basically it's a release of all proprietary interest by UserLand. We wrote the spec, but the underlying format, RSS 0.91, is not owned by us. I encourage all other participants in the evolution of RSS to post similar disclaimers, but to be clear, I can't speak for anyone but UserLand.
The spec may be used to define supersets, so now it's possible for a fork to take place with a solid baseline behind it. A fork may be inevitable, because there are credible developers who want to take RSS into RDF and add namespaces and schema. UserLand does not want to go in this direction.
That's it for the 0.91 spec. There may still be typos, and it may be possible to add clarifications and suggestions, but I won't make changes to the baseline spec without careful consideration and such changes will happen slowly.
On to part two, a discussion of how we proceed from here.
During the week there were a bunch of public comments from people I respect, Ian Davis, Rael Dornfest, Edd Dumbill, David Galbraith, Mark Kennedy, Sean McGrath, to name a few, on next steps for RSS. These are smart people who have given this as much or more thought than my company has.
Without a doubt there are other people who have not spoken yet, or who will speak as the debate intensifies. Before all that happens, I have a few suggestions, which are outlined on this page. Note that I have labeled it a DRAFT. I will make changes to incorporate other people's thinking. If you agree with the guidelines, please say so. That would begin a consensus on something that's easy. Consensus is (hopefully) what we're seeking.
The key line in the draft is this: "Any progress in RSS, no matter how small, is a victory for the Internet."
I want to be very clear, these are just suggestions, based on my own experience working in groups like this. Usually these groups don't reach a consensus unless there's magic. People focus much of their energy on personal issues (I do it too), and blame others for not listening well enough. UserLand will not put more or less resources into this than anyone else. I've already received complaints that I've ignored suggestions from other people. I will not accept these complaints.
Get other people to listen to you. Make an investment in your own ideas. Sell. Give. Persist, if your ideas have value. Accept feedback. Write specs, don't wait for others to write them for you. Remember who we're doing this work for, for all of us, not any one of us. Please read the guidelines carefully, give them careful consideration, and let's discuss them first. It's the logical next step, to agree how we're going to work with each other, and what kind of respect each of us wants.
Frontier 6.2b17 was released to testers.
Craig Jensen discovers the magical flow-building properties of Wiener Schnitzel.
Jason Lundy: "My new Weblogs.Com site will be about my interests. Since the web is one of my biggest interests, you will find here many resources for our shared interests. Why do I say our 'shared interests'? Because I doubt you will stay long if you don't share my interests."
Retracing: "In interviews with The New York Times over the last several months, dozens of the state and federal officials who have investigated and prosecuted Microsoft for the last four years, as well as industry executives, described many moves by Microsoft that they think backfired and led to a resounding court defeat." A must-read.
Jim Clark: "The browser is to Internet services what the operating system is to (PC) applications." True.
Powerful Seattle Times editorial.
I sent out yesterday's DaveNet piece via email. Another one is brewing. Maybe a one day lag is the best way to do it? Still figuring this stuff out.
Postscript: There was a glitch in the new script I wrote, and some people got two copies. But the process is a lot easier for me because I no longer have to juggle two versions of the essay, one for the Web and one for email. When I'm ready to send the email, my script sends an XML-RPC message to the server (actually two) and grabs the contents of the home page as a <struct>, which contains lots of info about the essay, including the outline. My script does all the parsing and distribution, but I don't have to manage a copy on my desktop. The same technique could be used from any XML-RPC-aware scripting environment to talk to any Manila site. Here's a screen shot with clues.
Post-postcript: Sending out the DaveNet via email was a good thing to do. It's started a frank conversation with Microsoft. They do this better than anyone else.
I love Mira. Yes, Americans are lucky and unlucky that our language is spoken so widely. But our culture is somewhat diverse.
When I was 16 I went hitch-hiking across the country. In Lincoln, NE, walking around town in the early morning, a very lovely day coming, a stranger said hello as we passed on the street. I was puzzled. Does he know me? How could he, when I was so far from home.
Later I realized this was a different custom. Outside NY, where I grew up, it's not uncommon for people to greet each other, even strangers. In NY, this is unheard-of.
Exploding Dog: "Hi my name is Sam, I draw pictures, from your titles. Send me a title, or any thing else you want to talk to me about."
Watch this Space: "The news of the fearless women with the shovel had spread up and down the Swan Valley. What would they think of her if they knew she actually drove off the mountain lion with her bare hands?"
Listening to KFOG, I am annoyed by the repetitive ads. I totally hate the Togo's turkey and avocado commercial. But I love the Yahoo Shopping ad with the guy behaving like a dog. Since Yahoo is a Web company, I wonder if the commercial is available on the Web so I can point to it.
Michael Gosney of Radiov: "People are going to build their own soundtrack from a much wider array of choices than the old commercial music paradigm allowed. Everyone will be their own DJ," says Gosney.
Today's word: giddy.
Guardian: "It has become of one the Netherlands' most famous products, and if those who advocate its virtues get their way then Euro 2000 could be the most peaceful and laid-back football tournament in sporting history."
John Gage: "In fifty years, computation will be so complex, and so demanding of memory and working on devices of such intricacy that a single calculation could change the heat level of the universe."
Tim O'Reilly: "I have a feeling I was invited here because I'm the person associated with the open source movement who is most likely to say nice things about Sun."
DaveNet: What the Web Wants.
BTW, this piece will not go out via email. If you know someone who reads DaveNet via email, please send them a pointer.
It's an important piece, imho, but I no longer wish to distribute essays via email. I want to be able to edit as the day goes by, as I do with Scripting News, because I expect to learn a lot as people read it. I want DaveNet to become a way for me to write whitepapers that have more lasting value.
Mike Seaman: "Do you really believe that it is possible to create a viable business (BrowserCo) as you described it? Where would it get its revenue from, given that people are used to getting their browser for free and are (it seems to me) pretty unlikely to be willing to start paying?"
Answer: They would be free to go anywhere they want. Think about a browser tightly integrated with Linux, intelligently, thoughtfully, around a vision of the Two Way Web. They could also compete with Yahoo, who desperately needs competition.
Last night Themes shipped! Yay Brent.
All the pointers are on inessential.com, Brent's weblog.
A Manila site that's adopted one of the new themes.
It looks like the RSS 0.91 spec is sticky.
No flames yet, some good posts on the Syndication mail list and a few bug reports which I have fixed. I think I've got them all. Please have another read and post a report.
The number one FAQ is What is RSS an acronym for? Good question. On every revision it's stood for something different. It started life as a dialect of RDF, Netscape was the leading proponent of RDF in W3C, but when Guha left, the interest waned. So I'm pretty sure that the R stood for RDF. And I think the two S's stood for Site and Summary.
Then in the second rev, with RDF behind them, the R was changed to stand for Rich. Why rich? Sounds pretty Microsofty to me. So I think it should stand for Really. Or maybe realllllly? It's easier than Rich.
Then what about the two S's?
Well, seems to me that one of the S's should stand for Syndication, because that's what the format is for. Right?
And then what does everyone say about RSS?
It's really simple.
And there you have it.
Survey: What does RSS stand for?
Edd Dumbill: "Things currently look like there may well be two threads of development: an 'RSS2' format, and a longer-term effort to provide useful, practical applications of RDF that work well over the Web--hopefully learning from the success of RSS."
Cameron Barrett: A World Without Microsoft.
MacWEEK has an excellent collection of links on Microsoft.
NY Times editorial: "Judge Jackson sided completely with the government in part because he mistrusts the company."
Washington Post editorial: "Judge Jackson has alleviated the time problem somewhat by imposing interim restrictions on Microsoft's business practices. Microsoft has asked that these be stayed, but they should not be. They should go into effect to provide the public with protection from Microsoft misconduct while the appeals are pending."
Dan Gillmor: "Microsoft and its leaders continue to operate in state of denial. Perhaps they'll turn out to be correct, that the antitrust laws don't apply to what they do. That would be a fearsome finding for competition in the Internet Age, and I find it difficult to believe the higher courts will make such a ruling once they fully understand what's at issue here."
Bruce Ramsay: "McKenzie argues that the browser battle was a sideshow, and that the main battle was over their own turf, the server market. The rivals' aim was to neuter Microsoft, making a hard-driving warrior into a tea-and-crumpets competitor."
SF Chronicle editorial: "Guessing the future is tricky business, a hard challenge for any federal judge to take on in Microsoft's case. Yet that is precisely what federal regulators are asking in this case. Careful thought about the future is missing from the legal equation in drawing up new ground rules."
News.Com: "International financier George Soros today said the Russian Internet is a hot investment and he would consider again investing in the country where he made what he called the worst bet of his career."
Surprise: "In Europe there are no blocks, we simply don't think in blocks. We explain which streets to take and the streets have names, which I don't always remember, but I know how to get there: I remember specific buildings, shops, an old church , a nice little bakery where you can smell the fresh bread from a distance, that is how I find my way through the cities."
Wired: NSI's Webjacking Epidemic. "After several days of wrangling with Network Solutions and Open SRS -- the Canadian registrar to which the stolen domains were transferred -- Meckler has his domains back, but not his confidence in Network Solutions."
Dale Dougherty: Frontier a la Neuberg. "His writing is very accessible to the non-programmer -- he really believes that anyone can learn to program, and a scripting language should make it even easier. Some of this can be explained by the combintation of Matt's interests in the classics and computing, which makes him a kindred spirit of quite a few editors at O'Reilly, including Tim."
Check this out: http://www.spellchecker.net/.
Andrea has discovered the magic flow-building properties of Wiener Schnitzel.
News.Com: Sun changes tune in support of SOAP protocol.
"Sun executives say they decided to support the technology after looking at the newest version of SOAP, which included development work from IBM and Lotus Development.
"Sun is the second company to flip-flop on SOAP. In April, IBM also reversed its stance, saying the need for the software industry to find a way for businesses to link their different computing systems outweighed competitive issues."
What a total surprise, and welcome news.
MSNBC: Judge orders Microsoft breakup.
Following on the success of the Scripting News dinner in Amsterdam in May, let's do the same in Seattle next Tuesday.
I'm visiting Microsoft, I have an 11AM meeting to get briefed on the "orchestration" technology; I'm told that the XML format will be open and submitted to a standard's body. Should be really interesting.
And it'll be great to meet with Seattle-based Scripting News readers. These dinners are fun. Brent is going to pick a restaurant, probably in downtown Seattle. Shall we start at 7PM?
Now, let the flames begin.
There's always a resistance to movement in any online community. It's been a long time since RSS has moved. Now I want to get prepared for movement. This is a total exercise in politics and group psychology.
RSS 0.91 was a major traffic accident that turned out pretty well. Netscape did a private spec, just for their own web service. I had a couple of problems with it. First, we had been active in the area, and there had been no attempt to move compatibly. Second, they had a publishing agreement that was really offensive. We dealt with the first issue by competing. They quickly saw the advantage of working with us. Hat's off to Netscape. And we routed around their agreement by opening My.UserLand, which in no way attempts to control the content that flows through it.
After RSS 0.91, we breathed a sigh of relief that lasted almost a year. Glad that's over! In the meantime, repeated attempts to find anyone who cares about RSS at Netscape have turned up nothing. The people we worked with at Netscape left shortly after 0.91 was finalized.
At WWW9 an impromptu BOF for RSS happened at Dale Dougherty's Web Publishing session. There were a fair number of people there who were actively developing in RSS. Some surprises, I didn't know that Sean McGrath was doing RSS stuff. I came out of the meeting with a resolve to get RSS moving again.
There's always a resistence to movement. It stirs people's feelings of powerlessness, at least that's how I parse it. Why isn't my pov being considered? is the constant question, sometimes not asked so nicely.
I've learned that it's necessary to strike a balance with this and the opposite complaint. "Why aren't you addressing my needs?" This is the question that comes from content providers. The answer is basically, if I move they're going to yell at me! (The other people, the ones who feel that their pov isn't being represented.) Then hopefully there's a point where the frustration over lack of movement overcomes the frustration of being powerless, and that's when movement can happen. I hope that we're now at that point.
Another observation. Every time a mail list starts to guide the evolution of a spec, it seems to generate more "Stop Now!" energy than "Let's go forward" energy. The two recent exceptions in my experience are RSS and XML-RPC. My philosophy on XML-RPC, based on the frustration in previous projects, was "I want to do it the way you want to do it." So when Don, Bob or Mohsen said "I think we should call that element flebangolaleo," I didn't say a word, I just changed it in the spec. That lead to a collegiality that I've never seen in a cross-company development project before. It was truly magical, imho.
Now the question is, can we do that with RSS? Can we avoid arguments over small issues, and agree on some basic enhancements that give content developers enough room to do the kind of innovation they want to do? That's the first question on my mind. And I come to it not only as a developer of a CMS and an aggregator, but I am also a content developer. RSS has not grown with my needs. The same is true for Motley Fool, I assume (if they're still paying attention) and many other intelligent content people.
(BTW, a hat-tip to Zeldman, who finds the term "content" derogatory. Me too, I've even complained about it publicly. But in these conversations, we need a convenient short-hand to describe the wide variety of creative people who combine to create the stuff that people read on the Web. Actually the "content person" we have contact with is often an engineer who writes scripts to adjust the content to fit the format the aggregators can consume.)
The second question, which to me isn't much less important, is Can we keep it simple?
Today RSS *is* simple, largely because it only builds on XML 1.0, and does not use namespaces or schemas, and it isn't a dialect of RDF. There's a logical route forward for RSS that says it should adapt to include all these concepts, but in doing so it would become vastly more complex, and imho, at the content provider level, would buy us almost nothing for the added complexity.
Further, imho, the use of namespaces punts on the larger issue, what are the names of common elements for channels and news items? Using namespaces just pushes the problem into a corner. Instead we could agree that the names we use are going to be imperfect and misleading. But there will be standard element names for the info that the content providers want to publish, in addition to the elements that RSS already specifies. (A canonical example is Motley Fool's desire to include ticker symbols with each item, a totally legitimate desire, imho.)
So over the weekend I started a review of RSS 0.91, and took notes, looked at the actual XML that people are publishing, studied the Netscape specification, and created my own version of the 0.91 spec.
Up until this morning I wasn't sure if this document should be called 0.91 or 0.92. I was concerned that practice had deviated from the Netscape spec, esp in respecting the limits it imposes, which most developers (myself included) think are ridiculous and unweblike. But I found that most of the channels are respecting the limits, so I changed the title from 0.92 to 0.91.
So all this is is a cleanup. All the Netscapeisms are removed. It's better organized and easier to follow. It links to helpful W3C specs and IETF RFCs that provide the foundation RSS builds on. It has a timeline that points to earlier specs, and to three important aggregators.
I do not want to call today's version of the spec final in any way. So for now it has a simple copyright notice, but I expect to finish my work on this by the end of the week, considering that it doesn't add anything to RSS, it should simply be a matter of reviewing it for editorial mistakes or omissions, there is no room to debate new features, because the spec doesn't attempt to add any.
So with all those caveats and preambles, here's my version of the RSS 0.91 specification.
Dave Winer: RSS 0.91.
Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.
Frontier 6.2b16 was released overnight. Two long-standing UI issues were addressed. And the Mac version's TCP functionality (which is rewritten in 6.2) gets two important fixes.
Luke Tymowski on Matt's Frontier book: "I read bits and pieces of it often, even though I have neither a Mac nor Frontier. Why? It's the best written computer book I've ever come across, worth reading for the writing alone." Wow!
Surprise: My car is my castle. "Probably the tiniest car is the Italian Cinquecento. It is this small that two to four men can lift it and carry it somewhere else. It fits in the smallest parking spot and is ideal for driving in the city. You can react so quickly it is like driving in a glove."
A smart car in Amsterdam, which is also pretty small.
NY Times: "We've been fortunate with our own alliances," he said. "But it's absolutely true that many of the ones you read about are ill-thought-through, and are done for the P.R. value. If there's one great thing about alliances, though, it's that they can be undone quickly."
Open Source is on the mind today. Talking with Edd Dumbill over the weekend, about lots of things, including the evolution of RSS, and the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, which was briefly a topic on Scripting News on Sunday.
I said something to Edd that I have not yet said on Scripting News, and if Tim had been willing to engage in a conversation, he might have said it himself. (To be clear, what follows is Dave in Tim's body.)
"Dave, get a clue. When we started the open source marketing push, followed by the convention, there was no such thing as the open source community. None of the developers or users of any of the scripting systems (Perl, Python, Tcl) talked to each other. Same with the developers of Apache, Sendmail, and MySQL. Now I understand your complaint that there are silly barriers that keep you from working with people in the open source world, and I wish there was something I could do about it, but look at all the good we've done. Now at least once a year they all meet in one building. This has lead to some wonderful cross-pollination, for example the recent decision by Zope to embrace Perl. These communities tend to build really large walls around themselves and tend to see the whole world as being inside those walls. We make progress as fast as we can."
Now, back in my own body. "Tim, thanks for pointing that out."
Edd also made a point that I've heard echoed by others at O'Reilly. Not all of the people in the open source world have embraced the Web. There are so many Venn Diagrams you can draw. Open source or not is just one of the diagrams, one set of walls that define communities. Another is "Are you a Web person or not?" I remember the look on Tim's face at the Web Apps session at Esther's. He was delighted. He asked "Why isn't the whole show like this?" An insightful question. Now back at you Tim, why isn't that point of view represented at the Open Source Convention?
I guess the bottom line for me is this. Are running a conference to make money and achieve a modest level of cooperation within the open source community, or are you running a Web conference, to draw more people together, to provide a way for people in ever more disparate worlds to get to know each other and work productively?
At the end of the Web Apps session at Esther's, Tim complimented me on the job I did. He asked if I was going to do this again. I said YES! He asked if I would do it with O'Reilly or on my own. I said at O'Reilly. Well they seem to have forgotten that, so we must do our own conference, and of course we will welcome people from the open source world. It's the old route-around thing that the Internet does so well. Be inclusive. Exclusivity is inevitable, but when it's discovered, treat it as a bug, and fix it, cheerfully. Murphy's Law. Not a big deal. "It's even worse than it appears."
A letter I sent to Jai Singh, editor of News.Com, asking about their policy re including UserLand in news stories.
Matt Haughey: "I am truly fucked."
Seth Gordon: "The Visio user interface sucks."
Did you know that O'Reilly Associates has a Frontier book? Well, they sure do and it's a great book. Matt Neuburg, the author, crawls into the mind of Frontier, and reveals all the secrets. Hey, I wrote the software, and I learned stuff about Frontier reading Matt's book.
Anyway, we asked O'Reilly if it would be OK to post the full text of the book on the Web, this is something I'd like to see done with all reference books, and they said yes. Therefore..
Matt Neuburg: Frontier: The Definitive Guide.
Necessary caveats. The book describes Frontier 4.2.3/Mac. Today's Frontier is 6.1.1. Frontier is available for Windows and Macintosh now. But the core of the product is still there, the heart is still beating, and Matt gets right in there.
One more thing, if you like the book, and want to encourage O'Reilly to update it, one way to show support is to buy a copy. UserLand would also be happy to contribute money towards a new version, but real users buying real books is most important.
For the last three days I've been slowly reading and taking notes on the RSS 0.91 spec and its precedents, creating a document that I'm currently calling RSS 0.92. The purpose of the document is to explain the current practice of RSS.
This work came out of a discussion at WWW9 about the future of RSS. I felt that we couldn't have an informed discussion on the future of RSS until we had a good handle on current practice.
As I'm writing the document I wonder if I should send the URL to certain people, and then I think of other people who should be in the loop, so I'm going to do one more pass on it later today or tomorrow morning and then point to it from Scripting News.
Also like the XML-RPC spec, it will have an IETF-like copyright, allowing it to be forked by anyone without need for permission.
The goal is to lay a foundation, and have it serve as a platform for discussion and movement in the RSS world.
I'm getting pretty close with the docs for RSS 0.92. There's a timeline section at the beginning of the document. I want to get a list of all the public aggregators linked to from the list.
I've already got links to My.Netscape, My.UserLand and Meerkat. Then it occurred to me that Headline Viewer is also an aggregator. Then it occurred to me that I should ask if there are any others before I overlook any.
So if you have a Web or desktop app that reads RSS 0.91 files over the Internet, please send me the following info via email: The name of your app, a web URL, and the date it was first published or deployed.
Among developers, I've heard it said many times that the 15 items per channel max in RSS 0.91 is widely ignored, so I wrote a script to see how bad it was, and guess what, the vast majority of RSS 0.91 channels respect the limit.
A screen shot of the table. I find this really interesting. If people have any other stats they'd be interested in let me know, it's pretty easy to look at other attributes.
News.Com: WR Hambrecht raises $83 million. "The 200-employee firm, headquartered in a former warehouse near San Francisco's new Pacific Bell Park, is the first to use an auction-based model for initial public offerings. Investors submit bids to WR Hambrecht, and the firm sets the clearing price--or the lowest price that will result in the sale of shares."
Hey I had lunch there today. I even got to shake Bill Hambrecht's hand. An interesting company, the Web's investment banker.
Surprise: "A more aesthetic aspect of the cobblestones is the fact that one can create beautiful designs with them: Especially the Italians are masters of this art! If you ever have a chance just go and see their piazzas. They managed to create harmony and a real feeling for the space by arranging the cobblestones in ways which fit perfectly to the specific square."
Interesting! I spent a lot of time in Piazza della Republica in Firenze, what a place, so complex, and yet so open. But I never looked down at the cobblestones. Next time I will. And Mira gets it right, the cobblestones turned me into a total klutz. And she's also right that things in Europe are built to last, unlike in America. Especially in the technology industry. I wonder if moving to Europe would change that for technology.
Lunch: "I went home and put a Lean Cuisine Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes in my own personal Chernobyl ($99.95 at Target), ate it, and then collapsed in a pile on my unmade bed. I was only going to sleep for 45 minutes, but wound up sleeping so deep that my clock radio was unable to wake me for more than a half hour past the time it went off."
Chris Kelly: Why 100% Pure Java is a Crock.
Great letters to the editor on InfoWorld today. "I've seen a lot of idiotic pontification in InfoWorld in the last 14 or so years (and some good stuff too, don't get me wrong), but I'll be damned if I can remember anything so ludicrous as Sun Chief Scientist Bill Joy's inane words in the May 22 issue." It gets better from there.
The AppleScript Weblog has a report on scripting support in Adobe Illustrator/Mac.
Last night I posted an overview of how Themes will work when they're available, hopefully by the end of the week.
Matthew Barger notes Adobe's revamped SVG site, and the need for a SVG-focused weblog. I agree. We should be covering and studying SVG as deeply as we're covering SOAP, for example.
News.Com: Virus bombards mobile phones. "The worm is propagated by computer and not via the telephone system. They also said the attack is relatively benign, as it does not destroy computer files but merely delivers a message disparaging the Spanish telephone company Telefonica."
Press release: Collab.Net Completes $35 Million Funding.
Jeff Walsh runs an online magazine called Oasis. "The site is now monthly, gets over 60,000 readers, and is the oldest and longest running site for queer and questioning youth online." They want to use Manila, and want to work with a hosting service that's low cost, and won't have a problem with their content. Jeff is a former InfoWorld reporter, he now does PR at Macromedia.
What are Endeavors?
WSJ: "Walker Digital’s dealings with the Senate Judiciary Committee have continued into this year. The company, apprehensive about further attacks on its patents, is setting up a Washington office and recently sought to hire one of Sen. Hatch’s top Judiciary aides. Mr. Walker is expected to meet with committee members and their staffs today during a visit to Washington."
Jake has a question for Mozilla gurus.
Dilbert on Amazon: "I'm sure some whiners will say it's an obvious idea." Yes.
Jim Roepcke has lost 22 pounds! Go get em.
Excellent new weblog: WriteTheWeb.Com.
Edd Dumbill, its editor, says: "I'm aiming to cross-fertilize, encourage and promote anyone involved in making the web a more collaborative, two-way, writable experience."
WriteTheWeb is a My.UserLand channel.
Edd was at WWW9.
Frontier, Perl, Java, PHP, Zope and now Python validate.
Thanks to Skip Montanaro of Mojam for the Python validation.
5/29/00: XML-RPC Validation Suite.
Unexpectedly I found these pictures of Greenland on my camera. I must have taken them while I was half-asleep on the flight over from London. Isn't it weird that Greenland is one of the least green places in the world? England, otoh is quite green.
Wes Felter works at IBM now. "Today I rearranged my cubicle to make room for the new coworker Florentina. Somehow she ended up getting about 2/3 of it, but I got to keep my keyboard tray so at least I'm better off ergonomically."
Just off the phone with Brent, talking about the new Themes feature for Manila sites. I said it's too bad we weren't ready with them yesterday, because it's going to change the way we develop as much as Manila did six months ago. But I'm sure we'll be doing Themes by the end of the week.
Early evening, I posted an overview of how Themes work, in the DG. Questions are welcome, this is a new thing, I don't think it's been done before on the Web.
John VanDyk: Why the Metadata Plugin is Important.
Yesterday you got a sneak look at the Dutch localization of Manila by Robert Slotboom, today I want to show the Italian localization by Jerome Camus. Europe here we come!
TheStandard.com: A Rough Road Trip to the Net.
"Venerable Rand McNally, the oracle of the road for millions of drivers, didn't bother to shift gears when the Net arrived. Now it's racing to catch up."
I caught the tail end of Bill Gates' keynote on the Programmable Web.
"We're spending $2 billion on developer support. We appreciate your being here." I guess so!
He's doing Q&A now over the Web, what questions should I ask?? It seems like Visio is their program editor. Interesting. Great screen shots, great demos for the PHBs.
OK, here's a question I submitted. "If you had to do it over again, would you have competed with Netscape differently?"
Bill answered a different but related question.
Dave Wascha is talking about how the whole thing works. I asked another question. "Is this stuff just for Microsoft developers, or can your XML be used to configure a server running on Linux or Mac OS?"
I was thinking that it's a really good idea to use a visual outliner like Visio to design business processes (whatever that means) but I'd like to have the choice of running my server on another operating system. I like Windows 2000, we use it on most of our servers. But someday some software may appear that only runs on Linux and I want to be sure that we can use it to run our Web applications. Also, I'd like to do the business logic routing in Frontier. I already have a license (grin) and it runs 24-by-7 with no bluescreens. Again, will your XML format be open and documented, or is it a Microsoft thing?
In all seriousness, this is the are-you-open question. Of course we're happy to build plug-ins, esp if they're willing to underwrite the development (I like the $2 billion part) but we can't support it as a standard unless we can compete with them for the central app that does the orchestrating. We have a robust server system that is up to the job. Does Microsoft want competition here?
And we'd also like to compete with the design tool. Our outliner isn't as pretty as Visio (I couldn't find any screen shots of Visio on the Microsoft site, for such a visual product that's a pretty big oversight) but it is quite functional and fully wired into the Web in ways that overload my mind with their power. So basically we'd like to compete at both ends, in the design tool and in the server that runs the processes. And of course if we can compete so can the tools vendors for other operating systems, such as RealBasic and AppleScript on the Mac, and Perl, Python, Tcl, etc on Unix.
If anyone from Microsoft is tuned in, where can I find screen shots of BizTalk Orchestration (is that Visio?) being used to design a business application?
Send email to email@example.com.
Microsoft's Dave Wascha sent this screen shot of the BizTalk Application Designer. Next question, what does the XML behind that design look like?
Sometimes after being briefed on a new technology I go to a whiteboard with an eraser and try to map out what's in my mind. That's what I did this afternoon with the story I heard from Microsoft this morning.
ZDNet: MS plumbing: The next generation.
Tim has taken exception with a couple of things I've said about his company on the Web in the last couple of months. If you're tuned in Tim, check out the narrative above. I never once stopped and thought about Bill Gates's feelings as I wrote this. That allows me to be much more frank, and direct, and also offer a reasonably unfettered pov to my readers, who come first with me, and I'm sure you must understand that, being a public writer yourself.
I've had a very productive 20+ year relationship giving and taking with Bill Gates, on this basis. He has many times called me on my bullshit, without getting personal, and I've benefited from it. And the opposite is true.
If you re-examine my statements in that light, you'll see that I was pointing out bugs in your process. You can choose to ignore them, but if you don't, you'll learn something about your own company, how it's perceived outside the Open Source community, and how it can be more of a leader in areas that it clearly wants to lead in, such as content management and syndication.
You very much have a right to be part of this process, but you can't control how other people who are part of the process work, any more than Bill Gates can control how we we work with others, including O'Reilly. Scripting News and related sites are a huge part of how we work with others. If I accepted your control, and Bill's, then I would have no fun and I'd choose a different occupation, like making pottery or visiting ancient ruins in Greece.
Thanks for listening.
Something about me. I spend more time worrying about a couple of thoughtless flames from Tim O'Reilly than I do about the death of a teacher who had a profound influence on my life. I also am still fighting a cold, and the right side of my head is totally congested and I can't hear much through my right ear. I can hear my teacher's voice asking me "Dave, what is that you don't want to hear?" I'm laughing, I'm so weird.
David Brown: "I would bet that saying what you are afraid of hearing is very powerful, reducing what was once a very large monster into a tiny little flea. And then you can recognize it, laugh at it, and leave it behind." Smart man.
A woman named Meredith is documenting her divorce on a weblog.
"We had a very good weekend together. Michael and I are perhaps getting along the best ever have, treating each other with kindness and love. How odd that we might be divorced soon."
Sometimes growth is so visible, it can be hard to look!
Microsoft: Web Services and the SOAP Toolkit for Visual Studio 6.0. "Although you can expose Web Services using any programming language, object model or operating system, Microsoft Windows, COM, and our tools make it a snap. The SOAP Toolkit automates all the key parts of creating a Web Service."
WSJ: Exhausted from a frenzied start, Internet leaders get down to work. “We’re in a marathon, not a sprint,” says Michael O’Donnell, chief executive officer of Salon.com, the online magazine.
Oliver Breidenbach's WWDC trip continues in Seattle.
Thanks to Jeff Cheney for observing that today is the six month anniversary of the opening of EditThisPage.Com. December 4, 1999. A long long time ago!
12/22/99: "EditThisPage.Com has turned into a small town, it's active 24 hours a day seven days a week. It crosses age and geographic barriers with ease. It's being used by artists and geeks. Students and teachers. Writers and designers, photographers and geeks. It's so cool to see how enthusiastic people are, they're excited about having the web be so editable."
(The early ones are still here.)
Thanks to Robert Slotboom, Manila is now localized to Dutch, and will ship with Frontier 6.2. Awesome!
At each of these conferences there will be hundreds or thousands of developers who are interested in XML, syndication, and distributed computing protocols over the Internet.
Presumably, at each of these conferences there will be presentations in these areas.
How many of the presentations will be open to differing points of view as were represented at WWW9?
Before we get too self-congratulatory on our open process, observe that it might not be all that open.
pictureRef lets you place a picture on a page, with lots of parameters;
includeMessage includes the text of one message in another (or in a template);
glossSub links to a page in the shortcuts list, but uses text other than the title of the shortcut.
A page of demos on my test site.
Jake hit a milestone in web-app menu-land.
Good news in xml-rpc-land. Java validates again.
Susan Kitchens takes us to the world of urban art.
O'Reilly's php-xml mail list.
I have been outrageously lucky to have great teachers.
At my first massage intensive, in the summer of 1994, in the middle of the eleven day class, I did my first breathwork, a process of guided meditation that focuses attention inward, something that I, and many other people are reluctant to do.
The man whose voice guided us was known as Jeru, which is an Indian name for a small man with very big ideas, from Iowa, whose American name was Richard Dorin. His practice, which he described as a cross between Buddhism and psychology, was just what I needed to help me on the path of learning about myself. That's become my life mission. In many ways that's all I can experience, me.
Many of the ideas in my DaveNet writing came from Jeru, they were my adaptations of his adaptations, my attempt to sprinkle the ideas around the Internet in the hope that they could spread.
This evening I received an email saying that Jeru died on May 22. I've not written about him before, directly, but he's influenced everything I've done since I had the good fortune to meet him and learn from him. At this moment, I simply want to express my gratitude for his being, and his huge contribution in making the universe a more friendly place, for me.
9/10/98: Really Being There. "Nothing but patient retraining of the computer can allow that part of me to understand that the battle to be born is over. I can't get there by frightening the computer, or arguing with it. The only way to get there is through understanding and care and patience, listening to the computer as you would a small child, with love and compassion and understanding."
If I may offer some advice to Jakob Nielsen, make this page your home page, and link to Alert Boxes from it, and update it more frequently. You're doing a weblog Jakob. Looking at the current useit.com home page, it appears to be morphing into a weblog as well.
Jakob: "If one starts being a daily, one has to be a daily every day."
Dave: "The rule that it has to be updated on a regular basis is a myth, I believe."
Joel Spolsky: Let Me Go Back!
What is eurasia.org.ru?
David Singer is visiting RPI. (UserLand's Bob Bierman went to RPI. I wish Bob had a weblog. Hint hint.)
NY Times: The Good E-Book. "In the near future, books will cost little or nothing, never go out of print and remain eternally available throughout the wired world. Can anyone really be against that?"
Not me. Today all writing is electronic. Think about it. We're in the process of fully networking writing. So what's the magic of reading words on paper? Why print words before they can be read and appreciated?
With my 45-year-old eyes, there are a lot of books I can't easily read on paper when the light is not good. I usually can read text on a computer. (Light text on dark backgrounds is the major exception.)
On the DG, Phil Wolff suggests getting a PR firm.
I don't want to do that, yet, maybe soon. First I want to connect with reporters who read Scripting News. There are a few of them. I could do a tour to visit each of them, do some demos, answer questions face to face.
Right now I feel that our story wouldn't make as much sense to people who don't know me through the Web. And I want to invest in the reporters who show initiative and go looking for a story, instead of waiting for a phone call or a press tour.
I have a lot to say about this. And I say some of it in a discussion group response to Phil.
I'm also writing about it on the Syndication mail list on eGroups. "I like reading Reuters stories, for sure, but if the economics of the Internet undermines their business model, I wouldn't shed a tear. The Internet has reporters everywhere that Reuters does, and over time, the Internet will reach many places Reuters doesn't, and no matter how much Reuters grows, they'll never be able to match it."
I fixed a bug in one of the tests yesterday, and the Java implementation no longer validates.
Edd Dumbill posted the PHP source code for the validator1 suite.
I've been thinking about Tim O'Reilly's discussion with Todd Dickinson, the director at the USPTO. Tim got hung up over Dickinson's argument about the Xerox Star and its relation to the Mac and Windows.
The Star is an interesting example, but it has nothing to do with the kinds of patents the USPTO is issuing now. The Star was truly a breakthrough produced by a single identifiable entity. Or was it? Wasn't the Star was a synthesis of ideas developed outside Xerox? Remember Doug Engelbart? He did the first mouse and windowing system (and outliner). He worked for SRI, not Xerox.
Further, the Star was developed in the old communication environment, whiteboards, telephones and F2F meetings. The Star was an important step in synthesizing a global interconnected community of thinkers and developers, that easily crosses organizational boundaries. (Also known as The Internet.)
The development environment of 2000 is vastly different from the one of the 1970s. The gestation period for new breakthroughs is measured sometimes in days. Ideas are in the air, who created it first? It's usually impossible to tell. For us, who are developing in this environment, we share so frequently, without any thought. The Dickinson approach spells the end for this process. Speaking for Tim, if I may, we don't want it to end.
This should be a global discussion. I believe any country that wants to grab an advantage can choose to side with the technologists, create a free coding zone, as described on this page on Tuesday.
A simple algorithm. Let the US flush its technology industry down the toilet. Zig to our zag.
Tim is a good guy, but he's doing it the wrong way.
I get angry about his support of Amazon. I see it as giving comfort to the enemy. I'm an absolutist on this. There is no such thing as a process-patenter-with-a-heart. And we can't win with Dickinson. He has answers to all our questions. He has a different idea of how software is built. He's a lawyer, not a coder. They think differently.
Let's solve this in a positive way. It's like having two browsers, if Microsoft won't do it, we can always talk to Netscape. I like Italy. I hear their patent system is more rational than the US's. And their cities are more beautiful.
Luke Tymowski: "Debating a tool's merits is one thing, hysterical slanders another. I stopped using OS/2 after being embarrassed and disgusted by the behaviour of my fellow OS/2 users. I won't make that mistake again, though. But I still find that sort of behaviour appalling."
Talking with Dale Dougherty at the Amsterdam airport, he said something very wise (and quotable):
"Everyone takes everything personally."
Sometimes it feels that way!
What is WorldOS?
Forrester To Media: Let Go Of That Content!
Red Herring: "Those [business] models should be taken to the barn and shot!"
The Dewbie. "A Debian newbie trying to roll his own."
Slashdot has a riveting interview with Lars Ulrich of Metallica.
John Perry Barlow: Napster.com and the Death of the Music Industry.
I've never gotten this fortune cookie, have you?
Ooops, I fixed a bug in one of the tests, and the Java implementation no longer validates. I'll coordinate with the author on the discussion group.
At 10AM I implemented validator1.countTheEntities, the Frontier source is on this page.
Yahoo has a page for weblogs. Interesting selection. I wish I understood how Yahoo does it. Does anyone know?
I love Jakob Nielsen, I think he does a good thing for the Web by criticizing it, even though, like many people, I often disagree with his judgments. And people make fun of Jakob, and while I wouldn't like it if it were done to me, I enjoy the creativity his imagery unlocks in others, like the graphic from Partykeller, to the right.
In Italy, they have a saying that's equivalent to It's even worse than it appears.
When something goes wrong, they say It's Italy!
I can learn to love a country with a slogan like that.
(Unfortunately Italy has a 52% sales tax. Oy!)
Poor Amazon, with mounting losses and a bubble that burst, perhaps all they have that is monetizable are their patents.
But do they have any control over when news of Amazon-owned patents is released? They're like little bombs in time capsules, seeds planted a few years ago, who knows when the USPTO is going to issue one. Not like product announcements where everything is orchestrated.
How many patent applications has Amazon filed? And how insidious are they? Only Amazon and the USPTO know for sure.
Simson Garfinkel: "Why can't operating system designers build a better 'undo' feature?"
You'd have to loop back to 1983, and ask Andy Hertzfeld to put support for Undo in the Mac OS. It was just a user interface guideline, a good one, imho, but it doubled the complexity of each application (maybe more than doubled it).
On the other hand, how could the OS support Undo? It's really an application feature. I guess if your OS has a built in WP, DB, etc, it could have Undo, but then it's not really an OS. Whatever.
As Mitch Kapor says, no one is funding technology these days, so it's hard to figure out how Simson will get what he wants. Maybe if magazine reviewers hadn't been so focused on massive feature lists in the late 80s and early 90s, if there had been more Buddhist software reviewers, who appreciated simplicty over breadth, the art of Undo might have progressed in the last seventeen years.
I see meat being discussed on various Blogger sites.
We're discussing meat here too, at UserLand. Talking with Andre yesterday (he lives in Germany where many people eat meat, I assume) he said that their equivalent of Waiters-on-Wheels delivers Wiener Schnitzel.
Wow. Now of course that's made of meat, but it's so delicious. I said "Andre, you must get Wiener Schnitzel every night!" He said noooo. (I think he's lying!)
Anyway, I want to add to evhead's definition of meat, posted last night. Meat is also the name of a built-in macro in Frontier, the precursor to bodytext, and grandfathered-in for all time, as the comment says.
I wanted to have a conference of web application developers in April, but couldn't pull it off in in time. Should we try again?
Survey: Web Apps conference?
I called Sylvia Paull who knows about these things, and asked where would be a good place to have a one-day meeting to talk about web apps in the Bay Area and she immediately suggested Mills College.
She said it's a magical place. In Oakland, close to the airports, and probably could schedule a meeting on short notice and it might would be inexpensive. We'll look into it.
BTW, 30 people, so far have said they would come to a Web Apps conference.
The validator is now running.
If you have an XML-RPC server, and would like to help, please implement the validator1 suite (it's easy) and test it with the validator app. Let us know in the XML-RPC discussion group if it worked or didn't.
Yesterday, Hannes Wallnöfer posted a message saying that he had implemented a validator1 server suite in Java, and wanted to know if the validator would work against it. So I ran a test, and it passed on the first try. That's pretty good! Good work
Hannes posted the source for his server. I encourage others to post their source. I posted the source for the Frontier server yesterday. I find it interesting to see how the various environments compare, I'm sure others would as well.
Ken MacLeod has the Perl implementation validating now. (He warns that it's a temporary URL, just set up for this test.)
A new proposed validator, countTheAngleBrackets, tests whether an implementation is correctly encoding characters in strings according to the XML 1.0 specification.
Reading microsoft.com this morning, I found that I made a mistake yesterday. The W in Microsoft's NGWS does stand for Web, at least in one article. This is good news, hopefully the vision will live up to the name. BTW, at one point the W did stand for Windows.
It was relatively painless for me to swtich to Windows because of the Web. There are minor differences between the Mac desktop and the Windows desktop, some things are on the right others are at the bottom. It's kind of like driving in the UK or talking in Italy. Even worse is using Italian currency. There's a taxi driver in Firenze who's happy he met me! Anyway..
Easy on easy off, says the Web. This is why it's promising that the preliminary hype for NGWS is that it will enable applications running on all platforms to hook in. Presumably this means Palm OS, as much as it means Win CE. And to be weblike it must create room for editors and browsers created outside of Microsoft, running on Windows and other operating systems.
To be clear, I have not signed a Microsoft non-disclosure agreement. I don't know anything about NGWS other than what's been said publicly.
There are so many ways Microsoft could be going with NGWS. We're going to learn a lot about what's been going on there when the vision is shown publicly.
BTW, today was going to be the day they did that. Now they'll wait until June 22. I'm totally planning on being there, with lots of coffee and lots of questions.
ZDNet: Former Lotus guru Mitch Kapor speaks out. "Kapor notes that the angel investors are put off by ventures that are too risky with so little prospect of immediate return. 'The average VC is looking to get a company to market within six to 12 months and see it make money within a couple of years.'"
Hopefully Mitch can change that now that he's a VC.
At lunch the other day, a CEO of a high-tech startup mistook me for Mitch. There were even witnesses. We were both at VisiCorp in the early early days of the PC software industry. Mitch did VisiPlot and went on to start Lotus. Smart guy.
News.Com: IBM donates SOAP to Apache. "We want to move at Internet speed and respond to the needs of the developer community by making it available to the open-source community," said Marie Wieck, IBM's director of e-markets infrastructure. Coool!
Peter Osbourne: "My team is working on a pilot project. The goal is to provide a means for a major airline partner to connect to a car rental reservation system. I proposed using XML and SOAP as a means to provide this connection."
I'm going to start a wish list page, and this is going to be the top item on the list.
I want to dial an 800 number, record a voice message, get back an email with a URL, and point to the message from Scripting News.
The message would be served via HTTP. This would allow me to open a new channel with my readers (they would become listeners). I would be willing to pay money for this.
I would also be happy to be a partner in a new venture to provide this service. Think about it. There is no chicken and egg, you know at least one content provider, me, would use the service and evangelize it. We've got money and servers. We lack the expertise and human resources to build the service. But we would know how to use it. Right away.
The next step would be to turn it into groupware.
HearMe.Com is in this area too.
News.Com: Juno files patent suit. "In the filing, the New York-based company alleged that NetZero and Qualcomm are "producing, distributing and encouraging" the use of software that 'unlawfully' installs Juno's patented technology into the latest version of Qualcomm's Eudora email software."
David Sims: WAP takes a pounding. "It's clear there's no stopping WAP, at least in the short term. Nokia, Motorola, and Siemens are already selling WAP phones in Europe, and they're expected to roll out in North America in the second half of 2000."
Tripod's new Site Builder is powered by TrellixWeb. I created a site, you can browse it if you like. Let me know what you think, create your own site. How would you like Manila to be more like TrellixWeb?
On 5/12/00 we started tracking hits on all UserLand-hosted Manila sites on all servers.
This resulted in the Most Read Sites Yesterday page.
Now, here's the cumulative page, the Most Read Sites since 5/12/00.
Mary Jo Foley: Has the Linux bubble burst?
osOpinion: Underwhelmed by WAP.
Daniel Berlinger's Discussion Group is using the new CSS-for-the-DG Manila feature.
Great links today on Qube Quorner.
NY Times: "Campaigns, of course, have always whispered nasty little nothings about the opposition into reporters' ears. But just as e-mail has ushered in a new era of epistolary ease and connectedness for the world at large, it has also created a hyper-efficient form of press release, a paperless document that not only links the political world to the nation's assignment editors, columnists and news anchors in seconds, but also allows the campaigns to fire at each other at will, all day long."
Oliver Breidenbach: The Oregon Coast by day, at sunset and at night.
© Copyright 1997-2006 Dave Winer.